Character Spotlight: Gone to Dallas by Laurie Moore-Moore


1856 – 1861

Genre: Historical Fiction / Texas Pioneers / Civil War
Publisher: Goat Mountain Press
Date of Publication: October 4, 2021
Number of Pages: 348 pages 

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Sara’s husband was a disappointment in life, but she had to admit he was a handsome corpse.

Climb aboard an 1856 Dallas-bound wagon train and join a plucky female protagonist for the journey of a lifetime in Laurie Moore-Moore’s richly entertaining new book, Gone to Dallas, The Storekeeper 1856-1861. Far from your average historical novel or western, Gone to Dallas is a compelling tale of migration, betrayal, death and dreams—peppered with real people, places, and events. With a cast of interesting characters and more bumps and hazards than a wagon trail, Gone to Dallas tells the unforgettable story of a formidable frontier woman in the context of true Texas history. 

It had seemed so romantic when Morgan Darnell courted Sara in Tennessee, finally convincing her they should marry and join an 1856 “Gone to Texas” wagon train traveling along the “Trail of Tears,” through Indian territory, and across the Red River into Texas. 

In a twist of fate, Sara arrives in Dallas a 19-year-old widow, armed with plenty of pluck, and determined to open a general store in the tiny settlement of log cabins on the Trinity River. Standing in her way as a young woman alone are a host of challenges. Can Sara (with the help of her friends) pull herself up by the bootstraps and overcome uncertainty, vandalism, threats, and even being shot?

Follow Sara as she strives to create her store while living Dallas’ true history — from the beginnings of La Réunion (the European colony across the Trinity) to a mud and muck circus, a grand ball and the mighty fire that burns Dallas to the ground. Dallas is a challenging place, especially with the Civil War looming.  

Even with the friendship of a retired Texas Ranger and Dallas’ most important citizen — another woman — is Sara strong enough to meet the challenge? The risks are high. Failure means being destitute in Dallas!

In Gone to Dallas, The Storekeeper 1856-1861, author Laurie Moore-Moore spins a page-turner of a tale salted with historically accurate Texas events and populated with real characters. It’s Portis’ True Grit meets Texas history.

“Creative and captivating…five stars!”
“An unforgettable journey…superb writing.”
“I was hooked at the very first sentence.”
“Lovely work of historical fiction…can’t wait for the sequel.”


Meet Mrs. Sarah Cockrell from

Gone to Dallas

The Storekeeper 1856-1861

By Laurie Moore-Moore

Sarah, the wife of Alexander Cockrell, was a real person, and very involved in helping her husband coordinate their numerous activities—from Dallas land grants to managing their numerous business enterprises. He was brilliant, but illiterate. She could read and write. Together they were a dynamic team.

Although Gone to Dallas, The Storekeeper 1856-1861 is fictional, my goal was to represent the real people in the story as accurately as I could—based on available research. By all accounts, Sarah Cockrell was major force in the development of Dallas. When she died in 1892, she owned an estimated 25% of downtown Dallas as well as properties in numerous other Texas towns.

Why did I name my strong female protagonist Sara (note the different spelling)? I tried to change her name, I swear. Sarah and Sara wouldn’t let me. The two strong women overruled me!

Here are some insights on Sarah Cockrell from Gone to Dallas.

Her appearance: “Sarah Cockrell was a slender woman with shiny, mahogany-colored hair parted in the middle, pulled back, and turned under into a bun at the nape of her neck. Heavy brows arched above deep-set gray eyes. She wore a white cotton blouse with long, full sleeves and a rounded collar. Her skirt was black cotton embroidered with white flowers and very full. A solid black sash was tied in a bow at the front of her waist. She looks as fashionable as if she’s stepped out of Godey’s Ladyʼs Book.

Her philosophy:  “I’m guided by just a few rules: Work quietly behind the scenes—there are some in town who resent a successful woman. Smile, speak softly, don’t be afraid to say no, and never back down. Be an iron fist in a velvet glove. And keep a pistol in your drawer, just in case.”

Her strength upon the death of her husband: “I never imagined anything like this. I loved him.” She took a deep breath. “Thought we’d grow old together. My task now is to keep his legacy alive and be sure his children remember him for the fine man he was.”

Her business savvy:  “. . .Sara was invited to Sarah Cockrell’s office for tea. When Sara arrived, Mrs. Cockrell was concluding a meeting with two men who were challenging the terms of a contract they had signed with the Cockrell lumber company. “Do come in, Sara, we’re almost through here.”

“We’re not happy with the contract terms,” one man said forcefully.

“Yet you agreed to them before and signed the contract,” Mrs. Cockrell said in a calm, matter-of-fact voice.

“Well things have changed,” the other man said.

“I understand things have changed.” Mrs. Cockrell paused and looked at each of them, holding her gaze for several seconds. “My husband is dead, and you thought you’d see if the widow would agree to better terms for you, to her disadvantage. Please understand that I will not.”

The first man began to bluster. “Well, well . . . ”

“Well,” Mrs. Cockrell said, “if you can show me how we would both benefit from a change in price and terms, I’ll be happy to meet to discuss it. Until then, good day, gentlemen.” She rose from her chair. Mrs. Cockrell’s young, male assistant appeared from nowhere with their hats and ushered them out.

From the author: “My husband, Roger, and I have been blessed with many adventures in life—from trekking across India’s Thar desert on a camel (and sleeping in the sand on our camel blankets) to repeating marriage vows in a remote Maasi village in Kenya (my dowery was one cow and one goat). My favorite adventure? As a fifth generation Texan, it is discovering more and more Texas history and writing about it!  

We live in Dallas, Texas but sneak away when possible, to a mountain-top cabin overlooking a lake in former Indian Territory (the Oklahoma Ozark Mountains) The cabin is unique—there is a nine foot chainsaw bear in our entry hall. The house was built around it. Never thought I’d own a piece of chainsaw art, much less a nine-foot bear. Life is full of surprises. . . just like a good historical novel.”  
Laurie Moore-Moore is a retired entrepreneur who has built and sold multiple businesses and served on the Board of Directors of an international corporation.



Book Blitz: The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens

Chrysta Castañeda & Loren Steffy
Genre: Biography/Autobiography, Courtroom Drama
Publisher: Stoney Creek Publishing Group
Date of Paperback Publication: September 15, 2021
Number of Pages: 300 Pages
Finalist, 2020 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award
T. Boone Pickens, legendary Texas oilman and infamous corporate raider from the 1980s, climbed the steps of the Reeves County courthouse in Pecos, Texas in early November 2016. He entered the solitary courtroom and settled into the witness stand for two days of testimony in what would be the final trial of his life.
Pickens, who was 88 by then, had made and lost billions over his long career, but he’d come to Pecos seeking justice from several other oil companies. He claimed they cut him out of what became the biggest oil play he’d ever invested in—in an oil-rich section of far West Texas that was primed for an unprecedented boom. After years of dealing with the media, shareholders and politicians, Pickens would need to win over a dozen West Texas jurors in one last battle.
To lead his legal fight, he chose an unlikely advocate—Chrysta Castañeda, a Dallas solo practitioner who had only recently returned to the practice of law after a hiatus borne of disillusionment with big firms. Pickens was a hardline Republican, while Castañeda had run for public office as a Democrat. But they shared an unwavering determination to win and formed a friendship that spanned their differences in age, politics, and gender.
In a town where frontier justice was once meted out by Judge Roy Bean—“The Law West of the Pecos”—Pickens would gird for one final courtroom showdown. Sitting through trial every day, he was determined to prevail, even at the cost of his health.
The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens is a high-stakes courtroom drama told through the eyes of Castañeda. It’s the story of an American business legend still fighting in the twilight of his long career, and the lawyer determined to help him make one final stand for justice.

“Think you know T. Boone Pickens, the larger-than-life business titan, energy trader, and corporate raider? Think again. The attorney representing Pickens in his final major court battle and the business writer who covered him most over the decades reveal a whole other T. Boone that few people outside his bubble could have ever imagined.” Joe Nick Patoski, author of Austin to ATX and host of the Texas Music Hour of Power

“Chrysta Castañeda and Loren Steffy have accomplished the remarkable. They’ve taken issues most familiar to lawyers and judges, woven them into an incredible story and presented to all an enjoyable journey through The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens. Craig Enoch, Former Texas Supreme Court Justice and founder of the Enoch Kever law firm

CHRYSTA CASTAÑEDA is a Texas trial attorney specializing in oil and gas disputes. She formed her own boutique law firm in 2014 after more than twenty years as a partner and associate in some of the world’s top law firms.


LOREN STEFFY is a journalist and author of four other nonfiction books: Deconstructed: An Insider’s View of Illegal Immigration and the Building Trades (with Stan Marek) (Stoney Creek Publishing, 2020), George P. Mitchell: Fracking, Sustainability and an Unorthodox Quest to Save the Planet (Texas A&M University Press, 2019), Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit (McGraw-Hill, 2010) and The Man Who Thought Like a Ship (Texas A&M University Press, 2012). His first novel, The Big Empty, was published in April 2021.

Book Blitz: Knock! Knock! by Douglas Thompson


Lessons Learned and Stories Shared 
Categories: Nonfiction / Motivational Stories / Positivity / Relationship Building / Integrity / Time Management / Entrepreneurship
Publisher: Lucid House Publishing
Date of Publication: January 8, 2021
Pages: 154
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Knock! Knock! is a fast-paced, fun-filled journey through the author’s career in sales that not only teaches you how to be better at selling but to also have a ton of fun while you are doing it.
Knock! Knock! invites you to join Doug on what salespeople call “a ride along,” which is where a senior salesperson shows a newbie the ropes. This book delivers a winning sales philosophy learned through years of experience and is illustrated by real-life stories that Doug shares — along with multiple Knock-Knock Moments (or lessons and revelations learned) that have fueled his career and that he believes will help yours.
Every one of us is in Sales. If you deal with people, you are in sales. Knock! Knock! teaches you how to get out of your Comfort Zone to believe in yourself and to believe in the product, services, or message you are trying to sell. But it also teaches you to have a great time while you are doing it.

Purchase: Amazon | Main Street Reads




Douglas Thompson’s passion for improving the customer’s experience as well as the sales profession continues to drive him as he comes up with new ideas to answer this question: How can we make the sales process better? Starting out as an insurance agent going down the street selling accident insurance by knocking on doors, Doug quickly moved into the management side of the life and health insurance industry, hiring and training agents to be successful doing the same. His ability to build successful sales teams caught the eye of the corporate leadership of several major companies. Doug became the vice president of sales and marketing for Conseco and was recruited to do the same for Pacificare, UnitedHealthcare, American Republic, Tranzact, and Humana.
Currently, he is the marketing director for a large national insurance wholesaler that recruits and trains insurance agents and agencies in the senior marketplace across the country, and he continues to build his own general agency, which offers life and health products to the senior population. He is known nationally for his innovations in the sales industry and frequently speaks and trains on his favorite topic of sales.
Doug and his wife Shirley own a Bed & Breakfast in Jefferson, Texas.

Follow Douglas Thompson on: Facebook | Website | Goodreads


ONE WINNER receives an autographed copy

+ Knock! Knock! coffee cup

(US only. Ends midnight, CST, 3/11/2021)


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Character Interview: Dreams Re-Kindled by Amanda Cabot

BNR Dreams Rekindled


Mesquite Springs, Book 2


Categories: Christian Historical Fiction/ Romance/ Stand-Alone

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: March 2, 2021

Pages: 352


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He’s bound and determined to find peace . . . but she’s about to stir things up. 
Dorothy Clark dreams of writing something that will challenge people as much as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin seems to have. But in 1850s Mesquite Springs, there are few opportunities for writers–until newspaperman Brandon Holloway arrives, that is. 
Brandon Holloway has seen firsthand the disastrous effects of challenging others. He has no intention of repeating that mistake. Instead of following his dreams, he’s committed to making a new–and completely uncontroversial–start in the Hill Country. 
As Dorothy’s involvement in the fledgling newspaper grows from convenient to essential, the same change seems to be happening in Brandon’s heart. But before romance can bloom, Dorothy and Brandon must work together to discover who’s determined to divide the town and destroy Brandon’s livelihood. 


Baker Books (Revell) | Amazon | BN |

A Conversation with Mrs. Lockhart

From Dreams Rekindled

By Amanda Cabot

Ida Downey, who owns Mesquite Springs’s mercantile, is not a gossip, but she prides herself on knowing everything that’s going on in town. Today she’s chatting with the former schoolteacher, a widow who owns the second largest house in town.

IDA: Good morning, Virginia. What can I get for you today?

MRS. LOCKHART: A spool of white thread. I caught my heel in the hem of my petticoat and managed to tear it.

IDA: I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m glad it brought you here. There are a couple things I wanted to ask you. First, I want your opinion of the two men who’ve come to town. They’re all anyone can talk about … including my daughter. Laura’s convinced the handsome newspaperman is the man she’s going to marry.

MRS. LOCKHART: He is handsome, I’ll grant you that, but I wonder if he’s the right one for Laura. Something tells me he has secrets in his past that might stand between them. Laura needs a man with a whole heart, and I’m not sure Brandon Holloway is that man.

IDA: I hope you’re wrong, because Leonard and I both think the world of Brandon. This town needed a newspaper, and as far as we’re concerned, he’s the best thing that’s happened here in a long time.

MRS. LOCKHART: I agree about the paper, but I’m still not sure he and Laura would be a good match.

IDA: I won’t tell Laura you said that, because she has dreams of a double wedding. She’s convinced Phil Blakeslee is the perfect match for Dorothy. There’s only one problem: Dorothy claims she’ll never marry.

MRS. LOCKHART: Now you’ve shocked me, Ida. Why is Dorothy so averse to marriage? Her parents were one of the best-matched couples I’ve met, and her brother seems to be boots over hat in love with his wife.

IDA: Laura doesn’t know why Dorothy’s so adamant. That’s the second thing I want to talk to you about. Laura believes if Dorothy and Phil spend more time together, they’ll fall in love. Do you think you can arrange it? I heard Phil’s been eating dinner with you most days. Maybe you could invite Dorothy to join you.

MRS. LOCKHART: Are you trying to turn me into a matchmaker? I don’t think that’s a good idea.

IDA: Then, what do you suggest?

MRS. LOCKHART: Let love take its course.

And it does, although not necessarily the way anyone expects.

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of Out of the Embers, as well as the Cimarron Creek Trilogy and the Texas Crossroads, Texas Dreams, and Westward Winds series. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more:

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Continue reading “Character Interview: Dreams Re-Kindled by Amanda Cabot”

Review: Ely Air Lines Vol 1 by Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Select Stories from 10 Years
of a Weekly Column,
Volumes 1 & 2
Genre: Nonfiction
Categories: Short Stories / Aviation / Adventure 
Date of Publication: January 29, 2020 
Number of Pages: Volume 1: 350 pages; Volume 2: 330 pages  
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Buckle up and fly with Mike and Linda Street-Ely to discover amazing people, interesting places, and the conquest of flight. Since 2007, readers have enjoyed engaging articles weekly in the newspaper column, “Ely Air Lines.” Now you can step aboard to enjoy a collection of stories that explore the vast realm of the flyer’s world.

Communities are the lifeblood of the United States.  Advocacy for communities is essential to keeping America working and keeping America thriving.  Ely Air Lines (a collection of short stories and real-life encounters) is a magnificent work that exemplifies the American Spirit of community.  This project sprang from the authors’ love of community and sharing their experiences in the skies with others! 

Though this book does not have thematic characters to follow, readers will quickly pick up on the things that make the general aviation community special.  Authors Mike and Linda have compiled over 10 years of aviation columns from the Liberty Gazette out of Liberty County, Texas into a wonderful two-volume work that explores the relationships and communities built by aviation across the world.  Readers will find inspiring stories about young pilots, tear-jerking stories about war-time, and intriguing stories about the past.  Each story is presented with a storyteller’s voice that makes the narrative even more interesting! 

This book isn’t just for the aviator at heart, this is for anyone who is interested in the skies!  The stories are broken up as vignettes and organized into larger categories which help the reader to understand the theme of each chapter.  A particular favorite of mine is “The Real Rosie the Riveter”, which tells the story of a young woman, the real Rosie the Riveter, who worked during WWII as a WASP (Womens Airforce Service Pilot).  This story has a special place in my heart because the WASP service is something I have always admired!  The National WASP museum in Sweetwater, Texas if you passing through!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys storytelling and aviation!  You don’t necessarily need to understand aircraft lingo to love this book!  Each chapter takes the reader on adventures both far flung and near to home!  This volume is about 300 pages and would be a perfect read for a rainy day or on a flight! 

Thank you so much to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the authors for the opportunity to read and review this book!  Pick up a copy today and start your high flying journey! 

Mike Ely has logged thousands of hours over more than forty years as a professional pilot. He holds an airline transport pilot certificate with multiple type ratings and a flight instructor certificate. Mike has taught people to fly in small single engine airplanes, gliders, turboprops, and corporate jets. As a freight pilot and an international corporate pilot, he has flown through all kinds of weather, to many places, both exotic and boring. His love for writing was instilled by his father at an early age. Linda Street-Ely is an award-winning, multi-genre author and playwright. She also holds an airline transport pilot certificate, a commercial seaplane certificate and a tailwheel endorsement. She has air raced all over the U.S., including four times in the historic all-women’s transcontinental Air Race Classic. Besides flying, Linda has a keen appreciation for great storytelling. She loves to travel the world, meet people, and learn about other cultures because she believes great stories are everywhere. Together, Linda and Mike are “Team Ely,” five-time National Champions of the Sport Air Racing League, racing their Grumman Cheetah, named the “Elyminator,” and dubbed “The Fastest Cheetah in the Known Universe.” They live in Liberty, Texas.
Each win an autographed, 2-volume set of ELY AIR LINES
Giveaway ends midnight, CST, January 29, 2021
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1/19/21 Excerpt It’s Not All Gravy
1/20/21 Review V1 Jennie Reads
1/20/21 Review V2 Librariel Book Adventures
1/21/21 Guest Post Forgotten Winds
1/22/21 Review V1 StoreyBook Reviews
1/22/21 Review V2 Reading by Moonlight
1/23/21 Author Interview All the Ups and Downs
1/24/21 Author Interview The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
1/25/21 Review V1 Book Bustle
1/25/21 Review V2 Book Fidelity
1/26/21 Excerpt The Page Unbound
1/27/21 Character Interview Hall Ways Blog
1/27/21 Top Ten Momma on the Rocks
1/28/21 Review V1 The Clueless Gent
1/28/21 Review V2 Chapter Break Book Blog
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Book Blitz: River, Sing Out by James Wade

Categories: Contemporary / Literary Fiction
Rural Fiction / Crime Fiction / Coming-of-Age
Date of Publication: June 8, 2021
Number of Pages: 315 pages
“And through these ages untold, the river did act as the lifeblood of all those things alongside it.”

Jonah Hargrove is celebrating his thirteenth birthday by avoiding his abusive father, when a girl named River stumbles into his yard, injured and alone. The teenager has stolen thousands of dollars’ worth of meth from her murderous, drug-dealing boyfriend, but lost it somewhere in the Neches River bottoms during her escape. Jonah agrees to help her find and sell the drugs so she can flee East Texas.

Chasing after them is John Curtis, a local drug kingpin and dog fighter, as well as River’s boyfriend, the dangerous Dakota Cade.

Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in violent fashion as all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God.

With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into the sinister world of the East Texas river bottoms, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.

James Wade lives and writes in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Jordan. He has had twenty short stories published in various literary magazines and journals. He is the winner of the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest and a finalist of the Tethered by Letters Short Fiction Contest. All Things Left Wild is his debut novel.
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Blog Tour: Mia and Nattie – One Great Team!

Mia and Nattie:
One Great Team!
Marlene M. Bell
Genre: Children’s Picture Book (K-3rd Grade) / Farm Animals
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Date of Publication: October 4, 2020
Number of Pages: 34 pages
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Nattie’s mouth was a little crooked. Her legs were a bit shorter than usual, and one horn was too straight, like a unicorn’s horn. But Mia thought Nattie was perfect. On a visit to her grandma’s farm, eight-year-old Mia discovers a newborn, orphaned lamb outside in the cold and takes her to the laundry room, naming her Nattie. As she tries to nurse the lamb back to health, Mia discovers that Nattie is different from the other lambs and struggles to fit in with them like Mia does with other kids her age. When her grandmother says she will sell Nattie to a neighbor, Mia must come up with a plan to keep her friend around — one that will show the family just how special Nattie truly is.

When I opened this book, I thought to myself that this will be a delightful children’s book.  I was right in so many ways, but what I didn’t expect was that I would be brought to tears before the end of the first page!  When I was a child, my grandmother raised two baby goats in her home, they were too small and born too early to remain with the other goats.  I bottle-fed and helped raise them with my grandparents until they were big enough to go to a neighbor’s house to graze and live out their lives.  This time was so special and formative for me.  I was overwhelmed by the real-life story of Natalie and how incredibly special our bond with animals can be! 

That’s enough of me waxing nostalgic, so on to the review!  Mia and Nattie is an incredibly special book with vivid illustrations, engaging prose, and a fantastic theme.  Natalie is a lamb, born too early, who has little chance of making it to adulthood.  Mia finds her, bottle feeds her, and cares for her!  Mia finds calm and relief in taking care of Natalie. 

The story is adorable, well-written, and perfect as a picture book!  The illustrations are bright, colorful, and engaging!  This would make a great Christmas gift for a teacher, a young reader, or parents of young readers.  Mia and Natalie are a perfect pair and I love that this story was inspired by a real-life Natalie!  I took the opportunity to read this with my son who is 8 years old.  We talked about the importance of love, compassion, and kindness. 

This is a wonderful picture book that is perfect for young readers, classrooms, and libraries!  Thank you to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author for having me on this tour! 

MARLENE M. BELL is an award-winning writer, artist, and crazy sheep lady who resides in beautiful East Texas. Her renown sheep photographs grace the covers of many livestock magazines where she also writes newsy articles about raising sheep from her hands-on experience.
Based on true events from the Bell’s ranch, Marlene offers the first of her children’s picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! It’s a touching story of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb. Marlene is also the author of the award-winning Annalisse international mystery series, with the third book, Calico Raven to be released in 2021.
Marlene shares her life with her husband and dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep: a large Maremma guard dog named Tia, and cats, Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks. The cats believe they rule the household—and do.
Signed copy of Mia and Nattie, Nattie Plush, Nattie Mousepad, and a Nattie pendant
2ND PRIZE (US only): Signed copy of Mia and Nattie
3RD PRIZE (US only): Signed copy of Mia and Nattie
Giveaway ends at midnight, CST, 11/25/2020
or visit the blogs directly:
11/16/2020 Review That’s What She’s Reading
11/16/2020 Character Spotlight Book Fidelity
11/16/2020 Review Jennifer Silverwood
11/16/2020 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
11/17/2020 Review Forgotten Winds
11/17/2020 Sneak Peek The Clueless Gent
11/17/2020 Review Momma on the Rocks
11/18/2020 Review Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
11/18/2020 Top 5 List All the Ups and Downs
11/18/2020 Review Missus Gonzo
11/19/2020 Review Book Bustle
11/19/2020 Excerpt Max Knight
11/19/2020 Review StoreyBook Reviews
11/20/2020 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
11/20/2020 Character Interview Sybrina’s Book Blog
11/20/2020 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
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Blog Tour: Strong from the Heart by Jon Land

Strong from the Heart

(Caitlin Strong #11)

Jon Land
Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Publisher: Forge Books
Date of Publication: July 28, 2020
Number of Pages: 368 pages
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Caitlin Strong wages her own personal war on drugs against the true power behind the illicit opioid trade in Strong from the Heart, the blistering and relentless 11th installment in Jon Land’s award-winning series.
The drug crisis hits home for fifth generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong when the son of her outlaw lover Cort Wesley Masters nearly dies from an opioid overdose. On top of that, she’s dealing with the inexplicable tragedy of a small Texas town where all the residents died in a single night.
When Caitlin realizes that these two pursuits are intrinsically connected, she finds herself following a trail that will take her to the truth behind the crisis that claimed 75,000 lives last year. Just in time, since the same force that has taken over the opiate trade has even more deadly intentions in mind, specifically the murder of tens of millions in pursuit of their even more nefarious goals.
The power base she’s up against―comprised of politicians and Big Pharma, along with corrupt doctors and drug distributors―has successfully beaten back all threats in the past. But they’ve never had to deal with the likes of Caitlin Strong before and have no idea what’s in store when the guns of Texas come calling.
At the root of the conspiracy lies a cabal nestled within the highest corridors of power that’s determined to destroy all threats posed to them. Caitlin and Cort Wesley may have finally met their match, finding themselves isolated and ostracized with nowhere to turn, even as they strive to remain strong from the heart.


“A time-jumping, savory Tex-Mex tale, seasoned with all the ingredients of a great thriller.”―Brad Meltzer, New York Times bestselling author

“A mind-blowing tale that takes a flamethrower to our psyches to warm the chill it leaves up our spines. Seething with energy and replete with wondrously staged set pieces, this is thriller writing that defies genre even as it reminds us why we love to read.”―NYK Daily

“Exceptional…. Snappy one-liners, plausible dialogue, and lots of nonstop action, Land delivers another riveting, believable thriller.”―Press-Republican

“Caitlin Strong is one of the strongest female characters ever to hit the page, and Jon Land is the king of the intelligent thriller, continually pushing his own writing to new levels.”―New York Journal of Books

This book left me mostly speechless!  Before I picked up this book, I hadn’t read anything from Jon Land and what a mistake that has been!  I have long been a fan of the modern crime drama with grit, but also a lot of heart!  The Caitlin Strong series is all of this and more!  A modern Texas Ranger who kicks butt and takes names!  Caitlin is a law enforcement professional with a history great work, lives saved, and justice served!

This book absolutely reads as a standalone and I would encourage fans of this book to pick up any of the other Jon Land books out there!  This book is a little bit Narcos, a little bit Walker, Texas Ranger, part Justified, and all strong female lead.  Land takes on big issues such as immigration and the opioid crisis through a narrative that lends itself to tackling these big themes. 

The narrative follows several characters including Caitlin Strong, a working Texas Ranger, Cort Wesley Masters, Roland Fass, Colonel Guillermo Paz, and others through a mysterious crisis in a remote rural town near the Texas/Mexico border, an overdose, and other interesting events.  It was hard to put this book down, the pacing is very tight and I found myself nervously awaiting the next piece of the puzzle as I read!  I loved the backdrop of rural and urban South Texas!  The relationships between the characters play an integral part in the book, romantic, friendly or otherwise.  The narrative flows seamlessly from the present to the past, in flashbacks to Caitlin’s family members who have a long history of serving in the ranks of the Texas Rangers.  You may even find some historical figures in this book! 

Overall, I found this book to be engaging, interesting, and a perfect balance of real-life law enforcement, real-life issues, and fictional characters interacting with the narrative!  I would recommend this to fans of crime books, semi-historical mysteries, books that deal with big issues, and fans of series!  I loved this book and would recommend to friends in a heartbeat!  Jon Land has a significant catalog of books to pick up when you pick up a copy of Strong from the Heart!

Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty books, eleven of which feature Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. The critically acclaimed series has won more than a dozen awards, including the 2019 International Book Award for Best Thriller for Strong as Steel and the 2020 American Fiction Award for Best Thriller. He has also authored six books in the MURDER, SHE WROTE series and has recently taken over writing Margaret Truman’s CAPITAL CRIMES series. A 1979 graduate of Brown University, Land lives in Providence, Rhode Island and received the 2019 Rhode Island Authors Legacy Award for his lifetime of literary achievements.
5 Autographed copies
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10/29/2020 Character Spotlight Chapter Break Book Blog
10/29/2020 Review Bibliotica
10/30/2020 Top 5 List Hall Ways Blog
10/30/2020 Review Tangled in Text
10/31/2020 Review Reading by Moonlight
11/1/2020 Top 9 List Missus Gonzo
11/2/2020 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews
11/3/2020 Excerpt All the Ups and Downs
11/4/2020 Top 10 List Texas Book Lover
11/5/2020 Guest Post Forgotten Winds
11/5/2020 Review The Clueless Gent
11/6/2020 Top 10 List KayBee’s Book Shelf
11/7/2020 Review That’s What She’s Reading
11/7/2020 Review Book Bustle
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Blog Tour: Araceli’s Path by Marion Surles – Book Trailer

Among Angels
and Devils in Juarez
Genre: Realistic Fiction / Border Stories / Mature Middle Grade
Date of Publication: November 30, 2019
Number of Pages: 145
Scroll down for the giveaway!
Araceli comes from a blended, dysfunctional family held together by the love of a grandmother. Rubí is being raised by a single mother who works as a prostitute. Both young girls are affected not only by their mothers’ choices but also by the violence and culture of Juarez, Mexico.
Can they overcome the cards they have been dealt, or are they destined to follow the same paths as their mothers?
Follow the lives of Araceli and Rubí from childhood to young adulthood and listen for children everywhere who are voiceless, trapped in their own cultures.
Proceeds benefit Love and Literacy

Marion Surles was born in 1957 in Columbus, Mississippi. From a young age she was interested in learning Spanish, due to a special offering of Spanish at her elementary school. She received a BA and MA in Spanish and social work from Mississippi State University and teaches Spanish and English as a Second Language to all levels of students. She also serves as a volunteer missionary at home and in many Spanish-speaking countries. Most recently, she has formed a mission in Juarez, Mexico called Love and Literacy, which encourages reading and staying in school. Every two months, Marion travels to Juarez to bring books and literacy activities to a poor neighborhood, partnering with a local family to serve as the library. Her books are a fictional account of the lives of her students. Her Facebook page, Love and Literacy, gives updates of her work in Juarez. Marion lives in Dublin, Texas with her husband, horses, and dogs. She enjoys trail riding, kayaking, and camping, plus visiting with her daughters and granddaughter nearby.
TWO WINNERS: Autographed copies of Araceli’s Path and Grit in Juarez (choice of English or Spanish), Day of the Dead shopping bag & plate, Mexican coin purse, Mexican candy.
NOVEMBER 5-15, 2020
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Book Bustle



Hall Ways Blog



Reading by Moonlight



Chapter Break Book Blog


Top Ten

It’s Not All Gravy



StoreyBook Reviews


Guest Post

All the Ups and Downs



Forgotten Winds


Author Interview




The Clueless Gent



Missus Gonzo

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Blog Tour: Nothing Short of Wonderous by Regina Scott

(American Wonders Collection, Book Two)
Genre: Historical Fiction / Christian Romance 
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: October 20, 2020
Number of Pages: 336

Scroll down for the giveaway!

In 1886, the U.S. government gave control of Yellowstone, the country’s first national park, to the cavalry to stop predation by poachers, hunters, and vandals. Mrs. Kate Tremaine is all for the change. The young widow and her late husband held the lease to operate one of the hotels in the park. She has raised her six-year-old son among God’s wonders and knows every inch of the mountainous park like the back of her hand. It is her home, and she has vowed to protect it.

Lieutenant William Prescott needs someone of Kate’s caliber more than he knows. Congress has appropriated funds for only one guide, who is required elsewhere in the park, and the cavalryman is having some trouble finding his way around much less tracking down the troublemakers. As Kate and her son help him, he doesn’t dare give in to the tender feelings she raises in him. A tragic mistake eight years ago nearly derailed his career and made him question his own abilities. Not even Kate’s encouragement or God’s forgiveness can blot out the stain on his conscience.

When Kate’s son disappears, Will and Kate must work together to rescue the boy and protect the park. In doing so, they may just find that two wounded hearts can lead to one powerful love when God is in control.

Nothing Short of Wonderous is book 2 in the American Wonders Collection by Regina Scott!  Set in 1886 near Yellowstone, this novel features Kate Tremaine, a widowed hotelier with a penchant for natural beauty and a mission to protect her piece of the natural world from those that seek to ruin it.  This story is set against a beautiful backdrop of mountains, streams, and vast wilderness.  It really is a stunning historical romance, perfect for fans of faith-infused romance novels! 

Kate is a woman of faith with strong moral principles and dedication to her family and business.  Immediately, the reader is introduced to Lieutenant William Prescott of the US Cavalry.  Will and Kate share an immediate connection and the reader soon learns more about each of them through the other’s eyes.  The relationships between Kate and many of the characters are well constructed and beautifully written!  I loved seeing the beginnings of Kate and Will’s friendship through the beginning chapters of the book!  Kate is really my favorite character.  She is self-possessed, accomplished, and brilliant! 

I loved the setting and the descriptions of Yellowstone!  One of the major plot points in the book revolves around the American Bison, which is the mascot of my alma mater!  Though we call ourselves Buffaloes, I am very glad to see a novel featuring these majestic creatures!  I am even more happy to see a novel about the American West that features such a strong female lead character!  Kate is the embodiment of the spirit of the American West!  I see many of those same traits in Will and other characters as well!

The pacing of this book is perfect for me and I enjoyed the length of the story.  This novel features plenty of action while keeping with the historical romance genre!  I very much enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more novels by Regina Scott in the future!  Highly recommend this for fans of historical romance, historical fiction, and faith-based fiction! 

Thank you to Lone Star Book Blog Tours, Regina Scott, and Revel for sending me a copy of the book and having me along on the tour! 

Regina Scott is the author of fifty works of warm, witty historical romance, including A Distance Too Grand. She was twice awarded the prestigious RT Book Reviews best book of the year in her category. A devotee of history, she has learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research. She and her husband of thirty years live south of Tacoma, Washington, on the way to Mt. Rainier.

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THREE WINNERS! FIRST PRIZE: Both books in the American Wonders collection, tote bag, book swag, and $25 B&N gift card; SECOND & THIRD PRIZES: Copy of Nothing Short of Wondrous and book swag. 
October 13-October 23, 2020
(U.S. Only)

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Notable Quotables

Forgotten Winds


BONUS post

Hall Ways Blog



Chapter Break Book Blog



The Adventures of a Travelers Wife



Book Bustle



Story Schmoozing Book Reviews


Scrapbook Page

The Page Unbound



Momma on the Rocks



It’s Not All Gravy


Series Spotlight

All the Ups and Downs



StoreyBook Reviews

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