Blog Tour : Blue Running by Lori Ann Stephens

Lori Ann Stephens
Dystopian Fiction / Coming of Age / Suspense
Publisher: Moonflower Publishing
Date of Publication: November, 2022
Number of Pages: 334 pages 
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In the new Republic of Texas, guns are compulsory and nothing is forgiven. Blue Running is a gripping coming-of-age thriller set in post-secessionist Texas. A fast-paced, page-turning book, it looks unflinchingly at what the future could hold, and finds hope there.

Fourteen-year-old Bluebonnet Andrews is on the run across the Republic of Texas. An accident with a gun killed her best friend but everyone in the town of Blessing thinks it was murder. Even her father – the town’s drunken deputy – believes she did it. Now, she has no choice but to run. In Texas, murder is punishable by death.
On the road she meets Jet, a pregnant young woman of Latin American heritage. Jet is secretive about her past but she’s just as determined as Blue to get out of Texas before she’s caught and arrested. Together, the two form an unlikely kinship as they make their way past marauding motorcycle gangs, the ever-watchful Texas Rangers, and armed strangers intent on abducting them – or worse. When Blue and Jet finally reach the wall, will they be able to cross the border, or will they be shot down in cold blood like the thousands who have gone before them?
Some things are worth dying for.
“Brilliant.” Heat Magazine
“A fast-paced story that races along, and stays with you long after you’ve finished it.” The American
“An important and unforgettable read.” Armadillo Magazine

Novelist, librettist, lecturer Lori Ann Stephens grew up in North Texas, where she developed an addiction to the arts. Her novels for children and adults include Novalee and the Spider Secret, Some Act of Vision, and Song of the Orange Moons, and her award-winning work has been noted by Glimmer Train Stories, The Chicago Tribune, and the English National Opera. She teaches Writing and Critical Reasoning undergraduate courses, as well as creative writing graduate courses, at Southern Methodist University. She lives in Texas and is a bit mad about her cat.

Rating 5 out of 5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received an audiobook copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from Lone Star Literary.

Blue Running is a well-written thriller-style story that takes the reader on a wild ride from the beginning. I received a gifted copy of the audiobook, narrated by Ashley Kaplan Rose. Blue Running is the first book I’ve read by the author and the narrator.

The book is a dystopian novel set in the future. Bluebonnet, Blue, Andrews is the main character in the story. Blue lives alone with her deputy Dad in Blessing. She doesn’t have a strong memory of her mother, and her father isn’t keen on sharing any stories of her mother. Blue only has one memory of the moment when her mother left and that memory often turns into a nightmare as she lives on. She knows that her mother is still alive and outside of the borders of Texas. Blue’s character is a 14-year-old girl who sees herself as an outcast at her school during a time when patriotism is high and gun usage is even higher. She struggles to make friends until she meets a new girl in town. The two girls quickly become inseparable. Then the new school year starts and her best friend takes a seat at the popular table while Blue watches from afar. Blue finally gets the courage to confront her friend at home, during her visit an accidental death causes her life to change completely. Blue must learn to survive on the run with an unlikely acquaintance. Jet, Blue’s new running partner, is also escaping a life that no longer belongs to her. Both girls will face many trials, tribulations, and challenges, and have to make split-second decisions to survive.

The author does a phenomenal job with this novel. The writing style is both captivating and informative. The narrator allows the reader to be transported into the story and feel like they are a part of the action unfolding. Blue Running had me angry, sad, upset, and in tears, as I listened to their lives unfold. I felt such a strong connection to Jet and Blue and enjoyed Blue’s genuine curiosity. I was angry at the accusations made towards Blue and felt the girls’ loneliness; the author’s writing allowed me to be fully immersed in Jet’s and Blue’s emotions. It is a rare occasion that a book has me so awestruck. Bravo to the author for writing an amazing book and bravo to the narrator for doing such a great job with telling the story.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in a dystopian thriller novel.

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Blog Tour : The Gold Rose

Jodi Lea Stewart
Historical Fiction / WWII / Action & Drama / International Mystery
Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
Date of Publication: February 21, 2023
Number of Pages: 372 pages 
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Since the early 1940s, THE GOLD ROSE, a secret rescue agency with Asian origins, has used unique systems to ferret out and save victims in every corner of the world. Charlotte Hunt-Basse has faced dangerous and often deadly challenges in her decade as an agent with the agency, not the least of which was the past rescues of two of her assignments, Pinkie and Babe.
Two-year-old Pinkie is discovered abandoned on a dirt road during a violent storm. She is whisked off to Mexico by oil heir Clint Sutton and his girlfriend, Angelina, as they attempt to escape the lies of Clint’s father’s second wife. Three years later, Pinkie is stolen away to Argentina by an aging Romani. Pinkie suffers from the malice of her captor but wins the fatherly love of a Buenos Aires circus owner and his fiance. Shortly after landing in the crosshairs of THE GOLD ROSE, Pinkie’s life takes two more shocking twists. When the agency locates Pinkie again, Agent Charlotte must throw all caution to the wind to rescue her.
Babe, the child of Texas-based missionaries, is hidden by two Chinese families during the Japanese invasion and ensuing Communist takeover of China. She is forced by the second family to live incognito as a “boy” for several years to save her from soldiers invading China from the North. Martial arts are banned, but the grandfather of the family teaches Babe Yǒng Chūn in deepest secrecy. The civil war escalates, and Babe finds herself on a dangerous quest for survival as she journeys alone through enemy territory toward the faintest hope of rescue.
Jodi Lea Stewart is a fiction author who centers her themes around the triumph of overcoming adversity through grit, humor, and hard-rock tenacity. Born in Texas and growing up in Arizona smelling cedar berries and cow pens on a large cattle ranch wedged between the Navajo Nation and the White Mountain Apache Tribe, most of her friends were Native American and Hispanic, with a few Anglos thrown in for good measure. On the ranch, she climbed petroglyph-etched boulders, sang to chickens, bounced two feet in the air in the backend of pickups wrestling through washed-out terracotta roads, and rode horseback on the winds of her imagination through the arroyos and mountains of the Arizona high country. Later, she left her studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love, and exactly what she didn’t want to do with her life.
Moving back to her native Texas, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised three+ children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles, and served as managing editor of a Fortune 500 corporate newsletter. Her lifelong friendship with all shades of folks, cowpunchers, southern belles, intellectuals, and “outlaws” propels Jodi into writing comfortably about the Southwest, the South, and far beyond. She currently resides in Arizona with her husband, two wild and crazy Standard poodles, one rescue cat, her fun-loving ninety-plus-year-old mom, a never-be-still-four-year-old tornado, and numerous bossy houseplants.
Signed copy of The Gold Rose plus a custom Gold Rose laptop carrying case
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Rating 5 out of 5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from Lone Star Literary.

The story begins from the perspective of Charlotte Hunt- Base. An agent working for the ROSE International agency. A hidden rescue agency that has worked to rescue people over the years. Charlotte has a long history with the agency and the story begins with her reflecting on her life thus far. The novel continues as she looks back on her time with the agency and we journey through her life, highlighting various moments that have impacted her. The story continues with diving into her rescue of Pinkie and Babe. Pinkie, a young girl taken from her loving family and tossed into a world of trauma. Babe, a daughter separated from her parents who finds herself in danger during a takeover. These two come from different traumatic backgrounds that lead them both to Charlotte. Two separate stories both intertwined by one person and agency. What lengths has Charlotte gone to in an attempt to rescue these two? Why does their stories standout from all the other moments?

The Gold Rose is a historical fiction novel written in a multi viewpoint style with the year ranging from 1937 to 1959. The author Jodi Lea Stewart does a wonderful job with the development of each character and the unraveling of the eventful history of Charlotte, Babe, and Pinkie. The author has a unique skill with writing such an engaging, enthralling, and captivating novel. I have degree in history and it is such a treat to come across a well written historical fiction novel. When people think history, they often think of the boring and not so exciting parts. However, the author brings in some of the most exciting parts by highlighting the thrilling danger lurking around the corner moments in history that often get lost in historical fiction. My attention was captured from the beginning as I got a chance to get to know each character by getting to dig deeper into their lives and the dire circumstances they overcame. You can tell the author did extensive research when trying to provide readers with a glimpse of what life would have been like during the communist takeover in China. She uses such thoughtful language when describing brutal moments and when highlighting the strength of the female characters. Lastly, I enjoyed how the author took me on an action packed rescue adventure around the globe.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in historical fiction novels.                                                                                                                                


Here is an update of what I’ve been up to since the start of this year and the last time I posted.

Where Am I Now?

Let me answer some questions about what I’ve been up to:

  1. Did you meet your goal weight?
    • Yes. My goal weight milestone 1 was 135. I hit that last year. My goal weight milestone 2 was 145. I hit that at the beginning of this year. My current weight is 155. I’ve gained a total of 40 pounds since I started a few years ago.
  2. How is your diet?
    • No, I no longer diet and have spent the past year eating more intentional. I eat out a few times a week and will stick to meals with rice or pasta. I am still eating quite a bit of carbs and protein.
  3. Do you still go to the gym?
    • No. I actually stopped working out all together and have been walking more. I’ve been trying other methods of staying active such as walking or playing with my cat.
  4. How’s work?
    • I got a promotion! YAY! I am a branch manager now. I think this shift will cause a shift in how I active I am. I completed my first week in my new role and I felt like I was at my computer so much. I am hoping once I get more comfortable in my new role that I will walk more.
  5. Anything you’ve learned along the way so far?
    • I like to eat. I’ve learned to eat in moderation and learned to accept my new body. It was hard at first because my clothes stopped fitting and I had to donate a lot of clothes.
    • Don’t waist money buying a bunch of new clothes unless you are sure you are done bulking. I bought pants six months ago that no longer fit me.
    • Be sure to understand your genetics. Genetics play a huge role in where your weight goes and understanding your body type.
    • Get a physical and blood panel at your doctor. I am anemic and it caused me to be sleepy and have extreme fatigue. After getting an infusion it helped a lot.
    • Aim to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep plays a huge role in overall mood and muscle recovery.
    • Get your stress under control. Stress levels play a huge role in overall health. You can be the healthiest person but if you don’t manage your stress you are still at risk.

Take your time and set attainable goals. Listen to your body and don’t forget to give yourself a break! You’ve got this!

Current weight 155

Blog Tour: Sweet Comfort by Kimberly Fish

Comfort and Joy Trilogy, #1
Women’s Fiction / Later-In-Life Romance
Second-Chance Romance / Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Fish Tales
Page Count: 359 pages
Publication Date: January 21, 2023
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Welcome to the hometown everyone wants to call their own.
Gloria Bachman, a retired bank executive, has eight weeks to flip a location on Comfort’s High Street into a boutique chocolate shop. Defying expectations for “women of a certain age,” Gloria rediscovers talents and a sharpening of skills. If only she could read people as well as she does a spreadsheet. Even with the renovation in good hands, the subsequent struggle to name the shop brings Gloria and her business partner into conflict with a shady citizen. While Gloria is capable of remaining in her retirement rut while opening a business, two competing social groups try to lure her into their networks, causing Gloria to wonder if she ever knew Comfort at all. A murder rocks the community and revives investigative instincts honed by years in the banking industry.
Mason Lassiter, a disgraced CEO, has his own dramas to escape and the offbeat town seems the perfect place to recover his self-esteem. What was to be a quick reversal of fortunes becomes a quest to right a deeply felt injustice. Fascinated by the women driving the energy of Comfort, he extends his stay to find out why the small town is the backdrop to their best tales. Tangling with his neighbor Gloria becomes his favorite pastime and the key to unlocking the mystery of his past—if he can convince her to trust him.
Chocolate and joy become the glue bringing an unlikely cast together, which just might change Gloria’s and Mason’s course for the better. With characters familiar from previous Comfort novels and introducing fresh names, Sweet Comfort will entertain those who like their stories seasoned with coziness and sweet, second chances.

Kimberly Fish has been a professional writer in marketing and media for over thirty years, with regular contributions to area newspapers and magazines. As an accidental historian, she wrote two novels, The Big Inch and Harmon General, both based on factual events in Longview, Texas that changed world history. Kimberly also offers a set of contemporary women’s fiction novels and novellas, based in the Texas Hill Country, that reveal her fascination with characters discovering their grit and sweet, second chances; all four of the novels have won distinguished awards. Sweet Comfort is her latest novel, the first book in the Comfort and Joy Trilogy.


In this video, author Kimberly Fish describes a bit of herself

that she likes to write into her characters.

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Blog Tour: Marva Cope

Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series #4
Rural Fiction / Small Town Texas / Literary Fiction
Publisher: MidTown Publishing
Date of Publication: February 5, 2023
Number of Pages: 281 pages
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A stranger comes to Jackson’s Pond and everything changes.

Marva Cope, the fourth novel in the Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series, brings new elements to the story of the small town in the Texas Panhandle. Marva arrives as the new postmaster in 2017. She brings with her a lifetime of hesitancy to open herself to others. It is here, while living with her elder Aunt Violet, that she comes to appreciate the value of true friendships. With new relationships, long walks, and conversations with herself, she comes to terms with her difficult past…the loss of a beloved teenaged brother in a tragic farm accident, her father’s death from a broken heart, and a distant mother who had no love for the young teenager. Troubled teenage years followed as a flawed young man lures her to New Mexico, then left her alone with their newborn daughter. With her newfound courage of trusting others as friends, she reconnects with her daughter and a college dorm-mate she had deserted in years past. In Jackson’s Pond, she finds the ability to consider what to do with the rest of her life.

There is so much to admire in this wise and luminous novel. Marva Cope is written with abiding tenderness and compassion. — John Dufresne, author of Storyville
The novel Marva Cope is a rarity— an artfully told “coming of age” story that morphs into a “getting on with life” saga that, in the end, celebrates the simple joys of human connection. — Martha Burns, author of Blind Eye
Teddy Jones is the author of five published novels, as well as a collection of short stories. Her short fiction received the Gold Medal First Prize in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2015. Jackson’s Pond, Texas was a finalist for the 2014 Willa Award in contemporary fiction from Women Writing the West. Her novel, Making It Home, was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2017 and A Good Family (not yet unpublished) was named finalist in that contest in 2018. Although her fiction tends to be set in West Texas, her characters’ lives embody issues not bounded by geography of any particular region. Families and loners; communities in flux; people struggling, others successful; some folks satisfied in solitude and others yearning for connection populate her work. And they all have in common that they are more human than otherwise. Jones grew up in a small Texas town, Iowa Park. Earlier she worked as a nurse, a nurse educator, a nursing college administrator, and as a nurse practitioner in Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. For the past twenty years, she and her husband have lived in the rural West Texas Panhandle where he farms and she writes.




Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from Lone Star Literary.

Marva Cope is the fourth novel in the Jackson’s Pond, Texas series. This book follows the remarkable life of Marva Cope, a newly employed Postmaster. Marva just moved in with her Aunt Violet after taking on her new role. Her Aunt Violet is an excellent SCRABBLE player and a breath of fresh air. During her time with her aunt, Marva truly learns the meaning of friendship and building lasting connections. She can recall the memories of her past and share a piece of herself with her aunt. Her aunt acts as a place of comfort and solace during a time in her life when she is finally able to give herself the space to heal. In this compelling novel, we get a chance to get to know the important people in Marva’s life. However, will she finally be able to cope with the secrets of her past?

What an amazing book to read. The author did a wonderful job with the storyline and the character development. I loved the caring, yet witty, no-nonsense Aunt Violet. I think she was an important part of the story and made the story feel warmer and more welcoming to read. I enjoyed the thoughtfulness put into Marva’s story and the mention of her friends. Marva had such a challenging past and it reminded me of my younger self when I chased after a boy and his dreams. I loved the relatability of the book and how there were many moments I could connect with the characters, especially Marva’s healing journey. The author provides many life lessons that are both relatable and practical. In the end, we learn that friendship has no timeline and that healing isn’t linear. Marva must learn to forgive herself for the choices she’s made in her past and learn to build trust with new friends.

This is the first book I have read in this series and the author did a great job with the beginning chapters. I felt great starting at book four in the series and was still able to understand the story. Overall, this was a wonderful read. I was a bit confused by the newspaper articles positioned at the end of each chapter, but I thought that may have been a connection I missed. I did enjoy the writing style and diary-style chapters with corresponding dates so I can keep up with the timeline of the story.

I recommend this book to any adult looking for a small-town fiction read.

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Blog Tour: Copper Waters

Annalisse Series, Book 4
Genre: International Mystery / Crime / Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Date of Publication: October 7, 2022
Number of Pages: 340
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A rural New Zealand vacation turns poisonous.

Antiquities expert Annalisse Drury and tycoon Alec Zavos are at an impasse in their relationship when Alec refuses to clear up a paternity issue with an ex-lover.

Frustrated with his avoidance when their future is at stake, Annalisse accepts an invitation from an acquaintance to fly to New Zealand—hoping to escape the recent turbulence in her life.

But even Annalisse’s cottage idyll on thefamily sheep farm isn’t immune to intrigue.

Alec sends a mutual friend and detective, Bill Drake, to follow her, and a local resident who accompanies them from the Christchurch airport dies mysteriously soon after. A second violent death finds Annalisse and Bill at odds with the official investigations.

The local police want to close both cases as quickly as possible—without unearthing the town’s dirty secrets.

As she and Bill pursue their own leads at serious cost, the dual mysteries force Annalisse to question everything she thought she knew about family ties, politics, and the art of small-town betrayal.




Marlene M. Bell is an eclectic mystery writer, artist, photographer, and she raises sheep in beautiful East Texas with her husband, Gregg, three cats and a flock of horned Dorset sheep.
The Annalisse series — mysteries with a touch of romance — has received numerous honors including the Independent Press Award for Best Mystery (Spent Identity) and FAPA (Florida Author’s President’s Gold Award) for two other installments, Stolen Obsession and Scattered Legacy. She also penned the first of her children’s picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! based on true events from the Bell’s ranch. The simple text and illustrations are a touching tribute of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from Lone Star Literary.

Copper Waters is book four in the Annalisse series. Copper Waters continues the story of Annalisse Drury and her whirlwind of a life. Annalisse has had an interesting life so far with the secrets invading her life. She decides to take an invitation from a friend to fly to New Zealand so search for her mother. Alec decides to have her watched by a mutual friend after a murder in the area is reported. Tensions continue to rise as another death surfaces. Bill and Annalisse decide to attempt to solve the murders individually and start digging. Do we know that some secrets want to be kept secrets? What will she find out and will she ever look at the people I’m her life the same way after?

I have not read any other books in the series. I started with book four and read the synopsis of the other books in the series. I did not feel lost or confused starting with book four. This book takes you on a journey from the start with a first chapter that dives right into the storyline without sugarcoating it. Chapter one dives straight into discussing an interrupted proposal with a curveball that causes challenges in their marriage. That is not the only challenge that she is facing as her life continues to be turned upside down as more secrets get unveiled from her past. Where is her mother? What is true and why are people so keen on sabotaging each other’s lives? Overall the storyline was enthralling with turns and twists that kept me captivated the entire time. The author did such a wonderful job with the story that I can’t wait to see how the story continues and how their lives continue to unfold.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a great series to start a new mystery series with drama.








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Blog Tour: Sands of Times Trilogy

Young Adult / Christian Fiction / Science Fiction
Publisher: Texas Sisters Press

In the game of chess, there are moves and countermoves. This sci-fi series follows a group of teens with abilities as they go through the U.S. to rescue their siblings. The challenger in this is their sadistic creator, Professor Noah Roth, who has the money and power to win at any cost. This series has been described as “Stranger Things (minus the Mind Flayer portion) meets X-Men.” Don’t miss a single installment of this explosive, action-packed series!
Appointed Time (Sands of Time Trilogy, Book 1), 8/20/21, 268 pages.
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Race Against Time (Sands of Time Trilogy, Book 2), 10/1/21, 248 pages.
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Out of Time (Sands of Time Trilogy, Book 3), 1/25/22, 248 pages.
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C.J. Peterson is a ten-time award-winning, multi-genre published author since 2012. She is also a podcaster, blogger, and publisher who knows how to relate well to folks of all ages. C.J. and her husband currently run a hybrid publishing company, Texas Sisters Press, LLC, which CJ and her sisters founded in 2019.

She has authored multiple series including the Grace Restored Series, the Holy Flame Trilogy, the Divine Legacy Series, the Sands of Time Trilogy, the Adventures of Chief and Sarge, plus her recently released time travel book with a twist, Chain Reaction!

“While the stories are fiction, the journey is real.”

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Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars *****

*Disclaimer: A digital copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed book three of this series. Please note the opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of others.*

Book 1 – Summary 

The series starts of strong with the introduction of Professor Noah Roth. A professor whose search for a specific gene leads to the mysterious death of mothers. He is on the search for a gene that triggers supernatural gifts in babies. Two nurses’ step in to save two of the four babies with this specific gene from further exploitation. Hope and Ben Hunt, the two nurses, escaped to a small town in Texas. The two strikes a deal with the local Sheriff to ensure the secrecy and safety of the two children. This was until the professor sends two other youth with gifts to find them. A battle for survival leads to some sleep, one searching through the mind of the others, and a group of teens trying to save each other.  

Book 2 – Summary 

The trilogy continues in book two with Professor Noah’s possessive desire to find his “children.” The specific set of kids he created with the use of genetic modification. The Sheriff of Willow Bend, the small town in Texas Hope and Ben escaped to with Holly and Black, helps the youth group kids find Ben and Hope. Professor Noah took Ben and Hope with him during the first havoc that occurred in Willow Bend. The youth kids continue to do more digging into the professor to learn more about themselves but uncover shocking secrets. Professor Noah is still upset with Ben and Hope and seeks vengeance for stealing his “children.” The kids are in a race against time to make it Ben and Hope before the professor does something unimaginable to the two as an attempt for revenge.  

Book 3 – Full Review 

The trilogy continues with the youth group on the run from the professor, recovering from the events that occurred with Hope and Ben, and trying to rescue the remaining kids from the Wyoming and Oregon facilities. Everyone is trying to work together taking it one day and one moment at a time. Each child has their own specific gifts that help the group while some gifts allow for a tethered connect between the child and the professor. Any small slip up will cause the professor to figure out their state location and track them down to bring them back with him. The teens split up and headed in different directions to try to rescue their remaining siblings. Does the professor already know where they are?  

Each character was developed in a way that helped the other characters without taking too much from the storyline. You get to get to know the supporting characters and see relationships develop and flourish. This youth group has been through tough times and yet they try to work together supporting each other to achieve the goal, rescue their siblings without the professor getting alerted. These attempts do not come easy as tensions flare as people grow and change under the new experiences. Imagine being genetically manipulated and living under the guise your entire life to realize the person you have seen as father is not on your side. The characters go through a lot of changes, but the author does an excellent job of taking you on the journey with them.  

I started this series with book three and read summaries of book one and two. This book was captivating and caught my attention right from the start. I enjoyed the photographs of the characters in the beginning of the book and the dedication. I also liked that the book has a Christian influence where the youth pray for each other and the bible verses in the beginning of the text. I enjoyed the interaction between characters as they seek the best interest of each other. Throughout the text you will find scriptures, quotes, and moments of prayer between the youth group. This was my first time reading this type of Christian text and I enjoyed it. I loved the way the author intertwined faith, suspense, relationships, and coming of age moments throughout the text. The story was developed in a way that caught and kept my attention throughout. I commend the author for producing such a beautifully written text.  

 I highly recommend this book for teens interested in a Christian science fiction read. This is the first of this kind that I have read, and I enjoyed it. 

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Blog Tour: Finding My Destynee

Rafter O Ranch, Book 3
Holiday Romance / Country Music Romance / Clean & Wholesome
Publisher: CKN Christian Publishing
Publication Date: October 18, 2022
Page Count: 245 pages


True heart’s desire cannot be ignored.
Destynee Olsen has always done what her mother asked, but the road to stardom could mean leaving behind a piece of her heart.
Travis Olsen tries desperately to honor his vow to support his wife. Watching their son grow up without a mother is asking too much and his resentment builds. A marriage alone and single parenting is not what he signed up for.
The line has been drawn between a woman who has been told that her destiny to be a star is more important than she is and a cowboy who refuses to destroy his wife’s dream. Destynee and Travis have to decide what’s important. Can they discover the life they were meant to have at the risk of denying their own hearts?

“The dialog brings the story to life, and the stage scenes are intriguing and vivid as Destynee decides just how much fame is worth, and the cost to her heart and family.”

“…an emotional read about a young couple, each trying to survive their marriage. The storyline brings heartache, forgiveness, and reconciliation as God works to bring peace and contentment back to their marriage.”

“Another great read with excellent characters.”

Texas author Natalie Bright writes novels for kids and adults that combine her passion of the American West with a small-town vibe. She calls the wide-open land and endless sky of the Texas Panhandle home, which inspires her work. Her co-author is a Georgia writer and editor. Denise F. McAllister credits a love of horseback riding and 15 years in equestrian showmanship for her heartfelt connection to all things western.
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Rating 4 out of 5 Stars

*Disclaimer: A digital copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review. Please note the opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of others.*

Finding My Destynee is book three in the Rafter O Ranch series. This romance novel continues the story of Destynee and Travis. The story begins with Travis divulging his current relationship with his wife Destynee. Travis, a loving and supportive husband, wants nothing more than stand by his wife’s decisions. However, with a small child involved things can get messy. Destynee, a young female singer, was allowed to chase her dreams, and with the support of her husband she left. Both are struggling with their decisions, contemplating if they made the right choice. Will Travis chase after his Destynee or will Destynee chase after her destiny?

This book is a sweet romance novel that takes us through the life of Destynee and Travis. The books is during the Christmas season and each chapter has a countdown to the holiday. Destynee’s mother wants her to continue to sing and chase after her dreams. Her mother doesn’t want her family to hold her daughter back from chasing her dreams. The family dynamic of the storyline continues to unfold as the main characters work through doubts about choices made. Throughout the entire novel, you get to hear from the perspective of Destynee and Travis as the chapters alternate between their points of view.

I have not had the opportunity to read that many books written by two authors. I will say that the author’s writing styles meshed well together. Overall, this book was a fairly easy read. The authors don’t do a lot with the development of the characters, but I assume this is due to this being book three in a series. The book ended smoothly and the storyline was easy to follow. I wish there was a bit more action, more romance, and more twists and turns. However, I did love the Christmas influence and the countdown at the beginning of each chapter.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in a clean Christmas romance novel. This book is geared toward adults but can be read by anyone interested in romance.

Receives the full Rafter
O Ranch eBook Series 
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 12/29/22.)

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Pop-Up: The Covey Jencks Audiobook

Shelton L. Williams
Narrated by: Stephen E. Lookadoo Jr.


Mystery / Amateur Sleuths / West Texas

Listening Length: 17hrs, 44 minutes

Publication Date: July 27, 2022



Shelton Williams’s book The Covey Jencks Mysteries: Love and Murder Deep in the Heart of Texas is more than a collection of mysterious tales of murder and investigation. By bringing to life these characters, the author has highlighted the global issues of racism, drug abuse, political extremism, and women trafficking.
In the midst of it all is our protagonist, hell-bent on finding out what secrets he may find out if he stepped into the dark shadow of Odessa.
This omnibus edition of the Covey Jencks Mysteries includes newly edited versions of Covey Jencks, Covey and JayJay Get Educated, and The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts. It also includes a new preface from the author and foreword by Charles E. Morrison.
| Kindle |
Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions, and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now the three books in the Covey Jencks series. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.


Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This audiobook review is solely my opinion. I partnered with Lone Star Literary Life for this review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in those are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

This collection of the Covey Jencks series is memorable. The author does a fantastic job with the selection of the audiobook for this collection of titles. Narrator Stephen Lookadoo has a voice that fits perfectly for the audio versions of these three titles. I can’t imagine how hard it is for an author to search for a narrator that has the ability to due the story justice and capture the attention of the reader the entire time. I am a huge fan of audiobooks. I also tend to transfer between reading the book and listening to it simultaneously.
The three books in this audiobook collection were Covey Jencks (book 1), Covey and JayJay Get Educated (book 2), and The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts (book 3).
Covey Jencks :This story is set the stage and the development of the beloved main character Covey. We get to see the full back story and development of Covey and his relationship with JayJay. Something from his past drew him back to his hometown and he intends to see it to the end. This book is a well-developed, fast paced, engaging novel with many twists and turns. This is definitely a page turner and one you would not want to put down.
Covey and JayJay Get Educated : This book is filled with twists, turns , and interrogations. There were numerous occasions where I gasped out loud while reading and laughed at the interactions between the main characters and supporting characters. Throughout the whole novel I thought I had a pretty good idea of why the murders occurred until closer towards the end and I noticed there was a bigger issue at hand than the murders.
The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts : The story is filled with “ghosts” from the past coming back to “haunt” Covey and JayJay. This comical pair are a match made in partner heaven as they navigate an investigation with multiple loopholes. I did not expect this many twists and turns when I began diving into this novel and I was thoroughly surprised as the story continued to develop.
I highly recommend you check out this audiobook collection as you won’t be disappointed. You will enjoy this novel if you are looking for a thought-provoking adult mystery novel that focuses on social issues deep in the heart of Texas. This Texas-sized series will leaving wanting more from the author and wanting to finish the entire collection in one sitting.
Be sure to enter into the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of this title.

Each receives an audiobook edition of THE COVEY JENCKS MYSTERIES:
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 10/31/22.)

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Meet the Moon by Kerry L. Malawista

Genre: Fiction

Shelf Location: Young Adult

Rating: ★★★★★

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The copy used in this review was a final copy and not an advanced reader copy. The opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of the publisher or author.


In 1970, 13-year-old Jody Moran wants pierced ears, a kiss from a boy, and more attention from her mother. It’s not fair. Seems like her mother is more worked up about the Apollo 13 astronauts, who may not make it back to earth safely. As it happens, the astronauts are spared a crash landing, but Jody is not, for three days after splashdown, her mother dies in a car accident. Now, Jody will never know if her mother really loved her. Jody’s father has taught them to believe in the “Power of Intention.” Announce what you want to the world to make it happen. But could the power of Jody’s jealousy and anger have caused Mom’s accident? To relieve her guilt and sadness, she devotes herself to mothering her three younger siblings and helping Dad, which quickly proves too much for her, just as persuading quirky Grandma Cupcakes to live with them proves too much for Grandma. That’s when Jody decides to find someone to marry her father, a new mom who will love her best. Jody reads high and low to learn about love, marriage and death. For her adolescent firsts—kiss, bra, and boyfriend—she has the help of her popular older sister, her supportive father, and comical Grandma. But each first, which makes her miss her mother, teaches her that death doesn’t happen just once.

In her own words, Kerry L. Malawista shares the inspiration for writing her novel. “I lost my mother at the age of nine, and many patients in my psychotherapy practice come to me struggling with loss. I recognized my own experience in a teenage patient who admitted that she was furious at her mother for dying of cancer but also guilty for wishing her dead…. I had to write this book because I was the child left behind, I was the teen wracked with guilt, and I am the adult helping others through it.”

Final Thoughts

This heartfelt book begins with a tragedy. Jody Moran has just turn thirteen and struggles with the changes that are happening around her.  To make matters even worse, she loses her mother in a horrific car accident and her family is thrust into a world of newness. Told from the perspective of Jody, we get to see her life unfold before our eyes as she navigates grief and puberty. Her family now a family of five instead of six, must learn to adjust to their new normal without their mother. The glue that kept the family together. Prior to her mother passing, Jody felt as if her mother was not giving her enough attention. After her mother’s death she must learn to cope with the loss and the guilt she feels. The days and months following her mother’s death lead to numerous changes. Their grandmother attempts to help her father with the kids after a few failed baby sitter attempts and Jody begins to navigate her life as a teen. She makes an unlikely friendship with her neighbor and son and is able to talk through her emotions associated with the loss of her mother and navigating friendships at school. The Moran family bond continues to build as they work together to provide support to each other. Joe Moran attempts to navigate the dating scene while keeping up with is business and parenting. This family goes through a lot together as they attempt to create their own version of a happy ending. 

The author does a wonderful job with this novel. She channels her own grief to develop characters that are both relatable and realistic. The story flows well and kept me captivated the entire time. I loved the development of each character and the descriptive writing style made me feel as if I was transported into the text. I felt the same emotions that Jody felt. One of my favorite quotes from the novel was from an interaction between Jody and her neighbor about loss.

“Yep. I am not sure if it’s worse remembering or forgetting her.”

This reminded me so much of my own experience with loss and grief. I was drawn to novel mostly because of how I knew I would relate to the story. I lost my mom when I was six years old and went through similar changes. I was given a similar book that talked about grief and how to deal with it. Losing a parent is difficult and grief has no time limit. I enjoyed reading about Jody and her woes of puberty. This reminded me of the middle school me getting my first bra and having my first crush. The author does a phenomenal job with this story and topic. She has the ability to bring awareness to grief all while remaining sensitive to the reader. I’ve read other text that would require a trigger warning but this book touches the topic with such tenderness that a warning is not required. 

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely

About the Author

Kerry L. Malawista, PhD is a writer and psychoanalyst in Potomac, MD. She is co-chair of New Directions in Writing and founder of the recent project The Things They Carry – offering virtual writing workshops for healthcare and frontline workers. Her essays have appeared nationally in newspapers, magazines and literary journals including The New York Times, The Washington PostThe Baltimore SunThe Boston GlobeZone 3Washingtonian MagazineThe Huffington PostBethesda MagazineArlington MagazineThe Account Magazine, and Delmarva Review, which nominated her for a Pushcart Prize. She is the co-author of Wearing my Tutu to Analysis and Other Stories (2011), The Therapist in Mourning: From the Faraway Nearby (2013), both published by Columbia University Press, and Who’s Behind the Couch (2017) published by Routledge Press. When the Garden Isn’t Eden: More Psychoanalytic Concepts from Life will be published by Columbia University Press spring 2022 and her novel, Meet the Moon will be released September 2022 by Regal House Publishing. Her website is

You can purchase copies of this book from: Amazon  | MacMillan | Regal House Publishing

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