Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review: Deceived by Irene Hannon

Book Description:

For three years, Kate Marshall has been grieving the loss of her husband and their four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on an escalator in the mall, she is convinced it is the son she thought was dead. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan. The former Secret Service agent is dubious but agrees to investigate. Digging into the case he discovers that the incident may have been no accident at all. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may be willing to go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.

Book Review:

Here's the thing with this book. I'm sitting here trying to think of something to review, and I can't think of one thing to say. I liked it. It was good. But it wasn't great. It wasn't anything that was amazing that I was like, "Oh, remember this part that was just really good!!" and the same with the characters. I liked them all. I just don't know that anything was so amazing that it stuck out to me. I don't think this is a bad thing. Not every book I read needs to be unforgettable. I did enjoy it, and I will read more from this author. I think she does a great job at writing a clean suspense novel.

Title: Deceived
Author: Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 2014
ISBN:  080072125X
Source: I received an eCopy from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review: The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller

The Brickmaker's Bride (Refined by Love, #1)
Book Description:

Yearning for a fresh start, Ewan McKay travels with his aunt and uncle from northern Scotland to West Virginia, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial assistance from his uncle Hugh. Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, but it's Ewan who gets the business up and running again. Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Besides, Ewan has resolved he'll focus on making the brickmaking operation enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business
and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Scotland.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work may come to naught. As his plans begin to crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. She and her mother may have a way to save the brickworks, and in turn Ewan may have another shot at winning Laura's heart.

Book Review:

It has been awhile since I've read a book where the romance, and general storyline actually took time to develop....and I loved it. Not only was it realistic, but it fit in with the book perfectly. " and bricks both need a slow, steady burn in order to become strong and withstand the test of time." I will admit that sometimes it was slow in the first half of the book and I did get impatient for part of the time, but that didn't deter me from reading it at all.  In fact, it picked up considerably the last half of the book. So much so that I wish that had been as developed at the first half. I would have loved more of Ewan's and Laura's courtship.  I would have liked to hear more about his uncle. And really, let's hear a little bit more about Winston. For being such an antagonist he just sort of dropped out of the picture.
It was an interesting time in history with the story. I actually learned a lot about bricks and brick making, but without the author shoving it down my throat in an, "You have to know this because I did my research", but rather it was an interesting part of the story.
The Christian element was also well done, and not shoved down my throat. All in all this was a good clean read. Especially if you like Historical Fiction.

The Brickmaker's Bride (Refined by Love, #1)
Title: The Brickmaker's Bride
Author: Judith Miller
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: October 2014
ISBN: 0764212559
Source: I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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.