Monday, July 19, 2021

Lone Star Blog Tour: THE NATURE OF SMALL BIRDS by Susie Finkbeiner ***AUTHOR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY***

THE NATURE OF SMALL BIRDS
BY SUSIE FINKBEINER

Publisher: Revell
Pub Date: July 6, 2021
Pages: 368 pages
Categories: Fiction / Christian / General

***Scroll for Giveaway!***


In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives. 

Though her father supports Mindy's desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he'll lose the daughter he's poured his heart into. Mindy's mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy's sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family--but also speak of the beauty of overcoming. 

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code. 

"Susie Finkbeiner has such an inviting and distinctive voice as a writer that you'll gladly follow it--and follow her--to any setting."--Valerie Fraser Luesse, Christy Award-winning author of Under the Bayou Moon

PURCHASE LINKS: 



“What happened to the kids?”

In this video, author Susie Finkbeiner shares the stories that led to her writing her stories.


Susie Finkbeiner is the CBA bestselling author of All Manner of Things, which was selected as a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, and Stories That Bind Us,as well as A Cup of Dust, A Trail of Crumbs, and A Song of Home. She serves on the Fiction Readers Summit planning committee, volunteers her time at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and speaks at retreats and women's events across the country. Susie and her husband have three children and live in West Michigan. 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

YouTube | Amazon Author Page 

BookBub | Goodreads

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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

ONE WINNER: 

Copy of The Nature of Small Birds
+ Puzzle + $10 Starbucks Gift Card.

(Giveaway ends midnight, CDT, July 24, 2021; US only.)


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CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE
LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THE TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,

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7/13/21 

Author Video 

7/13/21 

BONUS Promo 

7/14/21 

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7/14/21 

BONUS Promo 

7/15/21 

Review 

7/16/21 

Review 

7/17/21 

Top Ten 

7/18/21 

Video Guest Post 

7/19/21 

Review 

7/20/21 

Playlist 

7/21/21 

Review 

7/22/21 

Review 


 
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Thursday, July 15, 2021

YA Review: THE UPSIDE OF FALLING by Alex Light

 

The Upside of Falling 
by Alex Light
Published by Harper Teen
February 18, 2020
288 pages

Plot: It’s been years since seventeen-year-old Becca Hart believed in true love. But when her former best friend teases her for not having a boyfriend, Becca impulsively pretends she’s been secretly seeing someone.

Brett Wells has it all. Being captain of the football team and one of the most popular guys in school, he should have no problem finding someone to date, but he’s always been more focused on his future than who to bring to prom. When he overhears Becca’s lie, Brett decides to step in and be her mystery guy. It’s the perfect solution: he gets people off his back for not dating and she can keep up the ruse.

Acting like the perfect couple isn’t easy though, especially when you barely know the other person. But with Becca still picking up the pieces from when her world was blown apart years ago and Brett just barely holding his together now, they begin to realize they have more in common than they ever could have imagined. When the line between real and pretend begins to blur, they are forced to answer the question: is this fake romance the realest thing in either of their lives? (2021, Goodreads.com)

Review:  The Upside of Falling by Alex Light was a cute fake dating love story.  Brett and Becca are complete opposites and it was interesting to see how their differences actually worked for them. What I liked most about the story was how their family life played a large part into their relationship. Becca's father left them when she was young and Brett's parents seem like they are perfect for each other. But things are not always what they seem and lots of life lessons are touched upon in this story, such as forgiveness, redemption, and second chances.

I feel like this story is like most fake dating books.  The perfect and innocent female lead and the super popular/gorgeous male lead that is her complete opposite.  The male love interest is also not what he seems at first, he is sweet and loyal, rather than a player that jumps from girl to girl.  But, that's usually what makes these types of stories enjoyable: the characters are opposites.  Strangely, Brett has never dated in high school so he can focus on football.  Becca has never had a boyfriend either because she can't believe in love after her parent's divorce.  Brett's reason for not having a girlfriend seems a little unrealistic though. Boys are usually too hormonal at that age. There are deep family issues that both Becca and Brett have to deal with that many readers will understand, such as divorce, betrayal, and lost friendships.  This took the story to a different level that created a lot more depth to the characters and the story overall. 

The Upside of Falling was a very enjoyable read, well-written, and deeply emotional at times.  Although this is a standalone, if you liked the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series by Jenny Han, you will probably like this story too! Clean YA romance recommended for 14 and up!

Rating: 4 Hearts!
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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Lone Star Blog Tour: THE PARIS BETRAYAL by James R. Hannibal ***GIVEAWAY & EXCEPT***

THE PARIS BETRAYAL
By James R. Hannibal

Published by: Revell
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Pages: 352 pages
Categories: Fiction / Christian / Suspense

***Scroll for Giveaway!***



After a rough mission in Rome involving the discovery of a devastating bioweapon, Company spy Ben Calix returns to Paris to find his perfectly ordered world has collapsed. A sniper attack. An ambush. A call for help that brings French SWAT forces down on his head. Ben is out. This is a severance--reserved for incompetents and traitors.

Searching for answers and anticipating a coming attack, Ben and a woman swept up in his misfortunes must travel across Europe to find the sniper who tried to kill him, the medic who saved his life, the schoolmaster who trained him, and an upstart hacker from his former team. More than that, Ben must come to grips with his own insignificance as the Company's plan to stop Leviathan from unleashing the bioweapon at any cost moves forward without him--and he struggles against the infection that is swiftly claiming territory within his own body.

Award-winning author James R. Hannibal ratchets up the tension on every page of this suspenseful new thriller.


PRAISE FOR THE PARIS BETRAYAL
"A masterful thriller is created by a masterful writer, and James R. Hannibal is at the top of my list. I devoured every page with the lights on!" --DiAnn Mills, author of Airborne

"James Hannibal once again displays his dazzling prose and ability to keep even the more experienced readers guessing. In The Paris Betrayal, Hannibal sets his hook deep and early, then drags you through a riveting, edge-of-your-seat story. Another gripping, high-octane book from one of the best thriller writers in the business." 
--Simon Gervais, former RCMP counterterrorism officer and bestselling author of Hunt Them Down

"Riveting and action-packed! The Paris Betrayal is everything you want in a thriller--suspense, intrigue, and white-knuckle action. Hannibal has a knack for keeping you guessing in a plot that moves at a breakneck speed. This is one you don't want to miss!" 
--Ronie Kendig, bestselling author of The Tox Files

PURCHASE LINKS 


From THE PARIS BETRAYAL
by James R. Hannibal


PIAZZA DEL POPOLO
ROME
PRESENT DAY

From a rooftop perch, Ben Calix watched the courier leave the Tiber and cross the piazza. He traced his scope from the man’s temple down to his forearm. No cuff secured his wrist to the steel briefcase. Foolish. Ben’s team had been tracking that case since Morocco. This morning, they’d claim their treasure.

“Micro, Saber has eyes on.”

“I hate that call sign.”

Ben frowned in Dylan’s direction, his young Welsh hacker-slash-technician, out of sight and grumbling in the ancient sewer beneath Rome’s Piazza del Popolo. Smelly, but warmer than Ben’s post. The night’s frost still whitened the stone lip of the roof. He shivered, returning his eye to the scope. “Now is not the time, Micro.”

“Right. Sorry. Micro copies your eyes-on call. I’m flippingthe switch. The system is hot.”

The day’s first tourists filtered out onto the streets—the early risers and the overzealous fathers dragging bleary-eyed kids. In this city, even in the dead of winter, an operative could always count on a crowd. 

Rome—the true neutral ground of the espionage world. The Swiss claim neutrality, but everyone knows they have an underlying conscience. Rome does not. The Italians maintain a true laissez-faire approach. Americans, Russians, Iranians—everyone does their own thing with impunity. Bullets must fly in the open streets for the Italian cops to take an interest.

Ben dialed in the scope’s rangefinder. “Nightingale, he’s twenty meters out. You’re on.”

Giselle Laurent, a platinum blonde for this op and sporting faux fur, tipped her oversize sunglasses down the bridge of her nose. “I see him. Poor little man.” She set off from her post at the piazza’s sphynx fountain on a course to intercept. 

“See,” Dylan said, jamming up the comms. “That’s what I’m talking about. The Company gave you Saber, like you’re the tip of the spear or something. Miss Tall, Questionably Blonde, and Gorgeous gets Nightingale. And what do I get? Micro. What are they implying?”

“They’re implying you’re short. Shut up. She’s almost there.” Ben wiggled a black box in his fingers, as if the kid could see it. “The thing you gave me. Do I need to point it like a TV remote?”

“A TV remote? Nice, Grandpa.”

“I’m barely thirty.”

“You’re making my point. It’s not a TV remote or a gun. No need to point it at anything. The antenna is omnidirectional.” 

“Uh. Sure. The antenna.” Ben turned the box over and found a black rubber nub buried in a hole in the top. He grabbed it with his teeth and pulled. “Got it.”

Down in the piazza, Giselle hit her target full on with a cappuccino. Ben winced at her squeal, piercing despite the comm link’s static. She bellowed at the target in French about fur coats and coffee stains, poking him in the chest. He backed away, expertly steered into a lamppost with a false utility box Dylan had placed there the night before.  Trapped, the courier set his case down to fend off the crazy fur lady. 

In the middle of her tirade, Giselle spoke the trigger word. “Mink.”

Ben pressed the switch.

By the time the courier reached for his case again, Dylan’s contraption had swapped it with a duplicate—same
make and weight, thanks to Giselle’s photos and Dylan’s calculations. A moment later, Ben heard the buzz of a motorbike in his earpiece—Dylan tearing away through the sewers with the prize. “Micro has the package. Contents look good. I’m off.” 

Ben didn’t envy the courier, poked and swatted by Giselle before breakfast and destined for a pre-lunch beating once the buyer opened a case full of blank papers and empty steel tubes. But he’d brought the beating on himself with his sins. Ben and Giselle wouldn’t interfere. They’d need to watch the buyer to see what he did next, now that they’d messed with his world.

With the real case in hand and the buyer under surveillance, the Company would finally get a trace on the organization behind the destruction in Munich, St. Petersburg, and Tokyo. Each strike built upon the ferocity and death toll of the last until Rotterdam, when the bomber had botched his job and killed only himself.

Rotterdam was the break the Company needed. An undetonated fragment proved the attacks involved a new type of explosive—CRTX, five times as powerful as C4 and previously considered impossible to make. With the bomb compound identified, the Company field operatives went into overdrive searching for leads. Ben found the big one. An Algerian contact in his home base of Paris hinted at an order of rare chemicals heading to a bomb maker. Ben put a hasty mission together, pulling in Giselle and the Company’s top tinker—Dylan. The Algerian’s info led them to the case, and the case led them here.

“Micro,” Ben said, laying his scope in its case. “That’s a job well done. Enjoy the flight home. Nightingale, keep tabs on the target. I’ll—”

A shadow darkened Ben’s perch. Strong arms flipped him over and slammed him down, breaking roof tiles. A brute stood over him—bald, Arab, packing a SIG. “Enjoying the show, Mr. Calix?”



James R. Hannibal is no stranger to secrets and adventure. This former stealth pilot from Houston, Texas, has been shot at, locked up with surface-to-air missiles, and chased down a winding German road by an armed terrorist. He is a two-time Silver Falchion Award winner for his children's mysteries, a former Thriller Award nominee, and a 2020 Selah and Carol Award finalist for The Gryphon Heist--the opener for the CIA series that now includes Chasing the White Lion. James is a rare multisense synesthete, meaning all of his senses intersect. He sees and feels sounds and smells, and hears flashes of light. If he tells you the chocolate cake you offered smells blue and sticky, take it as a compliment.
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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

ONE WINNER receives a print copy of The Paris Betrayal, Mini Pen Camera, & $10 Starbucks Gift Card!
US Only. Ends midnight, CDT, May 14, 2021.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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5/4/21

Notable Quotables

Texas Book Lover

5/4/21

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5/5/21

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5/6/21

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Hall Ways Blog

5/7/21

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5/8/21

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5/9/21

Excerpt

Stories Under Starlight

5/10/21

Review

Reading by Moonlight

5/11/21

Deleted Scene

The Page Unbound

5/12/21

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

5/13/21

Review

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