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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Book Review: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest

Book Description:

Swan Lake" meets Robin Hood when the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant by day becomes the region's most notorious poacher by night, and falls in love with the forester.

Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave's game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave's game.

Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers?

The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring . . . and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher?


Book Review:

As a fan of Melanie Dickerson's other novels, I couldn't wait for this one to come out. Robin Hood was my favorite cartoon growing up, and Swan Lake wasn't bad either. I'm still trying to figure out how Swan Lake becomes a part of this story though. I mean, besides her name. Maybe it was just the version of the cartoon I saw years and years ago, but really, other than the name I'm not picking up any Swan Lakeness. I got the Robin Hood vibe though. One of my favorite things about Melanie Dickerson is how she retells well loved fairy tales.

While this wasn't my favorite of her books (Odette didn't do much for me), it is worth a read if you like this genre. Jorgen is a great character, and I liked how Odette went back and forth about doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.  Really though, nothing about the book stands out as super memorable. I read it months ago, and can't remember those fun little details that tells me it was a great book.

Overall this was a clean Christian Fiction written for a slightly younger audience than her normal books.

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest
Title: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: May 2015
ISBN:  0718026241
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Review: Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

Hearts Made Whole (Beacons of Hope, #2)

Book Description:

After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s been given the post as lighthouse keeper, and the isolation where he can drown in drink and hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s none-too-pleased to be giving up her position. They both quickly realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but Ryan’s unwilling to let anyone close, ravaged by memories and guilt. Caroline’s drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?


Book Review:

I'm struggling to write this review. Here's the thing. It's a good story, and it's well written. However there were just certain things that made me cringe and rather uncomfortable. Not because it was inappropriate. Well, technically, drinking and drugs and taking both till you don't know what you are doing, and the choice of Caroline's sister at the end of the book was inappropriate, but it wasn't written in an inappropriate way, if that makes any sense. I know these are real topics, real problems, but it just wasn't for me.  I'm glad that Caroline was super forgiving and a wonderful person, and I'm glad Ryan realizes that he has to fix things without relying on her, but much of the book I was just uncomfortable with one situation and then another. 

This is the second book in the series, but it is a stand alone book. I haven't read the first one, and I wasn't lost and didn't feel like I was missing anything at all.

Overall I would recommend this author (I've enjoyed previous books of hers), but I can't say I'd recommend this book. I will keep trying more from her, however.

Hearts Made Whole (Beacons of Hope, #2)
Title:  Hearts Made Whole
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: June 2015
ISBN:  1462116639
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Blog Tour: The Sheik's Ruby by Jennifer Moore

The Sheik's Ruby
Blog Tour Schedule
The Sheik's Ruby by Whitney Award Winning Author Jennifer Moore

Book Description:
 
Shelby wants to break away from the mold of her small town and make a name for herself in the big-city journalism world. While skiing, she meets mysterious stranger Hakim who is actually the prince of the Middle Eastern kingdom of Khali-dar. When his enemies learn of Hakim’s connection to an American girl, they target Shelby. Fleeing to the safety of Khali-dar, Shelby falls deeper in love not only with the prince, but with his country. As she struggles to survive terrorist attacks, withstand the Sheik’s prejudice, and find her place in a world she doesn’t understand, she must choose which life she is willing to sacrifice—the comfortable one she has worked so hard to create, or the one with the man she loves.

Review:

I first heard about author Jennifer Moore last year when I read Becoming Lady Lockwood (if you like historical fiction/Regency romance, don't miss Becoming Lady Lockwood-especially if you appreciate clean books). Since then, I've been excited to read anything else that Moore has had published. When I read about The Sheik's Ruby I wondered how it would compare to her other books. I wasn't captivated by the cover, but I decided to give it a try anyway, and I'm glad that I did.

The Sheik's Ruby is a fun read with interesting characters. I really liked how Shelby and Hakim met. They had an adventure right off, and when that took them to Shelby's hometown, I got a kick out of Hakim's interaction with her family and the country life.

I kept going back and forth about Shelby being in Khali-dar and what that meant for her life and family. The adventure included in this part of the book definitely made it more exciting than your standard romance novel.

There is a sweet ending, and the book is clean. If you are looking for a quick, fun romance to read this summer, give The Sheik's Ruby a try.

Excerpt:

“Does your father know you’re asking me?” 

Hakim gazed over her shoulder and took a deep breath. 

“He knows.” 

“But he doesn’t want me to come, right?” 

“I will bring a companion of my choice tomorrow.” 

He locked his gaze onto Shelby’s and leaned toward her. 

“You are my choice. Will you please come?” 

The Sheik apparently doesn’t buy into the whole “guests are gifts from Allah” idea. 

“Of course, I would love to come.” 

She smiled, but knew it didn’t appear convincing. She hated feeling like she was the source of their discord. 

“You are nervous. Please do not feel uncomfortable.” 

“I’m worried I’ll say or do something stupid.” She winced. “I’m not exactly a refined debutante who knows how to act in formal situations. I don’t want to embarrass you, Hakim.” 

“I do not want you to be a refined debutante. I have spent enough time with those people to know they are not what I want.”

Hakim maneuvered his horse until he faced Shelby and their legs were nearly touching. He leaned closer, his gaze earnest. 

“What I want is you, Shelby Jo.” 

He cupped her cheek in his hand. Shelby felt her heart flutter and her nerve endings tingle as she lost herself in the deep brown pools of his eyes. His thumb stroked her skin, leaving a trail of heat in its wake. He slid his hand into her hair and drew her closer, his lips covering hers. When she drew away, Shelby inhaled deeply and grinned. 

“Hearing you put it that way, how could I possibly refuse?”

add to goodreads 

Praise for Sheik's Ruby:

“What a fun read! THE SHEIK’S RUBY is a fabulous Cinderella story with both ancient and modern tones you don’t want to miss.” ~Josi Kilpack

“THE SHEIK’S RUBY is a perfect blend of romance and adventure, set in locales both familiar and exotic. When I finished, I wanted to start over and enjoy it again. ~Nancy Allen

About the Author:

JenniferJennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world that includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that is anything but romantic. She suffers from an unhealthy addiction to 18th and 19th century military history and literature. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family, but most of the time wishes she was on board a frigate during the Age of Sail.

   
Also by Jennifer Moore: Becoming Lady Lockwood (2014 Whitney Award Winner), Lady Emma's Campaign & Miss Burton Unmasks a Prince.


25_Amazon_Paypal 

Blog Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 7/17/15
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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sheiksTitle: The Sheik's Ruby
Author: Jennifer Moore
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Published: April 2015
ISBN: 1509201327
Source: I received an eCopy via the tour host in exchange for a review.

Purchase:  Amazon | Kindle | Wild Rose Press | Barnes & Noble

Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Review: Bilwok: Dawn of the Trolls by George Anthon Kibbie

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Book Description:

When Bilwok discovers the ancient record of his people, it changes everything he's ever known about himself, his fellow trolls, and the world beyond his hidden home. Now he has to decide where his loyalties lie and how far he'll go to find the truth. Discover the intriguing world of trolls in this fascinating fantasy that's filled with twists and surprises!

Book Review:

This book drew me in from the very beginning. I have always loved post-apocalyptic books and throwing trolls in the mix was very intriguing. In many books where teenagers are the main character, you tend to forget that they are still just kids. This book is different in that you are shown, several times, that Bilwok is young and still relies on his parents for guidance in a lot of ways

I am very interested in the back story of how the trolls came to be where they are, and how the humans play a role in their story. While reading the book, I kept getting hints that all was not as it appeared to be on the surface. I'm definitely looking forward to book two so I can follow this story as it continues.

If I had one complaint about the book, it would be that the author didn't use very many contractions (i.e. "will not" for "won't.") Maybe it was intentional, to show how the trolls spoke, or maybe that's simply how the author speaks, but for me, it interrupted the flow of the story. Not a major downside by any means, but still noticeable.

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Title:  Bilwok: Dawn of the Trolls
Author: George Anthon Kibbie
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Published: June 2015
ISBN:  1462116639
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon  Barnes & Noble

Monday, June 22, 2015

Book Review: Taken by Dee Henderson

Taken

Book Description:

 Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She has enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator and former cop Matthew Dane to help her navigate her reentry into society, she quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. For one thing, her brother is the leading candidate in the race for Illinois governor, and news of her escape will create a media frenzy. For another, the ransom her family reportedly paid years earlier appears to have been a scam; no one knows what happened to the money. And then there’s the fact that Shannon’s escape involved faking her own death. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her–even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.


Book Review:

Labeled as Romantic Suspense, I have to seriously disagree with that. There is no romance, and there is no suspense. When I read the back cover I got really excited. Sounds great, doesn't it? Except nothing really happens in the book that I would term a climax, or even a conflict really. The whole book is kind of like the resolution and we missed out on what makes a great suspense novel full of suspense.

And romance wise there was a lot of weirdness going on. First, Matthew is 15 years older than Shannon. Which didn't have to be a big deal, but he keeps comparing her to his daughter (she's only a few years older than his daughter). He treats her like his daughter, and since she needs the safety and comfort she lets him. Actually, she has a list, and I get the impression that she just wants to cross items off (two being marriage and children) and since Matthew isn't objectionable and fits her criteria she is okay with having a relationship. There aren't any feelings, just a check list.In fact, her first kiss is because she tells him she wants to know what it's like, and he is a safe person (friend) so she wouldn't object if he kissed her. So he does. Isn't that weird? The romantic in me died a little at that part. That isn't romance or attraction, it's simple curiosity.

I wouldn't label this as boring, like I did Undetected, because I kept reading and was mildly entertained, but when I realized nothing was going to happen I was really disappointed.  If I recommended it to anyone it would be because I would be curious to see if they thought the same thing I did. As an general overall recommendation, I would suggest reading something else.

Taken
Title:  Taken
Author: Dee Henderson
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: April 2015
ISBN:  076421408X
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Book Review: Kisses in the Rain by Krista Lynne Jensen

Reviews * Giveaway


Kisses in the Rain by Krista Lynne Jensen

Book Description:

Georgie Tate is a survivor. She survived an abusive relationship. She survived the car accident that took the life of her controlling fiance. Now she just needs to survive the memories that haunt her. Escaping to her aunts' cozy home on a tiny island outside of Seattle, Georgie finds just the change of pace she needs to pick up the pieces of her life. Taking a job at a local seafood restaurant is the first step in reclaiming her sense of self, but she is completely unprepared for the battle that awaits her there.

Jace Lowe has loved and lost, and he's determined that it will never happen again. Hardened by heartbreak, he stays focused on his work as sous chef at one of the island's top seafood restaurants. When beautiful Georgie takes her place on the restaurant's staff, Jace is resolved to keep her at arm's length, and his downright rudeness her first week goes a long way in achieving that goal. Georgie, on the other hand, doesn't want anything to do with Jace anyway and prickles against his abrasive behavior. As the combative pair comes together on a joint project for the restaurant, they find their distaste for one another dwindling. The connection is undeniable—and it terrifies them both. Can two people jaded by the past be softened by the promise of once-in-a-lifetime love, or is this just another recipe for disaster?

Rorie's Review:

I really enjoyed this book. Both main characters come with some baggage that they need to work through, and it takes time - and a few backsteps - to get things right. After Jace got over his grumpiness, he turned out to be a very likeable guy. Georgie had a hard time trusting anyone, even herself, due to her past, but gradually she was able to move on with her life one step at a time.

I found myself getting frustrated that Georgie couldn't remember much about the accident and what caused it, because I was dying of curiosity and just wanted to know! However, the way it played out was essential for the way the rest of the book went, so I just need to learn how to be more patient.

Not only was it good to get to know Georgie and Jace better, but the supporting characters were fun to get to know too. I also enjoyed reading about the cooking. I'm not a seafood fan at all, but it was interesting to see how they would come up with new recipes for the restaurant.

All in all, it was a fun book to read. I would definitely recommend this to people.

Tarah's Review:

I was really drawn to this book. Not only did the synopsis sound intriguing, but the cover is delightful. I don't think I would describe this as a fun book (or a cheesy LDS romance, like I normally use to describe LDS books), because of the weighty issues it covers, but it was definitely well written and hard for me to put down.

I loved how the characters are portrayed, and how they grow. I love the relationships with the secondary characters.  I love how the romance wasn't rushed, but started rocky and turned to respect and friendship and then more.

Because it is an LDS book there is some religious parts. They go to church, they talk about forgiveness, etc. While I would describe this as a clean read that I wouldn't mind a teenager reading, there is kissing (which, it's a romance, and I found it to be super sweet).

Overall, I would recommend this book, and I would reread it again and again.

Andrea's Review:

I've read a few other books by Krista Lynne Jensen, and while they were enjoyable, Kisses in the Rain is definitely her best book so far. I loved it and am looking forward to reading it again.

The author wrote such great characters, both main and supporting. Everyone played such an important role in building the story and helping Georgie and Jace heal and grow.

The story was very enjoyable. It was much deeper than your standard romance novel. The relationship built from the ground up with an initial rockiness that made it that much more real.

The setting was so well described that I almost felt like I was there. And the creation of the food for the new menu was fascinating.

I highly recommend this book.

Tour Schedule:

*June 15th: http://ilovetoreadandreviewbooks.blogspot.com/, http://www.wishfulendings.com/, http://melsshelves.blogspot.com/
*June 16th: http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com/, http://heidi-reads.blogspot.com/, http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/
*June 17th: http://minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/, http://mybookaday.blogspot.com, http://katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com/, http://www.blogginboutbooks.com/
*June 18th: http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/, http://ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com/, http://rachellewrites.blogspot.com/, http://www.bonnieharris.blogspot.com/
*June 19th: http://littlelightdesigncollective.com/, http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/

Tour Giveaway:

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About the Author:

Nearly every one of Krista Lynne Jensen's elementary school teachers made a note on her report card pointing out that she was a daydreamer. It was not a compliment. So, when Krista grew up, she put those day dreams down on paper for others to enjoy. When writing, she fuels her creativity with chocolate covered cinnamon bears and popcorn. When shes not writing, she enjoys reading, hiking, her family, and sunshine. But not laundry. She never daydreams about laundry. Krista is a native of Washington State and now lives in the northern Rocky Mountains. Through her stories she places characters in settings she loves, brings them to life, and challenges them to fight for what they want. The Orchard was inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion and Flathead Valley, Montana, a favorite family vacation spot. If she had a cat, she would call it Jane. She is the author of Of Grace and Chocolate, 2012.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/91ODhrvXwmL.jpg Title: Kisses in the Rain
Author: Krista Lynne Jensen
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Published: June 2015
ISBN: 1680472399
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Book Review: Colorful Characters in Mormon History by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon


 Colorful Characters in Mormon History by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon

Book Description:

Most Mormons are mild-mannered, well-behaved, law-abiding citizens who tend to get along well with their neighbors. But every once in a while, there’s a renegade. You know the one: a little bit wild-eyed, ready to rumble, out to go where no Mormon has gone before. Face it: we all know one.
Well, if you think you’ve seen a colorful character or two in your ward, you should check out the colorful characters in this book—some Mormons, some non-Mormons who impacted Church history. These people are a whole new breed of colorful.

You’ll meet the guy who is credited with starting the gold rush and putting San Francisco on the map—California’s first millionaire, who dies selling pencils on the street. You’ll meet the Mormon FBI agent who was killed in a shoot-out with “Baby Face” Nelson, but not before taking out the Baby. You’ll gain a whole new appreciation for the general authority who peppered his sermons with profanity. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Most of all, you’ll find yourself shaking your head in wonder, having a knee-slapping good laugh, and maybe even shedding a tear or two here and there.

Andrea's Review:

I've always liked learning about history, but don't typically read non-fiction historical books. Frankly, I like to be entertained, and a lot of non-fiction is a bit of chore for me to read. However, Kathryn Jenkins Gordon's Colorful  Characters in Mormon History is written nothing like a dry textbook. In fact, there were times that I couldn't help but think that some of the details might be made up due to the humorous manner in which they were presented. But, there are plenty of footnotes to back up the facts.

I had the book sitting in my living room when company came over, and it wasn't uncommon for people to question Mark Twain being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (with good reason-he wasn't a member). While the cover may mislead some, the blurb lets readers know right off that some of the chapters are about non-members that impacted the Church.

Some of the chapters actually made me a little sad, but others were fascinating. My husband and his dad saw the book and made sure to read the chapters on a couple of their relatives that made the book.

I think the book was well-written, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about some historical figures.

Rorie's Review:

History has always been fascinating to me - as a teenager, I used to check out books on the Pony Express, Buffalo Bill Cody, etc. to read for fun - so I was excited to have a chance to read this book. This book is did not disappoint. The author has a very amusing way of presenting the facts, so it doesn't come across as dry or boring. There are definitely a lot of facts that I can put in my "gee whiz" file. :)  I had heard of some of these people, but only a few facts and others I hadn't heard of at all, or had no idea they were affiliated with Mormons in any way.

Title: Colorful Characters in Mormon History
Author: Kathryn Jenkins Gordon
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
Published: April 2015
ISBN: 1680470353
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book