Thursday, December 14, 2017

Yonderings: Trails and Memories of the Big Bend ~ ~ Blog Tour & Review!

Trails and Memories 
of the Big Bend
Ben H. English
  Genre: Memoir / Travel / Texas
Publisher: TCU Press
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Date of Publication: November 17, 2017
Number of Pages: 221

It was a time before Terlingua Ranch, chili cook-offs, and when you could drive a hundred miles without seeing another vehicle or another person.  The year was 1961, and the tides of humanity that ebbed and flowed into the lower reaches of the Big Bend were at their historical nadir.  It was a vast, empty land spotted by isolated ranch headquarters, a national park with few visitors, and the many ruins of a past shrouded in legend, lore, and improbable truths. Six generations of Ben H. English’s family have called this enigmatic region home.  With his family headquartered at the old Lajitas Trading Post, he worked and lived on ranches and in places now little more than forgotten dots on yellowing maps.  He attended the one-room schoolhouse at Terlingua, prowled the banks of the Rio Grande, and crisscrossed the surrounding areas time and again on horseback and on foot.

Some fifty years later he writes about those years, revealing along the way the history and legends of the singular land he knows so well, separating fact from fiction, and bringing the reader into a world that few have experienced.  He also explores the lower Big Bend as it is found now, and the extraordinary vistas one can still discover just over the next rise.  


Amazon ▪ Barnes& Noble ▪ Indiebound 
▪ Texas Book Consortium 

HALL WAYS REVIEW: Coming soon!

An eighth-generation Texan, Ben H. English was raised mostly in the Lajitas-Terlingua area. An honors graduate of Angelo State University, he served in the United States Marine Corps for seven years, was a high school teacher, and retired after twenty-two years in the Texas Highway Patrol.  

Top Ten List
Author Video 1
Author Video 2
Scrapbook Page

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Baugh to Brady: The Evolution of the Forward Pass ~ ~ Blog Tour Promo


The Evolution of the Forward Pass
  Genre: Sports History / Football
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
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Date of Publication: December 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 296

There are three things that can happen when you throw a pass, and two of them are bad.   –Woody Hayes

The quarterback pass is one of the leading offensive components of today's National Football League and college football's top level of play. This was not always the case. In early American football, the strategy focused entirely on advancing the ball one running play at a time, with the player tucking the then-roundish ball on his hip and sprinting ahead until tackled by a swarm of defenders. The revolution that transformed the sport began in 1906, when passing was first legalized. The passing weapon made the game safer, altered strategy, turned the quarterback into a key offensive player, and made possible the high-scoring games of today.

Lew Freedman traces football's passing game from its inception to the present, telling the tale through the stories of the quarterbacks whose arms carried (and threw) the changes forward. Freedman relies especially on the biography of "Slingin' Sammy" Baugh--who hailed from Sweetwater, Texas--as a framework. Baugh, perhaps the greatest all-around football player in history, came along at just the right time to elevate the passing game to unprecedented importance in the eyes of the sports world.

Lew Freedman is a veteran newspaper sportswriter and experienced author of more than seventy-five books about sports as well as about Alaska. He spent seventeen years at the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska and has also worked for the Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer. Freedman is recipient of more than 250 journalism awards.

Author Interview
Audio Interview

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Monday, December 11, 2017

The Case of the Cursed Dodo ~ ~ Audio Book Promo, Audio Clip, & Review!

Author: Jake G. Panda
Narrators: Full Cast
Length: 2 hours 34 minutes
Publisher: Woolly Family Studios
Released: Oct. 3, 2016
Genre: Family Audio Drama

Listen up. If you're looking for trouble, you've found it. His name's Jake G. Panda and he's a wildlife investigator. This hard-boiled bear works at a flophouse for endangered critters called the Last Resort. He's the hotel snoop. The resident fuzz. It's his job to keep these unusual guests safe and outta harm's way.

This hilarious first installment of The Endangered Files is a wild and woolly mystery involving a missing guest, a green bird, and a bunch of double-crossing critters all hot on the trail of The Cursed Dodo. It's designed to introduce young listeners to the subject of endangered species in a fun and informative way.

So join this tough talking panda detective and a cast of endangered creatures on a globe-trotting audio adventure that will appeal to young and old alike.

HALL WAYS REVIEW:  The Case of the Cursed Dodo is engaging from the get-go.  The tone is set in the initial lines, where the narrator tells listeners that we are hearing the unfolding of a script of a long forgotten movie – of the jungle noir type, of course.

Kids and adults alike will love this action packed, hilarious story that feels like a Dick Tracy story, but with more cheesy jokes.  Author Jake Panda enjoys his plays-on-words and literary devices – and this book is pure gold for an English teacher to use in the classroom. A few examples of potential lessons:

“Bedouin Joe, a Bimini boa, sits in a booth behind glass.”
“The place was jumping like a tree frog on a trampoline.”
A “dizzy grizzly” says, “Any time, Honey,” and in response, our hero says, “I wish she wouldn’t call me that. It makes me feel all sticky; if there’s one thing I aint, it’s sweet.”

And of course, there’s the guaranteed laugh with a poop reference:

Jake pulls out his magnifying glass and examines a couple of round pellets on the ground. Jake recognizes the droppings. ‘Something must have scared the crap out of him.’”

This full cast narration is fabulous. The main narrator, Michael McConnohoie nails it with his timing and pacing and just the right dose of sarcasm. The numerous other voice actors carry off the accents and really bring life to critter characters of all shape, size, and color. A great addition is the well-placed sound effects that harken back to old time weekly radio serials. Older listeners will likely recognize some voices as nods to comedians and actors from back in the day, but kids will just laugh. It’s just a blast to listen to.

There are a lot of characters and a lot of action, so it’s super helpful that at the beginning of each chapter, there is a short recap of the prior chapter.  At just two and a half hours running time, The Case of the Cursed Dodo is long enough to give listeners plenty of entertainment, but short enough that kids won’t lose interest.

I highly recommend this audio book and look forward to more adventures from Jake the Panda, his friends, and of course, the bad guys – er, the bad critters – that make his life interesting.

Thank you to Audiobookworm Promotions for the free download in exchange for my honest review – the only kind I give. 

Jake G. Panda is a wildlife investigator. A hardboiled Winnie-the-Pooh. He likes bamboo and saving endangered animals. He is the author of The Endangered Files, a mystery series about his misadventures in the protection business.

His partner in crime, the fella who helps write these books because, let's be honest, it's not easy typing with big, clunky bear paws, resides somewhere in New England. He has written his fair share of stuff, mostly for the big screen. And some of it has actually been projected. He likes to keep a low profile and lets Jake do all the talking.

Dec. 10th:

Dec. 11th:
Hall Ways Blog

Dec. 12th:
Lynn's Romance Enthusiasm

Dec. 13th:
Bound 4 Escape

Dec. 14th:
Desert Rose Reviews

Dec. 15th:
The Book Addict’s Reviews

Dec. 16th:
Life as Freya
Notes from 'Round the Bend

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