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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cover Reveal: My Dearest Love by Sarah M. Eden

From the USA Today Bestselling author of the Longing for Home series, a new romance set in the beloved world of Hope Springs: MY DEAREST LOVE, coming July 2017!



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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Blog Tour: Midnight Sisters by Sarah E. Boucher

Midnight Sisters
Book Description:

Do not meddle with the master’s daughters.

The words rattle around Jonas’s head. What is the punishment again? Death? Dismemberment? Jonas, the newest addition to the gardening staff, can’t recall the exact penalty for breaking the rule. What does it matter anyway? He would never dream of meddling with the Earl of Bromhurst’s haughty daughters.

Until he comes face to face with Lady Ariela, the eldest of the Master’s daughters.

Her elusive smile and open manner cause him to question his convictions. In no time, he’s drawn into Lady Ariela’s world of mystery and intrigue, a world where she and her sisters will do anything—including leaving twelve empty beds at midnight—to escape their father’s strict rules.

Only Jonas can uncover the truth and save them from their father’s wrath and their own folly, if he is willing to risk everything he’s ever worked for.


Book Review:

It seems like there are a couple fairy tales that get retold a number of times. Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I love them though, so I keep reading them :) However, something that I really liked about this book was that in all the versions I've read of this story they are all magical or enchanted or something that would classify them (to my way of thinking) as a fantasy novel. Now, I love me some fantasy, but I really appreciated that this version of the story didn't have any of that. I kept waiting for it to show up, but everything was done in a "real world" type of way. I hadn't encountered that before in this fairy tale, and I liked it.

I will say that I had a harder time connecting with the characters. Jonas was a little too high in the instep for me, and I didn't really get to know the princesses really well. By the end of the book my favorite characters were Braden (not at first, he was super annoying and a little mean, but I liked him by the end) and Gregor. 

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Blog Tour Schedule:

Jan 9: Rebekah R.K. Grow (Jonas Selkirk feature)
Jan 10: Meagan Blooming with Books (Ariela Spencer feature)
Jan 11: Allison Eclectic Alli (Passionate Geek feature)
Jan 11: Melanie Mel's Shelves (Brisella Spencer feature)
Jan 12: Adrienne Adrienne Quintana (Canela “Cinnamon” Spencer feature)
Jan 12: Bonnie A Backwards Story (Daniela Spencer feature)
Jan 13: Lisa Bookworm Lisa (Estella/Frizella Spencer feature)
Jan 13: Bethany Perfect Beginnings (Estella/Frizella Spencer feature)
Jan 14: Cindy Cindy C. Bennett (Gisella, Hayla, Isella Spencer feature)
Jan 15: Amanda Inkings and Notions (Gisella, Hayla, Isella Spencer feature)
Jan 16: Tressa Wishful Endings (Janela Spencer feature)
Jan 16: Corinne Corinne's Garden (Krisela Spencer feature)
Jan 17: Katie Katie's Clean Book Collection (Larela Spencer feature)
Jan 18: Tarah Literary Timeout (Braden feature)
Jan 19: Paula The Phantom Paragrapher (Lord Bromhurt feature)
Jan 20: Raylynn Let It Be & Celebrate (Special author feature)

Specialized Character Sketch:
 
Meet Braden:

I wadded up another sheet of paper and tossed it on the growing pile. It just wasn’t right. She was the most perfect woman I’d ever laid eyes on. I couldn’t offer her something less than perfect. I began again.
Fairest Lady,
With skin is of purest snow,
And hair of burnished gold,
Your eyes the brighter glow,
And within such mysteries hold.
If I could let you know
And your hand in mine enfold . . .

Told? Bold? Show? Flow? Blech. I tore the paper down the middle and crumbled it like all the rest.
“Braden!” the voice boomed behind me. “What do you think you’re doing?”
Gregor glared at me from the doorway. I found few things intimidating, but that eyebrow inching upward was one of them.
“Um . . .” I fished for a plausible lie. It wouldn’t be the first one I told him. “Just writing my mother, sir.”
He growled. “You should know better than to waste paper, boy. We’re given a strict allowance. That,” he motioned to the pile of discarded sheets, “is coming out of your wages.”
I nodded in agreement. “Yes, sir.”
“And clean up the mess, Braden.”
“Of course, sir.” I offered up what I hoped was an innocent smile. His footsteps retreated and I turned my attention back to penning the perfect love note.
Hours later, I signed my name at the bottom. If she didn’t favor me, I was signing my own dismissal letter. What else could I do? I folded up the single sheet and scrawled her name on the front.  
Lady Larela

Midnight Sisters

Title: Midnight Sisters
Author: Sarah E. Boucher
Published: December 2016
ASIN:B01N9MX3BN 
Source: I received an eCopy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Blog Tour: The Decision that Changed My Life by Ganel-Lyn Condie

Book Description:

Whether making life-changing choices or considering seemingly small day-to-day decisions, to choose oftentimes means to take a step into the unknown.
In The Decision That Changed My Life, author Ganel-Lyn Condie explores some of the life-altering choices made by sixteen notable and everyday Latter-day Saints and the chain of events that followed those decisions that affected other people's lives. From the broad impact of Janice Kapp Perry's course-changing decision to pursue music to the significance of Chris Carter's converting to the gospel as a young boy, each story demonstrates the potential ripple effects of our decisions. While following the promptings of the Spirit without a full understanding of the outcome requires great faith, sometimes making that one decision has the power to change our lives—and the world.
Among others, these stories include:
T.C. Christensen—his decision concerning The Cokeville Miracle
Susan Easton Black—her decision to marry George Durrant
Ed and Patricia Pinegar—their decision to start planning, prioritizing, and changing their lives
Brad Wilcox—his reflection on his children's changes in the mission field
Ty Mansfield—his decision concerning same-sex attraction

Review:

This book is full of stories of all kinds, ranging from happy to completely heartbreaking. Each story is based on one decision that the author made that ended up completely changing the course of his or her life. Kathryn Jenkins Gordon's story in Chapter 6 was the hardest to read, and yet, was the one that resonated with me the most. Many of these stories had me wondering what I would do if I was put in that same position. I enjoyed reading the "ripple effect" stories after each initial story - how that particular author's choice made a difference in someone else's life too.

This is not a book that you sit down and read in one day. It is one that you take in chapter by chapter, story by story, taking time to digest what you've just read, and maybe even ponder on how those choices can help you in your life.

 Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
*Jan. 20th: http://www.blogginboutbooks.com/

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81ZlFpuSQjL.jpgTitle: The Decision That Changed My Life
Author: Ganel-Lyn Condie
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: January 2017
ISBN: 1524401382  
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
Purchase: Amazon  Deseret Book

Friday, January 13, 2017

Blog Tour: Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91CTyjkoDOL.jpg


Book Description:

Growing up around prophets and prophecies, Hannah and her sisters are excited to be betrothed to sons of Lehi and to journey to the promised land. But now with her people dividing, Hannah must choose between her faith and her family. Should she follow Nephi again, or stay with her husband, Lemuel, and her son in sin and misery? This compelling novel tells the familiar scripture story from an illuminating new perspective.

Review:

I usually enjoy reading historical fiction, but I just must not have been in the right mood to read this book at first. It was a good story, but I just wasn't feeling it. Thankfully, my weird mood passed soon and I was able to become more involved in the story.

The reason I like historical fiction as much as I do is because the authors typically bring up ideas that I never thought about. Granted, these stories are the fiction part of the book, so we don't really know how things played out, but these types of books help bring the people to life for me.

Take Lemuel for example. I've never thought more of him than just a rebellious, angry, petulant brother. And he definitely was that. But in this book, the author makes you think that maybe there was more to him than just the rebellious side. Maybe he was actually good at times. And even though I knew how he was going to end up, it was still sad to see it happening in the story.

I can't even imagine what life would have been like for Hannah. First off, it was hard to read about the extreme cultural differences. (And made me so very thankful that I was born in this time and country and not hers!) Getting past all of that, being told that you not only will marry someone you don't really know, but that someone is kind of an unrighteous jerk, well...it says a lot for her strength that she followed her father's wishes and didn't run off and live her own life. Because I would kind of be tempted to do just that.

I was definitely curious to see what would happen with Hannah at the end of the book. If you've read the Book of Mormon, you know what happens with the Nephites and Lamanites. How would someone who is doing her best to be righteous, despite her husband and other's influences feel when they learn that the righteous people are going to be leaving to start a new life elsewhere?

I am glad that I chose to read this book. It was entertaining, but most of all, very thought-provoking.

Tour Schedule:

“Daughter of Ishmael” blog tour schedule:
January 10: Marlene Bateman | Rockin’ Book Reviews
January 11: Heart. Mind. Soul.
January 12: Paula Kremser
January 13: Christy Monson Books | My Book a Day | Literary Time Out
January 14: Jots by Jess | Bookworm Lisa
January 15: Misty Moncur
January 16: Beyond the Lake
January 17: Kathryn Cooper
January 18: Ann Morris
January 19: The Dance
January 20: Why Not? Because I Said So | Mel’s Shelves
January 21: Marketing Mentress
January 22: The View From My Window
January 23: The Book Addict
January 24:
January 25: Julie Coulter Bellon
 
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91CTyjkoDOL.jpgTitle: Daughter of Ishmael
Author: Diane Stringam Tolley
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc
Published: January 2017
ISBN: 1462119662  
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Book Review: Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? by Ella Martin

Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up?
Book Description:

Bianca is the Westgate Prep quarterback’s sister—and that’s her only claim to fame. When her friends’ social experiment turns her into the It Girl of the Sophomore class and she captures the attention of the most popular guy in her grade, though, she’s ecstatic to introduce the world to her first boyfriend. But no one’s ever told her what to do when her friends hate her boyfriend and Prince Charming starts acting like a control-freaky nightmare. It doesn’t help that being around her brother’s best friend is making her head all fuzzy, either.

Book Review:

This was a quick cute YA coming of age read. I don't always understand the Prep school dynamics, but I find it fun to read about. The things that I really love about this story are Bianca's relationship's with her brother and her friends. My kids are super close in age, and I can only hope that when they get to high school together they will not only look out for each other, but they will enjoy each others company. I hope that they have a group of good friends that they will be loyal to, and I hope that when they start dating (ahhh! super scary) they will pick people who will treat them like the children of God they are.

I was really interested in all of Bianca's justifications for her boyfriend. Even after he screwed up royally. Even though I was in agreement with her friends about him, I could understand her thought processes and rationalizations, and that scares me.

This was a well written story that covers some difficult topics, in a way that is still appropriate. Kudo's to the author there. The content didn't bother me, but I'm not sure I want my teen (when I have one) reading about kissing someone like she did...especially when she's only 15. I'd still consider it a clean read, but some people might want to know.

Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? 
Title: Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up?
Author: Ella Martin
Publisher:
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform  
Published: June 30th 2014 
ISBN: 1462119379
 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Blog Tour: The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack

Dual Review
The Lady of the Lakes: The True Love Story of Sir Walter Scott
by Josi S. Kilpack

Book Description:

Walter Scott has three passions: Scotland, poetry, and Mina Stuart. Though she is young and they are from different stations in society, Walter is certain their love is meant to be. For years, he has courted her through love letters. She is the sunshine of his soul.

Though Mina shares Walter’s love of literature and passionate temperament, it’s hard for her to know if she truly loves him or if she has only been dazzled by his flattery. When she meets the handsome and charming William Forbes, her heart is challenged. Who will she choose?

But as every poet knows, “The course of true love never did run smooth,” and on a windy morning in the lake country, Walter meets Charlotte.

At twenty-six, Charlotte Carpenter believes she will never find love. After all, she is a Catholic-born Frenchwoman living in London with a family history shadowed by scandal. Though quiet, practical, and determined to live a life of independence, her heart longs for someone to love her and a place to call home.

Passion and promises collide as Walter, Mina, and Charlotte must each decide the course for their futures. What are they each willing to risk to find love and be loved in return?

Rorie's Review:

The last historical Proper Romance that I read was not my favorite by far, so I was a bit worried that this one might follow suit. However, I really like this author, so I decided to give it a try. Happily, this story was a lot more entertaining.

My heart went out to Sir Walter Scott, but at the same time, he was definitely blinded by his infatuation with Mina to see the writing on the wall. And Mina? Well, I never really did like her. She was kind of snooty and just led the poor man on, knowing that his feelings for her were a lot stronger than her feelings were for him. 

I was so happy when Scott met Charlotte. She was very likeable from the start, and I admired her tenacity and strength to learn how to live on her own - something that probably wasn't too common among the higher-class back then. I also appreciated the timeline in the back of the book so I could find out what happened to all of the main characters after the book ended.

Andrea's Review:

When I was given the opportunity to review the latest novel in the Historical Proper Romance line, I was a bit hesitant because the pacing in the last one I read was a bit slow for my taste. However, I'm very glad I decided to give The Lady of the Lakes a try. I really enjoyed it! This true love story was very well written, eye opening, and entertaining.

I truly felt for Walter and found him to very very interesting (and a bit blind at times, but they say love is blind so it worked well). Mina was awful, as was her father. Charlotte was such a great character. I loved that she wasn't like everyone else in society.

I enjoyed that the outcome wasn't one hundred percent certain early on. I had my hopes, and they were realized, but there were times when I wondered how it would turn out.
 
The prejudices portrayed throughout the story were really eye opening. The Scottish people were portrayed as very proud of their clans and heritage, along with a hesitation to welcome outsiders. The prejudice against the French was sad and interesting. I really enjoyed how the main characters didn't succumb to the prejudices.
 
I highly recommend The Lady of the Lakes.  



Learn fun behind-the-scenes facts about the book, chat with fabulous historical romance authors, hear what's coming up next in the Proper Romance Line, and win prizes throughout the party!

Timeline:
12:30- The Party Begins!
12:35- Q&A with author Julie Daines
1:05- Q&A with author Donna Hatch
1:35- Q&A with author Josi S. Kilpack
2:05- Q&A with author/editor Lisa Mangum
2:25- Q&A with Heidi Taylor, manager of the Proper Romance line

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91Jq%2BaVi5DL.jpg Title: The Lady of the Lakes
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: January 2017
ISBN: 162972226X 
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Monday, January 2, 2017

Book Review: For the Record by Regina Jennings

For the Record (Ozark Mountain Romance #3)
Book Description:

Betsy Huckabee might be a small-town girl, but she has big-city dreams. Writing for her uncle's newspaper will never lead to independence, and the bigger newspapers don't seem interested in the Hart County news. Trying a new approach, Betsy pens a romanticized serial for the ladies' pages, and the new deputy provides the perfect inspiration for her submissions. She'd be horrified if he read her breathless descriptions of him, but these articles are for a newspaper far away. No one in Pine Gap will ever know. 

Deputy Joel Puckett didn't want to leave Texas, but this job in tiny Pine Gap is his only shot at keeping his badge. With masked marauders riding every night, his skills and patience are tested, but even more challenging is the sassy journalist lady chasing him.
  


Book Review:

This was by far the best book from the Ozark Mountain Romance series (and it has a cute cover, they all did). It can be read as a stand alone, the characters that are repeated are towns folk. I've read all of them, but it was so far apart that I couldn't remember any of the characters and their backstories but I was just fine reading this one.

I just really liked the main characters and their development. I liked how Betsy wanted to be independent and worked hard for that, but was still willing to help her family with whatever they needed, even if it took time away from her own pursuits.

I enjoyed how Joel was super wary of Betsy at the beginning. Their relationship developed in a believable manner, and wasn't rushed or forced.

All in all it was a cute, quick, clean read.

For the Record (Ozark Mountain Romance #3) 
Title: For the Record
Author: Regina Jennings
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: December 2016
ISBN: 1462119379
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.