Thursday, December 19, 2019

Book Review: Santa Claus Bank Robbery


SANTA CLAUS BANK ROBBERY A True-Crime Saga in Texas
by
TUI SNIDER
  Genre: Nonfiction / Texana / Texas History
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: December 8, 2019
Number of Pages: 146 pages + black & white photos
Scroll down for Giveaway!


When Marshall Ratliff dressed like Santa Claus to pull a Christmas-time heist, he thought it would be easy. Unfortunately for him, when the citizens of Cisco heard Santa was robbing a bank, they came running - with loaded guns in hand! But can you blame them? In 1927, the only way to earn the $5000 Dead Bank Robber Reward was to kill a bandit while the crime was in progress.
This bungled bank robbery led to a wild shootout and a getaway with two little girls as hostages. And that is only the beginning! Tui Snider’s true-crime tale reads like a comedy of errors as the consequences of the Santa Claus Bank Robber’s actions escalate to include a botched car-jacking, one of the biggest manhunts in Texas history, and a jailbreak leading to a deadly conclusion. Meanwhile, it’s up to readers to decide whether or not a mysterious blonde helped these gangsters escape. And if so, did she get away with murder?


I don't know about you, but I am a big Forensic Files, Sword and Scale, and all types of murder mystery, documentary fan. While reading this story, it felt like I was reading one of the shows, learning, discovering and finding out what really happened with the Santa Claus Bank Robbery as our author was discovering as well.

This was definitley a fun way to read about a historical event, one not many people know about. I sure did not learn this in my Texas public school. I enjoyed the way the author was writing how she felt. It was real and it felt like someone was reacting to their emotions in real time. I was hooked to the book from the first page to the very last.

We can all also appreciate all the actual evidence the author uses to help us paint a picture of this crazy story with pictures, written documents, and quotes from another book that was written about this event. One will really admire all the heart and sole Snider goes through to get us all the truth that she can find. There is a book that Snider often refers too, but doesn't really like that the book doesn't give the real names of the real life people and goes into a more fictional tale. She really wants to be as authentic as she can be and I love and appreciate that in an author.

Overall, the author does a great job in telling a story that has already been told in several different ways. It really feels like you are going on a journey with her finding out the truth behind this bizarre happening. I would defintiley recommend for anyone who enjoys a good non-fiction murder mystery.


Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!” Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences, and bookstores.This fall, she will speak about the Great Airship Mystery of 1897 at this year’s UFO Congress and teach a course on Understanding Cemetery Symbols at Texas Christian University. She also shares weekly info-videos based on her research at her YouTube channel. Snider’s writing and photography have been featured in a variety of media outlets, including WFAA TV, Coast to Coast AM, LifeHack, Langdon Review, the City of Plano, Wild Woman Waking, Shades of Angels and many more. She has several more books in progress.

◆  WEBSITE  ◆  FACEBOOK  ◆  TWITTER  
◆  AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE  ◆  GOODREADS  ◆
◆  INSTAGRAM  ◆   YOUTUBE  ◆
 --------------------------------------- 
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
 GRAND PRIZE (US only) Signed Paperback +$10 Amazon Gift Card + Thank You Post Card
2ND PRIZE (US only)Signed Copy + Thank You Post Card
3RD PRIZE (International): Kindle eBook
  December 12-22, 2019

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
12/12/19
Review
12/12/19
Review
12/13/19
Review
12/14/19
Review
12/14/19
Review
12/15/19
Review
12/16/19
Review
12/17/19
Review
12/17/19
Review
12/18/19
Review
12/19/19
Review
12/20/19
Review
12/20/19
Review
12/21/19
Review
12/21/19
Review
blog tour services provided by

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Book Review: Why Stuff Matters by Jen Waldo

WHY STUFF MATTERS
by
JEN WALDO
  Sub-genre: Literary Fiction / Humor
Publisher: Arcadia Books
Date of Publication: June 4, 2019 (US)
Number of Pages: 212


When Jessica, a grieving widow, inherits an antique mall from her mother she also inherits the stallholders, an elderly, amoral, acquisitive, and paranoid collection. 
When one of the vendors, a wily ex-con named Roxy, shoots her ex-husband, she calls on Jessica to help bury the body and soon Jessica is embroiled in cover-ups, lies, and misdirection. Into this mix comes Lizzie, Jessica’s late husband’s twelve-year-old daughter by his first marriage, who’s been dumped on Jessica’s doorstep by the child’s self-absorbed mother and it soon becomes apparent that Lizzie is as obsessed with material possessions as Jessica’s elderly tenants. 
Why Stuff Matters is a compelling ode to possession, why people like things and the curious lengths they will go to keep them. Returning to her fictional Caprock, Waldo turns her wry wit on the lives of those afraid to let go.
CLICK TO PURCHASE!


Where do I start with this review? How about I start with this: The main character angers me. She was a horrible person with a back story that makes you sort of feel bad for her, but then she does things that just irk you. Sure, she could have been worse, but still, she's up there. I think that was what kept me interested in reading the book. A couple of chapters in and we see this seemingly heartless person in the beginning take care of her stepchild that was dumped on her by her terrible mother. Their relationship is not the best, but it grows slowly throughout the book. By the end of the story, their relationship is still not where it should be, but it's better. 

Anyways, this book takes place mainly inside a vintage thrift store and I love going through vintage, antique type of stores. I rarely buy anything except jewelry but I like going to see what people have. There are a few I go to that always seem to have the same vendors, have the same things and that's exactly how it is in this book. I never even thought about what people do with other people's stuff when they leave it at a thrift store and how the people act and now I feel like I have gotten way better insight becuase of this book. Why Stuff Matters takes a look at the people you don't think about every day and makes you think twice about crossing a bitter old woman.

The author does a great job at giving each character their own personlity. There are an array of characters to be met in this book and each one as bitter as the next, but they still had their own quirks and their own baggage to hold. With each character, the majority of them have their own booths in the vintage store. The booths, I feel, really represent each person's characteristics and I was happy to read that everyone had their own specialty sale. This particularly so with the urn sales lady. I never thought people sold used urns, but according to this book, there is a market out there. 

Overall, I would recommend this book, no matter how frustrating the characters are. I think it's a great story that looks into a group of people that you never even think about and that is part of why I enjoy reading, you're always learning something new. 





Jen Waldo lived in seven countries over a thirty-year period and has now settled, along with her husband, in Marble Falls, Texas. She first started writing over twenty years ago when, while living in Cairo, she had difficulty locating reading material and realized she’d have to make her own fun. She has since earned an MFA and written a number of novels. Her work has been published in The European and was shortlisted in a competition by Traveler magazine. Old Buildings in North Texas and Why Stuff Matters have been published in the UK by Arcadia Books. Jen’s fiction is set in Northwest Texas and she’s grateful to her hometown of Amarillo for providing colorful characters and a background of relentless whistling wind. 
◆  WEBSITE  ◆  TWITTER  
◆  AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE  ◆   ◆  GOODREADS AUTHOR PAGE   

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:


12/3/19
Guest Post
12/3/19
Excerpt
12/4/19
Review
12/5/19
Author Interview
12/5/19
BONUS Post
12/6/19
Review
12/6/19
Guest Post
12/7/19
Review
12/8/19
Guest Post
12/9/19
Review
12/9/19
Author Interview
12/10/19
Guest Post
12/11/19
Review
12/11/19
Guest Post
12/12/19
Review
12/12/19
Review


blog tour services provided by

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Rainy Thoughts: How I Sort of Conquered Nanowrimo 2019

It feels like a hot minute since I wrote a rainy thought. I've just been busy and nothing significant has crossed my mind, at least none that would be worth writing about. Anyways, I participated in Nanowrimo this year again. For those of you who may not know, Nanowrimo stands for National Writing Month. The goal of Nanowrimo is to complete a standard 50,000 word book in just one month. Just the writing portion, not the whole editing part (that would be madness!). I did this back in 2017 and completed the challenge which led to The Inevitables. I tried it again in 2018, but I quickly fell off and didn't even go past a week. I decided to take it more seriously like I did for this year and this is what happened...Drum roll....

I didn't finish. I don't like admitting it, but I didn't make it to 50,000 words. BUT I still see it as a win. A couple of months ago, I got a huge dose of inspiration and I wanted to share it with the world. I used that inspiration to start up my second book and even though I didn't finish, I still managed to write every day and start the book that I plan on finishing.

So, why didn't I finish? Well there were a couple of factors. The main one being work. I work a full-time job, but it was also the busiest time for us because we put on this huge parade that brings in about 50,000 people in one whole area. It was more intense than what I planned for and I barely wrote anything for a week because I was there late at night for work. I also have responsibilities at home, plus having family obligations on weekends and I'm really into Hand Maid's Tale right now so there was that. But I didn't finish and at first I felt bad about it, but I'm looking at the positive and moving on.

Now, I keep on going. I love my current job and I love my current life, but I definitely do not want to give up my writing dreams. It may not be my first priority nowadays, but it's up there and I will get my second book pushed through. One of these days, I'll get somewhere, but for now, I'll be writing with a cup of tea to my left, my cat on my write and my dog at my feet.

Until next time, Happy Reading and Writing!