October 21, 2017

Lone Star Book Blog Tours : The Secret Life Of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner


  Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 304

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Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.
With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.
The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck is a rare treat packed with humor, hope, and heart. Sarah’s struggles are real and nearly tangible, and she feels like a friend we’ve all had. I laughed with her and fell in love alongside her and couldn’t wait to hear her whole story. What a charming, delightful book!”  

Liz Johnson, bestselling author of The Red Door Inn


Lifeway   Books-A-Million

The Secret Life Of Sarah Hollenbeck is the story of how a woman became a Christian while trying to figure out how her past fits in with her new future! The first chapter of this book sets the tone for what is to come later, so sit back and get your giggles on! I have never enjoyed reading a book labeled "Christian" as much as I did The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck because they are often so serious, and I can't relate; this book is quite the opposite of that. 

As you get into the facts that made Sarah become a well-known, bestselling author, you discover that her books will make anyone blush and that alone will make you laugh. With Sarah wanting to give more to the church and as she struggles to get away from who she is as an author, it takes a special guy with his young daughter for Sarah to truly be motivated to change.

I do have to warn you: you will be laughing out loud for what happens during certain parts of this book, so be careful where you read it. My only problem with the story is how some of the characters are a tad bit boring to the point of my wondering why they were even included. Even with this aspect, it's a great book to spend a couple of hours reading and which takes your mind away from personal concerns.

Thank You to Bethany Turner for writing a great book that put a smile on my face, right when I needed it!!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours!

Bethany Turner is the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former VP/operations manager of a commercial bank and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she’s chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.



Grand Prize: Copy of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck + a typewriter tote bag + a typewriter notebook + Columbia Jo's coffee + Novel Teas teabags

2nd Prize: Copy of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck + a typewriter hardcover journal + typewriter enamel lapel pin

3rd Prize: Copy of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck + $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

October 19-October 28, 2017
(U.S. Only)


Author Interview
Guest Post #1
Deleted Scene
Guest Post #2
Character Interview

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The Right Side by Spencer Quinn

Published Date : June 27, 2017
Publisher : Atria Books
Genre : Fiction / Mystery / Military


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LeAnne Hogan went to Afghanistan as a rising star in the military, and came back a much lesser person, mentally and physically. Now missing an eye and with half her face badly scarred, she can barely remember the disastrous desert operation that almost killed her. She is confused, angry, and suspects the fault is hers, even though nobody will come out and say it.

Shattered by one last blow—the sudden death of her hospital roommate, Marci—LeAnne finds herself on a fateful drive across the country, reflecting on her past and seeing no future. Her native land is now unfamiliar, recast in shadow by her one good eye, her damaged psyche, and her weakened body. Arriving in the rain-soaked small town in Washington state that Marci had called home, she makes a troubling discovery: Marci’s eight-year-old daughter has vanished. When a stray dog—a powerful, dark, unreadable creature, no one’s idea of a pet—seems to adopt LeAnne, a surprising connection is formed and something shifts inside her. As she becomes obsessed with finding Marci’s daughter, LeAnne and her inscrutable canine companion are drawn into danger as dark and menacing as her last Afghan mission. This time she has a strange but loyal fellow traveler protecting her blind side.


As a boy, I read voraciously, almost anything I could get my hands on, but I enjoyed adventure stories the most. I wasn’t one of those unhappy kids who loses himself in books. I was a pretty happy kid who did it. We had a summer cottage in Quebec. My grandmother would come up on weekends, bringing me a kind of popcorn I liked and a stack of books. There would be famous ones, like Treasure Island, and not-so-famous ones, like Red Pete the Ruthless. I can still recall the last scene of that one – Red Pete, buried up to the neck between the high and low tide lines, surrounded by his stolen gold, waves lapping closer. Can’t you just hear the hiss of the bubbles?
I was also interested in words themselves. Probably like you, I hated to stop reading if I thought I’d pretty much understood a new word from the context, but some persnickety thing in me usually insisted I look it up. (“Persnickety,” for example, seems to derive from the Scots dialect. Nice to find out I’ve got some Scot in me, probably a surprise to my family.)
I began by writing stand-alones, meaning non-series novels – such as Lights Out, The Fan (filmed by Tony Scott, with a cast including Robert De Niro), Oblivion, and End of Story. It was during this period that Stephen King – uh-oh! I just came close to quoting from my own reviews. Wasn’t I brought up better than that?
(Psst! I’m the webmaster – brought up with no standards at all – interrupting for a moment to tell you that Mr. King called him “my favorite American suspense novelist.”)
A little later, I also started writing for younger readers, beginning with the Echo Falls series, centered around thirteen-year old Ingrid Levin-Hill. I took advantage of having four kids of my own – all that raw material! – plus the fact that, yes, I’d once been thirteen myself. Speaking of family – the most important thing in my life – my wife and children are the only people who read my books while they’re being written. I put each new chapter on the kitchen table, and any family member so inclined can read, comment, and even revise. No one holds back! The holding back gene didn’t catch on here.
Tom Nolan, reviewing Oblivion in the L.A. Times, was the first to comment on the dogs that often appeared in my novels.
(Hi! Webmaster again. Mr. Nolan wrote: “His funny and stout-hearted dogs [like Buster, who becomes Petrov’s assistant for a few hours] are unmatched by anyone’s, including Dashiel Hammett’s and Robert B. Parker’s.”)
That got me thinking, but it wasn’t until my wife said, “You should do something with dogs,” that I finally stumbled on the idea of writing detective novels from the POV of the gumshoe’s dog. Not a talking dog! He’s as canine as I could make him. I refer to Chet, the narrator of the Chet and Bernie series. Chet’s a supremely unreliable narrator, and it’s a lot of fun to let him loose in the strict plot confines of detective fiction. The Chet and Bernie books (Bernie is the detective) are for adults, although a lot of teens seem to be reading them. For middle-schoolers, I’m writing the Bowser and Birdie series, with Woof coming out in May 2015.
I live on Cape Cod with my wife – all the kids up and grown now – and dogs Audrey (the black one in the photo, a wonderful year-round swimmer) and Pearl (who may dip a delicate paw into the water on a warm afternoon). Dogs are a big part of our life and there’s no way I could have written the Chet and Bernie books or Bowser and Birdie without them. Audrey and Pearl are the kind of researchers writers dream of, showing up every day and working for treats.
What else? Did I leave anything out?
(Well – webmaster here – how about the fact Spencer Quinn is the pen name for Peter Abrahams, Quinn handling all the dog-narrated material? And is it okay to mention winning an Edgar Allen Poe award for Reality Check, best young adult mystery, 2010, and an Agatha for Down the Rabbit Hole, best young adult mystery, 2006?)
I’d prefer you didn’t.
(No worries, pal – it won’t be in the final draft. You can bet the ranch.)

October 20, 2017

RockStar Book Tours : Malala's Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai

Published Date : October 17, 2017
Publisher : Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Genre : Non-Fiction / Biography
Rating : 5 Star


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Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Malala Yousafzai's first picture book, inspired by her own childhood.

Malala's first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them.

As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true.
This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala's story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.


Malala's Magic Pencil is the true story of a young girl who dreamed of what could be with her magic pencil! Young Malala dreamed of owning a magic pencil that she can control what is going on around her like putting a lock on her bedroom door and to stop time to gain that extra hour of sleep, and even erasing certain smells around her. But that magic pencil never came to be but going to school seemed to be even more better than a magic pencil until certain forces tried to stop her from attending school without much success. It's only then that Malala's voice became even more powerful that she can only imagine that would one day change the world for the better!

This book was truly amazing in the sense that a young woman wrote this, describing what life is like for her and her family while dreaming of a much better future. It was written in a way that young kids can understand what is going on in Pakistan without scaring them too much. Just reading this book is heart-breaking for what those powerful people tried to do to Malala to stop her from dreaming but it didn't work. I do have to say that the Illustrations truly make this book even more special! I can only wish that Malala's wish for the world can come true sooner rather than later!

Thank You to Malala Yousafzai for sharing your story with the world!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from RockStar Book Tours!

About The Author

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially education of women in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Her advocacy has since grown into an international movement.

Giveaway Details

3 winners will receive a finished copy of MALALA'S MAGIC PENCIL, US Only.

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Tour Schedule

Week One

10/16/2017 : J.R's Book Reviews - Review
10/17/2017 : BookHounds YA - Review
10/18/2017 : Wandering Bark Books - Review
10/19/2017 : Hauntedbybooks13 - Review
10/20/2017 : Texan Girl Reads - Review

Week Two

10/23/2017 : Word Spelunking - Review
10/24/2017 : Wonder Struck - Review
10/25/2017 : Book-Keeping - Review
10/26/2017 : YA Books Central - Excerpt
10/27/2017 : Novel Novice - Review

Strike Out by Jordan Ford

Published Date : October 20, 2017
Publisher : Jordan Ford Books
Series : Barlow Sisters / Book 2
Genre : YA Fiction / Romance / Sports
Rating : 5 Star


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Strike Out is the 2nd book in the Barlow Sisters series! Max Barlow has been expected to play Baseball to earn a scholarship for college but it seems music is her one true love. Cairo is a rock star with his band called Velocity but he has a reputation with the girls until a certain girl named Max wonders into the music room and his heart.

As Max deals with the pressure of moving to a new town and trying to be the perfect baseball player that her father expects her to be, it takes getting lost in a new school to wonder into the music room to discover what she is missing from her life. With Max and Cairo hiding their friendship and blossoming love, a sudden change in her home life with her uncle now living with her family means that nothing is going as planned.

It all leads to Max wanting to do right by her father and to follow her own dreams of playing music that a major decision will be made but not without consequences. As Max and Cairo deal with everything that had happened, Max is forced to choose what she truly wants in life that will lead to a ending that nobody will see coming!

This was a excellent book in this series and I so can't wait to see what is gonna happen in the third and final book in this great series!! You can't help but to feel for Max for trying to do right by her dad but at the same time, she wants to follow her own dreams and heart. At first, I was a bit confused on why we went back to the beginning of the series but told from Max's view instead, it will make sense in the end that makes this book even better than before! There is a certain heart-pounding point in this book that I didn't think was gonna turn out the way it did and with everything wrapping up in the next book, I'm sure that book is gonna be a wild ride!

Thank You to Jordan Ford for writing this great book that I so can't wait to see how it all ends!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the Author!

October 19, 2017

Book Unleashed : The First Blood Son by Carol McKibben

The prequel to the thrilling Snow Blood Series by Carol McKibben
A most interesting start to a unique new vampire series!
- Patti, Goodreads Reviewer
Kane - The First Blood Son
Carol McKibben
Series: Prequel to The Snow Blood Series
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Publisher: Troll River Publications
Publication Date: October 1, 2017
Kane de Medici’s thirst for knowledge leads him into the dark vampire world.
Kane de Medici’s thirst for knowledge leads him into the dark world of vampirism. Working as an apprentice to the great master, Leonardo da Vinci in 1503, he encounters Brogio, one of Florence’s most wealthy bachelors. Their growing friendship coupled with strange events lead him to uncover Brogio’s inconceivable secret. Brogio is a vampire, the very first vampire.
Kane’s quest for endless learning has him propose that the vampire “turn” him so that he can become Brogio’s first vampire blood son. Reluctantly Brogio agrees, but Kane’s uncontrollable blood lust unleashes a plague upon the world.
This Snow Blood Series Prequel will delight fans of this beloved family of vampires.
This is not your normal vampire series... If you are one of those individuals who has yet to read the Snow Blood Series, this will be a great start...
- Dina Bushrod, Goodreads Reviewer
Absolute Perfection-Must Read. Carol's style of weaving a story draws you into the book. You're not just reading, you find yourself answering characters, or running with them as they hunt, or fight, "she's that good!" If there is one book you don't want to miss, it's First Blood Son!
- inspectorrick, Amazon Reviewer

Purchase Links

Special $1.99 Promotion!
Available now for a limited time only. Grab your copy today.

Book Tour Schedule

Follow the Book Tour! Ongoing until October 30, 2017.
Visit each tour stop daily and discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and other extras on the tour.
To check the latest tour schedule, visit the Kane - The First Blood Son Book Page at Book Unleashed.
Kane - The First Blood Son Tour Graphic

Other Books by Carol McKibben

Be sure to check out all the books in the popular Snow Blood series!
Join the paranormal world of Brogio, the first vampire, as told through the eyes of his kindred dog, Snow Blood! The Snow Blood Series takes readers through the creation of the first vampire and how he saved a dying white husky to be his eternal companion. Together the two face a series of events that reveal sinister plots to destroy the father of all vampires and those he loves. Through it all, Snow Blood demonstrates the meaning of unconditional love and redemption.
Each book is currently on promotion for only $1.99 at Amazon.com. Or get them FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Snow Blood Season 1

Snow Blood Season 2

Snow Blood Season 3

Snow Blood Season 4

Snow Blood Season 5
This series was such a unique and original experience. As told through the eyes of a Dog and his vampire family, Snow Blood was such a gripping tale brought to life on the pages of this book by a really magnificent story teller.
- Alina Hart, Amazon.com Reviewer


Kane - The First Blood Son Giveaway Graphic
Contest runs from October 2 - 30, 2017.

About Carol McKibben

Carol McKibben
Carol McKibben was a magazine publisher for 20+ years. Carol writes from the heart of a dog’s eyes. Her books help support her dog rescue efforts and focus on unconditional love. Carol, her lab Thor and Siberian Husky Ty are currently working on new adventures. Go to http://www.carolmckibben.com or email carol@mckibben.com.
Official website: http://www.carolmckibben.com/
Connect with Carol McKibben on social media:
Check out the Troll River Publications official website: http://www.trollriverpub.com

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Second Chance Season by Liora Blake

Published Date : June 20, 2017
Publisher : Pocket Books
Series : Grand Valley / Book 2
Genre : Fiction / Romance / Sports
Rating : 5 Star


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Second Chance Season is the story of how two people from totally different backgrounds can come together! Garrett Strickland is a country boy who is all about living in the present and happy working at the Hotchkiss Co-Op until he passes by a young woman in a car. Cara Cavanaugh is a city girl from Chicago who just dumped her boyfriend of ten years to peruse her dream of being a freelance journalist and her first assignment makes her relocate to the middle of nowhere town called Hotchkiss for 6 weeks.

With Cara now renting Garrett's former childhood home for the next 6 weeks, the opportunity to get to know each other proves to be challenging than they would ever imagine. As they both fall in love with each and with only a limited time to be with each other, it's battles within themselves that prove that maybe they just are not meant for each other until Cara makes a move that will change everything. It all leads to a farm where decisions will be made about their future in a bittersweet ending for this couple!

This was a very good book that will keep you up longer than you plan on just to see what happens to this awesome couple! I loved the first book in this series and I think I love this book even more! Just reading the struggles that Garrett had to endure and what Cara is doing with her life, it makes you want to root them on even more for that. I wasn't expecting that ending but if you think about it long after reading it, it proves to be the most perfect ending for this couple. I also loved the fact that it had characters from the first book as well just to see what they have been up too as well! My only complaint about this book is why hasn't it been made into a movie yet or better yet, a TV series!

Thank You to Liora Blake for making me become a fan of yours with this one series and I so can't wait to see what is to come next!!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours!

October 18, 2017

Lone Star Book Blog Tours : Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider

A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards (Messages from the Dead)

  Genre: History / Landmarks & Monuments / Iconography Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: August 19, 2017
Number of Pages: 250

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Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider helps history buffs, genealogists, ghost hunters, and other curiosity seekers decode the forgotten meanings of the symbols our ancestors placed on their headstones. By understanding the meaning behind the architecture, acronyms, & symbols found in America’s burial grounds, readers will gain a deeper appreciation for these "messages from the dead."


Praise for Understanding Cemetery Symbols:

"When I ordered this book I thought it would be good for information concerning cemetery symbolism. I was wrong. It is GREAT!!!! This has already become my go to guide for all types of cemetery information. By far the best book I have come across!"  - Amazon verified purchase, wearylibrarian

"Wow! What a great book! I got bit by the bug doing genealogy research. I always wondered what the symbols meant and could not find a reliable resource for the info. With Ms. Snider's book along with the symbiology and great pictures, also a creative process of Tui's, are plenty of interesting tidbits! Useful and entertaining! The book is small enough to keep in the glove box or your handbag or backpack!!" - Amazon verified purchase, Rev. Joy Daley

"I always enjoyed walking through a cemetery and looking at the stones. Now it will give it a much deeper meaning. I really enjoyed reading this book!"  - Amazon verified purchase, Deborah D.

"Perfect book to get an idea for symbols and meaning. Only glanced through it and already picked up a few facts! Welcome addition to our growing library..." - Amazon verified purchase, Toripotterfan


What do seashells on a grave mean?
Excerpt from Understanding Cemetery Symbols
by Tui Snider

Graves adorned with seashells are fairly common in historic graveyards throughout the south, and not just in coastal regions as you might expect. This practice extends quite far inland; I’ve seen quite a few in the rural graveyards of north Texas. 

One of the most challenging items I researched for my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols, was the symbolic meaning of seashells on American graves. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact symbolic meaning and cultural origins for this practice. 

Decorating graves with seashells is such an old custom that it even pre-dates the ancient Egyptians! Of all the burial practices I researched for this book, decorating graves with seashells appears to be the most primal. 

To the ancient Greeks and Romans, seashells were a symbol of the divine feminine. Venus, the Roman goddess of love and fertility, was said to have been birthed by sea foam and carried to the show on a scallop shell.

Over time, these Greek and Roman beliefs seeped into Christianity. Some believe that Mother Mary is a reference to how the oceans gave birth to life, and point out that her name comes from the Latin word mare, meaning “sea.” 

In addition to the connection with the Virgin Mary, seashells are a symbolic reference to religious pilgrimages. This is because during the Middle Ages, pilgrims often sewed scallop shells into their garments as they traveled and used seashells to mark the pathways for others to follow. 

In Christianity, seashells also symbolize spiritual protection and are associated with baptism. In Catholic churches, the tool used to sprinkle water on the heads of babies during their baptism is often shaped like a scallop shell. 

African Americans who decorated their graves with seashells may have carried this practice to America from their ancestors rather than taking the idea from Christianity. 

Historians point out that African tribes from the Congo region often apply seashells to mounded dirt graves. According to their beliefs, the spirit world was a brightly-lit place, and dead people became gleaming white creatures who lived beneath rivers and lakes. Covering graves in bleached white shells was considered a way to help the deceased blend into the bright white world of the afterlife. 

Sometimes, rather than being part of the monument itself, seashells are left by visitors at a gravesite. Specifically, conch shells and whelks are frequently seen in historic cemeteries. I’ve been told by old-timers that this means a loved one made a pilgrimage to the deceased’s grave, leaving a shell behind as a reminder of their visit.

Whether it’s been left behind by a visitor or not, the spiral shape of a conch shell is sometimes used to symbolize the challenging spiral path of life and death. 

Check out the book trailer! Music by Tui Snider!

Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in quirky travel, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”
Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences and bookstores. Her best-selling books include Paranormal Texas, The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber, Unexpected Texas, and Understanding Cemetery Symbols. She recently taught classes based on her books at Texas Christian University.
When not writing books, you can find Tui exploring the historic graveyards and backroads of Texas with her husband, Larry. 


Grand Prize: Signed Copies of Understanding Cemetery Symbols + wGraveyard Journal Workbook + Ghost Hunters Journal 

2nd & 3rd Prizes: Signed Copies of Understanding Cemetery Symbols

October 18-October 27, 2017

(U.S. Only)


Excerpt 1
Guest Post 1
Author Interview
Excerpt 2
Top 5 List
Guest Post 2

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