Thursday, March 22, 2018

Condition, Book Three ~ ~ Audio Book Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

Length: 6 hours 34 minutes
Publisher: Essential Music Limited2018
Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopian / Speculative
Series: The Condition Trilogy, Book 3
Release date: Jan. 17, 2018

The third and final part of a dystopian trilogy based on the author's command of a top secret government unit.

So, Professor Savage has been unmasked as the monster Alex Salib always knew he was. But what was their agreement, and why is she still determined to see it through? The war on terror appears to be back on track, but why does President Kalten seem hell-bent on ramping it up - are the Americans seriously intent on starting World War Three?

And what of the treatment itself? Despite Savage's arrest, the "corrections" go on, but to what end? The laws of unintended consequences are about to cause a seismic shift in the very nature of our existence. But then our new master knows that and won't let it happen until we're ready....

Ready to accept the unacceptable.


Alec Birri served thirty years with the UK Armed Forces. He commanded an operational unit that experimented in new military capabilities classified at the highest level (Top Secret Strap 3) and it is this that forms the basis of his novels. Although semi-autobiographical, for national security and personal liberty reasons, the events and individuals portrayed have to be fiction but are still nonetheless in keeping with his experiences.
Narrator Bio

If you regularly enjoy listening to audiobooks then this Shakespearean actor will need no introduction. Winner of a 2016 SOVAS award, Jonathan’s voice is rightly recognized as being one of the best, and his narration of The Condition Trilogy is no exception.


HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio Book Review. Artificial intelligence, the Interworld, telepathy, robots, virtual reality, and evolution -- for the serious sci-fi fan, Condition Book Three: The Final Correction, the third book of the dystopian trilogy by Alec Birri, THIS is your series (and you must start with book one).

As with the prior two books, The Final Correction wastes no time immersing readers into this not so distant world. Birri begins the book by telling one of Aesop’s fables, about the north wind and the sun, which focuses on man’s overconfidence and belief he is in control when he ultimately is not. That is the crux of the story, and the theme is good to keep in mind as readers make their way through this complex story.

A new setting and group of characters dominate part one of the book. Initially, it is difficult to tell whether it is past, present, or future. There’s an Islamic father and daughter making a trek (pilgrimage?) and their rituals and attitudes could place them a hundred years back. Soon, technologies begin to emerge, and it’s clear that we are in the world changed by Dr. Savage and sentient robots are the norm. However, some humans are clinging to the old ways and are resistant to the changes away from traditional teachings. As part one moves along, familiar characters are re-introduced and this seemingly new story line begins to get woven into the story lines set-up in the earlier books in the trilogy.   

From the Middle East, readers transition into the western world and are reminded of how this world is defined. People with brain disorders can receive “the treatment” to cure any brain ailment. Not just medical problems like autism and dementia are now curable; also, the deviant behaviors of pedophiles and murderers can and are being corrected. As the medical and scientific advances and their applications seem to move humanity into a better world, the lines become blurred when leaders and powerful players differ in how they are defining deviant behaviors and “the treatment” is being taken too far.

Naturally, there are warring factions and people resistant to removing the humanity from humans. With the ability to have a hybrid existence of time in the real world and time in the virtual world, again, the lines are blurred as to where one ends and the other begins – or whether a real world exists at all for some. There are some deep, mind blowing concepts happening in this series, and especially in this final installment of the trilogy.

Birri has some excellent descriptions and depictions that will haunt readers long after the final words are read. The author also does a great job in making readers feel conflicted about their feelings for the various characters as each is more fully developed. Readers will love some of the big reveals, and there are satisfying twists and turns-of-events.  Happily, there is some humor sprinkled about, and I got a real chuckle (of course) when a character spoke a clunker, and the doctor responded with "Maybe it was the Grammar Nazis I wanted to take over the world. Not the jack-booted ones."

Admittedly, I had some trouble with the last third of the book as it went heavily into the science fiction realm. I couldn’t keep all the sub-plots straight and at times had absolutely no idea what was happening. As much as I LOVE the narration by Jonathan Keeble, The Final Correction got too complicated for me to comprehend by reading with my ears. I need to get this series in print so that I can easily flip back and re-read and let things soak in. Unfortunately, I don’t think I could honestly say how the book ended. Heaven, Hell, end of times, or a new beginning? Not sure. I think it was open-ended enough that there could be more stories to tell, so perhaps there will be another series. (Or perhaps not since it’s quite possible that I missed something huge in the chaos.)

A few words about the narration and narrator, Jonathan Keeble:  Seriously – seek out anything voiced by this guy; he is amazing. I have nothing but the highest praise for how he handles this huge, international cast of characters. You can read my gushing about him in the prior book reviews. Top notch.
Thank you to the author and Audiobookworm Promotions for providing me an audio download in exchange for my honest opinion. 


Giveaway: $100 Amazon Gift Card

Runs March 6th-27th⎮Open internationally

The Condition Trilogy Giveaway: $100 Amazon Gift Card

Book Three

Mar. 20th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Mar. 21st:


Mar. 22nd:

Hall Ways Blog

Mar. 23rd:


Mar. 24th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

Carolyn M. Walker, Fiction Author

Mar. 25th:

Bound 4 Escape

Buried Under Books

Mar. 26th:

The Book Addict's Reviews

Bookworms Corner Blog Spot

eBook Addicts

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Fleecing of Fort Griffin ~ ~ ~ Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway!

Genre: Western Humor 
Publisher: Wild Horse Press
Date of Publication: May 19, 2016
Number of Pages: 234

2017 Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association:
Best Creative Work on West Texas

Scroll down for the giveaway!

 When the young Englishman Baron Jerome Manchester Paget arrives in 1878 Fort Griffin with a satchel full of money to start a buffalo ranch and find a bride, a horde of colorful swindlers from throughout Texas arrive to help themselves to a rich serving of his naiveté to frontier ways.  
  With a passel of oddball characters and more twists and turns than a stagecoach trail, The Fleecing of Fort Griffin pits the baron against crooked gamblers, a one-eyed gunfighter, a savvy marshal, conniving females, a duplicitous cavalry officer and a worldly stump preacher. 
   To stay rich, the baron must stay alive!  And to stay alive, the baron must rely on a fourteen-year-old orphan and a rooster that serves as his guard animal.  Even so, the odds and the cards are stacked against the Englishman and his bold vision of becoming the baron of bison in West Texas. 
   Written by Spur Award-winning author Preston Lewis, a master of western plot twists and humor, The Fleecing of Fort Griffin takes readers on an unconventional and uproarious journey through the Old West and some of its unsavory characters.  


“… a work of colorful and humorous fiction,”
                             Albany Review

The Fleecing of Fort Griffin by Preston Lewis of San Angelo is one of the funniest westerns I’ve ever read.”
                             Glenn Dromgoole, Texas Reads

“If you're looking for a delightful tale, check out The Fleecing of Fort Griffin.” 
                             Bryan Eagle



“The stage rumbled towards them like a coach from hell, churning up dust and apprehension. The stage came to a halt..., but the dust kept moving down the street as if it were hitched to the souls of the horses.”

And out of the stage steps Baron Jerome Manchester Paget, making his appearance in Fort Griffin, Texas. Let the grand caper begin!

In The Fleecing of Fort Griffin, author Preston Lewis has crafted an at times snort-inducing comic western that keeps readers fully engaged.  By the title of the book, it’s no secret someone’s on the take. The real fun is watching not just the who but the how (and how many) and ultimately seeing the grand scheme unfold. As the story progresses and every man, woman, and child wants a piece of Paget, the Baron’s enemies begin to stack-up and his time of good fortune seems to wind-down. Readers will be furiously turning pages to see if the Baron can beat the clock and the odds to get out of town alive.

“Beulah Foster was as ugly and mean as gangrene.”

Preston Lewis is a talented writer, and it’s imminently clear why the West Texas Historical Association gave him the Elmer Kelton Award for Best Creative Work on West Texas for Fleecing. The book is cleanly edited with only a few scattered typos/errors that slipped by the proofreader's eye, and none are distracting. Hallelujah! Through Lewis’s word choices, figurative language, and vibrant descriptions of people and place, the world of Fort Griffin pops to life. The town may be dusty and dirty, but the people are as colorful as they come and uniquely fashioned so that even with a wide cast of characters, each is clearly defined.

“If Tuck could not convince folks to repent, at least he could exhaust them so they would be too tired to sin.”

One of my favorite characters, oily as he is, is the money-loving preacher, the Reverend G.W “Gawd Willing” Tuck. Quite nearly every scene where he’s involved had me wiping tears of laughter from my eyes. I guess my own experience of being a Texas born and raised girl, and seeing over-the-top evangelical preachers, makes the Reverend -- and the suckered-in “lambs” who follow him – realistic and ridiculously funny.

Reminiscent of The Sting with a neatly tied-up resolution that had me grinning from ear to ear, The Fleecing of Fort Griffin is refreshingly different and is pure fun to read. I’ll be handing out copies to my friends and family and adding more books penned by Preston Lewis to my ever-toppling TBR pile.

Thank you to the author and Lone Star Book Blog Tours for providing me a print copy in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. 

            Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of 30 western, juvenile and historical novels, including The Fleecing of Fort Griffin, a western caper published by Wild Horse Press.  Fleecing won the 2017 Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association (WTHA) for best creative work on West Texas. 
     Lewis is best known for his comic novels in The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax series. 
Bluster’s Last Stand, a novel about Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn, is the latest volume in the well-received series that began with The Demise of Billy the Kid.  Subsequent books in the series—The Redemption of Jesse James and Mix-Up at the O.K. Corral—were both Spur Finalists from Western Writers of America (WWA). 
           Blood of Texas, Lewis’s historical novel on the Texas Revolution, received WWA’s Spur Award for Best Western Novel.  His True West article on the Battle of Yellowhouse Canyon won a Spur Award for Best Nonfiction Article.  In addition to his two Spurs from WWA, Lewis has earned three Elmer Kelton Awards from WTHA.
       Lewis’s novels have appeared under the imprint of national publishing houses such as Bantam, Zebra and HarperCollins and of regional publishing companies like Eakin Press and Wild Horse Press.  His short works have appeared in publications as varied as Louis L’Amour Western Magazine, Persimmon Hill, Dallas Morning News, True West, The Roundup, Journal of the Wild West History Association and San Angelo Standard-Times
       A native West Texan and current San Angelo resident, Lewis holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Baylor and Ohio State universities.  He earned a second master’s degree in history from Angelo State University.  He is a past president of WWA and WTHA.  Lewis is a longstanding member of the Authors Guild and an associate member of the Dramatists Guild of America.  

1ST PRIZE: Signed Copy of The Fleecing of Fort Griffin
Choice of Any One Book from the H.H. Lomax Series
2ND PRIZE: Signed Copy of The Fleecing of Fort Griffin
MARCH 20-29, 2018
(US ONLY; email addresses collected will be used by author for distribution list)

Excerpt 1
Author Interview
Excerpt 2
Author Interview
Excerpt 3
Scrapbook Page

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mikey and the Swamp Monster

Moran, J., and Rausch, M. (2016). Mikey and the Swamp Monster. 

Children's Book / Imagination


ABOUT THE BOOK: When the stinky Swamp Monster returns, an imaginative boy uses his monster-stopper kit to protect his home and family. A humorous picture book which celebrates the blurry lines between inventiveness and reality. This read-it-again favorite is the recipient of the 2016 New Apple Book Award for Children's Humor, and is a Finalist in the 2016 Wishing Shelf Awards.


HALL WAYS REVIEW: This is such a bright, fun, and funny story for children to enjoy. Mikey and the Swamp Monster has all the elements to keep the youngest readers engaged in the story: colorful, full page illustrations, minimal text, figurative language, and even suspense as they wait for the big Swamp Monster reveal!

The team of author Jeanne Moran and illustrator Michael Rausch have constructed a book that not only has a great little story about the wild imagination of young Mikey, but which also has practical applications – for example, use it as a read-aloud for potty-training toddlers; use it in the library as a springboard for a “make your own monster-stopper kit” maker-space activity; or use it for older kids to identify figurative language like hyperbole, irony, and alliteration.

Kids will really enjoy the lay-out and format of the book, which uses a variety of fonts and styles to splash the words across the pages. Every page is worthy of closer examination, and my guess is that young children will read this (or request it be read) again and again.

The text flows smoothly and is cleanly edited (though there was one comma error), so I give it my Grammar Policewoman seal of approval as being a good model for young readers and writers-in-training. The momma in me cringed just a little at seeing a fan on a floor by a baby, but hopefully no kids will decide to replicate that part of the story.

Thank you to the author for her infinite patience in waiting for my review and for providing a print copy to me in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Challenge and change energize me.

In my career as a pediatric physical therapist, I helped hundreds of children gain strength and motor skills. That left me time (ha!) to teach Sunday School, direct an after-school program, organize an international student-athlete exchange, and help plan and implement construction of a new community playground. Along the way, I learned a bit about tang soo do and sudoku, tap dancing and German, whole foods cooking, and the joy of selling on ebay. Anything to avoid cleaning! 

I write fiction and non-fiction for young and young-minded readers surrounded by inspirational quotes, vinyl records, countless books, and innumerable dust bunnies.