Friday, October 24, 2014

Blog Tour: Visions of Hope by Annie Henry

Book Description:

The most fundamental questions in our lives—questions about where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going—are answered when we have a true understanding of the plan of salvation. Now, our understanding is deepened and enlivened by this beautifully illustrated depiction of God's eternal plan for His children. In her unique, richly textured style, fine artist Annie Henrie offers a visual interpretations of the plan of salvation, including pre-earth life, the Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, life on earth, the spirit world, the Atonement and the Resurrection, and the kingdoms of glory. Accompanied by text from the scriptures, each exquisite image testifies of God's love for us and of His plan of happiness.


I really enjoyed Visions of Hope. The artwork in the book is enjoyable to look at. The book pairs these pictures with simple quotes or scriptures for each stage of the plan of salvation. I wanted to look through this book with my children, but never got the chance to do so (OK, I kept forgetting to do it.) but this will be a great resource to use as part of a Family Home Evening lesson on the plan of salvation. This is something that will be good both for kids and for someone who is just learning about the gospel. Or for those who just need a refresher, for that matter. :) As I said previously, each picture has a brief verse or quote with it, which is a good starting point if you want to search the scriptures to learn more about the plan of salvation.

About the Author:

ANNIE HENRIE graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree from Brigham Young University in April 2012, and since the age of sixteen she has shown her work in galleries, including Bronze Coast Gallery in Cannon Beach, Oregon; Authentique Gallery in St. George, Utah; and Deseret Book stores. Annie grew up in Bountiful, Utah, and is the daughter of Cary and Sauni Henrie. Her father, also a professional artist, has taught his daughter how to paint and draw since she was in kindergarten. Annie’s work is inspired by her experiences serving as a missionary in southern England and studying Renaissance art in Italy. She currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Title: Visions of Hope
Author: Annie Henry
Publisher: Deseret Book Company
Published: September 2014
ISBN: 1609078195
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Deseret Book | Amazon

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blog Tour: Painting Kisses by Melanie Jacobson

Dual Review * Giveaway

Book Description:

Lia Carswell is good at what she does, even if it isn't as glamorous as her old artist life in Manhattan. The popular waitress works hard in a small Salt Lake City diner, with the goal of easing her sister's financial strain. And with her witty personality and good looks, she's something of an enigma to the male customers who vie for her attention. Ever the professional, Lia keeps her distance, with one exception. Aidan is a breakfast regular, and his gentle, clever teasing draws Lia's attention and builds an easy rapport between them, though Lia would never let their relationship get serious, especially since he's not the only one trying to catch her eye. Her handsome neighbor Griff has been hinting that he wants more than a neighborly relationship.

Then her old New York artist life comes knocking, and an offer is made for a series of commissioned paintings. Lia knows it would ensure financial security for her family, but she doesn't know if she wants that life anymore. When she undertakes one final project, she reawakens her heart and soul. And as she finds herself falling in love and needing an outlet more and more, she realizes her paintings might be her saving grace.

Andrea's Review:

I've really enjoyed Melanie's books published by Covenant, so I jumped at the chance to review her latest novel, Painting Kisses. It started out in typical Melanie fashion-snarky main female character, with plenty of laughs. Some aspects were predictable, but I didn't mind.

As the story goes on it loses the usual Melanie feel and is more of a heavy story. It was a good story, but different from what I was expecting. I really wanted more at the end. There's resolution, but I came away feeling, "that's it?"

I didn't relate as well with this book as I have with Melanie's LDS fiction novels. But, I'm excited that she is branching out, and I hope that she'll continue to keep her novels clean. There were a couple of instances in this book where I thought she might be pushing the content boundaries Covenant has, but I liked the characters and the overall story. I also really enjoyed the setting since I am familiar with some of the locations she used.

 Tarah's Review:

I kind of like it when an LDS author branches out into new long as they keep it clean. Painting Kisses was an excellent job of branching out!

The beginning was really funny and I enjoyed the interaction between Lia and Aidan. The head cook was such a great secondary character, and I enjoyed Aidan's dog in the story too (although I can't think too close about it...a dog in a diner...yuck! But since it's fiction, it's cute).

I will admit I didn't like the sort of love triangle going on. I'm not a fan of those in the first place, and then when I have chosen who should belong to who and it takes a while to get there it just gets me frustrated. And this one, for me, ended up being awkward, especially since Aidan and Griff are both really great.

Like Andrea mentioned, it a different, heavier feel than Melanie's other books. So don't go into this expecting more of the same. But let's talk about the cover for a minute. Super eye catching, right? Beautifully done. Kudos to the designer there.

It's a quick read if you have some time on a weekend.

Tour Schedule:

*21st: http://ilovetoreadandreviewbooks.blogspot.com

Blog Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card and a Free Painting Kisses book.

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Title: Painting Kisses
Author: Melanie Jacobson
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
Published: October 2014
ISBN: 1621088510
Source: We each received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review: Petticoat Detective by Margaret Brownley

Book Description:

Pinkerton detective Jennifer Layne is no stranger to undercover work. But posing as a lady companion named Amy at Miss Lillian’s Parlor House and Boots is a first for her. She’s finally landed a high-profile case and is on the trail of the notorious Gunnysack Bandit, when one of Miss Lillian’s girls essential to her investigation meets an untimely demise. Only a handful of people are in the house at the time of her death, including handsome Tom Colton, a former Texas Ranger determined to clear his brother’s name. Amy has many reasons to suspect Tom of murder—and one very personal reason to hope that she’s wrong about him.

Book Review:

Nothing about this book screamed, "This is different!" but it was an entertaining read never-the-less. It was predicable, but sometimes that isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you like Old West novels, this would be right up your alley. The heroine is spunky and fun (although I never am really convinced that she's all that great of a detective), and the hero is just what he should be. Throw in funny store names that sell multiple things (seriously, they were funny) and ladies of the night who learn to shoot guns and throw shoes, you are in for a good time. The ending was a little cheesy, but it makes you smile anyway.

Title: Petticoat Detective
Author: Margaret Brownley
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
Published: December 2014
ISBN: 9781628366266
Source: I received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book Review: The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher

The Heart's Pursuit

Book Description:

A jilted bride desperate to save her family from ruin.
A bounty hunter seeking vengeance for a ravaged past.
An arduous trek toward justice—or redemption.

Silver Matlock and Jared Newman know traveling together is a bad idea. Bad for Silver’s already tarnished reputation in her small Colorado town. Bad for bounty hunter Jared’s secret, single-minded mission for revenge. But Silver is determined to track down the rogue who left her at the altar and stole the last remnant of her father’s fortune. And Jared’s in a hurry to hunt down the murderer who destroyed his family—even if Silver is too distractingly beautiful for comfort.

The pair takes off over mountain and desert, past bleak homesteads and raw mining towns, hot on the trail of the two villains who took what wasn’t theirs to take. Soon supplies dwindle, secrets emerge, and suspicion leave Silver and Jared at odds when they need each other most. To confront an enemy deadlier than desert rattlesnakes and rocky cliffs, Silver and Jared must learn to forgive and trust and face the question they haven’t dared voice: What happens next?

Book Review:

I'll was the cover that caught my attention. What? That sounds like a broken record? Well, it's totally true. Then I apparently have a thing for the Wild West (although, I'm soooo glad I didn't live back wouldn't have been a good time period for me). Anyway, I was immediately caught up in this book. I enjoyed Silver and Jared immensely. They seemed very real to me. Their actions, their thoughts, their behavior....all of it was well written and captivating.  I even enjoyed the last cheesy line in the book :) Oooo, and you know how I have a weird thing about names? I really really liked Silver's name, which is odd for me, but it just fit her personality and the book and everything.

There were a few things that I would have liked more of an explanation about. One was the bit with the hair (you'll know immediately when you read the book) Why? And what did he do with it? It wasn't a big thing, but it got me curious and then that curiosity wasn't satisfied. I think I also wanted more with the step mom. Maybe for her to realize she was wrong? I don't know. It definitely wasn't needed in the story, but I do like my happy endings :) The biggest thing for me was that Jared kept referring to his horse, "breaking down". I don't know, that seems like a car to me, not a horse. But I did ask my husband about it (seeing how he has more horse experience than I do) and he said that it was a proper was to say that. Go figure. I still would have like "foundered" or "wore out" better, but now I'm just getting nit picky.

I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and complete strangers (if I happened to be talking to a complete stranger about books...Hello Complete Stranger!). It was clean, funny, moving, and well written. I would buy a copy, reread it again, and look for more from this author.

The Heart's Pursuit
Title: The Heart's Pursuit
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Zondervan
Published: May 2014
ISBN:  0310259274
Source: I received an eCopy from Netgalley in exchange for a review.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book Review: Nowhere to Turn by Lynette Eason

Book Description:

The day Danielle Harding takes her 11-year-old son, Simon, and flees from her abusive husband, is the same day Kurt Harding dies. A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe--but in reality, the danger has just begun. When Kurt was alive, he took something important to a mysterious person. That person wants the item back and believes Dani now has it. As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won't be able to hide for long . . .

From the first breathless scene, this tension-laced story will hold readers in its iron grip. Bestselling author Lynette Eason propels readers along at a breakneck pace in a race to discover the truth and a better future.

Book Review:

This is a book two and the first I've read in this particular series. The good news is that it didn't make a huge difference, and could be read as stand-alone title. The bad news is that I thought it was part of a different series and I was completely confused until I realized the series I thought it belonged to is from a different author. So, as long as you don't make that mistake (trying to put books together that really don't go together) you will be fine :)

I appreciated the suspense of the novel. I got half the bad guys right :) It seemed a little over kill that there were so many bad guys, but it didn't keep me from enjoying the book. I also appreciated a good clean novel. There is violence, but not graphic. There is no swearing (that I can recall off the top of my head, and swearing usually really bugs me so I remember it), and the romance that took place was believable. It may not be Eason's best novel, but it was entertaining and I don't feel like I wasted my time reading it.

Title: Nowhere to Turn
Author: Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell
Published: September 2014
ISBN: 9780800722098
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DVD Spotlight: Saints and Soliders: The Void

Spotlight * Giveaway

 Saints and Soldiers: The Void
Now Available on DVD

Amazon | Deseret Book

Plot Summary:

Germany, May 1945, the twilight of WWII. On a final mission deep in the Harz mountains a U.S. tank crew discovers a platoon of Germans, including three infamous Panzer tanks, preparing to ambush allied supply trucks.

Before the war, Sergeant Jesse Owens, was a product of segregation and racial discrimination. Forced by law to ride in the back of the bus and disenfranchised from the political process. As the Germans bear down on the Americans, Owens fights the Axis powers for a freedom he and his fellow African American soldiers have never felt.

With a deadly game of cat and mouse quickly unfolding, Owens and his predominantly white tank crew find themselves out-gunned and out-manned by the German Panzer tanks. Several in Owens’ crew are reluctant to put their faith in a black tank driver despite their dire circumstances. With tension and fear beginning to manifest Owens knows they must put aside their differences to stop the enemy from their deadly plan. Knowing that a victory over the Nazis means a victory for racial justice, Owens and his men find a way to work together to save hundreds of lives in a desperate battle against the greatest odds they have ever faced.



One Literary Time Out follower will win Saints and Soliders: The Void on DVD. Enter to win via the Rafflecopter below.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Blog Tour: Remake by Ilima Todd


Remake by Ilima Todd

Book Description:

Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. The Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.

But Nine isn’t like every other batcher. She harbors indecision and worries about her upcoming Remake Day—her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they’ll be.

When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will she decide to be?


Remake by Ilima Todd is a very intriguing story. The way of life depicted in this futuristic setting was insane! I had a hard time with the idea of gender not meaning anything-in fact, the idea sort of had me hung up for awhile. But, there is so much more to the story.

I really enjoyed following Nine on her journey. Experiencing so many things for the first time was almost magical. I love how her character developed, and what came to really matter to her. Especially the true idea of freedom, and the huge importance of family-something that was foreign to her being raised in Freedom Province.

The ending was well done. Of course, I wanted more, but it didn't leave me totally hanging, and I felt like it set up the next book quite well.

Ilima Todd did an excellent job with this debut novel. She's definitely an author to watch for.

About the Author: 

Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and currently resides in the Rocky Mountains. She never wanted to be a writer even though she loves books and reading. She earned a degree in physics instead. But the characters in her head refused to be ignored, and now she spends her time writing science fiction for teens. When she is not writing, Ilima loves to spend time with her husband and four children.

Tour Giveaway:

Publisher Shadow Mountain has four signed copies of Remake up for grabs. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

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Title: Remake
Author: Ilima Todd
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: October 2014
ISBN: 1609079248
Source: I received an advanced reader's edition from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble