Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Secret of You and Me ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Promo & Giveaway!


THE SECRET OF YOU AND ME
by
MELISSA LENHARDT
Genre: Women's Fiction / Romance 
Publisher:  Graydon House (Harlequin)
Date of Publication: August 4, 2020
Number of Pages: 352

Scroll down for the giveaway!



True love never fades—and old secrets never die . . . 
Nora hasn’t looked back. Not since she fled Texas to start a new life. Away from her father’s volatile temper and the ever-watchful gaze of her claustrophobically conservative small town, Nora has freed herself. She can live—and love—however she wants. The only problem is that she also left behind the one woman she can’t forget. Now tragedy calls her back home to confront her past—and reconcile her future.

Sophie seems to have everything—a wonderful daughter, a successful husband, and a rewarding career. Yet underneath that perfection lies an explosive secret. She still yearns for Nora—her best friend and first love—despite all the years between them. Keeping her true self hidden hasn’t been easy, but it’s been necessary. So when Sophie finds out that Nora has returned, she hopes Nora’s stay is short. The life she has built depends on it.

But they both find that first love doesn’t fade easily. Memories come to light, passion ignites, and old feelings resurface. As the forces of family and intolerance that once tore them apart begin to reemerge, they realize some things may never change—unless they demand it.

                          
PRAISE FOR THE SECRET OF YOU AND ME:

“A compelling story of second chances and being true to yourself.”
Harper Bliss, bestselling author of Seasons of Love

“Lenhardt convinces in her portrayal of the conflict between desire and control.” —Publishers Weekly
CLICK TO PURCHASE
(Personalized/signed copies available through Interabang)

A portion of royalties are going to the It Gets Better Project
(Click for more details.)




Melissa Lenhardt is a women’s fiction, mystery, and historical fiction author. Her debut mystery, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and Sawbones, her historical-fiction debut, was hailed as a "thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new sub-genre: the feminist Western" by Lone Star Literary Life. The New York Times called her sixth novel, Heresy, “An all-out women-driven, queer, transgender, multiracial takeover of the Old West." The Secret of You and Me, her seventh novel and her first contemporary women’s fiction novel, was published on August 4, 2020.

When Melissa isn’t writing, she’s thinking, “I really should be writing,” and eating Nutella or peanut butter straight out of the jar. A lifelong Texan, she lives in the Dallas area with her husband, two sons, and two Golden Retrievers.




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-------------------------------------
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
TWO WINNERS each get a signed hardcover copy of the book and their choice of
either a FaceTime call or virtual book-club visit with the author.

 August 11-21, 2020
(U.S. Only)

FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY. 


Or, visit the blogs directly:


8/11/20
Author Interview
8/11/20
Review
8/12/20
Review
8/12/20
BONUS Post
8/13/20
Review
8/14/20
Top Six List
8/14/20
Review
8/15/20
Excerpt
8/16/20
Guest Post
8/17/20
Review
8/17/20
Review
8/18/20
Audio Spotlight
8/19/20
Review
8/19/20
Review
8/20/20
Review
8/20/20
Review

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Monday, August 10, 2020

The Gulag P-Pa Diaries ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Review & Giveaway!

THE GULAG P-PA DIARIES
A Bittersweet Memoir of Grandparenting
by
PRESTON LEWIS
Genre: Memoir / Christian / Humor / Grandparenting / Family
Publisher: CKN Christian Publishing
Date of Publication: April 22, 2020
Number of Pages: 268
Scroll down for the giveaway!



As new empty-nesters, Harriet and Preston next looked forward to becoming grandparents. Their journey to assuming the names of Mema and P-Pa, however, took a tragic and unexpected turn.

CLICK TO PURCHASE

HALL WAYS REVIEW: Before The Gulag P-Pa Diaries came on my radar, I’d read a couple of Preston Lewis’s westerns. Most recently, Rio Ruidoso, an outstanding serious historical western, and prior to that, The Fleecing of Fort Griffin, a hilarious western caper. There’s a reason this author has won so many awards.  The man knows how to write a western that’s not full of clich├ęs and tropes and knows how to entertain his readers, which is why I didn’t hesitate to pick up a copy of this nonfiction work. The Gulag P-Pa Diaries, Lewis’s combo grandparenting diary/memoir is the ultimate gift of love to his wife, children, and grandchildren.  

In the diary parts of The Gulag P-Pa Diaries, seven years of the Camp Mema/Gulag P-Pa are chronicled, with the entries pulled from Lewis’s Facebook posts he wrote during each. (As I write this review, this year’s Camp is just ending.) The book is full of laugh-out-loud moments with P-Pa (Lewis) cast as the fun guy, and the fall guy, while Mema works miracles that feed and clothe and nurture the horde of kids. Shenanigans are plentiful. Considerable planning goes into each Camp so that there are themes with structured, coordinated activities to support them. The Lewises take grandparenting to the next level. Oh, and there’s chaos. Utter, wonderful chaos as kids are kids -- and P-Pas are ornery P-Pas.

Five of the seven years, there were also full-blown movie productions with titles like, Escape from Gulag P-Pa, The Good, the Bad, and the Cutely, The Cookie Thief, Star Stars, and most recently, The Sound of Noise. Lewis is a playwright with three staged productions under his belt and wrote scripts and assigned roles to each of The Grands. Working with [grand]child actors was no walk in the park, and readers will be thoroughly amused at the requested script re-writes and uprisings.

“It’s a testament to P-Pa’s parenting skills that many of his most memorable parenting moments have the word “incident” at the end of them.”

Lewis’s approach in the writing about the camps is a self-deprecating one, and his antics are so zany that readers won’t be sure which really happened, and which were tongue-in-cheek. Naturally, the children also provide chuckles, like when two of the girls sweetly invite P-Pa to their tea party. After P-Pa gulps down the cup of tea the girls offered and gives it high praise, Miriam says, “It was poison.” Thankfully, just as P-Pa is spiraling into unconsciousness, Carys offers him a dose of “unpoison.” Whew.

There were only a few places where the book went a little off course and into politics, political correctness, and even the perplexities of gender identities. While these are all approached with humor and sarcasm, some may find it off-putting and/or insensitive.

“This beautiful moment, however, provided the greatest SHOCK of my life. Scott’s little brother was a girl!”

The Camp diary chapters alternate with memoir chapters, starting with Preston and Harriet’s courtship, and journeying through their having a family of their own. I laughed at young Preston’s confidence in knowing the gender of his second child, and his “bless her heart” attitude towards Harriet, who most certainly would be disappointed by having another son. (And surprise, they had a daughter. There is considerable pride that shines through in these chapters as Lewis shares the triumph of raising and launching your children successfully into the world. But also, there is considerable pain in these chapters as Lewis shares the grief over the death of his first grandchild, Benjamin. Those chapters where Lewis discusses the aftermath of Benjamin’s death leveled me – especially as I was just blessed with my first grandbaby a few months ago. My sadness lingered after those chapters, making it difficult to transition to the follow-up chapters of Camp silliness. I had to step away from the book a few times, but these chapters are so important to read, for so many reasons.

Preston Lewis and his wife have set the bar high for this Mimi to start planning how Grandad and I are going to make memories with our grandchildren (because given we have five children, SURELY there will be more than one). But also, Lewis reminds me of the importance of having a record of times with our children and grandchildren.

Thank you to the author and Lone Star Book Blog Tours for providing me a print ARC in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.  



Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of thirty novels. In addition to his two Western Writers of America Spurs, he received the 2018 Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Western Humor for Bluster's Last Stand, the fourth volume in his comic western series, The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax. Two other books in that series were Spur finalists. His comic western The Fleecing of Fort Griffin received the Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association for best creative work on the region.
-----------------------
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
1ST PRIZE
Book signed by P-Pa (the author), Mema, and The Grands
2ND PRIZE
Book signed by the author
AUGUST 4-14, 2020
(US ONLY)




CLICK TO VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY.
Or, visit the blogs directly:

8/4/20
Review
8/5/20
Author Interview
8/6/20
Notable Quotables
8/7/20
Review
8/8/20
Top Tips & Fails
8/9/20
Playlist
8/10/20
Review
8/11/20
Scrapbook Page
8/12/20
Review
8/13/20
Review


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Friday, August 7, 2020

Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy ~ Book Blog Tour Book Trailer and Giveaway!


Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy
by Ruthy Ballard
Genre: Fiction  
Pages: 260 pages
Categories: Middle Grade (Ages 8-12) / Fantasy and Magic
Publisher: WhipSmart Books
Release date: June 16, 2020 (ebook); October 1, 2020 (print)
Content Rating: G
Join us for this tour from August 3 to August 14, 2020!

Book Description:


Frankie Russo doesn’t brood about the past or worry about the future. He lives in the present moment, frolicking in a world of make-believe that drives his high-achieving parents crazy. They have lofty ambitions for him, but Frankie has no interest. He prefers to flip helium burgers on Jupiter or rule a kingdom of mermen in the Caspian Sea, up inside his head, where all the fun is. Frankie’s parents nag him endlessly, worried he’ll come to nothing. But all that changes when he disappears through a mysterious crack in his bedroom ceiling and finds himself on a distant, two-mooned planet called Urth. Why was he drawn there? He doesn’t know, but as he embarks on a delightful, mind-blowing adventure, Frankie’s desperate parents think he’s been abducted, and an innocent man is

arrested and charged with the crime! On the surface, Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy is a lighthearted science-rich adventure story that takes its middle grade readers on an entertaining romp to the other side of the galaxy. But the undercurrent is one of discovery and redemption, where a ten-year-old boy, through an unexpected journey, finds a way to escape his parent’s stifling shadow and emerge into a future of his own choosing.


Buy the Book on Amazon
Add to Goodreads





Meet the Author:
Ruthy Ballard is a children's book author, artist, and scientist who lives in Sacramento, California. By day, she’s “Dr. Ruth Ballard,” a professor and forensic DNA expert. By night, she romps in an imaginative playground of colors and words. 

Ruthy is the author of Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy and Tales by Moons-Light: Stories from Before the Great Melt. She is currently working on the third book in her Tales by Moons-light series: Elvia and the Gift of Passion

Her entertaining stories lure middle grade readers into science, but her creative ventures don’t stop there. She’s also a folk artist whose colorful "cartoons" delight and inspire both children and adults.

Ruthy is married to a musician and is the mother of two sons, three cats, and a Samoyed dog named Mush, all of whom appear in her work, in various guises, from time to time. 
connect with author:  website facebook goodreads


Enter the Giveaway
Win 1 of 3 eBooks of Ruthie Ballard's 
FRANKIE AND THE GIFT OF FANTASY
(ends 8/21)




Tour Schedule:
Aug 3 – Splashes of Joy – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 3 - Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 4 – Book Paradise – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 4 - Pick a Good Book – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 5 – Books, Tea, Healthy Me – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 5 - Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 6 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 7 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 7 - Hall Ways Blog – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 7 - Writer with Wanderlust – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 10 – The Book View – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 11 – Pen Possessed – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 11 - The Bespectacled Mother – book spotlight
Aug 12 – Sarah Says – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 13 – Haddie's Haven – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 13 - Reading Authors Network – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 13 - Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 14 – Adventurous Bookworm – book spotlight / giveaway