Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR May 23-29

Bookish events in Texas for the week of May 23-29, 2016: 

Special Events:
Boldface: A Conference for Emerging Writers, Houston, May 23-27

Ongoing Exhibits:
Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Fort Worth Poetry Slam and Open Mic, 8PM

San Antonio
The Twig Book Shop, Samantha Mabry reads and signs A Fierce and Subtle Poison, 6PM

Thursday, May 26:

Murder By the Book, Block Party: Justin Cronin will read The City of Mirrors, 7PM

Spring Forest Middle School, Blue Willow Bookshop presents: Melissa de la Cruz will share fun activities and her new book RETURN TO THE ISLE OF THE LOST: A Descendants Novel, 7PM

Under the Volcano, Block Party; Justin Cronin will sign The City of Mirrors, 7:30PM

R Communications, Governor Greg Abbott will sign Broken but Unbowed, 3PM

San Antonio
Half Price Books - Huebner, local author Frank L. Goldstein, Ph.D., Col. USAF (Ret.) will sell and sign The Last Reunion: A Salute to The Jimmy Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, 1PM

Friday, May 27:
B&N - Sunland Park, local author Duke Charles will sign People of the Horse, 2PM

Memorial Park Public Library, Tumblewords Project workshop with Richie David Marrufo: "Beatboxing Bodhisattva: Breathing Between the Lines," 12:45PM

Highland Village
B&N, Meet authors Claire Legrand and Katherine Catmull, 6PM

B&N - Vista Ridge, Rick Marcum signing West Texas Crude, 4PM

B&N - Preston/Park, Karen Harrington signing Mayday, 2PM

South Padre Island
Paragraphs on Padre, Matt Wolthoff reading and signing The West Texas Pilgrimage, 1PM

The Woodlands
Sunday, May 29:
BookWoman, Gail Folkins reading and signing Light in the Trees, 4PM

B&N - Preston/Royal, Rick Marcum signs West Texas Crude, 1PM

B&N - Westheimer, Brian McTaggart signing 100 Things Astros Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, 11AM

Brazos Bookstore, Colin Campbell discussing and signing FREE DAYS WITH GEORGE, 5PM

San Antonio

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review: SAWBONES by Melissa Lenhardt

I reviewed Sawbones (A Laura Elliston Novel) (Redhook Books) by Melissa Lenhardt for Lone Star Literary Life! I thoroughly enjoyed this original historical fiction/thriller. It is possibly a new sub-genre: the feminist Western. From the review:

Catherine Bennett is the rare female surgeon in New York City, or anywhere, in 1871. Accused of a murder she did not commit and unable to offer an alibi that would not destroy her career and reputation, she is forced to flee. Landing in Galveston with a bounty on her head, Catherine Bennett becomes Dr. Laura Elliston and sets out to get lost. Elliston embarks on the Western Trail across Comancheria in a wagon train with a small party, recruited by one of the ubiquitous land men, to found a new town in Colorado. 
Sawbones is Melissa Lenhardt’s second novel—and the first in a new series—of Western historical fiction, with elements of the mysterious thriller, and she’s hit the bull’s-eye with her first shot in this genre. Lenhardt grabs her audience in the opening scene, when Bennett practices new surgical techniques on a corpse she has paid a “resurrection man” to procure, and doesn’t let up until the final scene when Elliston rides off into the dark night with her new knight, on the run again.

Click here to read the entire review. Thank you!

Monday, May 16, 2016

MONDAY ROUNDUP: Texas Literary Calendar May 16 - 22

Bookish events in Texas for the week of May 16-22, 2016: 

Special Events:
Author Con, Sachse, May 21

Ongoing Exhibits:
Brazos Bookstore, Women Writing Books: join Ellevate Network a discussion of the changing face of publishing and how that allows a platform for women’s voices, ideas, and stories, 6:30PM

Irving Public Library - South, Launch party for Jenny Martin's new novel, Marked, 7PM

Tuesday, May 17:
Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Fort Worth Poetry Slam and Open Mic, 8PM

San Antonio
Hastings, Governor Greg Abbott signs Broken but Unbowed, 4:30PM

San Antonio
B&N - La Cantera, Governor Greg Abbott signs Broken but Unbowed, 7PM

Thursday, May 19:
B&N - Arboretum, Boar Island book signing with Nevada Barr, 7PM

BookPeople, Award Winning Author GEOFF DYER speaking & signing White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World, 7PM

BookPeople, Writers' League of Texas Third Thursday Panel "Me, Myself, & I: Writing the Personal in Nonfiction and Memoir" with Michael Hall, Donna Johnson, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, and Deb Olin Unferth, 7PM

BookWoman, Liv Hadden reading and signing In the Mind of Revenge, 7:PM

Mr. Catfish & More, NeoSoul Poetry ATX, 8PM

B&N - Lincoln Park, theological scholar Brian Schmisek signs Ancient Faith for the Modern World, 7PM

The Margo Jones Theatre at Fair Park, Wordspace Dallas presents Three Literary Short Films by Richard Bailey, 7:30PM

B&N - Stonebriar, Governor Greg Abbott signs Broken but Unbowed, 7PM

Blue Willow Bookshop, Bill Clegg will discuss and sign his novel, DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY, 7PM

Menil Collection, Writers in the Schools (WITS) presents The Watchful Eye: A WITS Student Reading, 7PM

Murder By the Book, Craig Johnson will sign and discuss The Highway Man, 6:30PM

Museum of Fine Art Houston, MFAH/AIA Lecture - The Womb of Culture: African Maternity Imagery Through the Ages presented by Professor Herbert Cole, author of Icons: Ideals and Power in the Art of Africa, 6:30PM

Round Rock
B&N - La Frontera, Bare Bones: I'm Not Lonely if You're Reading This Book book signing with Bobby Bones, 7PM

San Antonio
B&N - San Pedro, Book Talk With Leila Meacham, author of Titans, 10:30AM

Hastings, Governor Greg Abbott signs Broken but Unbowed, 11AM

Wichita Falls
Hastings, Governor Greg Abbott signs Broken but Unbowed, 3PM

Friday, May 20:

Murder By the Book, Nevada Barr will sign and discuss her latest Anna Pigeon novel, Boar Island, 6:30PM

Pleasanton Public Library, Barbara Dornak-Christian will sign copies of Hearts and Hounds, 3:30PM

San Antonio
Viva Tacoland, Gemini Ink reading with J. R. Helton, Billy Taylor, and Todd Wright, 6:30PM

B&N - Town Square, Gale Chance signing The Angel Knows My Name, 1PM

Saturday, May 21:

Half Price Books - South Lamar, local author Hunter Taylor will sell and sign The Journey Moon, 1PM

Malvern Books, an afternoon with writer and musician Don Paul, who will share with us his one new book, Animals Are Always Making Music, and four new albums, 3PM

Memorial Park Public Library, Tumblewords Project workshop with Rachel Marie: "Building Bridges Out of Broken Bricks," 12:45PM

B&N, Author Loman Jones and Illustrator Nita Henderson signing The Tick-Tock of Nature's Clock, 2PM

B&N, Lauretta Hill signing The Legacy I Am, 12PM

B&N - Preston/Park, John Gibson signs Gracie's Law, 1PM

San Antonio
B&N - San Pedro, The First Immortal: Dark Angel book signing with Stone Palatin, 1PM

Bihl Haus Arts, An Afternoon with Bryce Milligan: a casual couple of hours of poetry, songs, and reminiscences about a life in paper and ink, 2PM

San Antonio Public Library - Oakwell Branch, The Tobin Writers Group Author Event: local author signings with April A. Luna/Michelle L. De La Garza, Christina Kirby, Daron Shrode, Dee Ramdass, Jaye Garland, Miranda D. Gonzalez, and Patricia W. Fischer, 2PM

The Twig Book Shop, Sandy Loker reading and signing Can I Sniff My Way to Heaven?, 11AM

B&N - Creekwalk Village, Governor Greg Abbott signs Broken but Unbowed, 1PM

B&N - Town Square, Jenny Martin signing Marked, 1PM

Sugar Land
B&N - First Colony Mall, Lindsey Scholl signing The Advocate Trilogy and Cindy Wu signing Our Global Families: Christians Embracing Common Identity in a Changing World, 3PM

The Woodlands
B&N - Woodlands Mall, Mike Sasser signs Simple, Inexpensive, and Painless Weight Loss, 2PM

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Welcome Sudan!

This morning it is my privilege to welcome readers in Sudan to TexasBookLover. Marhaba!

Thursday, May 12, 2016


My review of The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts: Murder and Memory in an American City (Scribner) by Laura Tillman was published in Lone Star Literary Life! This is a particularly powerful example of the new breed of true crime books. From the review:
Laura Tillman was a rookie reporter at the Brownsville Herald in 2008 when she was assigned to cover a story about whether a historic building in Brownsville’s Barrio Buena Vida should be demolished. In a tiny apartment in the building, five years earlier, three children were murdered by their parents. Tillman interviewed Brownsville residents, some of whom said the building should go because it was haunted and a constant reminder of the unthinkable. Others said that was superstition—it was just a building.
Throughout The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts: Murder and Memory in an American City, Tillman evokes a melancholy, haunting atmosphere, a sense of held breath, of watching. She begins the story rather dramatically. She visits the building and notes “a cloud hovering overhead—an accumulation of meaning more dense and persistent than I’d ever intuited.” Fortunately Tillman soon settles into a compelling style without the purple prose. Her carefully measured dropping of startling and eerie facts into an otherwise routine passage is jarringly effective. Tillman provides an intelligent, thoughtful exploration of mental illness and its treatment by the legal system, capital punishment, the role of journalism in reporting on crime, the social pathologies of poverty and drugs, and curandera culture on the border.

Please click here to read the entire review.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Chris Manno
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Publisher: White Bird Publications
Date of Publication: March 8, 2016
Number of Pages: 314

Scroll down for Giveaway!

In the summer of 1969, a small town in west Texas prepares to send one of their finest young men off to fight a faraway, controversial war. A parallel battle of domestic violence erupts at home as a younger generation struggles to reconcile older notions of right and wrong and even fractured family ties with the inevitable price that the fighting demands. 

Much like today's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Vietnam war is little understood by those left behind, but the lessons of strength, commitment and duty are timeless, then and now. East Jesus, the story of that national struggle today as well as back in 1969, is a plangent, soulful journey lived through the eyes of a wide-ranging, colorful array of characters, with a conclusion readers will never forget.
There's more.  "East Jesus," said one editor, "is a message of hope for our children." Too often, teenagers who've survived a young lifetime of domestic violence believe "this is the hell I was born into, this is the hell I must accept for life." East Jesus turns that notion on its ear: though there's a price to pay, there's a better way that rises above the violence.

The novel is peopled by strong characters, particularly women, in a salt-of-the-earth, small town, west Texas community. The price of a far away, unpopular war always comes due in small town America, then (set in 1969) as well as now (Iraq and Afghanistan). But the lesson of hope, sacrifice and redemption is timeless.

To read East Jesus is to live that story, to transcend the fighting at home and abroad, and to embrace the hope and faith in what's right above all else.

Experience East Jesus, live the story--you'll never forget it.


Why East Jesus is an Important Novel

Every novel is important and matters from the standpoint of inscription: writing inscribes who we are, socially, culturally and ethically right now. In the same way that math is the language of physics, narrative prose is the language of humanism and how we measure ourselves against our hopes, dreams and our ultimate history. East Jesus takes the measure of small town, salt-of-the-Earth America bearing the price of a singular "my country, right or wrong" nationalism tested in the crucible of war. How do we surmount the challenge, the loss, and the price of redemption? It's a recursive narrative: East Jesus is set in 1969, but resonates today as the same nation grapples with yet another far away, unpopular and misunderstood war. And it's a novel more to be lived than just read. When a reader takes the journey and owns the trip, the experience, the ownership, is lasting. 

Chris Manno matriculated from Springfield, Virginia and graduated from VMI in 1977 with a degree in English. He was commissioned in the Air Force and after completing flight training, spent seven years as a squadron pilot in the Pacific at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa and Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. He was hired by American Airlines as a pilot in 1985 and was promoted to captain in 1991. He flies today as a Boeing 737 captain on routes all over North America and the Caribbean. He earned a doctorate in residence at Texas Christian University and currently teaches writing at Texas Wesleyan University in addition to flying a full schedule at American Airlines. He lives in Fort Worth.

Each winner gets an author signed copy of East Jesus PLUS
a free download of Chris's cartoon book #RudeLateNightCartoons

May 10 - May 19, 2016


5/10 Texas Book LoverGuest Post #1
5/11 Missus GonzoReview
5/12 Country Girl BookaholicPromo
5/13 Forgotten Winds -- Review 
5/14 StoreyBook ReviewsExcerpt 
5/15 A Novel RealityAuthor Interview #1 
5/16 Book ChaseReview 
5/17 All for the Love of the WordGuest Post #2 
5/18 My Book Fix BlogAuthor Interview #2 
5/19 Hall Ways BlogReview


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