Thursday, December 14, 2017

BAUGH TO BRADY BY LEW FREEDMAN

Baugh to Brady: The Evolution of the Forward Pass
Genre: Sports History / Football
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Date of Publication: December 15, 2017
Pages: 296


Synopsis: 

There are three things that can happen when you throw a pass, and two of them are bad. ~Woody Hayes

The quarterback pass is one of the leading offensive components of today's National Football League and college football's top level of play. This was not always the case. In early American football, the strategy focused entirely on advancing the ball one running play at a time, with the player tucking the then-roundish ball on his hip and sprinting ahead until tackled by a swarm of defenders. The revolution that transformed the sport began in 1906, when passing was first legalized. The passing weapon made the game safer, altered strategy, turned the quarterback into a key offensive player, and made possible the high-scoring games of today.

Lew Freedman traces football's passing game from its inception to the present, telling the tale through the stories of the quarterbacks whose arms carried (and threw) the changes forward. Freedman relies especially on the biography of "Slingin' Sammy" Baugh--who hailed from Sweetwater, Texas--as a framework. Baugh, perhaps the greatest all-around football player in history, came along at just the right time to elevate the passing game to unprecedented importance in the eyes of the sports world.

Buy Now: 


About the Author:
Lew Freedman is a veteran newspaper sportswriter and experienced author of more than seventy-five books about sports as well as about Alaska. He spent seventeen years at the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska and has also worked for the Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer. Freedman is recipient of more than 250 journalism awards.

More Blogs on this Tour: 

11-Dec Promo Forgotten Winds
12-Dec Author Interview The Page Unbound  
13-Dec Review Margie's Must Reads 
15-Dec Review Texan Girl Reads
16-Dec Excerpt Books in the Garden  
17-Dec Promo A Novel in Reality
18-Dec Review Reading by Moonlight
19-Dec Author Interview Chapter Break Book Blog 
20-Dec Review Syd Savvy

Saturday, December 9, 2017

UP NEAR DALLAS BY GINA HOOTEN POPP

Winds of Change - Book III
Genre: Texas Historical Fiction / Romance
Date of Publication: November 12, 2017
Pages: 307


Synopsis:

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.
Buy Now:

Notable Quotable:


About the Author:

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.

Giveaway:
December 5-13, 2017
(U.S. Only)

More Blogs on this Tour:

04-Dec Guest Post Books and Broomsticks
05-Dec Review Hall Ways Blog  
06-Dec Excerpt Texas Book Lover
07-Dec Playlist The Clueless Gent
08-Dec Review Storeybook Reviews 
10-Dec Excerpt Texan Girl Reads
11-Dec Review Missus Gonzo 
12-Dec Author Interview The Librarian Talks
13-Dec Review Reading by Moonlight

Thursday, December 7, 2017

YONDERINGS BY BEN H. ENGLISH

Yonderings: Trails and Memories of the Big Bend
Genre: Memoir / Travel / Texas
Publisher: TCU Press
Date of Publication: November 17, 2017
Pages: 221

Synopsis:
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.  

TOP TEN FIFTEEN CLASSIC WESTERN MOVIES FOR THE BIG BEND
(Because there was no way I could keep it at ten…)
By Ben H. English

1. The Rounders: (1965) This is one of two ‘modern’ westerns on my list; starring Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda, along with a superb cast of supporting actors and one old blaze-faced outlaw roan, who steals the show. Adapted from the novel written by West Texas born and bred Max Evans, this movie is a hoot for both young and old.

2. The Good Old Boys: (1995) The great Elmer Kelton from Crane, Texas wrote this novel; adapted to the screen by none other than Texas-born Tommy Lee Jones who also heads up the cast. Filmed mostly in the Big Bend area, it portrays true-to-life characters that only a real West Texan could ever fully understand. A poignant turn-of-the-century tale of changing times and those having to cope with those changes. 

3. Lonely Are The Brave: (1962) A little known and less appreciated black and white film starring Kirk Douglas, this is the other ‘modern western’ on my list. The theme of the one individual from another era trying to fit into modern society has seldom ever been better done. This is a story for the ages and perhaps even more timely now than when made over fifty years ago.

4. Ride the High Country: (1962) Director Sam Peckinpah’s first movie and partly penned by him and to me, his very finest. Everyone in this movie was or ended up being an easily-recognizable Hollywood commodity, and none of them were ever in better form than in this film. Headlined by an aging Joel McCrae and Randolph Scott, it is a memorable story of true integrity, courage, and friendship. In my opinion, it is an absolute masterpiece. 

5. The Professionals: (1966) Starring Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Woody Strode, Robert Ryan, Jack Palance, and Ralph Bellamy; this is a wide-open Mexican Revolution era film that has more than one surprise along the way and a host of one liners that are part of movie history. The weapons are authentic, the stunts and special effects first rate, the mountains and desert in the background well selected, and the story is explosively on-edge from beginning to end. Two thumbs up!

6. The Unforgiven: (1960) Not the overblown, overhyped, and overrated Eastwood movie of some years ago, but rather a hidden classic telling the tale of love, prejudice and the clash of warrior -like civilizations. Headlined by such notables as Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, John Saxon, a very young Doug McClure as well as a stunningly beautiful Audrey Hepburn, this was one of the earlier films that strived hard at authenticity in dress, weapons, structures, and the hard, sometimes brutal life found on the Texas frontier of the 1870s.

7. The Outlaw Josey Wales: (1976) In general, I am not a huge fan of Clint Eastwood westerns and consider some of his best work in the genre was in the old TV series, Rawhide. But this was by far his ‘Magnum’ (couldn’t resist myself there) Opus in a very big way, no matter what he did before or afterwards. From the novel Gone To Texas by Forrest Carter and set against the bloody viciousness enshrouding the Kansas-Missouri border immediately prior and during The War Between The States, it trails from that locale to its final scenes supposedly placed in the Davis Mountains. A great story, great acting, and a great finale.

8. Monte Walsh: (2003) There were two versions of this film made; one in 1970 with Lee Marvin in the lead role and later a remake in 2003 starring Tom Selleck. This is actually a rare case where I give the nod to the remake. Another story of the rugged individual who is trying to find his way through a world changing before his very eyes, Monte Walsh is certainly a story worth the retelling time and again. A final word; if you possibly can watch both versions. The bronc ride in the Lee Marvin film is pure poetry in the saddle. 

9. The Shootist: (1976) John Wayne in his final role as a dying gunfighter who has lived life the way he saw fit and now plans to meet Death on his own terms also. With a superbly written story line, an absolutely fantastic cast, and a bittersweet insight that perhaps had more to do with the man rather than the actor, this is a memorable Western in so many different ways. I do believe that everyone, including the Duke, knew this was the final time around. They took extra care in making it one for the books. 

10. Barbarosa: (1982) Though hardly known these days and heavily panned by some when released, Willie Nelson turns in his best acting performance ever as a bandit/gunfighter incessantly pursued by a large Mexican family due to a long ago occurrence. Almost entirely filmed in the lower Big Bend Country, the scenery backdrop is well worth the admission itself. Gary Busey backs up Nelson as a young farm boy trying to escape his own past. A rollicking yet poignant story, this is one of the biggest ‘sleeper’ westerns ever.


About the Author: 
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. 




More Blogs on this Tour: 
05-DecPlaylist Reading by Moonlight
06-Dec Review  Texan Girl Reads
08-Dec Author Video 1 Books and Broomsticks 
09-Dec ReviewForgotten Winds
10-Dec Excerpt Texas Book Lover
11-Dec Author Video 2 Storeybook Reviews
12-Dec Review Syd Savvy
13-Dec Scrapbook Page Chapter Break Book Blog
14-Dec Review Hall Ways Blog

Monday, December 4, 2017

BOSSYPANTS BY TINA FEY

Image Credit: goodreads.com 
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

So, Ms. Fey, about that scar? ... If you think that's what this book is going to be about, it's not. Bossypants is the autobiographical account of Tina Fey's rise to fame from humble, middle class beginnings. And it's much more than her physical appearance. In the book, Fey takes us on her journey from childhood to college to her gig as a receptionist at the YMCA before getting her big break. We learn about her as a talented writer, actor, performer and loving daughter, wife, and mother. What I took from her story is that she's more than the jokes she tells, she is, indeed, a multi-faceted woman.

In my quest to consume more audiobooks, I had the pleasure of listening to Fey tell her stories and the benefit of her tone, technique, and delivery. She was just as funny in performing the personal stories of her life as she was delivering those unforgettable Sarah Palin impressions on Saturday Night Live.

I truly enjoyed some of the motivational messages Fey provided about success, motherhood, and surviving as a working woman in America. One of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Don't be fooled. You're not in competition with other women. You're in competition with everyone." 
I appreciated Fey's quick-wit and sarcasm. I think she's an excellent actress and improvisationalist. I liked that we, as readers, get to know more about her private life. (My favorite chapter is the tribute to her dad, That's Don Fey.) Having said this, I didn't quite enjoy the book as much as I thought I would, hence the rating. Maybe my expectations were too high. I can't really put my foot on it exactly, but it wasn't as laugh-out-loud funny as some other audiobooks I've enjoyed. However, I still think it's worth a listen. I mean, it is a multi-year bestselling book.

My main critique of this book would be that at times, Fey would seem to lose her place and repeat an opening line twice. I'm not sure if that was a delivery or editing flaw. Several times throughout the book she references a PDF. I wasn't really sure how to access the file until I Google'd it. (On a side note: How did we ever manage before search engines?). Here's a tip if you use Audible.com for listening, log on to your audible.com account from the desktop site, go to your book library, then the book in question, there are all kinds of goodies there including the PDF with photos. I took a look at these after I finished listening to the book as it was nearly impossible to do so while listening as I most often listen while driving or running.

Recommendation: This book was selected by my book club, Richly Read, for a lighthearted comedic read in December. If you've followed Fey's career or enjoyed any of her skits on Saturday Night Live or 30 Rock, you will probably enjoy this hilarious behind-the-scenes peek into her life. I recommend partaking the audiobook, which is read and performed by the author herself.

Until next time ... Read on!

THE NOMAD THRILLER SERIES BY GEORGES BENAY



Nomad on the Run
Category: Adult Fiction
Pages: 290 
Genre: Thriller / Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Bookstand Publishing
Release Date: April 15, 2011
Content Rating: PG (No swear words, some violence and minimal/clean sex scene) 

The Nomad's Premonition
Category: Adult Fiction
Pages: 240 
Genre: Thriller / Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Story Merchant Books
Release Date: April 28, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (Some violence, Minimal swear words) 

Synopsis:

Beneath greed, deceit and coercion hides the truth.


Enticed by an investment firm in Morocco, Eric Martin is caught in a world where no one can be trusted.

Beneath the golden desert and azure seas of Morocco lurks a hidden world of greed, deceit and financial terrorism. But the players are not who you might think. Lured away from his seemingly idyllic life as a managing director for a major international bank in Toronto, Eric Martin returns to his ancestral roots in Morocco.

Tempted by a mysterious offer from a boutique financial firm, Eric soon discovers he has walked into the middle of a whirlwind where everyone has their own secret agenda, and he unwittingly has become the key to unlocking them all. From the broad avenues of Toronto to the mean streets of Casablanca, Eric rushes to discover the truth before time runs out. But who can he trust?

The power and attraction of money is strong. In the midst of a dangerous cast of characters, Jeff Offenbach, bank president, knows more than he lets on. But how much does he know? Is he a key player in a scheme to terrorize the global economy, or is he just trying to save his firm from becoming another victim of the global economic collapse? Valerie is the unknown factor. Is she involved in the partners' machinations, or is she as guileless as Eric? Can he trust her? And more importantly, will he survive long enough to find out?



A new mystery waiting to be unraveled.


Eric Martin has a gut feeling that his worst nightmare is about to make a comeback the moment the electronic record of the stock market trade flashes across his monitor.

Eric Martin is desperate to forget his past, one that almost cost him his future.

Working in Paris as deputy head of a bank's internal security department, Eric notices a high-speed trader's uncanny ability to predict extremely profitable trades. Even though there's nothing illegal about the activity, he knows the trader's success is more than just luck.

But, no one believes him. Armed only with a handful of data and a powerful instinct, Eric searches for the mysterious trader on his own. He suspects that a predictive algorithm has fallen into the wrong hands.

Eric sets off for Istanbul to find answers promised to him by an informant. He finds an unlikely ally in Interpol agent Stephanie Brule. With Interpol wanting him back in Paris and out of the way, Eric's quest is also hampered by the sudden appearance of his ex-lover, a boss he's not sure he can trust, and a terrorist who always seems one step ahead.

Will Eric put an end, once and for all, to the nightmare that began when he accepted a job that was too good to be true? Or will his need for revenge and justice lead him deeper into a treacherous world he has no way of escaping?



Buy Now: 


About the Author: 

Georges Benay is a former international banker who is now working as a Toronto-based writer and award-winning photographer. He is the author of two novels, including The Nomad's Premonition and a collection of short stories. His award winning pictures have been featured in several magazines and book covers.

Connect with Georges: Website | Photography Website | Twitter




Giveaway: 

More Blogs on this Tour:

20-Nov Book Spotlight/Giveaway Library of Clean Reads
21-Nov Book Spotlight/Giveaway Books, Dreams, Life
22-Nov Book Spotlight/Giveaway 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News
23-Nov Book Spotlight/Giveaway My Reading Journeys
24-Nov Book Spotlight/Giveaway T's Stuff
27-Nov Book Spotlight/Giveaway 100 Pages a Day
28-Nov Book Spotlight/Giveaway A Mama's Corner of the World
29-Nov Book Spotlight/Giveaway Bound 2 Escape
30-Nov Book Spotlight/Giveaway #redhead.with.book
01-Dec Book Spotlight/Giveaway Cheryl's Book Nook
06-Dec Book Spotlight/Giveaway Brooke Blogs
08-Dec Book Spotlight/Giveaway Writers and Authors
08-Dec Book Spotlight/Giveaway Adventurous Jessy

Sunday, December 3, 2017

DEATH AT THORBURN HALL BY JULIANNA DEERING

A Drew Farthering Mystery, #6
Genre: Historical British Mystery / Suspense
Date of Publication: November 7, 2017
Pages: 336


Synopsis:  
Investigating a suspicious accident leads Drew on a path that points to international intrigue and ever-growing danger.

Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield, hoping for a relaxing holiday with his wife, Madeline, and friend Nick. But death meets him once again when Lord Rainsby, their host at Thorburn Hall, is killed in a suspicious riding accident--only days after confiding in Drew his fears that his business partner was embezzling funds.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each appears to have dark motives for wanting Rainsby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.


Praise for Death at Thorburn Hall:
"Amateur sleuthing at its finest!" ~Fresh Fiction Review
"Another great mystery headed by the charming Drew Farthering and his intelligent wife, Madeline. There is murder, mystery, intrigue and a little romance, which makes Death at Thorburn Hall a most enjoyable read . . . The plot has twists, turns and a few surprises throughout the story. Deering is at her best when penning Drew Farthering mysteries." ~RT Book Reviews
"This sixth series entry will delight Agatha Christie fans." ~Library Journal
Buy Now:  
Excerpt:  

Chapter One, Part Two
From Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering


 Drew gave the woman a polite smile. “If there’s nothing else . . . ?”

“Oughtn’t you to introduce me to your friends, Misha?” she said, turning appealingly to the Russian.
“Merely passersby, ma’am,” Drew said with a tip of his hat. “If you have everything sorted here . . .”
“Oh, yes. Certainly. It’s too good of you to try to help. Poor Misha, he can’t be troubled with practical matters, you know. The brain of the artist is simply too profound for the trivialities you and I must deal with. I’m sure you understand.”
The man was standing now with his hand spread across his shirtfront, his brow furrowed as if his recent near-tragedy had quite overcome him.
“I’m certain he bears it as bravely as he is able,” Drew told the woman, somehow managing to look earnestly solicitous.
“I am never one to complain,” the Russian said dolefully.
“No, of course not,” the woman soothed.
“The past is gone,” he sighed, “and we must carry on.”
“Good man,” Drew said with hearty finality. “Stiff upper lip and that, eh? Well, I’m afraid we have a car waiting for us, so we’d best be off. Good luck to you both.”
“Oh, dear,” the woman said, standing tiptoe as she attempted to see over the crowd. “Where is Alfred now? I don’t want them waiting dinner for us.”
“Oh, no you don’t,” Madeline hissed, tugging her husband’s arm.
He followed her toward the station exit, looking baffled.
“You were going to go back and help her. Don’t bother denying it.”
“Nonsense. I was merely trying to see where Nick had got to.” He lifted his head, looking back toward the train. “I thought I saw him just over there.”
She pressed her lips together. “And what would he be doing over there? The way he bolted off the train, you’d have thought it was on fire.”
It was too loud in the station to hear her husband’s low laughter, but she could feel the soft rumble of it in his chest. “He was rather worried about not being on the platform when Carrie’s train comes in. I don’t think he much cared for her coming all this way alone, and I can’t blame him.”
“Judging by the telegram she sent from the dock, she got along just fine. And she wasn’t exactly alone.”
But she was alone. Carrie Holland had been her best friend for just ages. Carrie’s father had walked Madeline down the aisle at her wedding, taking her own late father’s place in the ceremony in giving her to Drew. She had teased and scolded Carrie’s little brother as if he were her own. But now both father and brother were gone. Her mother had passed on years ago. Carrie had no one left.
Drew squeezed her hand. “I know you’re worried about her, darling, but I’m hoping this visit is just what she needs to put things right.”
“I’m hoping it won’t be just a visit.”
He gave her a wink. “That, my love, is where Nick steps in.”
Madeline nodded. Poor Nick. He had fallen hard for Carrie three years ago when she and Madeline had come to Drew’s Hampshire estate, Farthering Place, as part of their European tour. Madeline had stayed and married Drew, while Carrie had gone on with her tour and then returned home. After a year of letters between her and Nick, she had come back to England to visit. Absence had certainly made their hearts grow fonder, but then the loss of her brother made it necessary for her to return home once more to care for her grieving father. Now there was nothing in America to hold her, yet were letters enough? After two more years apart, would things be the same between her and Nick?
“He should have asked her to marry him long before now,” Madeline said.
Drew shrugged. “It was a bit awkward when she left the last time, you know. She had her father to deal with along with everything else, and he didn’t want to make it any more difficult for her, trying to keep her in Hampshire when she needed to see to things at home. And you wouldn’t want him to pop the question via telegram, would you? That would be shockingly vulgar.”
She giggled at the look of melodramatic horror on his face. “I suppose there are more romantic methods.”
“Mine, for example.”
She stopped short, one hand on her hip. “Yours? Your method was to nearly get yourself killed so I was forced to stay and keep you out of trouble.”
He looked positively smug. “It worked, didn’t it?”
She lifted an eyebrow and then started them walking once more. Feeling him laugh again, she prodded him with her elbow and nodded toward the platform they were approaching.
“You’d better go rescue Nick before he topples off.”
Hat in hand and tawny hair ruffled by the wind, Nick was leaning out over the track, obviously looking for any sign of the train.
Drew hurried up beside him and pulled him back a little. “Best look out there, old man. It’d be a bit of a letdown for your Miss Holland if she finds you under the train rather than waiting beside it.”
Nick’s smile was more nervous than convincing. “Just wondering why the deuced thing isn’t here yet. You don’t think there was a breakdown or anything, do you?”
“Of course not.” Madeline took his arm and gave her husband a look that discouraged a flippant response. “It’s not even due yet.”
“Isn’t it?” Nick looked up at the station clock and then gave Madeline a rather sheepish grin. “I suppose it isn’t.” Then his expression became urgent. “She is coming, isn’t she?”
“You have her telegram, don’t you?” Drew asked.
Nick beamed and patted his breast pocket, eliciting the crackle of paper. “Shall I quote it for you?”
Drew turned to Madeline, shaking one accusing finger at her. “I hold you responsible for every bit of this, wife. Here I thought I had a fine estate manager and stout fellow for any emergency, and you arrange for him to be turned into some helpless form of jelly.”
She looked at him with disdain. “Carrie and I came to Hampshire on vacation. Any jellification on the part of either of you is entirely your own fault.”
“I see,” Drew said gravely. “When we go home to Hampshire, I will see that inquiries are made.”

About the Author:  
Julianna Deering (also writing as DeAnna Julie Dodson) has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness, and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching, and watching NHL hockey. Her series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted from Bethany House with Rules of Murder (2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (2014). Dressed for Death (2016), and Murder on the Moor and Death at Thorburn Hall (2017). She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books and Such Literary Agency.

Connect with Julianna: Website | Twitter | Deanna Website | Amazon Page | Facebook

Giveaway:  
One Winner Will Receive the Full Drew Farthering Mystery Series!
November 28-December 7, 2017

(U.S. Only)


More Blogs on this Tour:  
28-Nov Character Interview Storeybook Reviews
29-Nov Review Missus Gonzo  
30-Nov Excerpt Chapter Break Book Blog
01-Dec Review Syd Savvy
02-Dec Author Interview Texan Girl Reads 
04-Dec Review Hall Ways Blog
05-Dec Top Ten List Forgotten Winds
06-Dec Review The Clueless Gent
07-Dec Series Sneak Peek A Novel Reality

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Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog. I am an avid reader who enjoys reading fiction. I also read biographies as well as fiction and non-fiction books about the Holocaust and Civil Rights period ... and I've been known to read a blog or two! If you'd like me to review a book, please complete the contact form below my bio. I'll be in touch!

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