Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them

Lone Star Reviews


Homer Ross Tomlin

Homer Thornberry: Congressman, Judge, and Advocate for Equal Rights

TCU Press

Hardcover (ebook also available), 978-0-87565-637-0, 224 pages

August 12, 2016


It’s easy, these days, to be cynical about politicians and about a biography written by the grandson of a Texas politician who entered public service at the same time as Lyndon Baines Johnson.


Push those thoughts aside when considering Homer Thornberry: Congressman, Judge, and Advocate for Equal Rights. This book from TCU Press is well written, solidly researched, and an important addition to twentieth-century Texas and American political history. >>READ MORE



Robert Brescia

with foreword by Jeanine Pirro

Destination Greatness: Creating a New Americanism

Infinity Publishing

Politics and Social Sciences/Civics and Citizenship

978-1495812385 paperback, $15.95; also available as Kindle ebook, 248 pages; October 11, 2016



Texas Reads

>> archive

Dallas Cowboy legends profiled in new books


Veteran sportswriter Jim Reeves, who covered both the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers during his forty-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has written Dallas Cowboys: The Legends of America’s Team (Berkeley Place Books, $9.95 paperback, 192 pages). Reeves recalls the team’s glory years by focusing on the personalities who owned, managed, coached, and played for the Cowboys. He profiles the star players position by position, beginning with quarterback, then running back, wide receiver, tight end, and the linemen and defense.


In the second part of the book, he replays the various championship games involving the Cowboys—wins and losses. Longtime Cowboy fans will find much here to savor.


Dallas Cowboy Hall of Famer Charles Haley has written his autobiography, Fear No Evil: Tackling Quarterbacks and Demons on My Way to the Hall of Fame (Triumph Books, $26.96 hardcover). Written with Dallas Cowboys historian Jeff Sullivan, Haley tells his story from childhood to his retirement from football as the only player to earn five Super Bowl rings—two with San Francisco, then three with Dallas. Besides the football stories and locker-room antics, Haley also tells about his struggles to overcome bipolar disorder.


Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, in a foreword, gives Haley much of the credit for Dallas winning three Super Bowls in the 1990s. Jones said Haley was “one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL. “We weren’t complete until he arrived,” Jones writes. “We went from a pretty good football team to one of the greatest dynasties the game has ever witnessed, and really the only difference between the two was Charles.”


Chicken Soup: The “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series continues to thrive, with about 250 titles now published. I suspect nearly every one of them includes a few stories by Texas writers. Certainly that’s the case with two new volumes which came across my desk recently: The Power of Gratitude and The Spirit of America.


In the Gratitude book, at least three Texas writers have stories, including Trisha Faye with her “Every Day Is a Good Day” piece on how she taught herself to have a more thankful attitude at work.

In the Spirit of America volume, Dallas writer Eva Carter, who was born in Czechoslovakia, has two stories — one about when she was a young immigrant girl in the third grade and one reflecting on the freedoms not shared by other women in the world. If you would like to submit a story for consideration by the Chicken Soup editors, go to chickensoup.com and click on “Submit Your Story.”


Glenn Dromgoole’s latest book is West Texas Stories. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.


>> Check out his previous Texas Reads columns in Lone Star Literary Life


Simon & Schuster

Hardcover, 978-1-50112-654-7 (also available as a paperback, an ebook, and on Audible), 352 pgs., $26.95; September 13, 2016


At nineteen years old, Gabriel Cardona wore Versace, drove a Mercedes SUV, and was “being primed for a managerial position in a global enterprise”—Los Zetas. He was a sicario, an assassin. A United States citizen, Cardona was useful. He could work both sides of the border. Cardona also recruited his friends from the slums of Laredo, including Bart Reta, the second teenager mentioned in the title. He was thirteen when he began working for the Zetas.


Robert Garcia immigrated from Piedras Negras, Mexico, to Eagle Pass, Texas, as a child. After some time in the U.S. Army, he joined the narcotics unit of the police department in Laredo. An Officer of the Year Award earned him an offer to join a Drug Enforcement Administration task force. The whiteboard over Garcia’s desk resembled “a graduate-level math proof that could be worked forever but never solved.” He became disillusioned with the “War on Drugs.” Then Los Zetas arrived. “Without attacking demand in the United States, [Garcia] couldn’t see the point of putting so many resources into stemming only a fraction of traffic. But violence spilling over was another matter.”


Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico’s Most Dangerous Drug Cartel is creative, narrative nonfiction by Dan Slater, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal. >>READ MORE


Paulette Jiles

News of the World: A Novel

William Morrow

Hardcover, 978-0-06240-920-1 (also available as an ebook, audio book, and on Audible), 224 pgs., $22.99; October 4, 2016


“All was in flux. Flux: a soldering aid that promotes the fusion of two surfaces, an unstable substance that catches fire.”


Melancholy, world-weary veteran of three wars Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels Reconstruction-era Texas reading the news of the world to the information- and entertainment-starved populace for a dime a head. In Wichita Falls, Kidd is hired to return ten-year-old Johanna Leonberger, captured by the Kiowa four years earlier in a raid which killed her parents and sister, to her aunt and uncle in Castroville, a perilous three-week journey of four hundred miles through sparsely populated wilderness, in the anarchy of post–Civil War Texas, and the ever-present threat of Comanche and Kiowa attack. >>READ MORE

LONE STAR LISTENS interviews   >> archive

10.23.2016  Joyce Gibson Roach: Living and writing in the “Land of Rain Shadow"


Fort Worth author Joyce Gibson Roach is still blazing trails at eighty. The fifth-generation Texan and Texas storyteller will be inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame in a special ceremony by the Friends of the Fort Worth Library at the Fort Worth Arboretum November 4. She has spun a lifetime of stories about West Texas, horses, cowgirls, and talking horned toads. She took time from her upcoming writing projects to participate in an interview with us by email.


LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Joyce, Your most recent book, The Land of Rain Shadow: Horned Toad, Texas, came out last year, when you were 79. This collection of short stories about West Texas has been widely praised for its craft. What does the phrase “The Land of Rain Shadow” mean, and could you describe this book in your own words?


JOYCE GIBSON ROACH: Rain Shadow is a meteorology term describing how dry and desert places are formed. Moisture moves up the east side of mountain ranges but is blocked on the west leaving the west side in the shade of moisture. West Texas and other arid places in the Southwest remain dry and always in need of rain. (“The litany of brown places is always supplication for rain, and the colloquy of praise is ever for it.”) The description identifies West Texas and Horned Toad, Texas, in Caballo County, an imaginary place in rural West Texas with a small population whose icon is a water tower and the people who have lived and endured there—still do. >>READ MORE


Texas's only statewide, weekly calendar of book events

Bookish Texas event highlights  10.23.2016
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor


  • 11th Annual Buns and Roses Romance Tea for Literacy, Richardson, October 23
  • 15th Annual Celebration of Reading with the Barbara Bush Foundation, Dallas, October 24
  • National Black Book Festival, Houston, October 27-29
  • Alamo City Comic Con, San Antonio, October 28-30
  • Halloween ComicFest 2016, Houston, October 29
  • Jewish Book & Arts Fair, Houston, October 29-November 13
AUSTIN  Mon., Oct. 23  The Writing Barn, Workshop: Page-Turning, Stomach-Churning: Building Suspense in Your Thriller with Amy Gentry, 1PMThe Writing Barn, Workshop: Page-Turning, Stomach-Churning: Building Suspense in Your Thriller with Amy Gentry, 1PMHOUSTON   Mon., Oct. 24  Brazos Bookstore, Jonathan Rabb reads and signs AMONG THE LIVING, 7PMBrazos Bookstore, Jonathan Rabb reads and signs AMONG THE LIVING, 7PMAUSTIN Tues., Oct. 25, Austin History Center, A UT Tower shooting survivor, historians, and producers from "Texas Standard" will discuss the impact of the Out of the Blue oral history project commemorating the 50th anniversary of the UT Tower shooting, 6:30PMRICHARDSON  Tues., Oct. 25  Richardson Public Library, Brown Bag Book Series: Rusty Williams discusses and signs Red River Bridge War: Texas-Oklahoma Boarder Battle, 11:30AMDALLAS  Wed., Oct. 26, Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, An Evening with Author Willard Spiegelman, author of Senior Moments, 6PMSAN ANTONIO  Wed., Oct. 26, Witte Museum, Wagner Series: author Mary O. Parker and photographer Jeff Parker discuss and sign Explore Texas: A Nature Travel Guide, 6:30PMAUSTIN  Thurs., Oct. 27  Malvern Books, Bryce Milligan reads from and signs his new poetry collection, Take to the Highway: Arabesques for Travelers, with W. Joe Hoppe, 7PMSAN MARCOS  Thurs., Oct. 27, Texas State University’s Alkek Library, Wittliff Collections reading and signing with Mary Ruefle, 3:30PMALSO READING & SIGNING in Kyle, Fri., Oct. 28, Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center, KAP Literary Center, 7:30PMDALLAS  Sat., Oct. 30, Deep Vellum Books, The SMU Russian Studies Department Presents A Panel Discussion: Chekhov, Tolstoy, and Russia: Translation, History, and Literature featuring distinguished guest Rosamund Bartlett, English writer, scholar and translator, 7PM


News Briefs 10.23.16

Full schedule now posted for 2016 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Nov. 5–6

Start mapping out your 2016 Texas Book Festival Weekend


More than 290 authors will present at dozens of venues in and around the state capitol the weekend of Nov. 5 and 6, 2016.  Readers are encouraged to come see authors they have always loved and discover new favorites, and buy their books. New venues, including the Omni Hotel, the First Baptist Church, and a YA HQ Tent, have been added.


Check out the schedule grid at www.texasbookfestival.org/festival-schedule.


Lone Star Lit editor's favorite bookish destinations featured in Texas Highways November issue


Follow LSLL editor and publisher Kay Ellington's literary journey across Texas, with images by Texas Highways photographers: read the article at texashighways.com/travel/item/8316-texas-bookish-destinations. And then email us at info@LoneStarLiterary.com to tell us about your best picks and hidden treasures!


San Antonio mayor Ivy R. Taylor announces fall 2016 book club selection, Ward's The Fire This Time


SAN ANTONIO — In an effort to promote literacy across San Antonio, Mayor Ivy R. Taylor has announced her Mayor’s Book Club fall selection.


“I am excited to have chosen The Fire This Time by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward,” said Taylor. “I understand the book is a powerful collection of essays and poems about race in the United States and it’s so timely. I can’t wait to read it and hear from San Antonians about their thoughts on the book.” >>READ MORE












Don't miss a reading or a good read! Sign up for our FREE weekly






Pigskin Rapture by Mac Engel with photography by Dan Jenkins

Visit with Engle and Jenkins Oct. 24–Nov. 23

10/24 Page Preview1 Hall Ways Blog

10/25 Review Country Girl Bookaholic

10/26 Guest Post 1 Texas Book Lover

10/27 Page Preview 2 Kara The Redhead

10/28 Review It's a Jenn World

10/29 Guest Post 2 StoreyBook Reviews

10/30 Promo Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

10/31 Review Margie's Must Reads

11/1 Page Preview 3 A Novel Reality

11/2 Review Reading By Moonlight



Legend of the Forest Beast: Sir Kaye the Boy Knight, Book 3 by Don M. Winn

Visit with the authors October 22–31

10/23 Guest Post 1 StoreyBook Reviews

10/24 Illustration Preview It's a Jenn World

10/25 Review Margie's Must Reads

10/26 Excerpt Country Girl Bookaholic

10/27 Review Reading By Moonlight

10/28 Author Interview Forgotten Winds

10/29 Coloring Download The Page Unbound

10/30 Review Kara The Redhead

10/31 Guest Post 2, Chapter Break Book Blog



Short Stories by Texas Authors, Volume 2

Visit with the authors through October 24

10/23 Books and Broomsticks

10/24 A Novel Reality



Twelve Tantalizingly Twisted Tales

By David Hughes



Gathering Courage by T. A. McMullin


Lone Star Literary Life Facts and FAQs

Editorial policies

Review policies

Advertising policies

Event and resource list policies


Lone Star Literary Archives

• Weekly issues

• Lone Star Listens Interviews

• Lone Star Book Reviews

• Texas Reads

• Events

• Announcement: LSLL Launches




  LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE   copyright © 2015–16 Paragraph Ranch LLC  •  All rights reserved  •  CONTACT US