Wednesday, December 30, 2015

LADY BIRD and LYNDON

My review of Lady Bird and Lyndon: The 
Hidden Story of a Marriage That Made a President (Simon & Schuster) by Betty Boyd Caroli was published by Lone Star Literary Life. I have seriously mixed feelings about this one. From the review:
Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor and Lyndon Baines Johnson met in the Texas Railroad Commission Office in September of 1934. He proposed the next day and they eloped two months later. Lady Bird, the independent, determined, business-minded offspring of a jaw-droppingly dysfunctional marriage, needed a vehicle, as a woman in Texas during the Great Depression, to “let her deploy her ambition” and decided Lyndon was that man. 
In Lady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage That Made a President, Betty Boyd Caroli makes a convincing case that Lady Bird was certainly not the timid wallflower as she is so often portrayed in biographies of President Lyndon Johnson, but rather a “girl [who] gradually became a figure of steel cloaked in velvet,” who transformed herself into the “model political wife” and an example for future first ladies.
Click here to read the entire review. Thank you!

Monday, December 28, 2015

MONDAY ROUNDUP: December 28 - January 3!

Bookish events in Texas for the week of December 28, 2015 - January 3, 2016: 

Special Events:

Long-Bin Chen's The Book Garden sculpture exhibit, San Antonio, December 10 - February 20

Shakespeare in Print and Performance, Austin, December 21 - May 29

Monday, December 28:
Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Kwanzaa - Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility): GET TOGETHER, 7PM

Tuesday, December 29:
Austin
Spider House BallroomAustin Poetry Slam, 8PM

Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Kwanzaa - Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): BUSINESS MIXER, 7PM

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

San Antonio
The Korova, PuroSlam! with DJ Donnie Dee, 10PM

Wednesday, December 30:
Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Kwanzaa - Nia (Purpose): FILM & FOOD, 12PM

Houston
AvantGarden, Write About Now poetry reading, 7:30PM

Thursday, December 31:
Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Kwanzaa - Kuumba (Creativity): KUUMBA ART & BOOK SHOW, 12PM

Friday, January 1:
Austin
BookPeople, Customer Appreciation Day, 11AM

Saturday, January 2:
McAllen

Sunday, January 3:
San Antonio
The Twig Book Shop, Lili Mahoney reads and signs Barefoot Pastures, 11AM

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

DESTINY AND POWER

My review of Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush (Random House) by Jon Meacham was published by Lone Star Literary Life. From the review:
When George Herbert Walker Bush was five years old his school report cards included the category “Claims More Than His Fair Share of Time and Attention in Class.” His parents didn’t worry about this category. Bush’s nickname was “Have-Half” because he split everything he had with friends. Eighty-five years later he is much the same.
Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush is Jon Meacham’s account of the life of the forty-first president, “a child of one generation’s ruling class, the head of another’s, and the father of yet a third.” Meacham presents Bush as a man of humility and compassion as well as ambitious and deeply competitive, a believer in compromise, diplomacy, and the power of personal relationships.
A well-balanced account, Destiny and Power progresses briskly and never belabors a point. Meacham provides insightful analysis of family dynamics in Bush’s formative years, a recitation of the facts liberally leavened with anecdotes, and a good mix of formal and candid photos. Meacham had access to Bush’s diaries that he spoke into a hand-held recorder which provides a sense of immediacy—Bush’s thoughts in real time.
Click here to read the entire review. Thank you!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Roundup: December 21 - 27

Bookish events in Texas for the week of December 21 - 27, 2015: 

Special Events:
Long-Bin Chen's The Book Garden sculpture exhibit, San Antonio, December 10 - February 20

Shakespeare in Print and Performance, Austin, December 21 - May 29

Monday, December 21:
Austin
Brave New Books, Holiday Party: potluck and white elephant gift exchange, 7PM

Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Year End Celebration potluck, 7PM

Tuesday, December 22:
Austin
Spider House BallroomAustin Poetry Slam, 8PM

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

San Antonio
The Korova, PuroSlam! with DJ Donnie Dee, 10PM

Wednesday, December 23:
Thursday, December 24:
It's Christmas Eve - go home!

Friday, December 25:
Merry Christmas, y'all! I hope everyone is home with their family and friends, opening all of the those books you asked Santa for.

Saturday, December 26:
Austin
Blanton Museum of Art, The Crusader Bible: Gothic Masterpiece, 12:30PM & 3PM

Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Kwanzaa Celebration,

Sunday, December 27:

Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Kwanzaa Celebration

Friday, December 18, 2015

THE HOSPITALIST by Michael Weisberg



Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours

presents

THE HOSPITALIST

by 

Michael Weisberg, M.D.



Print Length: 346 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1483419975
Publisher: Rebreca Publishing; First Edition edition (July 11, 2014)
Publication Date: July 11, 2014
Price: $17.99

BUY IT HERE









What happens when you are admitted to the hospital as a patient, and the physician assigned to be your doctor has never seen you before and knows absolutely nothing about you? 


Welcome to Medicine in the 21st century, where the results of having a Hospitalist instead of your own doctor can be disastrous. 


Specialist Dr. Aaron Bernstein enters the world of the Hospitalist firsthand when he confronts a schizophrenic patient who -- literally -- is a ticking time-bomb.










Dr. Michael F. Weisberg
Dr. Michael Weisberg has been a practicing gastroenterologist for over 23 years in Plano, Texas. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

He has been recognized as a ‘Super-Doctor’ by Texas Monthly and named to D Magazine’s list of best doctors eight times. Dr. Weisberg also serves as a board member of Digestive Health Associates of Texas.

Dr. Weisberg graduated in 1981 from Vanderbilt University Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1985 and completed a fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Dr. Weisberg has written stories throughout his medical career. In 2011 he won first prize in a short-story competition sponsored by Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.

The Hospitalist is Dr. Weisberg’s first novel. He is currently working on his second novel.

He lives in Dallas with his wife and three children.

Professional Affiliations
American College of Gastroenterology
Texas Society for Gastroenterology and Endoscopy
Texas Medical Association
Dallas County Medical Society
North Texas Chapter - Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America



1. What made you want to share your story and write this book?


About a decade after I started practicing medicine, I started noticing the arrival of doctors who only practiced in the hospital. At that point there wasn’t really a term for these doctors. Now we know them as ‘hospitalists.’ Parallel to this time frame I was writing my novel and in the process of planning the story arc, a friend pointed out to me that the concept of the hospitalists was a new, major change in how patients experience health care. At that point I decided to make a hospitalist the center of my book.

2. What is the most important thing you have to do as an author of fiction that covers such a realistic topic?

You have to make the book realistic enough so that people feel like they are experiencing the story. This pulls the reader into the story and they have an interest in continuing to read further. I then sensationalize ‘real world’ things going on in medicine to help drive certain points home. The use of satire or humor is also important. I approach writing as a balancing act, incorporating humor, real world experiences and polishing it with drama.

3. What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

My objective through this fictional medical thriller is to illustrate how difficult it can be for patients and physicians to navigate through today’s healthcare system. Here’s the frustrating aspect of medical care today – the physicians who know the patients stay in their offices, and patients have to get to know a new physician during times of serious illness – when they are in the hospital. For this reason, one of the takeaways of my novel is the importance of having an advocate with you or a loved one during a hospital stay. 

4. At what point in your life/career did you decide to become a writer?

All of my life, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I grew up in a small town where there weren’t many forms of entertainment. Reading was my pastime. One of my early homework assignments in sixth grade was to keep a journal. That experience fueled my interest in writing stories.

5. What value do you think realistic fiction adds to society?

Realistic fiction channels a writer’s ability to bring characters together who in real life may not be together. Reality by itself may be boring. However by combining reality with fiction, these characters are allowed to interact and we enjoy seeing the outcomes. This is the real importance of how realistic fiction adds to society.

6. Were you an avid reader as a child and/teen? What were some of your favorites?

I loved to read as a child. When I was nine, a magazine published one of my poems. Coincidentally I’ve included that poem in The Hospitalist. My favorite books growing up were Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. When it came time to declare a major as a student at Vanderbilt University, I chose to major in English literature and minor in linguistics. In college, my favorite books to read were Ulysses by James Joyce, Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence, and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

7. Were you curious as a child? How did you explore things you were curious about? 

Yes, and I believe my curiosity was sparked by my mother. She was a stay-at-home parent who had completed high school at age 16 and had graduated from Yale Law School at age 22. She stayed at home to raise her children and was a constant resource to answer any question while I was growing up. Additionally I credit one of my elementary school teachers, Francis Boyd for cultivating my curiosity. Ms. Boyd had travelled to many countries because her husband had been in the military. She made geography and history lessons visual by sharing souvenirs and stories of her real experiences in various countries. I stayed in contact with Ms. Boyd until I graduated from medical school. It’s important to mention that theatre brought stories alive for me as well. I was in various plays from Christmas Carol to Julius Caesar. I was introduced to Shakespeare in 6th grade and by the time I finished college, I had read all of his plays except for two. 

8. What or who would you say has had the greatest influence on your life? On your writing?

As a child growing up in Huntington, WV, I was very sick and my illness required many hospitalizations. Dr. Robert Kopp was my physician and he had use of one leg due to being afflicted by sepsis. He was the most compassionate physician and early on became a role model for me. When I was too sick to leave the house, he would drag himself up the stairs of our two-story house to see me and examine me. My mother first planted the suggestion early in my childhood to become a doctor. Dr. Kopp demonstrated by example and influenced me to become a doctor who cares about patients. As a writer, my parents were a great influence. My Dad always told me that he was going to write the best book ever – the book of all times. He never did but his dream inspired me to write. My mom was influential because she was always reading, writing and appreciating culture. She was my go-to person and resource for good things to read.

9. Do you plan on writing other fiction on this topic? What else is on the horizon in the writing world of Michael Weisberg, M.D.?

I am working on several other projects including a sequel to The Hospitalist called "The Hospitalist Takes Charge.” This novel follows the characters and shows us what is going on 10 years after The Hospitalist ends. I’m also working on another novel about five characters facing the end of the world called “The Last Colonoscopy : Searching for the Meaning to Life.”










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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

BATS OF THE REPUBLIC: AN ILLUMINATED NOVEL

My review of Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel (Doubleday) by Zachary Thomas Dodson was published in Lone Star Literary Life. This novel may be the rarest of treats - something new under the sun. From the review:
In 1843, naturalist Zadock Thomas sets out from Chicago on an urgent mission to deliver a letter from his employer to a general in the Republic of Texas. At the same time, sort of, in the post-Collapse, post-United States of 2143, Zeke Thomas’s grandfather, a senator, has just died and Zeke is next in line for the office, which is now determined by bloodline. Seven senators compose the governing body of the remaining seven City-States, a totalitarian surveillance regime where writing implements and private documents are illegal. Zeke’s grandmother gives him an old letter of his grandfather’s that has never been opened because the family is frightened the letter may cast doubt on the Thomas bloodline. Then the letter goes missing.
Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel by Zachary Thomas Dodson, who also designed the book, is an inspired blend of historical fiction, dystopian science fiction, traditional mystery, spiritualism, love story, adventure, Texas history, and Mexican folk tales.
Click here to read the entire review. Thank you!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Roundup: December 14 - 20

Bookish events in Texas for the week of December 14 - 20, 2015: 


Special Events:

Long-Bin Chen's The Book Garden sculpture exhibit, San Antonio, December 10 - February 20

Monday, December 14:
No public events

Tuesday, December 15:
Thursday, December 17:
Austin
Dallas
Jewish Community Center of Dallas, Gwen Edelman discusses and signs The Train to Warsaw, 5:30PM

Houston
Friday, December 18:
Gemini Ink, Open House Holiday Bash, 12PM

Saturday, December 19:
Amarillo
B&N, A.G. Howard signs Untamed: A Splintered Companion, 3PM

Austin

Half Price Books - N Lamar, Storytime & Craft with local author Nitsanne Crosbie, 2PM

Twin Oaks Library, Austin Poetry Society open mic, 1:30PM

El Paso
B&N - Fountains at Farah, Sherri Rowe signs Able Seaman Just Nuisance, 1PM

Memorial Park Public Library, Tumblewords Project workshop: Donna Snyder presents "Writing for the Dark Time," 12:45PM

Galveston

Richmond
The Twig Book Shop, Megan Padalecki reading and signing Big Mo, 11AM

Stonewall
Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, Kenneth Hafertepe signs A Guide to the Historic Buildings of Fredericksburg and Gillespie County, 5PM

Sugar Land
Half Price Books, local musician, author and inspirational speaker Undrai Fizer will sell and sign The Excuse-less Life: 34 Inner-Laws for Living Above Distraction, 12PM

Saturday, December 12, 2015

THE BOYS by Toni Sala

My review of The Boys (Two Lines Press) by Toni Sala, translated from the Catalan by Mara Faye Lethem, was published by The Rumpus! From the review:
Vidreres, a village in the restive Catalonia region of Spain, has been hit hard by the global recession of 2008. It sustains a further blow when Jaume and Xavi, two of its promising young sons, are killed in an automobile accident. “The fierce screech [of the tires] had flown over the fields, appearing on the streets of Vidreres with such violence that the next day the townspeople found tire skid marks in the hallways of their homes, on their sofas, in their showers, on their sheets.” In The Boys, Toni Sala paints a portrait of the impact of globalization and generational conflict on Vidreres—a very particular place and time—through the reactions of four characters to the deaths of the young men.
Click here to read the entire review. Thank you! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN by JAMES LEE BURKE

I reviewed House of the Rising Sun (Simon & Schuster) by James Lee Burke for Lone Star Literary Life. A Burke novel is always an experience and this one is no exception. If I were handing out stars, this one would get all five. From the review:
It’s 1916, Pancho Villa is raiding across the border, and Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland is searching for his long-lost son, Ishmael, a captain in the US Army, in Mexico, “a feral land, its energies as raw and ravenous as a giant predator that ingested the naïve and incautious.” Hackberry doesn’t find Ishmael this time, but he does run afoul of the Mexican Army and Arnold Beckman, an international arms dealer, escaping with a religious artifact that had been in Beckman’s possession, which may or may not be the Holy Grail. 
House of the Rising Sun is an apocalyptic tale of addictions — alcohol, Morpheus, pain, love, power — which rob us of mercy, kindness, and human dignity. “I have nothing of value to impart,” Hackberry says. “My life has been dedicated to Pandemonium. That’s a place in hell John Milton wrote about. That also means I’m an authority on chaos and confusion and messing things up.”
 To read the entire review please click here. Thank you!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Roundup: December 7 - 13, 2015

Bookish events in Texas for the week of December 7 - 13, 2015: 



Special Events:

Long-Bin Chen's The Book Garden sculpture exhibit, San Antonio, December 10 - February 20

Humanities Texas 7th Annual Holiday Book Fair, Austin, December 12

Monday, December 7:
Austin
The Dock Bookshop, Fort Worth Poetry Slam and Open Mic, 8PM

Houston
Brasil, Glass Mountain launch reading, 6PM

San Antonio

Deep Vellum Books, housewarming party and bookstore launch, 6PM

San Antonio
Viva! Bookstore, Voices de la Luna Monthly Literary Evening, 6PM

Thursday, December 10:

Odessa

Friday, December 11:
San Antonio
B&N - Fountains at Farah, Vanessa Betts signs The Grasshopper in My Peas, 2PM

Memorial Park Public Library, Tumblewords Project workshop: "Behind My Music" with Frank Morales, 12:45PM

Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Pens & Pancakes Year End Author Appreciation, 11AM


B&N - Palms Crossing, Suzanne Schrewe signs Hello Little Snowflake, 7:30PM
Paragraphs on Padre Bookstore, Meet the Author Series: Dave Harry discusses and signs The Padre Phantom, 1PM

Sunday, December 13:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

MURDER AT PEACOCK MANSION



Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours 
presents

MURDER AT PEACOCK MANSION
a Blue Plate Cafe Mystery

by 
Judy Alter


Title: MURDER AT PEACOCK MANSION
Author: Judy Alter
Genre: Cozy Mystery
# of pages: 258



Arson, a bad beating, and a recluse who claims someone is trying to kill her all collide in this third Blue Plate Café Mystery with Kate Chambers. Torn between trying to save David Clinkscales, her old boss and new lover, and curiosity about Edith Aldridge’s story of an attempt on her life, Kate has to remind herself she has a café to run. She nurses a morose David, whose spirit has been hurt as badly as his body, and tries to placate Mrs. Aldridge, who was once accused of murdering her husband but acquitted. One by one, Mrs. Aldridge’s stepchildren enter the picture. Is it coincidence that David is Edith Aldridge’s lawyer? Or that she seems to rely heavily on the private investigator David hires? First the peacocks die…and then the people. Everyone is in danger, and no one knows who to suspect.

BUY LINKS





Praise for the author

“Kate Chambers continues to impress. This third book in the Blue Plate Café mysteries opens with two intriguing story lines that intermingle flawlessly and will keep you captivated until the final page.” Terrie Farley Moran, Agatha Award-Winning author of the Read ’Em and Eat cozy mysteries.


“With Murder at Peacock Mansion, the showy feathers of a rich woman's birds aren't enough to save either them or relatives of the recluse who thinks someone's out to get her. Judy Alter, in her third Blue Plate Special mystery, serves up more than chicken-fried chicken as cafe proprietor Kate Chambers fights to save the ones she loves and figure out who the killer is, while keeping herself and her business alive, too.” Edith Maxwell, Agatha-nominated and national bestselling author of the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries, and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries


“How did you meet Mr. Aldridge?”

“I was a cocktail waitress at the old Baker Hotel in Dallas. You might say I was Eliza to his Henry Higgins. He taught me to dress, speak, eat properly, even dance—he made a lady out of me, and I was always grateful. But once I was “finished”—his term, not mine—he found other Pygmalion-like subjects. In other words, he cheated on me, including financially, railed that I couldn’t run the house on the reduced budget he gave me.

“I used to lie in bed and listen to him roaming about downstairs, sometimes throwing things—I always hoped it wasn’t the Limoges he’d given his first wife, Alicia—and several times I thought I heard him fall. His best friend at night was a bottle of bourbon.

“One night I woke and realized he hadn’t come upstairs. By then I kept a derringer for self-protection, and this night I grabbed it and put it in my pocket. I found him at the foot of the stairs—he fallen apparently. What I didn’t realize until after I called the police was that he’d been shot too.

This tale was getting more bizarre. I itched to check it out on the Web, but for now I was a captive audience and, I admit, mesmerized by the calm recital of this woman’s life story. “What makes you think his children are trying to kill you now?” After all she’d lived this way for thirty years.




Judy Alter retired from Texas Christian University Press after thirty years, twenty of them as director. At the same time she developed her own writing career, focusing primarily on women of the American West. Now she writes fiction and nonfiction for all ages. She lives in Fort Worth.










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Friday, December 4, 2015

THE WHOLE ENCHILADA


Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours 
presents

THE WHOLE ENCHILADA
Fresh and Nutritious Southwestern Cuisine
by 
Angelina LaRue




Title: THE WHOLE ENCHILADA: 
Fresh and Healthy Southwestern Cuisine
Genre: Cookbook
# of pages: 192




Bright, full-flavored, subtle-yet-spicy Tex-Mex explosion!

Bright spices and clean finishes accent the unique and complex flavor profiles of the Southwest. Food columnist Angelina LaRue knows that cooking delicious and healthy food seems difficult at times, but her cookbook includes simple and easy recipes that will remind you why Tex-Mex is as popular as it is! Sometimes people describe Mexican food as heavy or unhealthy, and, yes, it may well be when it comes from a can. With LaRue’s inspiration and recipes such as “Oven-Fried Tomatillos with Asadero Cheese and Oregano Oil” and “Tex-Mex Cassoulet,” you too can turn normal Mexican dishes into updated specialties—simple to prepare, but with a zing of flavor!


About the book

The vibrant colors, earthy ingredients, and glorious aromas of Southwestern cuisine will sizzle right off the pages of this book and straight onto your table. The natural flavors are both savory and sweet, with simple ingredients that lend themselves to sauces, beverages, main dishes, meatless options, side dishes, snacks, and desserts.

Praise for the book

“Angelina’s spicy dishes just tickle me pink—fun and easy to cook, with fresh ingredients and a healthy heaping of chili peppers. Pass some more of those corn tortillas, please!”
Paula Deen, best-selling author of Paula Deen Cuts the Fat: 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up

“An exciting and nutritious approach to Southwestern cuisine.”
Tom Perini, owner of Perini Ranch Steakhouse and author of Texas Cowboy Cooking

“This book is a must for your cookbook library. It’s obvious that Angelina has a passion for Southwestern cuisine. Her recipes are authentic, fresh, and party-friendly—perfect for your next casual get-together.”
Annette Joseph, Today show guest and author of Picture Perfect Parties

“The recipes Angelina has created are simple, fresh, stunningly beautiful and nutritious. She has poured her heart and soul into her first cookbook. Her love for food shines through in each page. I look forward to many nights around the table, enjoying dinner prepared out of The Whole Enchilada.”
Tara Royer Steele, The Pie Queen, owner of Royers Round Top Café and Royers Pie Haven



BUY LINKS






Angela writes two weekly food columns, one for the Lubbock Avalanche Journal and the other is featured in the Idalou Beacon. She is a regular contributor for the Lubbock Magazine and formerly a Skirt! Setter / Blogger for Morris Publications. Angela also performs various cooking workshops and has been invited to judge cooking competitions. In addition, Angela is an aspiring food stylist and photographer.










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