The Frozen Hours: My Review

The Frozen Hours Book CoverThe Frozen Hours by Jeff Shaara is not an exploration of the entire Korean War. It begins in September 1950 and follows the events taking place through mid-December of that year;  North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, the strategically brilliant amphibious landing at Inchon, and the 1st Marine Division’s heroic fight for survival at the Chosin Reservoir.

Like his other novels these historical events have been meticulously researched and faithfully documented. Where Shaara separates himself from other historical fiction writers is his ability to give voice to the people who actually lived them. The dialogue he creates articulates their hopes and fears, egos and ambitions, strengths and weaknesses. From the generals in charge to the “grunts” carrying out their orders emerges a very personal perspective on war that immerses the reader inside the hearts and minds of those who planned and fought in the campaigns and battles that set the stage for a brutal protracted war with no real victor.

The story that unfolds in The Frozen Hours reveals not only the horrors of combat and the terrible human costs involved, but the capacity of men to suffer and somehow survive not only a determined enemy but sub-zero weather with temperatures that often dipped to forty degrees below zero.

In fact, it was this aspect of the story, the conditions on the ground, that best reflects the human will to survive. My father served in Korea and, though he never talked about his combat experiences, did say on numerous occasions that it was the coldest he had ever been in his life. However, it was not until I read Shaara’s novel that I appreciated this simple reflection. Men’s hands froze to their weapons, heavy equipment malfunctioned because oil and gasoline couldn’t flow, boots and layers of clothing meant to keep men warm actually increased perspiration resulting in frostbite and the amputation of fingers and toes, widespread malnutrition and dehydration occurred not because of any lack of food or water, but because they both froze solid with no way to consume either. The dead were even used as defensive barriers because bullets couldn’t penetrate the frozen bodies.

While American and NATO forces had the tactical advantage of artillery and air support, and the Chinese possessed overwhelming manpower and the willingness to absorb huge losses, their common liability was the weather. It pushed human endurance well beyond its limits.

Shaara tells this harrowing tale of courage through the eyes of a select group of men – General Oliver P. Smith, the commander of the 1st Marine Division, Chinese General Sung Shi-Lun, and PFC Pete Riley, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. It is a memorable account of real people crafted by a gifted writer and testament to the memory of those who fought in what has often been called “The Forgotten War.”

 

 

The Stamp of Heaven: Lone Star Book Blog Tour Promo and Review

THE STAMP OF HEAVEN
by
JULIA ROBB
Genre: Historical Fiction / Civil War
Publisher: self-published
Date of Publication: February 19, 2019
Number of Pages: 196
Scroll down for Giveaway!

The Union Army wants former Confederate Army general Beau Kerry for alleged war crimes, but he’s hiding out where the Yankees least expect to find him: in the United States Cavalry. Beau is fighting Apaches out West and praying nobody recognizes his famous face.But Lieutenant Kerry’s luck changes when he runs into Sergeant Ike Jefferson and says, “The last time I saw you, I had you bent over a barrel and I was whipping you.” Ike is not only Beau’s best friend (or worst enemy, depending on the day), he’s Beau’s former slave — and Ike knows there’s a $5000 price on Beau’s head.

Caroline Dietrich has vengeance on her mind. Married to Colonel Wesley Dietrich, the Union fort commander, Caroline believes the best path to getting revenge against the Yankees, her husband included, is seducing her husband’s officers. Especially Beau.

From the killing fields of the Civil War, to the savagery of the Indian wars, the characters are also battling each other and searching for what it means to be human.

5-STAR PRAISE FOR THE STAMP OF HEAVEN:
“Her characters are vivid, relatable, and endearing. She brings to life the rigors of frontier duty, the harsh beauty of west Texas, and the complexity of war and reconciliation. A must read!” 
“Julia Robb creates a masterful tale of friendship, loyalty, cowardice, deceit, and redemption in this fascinating story set in the aftermath of the War Between the States…Not a simple western yarn, this novel will keep you thinking and asking the Big Questions long after you finish reading it.”

CLICK TO ORDER ON AMAZON

Review
Five-Stars
     In the aftermath of the Civil War it was not all that uncommon for former adversaries to serve side-by-side on America’s frontier. With Lee’s surrender at Appomattox the Confederate Army had been disbanded. The war’s end also saw the Union Army downsized and reorganized. However, resistance from Native Americans as the country expanded westward required the organization of new units to confront the threat.
     In the Trans-Pecos portion of Texas an all-black unit, the 9th Cavalry, is garrisoned at Fort Davis to stop attacks from the Apache. They are led by white officers, some of whom still view their race as inferior. Faced with the same bias and prejudice they experienced as slaves, the Buffalo Soldiers struggle to gain acceptance, respect, and equality while also facing a cruel and implacable foe.
     Envy and hatred also affect their leadership. Though President Lincoln had called upon the nation to heal its wounds “with malice towards none” the animosity that led to four years of internecine conflict still existed. “Yankee bastard” and “Confederate trash” were lingering sentiments that kept military commands divided. For the North, the scourge of slavery had almost succeeded in tearing the nation apart. For the South, the invasion of their homeland had destroyed a beloved way of life. These wounds simply would not heal.
     This is the setting for Julia Robb’s latest novel, The Stamp of Heaven. The fight against the Apache is a fight for survival in a harsh and unforgiving land. Yet it is only the backdrop to a far greater conflict, the fight for men’s souls.
     Robb writes vivid descriptions of military life on the frontier that capture the isolation and loneliness, the drudgery of garrison duty, the difficulties of campaigns against an elusive enemy, the violence of sudden confrontations. She also reminds readers of the horrors of human bondage and the magnitude of titanic battles fought during the Civil War, particularly recalling the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, Virginia in 1864.
     This is not a western or war novel in the conventional sense. It is an exploration of themes involving courage and cowardice, deceit and betrayal, love and regret, sin and redemption. It looks at personal relationships and both physical and psychological wounds, and asks deep questions about our humanity. What makes someone a good person? Is such a judgment based on an individual’s perception of themselves, or is it the perception of others that matters? Can past transgressions be overcome? What gives meaning to someone’s life? While each of us attempts to answer these questions, we don’t really know… “Maybe God does.”
Julia Robb is a former journalist who writes novels set in Texas. She’s written Saint of the Burning Heart, Scalp Mountain, Del Norte, The Captive Boy, and The Stamp of Heaven. 
 
Julia grew up on the lower Great Plains of Texas, eventually and lived in every corner of the Lone Star State, from the Rio Grande to the East Texas swamps. 

——————————————–

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
1st Prize: Signed Copy of The Stamp of Heaven + $5 Cash
2nd Prize: Signed Copy or eBook Copy of The Stamp of Heaven
April 3-13, 2019
(U.S. Only)

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

4/3/19
Character Interview
4/3/19
Excerpt
4/4/19
Review
4/5/19
Guest Post
4/5/19
Author Interview
4/6/19
Review
4/7/19
Review
4/8/19
Scrapbook
4/8/19
Playlist
4/9/19
Review
4/10/19
Author Video
4/10/19
Top 11 List
4/11/19
Review
4/12/19
Review
4/12/19
Review

 

blog tour services provided by:

 

Lone Star Book Blog Tours: 2018 Bloggers’ Choice Awards

 

The Lone Star Book Blog Tours (LSBBT) Blogger Team has announced its 2018 Bloggers’ Choice Awards. 

To be eligible for a 2018 LSBBT Bloggers’ Choice Award, a book must have been featured on an interactive book blog tour in 2018.  Many authors (myself included) showcased their work on tour, providing readers over sixty titles to choose from in genres ranging from romance, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, spiritual, western, memoir, and historical fiction.

The LSBBT Blogger Team wrote nearly three hundred book reviews of the 2018 titles, and the winners in twelve different categories were determined by a combination of the reviewers’ average book ratings and team member votes. 

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2018
LONE STAR BOOK BLOG TOURS
BLOGGERS’ CHOICE AWARDS WINNERS AND FINALISTS
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 



 

Who Are Your Heroes?

 

Fallen Heroes

A confluence of events has caused me to reflect on this question. The first is the posting on social media by a very dear friend of photos of soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, policemen, and firefighters who have died in the performance of their duties. The second was a speech given this past Monday at the weekly luncheon at Aggie Park in San Antonio by the Fifth Army North Commander, LTG Jeffrey S. Buchanan, where he addressed this very question. Third is the upcoming gathering of Texas A&M University alumni to honor those Aggies who have died this past year. And last, though I don’t have an exact release date, is the publication of my most recent book, Tarnished Brass, and my inclusion of a section entitled “In Memoriam.”

The social media postings honor individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Their photos are poignant reminders that service to country, whether in the Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, or as Firefighters often comes at a very high cost. These men and women are the very embodiment of heroism. Their conduct reflects great courage, superior character and integrity in a noble cause greater than self, and it cost them their lives.

In his own way General Buchanan echoed these sentiments by relating the story of a subordinate officer who served with the general in various assignments throughout his career including multiple deployments in Iraq where he was severely injured by an IED, and in Afghanistan where he lost his life. The general wears a wrist band in his memory.

The Muster tradition, an annual gathering of fellow Texas Aggies that dates back to 1883, has evolved over the years from just celebrating college memories to honoring those Aggies no longer able to attend the ceremony due to their passing. Normally held on April 21st in remembrance of Texas Independence and San Jacinto Day, this year’s event at the San Antonio A&M Club will take place April 22nd. April 21st is Easter Sunday.

National recognition of Muster hearkens back to April 21, 1942 and the Second World War when a roll call of the twenty-seven Aggies serving in the Philippines on the small island of Corregidor was held. All would either be killed or captured by Japanese forces, but their solidarity in the face of overwhelming odds heartened the nation’s will to persevere.

On April 21, 1946 the memory of those twenty-seven Aggies was honored in a ceremony on Corregador at the Malinta Tunnel, and the tradition of remembrance has continued ever since. Aggies gather together wherever they are in the world, read aloud the names of the departed, and answer on their behalf… “Here.”

It is the solemnity of making that declaration that leads to me to my final thought before my book comes out. Tarnished Brass is a work of fiction but the war and many of the characters included in the novella are real. At the end I pay tribute to two of those individuals:

Lieutenant Colonel, James M. Basile, U.S. Air Force, served as the Deputy Commander, U.S. MilGroup, San Salvador during the years covered in the book. More importantly, he was my friend who I both admired and loved as a brother-in-arms. He was killed in a helicopter crash July 16, 1987 at age 43.

I also had the honor of serving under General John R. Galvin, who was the Commander, USSOUTHCOM during the three years that I was assigned to the J3. He passed away after a distinguished career September 25, 2015 at age 86.

Unfortunately, there is a tendency within our society to equate heroes with sports figures, celebrities, wealth and power. When asked, the average person will name their favorite football, baseball or basketball player as their hero. Those not into sports might name a famous pop icon, television or movie star. However, though fame and fortune may keep these individuals in the public spotlight, their notoriety does not constitute heroism and their designation as heroes does a disservice to those who have given their all in service to others.

Keep this in mind the next time you’re asked the question, “Who Are Your Heroes?”

 

 

 

 

In the Blood of the Greeks: My Review

In The Blood of The Greeks Book CoverAuthor Mary D. Brooks’ novel looks into the “katochi,” the occupation of Greece by the Nazis during World War II. It pays homage to the Greek Resistance movement as well as the efforts of local priests and citizens to save Greek Jews from the horrors of Hitler’s final solution, and it tells the story of two women, one Greek, one German, who not only survived the war, but found both love and hope in the process.

Zoe Lambros is fourteen, headstrong, outspoken, and openly defiant towards the Germans who have occupied Larissa, Greece. Eva Muller is eighteen, the daughter of the German commander whose troops now enslave the local Greek population, and reviled by Zoe. Crippled in a bombing of her home while her father was stationed in Paris, she is recovering not only from physical wounds, but emotional scars suffered during aversion therapy. Eva’s attraction to other women has been brutally repressed by shock treatment and chemical injections.

Unbeknownst to Zoe, Eva is secretly working with the Greek Resistance through the local priest, Father Haralambros, providing forged travel documents to Jewish families so they can escape imprisonment and almost certain death in Nazi concentration camps. Their relationship also goes well beyond priest and collaborator, but Zoe is unaware of their secret connection.

When the Resistance’s activities against their German oppressors result in the deaths of German soldiers, the attacks are met with swift and brutal retribution. Major Hans Muller not only orders the execution of captured Greek fighters but local villagers. Cruel and sadistic, he takes pleasure in personally selecting and shooting the victims.  When he kills Zoe’s beloved mother, she swears revenge.

Zoe’s plans focus on killing Eva Muller whom she mistakenly believes laughed while Zoe held her dying mother in her arms. She doesn’t care whether she dies in the attempt as long as Eva dies along with her. She struggles with her faith knowing that suicide and murder are wrong. She denies God’s existence and questions how He could possibly allow the German occupation of her country and the atrocities committed against her family and her people.

Divine intervention intercedes when Father Haralambros arranges for Zoe to actually work in the Muller household as a caretaker to Eva. At first she can’t believe the irony,  but her hatred will eventually transform as she discovers who Eva really is, the physical and psychological trauma she has also endured at the hands of the Nazis, the courage it takes for her to defy them, her true relationship with Father Haralambros, and the emerging affection they both feel toward one another!

The title of the book comes from the Greek national anthem: And we saw thee sad-eyed, The tears on thy cheeks, While thy raiment was dyed In the Blood of the Greeks. It is the first in a series by Mary Brooks on Eva Muller and Zoe Lambros.

Readers, who enjoy strong female protagonists and an unlikely romance set against the backdrop of WWII and a part of that monumental struggle that isn’t often the focus of historical books, will enjoy this opening novel while looking forward to the continuing adventures of Eva and Zoe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Wire: Promo and Series Spotlight

LIVE WIRE
(Maggie, Book One)
A What Doesn’t Kill You
World Romantic Mystery

by
PAMELA FAGAN HUTCHINS
  Genre: Romantic Mystery
Date of Publication: March 6, 2019
Number of Pages: 270
 
Scroll down for giveaway!
A hook-up turned lethal. A spurned, angry cowboy. Can rebel Maggie turn the tables before a killer adds her to the list of lost causes?

Washed-up alt-country rocker-turned-junker Maggie Killian is pulled to Wyoming by an irresistible force . . . former bull rider Hank Sibley, the man who broke her heart fifteen years before. When she unexpectedly meets his Sunday school-teaching girlfriend at a saloon, Maggie seeks liquor-fueled oblivion between the sheets of a younger man’s bed. But after her beloved vintage truck breaks down and leaves her stranded in the Cowboy State, she learns her hook-up died minutes after leaving their rendezvous. Suddenly surrounded by men with questionable motives, Maggie searches for the murderer while fighting the electricity between herself and her old beau, and her new penchant for local whiskey.

When the police zero in on Maggie despite a disturbing series of break-ins at her guest cabin, she realizes she’s got no one to rely on but herself. To keep herself happily in bars instead of behind them, she must stop the killer before the cops realize the man she really suspects is a jealous, angry Hank.

Live Wire is the first standalone book in a trilogy featuring sharp-tongued protagonist Maggie Killian from the addictive What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mystery series. If you like nerve-racking suspense, electric characters and relationships, and juicy plot twists, then you’ll love USA Today best seller Pamela Fagan Hutchins’ Silver Falchion award-winning series.

“Maggie is irresistible.” 
Robert Dugoni, #1 Amazon bestselling
author of My Sister’s Grave
 
CLICK TO PURCHASE
Series Spotlight Banner
Series Spotlight

What Doesn’t Kill You world features romantic mystery protagonists whose lives are interconnected in a bunch of ways. They’re smart, kickass women who solve whatever problems—including a few dead bodies—life throws at them as they navigate their unique journeys of friendships, romance, career, families, and more. My novels are mostly PG-13, and you’ll find a thread of everyday magic running through them. People say they’re funny. They’re probably full of it.

You meet all of the WDKY protagonists in Act One—which you can only get by subscribing to my newsletter. You don’t get a deep dive into their lives and characters there, but you totally do in their novels, and Saving Grace is a great example of that with Katie.

People often want to know if they have to be read in order….

No. Yes. Maybe. Do what you want J But it’s an experience enhancer. I jump around by protagonist, and I sometimes jump around in the timeline, too. Intentionally. So feel free to read freestyle. However, it does enhance the experience to read “in order.”

Buckle Bunny (Maggie Prequel Novella)

Shock Jock (Maggie Prequel Short Story)

Act One (Prequel, Ensemble Novella)

Saving Grace (Katie #1)

Leaving Annalise (Katie #2)

Finding Harmony (Katie #3)

Going for Kona (Michele #1)

Heaven to Betsy (Emily #1)

Earth to Emily (Emily #2)

Hell to Pay (Emily #3)

Fighting for Anna (Michele #2)

Bombshell (Ava #1)

Stunner (Ava #2)

Knockout (Ava #3)

Searching for Dime Box (Michele #3)

Live Wire (Maggie #1)

Sick Puppy (Maggie #2)

Dead Pile (Maggie #3)

Pamela Fagan Hutchins is a USA Today best seller. She writes award-winning romantic mysteries from deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and way up in the frozen north of Snowheresville, Wyoming. She is passionate about long hikes with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs and riding her gigantic horses.
 
If you’d like Pamela to speak to your book club, women’s club, class, or writers’ group, by Skype or in person, shoot her an e-mail. She’s very likely to say yes. Connect with Pamela on the web.
 

WEBSITEFACEBOOKTWITTERBOOKBUB
INSTAGRAMGOODREADSAMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Praise for Pamela Fagan Hutchins

 

2018 USA Today Best Seller

2017 WINNER Silver Falchion Award, Best Mystery

2016 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction
2015 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction
2014 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Cross Genre Fiction
2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-finalist, Romance
2013 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Business: Publishing
2012 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Ghost Story Contest
2012 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Parenting: Divorce
2011 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Novel Contest, Mainstream
2010 Winner of the Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest, Romance
—————————————–
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
FIRST PRIZE
Signed paperback of Live Wire + eBook of Buckle Bunny + $5 Amazon Gift Card
SECOND PRIZE
Signed paperback of Live Wire + eBook of Buckle Bunny 
THIRD PRIZE
Signed paperback of Live Wire
PLUS, ALL WINNERS
Audio downloads of Fighting for Anna and Searching for Dime Box
March 6-16, 2019
(International)

 

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
3/6/19
Character Interview
3/7/19
Review
3/7/19
Review
3/8/19
Series Spotlight
3/8/19
Series Spotlight
3/9/19
Review
3/9/19
Review
3/10/19
Guest Post
3/11/19
Review
3/11/19
Review
3/12/19
Character Spotlight
3/13/19
Review
3/13/19
Review
3/14/19
Author Interview
3/15/19
Review
3/15/19
Review
   blog tour services provided by
  

 

Fatality in F: Author Interview

FATALITY IN F
A Gethsemane Brown Mystery,
Volume 4
by
Alexia Gordon
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
Date of Publication: February 26, 2019
Number of Pages: 234

Scroll down for the giveaway!
 
Fresh from solving her third mystery—and saving Dunmullach’s firstborn males from a vengeful ghost—Gethsemane Brown’s ready to relax and enjoy her summer. Her plans include nothing more dangerous than performing in the opening ceremony of the annual rose and garden show and cheering on Frankie Grennan, who’s entered his hybrid rose into the competition.
 
But when a mysterious stalker starts leaving Frankie floral bouquets as coded messages, Gethsemane fears a copy-cat may be planning to recreate the still-unsolved murders of the infamous Flower Shop Killer. Then Frankie’s main competitor in the rose show—and the reason his marriage failed—turns up dead in Frankie’s rose garden. Frankie takes first prize in the category “prime suspect.”
 
So much for a relaxing summer. 
 
As bodies start dropping like rose petals, Gethsemane must judge the other suspects and find the real killer. Or rose bushes won’t be the only things dead-headed in Dunmullach.
PRAISE FOR THE GETHSEMANE BROWN MYSTERY SERIES:

Book 1, Murder in G Major
Winner of the 2017 Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel
2016 Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel
Suspense magazine “Best of 2016” selection in Debut Novel category
Book 2, Death in D Minor
Runner-Up, 2017 Lone Star Bloggers’ Choice Awards, Best Mystery
Book 3, Killing in C Sharp
Starred review, Publisher’s Weekly, January 29, 2018
CLICK TO ORDER ON:
┃  Amazon  ┃  Barnes & Noble  ┃  iBooks  ┃  Kobo  ┃

AuthorInterview

INTERVIEW WITH ALEXIA GORDON

 Your book titles are cleverly related to your main character’s occupation. Can you tell us how you came up with your titles? Any titles that ended up on the cutting room floor?

I came up with my first title, Murder in G Major, because I wanted to let readers know it was a murder mystery and to let them know music played a role. And I wanted something alliterative since I couldn’t think of an outright pun. I thought the publisher would change it, but they didn’t.

The rest of the titles in the series had to follow the same pattern as the first. Killing in C Sharp originally had “A” before “Killing” (A Killing in C Sharp) but my publisher cut the “A.” The publisher also wanted me to put “Flat” after the “F” in Fatality in F because all of the other titles have a word after the note, i.e., major, minor, sharp. I argued that one because F-flat is the same note as E and it’s theoretical more than practical. With double sharps or double flats, it’s too complex for most musicians to play. F-flat also sounds, well, flat and I didn’t want my title to suggest a dud. I convinced my publisher to see things my way, but I did agree to have another title in the series without a word after the note, for consistency.

Do you now or have you ever considered writing under a pen-name? Why or why not?

I’ve never considered a pen name because I’ve always wanted to see my name on the cover of a book. Also, I couldn’t think of a good pseudonym.

Who would you cast to play your characters in a movie version of your book?

I want Thandie Newton to play Gethsemane and Prince Harry to play Frankie in the film version. Haven’t cast the rest of the characters yet.

What’s something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

I’ve won ribbons in State Fairs in weaving, knitting, and duct tape craft.

What is your favorite quote?

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”    –Toni Morrison

A writer since childhood, Alexia Gordon won her first writing prize in the 6th grade. She continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. She established her medical career then returned to writing fiction. Raised in the southeast, schooled in the northeast, she relocated to the west where she completed Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path program. She admits Texas brisket is as good as Carolina pulled pork. She practices medicine in North Chicago, IL. She enjoys the symphony, art collecting, embroidery, and ghost stories.

 ║  Website ║ Facebook ║ Instagram  
BookBub  ║ Twitter  Goodreads

————————————-
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
One winner receives a signed copy of Fatality in F and 
a $30 Gift Card to David Austin Roses
FEBRUARY 26-MARCH 8, 2019

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

2/26/19
Sneak Peek
2/26/19
Playlist
2/27/19
Review
2/28/19
Review
3/1/19
Top 5 List
3/1/19
Author Interview
3/2/19
Review
3/3/19
Review
3/4/19
Top 5 List
3/4/19
Top 5 List
3/5/19
Review
3/6/19
Series Spotlight
3/6/19
Excerpt
3/7/19
Review
3/7/19
Review
   blog tour services provided by