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2018 Lone Star Lit Holiday Gift Guide • FICTION AND NONFICTION

FICTION / MYSTERY

Bill Briscoe

Perplexity

Publisher: Bill Briscoe

Paperback ISBN 9780998642536 (also available as an ebook), 288 pages, $12.99

 

 

What happens when a mistake from the past threatens to derail the future?

 

Jim Pepperman is about to lose everything to the secret he’s locked down for years—he got into a bar fight and might’ve left a man for dead. Nightmares and guilt are stealing his sanity. Jim confesses his past at his dad’s grave, someone shoots at him leaving the cemetery, and threatening letters show up. Has someone discovered what happened that night?

 

Detective Sean Halpin sifts through clues as threats to Jim escalate. Can he uncover the real story before it’s too late to save Jim’s life?

 

 

 

 

 

FICTION / MYSTERY

Pat Dunlap Evans

Out and In: A Mystery-Thriller

A.M. Chai Literary

Paperback, 978-0-9968822-2-4, 316 pages, $11.99

 

 

In this innovative story, you’ll take a suspenseful, romantic romp through Dallas high society, pro-football married life, and shady money deals. And you’ll fall in love with beautiful cellist Marie Donovan and her hunky defense lawyer Ryan Ingles, as they battle false murder charges and combat the perils of a psycho murderer, a vicious gossip columnist, a meddling opera maven, and a corrupt island banker. The well-written tale starts with a bang when Marie is charged with murder and jailed after a famed opera maestro, Luca Scarlatti, is found dead. Will a journey to exotic islands clear Marie's name?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HISTORICAL FICTION

Casandra Firmin

One Christmas in Old Tascosa

Texas Tech University Press

Hardcover ISBN 978-0896725881, 104 pages, $21.95

 

Tascosa, once a booming Wild West town complete with outlaws, cowboys, and gamblers, was all but deserted. Its only resident was Frenchie McCormick, a famous dance-hall girl from Tascosa’s glory days. In 1931 she was a frail and lonely woman in her eighties, living in a tumble-down adobe shack and waiting for Tascosa to rise again. This story is about Tascosa, the crushing poverty of the Great Depression and how twelve children, stranded in a one-room school house by an untimely blizzard, met Frenchie and created the Christmas pageant of 1931. A heart-warming read for young and old.

 

“Quintille Firman grew up dirt-poor on a Texas Panhandle homestead during the Dust Bowl era. In l931, she and a dozen friends experienced a special Christmas pageant at their schoolhouse in Tascosa that included a frightening blizzard. While the story, retold by her daughter Casandra, centers around one memorable incident, readers will feel the stunning strength and firm resolve these children of the Great Depression exhibited every day. Into this novella seeps hints of fathers who deserted, grim-faced mothers who stayed and children who could afford only one pencil for the school year. There are crumbling adobe shacks called home, threadbare clothing, schoolgirl crushes and unrequited puppy love. Kids and even adults will read this one twice.” —True West

 

”Quintille’s story, so poignantly retold by her daughter Casandra, speaks volumes about the human condition on the High Plains in 1931. It is hard to imagine that anything so simple as a lead pencil could break a budget, or that using two in one school year could constitute extravagance. Yet children in Old Tascosa at the end of the Depression and on the cusp of even more desperate times were, like their counterparts elsewhere on the Plains, accustomed to hardship and well used to shouldering their share of the family’s burden. They had no reason to know that life anywhere, or what constituted luxury, could be different. Not knowing they were deprived, they found joy as children will in friendships and games, and in the wonders of the school room. And in the simplest of Christmas pageants they found the prospect of bliss.” —Red Steagall, from the foreword

 

HISTORICAL FICTION / AUDIOBOOK

Kimberly Fish, author; Sydney Young, narrator

The Big Inch: A Novel
Fish Tales

Audio Book, $17.47

 

 

Lane Mercer is a spy recovering from a disastrous mission in France when she’s assigned to protect the interests of the new federal project sending American oil to the Allies. Thrown into the high-stakes world of Texas oilmen, she’s inventing maneuvers on the fly to outwit would be counter-intelligence and Fascist sympathizers.

 

Complicating her mission is a handsome con-artist who manages to be under her feet at the most inopportune times. Trapped between trusting her gut, or trusting her informers, Lane has to learn to navigate a town that is laced with more intrigue than she’d ever have guessed, and she soon discovers that the life she might have to save. . . is her own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPORTS HISTORY

Lew Freedman

Baugh to Brady: The Evolution of the Forward Pass

Texas Tech University Press

Hardcover ISBN 978-1682830215, 296 pages, $27.95

 

There are three things that can happen when you throw a pass, and two of them are bad. —Woody Hayes

 

The quarterback pass is one of the leading offensive components of today's National Football League and college football’s top level of play. This was not always the case.

 

In early American football, the strategy focused entirely on advancing the ball one running play at a time, with the player tucking the then-roundish ball on his hip and sprinting ahead until tackled by a swarm of defenders. The revolution that transformed the sport began in 1906, when passing was first legalized. The passing weapon made the game safer, altered strategy, turned the quarterback into a key offensive player, and

made possible the high-scoring games of today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEMOIR

Marti MacGibbon

Fierce, Funny, and Female

Stay Strong Publishing

Paperback, 978-0986006739, 424 pages, $15.95

 

 

Fierce, Funny, and Female is a winner in the 2017 National Indie Excellence Awards.

 

Author Marti MacGibbon delivers a sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, always engaging account of her passage through trauma, betrayal, and loss in adolescence and young adulthood to discover her inner self. As one of the first women to work as a laborer in the Texas oil field, she set off explosives and staked oil wells before realizing her childhood dream of becoming a successful standup comic.

 

Marti introduces readers to a wide range of characters in her life: from sleazy authority figures, wannabe Sixties musicians and crazed Corn Belt cult leaders, to Texas oil billionaires and wildcatters, to wild-eyed redneck coworkers who robbed banks on their lunch hour—in the company truck.

 

 

 

TEXAS COOKING

Adán Medrano

Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes

Publisher: Texas Tech University Press

Flexibound, ISBN 978-0896728509, 256 pages, $28.96

 

Over thousands of years, Native Americans in what is now Texas passed down their ways of roasting, boiling, steaming, salting, drying, grinding, and blending. From one generation to another, these ancestors of Texas’s Mexican American community lent their culinary skills to combining native and foreign ingredients into the flavor profile of indigenous Texas Mexican cooking today.

 

Building on what he learned from his own family, Adán Medrano captures this distinctive flavor profile in 100 kitchen-tested recipes, each with step-by-step instructions. Equally as careful with history, he details how hundreds of indigenous tribes in Texas gathered and hunted food, planted gardens, and cooked.

 

Offering new culinary perspective on well-known dishes such as enchiladas and tamales, Medrano explains the complexities of aromatic chiles and how to develop flavor through technique as much as ingredients. Sharing freely the secrets of lesser-known culinary delights, such as turcos, a sweet pork pastry served as dessert, and posole, giant white corn treated with calcium hydroxide, he illuminates the mouth-watering interconnectedness of culture and cuisine.

 

The recipes and personal anecdotes shared in Truly Texas Mexican illuminate the role that cuisine plays in identity and community.

 

FICTION / ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

DiAnn Mills

Burden of Proof

Tyndale House Publishers

Paperback, 978-1496427052, 416 pages, $14.99

 

 

FBI Hostage Negotiator April Ramos becomes a hostage herself in this race to find out the truth before the real murderer gets away.

 

When FBI Hostage Negotiator Special Agent April Ramos is taken hostage, she puts her skills to use to keep her fugitive abductor talking. At first, Jason Snyder’s claims of being framed for murder seem far-fetched until she overhears a conversation between Jason and the local Sheriff. Now she suspects something more sinister is happening in Jason’s hometown of Sweet Briar, Texas, but working with Jason to deliver the truth could cost her job…or worse, her life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRAVEL / ADVENTURE / TEXAS

Tui Snider

100 Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth Before You Die

Reedy Press

Paperback, 978-1681061702, 160 pages, $16.00

 

 

Have you ever drawn a blank when a friend or family member asks, “What do you want to do today?”

 

Maybe you have visitors to show around the Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex, or perhaps you’ve lived here for years but feel like you’re in a rut rather than experiencing anything new.

 

If so, this book is for you! If you live in, or are visiting, the DFW region, this list will inspire you to start exploring. If you’re hungry, flip through the Food & Drink section. Looking for entertainment or want to get outdoors? Dig into the Music & Entertainment or the Sports & Recreation sections. Want to barter for antiques or see a museum? Check out the Culture & History or the Shopping & Fashion sections. This book is here to spark ideas: everything from family outings, date nights, and solo excursions, to simply hanging out with friends on your day off.

 

 

FICTION / ROMANCE / HOLIDAY

Jodi Thomas

Mistletoe Miracles

HQN

Mass market paperback, 978-1335005632, 368 pages, $7.99

 

 

A small-town Texas Christmas story, where hearts are lost, love is found, and family always brings you back home.

 

Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it’s a money pit. He’d sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch—just in time for Christmas.

 

Jaxon O’Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another.

 

Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she’s single, she’s happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she’s baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he’s her husband?

 

In this uplifting novel, three unlikely couples discover just what Crossroads, Texas, can offer: romance, belonging, and plenty of Christmas spirit.

 

LITERARY FICTION

Jen Waldo

Old Buildings in North Texas

Arcadia

Paperback, 978-1911350170, 264 pages $15.95

 

 

Olivia is thirty-two and living back home with her mother in Caprock, small-town Texas. Her therapist is a girl she went to high school with; her promising career in journalism has dwindled to nothing, and she spends her days hawking jewelry in a mall following a favor from a friend.

 

Life is back on an even-keel after her descent into drug abuse, but it's a far cry from the one she imagined ...Then, under pressure to take up a hobby, she decides to try urban exploration.

Soon she's poking through derelict homes, churches and schools across North Texas. But Olivia knows her therapist would disapprove. What began as a harmless distraction soon becomes a lucrative business as she collects and sells antique fittings and fixtures online.

Waldo tackles difficult subjects with a warmth and humor.

 

FICTION / ROMANCE

Dana Wayne

Mail Order Groom

Y&R Publishing

Paperback, 978-1-940460-86-4, 283 pages, $12.99

 

 

“Find a husband in thirty days or lose the ranch when I die.”

 

Stunned by her dying father’s ultimatum, Emma Marshall avoids dealing with it, unaware of advertisements he placed seeking a groom.

 

Spurred by the prospect of a prosperous ranch and a beautiful bride, would-be suitors arrive. Angry, embarrassed and heartbroken by his tactics, Emma fights for her independence.

 

Tyler Rountree applies for position of temporary foreman at the Marshall place, unaware his new boss is a beautiful, jean-wearing, gun-toting woman with enough grit to go bear hunting with a switch.

 

Distracted by persistent suitors and a dangerous man intent on getting control of her ranch, Emma is staggered by the instant attraction to Ty. Thrown together by chance, she wonders if he may be the answer to her problem; until it becomes clear she knows everything about running a ranch, and nothing about being a woman.

 

A world-weary Southern gentleman, a fiery, independent woman; will a marriage of convenience bring them happiness or more heartache?

 

FICTION / MYSTERY

Shelton Williams

Covey Jencks

CreateSpace

Paperback, 978-1985482562, 260 pages, $12.99

 

 

Covey Jencks grew up in Odessa, Texas. After college, he joined the Army, attended law school, clerked on the Fifth Circuit, and suffered a stint at a D. C. law firm. He quits a life of white privilege to return home to solve the mysterious 1979 murder of Freddie Johnson, a black employee at Covey’s family business. Her life matters to Covey. For cover Covey opens a small firm filled with big characters. Eventually another black woman reenters his life to become Covey’s crime-solving partner. Mexican gangs, Boston mobsters, and racist cops complicate but do not derail the successful investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FICTION / MYSTERY

Patty Wiseman

That One Moment

Paperback, 978-1940460918, 258 pages, $15.00

 

 

Ricki Sheridan traveled a long way to seek refuge at Wolf Den’s Lodge high in the mountains after a devastating betrayal. Heartbroken, she signed up for a survivalist backpacking trip to live off the land and forget.

 

An injury on the first day puts her in the capable hands of the handsome trail boss, Kory Littleton. The attraction is instant, mutual, and terrifying. She trusted her emotions once and vowed never to make the same mistake again.

 

Kory’s heart, trampled and bruised, is unprepared to ever love again, until his unexpected reaction to Ricki reveals some things are worth taking a chance on.

 

When evil finds its way back into Ricki’s world, their fragile bond is tested, forcing them to face their greatest fear: can a wounded heart ever trust anew?

 

Betrayal. Desire. Revenge. Which one prevails?

 

 

 

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