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Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Review: A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

A Worthy Pursuit

Book Description:

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan’s Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the little girl entrusted to her care after her mother’s death. Charlotte promised Lily’s mother she’d keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When the teacher he’s after produces documentation that shows she’s the little girl’s legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he’s been led to believe. Is Miss Atherton villain or victim? She acts more like a loving mother than an abductress, and the children in her care clearly adore her. Should Stone break his perfect record?

Then a new danger threatens, and Charlotte is forced to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone becomes determined to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he’s ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte’s heart.


Book Review:

Karen Witemeyer is one of those authors that never seem to disappoint. Sure I like some of her books more than others, but I find myself rereading all of them, even the ones I didn't love.  A  Worthy Pursuit is no exception for me, but let's start at the cover :)

While the cover screams Karen Witemeyer, and fits the other books she's written, I don't feel it really fits this book as well. Maybe it's the smiling lady on the front. Charlotte wasn't known in the stories for smiling at Stone a lot, because it was a really big deal when she did. But whatever...I mean, a cover is just a cover...the important stuff is the content.

A Worthy Pursuit had great characters to get to know. I liked getting to know what Charlotte was like behind the mask she always wore. I liked seeing how Stone reacted to different situations, especially his teasing of "the gnome". The kids were a pleasure to see grow and develop and even the secondary characters like Dead Eye Dan added some flair to the novel.

While I would have liked more dealing with Charlotte and her family, and while it seemed like the conflict was solved rather easily, I'd still recommend giving this book a try. Gotta love good clean fiction.

A Worthy Pursuit
Title: A Worthy Pursuit
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: June 2015
ISBN:  076421280X
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Blog Tour: The Moses Chronicles: Bondage by H.B. Moore

Review * Giveaway
The Moses Chronicles: Bondage by H.B. Moore

Book Description:

Moses has always felt like an outsider in his powerful Egyptian family, even though his close relationship with Ramses, the prince of Egypt, and their cousin Pentu keeps him entwined in the dealings of royalty. But when their youthful antics get them in trouble, the Pharaoh decides it’s time for all three of them to grow up and own their respective responsibilities. Now betrothed to a woman he cares nothing for, Moses wonders where his life is headed.

Miriam, a Hebrew slave, lives with a secret she cannot share with anyone. And though it has been eighteen years since she saved her baby brother, she is constantly getting in trouble for spying on him. In a desperate attempt to control Miriam, her older brother, Aaron, and her father look to find her a husband, something Miriam has never been interested in—until Caleb, a young, handsome man, confesses his feelings for her and asks her father for her hand in marriage.  

When Libya advances on Egypt, Moses and Miriam are suddenly thrown together as the Egyptian royals and soldiers flee. Hebrew slaves are forced to defend the kingdom, and Miriam and Caleb are enlisted under Moses’s direction. Moses quickly sees there is more to this downtrodden people than what he’s been taught. When he witnesses the atrocities enacted against the slaves, he realizes he must leave—he must find out who he really is. 

A gripping account of the events that led to Moses’s flight into the wilderness, The Moses Chronicles: Bondage will take you back back to a rich period of history replete with scandal, strife, love, and hope as God prepares a prophet to lead His chosen people. 

Andrea's Review:

It has been awhile since I've read one of H.B. Moore's scriptural based novels, and to be honest I was a little hesitant to read Moses. I guess I've had him in my mind in a certain way, and I didn't really want to mess with that. Especially if it wasn't handled . . . reverently, I guess. However, I'm really glad that I gave this book a shot. I was reminded about how well Moore brings scriptural characters to life. I've read other scriptural based novels that really didn't place prophets in a good light, but Moore doesn't do that. Her characters are still very human, but their human follies make them more relatable instead of making them seem evil.

There were a few things I questioned, but I actually like that about her books. It makes me have a desire to go right to the source to separate fact from fiction. Plus, this book seemed as much, or more, about Miriam and Moses's adoptive mother as it was about Moses. It was enjoyable to consider his family life and his relationships with those around him.

I didn't care for the cover, but the story was very enjoyable. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Rorie's Review:

I have always enjoyed historical fiction, so I was excited to have the chance to review this book. I went into it expecting most of it to be about Moses, but was pleasantly surprised to find that the book focuses a lot on Miriam and Bithiah, Moses' Egyptian mother as well.

For the first part of the book, I found myself picturing Moses, Miriam and Aaron as they are depicted in the cartoon "The Prince of Egypt" but as I got further into the book, they each took on a life of their own. I also found myself extremely grateful that I was not born back in that time and place where a woman really has no freedom at all.

I really enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to reading volume two when it comes out.
 

Tour Schedule:

*May 18th: http://mybookaday.blogspot.com/, https://joyinthemoments.wordpress.com/
*May 19th: http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com, http://melsshelves.blogspot.com/, and http://fireandicereads.com/
*May 20th: http://minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/, http://www.ldswomensbookreview.comhttp://heidi-reads.blogspot.com/, http://rachellewrites.blogspot.com/
*May 21st: http://www.iamareader.com/ (Cheryl), http://ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com/, http://www.bonnieharris.blogspot.com/
*May 22nd: http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/, http://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/, http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Title: The Moses Chronicles: Bondage
Author: H.B. Moore
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: May 2015
ISBN: 168047166X
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase:  Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review: Undercover Bride by Margaret Brownley

Undercover Bride (Audio CD)

Book Description:

Pinkerton detective Maggie Cartwright is tasked with going undercover as a mail order bride. Her “fiancĂ©” is widower Garrett Thomas, aka the suspected Whistle-Stop Bandit. No sooner does Maggie arrive in Arizona Territory when she’s confronted with an early wedding date—the clock is ticking on her detective work or she may end up a criminal’s wife! As the day of the wedding draws near, Maggie begins to panic. The problem is that the more she gets to know Garrett and his two adorable children, the harder it is to keep up the deception. Can a man as kind and gentle as Garrett really be the Whistle-Stop Bandit?

Book Review:

 I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I had read The Petticoat Detective, and while I enjoyed it, it was cheesy and I didn't take it seriously. This book had substance, which I wasn't expecting.  Set in the Old West this clean romance had great characters and a mystery that wasn't entirely predictable.  I love the concept of mail order brides, and this was a fun twist on that, since Maggie isn't actually a mail order bride...just pretending to be one.

If you like Westerns and good clean romances, I'd give this one a shot.

Undercover Bride (Audio CD)
Title: Undercover Bride
Author: Margaret Brownley
Publisher: Shilo Run Press
Published: June 2015
ISBN: 1630588814
Source: I received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cover Reveal & Author Spotlight: Mysteries of Cove: Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage



Book Description:

STEAMPUNK! Plus Dragons!
 

Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime and "invention" is a curse word. Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, whose father died in an explosion-an event the leaders of Cove point to as an example of the danger of creativity.

Working together, Trenton and Kallista learn that Leo Babbage was developing a secret project before he perished. Following clues he left behind, they begin to assemble a strange machine that is unlikely anything they've ever seen before. They soon discover that what they are building may threaten every truth their city is founded on-and quite possibly their very lives.


Author Note:

Like many of my books, the inspiration for my new series Fires of Invention came from the collision of two ideas. The first time the story occurred to me was while I was watching the musical Wicked with my wife. The moment I walked into the theater and saw the huge mechanical dragon above the stage, I thought, Wow! I have to write a story about that! A few weeks later, I was talking with my nephew, who is probably the most creative kid I know, but whose inventiveness often gets him into trouble, and I thought, What if a kid who had the talents of my nephew lived in a world where creativity was against the law? What if the kids were building . . . a steam-powered dragon? Bam! I had my story.

Powered by great feedback from my agent, Michael Bourret, my good friend and author James Dashner, my publisher, Chris Schoebinger, and the song “Warriors” by Imagine Dragons, I wrote the entire first draft of the first volume in the series, Mysteries of Cove in four weeks. This book is unlike anything I have ever written. There are elements of City of Ember, Dragon Riders, and Hugo in it all mashed up together in a world I fell in love with from the moment I started writing.

I think what’s most exciting to me about this book is that it’s about giving yourself the freedom to imagine. To take chances. Too often we limit ourselves by only trying things we’re confident we can succeed at when what we need to do is give ourselves permission to fail. Often it is when we attempt things with no idea of how we can possibly pull them off that we achieve our greatest successes.

Author Bio:

J. Scott Savage is the author of the Farworld middle grade fantasy series and the Case File 13 middle grade monster series. He has been writing and publishing books for over ten years. He has visited over 400 elementary schools, dozens of writers conferences, and taught many writing classes. He has four children and lives with his wife Jennifer and their Border Collie, Pepper, in a windy valley of the Rocky Mountains.

INSTAGRAM: jscottsavage

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Book Review: An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

An Uncertain Choice (An Uncertain Choice, #1)
Book Description:

Due to her parents' promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father's enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents' will left a second choice. If Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the cloister is the best place after all. If only one of the knights the one who appears the most guilty had not already captured her heart.


Book Review:

 I was skeptical starting this book, even though what I've read previously from this author I really liked. Plus, I enjoy the cover, so I'm not sure why I was skeptical. Maybe it was the the fact it was geared toward teens, but whatever the reason there was no reason for the skepticism because I was pulled into the book immediately.

I will say that it was juvenile, but considering the target audience, Hedlund nailed this one right on the head.  The plot wasn't as flushed out as I'm used to, but it was a fun read.  I liked how Rosemarie is both certain and uncertain, strong and weak. I enjoyed her compassion and her willingness to learn new things to become better.

I enjoyed all the knights vying for her attention. One reviewer compared it to a "Medieval Bachelorette" and I love that comparison (can't say if it's accurate or not, I've never seen the show, but I thought it was funny). The knights personalities were so different, but their individual skills and their friendship made this great. It made you wonder for a bit if their friendship would survive the courtship.

The ending wasn't much of a surprise, but this was a well written novel, and highly entertaining. I would recommend it for both teens and adults who like clean medieval fiction.

An Uncertain Choice (An Uncertain Choice, #1)
Title: An Uncertain Choice
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Zondervan
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 0310749190
Source: I received an eCopy from BookLookBloggers in exchange for a review.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Blog Tour: Trouble in Paradise by Karen Tuft


Book Description:

Andy Kendrick has always dreamed of bigger things than tiny Eagle Bluff, Arizona. So when the opportunity arises to shake off the dust of his hometown and move to the tropical paradise of Hawaii, he grabs it. But he never imagined that a piece of his past would follow him to his new life . . . Kimberly Briggs has lived her life on the fringes of the crowd, timid and afraid since the death of her brother, but when she learns that Andy, her lifelong crush, is moving to Hawaii, she's finally ready to step out of the shadows and take a risk.

Kimberly is the last person Andy expected or wanted to see in Hawaii. But when fate incessantly throws the pair together, there's little to be done but make the best of the situation. As the awkwardness fades and Kimberly begins to emerge from her shell, Andy realizes there's much more to her than he realized. But even as they revel in the adventures of island life, drawn together by a growing attraction, an unforeseen peril threatens Kimberly's life.

Can the once-timid young woman now draw upon the inner strength Andy has helped her discover so the two of them can build a life together? Will Andy grasp that love knows no geographical bounds?


Andrea's Review:

Trouble in Paradise is an enjoyable read. I read the author's book Reality Check a few years ago, and it was fun having a few of the characters from that book in this one.

The prologue of Trouble in Paradise is sure to catch your attention (unless you are heartless). It was somewhat heartbreaking, and really made me feel for Kimberly. I liked how she grew throughout the book. I also enjoyed the setting (hello-it's Hawaii). Kim's boss at the souvenir shop was a really fun addition to the story, especially since most of the other characters were not native Hawaiians.

I didn't really love Andy, but this came to me after I was finished reading. He had his ups and downs in the book, and his character grew at the end, but he wasn't a standout, loveable leading man. But, his relationship with Kim in Hawaii was entertaining. Especially initially where they kept running into each other.

If you are looking for a clean romance with a suspense, I'd recommend Trouble in Paradise.

Rorie's Review:

This book drew me in very quickly. I'm talking, forget laundry, dinner, all of that other stuff kind of drawn in, because I just needed to find out what was going to happen.

I did not like Andy for the first half or so of the book. His attitude was so off-putting to me. Even though it took him way too long to change, he became a very likeable character once he finally did.

Even though it wasn't the main part of the story, I wish that we could have gotten to know more about Dave. He intrigued me and I wanted to know what made him tick. That part of the story seemed to be a bit rushed to me.

Tarah's Review:

So it seems like the consensus about this novel is that it's a fun quick read. I'll go with that. There's nothing deep or mind-provoking about it, but it's an enjoyable way to spend a couple hours. I brought it along with me on errands and wasn't tempted to start on something else while I was reading it.  I will admit that this book made me feel old though :) When we were first introduced to Andy I just kept thinking how immature and...spoiled.... he seemed. I hope I wasn't like that in college :) I'll even admit I liked one of his roommates way better than I liked him.

I enjoyed Kim's character, even if I didn't really love her taste in men. I liked how she knew she was fragile but was really trying to overcome instead of excusing herself from different situations.

Do I see myself reading this again? I'm not sure, to be honest. It's not a book that I would reread immediately after having finished it (yes, I know that's weird, but that's how I know if I really like a book :) but given time I'd probably pick it up again.

Tour Schedule:

May 11th: http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com/http://ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com/
May 12th: http://littlelightdesigncollective.com/http://heidi-reads.blogspot.com/http://ilovetoreadandreviewbooks.blogspot.com/
May 13th: http://mybookaday.blogspot.com/http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/
May 14th: http://melsshelves.blogspot.com/http://katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com/http://www.bonnieharris.blogspot.com/
May 15th: http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/http://fireandicereads.com/

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Trouble in Paradise
Title: Trouble in Paradise
Author: Karen Tuft
Publisher: Covenant
Published: March 2015
ISBN:  1680472097
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Movie Review: The Cokeville Miracle

Last week I had the privilege of attending a screening of The Cokeville Miracle, a film that is being released in theaters on June 5th. With several survivors in attendance, the experience was quite emotional. Not only was the film well done, but it has a wonderful message about seeing miracles in our lives.

It is not unusual for me to cry during movies, but the tears I shed watching The Cokeville Miracle were not solitary. Throughout the film I heard many others crying. I was really impressed by this film, and can see why it won an Audience Choice Award.

Cokeville is only about two and a half hours away from the small town where I grew up. It hasn't ever been on my radar before, but I was able to relate to the people. I think it's a sign of a good movie when I have a desire to learn more about the actual event.

I believe in miracles, and have seen them in my own life numerous times. If you are looking for an uplifting film, be sure to find a theater where you can watch The Cokeville Miracle.

This Saturday, May 16th, marks the 29 year anniversary of the hostage crisis. Spend time that day with the people you love. #seemiracles


Trailer:


Synopsis:

From T.C. Christensen comes The Cokeville Miracle, the remarkable true story of a town facing a terrible tragedy, and the Sheriff’s investigator who struggles with his faith as he gathers evidence that defies easy explanation.

...

Cokeville Wyoming, a town of just over 500 people that sits near the Utah-Idaho border, is not known for much beyond it’s strong family values, but in 1986 Cokeville made national headlines when a madman and his wife entered the elementary school with guns and bomb. They gathered over 100 children and teachers into a small room, and made a demand: $200 million dollars for the lives of the children—but then the bomb went off...

The Cokeville Miracle is not just the story of a hostage crisis, or a terror attack on American soil. It is not just the story of a bomb that could have destroyed an entire generation, and ripped a town apart. The Cokeville Miracle is about what happened instead. How did a bomb that should have leveled the room take only two lives that day, the madman and his wife? Each child, each adult who made it out of that room has a story to tell. Follow the Sheriff’s investigator Ron Hartley as he pieces together the evidence, including stories of prayer and divine intervention from multiple witnesses. Gather the evidence and decide for yourself. Do you see coincidence, or do you see miracles?