A Texas Kind of Christmas: Review and Giveaway


A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS  
by
JODI THOMAS,   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 . . . 

ONE NIGHT AT THE ST. NICHOLAS by  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?

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I have to admit, I usually don’t like those love at first sight sort of stories, but I really enjoyed One Night at the St. Nicholas by Jodi Thomas. It’s the perfect kind of story to read this winter. To curl up with a blanket, drink some hot cocoa, and read next to a fire on a cold night. I really enjoyed the way Thomas sets up the stage for these characters. Cody is heading to a party to propose to a Jacqueline, a girl he has never met, while Nate has escaped the marshal’s clutches and is using the party to hide from the law. Meanwhile, Katie wears the dress that Jacqueline is supposed to wear, thus mixing and matching the couples and creating a lively story. Cody sees Katie and thinks it’s the girl he came to propose to, mean while Jacqueline heads to her hiding spot only to find Nate there hiding. It really is the perfect kind of love story for both couples. 

Birdie’s Flight by Celia Bonaduce had the perfect blend Christmas love and a dash of mystery. I enjoyed following Birdie’s story of finding work at the St. Nicholas and her love story with Captain Newcastle. There’s shameless flirting, there’s a handsome, swoon worthy captain, and a Christmas Ball. Plus the mystery of finding out why Birdie is on the run! Definitely some Christmas magic worth enjoying! 

Spirit of Texas by Rachael Miles is about the journey that Eugenie takes. She leaves her home from England and embarks on a journey that takes her all the way to Texas. I always enjoy books that have a destination in mind, and this book was very enjoyable! Eugenie is a bit of a spinster, middle aged, and unmarried. And also untrusting of men. Her path leads her to Asher though and there are many obstacles that they must overcome together that forces them to get to know each other and depend on each other. I also enjoyed the glimpses we get of the St. Nicholas staff while Lily, Eugenie’s mother, is staying there. 

Obviously this St. Nicholas hotel is quite enchanting! I wouldn’t mind booking my weekend there! All three stories are very enjoyable Christmas love story reads. All the characters are charming and could definitely be put a full novel and be a wonderful read. I will definitely be checking out these authors in the future and looking for more of their heart warming love stories!

Rating: 4/5


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 Café, 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.
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11/6/19
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11/6/19
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11/7/19
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11/8/19
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11/9/19
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Longing for a Cowboy Christmas: Author Spotlight and Excerpt

LONGING FOR
A COWBOY CHRISTMAS
with stories by
ROSANNE BITTNER, LINDA BRODAY, MARGARET BROWNLEY, AMY SANDAS, LEIGH GREENWOOD, ANNA SCHMIDT

  Genre: Romance Anthology / Western / Historical Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Date of Publication: September 24, 2019 Number of Pages: 528



Scroll down for the giveaway!




Find your very own cowboy to keep warm these long, wintry nights as you cozy up with six sweeping, epic tales of heroism, passion, family and celebration from bestselling authors Leigh Greenwood, Rosanne Bittner, Linda Broday, Margaret Brownley, Anna Schmidt, and Amy Sandas.


Fall in Love with Christmas

Whether it’s a widower finding an unexpected new start, a former outlaw and his new wife welcoming their very own Christmas miracle, a long-lost lover returning just in time for a special holiday celebration, a second chance at love between two warring hearts given peace at last, an unlikely pair working together to bring joy to a small Texas town, or a cowboy and his dark-eyed beauty snowed in one unforgettable wintry eve…every Christmas with a cowboy is filled with light, laughter, and a forever kind of love.



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PRAISE FOR LONGING FOR A COWBOY CHRISTMAS: 
“Greenwood is a master at westerns.” ―RT Book Reviews for Leigh Greenwood

“An emotional powerhouse! This classic historical western is destined for the “keeper” shelf.” ―RT Book ReviewsTop Pick for Rosanne Bittner

“Fun and sensual…great for fans of history, romance, and some good old Texas grit.” ―Kirkus for Linda Broday

“A great story by a wonderful author.”―#1 New York Times bestselling author DEBBIE MACOMBER for Margaret Brownley

“The perfect read.” ―RT Book Reviews for Anna Schmidt

“A genuine page-turner…electric and absorbing.” ―Kirkus for Amy Sandas




AMY SANDAS
AUTHOR OF THROUGH THE STORM
Included in Longing for a Cowboy Christmas Anthology



THE AUTHOR:  

Amy writes historical romance about dashing, and sometimes dangerous, men who know just how to get what they want and women who at times may be reckless, bold, and unconventional, but who always have the courage to embrace all that life and love have to offer.

About Through the Storm:

Though raised in seclusion, Lucy Jones is more than capable of taking care of herself. But when she offers shelter to a handsome outlaw stranded in a winter storm, the Scotsman’s flirtatious manner and smoldering glances spark an unexpected longing.

The outlaw known as Gentleman George for his fine British manners doesn’t know what to make of the intriguing woman living in seclusion high in the mountains. He only knows that he craves her smiles, dreams of her touch, and trusts her enough to share the truth of his shameful past.

In the midst of a Wyoming blizzard, can a charming outlaw melt the heart of a reclusive mountain woman and claim a love worth holding onto? 



EXCERPT FROM THROUGH THE STORM

Warmth.
It enveloped him as soon as the door closed behind him. For a moment he noticed nothing about the cabin interior beyond the healthy fire blazing in a stone fireplace that took up half of the wall opposite where he stood. He kicked off his boots near the door, then crossed the small cabin to get nearer to the roaring heat of the fire.
He’d never been so cold in his life. Even the couple winters he’d spent in northern Scotland couldn’t compare. Back home, he’d preferred to enjoy the colder months tucked safely in the comfort of his Lowland manor with a brandy in his hand or a warm woman in his bed.
Standing as close to the fire as he could get without crawling into it, he took a look around.
The cabin was comprised of a single room with a loft built in the rafters above and a ladder for access. The windows had been tightly shuttered, and the only light was created by the fire itself, but it was enough to see that the place was very sparsely furnished with only two overstuffed chairs set before the fire with a small table between. Cupboards lined the wall on either side of the door, and a little, black iron stove nestled in one corner. An enormous bear pelt was nailed to one wall, and the space beneath the loft held a couple trunks and some shelves that were overflowing with books.
The books surprised him, and he almost wandered over to see what sort of reading material he’d find in this rustic little mountain cabin. Before he could do so, the front door opened. The woman who’d likely saved him from being buried alive in the snow secured the door with a cross board and propped her rifle beside it before turning around and pushing her hood back.
Warm, dark eyes, thick black lashes, broad bone structure, and a lush, generous mouth.
Though his teeth still chattered and his hands and feet were beginning to ache as they thawed, George was amazed to discover that his blood was still capable of rushing quick and hot through his veins with the right inspiration.
And the woman wrapped in all those furs was stunning.
When she caught sight of him standing before the fire, her straight black brows furrowed over her coffee-colored gaze. “Why are you still dressed?”
The flames inside him leaped in reaction to her husky tone, not to mention the very suggestive words. But he quickly stomped them down. Though a man could surely hope, it was unlikely she’d meant the words in the way his suddenly unruly libido interpreted.
“Pardon,” he said with lifted brows.
“Strip down,” she ordered. “Once the snow on your clothes starts melting, you’re not only going to be freezing cold, you’re going to be wet and freezing cold. And I sure as hell am not going to nurse you though an illness.”
She removed her coat and hung it on a hook next to the door. Underneath it, she wore a flannel button-down shirt tucked into buckskin breeches with a hunting knife strapped high on her thigh. Her thick, black hair was tied back at her nape and brushed the small of her back as she turned to face him.
Her expression furrowed as she noted that he hadn’t moved to do as she said. Propping her hands on her hips, she repeated sharply, “Clothes off. Now.”


Coming October 29, 2019, The Outlaw’s Heart, book three in the
Runaway Brides series





Blog Tour Participating Authors (L to R): Rosanne Bittner, Linda Broday, Margaret Brownley, Amy Sandas

Rosanne Bittner: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Blog * Amazon Linda Broday: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Pinterest * BookBub * Amazon 
Margaret Brownley: Website * Facebook  * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon
Leigh Greenwood: Website * Goodreads
Amy Sandas: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Instagram * Amazon
Anna Schmidt: Website * Pinterest&nbsp* Goodreads
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2nd Prize: Copies of:  LFACC, The Cowboy’s Honor, Logan’s Lady + $25 Amazon Gift Card
3rd Prize: Copies of: LFACC, Logan’s Lady
October 15-October 25, 2019 
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10/16/19
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10/17/19
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10/18/19
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Dragonfly: Guest Post and Giveaway

DRAGONFLY
by
LEILA MEACHAM

  Genre: Historical / WWII / Espionage
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 
Date of Publication: July 9, 2019
Number of Pages: 576

Scroll down for giveaway!



From the New York Times bestselling author of Roses comes a gripping new novel about five young spies embedded among the highest Nazi ranks in occupied Paris

At the height of World War II, a handful of idealistic young Americans receive a mysterious letter from the government, asking them if they are willing to fight for their country. The men and women from very different backgrounds-a Texan athlete with German roots, an upper-crust son of a French mother and a wealthy businessman, a dirt-poor Midwestern fly fisherman, an orphaned fashion designer, and a ravishingly beautiful female fencer-all answer the call of duty, but each for a secret reason of her or his own. They bond immediately, in a group code-named Dragonfly. 
Thus begins a dramatic cat-and-mouse game, as the group seeks to stay under the radar until a fatal misstep leads to the capture and the firing-squad execution of one of their team. But…is everything as it seems, or is this one more elaborate act of spycraft?

PRAISE FOR DRAGONFLY:

“Meacham’s impeccable pacing and razor-wire tension evoke the daily drama of life under a Reich whose French reign might have lasted little more than four years but felt like the thousand years that it threatened to endure.” ―Bookpage

“Meacham’s nail-biting tale will please fans looking for an intricate story of spycraft and deception.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Meacham ratchets the suspense ever tighter, while providing fascinating backstory on the intrepid five [American spies] as well as delivering a detail-rich portrait of Paris during the Occupation.” ―Booklist

“Complex, epic, and rich in historical detail-an uplifting story of finding friendship behind enemy lines.” ― Kirkus


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My Two “Careers” as a Published Author
Guest Post by Leila Meacham

In an interview with Lone Star Literary Life some years ago, I was asked to share the story of my two “careers” as a published author. My interviewer was correct to put the word careers in quotation marks because my first foray into fiction was a brief interruption of—or intrusion into—my real career, which was teaching. In the mid-eighties I accepted a bet from a colleague that I could not write a romance novel. She maintained I could and “elevate the genre,” as she called it. So one summer, I set out to prove her wrong. Lo and behold, I lost the bet and had to buy her a steak dinner. A local agent, again at the bidding of my colleague, took a look at the book, offered to represent it, and popped it off to a publishing house in New York City. Before I knew it, the book was published as Ryan’s Hand. There followed two more romances, coerced by the terms of my publisher’s contract, but when that obligation was fulfilled, I retired my fiction-writing pen and vowed never to pick it up again.

At age sixty-five, I had been retired from teaching for ten years and had run out of everything you wait for retirement to do. I had gardened, traveled, entertained, volunteered, lunched, tried new recipes, re-decorated the house. The dog had died. My husband was still involved in his career. We had no children, thus no grandchildren. One morning as I faced another day of un-stimulation, I asked God what he wanted me to do with the rest of my life, and clearly I “heard,” like a fragrance you’re suddenly aware of in a room, that I was to finish a novel I had dabbled at twenty years earlier during a year of debilitating illness when I had to take a sabbatical from teaching. I responded with what all Texans say when they haven’t heard—or don’t want to hear—something clearly. “Say what?!!” I said. That was not what I had in mind at all. But one does not argue with God, so down came the box from the top shelf of my closet, dust and all, and I plowed into it for over a period of five years, on and off. I intended to put the book right back on the shelf from whence it came with no thought of going through the impossible wickets to get it published. However, the Saturday after I wrote THE END (glorious day!) on the final page of the manuscript, a friend asked me if I’d finished the book.  I said yes. Monday, she called to say that her niece was married to David McCormick, a top literary agent in New York City and that she’d instructed her niece to tell David that he was to take a look at my novel. Long story short, he did and accepted it for representation.  After several months of making the revisions he suggested, he submitted it to various publishers and Grand Central Publishing made a pre-emptive bid for the book now known as Roses. I was seventy years old when it was released. I am eighty years old now, and since Roses, I have published five more books.




Leila Meacham is a writer and former teacher who lives in San Antonio, Texas. She is the author of the bestselling novels Roses, Tumbleweeds, Somerset, and Titans.
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August 7-17, 2019
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Light from Distant Stars: Top Five and 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
Scroll down for Giveaway!
 

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

TOP FIVE STRANGE-BUT-TRUE THINGS ABOUT ME

By Shawn Smucker

1 – My aunt is Auntie Anne, the founder of the soft pretzel franchise empire.

2 – My family and I once went on a cross-country trip in a big blue bus named Willy and we lost our brakes coming down the Teton Pass, forcing us to use a runaway truck ramp. The stories from our trip were immortalized in a book my wife and I put together called How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp.

3 – My grandparents were all Amish until they were in their 30s.

4 – I lived in England for four years and loved it.

5 – My wife and I have six children and we are neither Catholic nor Amish.

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.


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Copy of Light from Distant Stars
+ Look to the Stars 8”x5” Journal + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card; 
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Copy of Light from Distant Stars + Personal Library Kit; 
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Copy of Light from Distant Stars + $10 Starbucks Gift Card. 
July 17-27, 2019
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The Shadow Writer: Review and Giveaway

THE SHADOW WRITER
by
ELIZA MAXWELL
Genre:  Psychological Suspense / Domestic Thriller Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: May 1, 2019
Number of Pages: 348 Scroll down for the giveaway!
Every writer has a story. Some are deadlier than others. 
Aspiring author Graye Templeton will do anything to escape the horrific childhood crime that haunts her. After a life lived in shadows, she’s accepted a new job as protégé to Laura West, influential book blogger and wife of an acclaimed novelist. Laura’s connections could make Graye’s publishing dreams a reality. But there’s more to Laura than meets the eye. 

Behind the veneer of a charmed life, Laura’s marriage is collapsing. Her once-lauded husband is descending into alcoholism and ruin and bringing Laura nearer to the edge. 


As the two women form a bond that seems meant to be, long-buried secrets claw their way into the present, and the line between friendship and obsession begins to blur, forcing each to decide where her loyalties lie. Running from the past is a dangerous game, and the loser could end up dead.
CLICK TO PURCHASE
║ AMAZON  ║  MURDER BY THE BOOK 
║ BARNES AND NOBLE 


Eliza Maxwell has done it again! Author of the incredible, dark, and thought provoking The Unremembered Girl, now she brings us an inky tale so shocking, it will keep you up at night thinking about it.

The Shadow Writer is an extraordinary, fast pace, whirlwind of a story! It will take you by storm and set you leaping through the pages. What is more exciting than murder, mystery, suspense, and the kind of dark, gut wrenching story that The Shadow Writer delivers. 

The story follows Graye Templeton, an aspiring author that is the TA to a professor that has written a book, and Laura West, the wife of the professor. Graye Templeton becomes fast friends with Laura. Graye is trying hard to keep the past in the past, even though it’s trying it’s hardest to find her, and to reveal all it’s grim secrets. 

This story is about so much more than a tragic past, and horrific truths. It’s about a friendship that runs deeper than blood. It’s about realizing all the truths about oneself, the good and the bad. And above all, it’s about fulfilling your dreams, no matter the costs. 

Maxwell delivers us such astounding characters. The kind that despite their darkness, despite their drive, they intrigue and fascinate you. They will pull you right in with their cleverness! 

I simply could not put The Shadow Writer down. And to top it all off, who doesn’t love a good story that leaves you asking “What was that?” And you answer… “well, that was… AWESOME!”



Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever-patient husband and two kids. She’s an artist and writer, an introvert, and a British cop drama addict. She loves nothing more than to hear from readers.
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Panic Point Review


 PANIC POINT Pepperman Mystery Series Book Two
by
BILL BRISCOE
  Genre: Mystery / Crime Fiction / Stand-Alone
Publisher: self-published
Date of Publication: March 26, 2019
Number of Pages: 248
Scroll down for Giveaway!
  
When Earl’s bride Morgan vanishes in the Smoky Mountains on their honeymoon, the former Navy SEAL is certain she’s been abducted. The park rangers disagree, and after a storm washes away any potential evidence, they call off the official search. Then another man loses his daughter in the same area. Can one last lead help Earl find Morgan before he loses her forever?




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Panic Point is definitely a read that puts you on the edge of your seat! Starting from the very first chapter when Earl finds his new wife, Morgan, missing from their campsite. Even with the flashbacks that show the sweet and tender moments of how Earl and Morgan met and their enchanting courtship, Panic point will leave your knuckles turning white as you flip through the pages to uncover what happened to Morgan. 

I love Early. He is as hard headed as they come and finds it difficult to sit and wait while the search team tries to find his missing bride. He’s strong, brave, and determined. He doesn’t think twice when it comes to uncovering what happened to Morgan, and his willingness to do anything to find her just proves how loyal of a guy he is. 

I was definitely expecting Panic Point to turn into some sort of secret, special ops mission. But the ending certainly packs a punch when the big reveal happens as to who took Morgan. There were definitely elements to this book that I wasn’t anticipating, and for that I quite thoroughly enjoyed being surprised. I thought the plot itself was so well developed. Panic Point could have easily been a movie with how well the scenes were written. 

Panic Point is perfect for those that love thrillers and action. Grab a bucket of popcorn and sit back! You’re in for quite a ride! 


My Rating: 5/5



Bill grew up in the oil and gas refinery town of Phillips in the Texas Panhandle. After graduating from college with a master’s degree, he spent most of his career working for a major insurance company as an agency manager and consultant.
As his retirement was on the horizon, he had an idea about a book. That story, Pepperman’s Promise, became the prequel to The Pepperman Mystery Series, and Perplexity and Panic Point, the next two books in the series, are now available.
Bill and his wife of fifty years live in West Texas.

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Heart of the Oak: Review and Giveaway


HEART OF THE OAK
by
J.L. NOVINSKY

Genre: Children’s / Nature / Life Cycle Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing Publication Date: November 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 36 pages

  SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY! 



Heart of the Oak is a sweet story of the life of an old oak tree.   He’s old and weathered; his skin is rough and knotty.  But he has memories of joy, of love, and of tragedy.  He has endured many years and felt the sorrow of so much loss.  But his greatest joy is just ahead!  
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Praise for HEART OF THE OAK from Amazon reviewers!
“Such a great book with a heartfelt story!”
“My children and I LOVE this book. We had a wonderful and insightful conversation after we read it.”

Heart of the Oak is such a sweet story. As a special ed teacher, I’m always looking for good books that can be used for a wide range of teaching. This book has so much I could use. I love it because it tells the life cycle of a tree. It’s also a book about friendship and love, nurturing, and caring. The tree loves the boy that comes to see him, and remembers the moments they shared together. The tree also vows to protect the man and the boy. 

I love it because we don’t really think about all the years trees have. They live such a long time and so much can happen to them in those years. I love how the book is about the life of a tree, of his memories, and the pain and joy he had felt. 

I love the word usage in the book. It’s definitely a book that’s for families, for children and adults. The vocabulary in this is a little advance for children, but it can definitely be a good book to teach children new words!

What a heart warming story and a great one to share with others!


J.L. (Joan) Novinsky was born just outside of Chicago, but she got to Texas as fast as she could! Joan started college at age 55, and while taking a Creative Writing class, she wrote her first story, Heart of the Oak. Joan has now written a second children’s book, Horace and Giselle, available for on-line purchase January 2019. She was married to Bob in 1992, had a son, Stephen, in 1998, then in 2001, she and her husband took on the challenge and excitement of adopting a boy from St. Petersburg, Russia. Andrei joined the family in 2002, and the family resides just north of Dallas with their various and numerous pets.

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Covey Jencks: Excerpt and Giveaway

COVEY JENCKS
by
SHELTON L. WILLIAMS
Narrated by Kathy James
Genre: Mystery / Social Thriller
Publisher: Southern Owl Publications, LLC
Publication Date: February 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 229 pages
Audio Book Length: 6 hours, 38 minutesSCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY! 

Covey Jencks is a murder mystery with a social conscience. Set in West Texas with a cast of colorful and humorous characters, it follows a young lawyer from Washington, DC back to his hometown of Odessa, Texas. He wants and needs to solve a murder case from 1979 in 1993. The problem is that the Odessa Police Department has already found its man, and no one wants to re-visit the case of a black prostitute whose life was seemingly of no consequence to anyone. But Freddie Mae Johnson’s death matters to Covey, and eventually he discovers an old flame, JayJay Qualls, who also knew and loved Freddie. Together they undertake an investigation that uncovers not only the truth about Freddie but also the secrets of Odessa’s south side, Mexican gangs, a Boston mobster, and the fallacy of unexamined assumptions. Finding out who killed Freddie is one thing, but preventing their own demise is quite another! 
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PRAISE FOR COVEY JENCKS:
 
Williams seamlessly braids a murder mystery with a love story and a drama about the pervasiveness of racism in the South… The author’s prose is buoyantly eccentric, both insightful and self-effacingly humorous. And the clues Covey and JayJay track down are meted out to readers with impressive judiciousness: The author never prematurely surrenders so much information that the conclusion is rendered foregone while the tale’s swift pace prevents it from becoming tedious. An engrossing crime drama that’s both entertaining and provocative. — Kirkus Indie

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 68 OF
COVEY JENCKS
BY SHELTON WILLIAMS

(JayJay speaking)

Freddie said it best. “Men always leave.” They die. They take off for younger women. They get run out of town. They turn to drink. Best to stay away, keep uninvolved. Black or white, it doesn’t matter. At an early age, I made a pledge to myself: Never again will I get married. Never again will I depend on a man.

So, how did this happen? How did I end up not only loving this guy but trusting his judgment about life and death? All my instincts say to be cautious, protect myself, but all my thoughts turn to how to protect us against killers and racists. “The course of true love never did run smooth,” Shakespeare said. If we die, maybe our story will inspire a play or at least a country and western song.

Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now Covey Jencks. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.

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My first part time job while I was in high school was announcing at the local radio station, and I had fun being “on the air” and using my sarcastic sense of humor.  I worked in the radio business for more than twenty years. My favorite pastimes are teaching figure skating, getting lost in a great book, and watching movies.  I narrate and produce audio books in my home studio, and I truly enjoy bringing an author’s characters to life with an audio book. I currently reside in Minnesota with my slightly overweight cat and two childlike golden retrievers.  
 
 
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Mistletoe Miracles: Review

MISTLETOE MIRACLES
Ransom Canyon
by
JODI THOMAS
Sub-genre: Holiday Romance / Western
Publisher: HQN
Date of Publication: September 25, 2018
Number of Pages: 354
Scroll down for an exclusive giveaway from Jodi Thomas! 
A small-town Texas Christmas story, where hearts are lost, love is found, and family always brings you back home.
Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it’s a money pit. He’d sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch—just in time for Christmas. Jaxon O’Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another. Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she’s single, she’s happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she’s baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he’s her husband?

In this uplifting novel, three unlikely couples discover just what Crossroads, Texas, can offer: romance, belonging, and plenty of Christmas spirit. 
”Deeply poignant moments and artfully
rendered characters create a rich story that
transports readers to an idyllic place.”
Publishers Weekly
 
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Get ready to cozy up to this wonderful chimney side read. Mistletoe Miracles offers us 3 wonderful love stories told in alternating chapters. There’s Griffin, the handsome rancher looking to get hitched in order to save his ranch, Jamie, a school teacher who has invented a husband in order to keep others at bay, and Jaxon, a recluse wanting to mind his own business but ends up rescuing an injured dog and taking him in.

The three different stories are not connected in any way, but each story is heartwarming and uplifting. I enjoyed each of the main characters as their stories were told. It’s neat how in each story the characters meet up. For Jax, he rescued Mallory’s dog. For Griffin, it’s the ranch gal Sunlan. And or Jamie, she pretends she’s married to Wyatt.

Of all the characters, my favorite was Griffin. Right from the start, the cowboy rancher pulled me in. He is kind, compassionate, down to earth. I loved how instantly you could see how much he wanted to save his ranch and help out his brothers. I especially loved it when he stopped by Franklin sisters house to ask for match making help. It was so stinkin cute I kept giggling.

Each character though is incredibly well crafted. They each have their own unique tale and seeing them brought together is fascinating and enjoyable. Mistletoe Miracles is a thick book, but in my opinion a fairly quick read. Who doesn’t love a few adorable love stories?

If you enjoy love stories with a splash of Christmas, than these stories are for you. They are clean, fun, and adorable reads. The p

A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable. 
With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.
Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and checking up on their two grown sons.
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Magic Born: Guest Post and Giveaway

Magic Born
Rayanne Haines
(The Guardian Series, #2)
Publication date: June 6th 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Maria Del Voscova is a powerful witch with a past. When she’s asked to become a member of the elite Guardians she knows she can’t risk sharing the truth about her messed-up family. But we don’t always get what we want. Sometimes, we don’t always know what we want.

Though Mar absolutely knows she doesn’t want Neeren, King of the Parthen. She alone sees the darkness in him and it reminds her too much of the past. She knows better than to fall for his stoic, tortured soul façade.

She’s training to be a Guardian, a shadow; tasked with keeping the balance between good and evil in the world. It’s what she wants—to be better than her family was.

But the past has a way of catching up to Mar and the future has a morbid sense of humor. On her first mission, she’s kidnapped by the enemy she’s been running from her entire life. Thankfully the guardians look after their own. As it turns out, so does Neeren.

As Mar finds herself caught between the past and the future; between blood and bond; between the light and the dark, she realizes her only chance at surviving may be in trusting a man who is the most dangerous of them all.

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From the Author:

I remember being fourteen years old and being taken through a fence by my horse, Razzle. He was a good horse. But that day something spooked him and no matter what I tried, he decided there was no way I was staying on his back. He’d had enough.

 

As puberty hit, I started feeling that way about expectation. I wanted it off my back. The idea of finishing high school to go to college to get a 9-5 job ate away at the fiber who I knew I was. I wanted to chase wild horses and wild adventures. I’m certain I was an author before I knew what the word meant.

 

My parents raised me to be tough and independent, to work hard. Living on a farm, you worked – period. To this day, my mother is the strongest woman I’ve ever met. Her strength was a benchmark for me as I a struggled through divorce, single parenting, re-educating myself, and building the career I wanted, not what society expected of me.

 

When I began writing seriously I started with poetry. A great poet can change the world with one line. I write poetry to empower women. I soon discovered I wanted to write fun stories about kick-ass women and alpha men who loved them. Along came expectation. A serious poet, a true feminist couldn’t write romance. To that, I scoff. The women in my family, the strong women I know, have never been defined by expectation. Have never allowed the judgments of others to shape our path.

 

I write romance, where happily ever after is found because of the heroine’s strength and resiliency, not despite it. Everything I write is shaped by the experiences I had growing up surrounded by strong women and by the resiliency I discovered in myself when I became a single mom. If I had to go back in time and tell my younger writer self, anything, it would be—don’t change. Follow the path whatever it looks like. Life is going to be hard. It’s going to test you. You’ll be lonely sometimes. The world will expect things of you that you don’t have to give. You know who you are. Buy some good pens—The stories will come.

Rayanne Haines

 

Author Bio:

Rayanne Haines grew up on a small horse ranch in Alberta. She spent most of her youth re-enacting scenes from Anne of Green Gables to attentive audiences that included pygmy goats and roan stallions. The horses were thrilled. Her father could never figure out why it took her three hours to clean the barn.
Her mother is an avid reader and instilled a love of literature in her at a young age. She has always been fascinated with learning people’s stories.
She has a fondness for mountains and rivers and all the creatures that live within them.
She believes in magic and the search for great love. She loves to write about strong women who will accept nothing less.

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