Thursday, March 28, 2019

***Lone Star Lit Blogger's Choice Awards***



To be eligible for a 2018 LSBBT Bloggers' Choice Award, a book must have been featured on an interactive book blog tour in 2018.  Over sixty books were considered for the twelve categories included in the 2018 awards. The LSBBT Blogger Team wrote nearly three hundred book reviews of the 2018 titles, and the winners were determined by a combination of the reviewers' average book ratings and team member votes.
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WINNER: To Catch a Texas Star, by Linda Broday
RUNNER-UP: 100 Things to Do in Dallas Fort Worth Before You Die by Tui Snider; HONORABLE MENTION: Harmon General by Kimberly Fish
Short List: A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot; The Fleecing of Fort Griffin by Preston Lewis; Cowboy Charm School by Margaret Brownley

WINNER: Linda Broday
RUNNER-UP: DiAnn Mills; 
HONORABLE MENTION (TIE): Kimberly Fish and Marti MacGibbon
Short List: Dana Wayne and Alexia Gordon

WINNER: Fierce, Funny, and Female by Marti MacGibbon
RUNNER-UP: Gratitude: The Art of Being Thankful by Vickie Phelps; 
HONORABLE MENTION: Why I Hate Green Beans by Lincee Ray
Short List: Leave Tomorrow by Dirk Weisiger; 100 Things to Do in Dallas Fort Worth Before You Die by Tui Snider; The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch by Bill Sarpalius; A Target on My Back by Erleigh Wiley; The Whole Damn Cheese by Bill Wright; The Downfall of Galveston's May Walker Burleson by T. Felder Dorn

WINNER: The Widow's Watcher by Eliza Maxwell; 
RUNNER-UP: The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio; 
HONORABLE MENTION: Wickwythe Hall by Judithe Little
Short List: Old Buildings in North Texas by Jen Waldo; Missing Isaac by Valerie Luesse; The Edge of Over There by Shawn Smucker; A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano; Aransas Morning by Jeff Hampton; Blood and Remembrance by Chris Manno; Sins of the Younger Sons by Jan Reid; The El Paso Red Flame Gas Station by J. Reeder Archuleta; Elephant Dreams by Martha Deeringer

WINNER: Killing in C Sharp by Alexia Gordon ; 
RUNNER-UP: What Lies Below by Barbara Taylor Sissel; 
HONORABLE MENTION: Cinco de Murder by Rebecca Adler
Short List: In Too Deep by Lynn Blackburn; Tangible Spirits by Becki Willis; High Treason by DiAnn Mills; Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley; Searching for Pilar by Patricia Holmes; Stolen Obsession by Marlene Bell; Beyond Control by Kat Martin; A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson; Anahuac by William Darling; Covey Jencks by Shelton Williams; Out and In by Pat Dunlap Evans; That One Moment by Patty Wiseman

WINNER: The Edge of Over There by Shawn Smucker; 
RUNNER-UP: Gratitude: The Art of Being Thankful by Vickie Phelps; 
HONORABLE MENTION: The Encouragement Letters by Shanna Spence
Short List: Burden of Proof by DiAnn Mills; A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot; Fierce, Funny, and Female by Marti MacGibbonIn Too Deep by Lynn Blackburn; The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck; Leave Tomorrow by Dirk Weisiger

WINNER: (TIE) Mistletoe Miracles by Jodi Thomas and A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot; 
RUNNER-UP: Whispers on the Wind by Dana Wayne;
 HONORABLE MENTION: To Catch a Texas Star by Linda Broday
Short List: Bonnie and Clyde: Dam Nation by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall; Harmon General by Kimberly Fish; That One Moment by Patty Wiseman; Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath; Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas; Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

WINNER: The Fleecing of Fort Griffin by Preston Lewis; 
RUNNER-UP: Cowboy Charm School by Margaret Brownley; 
HONORABLE MENTION: Mistletoe Miracles by Jodi Thomas
Short List: To Catch a Texas Star by Linda BrodayPalo Duro by Max Knight; The Captive Boy by Julia Robb

WINNER: The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio
RUNNERS-UP: (TIE) Harmon General by Kimberly Fish and Wickwythe Hall by Judithe Little; 
HONORABLE MENTION: The Encouragement Letters By Shanna Spence
Short List: Bonnie and Clyde: Dam Nation by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall; The Fleecing of Fort Griffin by Preston Lewis; Palo Duro by Max Knight

WINNER: Killing in C Sharp by Alexia Gordon
RUNNER-UP: The Edge of Over There by Shawn Smucker; 
HONORABLE MENTION: Tangible Spirits by Becki Willis
Short List: Bonnie and Clyde: Dam Nation by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall; What Lies Below by Barbara Taylor Sissel; The Janus Witch by Michael Clifton

WINNER: Old Buildings in North Texas by Jen Waldo
RUNNER-UP: Why I Hate Green Beans ; 
HONORABLE MENTION: Bonnie and Clyde: Dam Nation by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
Short List: Killing in C Sharp by Alexia Gordon; The Edge of Over There by Shawn Smucker; The Janus Witch by Michael Clifton

Runner-Up: The Cimarron Creek Trilogy by Amanda Cabot
Honorable Mention: The Texas Heroes Series by Linda Broday
Short List: The Bonnie and Clyde series by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall; The Misfits and Millionaires series by Kimberly Fish; The FBI Task Force series by DiAnn Mills;  East Jesus set by Chris Manno; The Montana Rescue series by Susan May Warren; Georgia Coast series by Liz Johnson; Dive Team Investigations series by Lynn Blackburn. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia

Beautiful Broken Hearts
by Kami Garcia
Published by Imprint
February 6, 2018

Plot:  Her heart has to break before it can open.

When star soccer player Peyton Rios receives an offer from her first-choice college, senior year starts off exactly as planned. But when Peyton uncovers her boyfriend’s dark secret, she confronts him―and finds herself falling down a flight of stairs. Peyton’s knee―and maybe her dream of going pro―is shattered. Everyone is talking: Was she pushed, or did she fall? Peyton knows the truth, even if no one believes her.

He has to let someone in before it’s too late.
With her future on the line, Peyton goes to stay with her uncle in a small Tennessee town to focus on her recovery. Dating is the last thing on her mind―until she meets sweet, sexy Owen Law.

But Peyton doesn’t trust her heart, especially when she senses that Owen is hiding something. When their secrets are finally exposed, Peyton has to decide if love is worth fighting for. 

Review:  Beautiful Broken Hearts has all the feels!  It has betrayal, heartbreak, romance, and drama, drama, drama!  After a devastating fall down a flight of stairs, Peyton has not only lost her trust in her boyfriend, but may even lose her soccer scholarship to UNC.   Her mother thinks it's best for her to stay with her Uncle Hawk in the small town of Black Water, Tennessee to heal and avoid the harassing phone calls.   But, Peyton is not someone you can pushover and take advantage of.  She is determined to get through adjusting to a new school and rehabbing her knee so she can get back to soccer season as soon as possible.  

Everything is going according to plan until she meets Owen.  A boy who is determined to steal Peyton's heart.  But Owen has secrets of his own, and Peyton is not ready to deal with any more heartbreak.  I loved the relationship between Peyton and Owen, and the family protectiveness of her twin cousins, Christian and Cameron.  They were fun characters that not only drove Peyton crazy but created a comic relief to the seriousness of Peyton's situation. 

This is a story that reflects a time in the author's life.  Ms. Garcia also dealt with a boyfriend that abused steroids and the effects from it.  This is not your everyday high school love story, but also of about being strong enough to get out of an abusive relationship.  If you loved the Lovely Reckless (also by Kami Garcia), then you'll love this book!  Recommended for 17+

Note: This book has some explicit language and there is one chapter with sexual content.

*A DRC was given for an honest review.

Rating:  4.5 Hearts!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Writing Picture Books (Revised and Expanded Edition) by Ann Whitford Paul

Writing Picture Books 
(Revised and Expanded Edition)
by Ann Whitford Paul
Published by Writer's Digest
November 13, 2018
266 pages

REVIEW:  Writing pictures can be a little tricky and Ann Whitford Paul's book, Writing Picture Books (Revised and Expanded Edition) really helps you to not only structure your story but to identify your audience as well.  This is important because it can directly impact how you write your story - especially in regards to the reading level. The book is organized into six parts. Parts one and two help you to identify your audience before you even start writing, and some early story decisions, such as your outline and characters.  Parts three and four focus on the structure of your story and how your story will be written, including word counts and rhyming.  Parts five and six talk about wrapping it all together, making a mock-up book, and what to do after your done, such as sharing and publishing.  

What I love about this book is that it is full of information that will help you to write, polish, and submit your manuscript for publication.  There is a good section on the publishing business, self-publishing, and even what to do when a publisher makes an offer.  I also liked how the author helps you to examine whether self-publishing makes more sense for you.  This is a great resource for beginners or struggling authors looking for a game changer in publishing more picture books!  If you want to write picture books, then you must read this book!

*A DRC was given for an honest review.


How to Write a Page Turner: Craft a Story Your Readers Can't Put Down by Jorden Rosenfeld

by Jordan Rosenfeld
Published by Writer's Digest Books
March 19, 2019
240 pages

REVIEW:  Jordan Rosenfeld's How to Write A Page Turner is one of those books on writing that you need by your side at all times when writing and editing your book!  What a great resource for beginning and intermediate writers!  There is something to learn and take away from every section.  Rosenfeld mainly focuses on developing tension (also called suspense) throughout the story, not just in the scenes.  She breaks it down into four parts: Essential Tension Elements, Tension with Characters, Plot Tension, and Tension in Exposition.  There are so many great examples within each of these sections.  Rosenfeld really gives you a well-defined understanding of how to apply them to your dialogue, scenes, character development, overall plot, and settings.  

Overall, this book provides a lot of key nuggets on taking your writing to the next level. I highly recommend this book to writers who need help in igniting that page-turning spark with their readers.  Perfect for teens and adults!  Definitely a must-have in print!

*Received a DRC for an honest review


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Lone Star Book Blogger Tour: A TENDER HOPE by Amanda Cabot ***Author Interview & Giveaway***

The Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Book 3
Amanda Cabot
Genre: Historical Romance / Inspirational
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 5, 2019
Number of Pages: 352

Scroll down for the giveaway!

As far as Thea Michener is concerned, it's time for a change. With her husband murdered and her much-anticipated baby stillborn, there is nothing left for her in Ladreville. Having accepted a position as Cimarron Creek's midwife, she has no intention of remarrying and trying for another child. So when a handsome Texas Ranger appears on her doorstep with an abandoned baby, Thea isn't sure her heart Can take it.
Ranger Jackson Guthrie isn't concerned only with the baby's welfare. He's been looking for Thea, convinced that her late husband was part of the gang that killed his brother. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is far more complicated than he anticipated--and he'll need Thea's help if he's ever to find the justice he seeks. Amanda Cabot invites readers back to Cimarron Creek for a tender story of loss, betrayal, and love in the majestic Texas Hill Country.
"Such beautiful words flow from Amanda Cabot's pen--words that lead characters from tattered situations to fresh beginnings and culminate in tender story endings that make a reader sigh in satisfaction. I've never been disappointed by a Cabot tale." -- Kim Vogel Sawyer, bestselling author of Bringing Maggie Home

CLICK TO ORDER ON: Baker Book House  ┃  Amazon  ┃  Barnes & Noble  ┃  ┃  Books-A-Million  ┃  Kobo  ┃ Get It Local Today ┃

Interview with Amanda Cabot

A Tender Hope is the third book in the trilogy. Does it stand alone?
Yes, it can stand alone, but – and this is a big “but” – I think readers will enjoy it more if they’ve read the first two books, since this is the culmination of the series and the place where I wrap up the mystery of Aunt Bertha’s daughter and granddaughter that I introduced in A Stolen Heart.

Whew. Do you think that sentence was long enough? If you keep reading this interview, you’ll discover why I write sentences that my husband claims are as long as chapters.

A Tender Hope is the last book of the trilogy; what can readers next expect?
I’m hard at work on the second book of a new (yet unnamed) trilogy, also set in the Texas Hill Country. (As you’ve probably guessed from the number of books I’ve set there, I love the Hill Country.) I don’t have a firm publication date, but I expect the first book to be released in March 2020.

Here’s a brief introduction to the series. It’s 1856, and life in Mesquite Springs, Texas, a rapidly growing town in the Hill Country, is changing. With the influx of new residents come new businesses – an expanded restaurant, the town’s first newspaper, and a luxurious hotel – as well as new dangers. It’s against this backdrop that three couples discover love and adventure.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 
Saying goodbye to the characters. It’s always a bittersweet moment when I put the final touches on a series. Even though I already had a contract for the next series and was excited about bringing a new town to life, I hated to leave Cimarron Creek.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Giving multiple couples their happily-ever-after. Although most of my books have a single romance, A Tender Hope has three couples who are ready to walk down the aisle by the time it ends. For a hopeless romantic like me, writing those scenes was pure fun.

How has your formal education influenced or impacted your writing?
I had what would now be called a classical education in junior-senior high school (grades seven through twelve) and studied both French and Latin during that time. Learning to speak French and studying in France during college gave me a deep love for the country and led to the “French connection” in a number of my books. Readers may recall that the fictional town of Ladreville, the site of my first trilogy for Revell, featured immigrants from Alsace-Lorraine. As if that weren’t enough, A Tender Hope has a character who’s been raised as a Frenchwoman.

Six years of Latin had a different but equally important influence. As strange as it may sound, reading famous orations in the original Latin helped develop my writing style. Yes, those long sentences with dependent clauses are the result of all those years of Latin.

What do your plans for future projects include?
Funny you should ask that. Even though I’m less than halfway through the new series and rarely think about new projects at this stage, last week I read a fascinating book, Wayne Ludwig’s The Old Chisholm Trail. His descriptions of life on the trail and the problems cattle drovers faced more than piqued my interest. They started ideas for new stories chasing each other through my brain. Will they turn into a full-fledged series? It’s too soon to know, but I hope so.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?
Crater Lake National Park. As a child, I had a book about the national parks – one of those books with stickers that you placed on each page as you finished it – and Crater Lake was my favorite one. The closest I’ve been is in an airplane, looking down, but I’d love to see it from ground level.

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers' Best. She lives in Wyoming.

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1ST: Copy of A Tender Hope + Spa Basket
(An assortment of Cru de Provence lavender 
vanilla scented spa products fills this lovely basket 
including: lotions, soap, bath salts, 
waffle slippers and much more.)

2ND: Copy of A Tender Hope + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

3RD: Copy of A Tender Hope + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

APRIL 5-15, 2018
Character Interview
Bonus Post
Author Interview
Scrapbook Page
Series Spotlight
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