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.

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The Clueless Gent

4/30/21

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Reading by Moonlight

5/1/21

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All the Ups and Downs

5/2/21

Excerpt, Part 2

StoreyBook Reviews

5/3/21

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Jennie Reads

5/3/21

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Missus Gonzo

5/4/21

Series Spotlight

That’s What She’s Reading

5/5/21

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Texas Book Lover

5/5/21

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Book Fidelity

5/6/21

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Librariel Book Adventures

5/6/21

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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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3/26/21

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3/28/21

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3/29/21

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3/31/21

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3/31/21

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4/1/21

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4/1/21

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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

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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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Blog Tour: Network of Deceit

NETWORK OF DECEIT
An Amara Alvarez
Stand-Alone Novel
by
Tom Threadgill
Categories: Mystery / Suspense / Detective
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: February 2, 2021
Number of Pages: 384 pages
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She’s following her instincts. They’re following her every move. 
After her rescue of nearly fifty kidnapped children made international headlines, Amara Alvarez gets what she’s worked for: a transfer to San Antonio’s Homicide Division. But reality sets in quickly when her first case, the suspicious death of a teenager at a crowded local water park, plunges her life into chaos. 
As the investigation moves forward, Amara finds herself stalked online by cybercriminals who uncover her personal life in frightening detail. With few leads, she’s forced to resort to unconventional methods to find the killer and prevent her first murder investigation from ending up in the cold case files. 
Tom Threadgill is back with another riveting page-turner featuring the detective who is willing to put everything on the line to see justice served and lives protected.

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Tom Threadgill is a full-time author and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the International Thriller Writers (ITW). The author of Collision of Lies, Tom lives with his wife near Dallas, Texas.
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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 finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

This book follows the life of a newly spotlighted detective Alvarez. A level-headed, strong willed, female detective trying to make a name for herself in a new town. She struggles with a new boss who is unwilling to give her more responsibility, a thorn in her side co-worker, and a potentially budding office romance. The story unfolds as she navigates a new case that seems to have more twists and turns than anticipated. All while trying to manage the fact that her office is a foldable table. Will Alvarez solve the case and provide some closure to the family or will she get caught in the mix of the case itself?

Network of Deceit is book two in the series. This is my first time reading a book by the author and it definitely won’t be my last time. This novel is told from the perspective of the main character which allows for you to feel like you’ve been transplanted into her mind. It actually helped me paint a better picture of the full story and feel more connected to each character. The simplistic writing style allows for a quick read and for the reader to not be distracted by complex terms but to be captivated by the story. The storyline flows well, and the book had my attention captured the whole time. I was thoroughly surprised by some of the twists and turns the novel took. Toward the end I was shocked by the plot twist and was on the edge of my seat during the epilogue. The author does a great job with character development of both main and supporting characters. I enjoyed the insertion of family history of the main character, the budding romance, and the work conflict. I like how the author shed some light on the challenges women face in often male dominated positions and the challenges of being a Rookie cop. This story will have you both laughing, gasping, and holding your breath the whole way through.

I highly recommend this book for teens or adults. The writing style is simple enough for others to grasp the concepts and not get lost in the complexity of terms. Once you begin, you won’t want to put it down. I am excited to see what the next installment in this series holds.

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Copies of both Collision of Lies
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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:
2/17/21 Series Spotlight All the Ups and Downs
2/17/21 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
2/18/21 BONUS Promo LSBBT Blog
2/18/21 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
2/19/21 Review That’s What She’s Reading
2/20/21 Excerpt The Page Unbound
2/21/21 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
2/22/21 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
2/23/21 Review KayBee’s Book Shelf
2/24/21 Review Librariel Book Adventures
2/25/21 Character Interview The Clueless Gent
2/26/21 Review Tangled in Text
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Blog Tour: Pudge and Prejudice

PUDGE AND PREJUDICE
by
A.K. PITTMAN
Categories: YA / Clean & Wholesome Romance / ’80s
Publisher: Wander (a division of Tyndale House)
Date of Publication: January 12, 2021
Number of Pages: 352 pages
 
 
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A Mixtape of Big ’80s Style, High School Angst, and a Classic Jane Austen Tale

It’s 1984 and after moving to Northenfield, Texas, with her family, Elyse Nebbit faces the challenge of finding her place in a new school, one dominated by social status and Friday night football. When Elyse’s effortlessly beautiful older sister Jayne starts dating golden boy Charlie Bingley, Elyse finds herself curious about Charlie’s popular and brooding best friend, Billy Fitz. Elyse’s body insecurities eventually complicate her relationship with Billy, leaving Jayne and Elyse’s exceedingly blunt friend, Lottie, to step in and help Elyse accept herself for who she is, pant size and all.

 
PRAISE FOR PUDGE AND PREJUDICE:

Written with wit and considerable insight into the highs and lows of first love, this coming-of-age twist on the Jane Austen classic had me laughing out loud, singing ‘80s lyrics in my head, and cheering on the brilliant, yet self-deprecating heroine. Pudge & Prejudice is a joy to read from beginning to end! Lorie Langdon, author of Olivia Twist and the Disney Villains series

Allison Pittman will have readers laughing (and singing) on every page of this delightfully tenderhearted novel for all ages…[She] crafts a particularly savvy character who learns that beauty really is soul-deep…. Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials

I can’t remember the last time I loved a book as much as I love this one. It’s an instant classic I will return to time after time.  —Bethany Turner, Award-Winning Author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

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Allison Pittman is an award-winning author of thirteen novels, including the Christy-nominated Sister Wife series and the critically acclaimed The Seamstress. An enthusiast for all of the writing world, Allison holds active leadership in her local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter, and she heads up a thriving critique group in the San Antonio area. When not writing, Allison teaches middle school English, working as a conduit to introduce her students to new, fresh literature. You can follow her around on Instagram or Twitter and keep up with her writing news on her Allison Pittman Author Facebook page. Here you’ll learn what’s going on with new books, next books, and day-to-day life with Allison and her husband, Mikey. You’ll also get a peek at Snax, the world’s worst dog.

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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 finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

This book follows the life of main character Elyse. A sophomore in high school who has been forced to relocate to Texas after her dad gets a new job. Elyse is one of five children and she isn’t the one that is the most accepted but the one who wishes to disappear off the family’s radar. Her size isn’t quite what others would call “normal,” but to Elyse, she’s comfortable the way she is. Will Elyse find love or even get a boyfriend?

Elyse is developed as a strong female character who aims to not fit into society’s view of normal. Throughout the book she challenges authority, societal norms, and her parents.  It can be tough to not look like others but it is even tougher when your family points that out constantly. The greatest act of rebellion is to do the exact opposite and live her life the way she wants to. The author does a wonderful job developing the main characters and supporting characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the family dynamic and the teenage angst. It reminded me of many times when I was in junior high and high school. It is hard to deal with those emotions and I loved how this book brought a humorous and empowering approach to them. I only wished I was as determined as Elyse. 

The author spends time highlighting the challenges that Elyse faces with her weight but also encourages the reader to feel empowered by the way Elyse handles the backlash from others. This reminds us to embrace who we are and to not focus of what others think of us but embrace your own individual characteristics. This book has love, loss, family, and forgiveness as the author dives into relatable topics. Although, the book setting is based in Texas during the 1980s, the story reads as if the events were happening today. 

I highly recommend this book for anyone middle grade and up. The humor will have adults feeling nostalgic and younger kids gaining tools to face their fears of social interaction. Once you begin, you won’t want to put it down. I am curious if there will be a book two, if so, I can’t wait. 

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THREE WINNERS
Each winner receives a SIGNED COPY of the book,
a hair scrunchie, and a $25 Visa Gift Card
Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, 2/13/2021
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:
2/3/21 Review The Page Unbound
2/3/21 Review Missus Gonzo
2/4/21 Review All the Ups and Downs
2/5/21 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
2/5/21 Review That’s What She’s Reading
2/6/21 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
2/7/21 Review Rebecca R. Cahill, Author
2/8/21 Review Nerd Narration
2/8/21 Review Rainy Days with Amanda
2/9/21 Review Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
2/10/21 Review StoreyBook Reviews
2/10/21 Review Momma on the Rocks
2/11/21 Review Book Fidelity
2/11/21 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
2/12/21 Review Librariel Book Adventures
2/12/21 Review Jennifer Silverwood
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Blog Tour: Stork Bite

STORK BITE

by
L.K. Simonds
Genre: Historical Fiction / Southern Fiction 
Date of Publication: November 30, 2020 
Number of Pages: 359 pages
 
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“Everything has to be reconciled eventually.” 

 
Caddo Parish, 1913. On an October morning, a Klansman confronts seventeen-year-old David Walker at a hidden oxbow lake where he has gone to hunt. David accidentally kills the man and hides the crime. His determination to protect his family from reprisal drives him far from home and into manhood. 
 
Shreveport, 1927. Cargie (rhymes with Margie) Barre and Mae Compton are two vastly different young women, but both are defying convention to reach for their dreams. The men in Cargie’s and Mae’s lives help and hinder them in more ways than one. After years in hiding, David Walker finally resurfaces, and we discover the past is never as far from the present as it seems.

PRAISE FOR STORK BITE:

“Simonds is a wonderfully talented author and evokes the South in astonishing detail in Stork Bite, making us feel we’re sitting in on a long, sumptuous, serial film production. But don’t think it’s mere eye candy–like the best period dramas, there’s plenty of social commentary here. Highly recommended!” 

–Linore Rose Burkard, author of Regency Romance and Contemporary Suspense
 
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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 finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

The author begins this book with the main character David going for his usual walk in his small town during the early 1900s. This is during a time where segregation is still a prominent issue and black males are taught to protect themselves from white males. As the story unfolds, we watch as David’s biggest fear comes true. He has crossed paths with a white male who has his eyes set on demeaning David. Based during a time where being Black was considered a crime, David must decide whether to defend himself or take whatever is thrown at him. Realizing that both choices have great consequences.

The overall storyline focuses primarily on the main character and a series of events that follow one main event. David’s life takes many twists and turns throughout the novel until finally toward the end he comes to some sort of resting place. It really makes you think of a time in your life where you felt you were carrying shame and guilt from a past mistake. There is a bit of biblical based references in this book that tend to focus on forgiveness and letting go. The author allows you to take a step in the shoes of the main character as he works through his emotions and pushes past the shame and guilt he has been carrying his entire life. This all occurs until he comes to a resting place at the end of the novel where he is finally able to find peace and healing in self forgiveness.

The author works to try to capture the true essence of the language during the time period targeted in this book and the potential challenges faced by those of color. If you are interested in a pre-civil rights movement fictional read that focuses on fear and guilt, then this book is one you should pick up.


 

L. K. Simonds is a Fort Worth local whose debut novel, All In, was published in 2019.

 

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Blog Tour : Ely Air Lines

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

Mike Ely has logged thousands of hours over more than forty years as a professional pilot. He holds an airline transport pilot certificate with multiple type ratings and a flight instructor certificate. Mike has taught people to fly in small single engine airplanes, gliders, turboprops, and corporate jets. As a freight pilot and an international corporate pilot, he has flown through all kinds of weather, to many places, both exotic and boring. His love for writing was instilled by his father at an early age.

Linda Street-Ely is an award-winning, multi-genre author and playwright. She also holds an airline transport pilot certificate, a commercial seaplane certificate and a tailwheel endorsement. She has air raced all over the U.S., including four times in the historic all-women’s transcontinental Air Race Classic. Besides flying, Linda has a keen appreciation for great storytelling. She loves to travel the world, meet people, and learn about other cultures because she believes great stories are everywhere.

Together, Linda and Mike are “Team Ely,” five-time National Champions of the Sport Air Racing League, racing their Grumman Cheetah, named the “Elyminator,” and dubbed “The Fastest Cheetah in the Known Universe.” They live in Liberty, Texas.

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 finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

The authors, Mike and Linda take a unique approach to compiling stories from their column into a collection of books and making them available for public consumption. I thoroughly enjoyed the flow of the book and it was easily understandable for someone with no prior knowledge of aviation. I found the short stories both entertaining and engaging. I definitely enjoyed being able to gather knowledge in regards to the flights and get a first-hand read of some of the challenges pilots face when performing.

One of my favorite short stories in the book was “Pitts and Pumpkins.” I enjoyed reading about their participation in the Pumkin Chuckin contest. I laughed out loud reading this and thought to myself, “could I chuck a pumpkin out of a plane and hit a target on the ground,” the answer was no. This is just one of many stories in volume 2 of the collection of stories. Each story is unique in a sense where you, as a reader, are able to be captivated by the telling of factual events. There are many tales such as this one that are informative, entertaining, and heartwarming.

The flow between writers in each story allows for the reader to continuously get a different perspective of the retelling. There were many of these short stories that had me on the edge of my seating wishing they didn’t end. Be prepared to have your search engine open on your computer, you are definitely going to want to look up more information about some of the aircrafts listed. If you are a native Houstonian or live in Texas, you will especially enjoy the stories that involve that focus on Texas pilots. You will truly get that “everything is bigger in Texas” vibe from those reads.

If you are someone who is interested in personable, factual, and enticing aviation stories then I highly recommend this read. This book continued to have me engaged from start to finish. The short stories and column writing style allows for the reader to easily transition from story to story. I promise, at the end of this book, you are going to feel like an aviation enthusiast.

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1/22/21 Review V1 StoreyBook Reviews
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1/23/21 Author Interview All the Ups and Downs
1/24/21 Author Interview The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
1/25/21 Review V1 Book Bustle
1/25/21 Review V2 Book Fidelity
1/26/21 Excerpt The Page Unbound
1/27/21 Character Interview Hall Ways Blog
1/27/21 Top Ten Momma on the Rocks
1/28/21 Review V1 The Clueless Gent
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Blog Tour: The Kissing Tree

THE KISSING TREE
Four Novellas Rooted in Timeless Love

by KAREN WITEMEYER, REGINA JENNINGS, 

AMANDA DYKES, and NICOLE DEESE
 
Genre: Christian / Romance / Anthology
Publisher: Bethany House
Date of Publication: October 13, 2020
Number of Pages: 400
 

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In this Texas-sized romance novella collection, courting couples, decades apart, leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak’s bark.

Regina Jennings: “Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts

When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with a new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. When her job is on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?

Karen Witemeyer: “Inn for a Surprise

Determined to keep love alive for others, Phoebe Woodward builds an inn that caters to couples. When her father sends a property manager to help make it a success, she finds her whimsical vision thwarted by his stodgy practicality. Finding the right blend of romance and reality is a challenge, and her spinster heart may be in for a surprise.

Amanda Dykes: “From Roots to Sky

WWII airman Luke Hampstead found comfort in letters from the sister of a lost compatriot. When he visits Texas to thank her, he discovers her constructing a project with surprising ties to his letters . . . and that she herself is even more surprising. While a promising opportunity awaits him elsewhere, will what they’ve shared be enough to give their future flight?

Nicole Deese: “Heartwood

Abby Brookshire’s world is turned upside down when the historic tree she’s strived to preserve as the head groundskeeper at the Kissing Tree Inn is put in danger of removal. Making matters worse, the only way to protect its legacy is to partner with the man she’s been ignoring since he left town years ago. Will she have the courage to move on from the past and start a new beginning?

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 finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

“Broken Limbs” by Regina Jennings

Set in the mid-1800s Bella thought her love life would go differently as she planned her future with a guy she thought would give her happiness. She set up everything perfectly to make her move but what she did not prepare for was his countermove. It all happened under a big Oak tree, the beginning and the end of her journey to find love. After the initial debacle under the Oak tree she decided to move on from the embarrassment and try teaching. However, when Adam, a piece of her past, returns a few years later to the farm to pitch her father an offer, the embarrassment from the encounter under the Oak tree resurfaces. Can she put aside the pain from her past to truly dive into something new and push past her fear?

The author does a wonderful job of developing the main character Bella as a strong female lead. She explores the fear of rejection in relationships and in her career. We see Bella navigate through healing from her past and allow the same thing that hurt her, eventually bring her comfort. Such a sweet romance story that showcases the importance of pushing past fear and not allowing it to stop you from moving forward.

Inn for a Surprise” by Karen Witemeyer

Phoebe wanted to create an Inn that would highlight the town’s famous Kissing Tree. The tree was coined with the phrase after the story of Adam and Bella found love under the tree. With the help of her father’s business associate she can truly turn the Inn into something romantic and profitable. Barnabas was only sent by his business associate to the Inn to ensure it turned a profit since the Inn owner was his daughter. He wasn’t prepared to learn the remarkable history of the Kissing Tree and the importance it carried in the life of the Inn owner. Can he put aside his hard demeanor to welcome someone in?

This tale is a continuation in some sort of the previous book that focuses on the beginning of the old oak tree and the significance it holds in the town. The author focuses not only on the emotional connection the town and Phoebe has with the tree but the challenges that arise when someone challenges your vision. The main character is described a strong willed female lead who knows exactly what she wants but who is still healing from the pain of losing a parent. The tree symbolizes so much more than love but a strong connection. The author does a wonderful job capturing the attention of the reader from start to finish.

 From Roots to Sky” by Amanda Dykes

Luke sought out the small town of Oak Springs, Texas in search of a girl named Hannah. However, Hannah had no idea he was there in search of her. The remarkable tale of the Kissing Tree continues as Hannah and Luke grow to get to know each other. They are both reeling from the pain from their past and set on healing. Luke is able to help Hannah in the construction of her late brother’s cottage as they work through the grieving process together. Can Hannah and Luke move forward from their respective pasts to an unpredictable future.

I enjoyed how Luke was welcomed into the town and drawn to the area. I also liked how the author continued on with creating a strong female lead in this novella. Hannah isn’t a seamstress but she is able to use her math skills and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. Each female lead in these tales are willing to step outside the social norms of their time to truly follow their heart. This is an inspiration to readers to not be limited by the societal norms placed on women but emphasizes you can be strong and be a romantic. It was a pleasure to watch the love story of these two unfold as they work to navigate their new future together.

Heartwood” by Nicole Deese

In this last tale of “The Kissing Tree” we see the fight to save the beloved tree from removal as the Inn changed owner hands. Abby must confront a person from her past she shut out of her life in order to save the tree. The real question is, is it the tree they are trying to save or something deeper. The tree has been an integral part of the town as a historical landmark. Griffin was hired to help stop the tree from being cut down but he wasn’t prepared for the reunion with Abby. After the loss of her father she changed and stayed in the same town she grew up in. Will they find their way back to each other and save the tree?

The ending to this collection of novella’s was one to remember as we see the final book bring the story of the Kissing Tree to an end. The author does a wonderful job tying in all aspects of the previous books into this one as the stories travel through timelines to come to an end. This final book reminds us of the attachments we have with items and the healing that comes from letting the items go. I have a scarf from my late mother and I lost it once. The fear that I had that day was so overwhelming I could not sleep. I kept thinking, this is the only thing I have to remind me of her. Truly the memories exist in your mind, not in the items we carry. The author allows us to watch the love story of the two main characters reignite as they heal from past wounds together and forgive. This was a great ending to a wonderful collection.

Overall Review of the full collection

Overall each tale in this book of novellas flowed nicely together. You can tell the author’s took time working with each other to ensure the story continued on from novella to novella. It all started with the kissing tree and a planned embarrassing encounter that led to the development of four uniquely told love stories that all enhance on the importance of pushing past fear and pain to truly open your heart to accept love. In each book the authors touch on grief, forgiveness, love, and family ties. The Kissing Tree carried memories, healing, and love as the entire town reaped the benefits of the significance that lied in the bark of the old Oak Tree. As we watch each story unfold you get to embark on a journey of a tree through different decades and watch the characters grow as the tree grows. I highly recommend this collection to anyone interested in four Texas based stories told in the mid to late 1800s. This book is suited for anyone who is interested. It does not contain lewd language or derogatory content. It is a fun, simple, engaging, short read.


Voted
#1 Reader’s Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction
Magazine
, bestselling author  Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines,
and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. She makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.

 
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma
Baptist University, with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s the
winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist, and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at
the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along
with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She
lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.
 
Amanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. She’s a former English teacher and the author of Whose Waves These Are, a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, as well as three novellas.

Nicole Deese’s eight humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include the 2017 Carol Award-winning A Season to Love. Her 2018 release, A New Shade of Summer, was a finalist in the RITA Awards, Carol Awards, and INSPY Awards. Both of these books are from her bestselling Love in Lenox series. When she’s not working on her next contemporary romance, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior.

 

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Grand Prize: Print copy of The Kissing Tree plus a custom 18″ x 3.5″ wooden sign
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October 20-30, 2020
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10/23/20

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10/24/20

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Blog Tour: The Diary of Asser Levy

THE DIARY OF ASSER LEVY
First Jewish Citizen
of New York
by
DANIELA WEIL
 
Genre: Historical Fiction / Middle Grade / Jewish / Colonial America
Publisher: Pelican (Arcadia Publishing)
Date of Publication: March 9, 2020
Number of Pages: 128

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For twenty-four years the Dutch colony of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil was a safe haven for Jews who had escaped the Inquisition in Europe. Recife, its capital, was known as “Colonial Jerusalem,” and it was from this religiously tolerant town that Asser Levy tells his story. When the Portuguese recaptured the territory in 1654, they brought the Inquisition and its torments with them, forcing Asser and his family and friends to flee to Holland. About fifteen ships arrive safely in Holland; Asser’s ship does not. 

 
Through imagined diary entries based on real events, Asser tells the harrowing story of the Jewish refugees who arrived on the island of Manhattan and of some of the first court battles fought to allow religious freedom in America.

PRAISE FOR THE DIARY OF ASSER LEVY:

“The book breathes life into a little-known yet important Jewish figure of early New Amsterdam and New York. Through a series of diary entries based on fact and the author’s creation, the author brings out the emotion, drama, and conflicts of Asser Levy’s turbulent journey to a new land in search of religious freedom. … The book will add color to classroom lessons on early US history and on Jewish immigration.” —Paul Kaplan, author of Jewish New York: A History and Guide to Neighborhoods, Synagogues, and Eateries

“What an extraordinary amount of research went into it! And what a creative way of combining historical fiction and contemporary pictures. Kudos!” —Cynthia Levinson, author of The Youngest Marcher

“What a fine job [Daniela] did with this story! … The diary-style keeps the pace moving, and the adventures make it exciting. Lots of setting details bring the scenes alive, and the dialogue engages the reader in the plot. I can see how it will be easy for a young reader to identify with Asser, worrying about how (and if) he’ll succeed in his quest.” —Gail Jarrow, author of Fatal Fever


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 finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

This remarkable tale takes the reader on a journey through the life of Asser Levy, a notable Jewish born refugee, who despite all odds, rose to the top. This book consists of diary entries that describe the life of Asser Levy from his perspective. He recounts the events that led to him moving to what is  present-day New York.

The story begins with Asser describing the essential downfall of his community. The story is set in the mid-1600s when the Dutch captured the town of Recife, Brazil, a community that consisted of Jewish natives and immigrants such as Asser. Asser’s father built his life in their community as a town butcher who served Kosher meat. His family consisted of strong Jewish descendants who stood firm to their beliefs. All throughout this book the reader is able to see the Jewish influence on the lives of the people. After being given a few months to collect their belongings, Jewish natives prepare for departure from a place they have called home for years. Dutch soldiers would take up residence in their homes soon after their departure. Although this tale sounds bleak, to Asser it was an opportunity to remain positive. All throughout this book, Asser consistently remains positive, determined, and optimistic despite the numerous challenges they faced.

If you are interested in a historical fiction novel that allows you to be transported into the life of the main character, I recommend this book. It is a quick read and will have you wanting to finish it to see how this band of immigrants overcome adversity after adversity. It truly inspires the reader to see beyond what is right in front of you and believe the best is yet to come. This story inspired me to continue to push forward regardless of my circumstances and understand that the greatest challenges produce endurance. This is truly a well written book with the intent to provide quality and factually based information about Asser Levy, a butcher looking to move past the challenges and settle into a new home. Asser Levy’s name will be one that I will now remember, understanding the importance of setting the stage and not giving up despite the walls built around you intended to stop your growth.


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Daniela Weil was born in Brazil. She attended the International School in São Paulo, where she was surrounded by people and cultures from around the world. It was also there that she developed a passion for nature, art, and writing. After earning a BA in biology from Brandeis University in Boston, Weil became a field research biologist. She participated in various whale projects, including illustrating the first field guide for whales and dolphins in Brazil.

Being a mother rekindled her desire to share her passion about the natural world. She joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and attended workshops on writing nonfiction and science for kids. After writing several articles on science and history, she ventured into books. Weil attended the Texas Library Association annual conference with her SCBWI group and met the folks from Pelican, who were intrigued by her middle-grade book idea. As the project developed, her research took her back to Brazil and across the world, chasing Asser’s experiences.

When not on the hunt for new experiences, Weil makes her home in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Erik, and daughter, Lucy.

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 September 22-October 2, 2020
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Trailer

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Post

Hall Ways Blog

9/23/20

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Interview

Max
Knight

9/24/20

Review

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Sneak
Peek

Texas Book Lover

9/26/20

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by Moonlight

9/27/20

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Interview

Story Schmoozing Book Reviews

9/28/20

Top Ten

All the Ups and Downs

9/29/20

Review

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9/30/20

Scrapbook
Page

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

10/1/20

Review

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Bustle

   
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