BLOG TOUR: The Yes Dare

THE YES DARE

A Pies, Books
& Jesus Club Novel
by
KATHLEEN Y’BARBO
Genre: Clean Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: July 15, 2021
Number of Pages: 246 pages 
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Have you ever wished for a second chance to fix something you’ve messed up or for the courage to say yes to something that just may change your life? Sometimes saying yes to the last thing you want can mean saying yes to exactly what you need.
Ryan “The Rocket” Sutton’s winning streak is legendary makes him the undisputed best quarterback in the NFL. However, thanks to one dumb mistake, he’s a failure as a husband to Coco, the only woman he’s ever loved. When a judge’s mistake in divorce paperwork means Coco is still his wife, Ryan makes up his mind to fix what he ruined. Ryan’s game plan doesn’t count on an internationally famous movie director’s camera crew following him as he competes for Coco’s love.
After spending most of her adult life as a football wife and mother to twin sons, fashionista Coco Sutton is learning how to be single and fabulous. Emphasis on Fabulous. The sports trophies, memorabilia, and heavy masculine wood furniture in the home she used to share with Ryan have been banished to the attic, and her home is now a cozy haven of plush candle-scented comfort. She’s got big plans that include owning a boutique or maybe an art gallery, but she never planned to take on the biggest challenge of her life: staying single. Then her best friend gives her a copy of a book called The Yes Dare, and all her plans are turned upside down.
From a Hollywood movie to the local spring event formerly known as the Cow Chip Toss Festival and a country crooner with a crush on Coco, will Ryan dodge the obstacles to win back the only woman he ever loved?
Publishers Weekly bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than one hundred books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Students, Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Sisters in Crime, Faith Hope and Love Christian Writers, and American Christian Fiction Writers. She would also be a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a few others if she would just remember to fill out the paperwork that Great Aunt Mary Beth has sent her more than once.
Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. They make their home just north of Houston, Texas, and are the parents, grandparents, and in-laws of a blended family of Texans, Okies, and a trio of adorable Londoners.

Review
Rating: 5 out of 5 STARS
*Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion and does not reflect the viewpoints of the author or publisher. A finished e-book copy of this book was provided for review.*

Some say that money can’t buy you love and it can’t keep the one you love in your life. Ryan and Coco have a very unique union. I should say, they had a very unique union at one point before fame and the effects of fame caused the marriage to end. Ryan, a rising star, will stop at nothing to win the woman of his dreams back. A year after their marriage ended he is still pining over his loss as the two continue to co-parent their twin boys. Of course, Chase and Cody want their parents to get back together. After some news from Ryan’s attorney resurfaces after a few i’s weren’t dotted and t’s weren’t crossed, Ryan finally has a chance to potentially win his wife back. Can Coco forgive Ryan for the mistakes from his past or will she decide to walk away for good?

Of course, anyone loves a good book where the main character has a well-developed storyline. Well-rounded football star Ryan Sutton, deemed with the nickname Mr. Rocket, has the world wrapped around his finger except for the love of his life. Coco can’t seem to forgive the man she gave up everything for. A mom at home raising twin boys while her superstar husband is outliving his dream. Coco resents him for the choices he made and for the ones she had to make so that he could live his dream. A year after her divorce, armed with the advice from her best friend Sasa and words from a book encouraging her to say “yes” more, Coco goes for her dreams of opening a boutique. The only problem with her life is the fact that everywhere she turns Ryan is surprisingly there. The author does such a wonderful job making each character realistic by explaining the challenges of divorce and infertility. As a divorcee myself, I enjoyed a different perspective and I enjoyed the drive of Ryan attempting to win his wife back. The author provides a glimpse into some obstacles that can arise and some of the insecurities that women face in marriages. I can relate to some extent to Coco and her reluctance to take Ryan back and see the good in him after years of heartache. Forgiveness goes a long way to healing from past pain from a relationship. I love the support Coco receives from her friends and family. This makes the novel more wholesome.

This book is a quick romantic read that makes for a great Saturday night book. If you’re looking to run yourself a bath and snuggle up with a good book, then this should be your book of choice. The author does a great job telling the story. The author tells the story in a way that allows the reader to feel they are watching the story unfold in front of them. Each character is thoughtfully developed, both the main and supporting characters play a huge role in the overall theme of the story.

This book is recommended for adults and I highly recommend this cozy read to anyone looking for a romantic tale.

Blog Tour: Inclined Elders

INCLINED ELDERS

BY RAMONA OLIVER

Publisher: BookBaby Publication Date: July 24, 2020 Pages: 246 Pages Categories: Nonfiction / Positive Aging

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THIS BOOK WILL BE INVALUABLE IF YOU:

· Have a desire to continue living a purposeful life, no matter what your age.

· Are interested in learning how to maintain a positive attitude from adulthood to elderhood.

· Want to learn how to create a living legacy and serve as a role model for future generations.

WHY EMBRACE AN ATTITUDE OF INCLINE?

For the first time in history we are not only living longer, everyone has an important choice to make: commit to a meaningful, purposeful life of “Incline” as we get older or believe that a new stage – one of steady “decline” – is inevitable. What is not helping is that in the media and society in general there continues the somewhat negative connotation surrounding the concept of aging. And while, at least not now, we cannot do anything about the chronological process of becoming 60, 70, 80 years and beyond, we can change the mindset for it. Embracing change and looking at life with a keener sense of curiosity will lead to living with increased courage to live life to its fullest.

Inclined Elders is a call to action for you to opt for Incline. Not only for your personal fulfillment, but also to help fuel a social “legacy” that increases the number of positive older role models in everyday life. I have written this book to inspire, inform, and challenge you. By the time you reach the last page, I hope you will have made a new choice: to become an inspiring example of a life of Incline so our society relinquishes – once and for all – the notion that aging is synonymous with “decline,” “decrepit,” “senile,” and “over-the-hill.”

In this book over 50 men and women ranging in age from 40 to 100 share their tips and techniques on how to live a life of Incline. Their strategies are supported by scientific evidence from the fields of Positive Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology.

WHO ARE INCLINED ELDERS?

We are the women and men who have made a conscious choice to ignore society’s negative mindset of “decline” and “over-the-hill” as we age. Instead we embrace a positive mindset of continuing to Incline and climb ever upwards.

Serving as vibrant role models, the Inclined Elders I spoke to for this book are leaving their own unique legacies of wisdom and inspiration for future generations. There needs to be more of us like them to effect real social change. So why not Incline too? There’s an amazing view from up here. Come with us and see for yourself.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Apple Books

*Paperback Use Coupon: AUG31PB
*eBook Use Coupon: AUG31EB

Ramona Oliver has long been a passionate educator with former roles as a human resource manager/director, career coach, and director of outreach for St. Edward’s University. As a human resource director for many years, she championed the professional development of employees. While serving as president of the Austin Human Resource Management Association, she led a team that designed, developed, and implemented an award-wining leadership program. In addition, she launched a workforce readiness committee that partnered with community organizations to implement workforce readiness initiatives. At St. Edward’s University, she promoted lifelong learning and the adult undergraduate and graduate programs to older adults in the Austin community. Ramona currently serves as an advocate of positive aging. Rather than accepting a mindset of decline, she is passionate about living life with an attitude of Incline. Ramona has been published on the Changing Aging website, offering posts with titles such as “Can We Please Stop Calling It Aging,” “What Are We Missing When We Settle for Life Stages?” and “Leave a Legacy and Live It Now!” Ramona is a recipient of a Book Excellence Award for her current book, INCLINED ELDERS: How to rebrand aging for self and society. It has been recognized for high-quality writing style, book design, and overall marketing appeal. She earned her Master of Business Administration from St. Edward’s University. Ramona lives in Austin, Texas where she enjoys practicing yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and Nia and participating in various community groups.

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Twitter | Amazon Author | Goodreads Author


author interview

CHARACTER INTERVIEW

THE AMAZING MISS LEE

Several years ago, I had the good fortune of being introduced to, whom I call, The Amazing Miss Lee. She agreed to be interviewed for my upcoming book, Inclined Elders, as a featured “elder.” Following are some of the pearls of wisdom she shared with me. They and more are included in Inclined Elders.

 

As a young girl growing up in Palestine, Texas, what was your greatest aspiration?

I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer and entered college with high hopes of accomplishing that goal. While the other students completed assigned art projects quickly, I toiled for hours, sometimes days, to finish my work. I began to think that, because it took me so much longer, I didn’t have the talent. After graduation, I sadly decided I would never be a designer. I gave up on my dream and instead settled for a job as a secretary for a large oil company where I worked for many years.

When did this all change and how?

At the age of fifty, I overheard someone make a comment that turned my thinking upside down. The individual mentioned that Beethoven rewrote his Fifth Symphony thirty-one times before it was completed. In fact, he rewrote all his symphonies many times over. Could that be true? Beethoven! Presumably a genius?

I had an awakening in my soul. If it took someone like Beethoven thirty-one rewrites to complete a masterpiece, perhaps talent was more than just a God-given gift. I realized that while talent may come easily to some, perhaps genius level, for others fulfilling a goal may require more work. I had incorrectly assumed that if I had talent, I wouldn’t have to work so hard. I realized that talent plus hard work equals success. I had turned my thinking upside down.

I went on to fulfill a dream. In my sixties, I began a successful career as an inspiring motivational speaker and I’m now the oldest living member of the National Speakers Association. In 2013 I was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Speakers Association Austin Chapter.

You are now 95. What is your “Recipe for Living to 95 and Beyond”?

Like all great recipes, mine includes several ingredients:

Genes: they are important, but they can only carry you so far.

Positive Attitude: this is the key to the kingdom. It’s not genes, it’s positive attitude.

Love: this is the most powerful – it is in every recipe of how to make it into the later ages of life. Love people and be with people. Have a circle of friends and keep in touch often.

Lifelong Learning: I just love learning. That’s key. It’s a big one.

Sense of Community/Socializing with People: being with people of all ages is also key – both young and old.

Spirit: have an anchor in God, but for people who don’t believe in a superior being, I recommend calling it hope.

How do You Keep Your Inner Child Alive?

When people ask me why I seem so happy and find it so easy to laugh, I tells them, “My inner child is working overtime!” That belief has been with me for my entire adult life. Many times throughout the years, friends and relatives have remarked to me, in a not-so-kindly manner: “Lee, you’re the biggest kid I know! Aren’t you ever going to grow up?” But they’re all dead now and I’m still here.

My mantra is: “Keep your mind on what you want and off what you don’t want. It works.” Keep your inner child alive always – with curiosity, inspiration, laughter, and learning. While we have only limited control over what happens to us in life, we have 100% control over how we react. Therefore, older people who have learned to keep their sense of humor, think positively, and remain active, and who genuinely care about other people, continue to learn, and are interested in life in general truly are “young at heart” forever and die young even at 110.

The 18th Century poet, William Wordsworth, once wrote: “The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” What would you most like to jettison, in order to feel lighter and free, as you learn how best to live YOUR life of Incline?

What I think about Wordsworth’s statement is: I partially agree with him. I have come to realize that old age can be a series of losing people and things most dear to us. It can be a horrible trap for those who suffer from physical or mental ailments that cannot be healed, leaving a huge, empty hole. And a multitude of negative things can happen to us about which we have no control. Losing a loved one can be devastating! It is true: “Old age is not for sissies!” I have come to realize that the only thing we do have control over is how we think! Therefore, older people who have learned to keep their sense of humor, to think positively, who genuinely care for other people and REMAIN ACTIVE, who continue to learn and are still interested in life in general, who do not let their INNER CHILD fade away, definitely can “mourn less for what age takes away then what it leaves behind”!

___________________________________________________

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

FOUR WINNERS: 2 winners: autographed copies of Inclined Elders. 2 winners: Kindle copies of Inclined Elders. Giveaway ends midnight, CDT, 7/17/21; US only.

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Click here to visit the LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE
for direct links to each stop on the tour, updated daily. Or, visit the blogs directly:

7/7/21

Notable Quotable

It’s Not All Gravy

7/7/21

Sneak Peek

The Page Unbound

7/8/21

Review

The Plain-Spoken Pen

7/8/21

BONUS Promo

LSBBT Blog

7/9/21

Author Interview

Chapter Break Book Blog

7/9/21

Review

Book Fidelity

7/10/21

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

7/11/21

Excerpt

All the Ups and Downs

7/12/21

Review

Jennie Reads

7/12/21

Character Interview

Librariel Book Adventures

7/13/21

Guest Post

Book Bustle

7/14/21

Review

Hall Ways Blog

7/14/21

Excerpt

That’s What She’s Reading

7/15/21

Scrapbook Page

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

7/16/21

Review

Reading by Moonlight

7/16/21

Review

Forgotten Winds

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Blog Tour: The Uvalde Raider

 

THE UVALDE RAIDER 

A Templar Family Novel

BY BEN H. ENGLISH

Publisher: Creative Texts Publishers
Publication Date: April 17, 2021
Pages: 229 Pages
Categories: Historical Fiction / Military / Texas
The time is the eve of the First Gulf War. The place an abandoned World War II emergency landing strip for heavy bombers, nestled amid the near countless miles upon miles of wide openness in West Texas. Here a climactic battle will be fought, while the rest of the world focuses on what would become known as Operation Desert Storm. But in some ways, the stakes here are even higher as men from other places and past conflicts gamble all that they are, and all they ever were, to prevent a catastrophic terrorist attack unthinkable before on an American city. One group seeks wholesale slaughter, the murder of helpless civilians on a massive scale. The other strives to stop this evil in any way possible, and by whatever means necessary. The key to either side’s success or failure? One old Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, an enduring symbol from another war and ensuing catastrophe of a different era. This relic of a not so distant past is named ‘The Uvalde Raider,’ and this is its story…

Purchase: Amazon | Front Street Books

Personalized Copies: http://thestablealpine.com

Ben H. English is an eighth-generation Texan who grew up in the Big Bend. At seventeen he joined the Marines, ultimately becoming a chief scout-sniper as well as an infantry platoon sergeant. Later he worked counterintelligence and traveled to over thirty countries on four continents.
At Angelo State University he graduated Magna Cum Laude along with other honors. Afterwards Ben had a career in the Texas Highway Patrol, holding several instructor billets involving firearms, driving, patrol procedures and defensive tactics.
After retirement he decided to try his hand at writing. His first effort, Yonderings, was accepted by a university press and garnered some awards. His second, Destiny’s Way, led to a long term, multi-book contract.  This was followed by Out There: Essays on the Lower Big Bend and now his second fictional work, The Uvalde Raider.
His intimate knowledge of what he writes about lends credence and authenticity to his work. Ben knows how it feels to get hit and hit back, or being thirsty, cold, wet, hungry, alone or exhausted beyond imagination. Finally, he knows of not only being the hunter, but also the hunted.
Ben and his wife have two sons who both graduated from Annapolis. He still likes nothing better than grabbing a pack and some canteens and heading out to where few others venture.
Just as he has done throughout most of his life…
Find out more about Ben English’s Adventures on Facebook,Amazon Author Page, or visit Ben on his Website


Review

Rating :★★★★★
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished copy of the book. #partner #LSBBT

This action-packed military historical fiction focuses on one moment in history that shaped the overall way the world handled situations that followed. The author uses a narrator-style writing style to allow the reader to be taken on a journey through time and nostalgic moments. The main characters face hard times, challenges, and overcome some of their greatest obstacles all while seeking opportunities to see the truth in every situation. They encounter terrorists, government secrets, and learn to rely on each other in one of the most daring moments in their career. It seems the men have gotten themselves tied up in a sticky situation that they may or may not get out of. You’ll need to read the book to find out.

Overall, the book is filled with twists and turns and will have you sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the next event to occur. The patrotism is evident as you continue to navigate your way through the detailed, engaging explanation of each scene. The author does a wonderful job with character development, terms used, and you can tell he did his research before completing this novel. If you’re a native Texan then this novel will make you proud to be a Texan.

I enjoyed the religious aspect of the novel and the moments of wholesomeness. I also enjoyed the moments of reflection. I love historical fiction novels. I studied history in college and have read quite a few books in this realm and this is one of my favorites. There is a moment after the rise of action moments where the book takes a slow pace, but overall I feel does not take away from the story and provides depth.

The question is, can you handle this type of novel and the surprising plot? I guess you will have to read it and find out. This is book one of this series and I am confident you will want more.

This book is suited for adults but can also be read by older teens interested in historical fiction.


Click to visit the LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE for direct links to each stop on the tour, updated daily, or visit the blogs directly:

6/28/21

Review

6/28/21

Kick-off Promo

6/29/21

BONUS Promo

6/29/21

Author Interview

6/29/21

Excerpt

6/30/21

Review

6/30/21

Character Spotlight

7/1/21

Review

7/1/21

Guest Post

7/2/21

Review

7/2/21

Series Spotlight

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Blog Tour: River, Sing Out

   

RIVER, SING OUT

BY
JAMES WADE
Categories: Contemporary / Literary Fiction
Rural Fiction / Crime Fiction / Coming-of-Age
Blackstone Facebook  Twitter   Instagram
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.

 

 

PRAISE FOR RIVER, SING OUT

”With echoes of Jim Harrison, Cormac McCarthy (and perhaps a smidge of Flannery O’Connor), River, Sing Out is a beautiful, brutal meditation on survival and love in the face of nearly unspeakable violence and depravity in an East Texas community ravaged by the meth trade. Taut, lyrical, and precise, the prose soars in this important new novel by James Wade.” —Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author of Valentine

”If you read one novel this year, make it this one. James Wade’s River, Sing Out, is an instant classic filled with characters that will break your heart, lyrical prose as haunted as the river it evokes, and a Southern Noir undertow that wholly sucks you in and keeps you turning the pages until it’s searing, masterful conclusion.” —May Cobb, author of The Hunting Wives

”Wade, whose striking debut, All Things Left Wild (2020), traveled back a century in Texas history, uses an unlikely friendship to explore an equally wild present-day landscape…A haunting fable of an impossible relationship fueled by elemental need and despair.” —Kirkus Reviews


Review

Rating :★★★★★
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an advanced reader copy sent to me in exchange for my honest review. #partner #LSBBT

River, Sing Out is a recently published novel that takes you on a journey through drugs, poverty, abuse, and relationships. This high-stakes novel is based in East Texas River bottoms. The story begins with a thought-provoking epilogue before diving into the introduction of John Curtis and his act of redemption. We then are introduced to Jonah Hargrove and later Cade and River. We get a chance to get to know each character as their stories are written from their perspective. As the novel progresses, you feel as though you are transported into the mind of each character, noting that the narrators are the characters themselves. The story continues to unfold in a method that has you both feeling sad and sorry for the characters involved. We get to watch as each character’s lives start to entangle and secrets start to be revealed. Who will leave this situation unscathed and will they ever truly escape? You are left with many thoughts after reading this book.

The author’s writing style continuously allowed the reader to be encapsulated by the total storyline and engaged from page to page. The book gives off a gritty, motel 6, a drug deal gone bad vibe that has you hoping it gets adopted as a tv show. The twists and turns have you on the edge of your seat waiting to find out the outcome of the souls who were mixed up with the wrong crowd. Surprisingly, this book reminded me a bit of my childhood and the challenges that can arise when children get mixed up in Adult choices. My father was a drug addict and no one ever depicts the humanistic aspect of the addict itself and focuses on describing their characteristics. For me, this novel brought back a bit of nostalgia. The author does a great job with the descriptive text, writing style, transitional scenes, and character development. I highly encourage everyone to pick up this novel. You won’t regret it. One being, for every action there is a reaction and for every reaction, there is a potential consequence.

I highly encourage this fast-read novel for any adult interested in a gritty, Texas-sized, high-stakes, action-packed novel that will keep you both entertained and on the edge of your seat awaiting the next move. Due to the violent scenes, sexual content, and language, I recommend this book for Young Adults and up. This book may contain content that could potentially be triggering for those who have experienced drug abuse in their past.


   

James Wade lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and daughter. He is the author of All Things Left Wild, which is a winner of the 2016 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest, a winner of the 2021 Spur Award for Best Historical Fiction, and a winner of the 2021 Reading the West Award for Best Debut Novel. His fiction has appeared in various literary journals and magazines.

The Start of My Fitness Journey

2 Corinthians 5: 7 “Walk by Faith and not by sight” CSB

To start with my journey, I must start at the beginning and explain why I chose to change my life. 

I remember randomly picking a week of September 2020. The original plan was to go visit a cousin in New York but with COVID restrictions those plans were nixed. It was about two to three weeks before my scheduled time off that I randomly decided to do a solo road trip. I did not know where I was going to go but I picked three states and looked online for two days until I found a rental car that had four-wheel drive. My first stop would be Bricktown, Oklahoma to stop and see the Riverwalk and the Sonic Headquarters. Then I would drive to Eckhart, Kansas to Visit a Grassland. Then I would drive to Guymon, Oklahoma to stay the night and enjoy some local pizza. I would go to Denver, Colorado for a hike in the Rockies, Ziplining, and to watch a UFC fight at a random bar. My last stop on this week-long journey was Albuquerque, New Mexico for a hike, a visit to Route 66, and a trip to the local Botanical Garden. Did I mention I took this week-long road trip alone? I got to spend a lot of time with my thoughts and reflecting on my life choices. I also learned to love myself and not let fear hold me back.

I returned from my trip, not ready to get back to work or anything but ready to tackle some life changes. I reached out to a local trainer I had been “stalking” on Instagram. It was crazy how I found her. A DJ I follow posted a photo of them in this gym then I went to the gym’s page to look at the trainers and she stood out the most of all of them. So I signed up for her online program, got a gym membership, and within a week from returning from the solo road trip I was training in the gym four days a week and on a new diet.

I strongly believe that God puts people in your life for a season and some for a lifetime. Each person will leave you better than you were before and I am so grateful for the ghosting. Don’t worry, I forgave and moved forward with myself. 

So, to sum up, my fitness journey and answer some potential questions:

  1. What made me decide to start weight training?
    1. Reason one: I was pretty angry after another failed dating-ship and wanted to have force in my punch in case I ever saw the guy in person. Boxing is next on my list.
    2. Reason two: I have a bridesmaid dress that was too big and I wanted to fit into that dress.
    3. Reason three: I was super unhealthy and it was causing some health problems.
    4. My trainer offers an online training program that I have been doing and it is easy to follow and she is available to answer my questions.
  2. What is your goal weight?
    1. First Goal: 135. I am 5’8″ so I’d like to be between 150-155
    2. Hoping to hit my next goal by May 2022
  3. Have you changed your diet?
    1. Yes, I eat 2075 calories a day. This includes 120g of protein, 55g of Fat, 255g of Carbs
    2. My trainer is a trained nutritionist and adjusts my diet based on my monthly gains. It was hard at first and every day is a challenge.
  4. What does a typical workout week look like for you?
    1. Recently I switched from 4days a week to 5 days a week Monday-Friday.
    2. It depends on what my trainer has me doing. I was doing three leg days and two split upper days. Now I am doing 2 leg days and 3 split upper days.
  5. Any advice for someone just starting?
    1. No one knows what they are doing. They may look like they know but they don’t know so get a trainer. Even if it is only for a month or two. Lifestyle changes are an investment that you want to do right. Don’t skimp and try to get a “cheap” trainer. Quality over quantity.
    2. Set clear goals and find your “why.” What is the reason you want to lose weight, tone up, or bulk up. Having a goal helps you have something to reach for and gives you the motivation to keep showing up.
    3. Be consistent. You won’t want to show up every day but still get up and do it anyway. At the end of the day, if you want it bad enough you won’t quit.
    4. This isn’t temporary it is a lifestyle change and you will start seeing results.
    5. Progress takes patience. Change won’t happen overnight, so do not rush it. If you get a trainer, listen to them. You are paying them to train you, if you don’t listen, only you suffer.
    6. It is okay to fail in the gym. Get up, laugh it off, and pretend like no one is watching you. I make so many weird faces in the gym at this point it is just comical.

I pray this post inspires you and encourages you to set clear health goals. The hardest part is starting and showing up daily. But remember you are showing up for yourself. Don’t change yourself for anyone, do it for you. As a believer, I felt that if I want the Holy Spirit to live in me, then I needed to do a better job of taking care of his home. 

God bless and reach out if you have questions. 

Blog Tour: The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts

 

THE CHINESE MURDER
OF EDWARD WATTS
Covey Jencks Mystery, #3
By Shelton L. Williams

Publish Date: December 8th, 2020
Pages: 233 pages
Categories: Mystery / Humor

Scroll for Giveaway!
 

 

Covey and 
 
PURCHASE LINKS:
Amazon | Audible
 

  

  

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 four 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 areWashed 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. 


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Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an advanced reader copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Based in Odessa, TX,  Covey and JayJay are back again for another politically thrilling adventure where the two find themselves in yet another sticky situation. The book begins with Covey explaining a deal he refused then receiving an ominous note taped to his car asking if he was looking for Edward Watts. The book begins to then take you on a twist and turn journey to uncover the real reason behind the death of Edward Watts. The goal was to figure out what involvement did the Chinese visit have in his death and what type of retribution his death paid. As the novel continues to unfold new developments start to arise from the real reason behind the connect between Edward Watts and the Chinese government. Could his death be a bad deal gone wrong or could the Chinese have uncovered his true intentions before having him murdered? Or is this all a cover up for a bigger story?

The author starts the novel by diving right in with Covey as the narrator, the storying being told from his perspective with interjections from JayJay throughout. Covey begins by revealing moments prior to the note he found on his car about Edward Watts. The author uses this style of writing to provide the reader with a more in-depth understanding and full backstory. This allowed me to actually have a base to stand on; when the plot occurred I wasn’t at all confused. Covey’s memory takes him back to a boardroom in China with a woman from his past now under a new identity. 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. The author does a great job keeping the reader both laughing and on the edge of their seat. I enjoyed the development of the main characters and the overall storyline. 

I highly encourage this fast read novel for any adult interested in a cross country, Texas-sized, comical mystery that will keep you both entertained and on the edge of your seat awaiting the next move. You do not need to read book one and two of this series prior to reading book three. You can dive right into this book and feel connected to the author and the storyline. However, after reading this book, I am sure you will want to rush to buy books one and two of this series.


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THREE WINNERS
First, signed copies of all three Covey books. 
Second, audio books of books 2 & 3. 
Third, Kindle copies of all three books.
(US Only. Ends midnight, CDT, May 21, 2021.) 
 
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5/11/21

Audio Review

That’s What She’s Reading

5/11/21

BONUS Promo

LSBBT Blog

5/12/21

Review

Julia Picks 1

5/12/21

BONUS Promo

Hall Ways Blog

5/13/21

Excerpt

It’s Not All Gravy

5/14/21

Audio Review

Forgotten Winds

5/15/21

Audio Clip

StoreyBook Reviews

5/16/21

Scrapbook Page

All the Ups and Downs

5/17/21

Review

Librariel Book Adventures

5/18/21

Character Interview

Missus Gonzo

5/19/21

Audio Review

Chapter Break Book Blog

5/20/21

Review

The Clueless Gent


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Blog Tour: TO THE REPUBLIC

TO THE REPUBLIC
The Republic Series, Book One
BY BRUCE CLAVEY
Publication Date: October 26th, 2020
Pages: 394 pages
Categories: Hispanic American Fiction / Political Fiction

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A novel for our times. A saga for the ages.

On the eve of passing landmark immigration legislation, the entire Texas Senate and its native Tejano leader, Diego Reyes, vanish suddenly from Austin. When news of the disappearance hits West Texas, cowboy Del Woodward isn’t shocked. He knows exactly where the lawmakers are, but he’s not telling. Woody’s been down on his luck, and a shady bargain he’s made puts him tight in the squeeze of Marcos Cepeda, north Mexico’s ruthless drug lord. And Cepeda’s furious with this new stall in the bill. It’s got a loophole he can exploit to add another quarter million square miles of exclusive turf to his cartel—but that territory goes back up for grabs if leader Reyes can’t pass the bill before the Senate session expires in mere days. The brutal kingpin wants what he’s bought and compels Woody to step up. How the cowboy swings the vote isn’t important to Cepeda, but this sure is: if Woody breathes so much as a word of reluctance, it’ll be his last. The prize is Texas, nothing less. It’s real, and it’s on.
The Republic Series launches from true pages of the Lone Star frontera story into a hauntingly modern arena of trade, trafficking, and tradition on the Rio Grande in To the Republic: BOOK ONE.
An Amazon #1 New Release in History of U.S. Immigration
PURCHASE LINKS:

Bruce Clavey of Round Rock, Texas writes with a passion for exploring the Latin heritage tucked in cultural corners throughout Texas, Mexico, and Central America. In 2017, Clavey’s research into perspectives on state history led to his onsite rediscovery of the Mexico City dungeon where the colonial “Father of Texas” was imprisoned, documented in his book “The Inquisition of Stephen F. Austin.” His interest to illuminate compelling historic junctures brought the creation of several feature dramatizations for state museum in-exhibit performance. Clavey’s release of Book One of The Republic Series in 2020 begins the journey of Texas and Mexican characters who confront the pressure points at today’s vibrant river border, a land that has functioned for centuries as both international gateway and barrier.

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Review

Rating :★★★★★
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an advanced reader copy sent to me in exchange for my honest review. #partner #LSBBT

To the Republic is a thought-provoking, riveting, engaging, and real novel that takes you on a ride from start to finish. The book begins with a conversation between an unidentified subject and a report beginning the novel with you, the reader, already on the edge of your seat. Everything is bigger in Texas, including this informative Texas-sized novel that focuses on corruption, drug cartels, and immigration issues in the Lone Star state. After reading this novel you will be more informed in regards to some of the issues addressed. The author uses a unique but well-written approach to combine three different storylines. He does a wonderful job in this descriptive text allowing the reader to feel the emotional struggles and challenges of each character.

Corruption, lies, drugs, and so much more. This author uses a unique writing style to tell this story and convey the overall message in such a raw, brutally honest way that it forces you to stare each enemy directly in the eyes. I enjoyed the inserted dialogue between the subject and the reporter, as well as the foreshadowing and the narrator’s voice. The dialogue gives a realistic aspect to the novel and provides a bit of humor as the two interact with each other. The subject character is developed as a direct, brutally honest, take no prisoners kind of person and I love it. This type of novel isn’t normally in the realm of books I tend to engage in but I hope to be adding book two to my reading list because “wow” what an unsuspecting read. I found this book to not be a quick read but one that required me to focus on every aspect of the story to fully understand it and each transitional point in the text. I found it helpful to take breaks periodically to give myself a chance to process some of the information just read. Overall, I found this novel to be both well-written and engaging and not at all difficult to dive into. The author does an excellent job merging different storylines and allows for the reader to feel immersed in the text while not feeling intentionally overwhelmed. I am excited for book two and the chance to continue this story.

From the start, this verse captivated me and held my attention as I began the wild ride that was this novel: “What was true for the land was the truth for him. Ghosts didn’t die. And wars never truly ended.”

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in an in-depth look at the politics surrounding immigration issues and a complex story. This book can be viewed as a bit heavy but if you enjoy reading books that focus on informative issues and don’t “sugar coat” specific topics, then this read is for you. I recommend this book to adults.


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THREE WINNERS each receive a prize pack including: Autographed paperback copy of To the Republic; unisex tee with the “Texas Forever” design; baseball cap stitched with the “Texas Forever” design; ceramic lapel pin with the “Mano de Tejas” design; vinyl 5” decal with the “Mano deTejas” design.

US only. Giveaway ends midnight, CDT, May 7, 2021

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CLICK TO VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGEFOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH STOP ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, Or visit the blogs directly:

4/27/21

Promo

It’s Not All Gravy

4/27/21

Character Interview

Forgotten Winds

4/27/21

BONUS Promo

LSBBT Blog

4/28/21

Author Video

Chapter Break Book Blog

4/29/21

Playlist

Hall Ways Blog

4/29/21

Review

The Clueless Gent

4/30/21

Review

Reading by Moonlight

5/1/21

Excerpt, Part 1

All the Ups and Downs

5/2/21

Excerpt, Part 2

StoreyBook Reviews

5/3/21

Review

Jennie Reads

5/3/21

Promo

Missus Gonzo

5/4/21

Series Spotlight

That’s What She’s Reading

5/5/21

Sneak Peek

Texas Book Lover

5/5/21

Review

Book Fidelity

5/6/21

Review

Librariel Book Adventures

5/6/21

Review

Momma on the Rocks

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Blog Tour : A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers

A WALL OF BRIGHT DEAD FEATHERS
By Babette Fraser Hale
 
 
Pages: 216
Pub Date: March 1st, 2021
Categories: Short Stories / Literary Fiction
 

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Most are newcomers to the scenic, rolling countryside of central Texas whose charms they romanticize, even as the troubles they hoped to leave behind persist. Twelve stories highlight “the book’s recurring theme of desire—for freedom, for clarity, for autonomy, and for personal fulfillment…When women are alone, unencumbered and unbeholden to anyone, they engage in intense internal reflection and show reverence for nature—and during these scenes, Hale’s language is luminescent” (Kirkus Reviews).
PRAISE FOR A WALL OF BRIGHT DEAD FEATHERS: 
“Hale shows a great respect for her characters and for the difficulty of their deceptively ordered existence, as well as for the problems they suffer because so much cannot be spoken.” — Francine Prose, on “Silences”

“A vivid set of tales about connection to other people and to the natural world…Hale’s lovely prose shows a keen eye for detail…” 

Kirkus Reviews

Purchase Links: 

Winedale PublishingBrazos Bookstore | Amazon

 

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Author Babette Fraser Hale discusses landscapes.

 

I’ve been told that the landscape is a character in my stories. Certainly, the way each character responds to the landscape tells us something important about the person and their point of view.

Marta, in Motes, notices mainly the thorny, pain-inducing plants as she walks.

In Cicadas, Lily senses threat within the odd noontime silence along a country road.

The stunned countryside in Drouth can’t be separated from the apprehension Ro feels about Cam’s mental state.

The flow of the creek where Hattie fishes, in Fireflies, makes her “go all satiny” inside, giving her rare respite from a harsh life.

Eric’s flirtation with danger in Silences becomes far more real than the perils he imagines on a moonlit night in the woods.

And so on.

What occupies the hidden recesses of our minds influences what we see, in terms of landscape, and what we perceive about people, ourselves and others.

In A WALL OF BRIGHT DEAD FEATHERS, we observe the characters in each of the twelve stories as they react to their place, its land and people, across seasons.

I have lived in the area I’m writing about off and on for thirty years, watching the changes—and no doubt making some, mostly unintentional.

I’ve watched the effects of drouth and flood, the death of trees, the planting of other trees, the erasure of houses and the construction of other houses. Barns are moved into town where they become shops. A small high quality antique show years ago morphs into three weeks of antiques and “junque” along a ten mile stretch of roadway.

The characters in my stories who effect these changes and are changed by them bring this world to life. It is not an exact depiction by any means. It’s the place I live in and love, seen “slant”—through the eyes of invented people. The gift of fiction.


 
 
 

Babette Fraser Hale’s fiction has won the Meyerson Award from Southwest Review, a creative artist award from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, and been recognized among the “other distinguished stories” in Best American Short Stories, 2015. Her story “Drouth” is part of the New York Public Library’s digital collection. Her nonfiction has appeared in Texas Monthly, Houston City, and the Houston Chronicle. She writes a personal essay column for the Fayette County Record.

 
 
 
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TWO WINNERS each receive a signed bookplate

+ $20 Brazos Bookstore Gift Card to buy the book

 (US only. Ends midnight, CDT, 4/2/2021.)

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or visit the blogs directly:

3/23/21

Author Video

3/23/21

Excerpt

3/24/21

Review

3/24/21

BONUS Promo

3/25/21

Review

3/25/21

Author Interview

3/26/21

Review

3/26/21

BONUS Promo

3/27/21

Excerpt

3/28/21

Guest Post

3/29/21

Review

3/29/21

Author Interview

3/30/21

Review

3/31/21

Review

3/31/21

Guest Post

4/1/21

Review

4/1/21

Review

 
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Blog Tour: Scorched Earth

SCORCHED EARTH
THE HALO TRILOGY, BOOK 2
by Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays
 
Publisher: Pumpjack Press
Pages: 318
Date of Publication: February 14th, 2021
Categories: Science Fiction / Hard Boiled Detective

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The year is 2188 and the Earth—long-ago abandoned for Mars by the plutocrats—is scorched by poverty, disease, and environmental collapse. What these wealthy elite don’t know is that on his last trip upuniverse, Detective Crucial Larsen stumbled onto a secret that could destroy them. But he doesn’t intend to use it. Fighting back against the ruling Five Families of Mars is a fool’s game destined for failure—or worse, he thinks. Plus, he never wants to set foot on that damn planet again. Then Melinda, his long-lost love and a staff scientist on Mars, begs for his help clearing her fiancée of a murder charge. Crucial jumps on the next q-rocket, hoping maybe this time he can patch things up with Mel. His investigation ultimately leads back to the radiation-blasted sunbelt, where cannibal lizard-people—a climate change mitigation genetic experiment gone terribly wrong—hold the key to a different future, if only Crucial can stay alive long enough to unlock it.

Praise for Scorched Earth:

“Others have attempted to blend the genres of an investigative detective piece with sci-fi, but few achieve such a seamless integration as do McFall and Hays … a compelling saga, edgy and different, thoroughly absorbing.” 

Midwest Book Review

Purchase:Amazon

 

Clark and Kathleen wrote their first book together in 1999 as a test for marriage. They passed.  Scorched Earth is their ninth co-authored book. Pumpjack Press  ║  Pumpjack Press on Facebook ║ Authors’ Facebook ║ Authors’ Instagram Connect with Kathleen Goodreads ║ Amazon ║ Facebook ║ Twitter Connect with Clark Goodreads ║ Amazon ║ Facebook ║ Twitter

Blog Tour: Alfie Carter

BNR Alfie Carter

ALFIE CARTER
by
BJ Mayo
 
Published by Skyhorse Publishing Pages: 288 Published: January 19th, 2021 Categories: Southern Fiction / Rural Fiction / Mystery
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Cover Alfie Carter med res

The seemingly never-ending Cabinda War (1975—) has left multitudes dead in its wake and thousands of children homeless and orphaned. Jackaleena N’denga, a young Angolan girl, has become the sole survivor of one specifically brutal village massacre carried out by a band of guerrilla boy-soldiers. Jackaleena’s resilience leads her to an orphanage on the west coast of Africa, known as Benguela by the Sea, where she and other children are taken in and protected. Her brilliant mind and endless questions capture the heart of her mentor, Margaret, who ensures her that her survival thus far—especially being the survivor from her village—must mean she has big things ahead of her. When the opportunity arises, she must find her purpose. Not without a plan, Jackaleena stows away on a mercy ship that has made its yearly visit to the orphanage and is now preparing to return to America. Her journey takes her across the ocean, into the arms of New York City’s customs officials, and finally into placement in a temporary foster home in Texas. Enter Alfie Carter—a workaholic, small-town detective who is also battling memories of his past. His life is forever changed when he meets a young African girl looking for her higher purpose.

Purchase: Skyhorse Publishing

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author pic Mayo

BJ Mayo was born in an oil field town in Texas. He spent the first few years of his life living in a company field camp twenty-five miles from the closest town. His career in the energy industry took him to various points in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Louisiana, Bangladesh, Australia, and Angola West Africa. He and his wife were high school sweethearts and have been married for forty-six years with two grown children. They live on a working farm near San Angelo, Texas.
Visit BJ Mayo at his website: https://bjmayo.com/

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THREE WINNERS each receive an autographed copy of ALFIE CARTER

US only. Ends midnight, CST, March 5, 2021.

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Review
Rating :★★★★★
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are advanced reader copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Alfie Carter is a tale that takes you on a journey of one young girl’s resilience during one of the toughest moments in her life. Jakaleena, the main character, is faced with a life-altering moment in the beginning stages of her childhood. She is forced into a position to make decisions on how to care for herself and keep herself alive. Faced with daily adversity she rises above the occasion and sees the purpose in her life. Destined for greatness and opportunities, she takes a huge risk in an attempt for a better life in America. A chance encounter with a thoughtful Doctor propels her life into a direction that others could not fathom. Will she allow her past to define her or will she use it as a way to inspire her?

BJ Mayo takes an interesting approach in this historical fiction. His writing style allows for the reader to have a front-row seat to the retelling of the life of Jakaleena. The story begins with engaging first chapters that start with the present-day and transition to the past. The reader gets a full retelling of the story of Jakaleena and her beginning. The author does a wonderful job with the development of the main and supporting characters as well as the full storyline. The story has twists and turns but it is also filled with moments that will make you cry, be empathetic, and be grateful all in the same moments. The ending has you wanting to find out more about her story and why her past made a sudden appearance. This book highlights the effects of trauma, healing, and growing through the pain. There are some faith-based moments, biblical references, and minor profanity towards the beginning of the novel, which does not take-away from the overall storyline.

I highly recommend this book for adults interesting in historical fiction but be aware there are triggers. If you have experienced trauma associated with killing, death, sexual assault, or loss, I recommend treading slowly when reading this novel. There are quite a few moments that can be triggering. However, you will enjoy the honesty, biblical reference, and family dynamic. You will feel inspired after reading this book. Once you begin, you won’t want to put it down.


FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:

2/23/21

Review

Reading by Moonlight

2/23/21

BONUS Promo

All the Ups and Downs

2/23/21

BONUS Promo

LSBBT Blog

2/24/21

Review

Missus Gonzo

2/24/21

Review

The Clueless Gent

2/25/21

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

2/25/21

BONUS Promo

Hall Ways Blog

2/26/21

Review

Jennie Reads

2/26/21

Review

Jennifer Silverwood

2/27/21

Review

Bibliotica

2/28/21

Review

Carpe Diem Chronicles

3/1/21

Review

Book Fidelity

3/1/21

Review

That’s What She’s Reading

3/2/21

Review

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

3/3/21

Review

Forgotten Winds

3/3/21

Review

Librariel Book Adventures

3/4/21

Review

It’s Not All Gravy

3/4/21

Review

The Plain-Spoken Pen

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