Blog Tour: Marva Cope

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

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

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 Her novel, Making It Home, was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2017 and A Good Family (not yet unpublished) was named finalist in that contest in 2018.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




Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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

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

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

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

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

A set of all 4 Jackson’s Pond, Texas books, a copy of Nowhere Near,
and a $25 Amazon gift card.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 3/17/23)

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Continue reading Blog Tour: Marva Cope

Blog Tour: River, Sing Out



Categories: Contemporary / Literary Fiction
Rural Fiction / Crime Fiction / Coming-of-Age
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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.




”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


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.

Blog Tour: The Key to Everything

Valerie Fraser LuesseContemporary Christian Romance

Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: June 2, 2020
Number of Pages: 352

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Based on a true story, Valerie Fraser Luesse’s new novel takes readers on an incredible journey of self-discovery. The poignant prose, enchanting characters, and captivating settings in The Key to Everything make this a moving story that readers won’t soon forget. Peyton Cabot’s fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon, and distancing himself from his son. When a tragic accident separates Peyton from his parents, and the girl of his dreams seems out of reach, he struggles to cope with a young life upended.

Pushed to his limit, Peyton makes a daring decision: he will retrace a slice of the journey his father took at fifteen by riding his bicycle all the way from St. Augustine to Key West, Florida. Part loving tribute, part search for self, Peyton’s journey will unlock more than he ever could have imagined, including the key to his distant father, a calling that will shape the rest of his life, and the realization that he’s willing to risk absolutely everything for the girl he loves.

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac and Almost Home, as well as an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse received the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society for her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana. A graduate of Auburn University and Baylor University, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Dave. 

Website║ Facebook  ║ Blog



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 story begins with Peyton at yet another family event with the Cabot’s. His father, Marshall, had returned from the war some time ago and was dealing with his own demons from his past. A twist of events leads this semi-normal family into a world of new adventures and past discoveries. As Marshall recovers from an accident, Kate must work to keep his family at arm’s length as fights for his life. The life Payton once knew no longer exists as he works to grasp a hold of who his Father was. After learning of his father’s adventurous bike ride, Payton decides to take the same ride in an attempt to truly understand the father he felt like he never knew. We journey through the rest of this novel with Payton as he discovers who he really is, who his father was, and what love truly means. Will Payton find what he is looking for on his journey or will he die trying?

This is the first book I have read by this author and she has done an amazing job. I have always been interested in books writing based on different time periods. This novel is written based in the year 1947 after the completion of World War II. In the beginning of the book we see Payton described as a young boy who is in love with a new girl in town. However due to the events with his father he decides to break it off with her as he moves to another state state to be with his family as they work to heal. The author dives a bit into he healing process that a family goes through after the loss of a loved one and Payton learning to forgive his father for his alcoholism after returning from the war. Payton simply wants to understand the actions of his father and understand who he was before he went to war. On his long bike journey we see him develop friendships, get glimpse into his father’s past, discover his identity, and building lasting family in different places. He grows up fast after his father’s death and is able to not only take care of himself but those around him. All while he is working on his self discovery, his mother is at home working on grieving from a major loss. She seeks comfort in the Cabot family member and says goodbye to the life she built with her late husband. She learns to grieve in her own way by not only learning to set her husband free but also Payton. There is more to this story but you will have to read it to truly discover the love that exists not only between Marshall and Kate but between Payton and Lisa. Throughout this story you will find yourself not only captivated by the true love that exists but the courage and strength of Payton and his mother.

The author does a wonderful job unpacking multiple themes and plot twists as you continue throughout the novel. You both laugh, cry, gasp, and applaud while you read the stories of each character. Payton’s character is developed so eloquently that you feel as if you have been transported into the story with him as you ride the bike alongside him. Lisa’s character, although not seen as highly focal point character until later in the story, is well written and I enjoyed the bit of family drama that surrounded her character. Each character is developed in a way that provides depth and detail that can only be described as something straight out of a movie. Did I cry while reading this book? Yes. I didn’t cry because it was super emotional. I cried because of the beautiful scene the author created. The father’s passing was described as nothing but an act of God and the mother’s raw emotions when she prayed truly shows the great lengths of a mother’s love. It is often a challenge for to capture the true essence of grieving that is associated with living with a parent who has a destructive addiction that leaves the entire family feeling abandoned and left to pick up the pieces. I loved how the author showcases positive moments in a tumultuous journey. Each journey we take is a bit different but it is nice to read a book that allows you to connect a bit more with the characters and truly see parts of your life represented. This is such a great ode to Father’s and the families they leave behind.


I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in reading a captivating christian fiction novel based on a true story. This book is appropriate for adults and young adults.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


One Winner: Copy of The Key to Everything, Necklace, $25 B&N Gift Card; 
Two Winners: Copy of The Key to Everything + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

June16-26, 2020

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