Posted in Interview, Texas, Travel on December 11, 2017

YONDERINGS

Trails and Memories of the Big Bend

by

Ben H. English

  Genre: Memoir / Travel / Texas

Publisher: TCU Press

on Twitter  ┃ on Facebook  ┃ on Instagram

Date of Publication: November 17, 2017

Number of Pages: 221

It was a time before Terlingua Ranch, chili cook-offs, and when you could drive a hundred miles without seeing another vehicle or another person.  The year was 1961, and the tides of humanity that ebbed and flowed into the lower reaches of the Big Bend were at their historical nadir.  It was a vast, empty land spotted by isolated ranch headquarters, a national park with few visitors, and the many ruins of a past shrouded in legend, lore, and improbable truths. Six generations of Ben H. English’s family have called this enigmatic region home.  With his family headquartered at the old Lajitas Trading Post, he worked and lived on ranches and in places now little more than forgotten dots on yellowing maps.  He attended the one-room schoolhouse at Terlingua, prowled the banks of the Rio Grande, and crisscrossed the surrounding areas time and again on horseback and on foot.

Some fifty years later he writes about those years, revealing along the way the history and legends of the singular land he knows so well, separating fact from fiction, and bringing the reader into a world that few have experienced.  He also explores the lower Big Bend as it is found now, and the extraordinary vistas one can still discover just over the next rise.

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Amazon ▪ Barnes & Noble ▪ Indiebound

▪ Texas Book Consortium ▪

 


Author Ben H. English discusses his book Yonderings: Trails and Memories of the Big Bend, answering various questions about the book and his motivations for writing it.



An eighth-generation Texan, Ben H. English was raised mostly in the Lajitas-Terlingua area. An honors graduate of Angelo State University, he served in the United States Marine Corps for seven years, was a high school teacher, and retired after twenty-two years in the Texas Highway Patrol.

 

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

12/5/17 Playlist Reading by Moonlight
12/6/17 Review Texan Girl Reads
12/7/17 Top Ten List A Page Before Bedtime
12/8/17 Author Video 1 Books and Broomsticks
12/9/17 Review Forgotten Winds
12/10/17 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
12/11/17 Author Video 2 StoreyBook Reviews
12/12/17 Review Syd Savvy
12/13/17 Scrapbook Page Chapter Break Book Blog
12/14/17 Review Hall Ways Blog

 

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on December 11, 2017

 

 

 

The Sound of Silence Series is a three book series.

Book One: Stone Silence, Spencer’s Story
Release date: Nov. 1, 2017

Book Two: Jailbird, Mia’s Story
Release date: Dec. 1, 2017

Book Three: Hothouse Flower, Shay’s Story
Release date: Jan. 1, 2018

Each book has a happy ending and there are no cliffhangers. They are not standalones and should be read in order.

 

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Praise for Stone Silence

Oh. My. Gosh! I absolutely LOVE Stone Silence! Talk about swoony! This book is AMAZING! I was sucked in from the very beginning and found myself lost in the journey of Spencer and Stony. I laughed out loud, got teary eyed, let out little dreamy sighs and refused to put this book down until I finished it! I devoured it!
-KJ’s Book Nook

Oh man. I will always read everything Taylor Dean writes with no hesitation. I LOVE Taylor Dean books. If you have never read anything by her, you really must.
-Aimee, Getting Your Read On

 

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From Jailbird

SHOWTIME, MIA. AND you know what they say about a show that’s about to start—it must go on.
Of course, they also tell the actors to break a leg and I’d much prefer that to what I’m about to do.
I turn down the paved road and see a large fenced-in property in the distance. My GPS tells me I’ve reached my destination.
It’s a beautiful and sunny September day with hardly a cloud in the sky. The weather certainly doesn’t match my emotions. If it did, it would be stormy. A raging storm, to include crazy lightning and booming thunder.
I don’t want to do this. I’d rather go to the dentist and have five teeth pulled. While I’m awake. Heck, I’d rather have my toenails removed. All of them. Without anesthesia.
But this is something I have to do, something I need to do. Not just for Stony. I need to do it for me.
Especially for me.
I can’t move forward with my life until I gain closure from the past. I’d like to place my past in a box, tie a pretty little bow on it, and place it on a shelf and forget about it.
Instead it sits on my kitchen counter begging to be put away every time I see it.
It’s time to put it away.
There’s only one way to do that.
Face Stony.
The last time I saw him was a little over a year ago, the moment I arrived home and stepped out of my brother’s car after being released from jail. He was there. Waiting for me.
Stony smiled at me. He smiled! Not just a little smile either. Stony never smiles and I mean never. Ever.
I thought it meant all was forgiven between us. I thought it meant we were starting over. I thought it meant so many things.
I was wrong. So very wrong.
I was told he’d had a girl with him that day, a pretty blond California girl. I didn’t notice her, but then, I was preoccupied. I was told they’d been seeing each other for a while.
I’d been kept in the dark about their relationship.
“Mia,” my mom had said, “You and Stony gave it your best shot. It didn’t work out. It’s for the best.”
Mom had her heart set on Stony and me getting married. If Stony had a fan club, she’d be president. Her change of tune threw me for a loop.

 

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About the Author

Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of clean romance in her line-up.

 

 

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Also by Taylor Dean

 

 

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/23/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in 5 paws, christmas, Giveaway, Historical, Holiday, Review, romance on December 10, 2017

CHRISTMAS IN A COWBOY’S ARMS

with stories by

ROSANNE BITTNER, LINDA BRODAY, MARGARET BROWNLEY,

LEIGH GREENWOOD, ANNA SCHMIDT, AMY SANDAS

  Genre: Romance Anthology / Western / Historical

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

Number of Pages: 512

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The Beating Heart of Christmas

In the wild and untamed West, it takes a cowboy’s embrace to see you through a long winter’s night. Stay toasty this holiday season with heart-warming tales from these bestselling authors.

Whether it’s a lonely spinster finding passion at last…an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman reaffirming the love that keeps him whole…a lost and broken drifter discovering family in unlikely places…a Texas Ranger risking it all for one remarkable woman…two lovers bringing together a family ripped apart by prejudice…or reunited lovers given a second chance to correct past mistakes…a Christmas spent in a cowboy’s arms is full of hope, laughter, and―most of all―love.

*Chick-a-Dee Christmas by Rosanne Bittner * The Christmas Stranger by Linda Broday * A Texas Ranger for Christmas by Margaret Brownley * Father Christmas by Leigh Greenwood * A Christmas Baby by Anna Schmidt * A Christmas Reunion by Amy Sandas*

Praise

“An emotional powerhouse! This classic historical western is destined for the “keeper” shelf.” RT Book Reviews, Top 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

“Greenwood is a master at westerns.” RT Book Reviews for Leigh Greenwood

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

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

 

If you love Cowboys, Christmas and the Wild West – then you need to read this book!

The six authors bring us back to the late 1800’s when the west was wild and life was nothing like what we know today.  But more than just a look into the past – these stories are of love, whether it be lost love, new found love or a love that has endured for decades.  In each story the main characters have some sort of issue to resolve, and each author weaves that tale into a succinct story that leaves us with a happy ending.

I don’t know if I can choose a favorite because they are all good!  I do think I liked the stories that included a dog a bit more, but that is the dog lover in me.  Animals always have their own personality that adds to the story.

Each story warmed my heart despite the difficulties that the characters faced in the beginning.  There are situations that probably everyone could relate to whether it was family issues, secrets or wanting more from life.

We give this book and all six novellas 5 paws up.  Perfect to read during this holiday season and since each story is about 100 pages, it won’t take long to enjoy each of the novellas.

Rosanne Bittner

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Linda Broday

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Twitter * Goodreads

 

 

Margaret Brownley

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Twitter * Goodreads

 

 

 

Anna Schmidt

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GoodreadsTwitter

 

 

 

Amy Sandas

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Leigh Greenwood

Website * Goodreads

 

 

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

December 1-December 10, 2017

Four Winners will each get a prize pack which includes Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms + another book(s) by one of the authors.  Three of the packs will also include a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

(U.S. Only)


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Check out the other blogs on this tour

12/1/17 Christmas Memories Hall Ways Blog
12/2/17 Review Books in the Garden
12/3/17 Spotlight on Amy Syd Savvy
12/4/17 Review Bibliotica
12/5/17 Spotlight on Anna Missus Gonzo
12/6/17 Spotlight on Linda Margie’s Must Reads
12/7/17 Review Reading by Moonlight
12/8/17 Spotlight on Margaret The Librarian Talks
12/9/17 Spotlight on Rosanne Tangled in Text
12/10/17 Review StoreyBook Reviews

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Posted in excerpt, humor, nonfiction on December 9, 2017

Synopsis

Who do you think of when you think of a banker? Perhaps you think of the bankers trying to foreclose on Kevin Costner’s farm in Field of Dreams? Bankers are usually portrayed as jerks who are trying to foreclose on widows and orphans. I have been a banker for nearly forty years and I want to show you some different sides to one banker – me.

I come from a family of story tellers, from my father’s mother’s family, the Gillhams. When a Gillham told a story at the campfire, you could feel the heat of the sun beating down and hear the calling of an owl just as if you were there.

The stories in this book are half from banking and half from my hunting, my dogs, and my childhood. Some of the stories are humorous, some are serious, and some are a little of both. As you read, you will hopefully share my puzzlement as I listen to a loan request, feel the pounding of a buck’s hooves on the dirt as it gallops toward me, and hear my father’s whistle. If you do, I have accomplished my goal in writing this book.

Excerpt

Lessons from Hog Wallow Flats

In 1980, I was living back in my hometown of Atoka. I had moved there after working in banking for a couple of years. I was working for my hometown bank which ended up being a pain but that is a story for another day.

During that time, I met Mark who had moved to Atoka while I was in college. Mark was an electrician who was making good money doing electrical work on new home construction. He was married to a nice lady and they had two children. Mark liked to hunt and fish so we became friends.

Mark walked into the bank one day and sat down to talk to me. “Ken, I did it,” he said, “I bought my own place to hunt.” Unknown to me, Mark had been looking for a place to buy in Atoka. I was surprised to hear that he had purchased some land. I asked him to tell me about the place.

He said it was one hundred and sixty acres about eight miles east of Atoka. He said the place was part timber and had a really nice pond on the property and that he got a terrific deal on the price. He added that there was quite a bit of deer sign on the property and that he was looking forward to hunting deer there.

Since I grew up in Atoka and hunted all over the county, I was curious where his place was located. I asked him to tell me how to get to the property.

He described the route to the property and I knew instantly the property he had purchased – Hog Wallow Flats. Locals called it Hog Waller Flats and I had hunted the property many times. It was called Hog Wallow Flats because there were some mud holes on the property that hogs liked to wallow in (I know  –  too obvious an answer to why it was named that!)

I was troubled at this information and Mark could tell by the look on my face. He asked me why I was frowning. I was unsure at first how to tell him.

First, I need to tell you a little history. When I grew up, there were certain properties that most locals hunted that were considered open to everyone. I know that may seem strange today but that was how it was when I grew up. My family hunted deer on property near Daisy that was owned by the Hunt family in Dallas. We did not have permission but we hunted anyway. There were a number of people that hunted the area at that time and no one apparently gave it much thought.

Hog Wallow Flats was another place that most locals hunted. I had hunted there, my father had hunted there and his father had hunted there. It was considered open land. One of the reasons was because it was located at the end of a county road with no fences or gates indicating borders or ownership.

I told Mark that numerous people had hunted Hog Wallow Flats for years and that it might be difficult to stop them from coming on the property. Mark looked at me with disbelief and said it was his property now and that he was going to put a gate on the property and keep everyone out. As logical as this sounded, I knew that it might be extremely difficult to keep people off this property.

Mark fenced and gated his 160 acres. People cut his fence and hunted anyway. Mark rebuilt the fence and strengthened the gate. They tore down the gate. He rebuilt and they tore down.

This went on for about a year. It seemed that every time Mark went to the property, someone had trespassed and I thought Mark was going to kill someone if he caught them there. Finally, he hired someone to watch the property on a part time basis. That seemed to help for a while.

One day Mark was driving down the dirt road on his property and discovered that he had two flat tires. Someone had placed nails all along his road. It took weeks for him to search and get all the nails out of the road.

Then, it seemed to calm down a little. He was not seeing cut fences or broken gates. He decided to build a small cabin on the pond, just a place to spend the night with his family on a weekend. Three months after the cabin was completed; someone burned it to the ground.

I moved to Texas just before that happened in 1982. I do not know whether Mark kept the property, sold it, or exactly what happened. I know he did not go to jail so he must not have killed someone over the trespass issues.

However, I do think there are lessons to be learned from Hog Wallow Flats.

Lesson 1: Check with knowledgeable local sources when purchasing property. If Mark would have asked me or other local sources, we could have told him what he was about to get himself into – a real mess. He could have chosen to purchase the property but he would have been forewarned. There was a reason the price on the property was “terrific”, everyone and his dog hunted there.

During this time, Mark kept saying to me that people should respect his rights and that they should stay off his property. Of course, he was absolutely correct. I make no excuses for the people who trespassed and tore up his fences and gates.

I am probably a pragmatist but I found myself telling Mark that that was just the way things were. People do not always do what they “should” do. People had been hunting this property for years and did not respect his property rights enough to quit going on his property without a battle. I am not saying he should have just accepted the trespassing but expecting people to do the right thing can drive you insane. Lesson 2: people do not always do the right thing.

About the Author

Ken Mixon was raised in Atoka, Oklahoma and graduated from Atoka High School in 1974. He attended Oklahoma Baptist University and graduated in 1977 with a degree in business administration. He has an extensive career in banking that began in 1977 as an auditor with First National Bank in Oklahoma City. From there he worked at a variety of different banks and concluded when he became President and CEO of City National Bank in Corsicana Texas, where he remains today.

Ken is a member of First Baptist Church in Richardson and is very proud to be a Rotary member in Corsicana. One of his biggest passions is being involved in selecting the high school senior to receive the Corsicana Rotary Scholarship each year. Ken is a big fan of the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Cowboys, and Oklahoma Sooners. He enjoys hunting and fishing and being with family and friends.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on December 9, 2017

 

My Fair Aussie by Jennifer Griffith

There’s more to this Aussie cowboy than meets the eye.

Former grad student Eliza works as a nanny for a self-absorbed trophy wife looking to trade up for a new husband and ditch her child. Eliza will do anything to protect the little girl and open her boss’s eyes. Even if it requires an elaborate hoax.

Then fate hits Eliza with Henry, a bewildered, dirty guy at the bus station. He’s got amazing teeth, cowboy swagger, and an accent to swoon for. Everything is falling into place for a rags-to-riches-style bait and switch. But will it deliver a slice of humble pie to Eliza’s boss—or get Eliza fired?

Worse, refining him might mean losing her heart.

 

 

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Praise for My Fair Aussie

My Fair Aussie is the perfect retelling of a classic tale with a delicious twist—and an Australian cowboy to boot. It’s the ideal combination of humor and romance. Totally swoon-worthy. Highly recommended! – CJ Anaya, USA Today bestselling author

“How does she do it? Griffith once again makes me laugh out loud and thoroughly enjoy a good book. Love her cute characters.” Amazon Reviewer ‘grimm

 

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Excerpt

“Are you okay, sir?” I couldn’t help asking. He looked so forlorn.
“Actually, an international phone. That’s what I really need.” As he said the word need, I caught a glimpse of his teeth.
Okay, I might have a thing about teeth. An obsession, Polly calls it. A very good set of teeth can completely blind me to myriad other characteristics that would make a person otherwise unappealing.
And these teeth happened to be the best, most dazzling teeth I’d ever seen. My heart may have skipped a beat.
Maybe it was because they contrasted so starkly against his sunburnt face, or played so nicely off his extremely messy blond hair, but suddenly, I was entranced and ignoring everything else that I should be paying attention to—like the fact he was a homeless man who lived at the bus station and was asking to borrow, or possibly steal, my phone.
“I’ve got to get an international phone.” He said it again, and this time I picked apart the accent more. My mind was like one of those police phone traces when a hostage-taker called. Keep ’em on the line just a few more seconds—we’re pinpointing. He had to talk more for me to place it. Not American, not quite British. South African, maybe? Kiwi?

Polly took him by the shoulders and spun him around. “Nice build. That, plus the teeth. You’ll do.”

 

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Also by Jennifer Griffith

 

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About the Author

Jennifer Griffith writes light, sweet romances she calls Cotton Candy for the Soul. Her Legally in Love Collection stems from the fact she fell in love with a handsome law school student who now serves as a judge—as well as her muse. She also writes the Billionaire Makeover Romances, billionaires and makeovers being some things with which she has less experience.

Jennifer loves old cars, landscape paintings, fresh bread with raspberry jam, and reading. She lived in Japan during college, where she once ate a cricket on a dare. She also traveled through Europe, where she slept a night in a castle on the Rhine. Jennifer worked summers in a cookie factory, and she spent a few years working for the U.S. Congress before becoming a wife, a mom and an author.

 

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More great books by Jennifer Griffith

 

 

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/22/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Posted in 4 paws, fiction, Giveaway, Historical, Review on December 8, 2017

 

UP NEAR DALLAS

Winds of Change — Book III

by

GINA HOOTEN POPP

  Genre:  Texas Historical Fiction / Romance

Date of Publication: November 12, 2017

Number of Pages: 307

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The year is 1934. Economic turbulence rocks the country. And record drought dries up crops, along with the spirits of every farmer south of the Mason-Dixon. Yet for sixteen-year-old Mick McLaren, life is good as he takes to the open road to chase his dream of being a musician. Riding boxcars, hitchhiking, walking and driving his way across Depression Era Texas, he finds not only himself, but the love of a girl from Dallas named Margaret. Along the way, they befriend Cowboy Larson, a Delta Blues guitarist. Together the three teens, from three very different worlds, come-of-age as their life-changing journey carries them through killer dust storms, extreme poverty, and the unprecedented gangster activity of the Dirty Thirties.

Amazon ▪ Barnes & Noble ▪ iBooks ▪ Kobo

This book takes you on a journey during the height of the great depression and gives us a peek into how people came together as a community to help those hurting the worst. But it also hits on some of the history of the time – like Bonnie & Clyde and how their actions bring together a young couple that may not have met otherwise – Mick and Margaret.

While there is a multitude of positive moments, it would not be a well rounded book without hitting on some touchy topics like racism and perceived guilt. However, the characters take everything in stride and actually stand up for their actions which causes others to rethink their initial reactions to what they heard. It doesn’t mean that every situation has a happy ending, but it might make one think about how they are treating others based on gossip or sensationalized news stories.

And this book wouldn’t be complete without some romance. There is Mick and Margaret, Cowboy and Saint, and even Mick’s parents – Lucky and Antonia. Each couple has their own issues to overcome and round out the story.

Each chapter of this book is told from a different character’s voice. I felt like this really helped engage me as a reader because it allowed me to look into their thoughts, dreams and actions which added layers of complexity to the story. There are even some quirky characters that are very lovable such as Nana Michelle and an incident with a dust storm and a cow. You’ll have to read the book to find out more about that!

Overall a very enjoyable book and while it is the 3rd book in this series, you do not have to read the first two to understand this book. However the first two books are about Mick’s Grandfather and Father, so it might make some actions of Lucky (Mick’s father) more understandable.

We give this 4 paws up.

A native Texan, Gina Hooten Popp was born in Greenville and now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. Along with writing novels, Gina has enjoyed a long career as a professional writer in advertising. Her debut novel THE STORM AFTER was a finalist in the 2014 RONE Awards, and her just-released book CHICO BOY: A NOVEL was a 2016 Medalist Winner in the New Apple Annual Book Awards. Recently, her novel LUCKY’S WAY, about a young fighter pilot from Houston, was endorsed by the United States World War One Centennial Commission.

Website ║ Twitter ║ Instagram

Pinterest ║ Facebook

Amazon Author Page ║ Goodreads

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

December 5-December 13, 2017

(U.S. Only)

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

12/4/17 Guest Post Books and Broomsticks
12/5/17 Review Hall Ways Blog
12/6/17 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
12/7/17 Playlist The Clueless Gent
12/8/17 Review StoreyBook Reviews
12/9/17 Notable Quotable A Page Before Bedtime
12/10/17 Excerpt Texan Girl Reads
12/11/17 Review Missus Gonzo
12/12/17 Author Interview The Librarian Talks
12/13/17 Review Reading by Moonlight

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on December 8, 2017

Mister Mottley and the Dying Fall
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Incorrigible Publishing (October 27, 2017)

Synopsis

The only way out is a long way down.

Edmund Mottley, Specialist in Discreet Enquiries, is in a precarious position: his old flame Susan needs his help. Her new fiance is accused of murder, and she wants Mottley to clear his name.

Mottley would rather jump off a cliff than get involved, but when Susan is threatened by a shadowy crime syndicate, Mottley leaps to her aid.

Mottley and Baker, his intrepid valet, pursue the case to an island of otherworldly beauty. But the island is haunted by secrets, treachery, madness, and … something more.

Every clue crumbles under their feet, pushing Mottley’s powers of deduction — and Baker’s loyalty — to the limit. With his own life on the line, can Mottley save Susan before time runs out?

The Mottley & Baker Mysteries are classic whodunnits set in the Golden Age of 1930’s traditional detectives. If you like Miss Marple’s pastoral puzzles or Albert Campion’s rollicking adventures, you’ll fall hard for this cozy historical mystery.

Guest Post

 

The only way out is a long way down.

Edmund Mottley, Specialist in Discreet Enquiries, is in a precarious position: his old flame Susan needs his help. Her new fiancé is accused of murder, and she wants Mottley to clear his name.

Mottley would rather jump off a cliff than get involved, but when Susan is threatened by a shadowy crime syndicate, Mottley leaps to her aid.

Mottley and Baker, his intrepid valet, pursue the case to an island of otherworldly beauty. But the island is haunted by secrets, treachery, madness, and … something more.

Every clue crumbles under their feet, pushing Mottley’s powers of deduction — and Baker’s loyalty — to the limit. With his own life on the line, can Mottley save Susan before time runs out?

The Mottley & Baker Mysteries are classic whodunnits set in the Golden Age of 1930’s traditional detectives. If you like Miss Marple’s pastoral puzzles or Albert Campion’s rollicking adventures, you’ll fall hard for this cozy historical mystery adventure.

Excerpt

The atmosphere in the Albion Club could never be called vivacious, but on a dark and chilly October afternoon, with a fire blazing and the lamps lit, it was positively soporific. For Edmund Mottley, Specialist in Discreet Enquiries, it was a refuge when one of his many aliases might have attracted unwelcome attention.

It was also an excellent place to catch up on missed sleep. He was just resting his sleek, caramel-coloured head on the red leather wing of his favourite armchair, the protective camouflage of The Times slipping from his fingers, when a well-known face, red and square as a child’s toy hay barn, was thrust into his own.

“Mottley!”

“Bah!” Mottley sat up. “Oh, it’s you. You might have given me apoplexy.”

“Look here, Mottley, it’s about this bounder Susan’s engaged to…”

“You’ve let your sister get engaged to a bounder?” Mottley tutted as he refolded The Times. “Very remiss of you, George. I may have to report you to the Committee.”

“Well, that’s rich!” George Parton snorted. “Your sister could be engaged to five people at once and you’d never know.”

“Of course I would,” Mottley replied. “She’d ring me just to crow about it.”

George scrubbed at his close-cropped brown hair. From the laces tied askew on his shining wingtips, to the missed patch of shaving soap behind his left ear, it was plain that the phlegmatic George was driven to distraction – or as near to it as he was likely to come.

Mottley leaned back in his chair. “But laying aside my sister (as she’s well accustomed to), tell me more about this bounder. What’s his name, for instance?”

“Kenward. Denis Kenward.”

“I hate him already. And what proof have we of his bounderism, notwithstanding his pernicious habit of becoming engaged to the fair Susan? I’m all ears, as the cornfield said to the scarecrow.”

“I do wish you’d shut up, Mottley. I mean, it’s frightfully serious.”

“Sorry, old bean, go on.”

“He’s murdered someone.”

Mottley pursed his lips. He stared at his old friend, slowly turning his head to regard him out of one eye, like a falcon contemplating a distant rabbit.  George blinked, and Mottley was gone. He shifted himself in a hurry, to follow Mottley’s rapidly-disappearing form into the dining-room.

He found Mottley perched, tailor-fashion, on the dining-room table, the newspaper crumpled beside him.

“What are you doing?” George yelped. “That’s unsanitary.”

“It’s the only room where all approaches are visible. Now, when you say murder…”

“They think he threw some cove over a cliff.”

Mottley leaned on his elbows, his chin propped on his index fingers. “Start at the beginning and don’t leave anything out.”

George pulled out a dining chair and sat. “You see, Kenward’s old man was some sort of industrial genius – invented a new kind of collar stud or what not. Made a bloody packet out of it, along with his business partner. This past spring, Dad joins the great majority and Kenward beetles about winding up the estate. Well, the wheels of the probate court grind slowly but they grind exceedingly small, and it turns out the business partner has been diddling the books. The company’s worth two pencils and an old soup tin, and there is no estate. There’s an awful row, and the business partner, name of Dismore, obligingly goes and falls over a cliff. It looks bad, Mottley – very bad.”

“Over a cliff? Kenward and Dismore? Collar studs, indeed. My dear idiot, you’re talking about Pneumatic Industrial Automation!” Mottley took up the newspaper and shook it. “It’s the biggest sinking since 1912 – they’re playing ‘Nearer my God to Thee’ at Bank junction, and Wall Street’s not safe for pedestrians.”

“Yes, well, there you are then.”

Mottley perused the front page. “I see it doesn’t name the son – what is it, Denis?”

“Oh, not in The Times. The tabloid press are using his name all right,” said George.

“Has he been arrested?”

“Not yet, more’s the pity. No body found, no inquest, no charges.”

“More’s the pity?” Mottley whistled long and low. “It’s one thing to take a scunner at the chap, but you’d see him hang?

“No, no, no.” George shifted in his chair. “Of course not. I just want Susan shot of him.”

Mottley levered himself to the edge of the table and let his legs dangle. “What is it you want me to do, exactly?”

“Well… Can’t you convince her that the sort of fellow who gets himself mixed up in this sort of thing isn’t the sort who is… our sort?”

“Do you really think Susan’s disposed to take my opinion on anything?”

A sudden recollection made George grimace. “Never mind all that. If you’d just nose about a bit, I’m sure you can find something that will put her off him. He’s a nasty bit of work. I’ve always thought so, but she just won’t see it.”

“You’re asking me to take this on?” Mottley hopped off the table. He leaned back on his hands and shook his head. “George, when I take a case, I look for the truth. Innocent or guilty.”

George stood. He set his jaw. Mottley knew too well the set of a Parton jaw was not to be trifled with.

George turned to go. Over his shoulder he remarked, “Come round for drinks tonight. Kenward will be there. You’ll see. Just try to talk some sense into Susan. She listens to you.”

Mottley muttered to his friend’s back, “News to me.”

About the Author

Ellen Seltz worked in the entertainment industry for twenty years, from Miami to New York and points in between. Her primary roles were actress and producer, but she also served as a comedy sketch writer, librettist, voice artist, propmaster, costumer, production assistant, camera operator and general dogsbody.

She turned to fiction writing in the vain hope that the performers would do as they were told. Joke’s on her.

Ellen is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, where she now lives with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys vegetable gardening and vintage-style sewing.

Website Join my mailing list and receive a free copy of Book 1, Mister Mottley Gets His Man.

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check out the other blogs on this tour

November 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 30 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 2 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

December 3 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

December 5 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

December 6 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

December 7 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 9 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

December 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

December 11 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

December 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on December 8, 2017

 

 

How I Met Your Brother by Janette Rallison

The best day of his life, the worst day of hers.

Back in college, Marco Dawson never thought of Belle as anything more than a friend. If she had crossed his mind on his wedding day, it was probably only to wonder why she hadn’t shown up to be a bridesmaid. After all, his new wife was her old roommate. Seven years have passed since then, and Belle just found out that Marco is divorced and vacationing with his family in an elegant Cancun resort. She’s not about to let the right man get away twice. She heads to the resort where she plans to casually bump into Marco and ignite some romantic flames.

But Belle hadn’t planned on one thing: Flynn Dawson, Marco’s handsome, charming, and determined twin brother. He thinks Marco and his ex-wife can make amends and he’s not about to let Belle stand in the way.

Part Sabrina, part While You Were Sleeping, romantic comedy readers will eat this book up!

 

 

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Praise for How I Met Your Brother

“This is a romantic comedy in one of it’s finest hours.”

“In true Janette Rallison form, this novel does not disappoint!”

“Love, love, love this book!”

 

 

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“Dawson,” she called in feigned surprise. “Is that you?”
He looked up from the map and his blue eyes wandered over her. “Yes.” He must have liked what he saw because a smile appeared on his lips. Not a smile of recognition, just a smile of approval.
She sauntered over, taking slow nonchalant steps. “Don’t tell me you don’t remember me. I haven’t changed that much, have I?”
“I’m not sure,” he said. “Tell me who you are, and I’ll tell you how much you’ve changed.”
His lack of recognition should have bothered her a little, but it felt like victory. Proof the mousy unnoticeable girl she’d been was gone. “Perhaps you recall a study group we were in at WSU? Or the fact that I proofread a lot of your papers? You obviously don’t remember telling me that you’d never forget me.”
“Ah,” he said, with understanding. At least now he knew she wasn’t a stranger with a creative pickup line.
“Perhaps you remember me introducing you to Daisy?”
His eyes widened and his expression changed. She couldn’t quite read it. Was it astonishment? Disbelief? Regret? “Isabelle,” he uttered.
She smiled at the way her name sounded on his lips. “I go by Belle now.”
His gaze went over her a second time, stopping on her ring finger—absent of the symbols of marriage. “What a surprise. I don’t know what to say.”
“Most people say something along the lines of ‘It’s good to see you.’ But I’ll settle for a belated, ‘Thanks for all those papers you helped with.’”

 

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About the Author

Janette Rallison is old. Don’t ask how old, because it isn’t polite. Let’s just say she’s older than she’d like to be and leave it at that.

Janette lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, five children and enough cats to classify her as “an eccentric cat lady.” She did not do this on purpose. (The cats, that is; she had the children on purpose.) Every single one of the felines showed up on its own and refuses to leave. Not even the family’s fearless little Westie dog can drive them off.

Since Janette has five children and deadlines to write books, she doesn’t have much time left over for hobbies. But since this is the internet and you can’t actually check up to see if anything on this site is true, let’s just say she enjoys dancing, scuba diving, horse back riding and long talks with Orlando Bloom. (Well, I never said he answers back.)

 

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Also by Janette Rallison


 

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/21/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, mystery on December 7, 2017

Aria to Death: A Joseph Haydn Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Foiled Plots Press (December 1, 2017)
Paperback: 302 pages

Synopsis

When Monteverdi’s lost operas surface, so does a killer desperate to possess them. . .

Preoccupied with preparations for the opera season at Eszterháza, Kapellmeister Joseph Haydn receives a curious request from a friend in Vienna. Kaspar, an impoverished violinist with an ailing wife, wishes Haydn to evaluate a collection of scores reputed to be the lost operas of Monteverdi.

Haydn is intrigued until Her Majesty, Empress Maria Theresa, summons him with a similar request. Skeptical of the value of Kaspar’s bequest, Haydn nevertheless offers to help. But before he can examine the works, Kaspar is murdered—beaten and left to die in front of a wine tavern.

The police are quick to dismiss the death as a robbery gone wrong. But Haydn is not so sure. Kaspar’s keys were stolen and his house broken into. Could his bequest be genuine after all? And can Haydn find the true operas—and the man willing to kill for them?

Excerpt

Haydn can find nothing to fault in the scores Her Majesty, Empress Maria Theresa, has acquired. . .

“I shall have to examine the works, Your Majesty.” Haydn opened one of the vellum-bound scores the Empress Maria Theresa had handed him and perused the pages curiously.

He and Johann had accompanied the Prince to Schönbrunn that afternoon and now sat in the Empress’s white-and gold-receiving chambers in the west wing of the summer palace.

“But at a casual glance”—Haydn raised his eyes—“they appear authentic enough.”

He gently rubbed his right thumb over the paper. It felt thick and strong under his fingers. He turned his attention to the binding. The cream-colored vellum was unusually soft and the gold trim exceptionally fine.

Johann reached for the second score the Empress had placed upon a gold stool upholstered in rich crimson and read the dedication within. “The hand appears to be that of a copyist, brother.” He turned toward the Empress, who was still seated at the harpsichord. “As would be quite natural under the circumstances, Your Majesty.”

The Empress’s finely shaped eyebrows drew together into a frown. “I hope you are mistaken, Master Johann. Dr. Goretti swore to me those works were in the composer’s own hand. I have no reason to doubt his sincerity.”

“And yet you would have Haydn authenticate them,” His Serene Highness murmured. His eyes drifted toward the portrait of His Imperial Majesty, Archduke Joseph, set into a panel on the wall behind the Empress.

Haydn suppressed a smile, having glanced up in time to catch the movement in the ornate gilt-framed mirror hanging opposite him. The Prince had complained often enough, as had his Konzertmeister Luigi, of the stinginess of the Archduke’s purse.

“It is the composer’s identity rather than his hand that I desire your Kapellmeister to authenticate, Esterházy!” The Empress’s tone was sharp, her heavy jowls quivering in exasperation.

“If I may be so bold as to ask,” Haydn interjected gently, “how much did Your Majesty pay for the scores?” No doubt the purchase had caused a rift between the Empress and her son and co-regent.

“Pay for the scores!” Her Majesty’s lips protruded into a startled round, blowing her cheeks out. “Why no more than a hundred ducats apiece. But—”

Haydn hastily withdrew his eyes from the portrait looming over the Empress only to find her large blue eyes inspecting him closely.

“I am still Empress, gentlemen.” She fingered the gold lace on her mourning gown of black velvet, her tone even. “But in this instance, I am in complete agreement with my son. It was not entirely for my own pleasure that I bought the music.”

“Her Majesty intends to initiate a revival of opera seria in the capital with the great works of Monteverdi,” the Prince explained without much enthusiasm, his own tastes running to the lighter opera buffa style.

“Among other things.” The Empress’s eyes were veiled. “And too much rests upon it for me to take the word of the good physician who brought it to me.”

“It was a physician who brought these works to you, then, Your Majesty?” Johann leaned forward, his voice rising a little.

The Empress nodded, the skin under her jaw forming loose, fleshy folds under her chin. “Giacomo Goretti. A fine physician, in my opinion, although van Swieten”— she gestured with a well-fleshed but shapely hand  in the direction of the ante-chamber where her imperial physician waited —“would have it otherwise.”

“An Italian?” Haydn enquired, his eyes meeting Johann’s. “And he was only able to bring you these two works, Your Majesty?”

“With the promise of more, as I am sure Esterházy will have mentioned to you.” The Empress shifted her bulk in the direction of the Prince, who nodded wordlessly. “If these prove to be authentic, we shall purchase the entire collection. They will be more valuable still in the great composer’s own hand.”

“And he discovered them, I presume, in Venice,” Haydn hazarded. It was where the great master had ended his days, having left the Mantuan court to assume the position of Kapellmeister at the Basilica of San Marco in the city-state.

“On the contrary. It was here in Vienna that he found them.”

About the Author

A former journalist, Nupur Tustin relies upon a Ph.D. in Communication and an M.A. in English to orchestrate fictional mayhem.  The Haydn mysteries are a result of her life-long passion for classical music and its history. Childhood piano lessons and a 1903 Weber Upright share equal blame for her original compositions, available on ntustin.musicaneo.com.

Her writing includes work for Reuters and CNBC, short stories and freelance articles, and research published in peer-reviewed academic journals. She lives in Southern California with her husband, three rambunctious children, and a pit bull.

Website * Blog * Free Haydn Mystery at Taste of Murder * Facebook * Goodreads

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November 29 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST/EXCERPT

November 30 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 30 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST/EXCERPT

December 1 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST/EXCERPT

December 2 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

December 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

December 4 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT

December 5 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

December 6 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

December 7 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

December 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST/EXCERPT

December 8 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST/EXCERPT

December 8 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on December 7, 2017

 

All That Makes Life Bright: The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe by Josi S. Kilpack

When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet’s sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.

Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed—being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman’s life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband’s heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.

Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.

Can their love endure, especially after “I do”? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?

 

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Praise for All That Makes Life Bright

“Passionate–and entertaining.” Publisher’s Weekly, Sept 2017

“Kilpack writes with great insight and superb sensitivity.” Booklist, Starred Review Sept 2017

“All That Makes Life Bright is about making marriage work in the face of challenges like a desire for personal freedom. It is a romance with broad appeal.” Foreword, November 2017

 

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Eliza. Thoughts of her dear friend and Calvin’s first wife brought an array of emotions. What would Eliza think of Hattie carrying Calvin’s child? A child Eliza had wanted so much and never had. Hattie usually told herself Eliza would be happy that she and Calvin found comfort together, but there were days when Hattie’s awareness that Calvin still held affection for Eliza rose like a specter. Prayer, studying the Bible, and remembering the assurance she’d felt of God’s approval would usually silence her guilt, but today the fears roiled inside her like the churning wheels of an undertaker’s carriage.

Had Eliza lived, Hattie would be teaching, writing—unmarried and unpregnant. Had Eliza lived, Calvin would only be the husband of Hattie’s friend, and he would enjoy dinner on the table every night, and pressed pants and clean shirts in the closet every morning. Perhaps Eliza would have given him a child by now. When headaches laid him low, Eliza would tend to him without a thought for herself.

Would Calvin be happier if Eliza had been the only Mrs. Calvin Stowe? Would Hattie? Was Catharine right? Had Hattie entered a phase that would lead to the demise of being her own person? Anxiety wrapped around her until she found herself sobbing at the splintery kitchen table.

Eliza. Eliza. Eliza.

Calvin. Calvin. Calvin.

Was she living the wrong woman’s life?

 

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About the Author

Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and has written twenty-five novels, one cookbook, and been part of multiple collaborations since then. She is a four-time Whitney Award winner and Best of State winner in Fiction. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband and children.

When Kensington Press picked up her first national women’s fiction novel, As Wide as the Sky, Josi was in need of a pen name to differentiate between her other genres. For years, Josi has been called Jessica Pack by people who hear her name but don’t know her, it made her new pen name easy to choose. As Wide as the Sky will be released in paperback sometime in 2018.

 

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Also by Josi S. Kilpack

 

Coming in 2018

  • Miss Wilton’s Waltz, Regency Romance, coming May 2018
  • As Wide As the Sky, Women’s Fiction, coming June 2018
  • Promises & Primroses, Book One in the Mayfield Family Series, Regency Romance, coming fall 2018

 

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/20/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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