Monday, July 15, 2024

Boone: A Deep Series Prequel ~ Audiobook Review


BOONE: A Deep Series Prequel
written and narrated

Publisher: Wild Yonder Press

Length6 hours 50 minutes
Release dateMay 27, 2024

HALL WAYS BLOG: AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: I absolutely loved getting the backstory of Boone from when he was a boy on up to meeting Em.  This prequel provides readers familiar with the books of The Deep Series not only a wider lens to Boone's life, but it adds more layers to his character and allows for a few ah-ha moments. 

While the story is interesting and well-narrated (as always) by the author, so any adventure lover can enjoy it, I think the value of BOONE is in what it provides for faithful series readers. I'd say this prequel works especially well any time after the 3rd or 4th installment. 

I am still behind by a novel or two on the series, but listening to the prequel has me ready to return to the sparkling waters, sparking romance, and spectacular adventures of The Deep Series novels, which I highly recommend. 


Born in East Tennessee, Nick Sullivan 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.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

A Chocolate is Announced ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Book Trailer Spotlight & Giveaway!

Bean to Bar Mystery, #7

Cozy Mystery / Culinary Mystery / Women Sleuths

Publisher: Golden Tip Press

Pages: 277

Publication Date: June 25, 2024

Scroll down for a giveaway!


Felicity Koerber is finally getting her life together.  She has a fiancé, her bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston’s historic Strand has become a gathering spot for the community, and she is ready to embrace whatever the future holds.  She’s ready for another launch party – despite the disaster at her grand opening, when she’d first gotten involved with solving a murder.  And this time she’s embracing her status as a sleuth.  She’s hosting a murder mystery weekend to celebrate the new Mystery Flavor line of craft chocolate bars.  She’s held a contest to choose the attendees, who will all stay at her aunt’s flip hotel and enjoy the island.  It’s all supposed to be perfectly random – only, Felicity starts to uncover connections between her guests.  When one of them winds up murdered, Felicity has to keep her aunt from becoming the main suspect.

The killer is very clearly calling Felicity out, leaving clues that mean little to anyone other than her.  But that doesn’t narrow down the suspect pool.  Her guests are there because they love the true crime podcast she’s been featured on.  And she can’t decide whether the killer wants her to catch them – or just wants to taunt her.

Meanwhile, Felicity is also playing host to her future in-laws and discovers that her fiancé’s sister, who is also a cop, is very competitive.  Can Felicity hold her own and make a good impression, while keeping her business together and her aunt out of jail?  And can Felicity solve it in time to protect the people she cares about from becoming additional victims?   

Satchmo the retired police dog turned therapy dog returns to help her sniff out a few clues, and one of the guests brings along a ferret named Cheeseburger, who keeps showing up in the most unexpected places.


Amazon Paperback | Kobo | Apple Books



Amber Royer writes the Chocoverse comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series, and the Bean to Bar Mysteries. She also teaches creative writing and is an author coach. 

Amber and her husband live in the DFW Area, where you can often find them hiking or taking landscape / architecture / wildlife photographs. 

If you are very nice to Amber, she might make you cupcakes -- chocolate cupcakes, of course! Connect with Amber about creative writing techniques and all things chocolate:




One winner receives an autographed copy of
A Chocolate is Announced!
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 07/05/24)


Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway



Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Sugar on the Bones ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Spotlight & Giveaway!


While I haven't had a chance to read this book (yet), I just finished devouring Joe Lansdale's fabulously creepy forthcoming short story collection, In the Mad Mountains, and I am hooked on his writing. My curiosity is also piqued about the Dana & Jana stories he co-authored with his daughter, Kasey Lansdale! But for now...
Hap and Leonard, #13
By Joe R. Lansdale

Private Investigator Mystery / Noir Crime / Hard-Boiled Mystery 
Lawyers and Criminals / Humor
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Pages: 317
Publication Date: July 16, 2024



In this holy mess of a case for the "perpetual bad boy" (New York Times) sleuths in the beloved Hap and Leonard series, PI Duo Hap and Leonard investigate the untimely death of a woman whose family stood much to gain from her passing.

Minnie Polson is dead. Burned to a crisp in a fire so big and bad it had to be deliberate. The only thing worse is that Hap and Leonard could have prevented it. Maybe. Minnie had a feeling she was being targeted, shaken down by some shadowy force. However, when she’d solicited Hap & Leonard, all it took was one off color joke to turn her sour and she’d called them off the investigation. Wracked with a guilty conscience, the two PIs—along with Hap’s fleet-footed wife, Brett—tuck in to the case. As they look closer, they dredge up troublesome facts: for one, Minnie’s daughter, Alice, has recently vanished. She’d been hard up after her pet grooming business went under and was in line to collect a whopping insurance sum should anything happen to her mother. The same was due to Minnie’s estranged husband, Al, whose kryptonite (beautiful, money-grubbing women) had left him with only a run-down mobile home. But did Minnie’s foolish, cash-strapped family really have it in them to commit a crime this grisly? Or is there a larger, far more sinister scheme at work?



Joe R. Lansdale is the author of nearly four dozen novels, including Rusty Puppy, the Edgar-award winning The Bottoms, Sunset and Sawdust, and Leather Maiden. He has received nine Bram Stoker Awards, the American Mystery Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature. He lives with his family in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Signed copy of SUGAR ON THE BONES + promotional mug
(US only; ends 06/28/24.)

Sunday, June 16, 2024

This Time Around ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Review & Giveaway!

Kimberly Packard

Time Travel Romance / Contemporary Women’s Fiction / Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Abalos Publishing
Date of Publication: June 11, 2024
Number of Pages: 286 pages 

Scroll down for Giveaway!



Most of us would jump at a chance for a do-over of our teenage years...but what if our worst mistakes lead to our happily-ever-after?

Josie Gardner’s life revolves around her amazing children and her career. But, when her husband threatens to take her kids in their divorce, and the business she’s put most of her passion, time, and money into building is at risk of failing, a panic attack shatters her grip on reality…and the present.

Josie wakes up in her teenage bedroom, thirty years in the past. She’s forced to relive her emotionally devastating senior year of high school — the year she cut her father out of her life, caused one of her best friends to sever ties, and turned away the boy she loved.

Determined to get back to her children in her own time, Josie tries to fix the mistakes she made, in the hope that righting wrongs will send her back to the present. But when tempted by her high school crush, Josie faces the real possibility of losing her future for good.

Would you take a second chance for love…even if it meant losing everything?


Oh, how I needed to read a book like this right now! THIS TIME AROUND was so entertaining and such a page-turner that I almost missed a doctor's appointment and then nearly died because I sat reading in my turned-off car, windows up, in my garage (in June, in Texas) for an hour to finish the book.

Okay, that last part's a little dramatic because it was an overcast day and we'd had rain and it was only about 80 degrees in the garage, BUT, I had been catapulted back into the '90s via Kimberly Packard's tale -- and there was drama in spades there. Sometimes it was hilarious, sometimes it was heartbreaking, and as the story began to wind to a close, I was distressed by main character Josie's precarious position and decision before her. Seriously distressed! Between some of the chapters, I might have texted the kids to tell them I loved them.
"Are the words of my story fading? Is the great author of the universe furiously backspacing to rewrite my story?"
This is not my *official* book review; or maybe it is? In either case, this is me needing to say how much I adored this book and that despite my being vocal about how I REALLY DON'T LIKE ROMANCES, I now have a book boyfriend named Daniel. We'll say it's the forty-seven-year-old Daniel, though, so it's not creepy.

Well done, Kimberly Packard. Well done.


Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of women’s fiction.

When she isn’t writing, she can be found planning her next trip, asking her dog what’s in his mouth, or curled up with a book. She resides in Texas with her husband Colby, a clever cat named Oliver, and a precocious black lab named Tully.

Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors. She is also the author of a Christmas novella, The Crazy Yates, and the sequels to Phoenix, Pardon Falls, and Prospera Pass, and her stand-alone titles Vortex, Dire’s Club, and This Time Around. She was honored as one of the Top 10 Haute Young Authors by Southern Methodist University in 2019. Vortex was the 2019 winner of the Pencraft award in Women’s Fiction, and Dire’s Club, was awarded the 2021 General Fiction of the Year by the North Texas Book Festival.

Two Winners: signed copies of This Time Around
One Winner: eBook copy
(ends midnight, CDT, 6/21/2024)

Friday, May 31, 2024

Bound in Silence ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Book Review Preview, Trailer, & Giveaway!

An Unsolved Murder in a Small Texas Town
Christena Stephens

Nonfiction / True Crime / Texas History
Publisher: Stoney Creek Publishing
Page Count: 286 pages
Publication Date: February 26, 2024

Scroll down for a giveaway!

On a nearly moonless night in October 1943, a single gunshot rang out in Littlefield, Texas. A prominent Texas doctor and his wife were found bound, shot, beaten, and murdered. The only witness: their five-year-old daughter, who was bound to silence and refused to speak about what happened for 70 years.

The heinous crime remains unsolved. For years, the courts tried to convict one suspect, but forensic evidence contradicted the prosecution’s case. Investigators, including the famed Texas Rangers, failed to bring anyone to justice.

Eight decades later, the questions linger over the plains of the Texas Panhandle: who killed the Hunts and why?

Author and historian Christena Stephens spent more than a decade researching the Hunt murders, re-examining every twist and turn in the legal process, uncovering new evidence, and drawing new conclusions about who might have been responsible. She also convinced Jo Ann Hunt to break 70 years of silence and tell her story for the first time. Armed with Jo Ann’s account, Stephens takes the reader back to that deadly night and through the years of trauma that followed.

Why did the criminal justice system repeatedly fail to bring anyone to justice? What could have scared a 5-year-old girl into a lifetime of silence? What did investigators miss? And most importantly, who killed Roy and Mae Hunt?

Bound in Silence is a true crime tour-de-force, a meticulously researched, impeccably told tale of unsolved murder on the High Plains.


Hall Ways Blog Review: Coming soon!
Seven or eight years ago, I was fortunate enough to get to read the first iteration of the manuscript, then known as "The Hunt Story." It was printed on a fat stack of copy paper, held together with a binder clip, and I remember being fascinated by the story and flabbergasted by the amount of research Christena had done and the level of detail she provided. When her book landed with Stoney Creek Publishing, I cheered! I now have a finished copy (with very special inscription), and I look forward to reading it and closing the circle of my journey with this book. What a privilege it will be to see it from start to finish. 

Christena Stephens is a native Texan growing up amongst cotton fields and spending time exploring the nature of the Llano Estacado. After earning two Master of Science degrees, she started a project to preserve ahistorical Texas ranch, thus began her interest in history, research, and writing. She did not intend to be a historian but was mentored by the best Texas historians. Several of her writings have been published in anthologies, along with her photographs. In science and history, truths need to be accurately told. That is her mission-truth and authenticity. She still resides on the Llano Estacado enjoying sunsets and chance porcupine encounters. She is an ardent advocate of wildlife conservation and her heart belongs to her dogs.

Website ◆ Blog ◆ Facebook ◆ Instagram
Amazon ◆ Goodreads ◆ X/Twitter ◆ LinkedIn


Friday, May 24, 2024

The Ghost of Whispering Willow ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Review & Giveaway!

Second Edition

Children's Chapter Book / Fantasy / Paranormal

Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press

Page Count: 246

Publication Date: January 9, 2024


Stewart sees a ghostly figure out of the corner of his eye. He and his friend, Andy, begin a ghost investigation that leads to an adventure of a lifetime.  Coming face-to-face with a ghost, the boys make a decision to join forces with a group of girls, who have encountered a ghost of their own. The kids soon find that the ghosts that they've encountered are in imminent danger and need their help. Can the kids devise a plan to help the ghost in time? Will they be able to reunite a ghost with his lost family? Complete with a ghost village and a feud, this story takes on a life of its own.

HALL WAYS BOOK REVIEW:  What a fun story! The Ghost of Whispering Willow offers spine-tingling adventure and mystery with a what-if plot that will keep readers turning pages. 

What if there are spirits who exist between the living and the dead and have unknown purposes to fulfill before moving on to rest in peace? Author Amanda Thrasher spins a tale around two such characters, but in an unusual twist, these spirits are corporeal, and their daily rituals mirror those of the living. (Personally, that would be hell to me if even in the afterlife, I have to do laundry and cook meals. I digress.) This added an extra level of intrigue -- and danger -- to the storyline.
"How come they do everything as a group, including dirty looks?"
If you've read any of Thrasher's other books for younger readers (I'm a huge fan of The Mischief Series), you know that she nails the youngling personae. Through well-written dialogue, I could easily imagine the gaggle of girls interacting with the pack of boys and the terms they create for teaming up for a common cause. The diverse group of tweens in The Ghost of Whispering Willow are drawn perfectly and reminded me of my own junior high days (sneaking out and all) as well as my days teaching kids that age.  Thrasher is all about modeling how loyalty and friendship should be, and it's a real treat to read. (Even if the parent in me is VERY concerned about all the sneaking out! Danger! Danger!)

This edition of The Ghost of Whispering Willow is updated from the original 2012 edition, and I love the new cover (but truly, I loved the old one, too). I was surprised to see some scattered typos (especially in the last twenty-five pages), and I would have liked more showing and less telling; there were a lot of summative paragraphs. But I understand that to do so effectively would have doubled the size of the book, and then it might have been a bit much for the targeted age group. I get that, but I know I wanted more, especially after the build up to that heartwarming, perfect resolution.

The ending of The Ghost of Whispering Willow hits readers with a rapid-fire frenzy of events that had my pulse pounding and then my heart melting. This is a terrific reading escape that I recommend for sixth graders and older. 

I am pleased to own a cherished autographed copy of this book that the author gave me at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference. 



Award-winning author Amanda M. Thrasher was born in England and moved to Texas, where she lives with her family. She writes YA, general fiction, middle-grade, early reader chapter, and picture books. She is the founder and CEO of Progressive Rising Phoenix Press.






One winner receives a signed copy
+ $25 Starbucks gift card.
US only; ends midnight, May 30, 2024
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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Second Lives ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Audiobook Blitz!

The Journey of Brain-Injury Survivors
and Their Healers
By Ralph B. Lilly, MD & Diane F. Kramer with Joyce Stamp Lilly
Narrated by Loren C. Steffy & Joyce Stamp Lilly

Audiobook / Biography / Medical Professionals / Neuroscience
Publisher: Stoney Creek Publishing
Listening Length: 6 hours and 21 minutes
Publication Date: February 28, 2024


Click to purchase on Audible!


“Discharged from a hospital just means you’re not dead.” These words of Ralph B. Lilly, M.D., describe his early struggle to recover from a traumatic brain injury. Lilly was a forty-four-year-old practicing neurologist sitting on his motorcycle at a red light when a drunk driver rear-ended him in 1980. In the ICU, after regaining consciousness and being told what happened, he asked, “What’s a hospital? What’s a motorcycle?” This tragic experience transformed his life and his approach to his neurology practice: doctors treat those with brain injury; but loved ones heal them.

Second Lives: The Journey of Brain Injury Survivors and Their Healers is written by Dr. Lilly and Diane F. Kramer. After his death in 2021, Kramer completed the book with the assistance of Lilly’s wife Joyce Stamp Lilly. This memoir weaves together Ralph Lilly’s experience with a collage of stories about his patients and their healers. After his recovery, Lilly retrained in the emerging field of behavioral neurology, which focuses on behavior, memory, cognition, and emotion after brain injury.

His clinical skills and expert witness testimony were sought by physicians, survivors, families, and attorneys to secure the best “second life” for survivors. His many patients marveled at his uniquely compassionate approach: “What doctor gives you his cell number and says call any time?” Lilly’s pioneering career spanned forty years from Brown University’s Butler Psychiatric Hospital in Rhode Island to Nexus Health System and private practice in Houston, Texas. He treated ER and hospital inpatients whose loved ones were in acute quandary, as well as outpatients who’d long given up finding a doctor who knew how to help. Lilly’s memoir is full of heart, not science, and will provide insight to general readers, family, and friends of patients with brain injury, as well as those who treat them.

His narration is unintentionally poignant, often punctuated by wry humor. He generously incorporates the words of his patients and their families in telling their stories. Their gratitude for his care is profound. As one former patient said, “Without Dr. Lilly, I’d be dead or in jail.



A neurologist for over half a century, Ralph B. Lilly, MD had a passion for learning and teaching. A traumatic brain injury in 1980 shifted his focus from general neurology to behavioral neurology, the study of how brain injury affects behavior. After completing a fellowship in neurobehavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, he served as a clinical assistant professor with the Brown University Program in Medicine in Providence, Rhode Island, consulting with psychiatrists looking for possible neurological causes for their patients’ psychiatric symptoms. In Texas, he worked joined what is now Nexus Health Systems and became a clinical assistant professor at The University of Texas in Houston. Lilly focused his life’s work on treating brain-injury survivors and counseling their families, who were victims in their own right. He saw these “healers” as instrumental in guiding the injured loved one to a “new life.” He practiced in Arizona, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Texas, and wherever he was called to help. Before his death in 2021, Lilly lived in Washington, Texas, with his wife, Joyce, three dogs, six cats, and two horses.

Diane F. Kramer retired from the counseling and psychology departments of Austin Community College in 2008 and began writing personal essays, family histories, and fiction. As a volunteer with the Brenham Animal Shelter, she wrote a weekly column on animal welfare for The Brenham Banner Press. Her writing has also appeared in Alamo Bay Press anthologies and blogs Peace through Pie and Drash Pit. She currently writes website copy and press releases for Brenham Lifetime Learning and the Read of Washington County. She lives with her husband and their rescue dog and cat in rural Texas.



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