Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Book Review: Covey Jencks by Shelton L. Williams

Narrated by Kathy James
Genre: Mystery / Social Thriller
Southern Owl Publications, LLC
Publication Date: February 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 229
Audio Book Length: 6 hours, 38 minutes

Covey Jencks is a murder mystery with a social conscience. Set in West Texas with a cast of colorful and humorous characters, it follows a young lawyer from Washington, DC back to his hometown of Odessa, Texas. He wants and needs to solve a murder case from 1979 in 1993. The problem is that the Odessa Police Department has already found its man, and no one wants to re-visit the case of a black prostitute whose life was seemingly of no consequence to anyone. But Freddie Mae Johnson’s death matters to Covey, and eventually he discovers an old flame, JayJay Qualls, who also knew and loved Freddie. Together they undertake an investigation that uncovers not only the truth about Freddie but also the secrets of Odessa’s south side, Mexican gangs, a Boston mobster, and the fallacy of unexamined assumptions. Finding out who killed Freddie is one thing, but preventing their own demise is quite another! 


Williams seamlessly braids a murder mystery with a love story and a drama about the pervasiveness of racism in the South... The author’s prose is buoyantly eccentric, both insightful and self-effacingly humorous. And the clues Covey and JayJay track down are meted out to readers with impressive judiciousness: The author never prematurely surrenders so much information that the conclusion is rendered foregone while the tale’s swift pace prevents it from becoming tedious. An engrossing crime drama that’s both entertaining and provocative. -- Kirkus Indie

Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the BloodSummer of 66, and now Covey Jencks. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.

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My first part time job while I was in high school was announcing at the local radio station, and I had fun being "on the air” and using my sarcastic sense of humor.  I worked in the radio business for more than twenty years. My favorite pastimes are teaching figure skating, getting lost in a great book, and watching movies.  I narrate and produce audio books in my home studio, and I truly enjoy bringing an author’s characters to life with an audio book. I currently reside in Minnesota with my slightly overweight cat and two childlike golden retrievers.  




What Was Enjoyable


I always like to do my reviews, what was enjoyable, least enjoyable and over. The first thing that I need to point out that was enjoyable while reading was all the Texas puns! As you all may know, or not know, I live in the Lone Star State and loved all the Texas puns, jokes and relatable Texas jargon.  When one is reading a book based off their hometown or home state, it's a nice feeling and creates a comfortable feeling for the reader from the beginning.

The scenery that the author amazingly paints is just incredible. The details of the places and towns and scenes are all written out thoughtfully and is very helpful for those who may not know a lot about west Texas.

The reader might also really enjoy the timeline. There are a couple of timelines that the book goes through and it's so interesting how the author goes through the timelines so well. It's really a skill when you can go in and out timelines because not everyone can write it well, but Williams does an awesome job of that!

They seem fixated on the Music City Mall, football, and whatever gadget or obsession can pass their time of day before they "can get out of this damned place." - Covey 67

What Was Least Enjoyable 


Though this is great storytelling, there are some typos now and then. None of them are really damaging to the overall quality of the book, but I mention them as the only place where improvements could be made to this already great book.



Overall, I give Covey Jencks a 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. It's a great read that both native Texans and non-natives will enjoy and want to put on their shelves. If you're into mysteries and solving murders, or know someone who is, consider buy for a stocking stuffer! Until next time, Happy Reading! And be sure to enter into the contest below!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Rainy Thoughts: Girls & Boys Toys

Hello everyone! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I finally have some time off from my full-time job! Thought I'd celebrate by writing a new rainy thoughts! I've been posting a lot of book-related content and I really wanted to write something a little off topic. This topic is actually something I've been wanting to write about for a while and thought it really appropriate for the gift-giving season coming up. Here are my thoughts on girl and boy toys.

What Do I Mean By Girl & Boy Toys?

I guess what I mean by this title is that there is this stigma about boys playing with boy toys and girls playing with girl toys. Growing up, I had my fair share of Barbies and Bratz laying around my room. But, as I got a little older, I also had my share of "boy" toys. I never thought that this was a problem. I liked what I liked and my parents never made me feel like I was less of a girl for playing with guy things and sometimes wanting guy shirts because they had Mario and Yoshi and the girl's section didn't have that. I never felt less like a girl because I liked video games, action figures, monster trucks and Beyblades. It wasn't until I was 19 and in a college level sociology class, that I realized some people actually look down upon this.

"I will never let my son play with action figures because it's a doll."

It must have been our second class and our professor starting talking about gender roles and how
there are boy toys and girl toys. She then asked the class who was aloud to play with the opposite sex toys. I was surprised as I raised my hand and I was only 1 of 4 out of a class of about 23 who raised their hand. One lady then raised her hand and said that if she always wanted to play with trucks, but her mother wouldn't allow it.

The next question my professor asked us was who would let their kids play with the opposite sex toys. More than half the room raised their hands, including me. She then asked the opposite and still a few people raised their hands. When she asked why, one man spoke out and said he would never let his son play with any kind of girl toy and wouldn't even let him play with action figures.

After that class, I never realized that others felt that way. I didn't have brothers growing up, but I always thought it was okay to play with toys not in my gender.

"My son wanted a Barbie because Spider-man has a girlfriend."

Children playing or even wanting the opposite gender's toys, doesn't mean that they want them for the reasons you might think. I remember this story from my cousin, whose son was only about 4 at the time. They went to the store and he wanted a Barbie. She didn't know why he wanted the Barbie, but she bought it for him. Turns out, he wanted the Barbie because he had a Spider-man action figure and Spider-man has a girlfriend, so he had to have something to play his girlfriend! You never know what's going through the mind of a child, so try not to assume something so quickly.

More acceptable for girls than boys

Nowadays, it's more acceptable for girls to play with boy toys than it is for boys to play with girl toys. Why is this? The only thing I can think of is, like the great Madonna once said,
"Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short
Wear shirts and boots 'cause it's okay to be a boy
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
'Cause you think that being a girl is degrading"
(song linked at the end of this)

In Conclusion 

In conclusion, it's your life and it's your kid and it's none of my business. But try not to look down on the boy watching Barbie movie or the girl with the Pokemon cards in her pocket. None of this stuff automatically makes them gay or lesbian, they're just being themselves. Besides, don't we all like our men a little sensitive and our women a little rough around the edges?

And if you would like to purchase my book, please click on the button below!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Rainy Books: Without Hesitation by Talia Jager

Free book alert!!! To celebrate the newly released Painted Skies (Beyond Earth: Book Two) by Talia Jager, the first book in this series is available for free download! Read all about Without Hesitation, download your free copy, and enter the amazing giveaway below! WithoutHesitation_1877x3000-Amazon 
Without Hesitation (Beyond Earth Book #1) Publication Date: June 16th, 2017 Genre: LGBT/ Sci-Fi/ Adventure Synopsis: Without Hesitation is set a thousand years in the future. Earth has become a wasteland. Humans traveled into space to colonize other suitable planets. Labels and stereotypes are a thing of the past and gender and sexual identity are as fluid as love as humans strive to survive. Here we meet Everleigh, the commander of her ship named Nirvana. She is under the control of an evil madman, Caspar, who keeps her family captive. He sends her to Valinor to abduct the Empress Akacia. When she arrives, she is taken back by Akacia’s beauty and when the Empress fights back, Everleigh realizes she has met her match.
**This book is an LGBTQ story with a female/ female relationship.**
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*Available for FREE Download!*
Saturn GFX.jpg
“Oh, bugger!” she muttered from her dressing room. “What?” “I’m stuck.” She giggled. “I’m going to find the sales lady to help.” “No! I’ll help. Open your door.” A few seconds passed before I heard the lock click. She opened the door and I walked in and locked it behind me. “Zipper’s stuck.” She moved her hair so I could see. I struggled with the zipper for a minute before working it loose. I pulled it down exposing the intricate tattoos down her back. “Wow…” Pink flamed her cheeks. “Phases of our moon, Oro.” I trailed my fingers down her back and she shuddered. It took everything in me not to lean in and kiss her. Our eyes met in the mirror. Her blue eyes were wide with curiosity and bright with anticipation. She tilted her head to the side just enough to expose the long line of her neck and that made my heart speed out of control. I closed the small space between us and let my lips touch her skin. Her breath hitched. She was so warm, so soft, and so perfect. My lips trailed soft kisses up to her ear, she trembled and let out a low moan. I circled her waist with one arm to steady her. My heart felt like it was going to jump out of my body. Every inch of my skin warmed. Akacia turned so that we were face to face and her hand came up to cup my cheek. I rested my hands on her waist. Her gaze darted from my eyes to my lips. She muttered something about hesitation and then her soft, supple lips were on mine. It was my turn to be surprised. Nobody had ever been so bold, but I was only startled for a beat before I seized her lips and deepened the kiss. When Akacia pulled away the tiniest of moans escaped my mouth. A smile played on her lips that I swear tasted like honey. She tangled her hands in my hair at the back of my neck. There was a knock on the door. “Do you need help?” Akacia giggled and I answered, “No. Just another minute.” -Without Horizons

Author Pic.jpgAbout the Author Talia is no stranger to labels and judgment. She has slowly been developing her voice for those who need help speaking up. She believes that someday labels will be a thing of the past, that sexuality will be fluid, love will be love, and mental illness will be handled with love and care. Talia is an author with fifteen books published including: Damaged: Natalie’s Story, Teagan’s Story: Her Battle With Epilepsy, If I Die Young, Secret Bloodline, Lost and Found, The Gifted Teens Series, The Between Worlds Series and The Beyond Earth Series. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking red rocks or sitting on the beach with a Kindle in her hands and her toes in the ocean.
Giveaway!!! For your chance to win either a $25 Amazon Gift Card or a digital copy of Painted Skies (Beyond Earth Book #2), click the link below!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Book Review: Gratitude: The Art of Being Thankful by Vickie Phelps

Vickie Phelps
Genre: Non-Fiction / Inspirational / Devotional
Publisher: Inspire Books
Date of Publication: July 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 92, 4.5″ x 6″
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This ninety-two-page gift book is a compilation of devotions, poems, prayers, and lists of things to be grateful for. The difference between having what you want and having what you need is a principle some people never grasp. In the reading of this book, you may realize you have much more to be grateful for than you were aware of. Use this little book as a daily devotional or pick it up at random times to remind yourself that you are a blessed individual.


 "This little gem of a book arrived before we left on vacation,
so I took it along. It became our shared devotional and 'thought
for the day' outlook...and colored our time away with gratitude.
This unique discovery is one to treasure."
5 Star Review,
Amazon verified purchase

What Was Enjoyable

I am going to start this off by talking about the size of this book. It's just too adorable not to love! This is such a cute little book that is easy to put in your purse and take with you to work, dinner, ravel, or wherever you go! The author definitely went with the right size for the content when she was creating this book.

Secondly, one may enjoy the different types of format on each page. One page may be a Biblical quote, while the next page is one of the authors own testimonials and then the next page is a quote. It's a neat little surprise each time you turn the page. 

And last, this is just a nice book to keep you on track of the things you should be thankful for every day, hence the title.

 What Was Least Enjoyable

There was nothing really to not like about this book. The author is very honest and open and just really wants you to remember to be thankful. Who doesn't like being thankful?


Overall, I would definitely pick this book up for a relative, friend or co worker for the upcoming holidays or for one's birthday. It's a nice pocket book filled with something new each read and each day your read it.  Until next time, Happy Reading!
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 About the Author

Vickie Phelps writes to encourage, inspire, and influence. She has published 200 articles, devotionals, and essays in more than fifty magazines and contributed to several anthologies. Vickie is the author of the novels, Postmark From the Past, Moved, Left No Address, Waiting for Joy, and a devotional book, Psalms for the Common Man. Vickie is co-author with Jo Huddleston of the gift book, Simply Christmas, and Writing 101: A Handbook of Tips & Encouragement for Writers.

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1st Prize: Signed Copy of The Art of Being Thankful + $5 Amazon Gift Card + Simply Christmas & Psalms for the Common Man (non-fiction themed pack)
2nd Prize: Signed Copy of The Art of Being Thankful + $5 Amazon Gift Card + Postmark from the Past & Waiting for Joy (holiday theme pack)
3rd Prize: Signed Copy of The Art of Being Thankful
November 7-16, 2018
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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Book Review: The Dark Between Stars by Atticus

Two book reviews in one month? I'm starting actually going to become a book blogger for the Lone Star Literary Life! They are an awesome group of people who work with all kinds of Texas authors! Check them out with the button below.

Anyways, the point of me telling you that was cause I will be putting out more book reviews. May twice a month, but will still have my rainy thoughts. But enough about reviews, onto the review for today. Here is my review of The Dark Between Stars by Atticus.

                                 A Little Overview

Atticus is a very interesting person, one that I would love to interview *cough cough.* I say interesting because he doesn't talk directly about who he is on his website or social media. But I did find this interview that you might enjoy to find out much more about him. The gist, though, is that he is a Canadian poet who started writing short poems on his phone one day when he was walking the streets of Paris and then it kind of blew up from there.

The Dark Between Stars is a poetry book. It's a poetry book with lots of image/text. If you've taken an image/text class, show this to your professor as an example of what good image/text looks like.

What Was Enjoyable 

I don't really read poetry books, though I think that they are charming. This book, however, I was live up to the hype. This book lived up to the expectations that I had in my mind, from the smooth feel of the cover to the lovely pages of the inside.
really excited for. I even preordered. PREORDERED PEOPLE! I only ever preorder things I'm excited for a

If you've taken a text/image class, you'll appreciate this book! Lot's of different fonts, images, text placement, everything text/image is about!

The last, but not least thing that I found enjoyable were the different topics of poetry. I enjoyed the relatable, the unusual, and the classic. There's a poem for everyone and if you are feeling a way today, chances are, you'll find the perfect poem in this book.

What Was Least Enjoyable

The only thing that I would have to have to say is that I wish the poetry had more of a structure. It kind of did in a way, but if it was the same poems, but went through metaphorically like a story, that would have been even more of a bonus. Did that make any sense at all?


Overall, I really enjoyed this book and anyone who picks it up will probably say the same. Find your dark between stars and pick up your copy today with the button below!

And if you're new to my blog, then you may not know that I have my own book that you can purchase today with the other button below.

And to those who don't know, I am an ambassador for a jewelry company called Bohindie Stream. Check out their jewelry for that Bohemian princess in your life and take 10% off using my discount code "ABABES."

Until next time, Happy Reading and Happy Halloween!👻