Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Switchback by Pamela Fagan Hutchins (Patrick Flint, #1)

Audible Audiobook
Author & Narrator: Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Listening Length: 7 hours and 56 minutes
Audio Publisher: Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Print Publisher: SkipJack Publishing
Audible.com Release Date: November 5, 2019

ABOUT THE BOOK: All Patrick Flint wants is a peaceful getaway in the Wyoming mountains for his rare days off. He’s grown weary of the bicentennial celebrations, the angry families of patients, the rash of campers coming down from the mountains high on speed, and the midnight call-outs to cover for the town veterinarian. When his wife Susanne balks at the trip just as they’re walking out the door—leaving him to go it alone with his lovestruck teenage daughter Trish and eager-but-adolescent son Perry—Patrick is wounded but determined, despite the news of a murderer escaping custody on the other side of the mountains.

After two days of rain-soaked horseback riding to hunt and fish, Patrick’s gotten nothing but weird encounters, wet socks, and a whiny daughter. So, on the third day, when Trish begs to stay behind at their campsite to read, Patrick is secretly relieved.

Meanwhile back in town, Susanne’s had a rough time of it herself. A break-in, a wreck, and a premonition that something is terribly wrong with her family. Unable to ignore her growing fears, she enlists the help of a Wyoming-tough neighbor, and the two women make for the mountains.

When Patrick and Perry return to camp, Trish has vanished, along with the horses, the truck, and the trailer. Clues point in opposite directions. Did she run off with the boy whose note Patrick found at the camp? Or was she taken—as the tire marks over their destroyed tent suggest? Whichever it was, the tracks lead into the mountains, not out of them. With help too far away to make it before Trish’s trail is washed away, Patrick and Perry embark on a desperate trek into the wilderness to find her, with Susanne not far behind them.


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HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio Book Review: SWITCHBACK is the first book in the new Patrick Flint series by Pamela Fagan Hutchins, and it's the first book I have heard the author narrate. High marks for both in this edge-of-your-seat story that drops one conflict after another to keep readers trapped inside the pages. 

"Wyoming out-wested Texas and then some."

Man vs Man, Woman vs Man, (Wo)Man vs Nature, (Wo)Man vs Self - readers get it all with the picturesque but deadly backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. As if that setting isn't enough, the year is 1976, which adds another level of complication for Patrick and his kids as they go to camp and hunt -- and things go terribly awry. No GPS, cell phones, or technology to help in a pinch. (but CB radios! YAAASSS!)

"He sure as shootin' didn't want his daughter doing it." 

Hutchins's writing is at its best in how she fleshes out the characters to love and loathe in an action packed adventure that has high tension and a high body count to match. I am very much looking forward to the next installment, SNAKE OIL, coming in January 2020.

I won a download code in the author's fun and fabulous Facebook book launch party.  There were no strings attached, but all the same, I am sharing my honest review -- the only kind I give. (And the right thing to do when you read a great book.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Singapore Fling ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Feature & Giveaway!

Carpe Diem Chronicles, #2

Contemporary Romance / Multicultural 
Publisher: EOT Publications
Date of Publication: October 21, 2019
Number of Pages: 267

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One alluring French-Filipina beauty. One sexy US Air Force officer. One torrid weekend affair.

Maddie Duvall should be living it up at her challenging new job in glamorous Singapore. But two months after her wild weekend with Aidan Ryan, she’s still yearning for him. She craves the passion only he can ignite in her.

Aidan’s job takes him around the world, yet he can’t get Maddie out of his mind. When he returns to his assignment in Singapore, he seeks her out with a proposition she can’t turn down.

Intensely enamored with one another, their relationship takes off. But when Aidan’s mission exposes treachery by someone close to Maddie, lines blur and wires get crossed. Can their growing love survive the intrigue?

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.


“This second full-length volume in her Carpe Diem Chronicles is sexy, quick to read, and full of well-rounded, interesting characters. Family ties and female friendship add to the depth of the world and make you want more books.” ~ Catherine Stein, Award-winning Author of How to Seduce a Spy

“This book was great. Everything from the well-rounded characters to the interesting foods and exciting locale drew me in as a reader. I could clearly picture, hear, and smell/taste the story. The plot was perfect and the romance had just the right amount of intrigue and crisis. ~ Danielle Bellwood, Author of Daring (The Candomble Book 1)

“This book is a great deal of fun and the hero and heroine are both likable and realistic people. As usual, Malby’s writing shines best when writing about Singapore, particularly the culture and the FOOD!! ~ Gena Gilliam, Amazon Reviewer

Universal Link

Maida Malby writes, reads, reviews, and lives Romance. Through her multicultural contemporary romance stories, she takes readers on trips to her favorite places in the world and shares her experiences of their rich cultural heritage.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA), Cultural, Interracial, Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (CIMRWA), and several romance book clubs. Her To-Be-Read Mountain and reviews of romance novels are featured on her website.

When not writing, reading, or reviewing books, Maida consults her husband on word selection, debates with her ten-year-old son regarding the Oxford comma, cooks the dishes she features in her stories, procrastibakes using Baileys as her secret yummy ingredient, and watches golf and food shows on TV.

1ST PRIZE (US only)
Kindle Fire 7 + Signed Copy of Singapore Fling
2ND PRIZE (US only)
Signed copies of Boracay Vows and Singapore Fling + charm bracelet
3RD PRIZE (US only)
Signed copy of Singapore Fling + spice paste packets (Hainanese Chicken Rice and Laksa)
4TH PRIZE (international)
 eBooks of all three books in the Carpe Diem Chronicles series
NOVEMBER 12-22, 2019

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Monday, November 11, 2019

My Daughter's Keeper ~ Book Blog Tour Quick Q&A and Giveaway!

By Mark Winkler
Adult Non-Fiction / Memoir
Publisher: Journey Press
Pages: 140
Publication Date: June, 2019
Content Rating: PG + M 
(Rated PG+M for mature themes, but there is no bad language.)

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BOOK DESCRIPTION: My Daughter’s Keeper is the compelling story of a father’s journey to strive against mounting odds to be present in his daughter’s life. The story reveals the complexities of parenting as the author wrestles with his past to face self-imposed challenges in order to transition from a man given to selfish leanings to an open-hearted and dutiful father.

My Daughter’s Keeper tugs on the heartstrings of any parent who has endured the pain and challenges of co-parenting, custody disputes, or separated families. Written with accountability and compassion, this book has been crafted to challenge readers to consider the ways our circumstances, including the painful ones, set us up to develop into better versions of ourselves.


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What are three tips for single parents?

1. Develop and cultivate a strong support base. This includes family and friends. Most single parents do not access their tribe as much as they should. As the adage goes, it takes a village. I subscribe to that philosophy.

2. If the other parent is available, do not alienate that parent – unless that parent is violent. Raising children requires a great deal of energy and time, and if the other parent is available and willing to share the parenting experience, let it happen. This action will allow you to re-energize and allow your child fair and balanced time with both parents.

3. Make time for yourself without feeling guilty. While the child is away with the other parent (if this happens), use that time to pamper yourself, binge that TV show, go to the gym, or whatever you like. If there is no other parent, no shared custody, utilize your support group – your tribe. 

Do you think fathers’ and mothers’ roles are changing in the family?

Historically the father’s role was the provider, protector, and chief disciplinarian. The mother was seen and expected to be the caretaker of the home and children. For many years, these roles were concrete. Little deviation occurred. Recently, the lines separating these roles have faded and parental responsibilities have started to blend and change. The number of stay-at-home dads has risen, and mothers, for years now, have greatly populated work and professional spaces. Unfortunately, women’s overall pay has not yet equaled their male counterparts.

Increasingly, fathers are starting to provide their children with emotional care and support. Years past, this would have most often not happened. However, as men start to break free from their “man box” self and societal imposed emotional prison, they are offering more emotional support to their loved ones. These changing parental roles have allowed children to start seeing the world as less restrictive and more inclusive. 

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Over the years, Mark Winkler has continuously moved towards his goal of  helping create a better world by motivating others. His passionate advocacy for families and children eventually led to the co-founding of  Manhood Camp, which was established to provide life-skills programs and  community engagement opportunities for young men in the Los Angeles area. Recently, Manhood Camp started working directly with fathers via its monthly support group, Fatherhood Circle. 

Winkler holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and has been working in the community advocacy  field for more than a decade. His organization's event, Choose Peace: A  Community Celebration and Information Fair, brought together over twenty-six community organizations and received a special appearance and congratulatory speech by the Los Angeles city council president, Herb J. Wesson Jr.
Connect with the author:

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Ten Winners Receive Hardcover Copies!
Ends November 21, 2019
(Open Internationally)

Nov 4 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 5 – Character Madness and Musings – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 6 - Over Coffee Conversations – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 6 - b for bookreview – book spotlight / author interview
Nov 7 - Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 7 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 8 – On My Bookshelf – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 8 – The Clipped Nightingale – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 11 - Hall Ways Blog – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 12 - From the TBR Pile – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 12 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 13 - Bookmark and fork – book spotlight / author interview
Nov 15 – The Book Tower – book spotlight

Friday, November 8, 2019

Cradle to Grave ~ Audio Book Blog Tour Review & Giveaway!

A Detective Kay Hunter Novel, #8
Narrated by Alison Campbell
Length: 7 hours 56 minutes
Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 8
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Released: Oct. 15, 2019

When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer's morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man's identity and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child's belongings.

Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time - but they have no leads and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it's too late?

Cradle to Grave is the eighth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series by USA Today best-selling author Rachel Amphlett and perfect for listeners who love fast-paced murder mysteries.
Buy Links
Buy on Audible

Buy on iTunes

HALL WAYS BLOG: Audio Book Review.  It’s been a few months since I listened to a Detective Kay Hunter series book, and as soon as I started listening, my spirits lifted. The books and the return of amazing narrator Alison Campbell feel comfortable and familiar. With Amphlett’s books, I know that I’m about to sink into an excellent and intricate police procedural novel, all delivered with the delightful British accent and charm that is such a treat for this Texan’s ears.

“The whole vista was one of Kentish idyll - except for the body underneath the bridge where she stood.”

As is the norm in this series, in Cradle to Grave, we start off with a seemingly peaceful – and in this book, a particularly lovely – setting. Those familiar with the series won’t buy it, and the anxiety builds until the crime is revealed. The oh-so-perfect harmony and calm of the great outdoors and the horror of what it holds are a delicious contrast. While solving the murder quickly isn’t critical – the victim is dead, and there’s a process to figuring out why – Amphlett throws in a secondary, startling plot line that adds real urgency for the team to solve the crime. Readers will feel the desperation and the pages fly by as we watch the case unfold. And unfold it does! Then it twists, turns, and leaves us with our eyebrows raised and mouths open.

With each novel in this series, readers incrementally get to better know the core characters of Kay Hunter’s team. It’s a natural progression of a reader-character relationship, and I really enjoy it. In Cradle to Grave, readers hear more of investigators Gavin’s and Carris’s perspectives and continue to understand them a little better as their fears, quirks, and hopes come to light. Another relationship that continues to organically develop is that between Kay and her mother. While still tentative, it feels good to see them reconciling and getting closer, as a mother and daughter should. No book in this series would be complete without the presence of Kay’s husband Adam. LOVE HIM, though there’s just never enough of him (had to wait two hours for his first appearance). As usual, he amuses readers with his rescue animals and the ensuing antics.

“I can always rely on coffee later, if I need it.”

You may notice in reading this review that these novels rely on the same characters and mechanisms every time. Is it formulaic? Yes, but it’s not a bad thing. Readers know what to expect, and Amphlett delivers in aces. The comforting mugs of tea and coffee, the camaraderie and support within the team, the consummate British politeness – these all make the books a world that readers want to be in. While there is familiarity, Amphlett fills in the formula with enough unique, unexpected, and creative pieces that readers are fully engaged and delighted. (Was there a nod to Lewis Carroll in Cradle to Grave?)

ABOUT THE NARRATION: Alison Campbell has fully embraced the roles and voices of the characters in this series. Outstanding performances, all. Since Authors Direct was the listening platform, I was able to really tweak the speed to exactly where I wanted it – 1.1x! (Audible doesn’t allow such fine-tuning, but Authors Direct doesn't have a place to post reviews.). Campbell’s pacing is even, which makes it easy to listen at any speed. I did miss not hearing her performing a bad-guy voice. She excels in creepy-guy voice. I will hope for that to happen in the next Detective Kay Hunter book. (Fingers crossed there is one!)

Thank you to the author and Audiobookworm Productions for providing an audio code in exchange for my honest review – the only kind I give. Forgive any misspellings of character names – don’t know ‘em when I read with my ears.
I received this audio book as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Rachel Amphlett. The gifting of this audio book did not affect my opinion of it.

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.


Narrator Bio

Alison Campbell is an actress based in Bristol, U.K. She has lent her voice to 50+ audio books, cartoons, documentaries and dramas. She can be found treading the boards across the country, in everything from Shakespeare to hip hop kids adventures. On screen she has appeared in dramas and science documentaries, her most recent co star was a CGI elephant. She can also be found performing the Natural Theatre Company's award-winning surreal brand of interactive comedy around the globe.      Instagram



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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

A Texas Kind of Christmas ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Notable Quotable & Giveaway!

Celia Bonaduce, & Rachael Miles
Genre: Historical Fiction / Anthology / Holiday Romance
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Number of Pages: 336 pages

Scroll down for the giveaway!

It’s Christmas Eve, 1859, and everyone who’s anyone is headed to the glorious St. Nicholas Hotel for the most talked about ball of the season. It’s the kind of Texas night where anything can happen—even love . . . 

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas
To escape her stepmother’s plot to marry her off, Texas heiress Jacqueline Hartman spends Christmas Eve sharing a hideout with an accused bank robber. After a night in Nathaniel Ward’s arms, Jacqueline is certain she has met her match after all. But will his heartfelt promise of love lead to his demise at the hands of the law?

BIRDIE’S FLIGHT by Celia Bonaduce
Seamstress Birdie Flanagan gets the surprise of her life when she receives a beautiful gown—and a sudden invitation—for the ball of the season! Birdie creates a stir from the moment she arrives, capturing the eye of the dashing Captain Douglas Fairbanks. But will a secret from her past keep her from her long-awaited happily-ever-after?

SPIRIT OF TEXAS by  Rachael Miles
When lovely spinster Eugenie Charpentier makes a trip across the Texas frontier with former Texas Ranger Asher Graham, she dreams of an adventure, and the rough-and-tumble cowboy is happy to oblige. But both Eugenie and the rugged lawman are keeping secrets. Can they find each other—and love—on the dance floor at the Christmas ball?


Jodi Thomas is a New York Times bestselling author and fifth-generation Texan who sets many of her award-winning stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A multi-RITA Award winner and member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, she’s written over 50 novels with millions of copies in print. Her most recent releases are The Little Tea Shop on Main and her historical anthology, A Texas Kind of Christmas (Nov. 2019). The first book in her new series with Kensington, Breakfast at the Honey Creek CafĂ©, comes out May 2020. 

Celia Bonaduce, also the author of The Venice Beach Romances and the Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas series, has always had a love affair with houses. Her credits as a television field producer include such house-heavy hits as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; HGTV’s House Hunters and Tiny House Hunters. She lives in Santa Monica, CA, with her husband and dreams of one day traveling with him in their own tiny house. She can be found online www.CeliaBonaduce.com.

Rachael Miles is an acclaimed romance novelist and historian specializing in the 19th century, as well as a professor of literary history. A fifth-generation Texan and native of Dallas, she now lives and teaches in New York. Visit her online at www.RachaelMiles.com.

November 6-16, 2019

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