Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Blind Trust ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Series Spotlight & Giveaway!


The SNAP Agency Trilogy, Book 3
Natalie Walters

Christian Fiction / Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: April 11, 2023
Number of Pages: 320 pages 

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Lyla Fox knows she has a reputation at the SNAP Agency for impulsivity, but when she receives a threatening letter from a man she helped put in prison, she can't stop herself from going all in to find out why he's coming after her. Unfortunately, she's going to need the help of the one person who questions her reckless choices more than anyone else. 

Explosives and weapons specialist Nicolás Garcia agrees to help Lyla in order to keep her safe, but her recklessness continues to be a major concern, especially when her investigation into a conspiracy puts a target on her back. Dealing with bombs is dangerous. Working with Lyla is proving to be just as treacherous--to both the mission and his heart.

Natalie Walters closes out her SNAP Agency series with a bang with this nail-biting story of a deadly government conspiracy, an unlikely couple, and an ending that will leave you breathless.
Click to Purchase!

Lights Out

CIA analyst Brynn Taylor developed a new program to combat terrorism, and she invited members of foreign intelligence agencies to America to foster cooperation between countries. Now one of them, Egyptian spy Remon Riad, is missing. She is forced to team up with an elite security team, the Strategic Neutralization and Protection Agency (SNAP), to find the missing spy. The only problem—she must work with her ex-boyfriend, Jack Hudson.


Jack has been working for SNAP for almost nine years and takes the lead in hunting down the missing spy. But he never imagined he’d be working with the woman who betrayed him.


Every lead they follow draws them dangerously deeper into an international plot. Kidnapping, murder, explosions, poisoning—the terrorists will do anything to accomplish their goal of causing a digital blackout that will blind a strategic US military communications center and throw the world into chaos.


Can Brynn surrender control to a man who doesn’t trust her? And is Jack willing to risk his heart to hunt down the only person who can stop the global terrorist attack?



Fatal Code

Aerospace engineer Elinor Mitchell knew her late grandfather as a brilliant man and scientist. She just never thought his research would put a target on her back some fifty years later.


When Elinor discovers an unfinished algorithm in one of her grandfather’s notebooks, her curiosity drives her to learn more. But as details about her grandfather’s involvement in an abandoned nuclear project come to light, so do the enemies who have been waiting in the shadows.


SNAP agent and former Navy cryptologist Kekoa Young is tracking a traitor. Tasked with monitoring Elinor’s activity, he must separate his feelings about his neighbor from his duty. When her place is ransacked, it’s apparent Elinor is more victim than perpetrator.


Someone is stealing top-secret information from an American defense company, and the stakes are climbing as high as the body count. Can Elinor and Kekoa protect the secrets of the Los Alamos Five in a deadly race for space domination?



Blind Trust

Lyla Fox has a reputation at the SNAP Agency for being impulsive, something she knows she needs to work on. But when a threatening letter arrives from someone from her past, she can’t stop herself from jumping into the deep end to uncover his motives. Unfortunately, she will need  to ask Nicolás Garcia for help—the one person who questions her reckless choices more than anyone else.


Nicolás is wary of Lyla’s tendency to run headfirst into danger and pushes back on her daring decisions. But the best way to protect Lyla is to work by her side, using his explosives and weapons expertise to keep the greatest dangers at bay. Despite his best efforts, Lyla’s involvement in the investigation puts a target on her back, one that even Nicolás may not be able to save her from. Dealing with bombs is dangerous, but working with Lyla is proving to be just as treacherous—to both the mission and his heart.


Join Natalie Walters for another thrilling mission where her characters face a threat unlike any they have experienced before and the action doesn’t stop until the very last page.


Natalie Walters is the author of Lights Out and Fatal Code, as well as the Harbored Secrets series. A military wife, she currently resides in Texas with her soldier husband and is the proud mom of three. She loves traveling, spending time with her family, and connecting with readers on social media. Photo credit Emilie Hendryx Haney.


All 3 books in the SNAP Agency series
(Lights Out, Fatal Code, Blind Trust)
+$25 Bookshop.org gift card.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 5/5/23)

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

A River of Crows ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Spotlight, Book Trailer, & Giveaway



Fiction / Suspense / Thriller / Revenge
Publisher: TouchPoint Press
Date of Publication: April 18, 2023
Number of Pages: 427 pages 

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In 1988, Sloan Hadfield’s brother Ridge went fishing with their father and never came home. Their father, a good-natured Vietnam veteran prone to violent outbursts, was arrested and charged with murder. Ridge’s body was never recovered, and Sloan’s mother— a brilliant ornithologist— slowly descended into madness, insisting her son was still alive.

Now twenty years later, Sloan’s life is unraveling. In the middle of a bitter divorce, she’s forced to return to her rural Texas hometown when her mother is discharged from a mental health facility.

Overwhelmed by memories and unanswered questions, Sloan returns to the last place her brother was seen all those years ago: Crow’s Nest Creek. There, she is shocked to hear a crow murmuring the same syllable over and over: Ridge, Ridge, Ridge.

When the body of another boy is found, Sloan begins to question what really happened to her brother all those years ago. What she discovers will shock her small community and turn her family upside down.

Shanessa Gluhm works as a librarian at an elementary school in New Mexico where she lives with her husband and children. It was during her own elementary days when a teacher encouraged Shanessa to share a story she wrote with the class. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

Her debut novel, Enemies of Doves was an IAN Book of the Year Finalist in the category of first novel, an NIEA Finalist for cross-genre fiction, and first place winner in the Chanticleer Clue Awards for mystery, suspense, and thriller fiction.

When Shanessa is not writing she enjoys birdwatching, reading, and watching true crime documentaries.

$20 Barnes and Noble gift card
+ eBook copy of A River of Crows
on winner’s preferred platform
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 4/28/23)

Monday, April 17, 2023

So Sorry for Your Loss ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Review & Giveaway!


Dina Gachman

Grief & Bereavement / Love & Loss / Parenting & Relationships
Publisher: Union Square & Co.
Page Count: 240 pages
Publication Date: April 11, 2023

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A heartfelt exploration about what it means to process grief, by a bestselling author and journalist whose experience with two devastating losses inspired her to bring comfort and understanding to others.

Since losing her mother to cancer in 2018 and her sister to alcoholism less than three years later, author and journalist Dina Gachman has dedicated herself to understanding what it means to grieve, healing after loss, and the ways we stay connected to those we miss. Through a mix of personal storytelling, reporting, and insight from experts and even moments of humor, Gachman gives readers a fresh take on grief and bereavement—whether the loss is a family member, beloved pet, or a romantic relationship. No one wants to join the grief club, since membership comes with zero perks, but So Sorry for Your Loss will make that initiation just a little less painful.

In the spirit of Elizabeth Kubler Ross books like On Grief and Grieving, or C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed, So Sorry for Your Loss is the perfect gift for someone who is grieving. With her blend of personal experiences, expert advice, and just a little bit of humor, Gachman has provided a compassionate and compelling resource for anyone looking for grief books.


Gachman perceptively puts words to the uncomfortable realities of loss…and deconstructs its social myths, helping readers feel less alone. Those facing loss will find solace here.” Publishers Weekly

So Sorry for Your Loss is a monument to the work of remembering and a testament to the immutable love of family and the grief that forever changes us.” —Lauren Hough, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing

So Sorry for Your Loss is a meditation on loss that reminds us how to go on living.” —Deirdre Fagan, author of Find a Place for Me and The Grief Eaters


“How do we manage anything other than grief
when we are in the depths of it?”

HALL WAYS AUDIO BOOK / PRINT COMBO REVIEW: When So Sorry for Your Loss: How I Learned to Live with Grief, and Other Grave Concerns popped up on my radar, I knew I had to read it given what’s happened in my own life in the past month, the past year, and even thirteen years ago: loss of a dear friend, loss of my daddy, loss of my sweet momma. But one of the great ironies of my bookish world is that I don’t really get to read very much. Fortunately for me, this book is available on audio, which I promptly purchased the day it published. And then for a couple of days, I was afraid to listen because the author, Dina Gachman, narrates the book. HOW?!

If you read the book description, you know what prompted her to write her book. Good Lord, I thought. How in the world will she get through this narration without crumbling and wrecking both of us? The good news is she doesn’t crumble; she delivers her story evenly and professionally, which is an amazing feat of narration for which I am so grateful. She kept it together, which made it easier for me to keep it together, even though she’s sharing experiences when she most definitely lost it. I can relate.

Gachman’s story is so relatable -- I wish it weren’t -- but I found myself nonstop nodding my head in agreement as she shared her perspectives, revelations, and experiences. Sure, my throat tightened, and my eyes started to sting more than a few times, but I also found myself laughing with her words because she’s right that sometimes that’s all you can do when your momma tells you she’ll haunt you if you don’t bury her with her wig on. (But SERIOUSLY.)

“Sometimes you just want them back,

whether they are no longer suffering or not.”

Throughout the book, Gachman switches from telling her personal stories to sharing facts and statistics and even self-diagnosis. This format helps a lot for readers who are feeling the gut-punch from the truth of her words. (Readers like me.) It helps when she frames or reframes emotions and emotional responses with the net result being a feeling of comfort, belonging, and sometimes even righteous indignation (Yeah, Dad lived into his 89th year, a long life. But that does NOT make me feel better that he’s gone. It’s no less painful because he was old.)

I needed this book right now, and I needed it in audiobook so I could experience it RIGHT NOW. But, it’s a book you need to read with your eyes, too, or you miss out on some exceptional parts. There are Suggested Resources and Notes sections that provide explanations and links for more information. In print, the book includes a lovely, evocative photo of the deceased's family taking a walk together.  And the audiobook references it, but it doesn’t give you the “Recipes That Temporarily Annihilate Feelings of Grief” section. Required reading, in my opinion, because it allows you to leave the book with a little more laughter and some great food ideas because as Gachman says, “Do not bring depressing foods like Melba toast, steamed broccoli, or blanched green beans with zero seasoning. Grief requires butter, salt, flavor, and a whole lot of love.”

I wrote down a page full of quotes that resonated with me, and I will certainly revisit them and their source, So Sorry for Your Loss, hearing Gachman’s voice as I re-read passages. Highly recommended.

Dina Gachman is a Pulitzer Center Grantee and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Vox, Texas Monthly, and more. She’s a New York Times bestselling ghostwriter and the author of Brokenomics: 50 Ways to Live the Dream on a Dime. She lives near Austin, Texas, with her husband and son. Photo credit Jessica Comiskey.

Three winners each receive a signed copy of
So Sorry for Your Loss
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 5/12/23)

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

The Gold Rose ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Spotlight & Giveaway!


Jodi Lea Stewart

Historical Fiction / WWII / Action & Drama / International Mystery
Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
Date of Publication: February 21, 2023
Number of Pages: 372 pages 

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Since the early 1940s, THE GOLD ROSE, a secret rescue agency with Asian origins, has used unique systems to ferret out and save victims in every corner of the world. Charlotte Hunt-Basse has faced dangerous and often deadly challenges in her decade as an agent with the agency, not the least of which was the past rescues of two of her assignments, Pinkie and Babe.

Two-year-old Pinkie is discovered abandoned on a dirt road during a violent storm. She is whisked off to Mexico by oil heir Clint Sutton and his girlfriend, Angelina, as they attempt to escape the lies of Clint's father's second wife. Three years later, Pinkie is stolen away to Argentina by an aging Romani. Pinkie suffers from the malice of her captor but wins the fatherly love of a Buenos Aires circus owner and his fiance. Shortly after landing in the crosshairs of THE GOLD ROSE, Pinkie's life takes two more shocking twists. When the agency locates Pinkie again, Agent Charlotte must throw all caution to the wind to rescue her.

Babe, the child of Texas-based missionaries, is hidden by two Chinese families during the Japanese invasion and ensuing Communist takeover of China. She is forced by the second family to live incognito as a "boy" for several years to save her from soldiers invading China from the North. Martial arts are banned, but the grandfather of the family teaches Babe Yǒng Chūn in deepest secrecy. The civil war escalates, and Babe finds herself on a dangerous quest for survival as she journeys alone through enemy territory toward the faintest hope of rescue.


Jodi Lea Stewart is a fiction author who centers her themes around the triumph of overcoming adversity through grit, humor, and hard-rock tenacity. Born in Texas and growing up in Arizona smelling cedar berries and cow pens on a large cattle ranch wedged between the Navajo Nation and the White Mountain Apache Tribe, most of her friends were Native American and Hispanic, with a few Anglos thrown in for good measure. On the ranch, she climbed petroglyph-etched boulders, sang to chickens, bounced two feet in the air in the backend of pickups wrestling through washed-out terracotta roads, and rode horseback on the winds of her imagination through the arroyos and mountains of the Arizona high country. Later, she left her studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love, and exactly what she didn’t want to do with her life. 

Moving back to her native Texas, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised three+ children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles, and served as managing editor of a Fortune 500 corporate newsletter. Her lifelong friendship with all shades of folks, cowpunchers, southern belles, intellectuals, and "outlaws" propels Jodi into writing comfortably about the Southwest, the South, and far beyond. She currently resides in Arizona with her husband, two wild and crazy Standard poodles, one rescue cat, her fun-loving ninety-plus-year-old mom, a never-be-still-four-year-old tornado, and numerous bossy houseplants.



Signed copy of The Gold Rose plus a custom Gold Rose laptop carrying case
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 4/21/23)

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Winning Maura's Heart ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Guest Post & Giveaway!

The Hangman’s Daughters Series, Book # 1

Western Romance / Clean & Wholesome / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Severn House
Date of Publication: March 7, 2023
Number of Pages: 256 pages 

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The Calhoun brothers are identical twins but on opposite sides of the law. Cutter is a deputy Marshal, Jonas an outlaw. When Cutter attempts to break his brother out of a notorious gang, they are shot, and Maura finds one of them wounded, close to the mission - but which brother is it?

Maura Taggart is an outcast, the daughter of a hangman and tainted by association - no reputable man wants her as his wife. And now she is homeless, along with her sister and the group of children in their care. Armed with pure grit, she finds a nearby mission where the nuns agree to take them in and set up an orphanage. But trouble is just around the corner . . .

As the stranger regains his strength under Maura's care an attraction between them grows, yet how far can she trust him? And why has he brought trouble to their door? With the orphanage under threat can Maura trust this handsome stranger both with their safety and with her heart?


Guest Post by Author Linda Broday
on writing Winning Maura’s Heart

“I lie awake and wonder what it might be like to kiss a man, to feel his arms holding me.”

At almost thirty, Maura Taggart had never been courted, been to a dance, or known a kiss. She’s lived the life of an outcast with her sister Emma due to their father’s profession as a hangman.

After tending the sick during a yellow fever epidemic, townsfolk run them out of town again but not before whacking off Emma’s hair. Also unwanted are the orphans left behind when their parents died. Determined to make something worthwhile of their lives, to matter to someone, they take the orphans with them and open an orphanage in an abandoned Spanish mission.

The children name it Heaven’s Door because they believe there is a doorway from the orphanage to heaven and their parents watch over them.

Shortly after they arrive, Maura discovers a man near death and they take him in, unsure if he’s an outlaw or lawman. When the mysterious stranger can speak, he says his name is Calhoun, refusing to give more.

The time spent tending him draws Maura closer to him. The soft-spoken man has kind ways and loves the little orphans.

"With a gentle finger, Calhoun lifted a strand of hair from her eyes. “Try to find someone else. There are hundreds of men better than me. I’m no good for you. Don’t you see? It’s better this way.”"

Who is he? Who shot him? Maura tries to figure it out while keeping her heart locked. She has to keep the children safe and she knows he’s brought trouble.

While writing this story, I did a lot of research and I found that not only were old West hangmen unwelcome once their job was done, but also their families. No one wanted them to live amongst them. Folks were quick to call for the hangman but once he’d dispensed of an outlaw, they wanted him gone.

In the old movies, he’s always alone. Rides in, doesn’t speak to anyone much, does his job and he rides away. I always wondered about their families. In the movies, they were never mentioned.

Even today, there is a real distaste for those who carry out capital punishment. For that reason, the executioner is never revealed. We don’t have a name or anything.

I wrote Winning Maura’s Heart in the vein of the movie Sommersby, where the mystery of Richard Gere’s character is kept hidden. In my story, the identity of Calhoun isn’t revealed until the end but it draws speculation all through the story.

Do you like stories where things aren’t straightforward? Or where certain characters’ true identities aren’t revealed until the very last? I hope you give this a try. Book Two – Courting Miss Emma – will release in November.

I'm a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of western romance novels and short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. On a still day, I can often hear the voices of American Indians, Comancheros, and early cowboys whispering in the breeze here on the high West Texas plains. We refer to this land as “cowboy” country and men here still ride the range just as cowboys of old. My stories focus on family life and almost all have children.


GRAND PRIZE: tote including signed copy of Winning Maura’s Heart, strawberry & chocolate tea, Cowgirl hand lotion, bath bombs, personalized cup;
2nd Prize: eBook copy Winning Maura’s Heart;
3rd Prize: $15 Amazon gift card
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 4/14/23)

Monday, April 3, 2023

Confessions of a Knight Errant ~ Lone Star Blog Tours Spotlight & Giveaway!

Gretchen McCullough

Humorous Fiction
Publisher: Cune Press
Page Count: 240 pages
Publication Date: October 18, 2022

Scroll down for a giveaway!

Confessions of a Knight Errant is a comedic, picaresque novel in the tradition of Don Quixote with a flamboyant cast of characters. 

Dr. Gary Watson is the picaro, a radical environmentalist and wannabe novelist who has been accused of masterminding a computer hack that wiped out the files of a major publishing company. His Sancho Panza is Kharalombos, a fat, gluttonous Greek dancing teacher, who is wanted by the secret police for cavorting with the daughter of the Big Man of Egypt. 

Self-preservation necessitates a hurried journey to the refuge of a girls’ camp in rural Texas. Then a body turns up nearby that is connected to Middle East antiquities, and they are on the run once more.


Gretchen McCullough was raised in Harlingen Texas. After graduating from Brown University in 1984, she taught in Egypt, Turkey, and Japan. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama and was awarded a teaching Fulbright to Syria from 1997-1999. 

Her stories, essays and reviews have appeared in The Barcelona Review, Archipelago, National Public Radio, Story South, Guernica, The Common, The Millions, and the LA Review of Books. Translations in English and Arabic have been published in: Nizwa, Banipal, Brooklyn Rail in Translation, World Literature Today, and Washington Square Review with Mohamed Metwalli. Her bilingual book of short stories in English and Arabic, Three Stories From Cairo, translated with Mohamed Metwalli, was published in July 2011 by AFAQ Publishing House, Cairo. A collection of short stories about expatriate life in Cairo, Shahrazad’s Tooth, was also published by AFAQ in 2013. 

Currently, she is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Rhetoric and Composition at the American University in Cairo. 

In Confessions of a Knight Errant, readers get a taste of the Hill Country.
One winner will, too, with a one-pound bag of pecans from 
Berdoll Pecan Candy & Gift Company!
(US only; ends midnight, CST 4/28/23)