Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Hitchin' Post and the Tornado Twistin' 4th of July Celebration ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Review & Giveaway!

and the Tornado Twistin'
4th of July Celebration
illustrated by Carolyn Altman
  Genre: Children's Picture Book / Western / Fantasy
Publisher: BookBaby
Date of Publication: September 28, 2018
Number of Pages: 50

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Hitchin’ Post, the cowboy jackrabbit, is back with an all new adventure on the 6Bs Ranch. 

Hitch’s brothers come to visit for the annual 4th of July rodeo and dance, but they get much more than a long-awaited visit with their brother. When a giant tornado threatens to cut their Independence Day celebration short, Hitchin’ Post, his brothers, and the rest of the cowboys have to work hard to save the ranch and the celebration. Hitchin’ Post shows that even though he is just a small jackrabbit, he has the courage it takes to bring everyone together to rebuild what the tornado destroyed. Because of old Hitch being a great leader, the 6Bs' 4th of July celebration will go on! 

This is the second book in the Hitchin’ Post series by Julie Barker, where Julie once again collaborates with her mother, artist Carolyn Altman, who provides the illustrations in this romping, stomping cowboy adventure!

Hitchin’ Post and the Tornado Twistin’ 4th of July Celebration is a brilliantly woven story with a strong plot that will easily entertain anyone. The illustrations by Carolyn Altman are fun and engaging, complementing the story. I love how Barker has written an interesting story that will teach kids how working together as a team makes the hard work a whole lot lighter and much more rewarding. – Readers’ Favorite, 5 STARS

HALL WAYS REVIEW: This is another adorable book in the Hitchin' Post series by Julie Barker with engaging illustrations from Carolyn Altman.  There are so many wonderful lessons about teamwork and community and family. And best of all, there's Hitch, the rabbit ranch hand! 

Kids will love the story and the accompanying artwork will keep them engaged and wanting more. And the story about a tornado hitting is a great way for parents to talk about the destructive side of Mother Nature without it being too scary.

The font for the text is bold and appealing, and Barker uses rhymes with age-appropriate vocabulary to carry the story forward.  The story could use another proofreading pass to clean up some minor SPAG errors and keep the author's structural choices parallel. 

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

Julie Barker is the author of Hitchin' Post, her debut children's storybook. With inspiration from her West Texas roots and being surrounded by the ranching heritage, Julie is fulfilling her dream of becoming a children's author. Along with the encouragement and beautiful illustrations from her mother and artist, Carolyn Altman, the story of Hitchin' Post the cowboy jackrabbit was born and is now officially a series. The second book, Hitchin' Post and the Tornado Twistin' 4th of July Celebration, was released September 2018.

Carolyn Altman is an artist and the illustrator of the Hitchin’ Post children’s book series, in which she collaborated with her daughter, Julie Barker, the author. Carolyn resides in Vernon, Texas, with her husband Stanley. They have two daughters and six grandchildren, all of whom live nearby. “Touch the Heart with Original Art” is Carolyn’s slogan, which she has used for the past 40 years as she creates lighthearted and inspiring art with subjects such as wildlife, horses, cattle, and cowboys, in hopes of helping to preserve this way of life for many years to come. 

The beginning of her art career consisted of using mostly oil and acrylic mediums, then Carolyn began creating baby memory books in which she incorporates her art into each page. Each baby memory book is personalized and truly a work of art in itself. Carolyn believes that her experiences throughout her life are what inspires her art. 

She has spent her life in West Texas surrounded by wide open spaces and the beauty of the farming and ranching heritage, and that way of life will always show up in her paintings and illustrations. Her latest creations include a series of angel paintings depicting what she deems most important in her life -- her faith. 


Author & Illustrator Signed Copy of Hitchin' Post and the Tornado Twistin’ 4th of July Celebration + $50 gift certificate to; 
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May 29-June 7, 2019
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Monday, May 27, 2019

Deep Cut ~ Audio Book Blog Tour Review & Giveaway!

Caribbean Dive Adventure, Volume 2
Written by & Narrated by Nick Sullivan
Publisher: Wild Yonder Press
Genre: Action-Adventure
Length: 7 hours 35 minutes
Release date: April 30, 2019

Sometimes, the brightest corners of the world can hold the darkest shadows.

Rising steeply from the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the Dutch island of Saba is a sleepy paradise, the mountainous slopes dotted with little red-and-white cottages and the seas teeming with life. But this little oasis has a less tranquil history, many of its inhabitants having descended from smugglers and pirates.

Boone Fischer and Emily Durand are eager to explore their new home, but their peaceful lives are about to be shattered, as one of history's most powerful hurricanes begins to form - and, as if that weren't enough, a savage evil has made its way ashore. In this sequel to the best seller Deep Shadow, Nick Sullivan brings listeners to another fascinating corner of the world and sends them into a swirl of action and adventure.

HALL WAYS REVIEW: 4.5 STARS. Audio book review. In Deep Cut, as in Deep Shadow, readers get to live vicariously through the adventures of main characters Boone Fischer and Emily Durand, this time with the stunning setting of the island of Saba in the Caribbean Ocean. Ahhhhhh. With the threats of the last book left behind, the bad guys beaten back, and a relationship that’s gone from flirty to full bloom, Boone and Emily have nothing to do but spend time between the sheets, or scuba diving, or at the beach bars enjoying adult beverages, right? WRONG.  While all of the above do happen, there’s something sinister lurking, and it will affect the lovers more than they can imagine.

Deep Cut picks up a week or so after their last adventure ended, and Emily and Boone have advanced their relationship a bit. What started in the Deep Shadow as a friendship with mutual admiration and some flirty business morphed quickly, but it’s especially clear that they are in love and committed, and they complement and balance each other. It feels natural and it works. While the book isn’t focused on the romance, it is integral to the primary plot, and author Nick Sullivan brings these two characters to life.

“You about to get maudlin? Shut your pie hole.”

Sullivan makes his characters feel familiar and authentic, and their personalities are clearly defined. Boone is mostly the practical, predictable guy, who has some extra sensory perception for when things are off. His internal monologue sheds light on this and shows his sometimes-humorous side.  Emily is more spontaneous, carefree, and charismatic, and her character brings much levity to the story. She and Boone both have sharp wits and are quick thinking and clever, and it serves each of them well whether the situations they find themselves in are on land or in the water.

Deep Cut rolls along casually most of the time with interesting island tidbits and a laid-back island vibe without a lot of action. Then, BAM! High drama, and the action kicks-in to high gear with threats from beast and man and even acts of God.

BEAST. Anyone who knows me knows I have a love/hate relationship with sharks. I’m terrified but fascinated, and so at the first mention of sharks – which of course are mentioned since the divers are IN THE SHARKS’ HOUSE – my heart rate quickened.  The scenes in the water are nerve-racking enough (um, sharks’ house) by definition, but Sullivan brings in his own diving knowledge and (possibly shark-y experience) to vividly describe the scenes. It is intense! As a side note, Sullivan also does a great job of slipping in the public service announcement of reminding readers that sharks aren’t evil and what generally motivates their behavior.

MAN. Ooooh, here is another place where Sullivan excels, both in his writing and narration. While the island of Saba does have a history of pirates and smugglers, the danger of the man-made kind is truly evil – the messed-up, off-balance, psychotic kind of evil that is riveting. Readers get to go inside the mind of The Servant, and that is a scary place to be especially when you listen to Sullivan’s narration of this character. His calm and controlled delivery is chilling and totally creepy.

GOD. Okay, maybe that’s too dramatic, but the backdrop of Hurricane Irma drawing ever closer to the island really ramped up the tension. Readers feel it coming and likely know the path of destruction the real Hurricane Irma left in the Caribbean. The dread of Irma’s arrival is palpable in the writing, and it perfectly parallels the dread of what’s surely coming when The Servant makes his next move.

ABOUT THE NARRATION: Nick Sullivan’s narration is on point in this second book of the series. He’s tamed the voice of Emily so that she sounds female (and not like a man voicing a female), and he’s captured her wry sense of humor and zest for life. He does a great job voicing all the characters and their unique accents and personalities and as mentioned, he nails the creepy factor in the voice of The Servant.  There are no audio/technology glitches and the pacing and delivery are even, though a bit slow for me, so I listened at 1.25x.

I recommend readers – wait for it – dive right in with Deep Cut. It stands alone and is a quick and exciting way to kick-off your summer reading and ignite your wanderlust. Don’t miss it! Meanwhile, I will anxiously await the next installment in the Caribbean Dive Adventures. After all, I am still waiting for Boone to find those dolphins.

Thank you to the author and Audiobookworm Productions for providing me an Audible download code in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. 

Born in East Tennessee, Nick has spent most of his adult life as an actor in New York City, working in theater, television, film, and audio books. After recording hundreds of books over the last twenty years he decided to write his own. Decades of scuba diving and travel inspired the Caribbean Dive Adventures. The first book in this series, the best-selling Deep Shadow, is set in the island of Bonaire. Deep Cut picks up on the little Dutch island of Saba. For more information on this series, visit

And for something completely different, visit to learn about his first novel, Zombie Bigfoot, which was #1 in Horror Comedy on Amazon.

Nick has been recording audiobooks since 1994 (starting on reel-to-reel) and has been listening to them even longer. He has narrated over four hundred fifty titles in nearly every genre.
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Deep Cut Giveaway: 1-Month Digital AudioFile Subscription

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Bonnie and Clyde: Radioactive ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Review Blitz & Giveaway!

Bonnie and Clyde #3
Genre: Historical / Alternative History / Romance 
Publisher:  Pumpjack Press on Facebook
Date of Publication: March 23, 2019
Number of Pages: 332

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Bonnie and Clyde: Defending the working class from a river of greed.
It’s January 1945, the height of World War Two. As the bloody conflict drags on, America has undertaken a massive top-secret effort to unleash the power of the atom and develop the first nuclear bomb. A network of Nazi and Soviet spies is determined to steal the technology, or failing that, sabotage the project. 

But first, they have to get past Bonnie and Clyde.

In a heart-pounding adventure spanning the windswept landscapes of eastern Washington to an isolated internment camp in the California mountains, Bonnie and Clyde face deception at every turn.

Can the former outlaws put aside their desire for revenge long enough to help end the war?

As in Resurrection Road and Dam Nation, the story cuts back and forth between 1984 where Royce, a washed-up investigative reporter, teams up with the now-elderly Bonnie Parker to hunt down the truth about their past, and the 1940s undercover exploits of the young Bonnie and Clyde.

And in Radioactive, Royce and Bonnie finally discover the devastating truth: Who Sal — the brains behind forcing Bonnie and Clyde into covert service defending the working class all those years ago — really was.

HALL WAYS REVIEW: From the beginning of the Bonnie and Clyde series, the hook for me has been “what if”? What if the notorious outlaws hadn’t died in a rain of bullets? What if they were whisked away and forced to use their unique skills to work for the US government, fighting for the good of the working class? And of course, the question persists about whether people who do so much bad can be redeemed.

Through the first two books in the series, Resurrection Road and Dam Nation, readers are taken into the speculative world of Bonnie and Clyde as government agents righting wrongs and saving the day. Readers, as well as Bonnie and Clyde, don’t know for whom, exactly, the couple is working, and that’s just one of the mysteries to be solved in book three, Radioactive.

“Trust is for fools and corpses.”

Radioactive resumes the story of Bonnie and Clyde (Brenda and Clarence Prentiss) ten years after the conclusion of Dam Nation. The couple is on assignment keeping watch and tracking the bad guys and gals – American, Russian, and German – who are attempting to interfere with the United States’s creation of the atomic bomb via the Manhattan Project.  As Bonnie and Clyde carefully narrow their field of suspects of who may be feeding secrets to the enemy, things only get more complicated, and it seems all characters have secrets and subplots of their own. Radioactive unfolds in alternating time periods, one in the '40s and the other in the '80s, both steaming ahead to different, satisfying climaxes and resolutions. Hays and McFall write a complex story, but they masterfully weave together a plethora of plot points to deliver a gangbuster tale.

“Stealing is one thing, but don’t get handsy
in the house of the Lord.”

One of the many facets that has endeared me to these books is the complicated personalities of Bonnie and Clyde. In Radioactive, the juxtaposition of the two sides of the main characters is further explored. I find it interesting to see where they draw the line for their behaviors. They are criminals at heart, but their hearts grow as they are exposed to a bigger world of greed and corruption than even they enjoyed in their outlaw heydays. There is a dichotomy in each of them; they show kindness and benevolence, have a strong sense of right and wrong, and demonstrate an intense patriotism. However, they aren’t above cheating and stealing and hurting their fellow man – or woman – if it doesn’t do much harm. I emphasize woman because the couple is all about equality in all things regardless of race, sex, or circumstance. (Oh except for the dirty communists. Rotten, all.)

Speaking of equality, it is Bonnie who is the brains of the duo, and her sharp brain and wit is used as a vehicle for some pretty serious social commentary ranging from racial inequality to gay rights to the 1%. Clyde is no dummy, but it is through Bonnie’s explanations to him that readers get both thinly veiled and blatant digs on our current administration and state of the world.  Clyde has some insightful observations himself, and the result is some short but sweet zingers that create levity when situations are tense or dismal. 

“You two go at it like river otters in heat.”

The couple is fiercely protective of and attracted to each other, and their sexual chemistry remains a focus in Radioactive, as in the other books. Their interludes provide another source of levity and distraction from the heavier themes. It borders on risqué, but the details of their escapades aren’t shared on the page. The couple’s ability to compartmentalize their lives and go from shoot-ups, hold-ups, or dire world situations to rolling in the sheets is impressive.

This was the first uncorrected proof I have read in the series but based on the final copies of the other two books, I feel confident that the final version will be finely proofread and cleanly edited. I will find out though; I intend to purchase my own final, print copy. This series is real eye-candy, outside and in. Imaginative, thought provoking, and just plain fun to read, Hays and McFall’s Bonnie and Clyde series is a must-read. I highly recommend it (and recommend it be read in sequence for maximum enjoyment). NOTE: the authors have indicated this is the last in the series, but the book ends in a way that leaves it open for more installments. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 

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

Clark and Kathleen wrote their first book together in 1999 as a test for marriage. They passed. 

Radioactive is their seventh co-authored book. 

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GRAND PRIZE: Signed copies of the full Bonnie and Clyde series
TWO WINNERS: Choice of print or eBook copy of Radioactive
May 23-June 1, 2019
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