Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Light from Distant Stars ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Excerpt, Book Trailer, & Giveaway!

LIGHT FROM DISTANT STARS
by
SHAWN SMUCKER

Genre: Christian Fiction / Magical Realism / Rural Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 16, 2019
Number of Pages: 400
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When Cohen Marah steps over his father's body in the basement embalming room of the family's funeral home, he has no idea that he is stepping into a labyrinth of memory.

Over the next week, Cohen's childhood comes back in living color. The dramatic events that led to his parents' separation. The accident Cohen witnessed and the traumatic images he couldn't unsee. And the two children in the forest who became his friends--and enlisted him in a dark and dangerous undertaking. As the lines blur between what was real and what was imaginary, Cohen is faced with the question he's been avoiding:

Is he responsible for his father's death?

Master story weaver Shawn Smucker relays a tale both eerie and enchanting, one that will have you questioning reality and reaching out for what is true, good, and genuine.


CLICK TO PURCHASE



Chapter One of
Light from Distant Stars
By Shawn Smucker

PART ONE
Monday, March 16, 2015

Darkness was upon the face of the deep.
Genesis 1:2

one
The Body

Cohen Marah clears his throat quietly, more out of discomfort than the presence of any particular thing that needs clearing, and attempts to step over the body for a second time. His heel no more than lightens its weight on the earth before he puts his foot back down and sighs. He tilts his head and purses his lips, as if preparing to give a talk to an unruly child. He does not take his hands out of his pockets, worried that he will taint the scene, which in the next moment he realizes is ridiculous. This is where he works. This is where he works with his father, Calvin. His fingerprints are everywhere.

He stares down at the body again, and sadness keeps him leaning to one side. It’s the physical weight of emotion, and that weight is not centered inside of him but skewed, imbalanced. It is not his father’s slightly opened eyes looking up at him from the floor that bring down the heaviness, and it is not his father’s cleanly shaven cheeks, haggard and old. It is not the way the tangled arms rest on his chest, or the way his one leg is still bent and propped up against the examination table.

No, the thing that weighs Cohen down is the shiny baldness of his father’s head, the way the light reflects from it the same way it did when he was alive. The light should dim, he thinks. It should flatten out, and the glare should fade. There should be no light, not anymore.




Shawn Smucker is the author of the young adult novels The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There, as well as the memoir Once We Were Strangers. He lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.



GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

GRAND PRIZE
Copy of Light from Distant Stars
+ Look to the Stars 8”x5” Journal + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card; 
2ND PRIZE
Copy of Light from Distant Stars + Personal Library Kit; 
3RD PRIZE
Copy of Light from Distant Stars + $10 Starbucks Gift Card. 
July 17-27, 2019
(US ONLY)
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
7/17/19
BONUS post
7/17/19
Excerpt
7/18/19
Review
7/19/19
Excerpt
7/20/19
Review
7/21/19
Playlist
7/22/19
Review
7/23/19
Author Interview
7/23/19
BONUS Review
7/24/19
Top Five
7/25/19
Review
7/26/19
Review


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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Chasing Hope ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Book Trailer, & Giveaway!

CHASING HOPE
by
DANA WAYNE

  Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Book Liftoff
Date of Publication: June 10, 2019
Number of Pages: 295

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Max Logan longs for the joys of home and family he missed growing up in foster care. He fills that emotional void by becoming a kick-ass Marine, and for eighteen years, led his band of brothers from one hell-hole to another…until the one that nearly destroyed him. Sixteen months of therapy and rehab put his body back together, but some wounds can’t be seen. Some can’t be healed.

Skylar Ward dreams of a life that includes someone beside her. Someone to share her life with, to be a father to her young daughter. But if she learned anything from her failed marriage it was that you don’t rush into a relationship. Options in her small town are limited, and those who approach her lack appeal. Only Max Logan sparks her interest. But the handsome, brooding war hero remains aloof.

Intelligent and intuitive, seven-year-old Maddie overhears a neighbor tell her mother she needs a male companion, so she Google's it to see what it means. Convinced her mom needs a boyfriend and Max needs a girlfriend, Maddie sets out to make it happen. He needs a family. They need him. If she can make them see that.

Can one precocious child be the catalyst that heals a wounded warrior’s soul and brings joy back into her mom’s heart?

Or will ashes of the past bury hope once and for all?

PRAISE FOR CHASING HOPE: 
"The pace was fast, the love was simple yet energetic, and the dialogues were lively enough to make me want to know more about the characters. To say that I loved this novel is not enough! Absolutely beautiful. It deserves these 5 stars." – Readers’ Favorite

"I could not put Chasing Hope down! From the first few sentences, I was hooked and read over half of it the first night finishing it the following night. The main characters, Sky and Max, intrigued me right off the bat but feisty little Maddie wormed her way into my heart immediately! What a breath of fresh air." - Mary McCormack, ARC reader
>>eBOOK DEAL! $1.99 JULY 9-20, 2019<<
CLICK TO PURCHASE
AMAZON       more links: BOOKS2READ

Dana Wayne is an award-winning author and 6th generation Texan. She resides in East Texas with her husband (and biggest fan) along with a Calico cat named Katie, three children, and four grandchildren. She routinely speaks to books clubs, services organizations, writers’ groups, and other organizations on writing and publishing, and is a frequent guest on numerous writing blogs. 

"I grew up listening to my father read passages from the stack of paperback westerns beside his chair. I was fascinated at how someone could paint a picture with words so vivid, I saw it in my mind. That's when I knew that one day I would be a writer. It wasn't until I retired in late 2013 that I was able to devote the necessary time to achieving my goal. I published my first book in 2016 and never looked back. My stories are heartwarming, a little spicy, and all about the romance because I believe romance is more about emotion than sex, and the journey is more important than the destination."

A staunch supporter of new authors, she is a member of Romance Writers of America, Texas Association of Authors, and Writers League of Texas as well as several local writers' groups.

WEBSITE   FACEBOOK    
TWITTER   INSTAGRAM   EMAIL
 GOODREADS    VIMEO


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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
FIRST PRIZE:  Signed Copy of Chasing Hope 
+ Swag bag including fan, tote bag, and throw blanket; 
SECOND PRIZE: eBook Copy of Chasing Hope
+ $10 Amazon Gift Card
THIRD PRIZE: eBook Copy of Chasing Hope
+ $5 Amazon Gift Card
(US Only)
  July 9-19, 2019
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
7/9/19
Notable Quotable
7/9/19
Notable Quotable
7/9/19
BONUS post
7/10/19
Review
7/11/19
Excerpt
7/11/19
Excerpt
7/12/19
Review
7/13/19
Review
7/13/19
Character Interview
7/14/19
Author Interview
7/15/19
Review
7/15/19
Review
7/16/19
Teaser
7/16/19
Teaser
7/17/19
Review
7/18/19
Review



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Monday, July 1, 2019

Emperors of the Deep ~ Book Blog Tour Spotlight & Giveaway!


EMPERORS OF THE DEEP
by William McKeever
Adult Non-Fiction, 320 pages
Environment, Ocean Wildlife, Marine Life
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release date: June 25, 2019
Content Rating: PG-13 + M
(Intense underwater moments and descriptions of interactions
with sharks both in diver and hunting situation)


BOOK DESCRIPTION:  In this remarkable groundbreaking book, a documentarian and conservationist, determined to dispel misplaced fear and correct common misconceptions, explores in-depth the secret lives of sharks—magnificent creatures who play an integral part in maintaining the health of the world’s oceans and ultimately the planet.

From the Jaws blockbusters to Shark Week, we are conditioned to see sharks as terrifying cold-blooded underwater predators. But as Safeguard the Seas founder William McKeever reveals, sharks are evolutionary marvels essential to maintaining a balanced ecosystem. We can learn much from sharks, he argues, and our knowledge about them continues to grow. The first book to reveal in full the hidden lives of sharks, Emperors of the Deep examines four species — mako, tiger, hammerhead, and great white — as never before, and includes fascinating details such as:

  • Sharks are 50-million years older than trees;
  • Sharks have survived five extinction level events, including the one that killed off the dinosaurs;
  • Sharks have electroreception, a sixth-sense that lets them pick up on electric fields generated by living things;
  • Sharks can dive 4,000 feet below the surface;
  • Sharks account for only 6 human fatalities per year, while humans kill 100 million sharks per year.

McKeever goes back through time to probe the shark’s prehistoric secrets and how it has become the world’s most feared and most misunderstood predator. He takes us on a pulse-pounding tour around the world and deep under the water’s surface, from the frigid waters of the Arctic Circle to the coral reefs of the tropical Central Pacific, to see sharks up close in their natural habitat. He also interviews ecologists, conservationists, and world-renowned shark experts, including the founders of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior, the head of the Massachusetts Shark Research Program, and the self-professed “last great shark hunter.”

At once a deep-dive into the misunderstood world of sharks and an urgent call to protect them, Emperors of the Deep celebrates this wild species that holds the key to unlocking the mysteries of the ocean — if we can prevent their extinction from climate change and human hunters.

BUY THE BOOK:
WATCH THE TRAILER:
CLICK TO VIEW ON VIMEO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Photo Credit: Debra Somerville
William McKeever is a writer and documentary filmmaker. He is the founder of Safeguard the Seas, an NGO dedicated to ocean conservation. He is the producer and director of the forthcoming feature-length documentary Man Bites Shark.

Connect with the author: 


Enter the Giveaway!
ONE COPY OF EMPERORS OF THE DEEP
US only. Ends July 20, 2019






Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Lilac Code ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Review & Giveaway!

 THE LILAC CODE 
by
BECKI WILLIS
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Romance / Women Sleuths
Publisher: Clear Creek Publishing
Date of Publication: June 25, 2018
Number of Pages: 262

Scroll down for giveaway!


Named 2019 Best Women’s Detective Fiction, Texas Association of Authors

Will a case of mistaken identity be the death of her?

Madison Reynolds is looking forward to a few days of rest and relaxation. Her best friend Genny is judging a celebrity bake-off near DC, so it’s the perfect opportunity for a girls' getaway. With fun-loving Granny Bert in tow, the trio heads to the very heart of the Intel community. Deep in alphabet soup territory—surrounded by CIA, NSA, FBI and more—it takes only moments for things to go awry.

A mix-up at the airport leaves Madison with the wrong luggage, and a last-minute change in accommodations lands them at The Columbia Inn at Peralynna. How can they know its ties to the spy world will soon spin them into its web?

Designed as a CIA safe house, the inn has a fascinating history. When it seems a mysterious man in a dark coat is following her, Madison scoffs at her over-action imagination. She’s listened to too many spy tales, spun by the innkeeper herself. The stories of espionage and agents are intriguing, but too incredible to be real. The Texans know nothing about secret codes and counterintelligence. They’ve never heard of The Lilac Code, or the illusive agent-for-hire known simply as Kalypso.

Back home in The Sisters, a drama is unfolding that involves Madison’s precious twins. She’s raised them to do the right thing, no matter the consequence, but will their quest for justice put them in danger?

Thrust into impossible situations of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the twins risk everything to save their school, while deep in spy territory, Madison and Genny race against the clock—and the elements—to save Granny Bert’s life.

The award-winning The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series continues in this exciting Book 7. This is a stand-alone book but best when enjoyed as part of the full series experience.






HALL WAYS REVIEW: I make no secret that most of the time, what most entices me to read a book is its cover. (Because of my cover snobbery, I have missed or delayed reading some great stories.) From the time The Lilac Code had its cover reveal last year, I wanted to read it. The cover evokes mystery and a little danger and has an air of creepy to it that drew me right in. Alas, as the seventh book in a series that I hadn’t started, I thought the love affair with The Lilac Code ended with the cover. (I mean, who doesn’t start a series with book one and read a series in order? Is this even allowed?)

As luck would have it, Ms. Willis opted to bring the whole dang series to Lone Star for a Reviewapalooza to celebrate book eight’s publication. Since I have some influence *cough* with the book blog tours, I ended-up being assigned The Lilac Code for my stop on the tour. I was required to break book law and jump-in without reading the prior six books. Sometimes we have to do the tough stuff in life.

In The Lilac Code, the mystery stands alone and we learn a lot about the characters and their lives to this point as the stories unfold. Yes, stories, plural, as there are two complete storylines happening in The Lilac Code: one outside of Washington DC, the other in The Sisters, Texas. Author Becky Willis does a great job at getting readers up-to-speed by bringing in prior books’ events and characters in an organic way. But be warned: learning about all the adventures and escapades also piques the reader’s interest in learning more, so if you plan on reading this one, clear your schedule to read seven more books (six prior, one after). Hmmm. Maybe it IS a big deal jumping in at book seven.

For those concerned about leaving Texas to spend time in DC, don’t. With a high interest secondary plot happening in The Sisters, readers get a taste of the small-town Texas vibe, the tightly-knit community, and the colorful characters. It’s enough to satisfy but also enough to make a reader yearn for more.  Fortunately, in exchange for giving up some Texas time, what readers get is the very cool, and very real Columbia Inn at Peralynna, around which the mystery unfolds. Willis does an excellent job of casting the air of suspicion upon all aspects of the lodging and the people found there and does well in describing the myriad twists and turns contained within this place. (I’ve got to visit.) The “Note from the Author” at the end of the story gives more information about how this place came to be the setting of her book – and an interesting tidbit about the origin of one of the characters.

The book needs more proofreading to clean-up some SPAG errors, and at times, the characters veer into making political statements that may fit their viewpoints but don’t feel authentic and come off forced. However, those few shortcomings aren’t enough to negate the terrific tale that Becki Willis tells. Willis’s strengths are in writing believable dialogue and realistic characters to whom readers can relate. This story, and my guess is all of the books in the series, is character driven. At the end, it feels like you’ve spent time with good friends – and yeah, dodged some enemies.

Laced with intrigue, humor, and a dash of romance, I highly recommend The Lilac Code – and I don’t think I’m really going out on a limb to say the whole The Sisters, Texas series.  Spending time within these pages was time happily spent, and I can’t wait to read book eight, Wildflower Wedding and THEN go back and start with book one, Chicken Scratch, moving forward from there.

Thank you to the author and Lone Star Book Blog Tours for providing me an eBook copy – which I didn’t read. Instead, I bought my own print copy (THAT COVER) to have and to hold and to read! No regrets. In exchange, I share my honest opinion – the only kind I give.





Becki Willis, best known for her popular The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series and Forgotten Boxes, always dreamed of being an author. In November of '13, that dream became a reality. 

Since that time, she has published numerous books, won first place honors for Best Mystery Series, Best Suspense Fiction, Best Women’s Detective Fiction, and Best Audio Book, won the 2018 RONE Award for Paranormal Fiction, and has introduced her imaginary friends to readers around the world. 

An avid history buff, Becki likes to poke around in old places and learn about the past. Other addictions include reading, writing, junking, unraveling a good mystery, and coffee. She loves to travel but believes coming home to her family and her Texas ranch is the best part of any trip. Becki is a member of the Association of Texas Authors, Writer’s League of Texas, Sisters in Crime, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Brazos Writers organization. She attended Texas A&M University and majored in Journalism.

Connect with Becki below. She loves to hear from readers and encourages feedback!


-------------------------------------
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GRAND PRIZE: Signed Copy of Wildflower Wedding + $20 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card
June 20-30, 2019
(U.S. Only) 

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

6/20/19
Chicken Scratch, #1
6/20/19
When the Stars Fall, #2
6/21/19
Stipulations & Complications, #3
6/22/19
Home Again: Starting Over, #4
6/23/19
Genny’s Ballad, #5
6/24/19
Christmas in The Sisters, #6
6/25/19
The Lilac Code, #7
6/26/19
Wildflower Wedding, #8
6/26/19
Wildflower Wedding, #8
6/26/19
BONUS Chicken Scratch
6/27/19
Wildflower Wedding, #8
6/27/19
Wildflower Wedding, #8
6/27/19
BONUS When the Stars Fall, #2
6/28/19
Wildflower Wedding, #8
6/28/19
Wildflower Wedding, #8
6/28/19
BONUS Stipulations & Complications, #3
6/29/19
Wildflower Wedding, #8
6/29/19
Wildflower Wedding, #8
6/29/19
BONUS Chicken Scratch
6/30/19
BONUS When the Stars Fall





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