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Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray

Secrets of Sloane House (Chicago World's Fair Mystery, #1)

Book Description:

One woman's search for the truth of her sister's disappearance leads her to deceit and danger in 1893 Chicago.

Rosalind Perry has left her family's rural farm in Wisconsin to work as a housemaid at Sloane House, one of the most elegant mansions in Gilded Age Chicago. However, Rosalind is not there just to earn a living and support her family-she's at Sloane House determined to discover the truth about her sister's mysterious disappearance.

Reid Armstrong is the handsome heir to a silver fortune. However, his family is on the periphery of Chicago's elite because their wealth comes from "new money" obtained from successful mining. Marriage to Veronica Sloane would secure his family's position in society-the lifelong dream of his ailing father.

When Reid begins to realize that Rosalind's life may be in danger, he stops thinking of marriage prospects and concentrates on helping Rosalind. Dark things are afoot in Chicago and, he fears, in Sloane House. If he's not vigilant, Rosalind could pay the price.

Set against the backdrop of Chicago's Gilded Age and the 1893 World's Fair, Secrets of Sloane House takes us on a whirlwind journey of romance and mystery.


Book Review:

I don't think I was expecting this book to be soo....dark. Not dark in a, um...dark way :) but dark in all the bad, horrible things that took place at that time. I was expecting a lighter mystery and wasn't really prepared for the rape scene that took place. Scene is probably not the correct word to use. The author, fortunately, did not go into any detail about it. However, it still cast a dark shadow on the book.
I enjoyed not only the history behind this book, but the deeper look into the class system of a wealthy family who comes from money, a self-made wealthy family, and the servants and all the expectations of society on each of these classes.
I enjoyed the conflict that Reid went through regarding his families expectations, society's, and his own. He was a pretty likable main character. Rosalind sort of fell flat for me. There really wasn't anything that made me really like her and sympathize with her. Well, except for being shy and timid and worrying about getting lost :) That I can totally relate to.
I think the secondary characters were the best part of this novel. I loved Reid's parents, and I am intrigued by Eloisa, and will definitely give her book a try when it comes out.
This book probably wouldn't make it on my "I will tell you about this book if you ask for a recommendation" list (Not that I have a list like that, but if I did).

Secrets of Sloane House (Chicago World's Fair Mystery, #1)
Title: Secrets of Sloane House
Author: Shelley Gray
Publisher: Zondervan
Published: July 2014
ISBN:  0310338522
Source: I received an eCopy from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Blog Tour: Amazing Hairstyles from Easy to Elegant by Becky Porter

Amazing Hairstyles: From Easy to Elegant


Book Description:

Tired of bad hair days? Popular hairstyle blogger Becky Porter teaches you the basics of braids, buns, and twists, and helps you combine them to create amazing hairstyles for any occasion. Go from drab to fab at any age with the easy, step-by-step tutorials in this essential guide.

Book Review:

I am not a hair person. I never learned and I have such funky hair that it is a huge frustration to me. My poor girls are suffering from this, so I was glad to see that Amazing Hairstyles from Easy to Elegant included the basics for people like me who need the beginning. Actually, all my favorite hairstyles were in the first section.

I really like how there was step-by-step photo instructions. That helps people like me who don't have a clue. While I don't love all the hairstyles in the book, and some I just can't use because of the length of my children's hair, I am excited that now my daughter has a reference book to help her when she gets old enough to do her own hair....because this momma can't teach her. I also appreciated how there were hairstyles for both me and my girls. I tried the Braided Buns on myself (which is quite the feat people) and while I did modify the top, this is going to quickly become a favorite of mine. And my oldest daughter was quite happy with the waterfall twist. My younger daughter doesn't really care, as long as she looks like a princess. And she lets me play with her hair more than anyone else, so that's fun.

So if you are needing help because you are clueless like me, or if you are just looking for ideas, maybe this would be a good book for you.

Amazing Hairstyles: From Easy to Elegant
Title: Amazing Hairstyles from Easy to Elegant
Author: Becky Porter
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Published: October 2014
ISBN: 1462115039
Source: I received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blog Tour: Deceived by Kathi Oram Peterson

Review * Giveaway
Deceived by Kathi Oram Peterson

Book Description:

A storm rages outside the unassuming Los Angeles house, while within, something sinister lurks. A murderer stalks his victim, unaware of a witness to the horrific crime: awakened from a deep, drug-induced slumber, Tara Kelly hears voices in the next room. Struggling to focus through her sleep medication, the young woman helplessly observes her aunt's murder. Now she's a look end the killer cannot ignore ...

A family friend helps Tara ash she does the only thing she can: disappear. Fleeing to the security of a remote Idaho ranch, Tara finds herself under the guard of handsome rancher Joseph White Eagle. Her unwitting protector takes his role seriously, going as far as claiming that Tara is his fiancee. But even as their relationship deepens, Joseph struggles to see past Tara's similarities to his late wife. When a series of accidents threatens Tara's life, it becomes clear that her attempt to outrun danger has been in vain. The killer will stop at nothing to find her, and Joseph will do anything to protect her—even if it means unraveling secrets that will have devastating consequences for them both.

Tour Schedule:

17th: http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com & http://www.minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/
18th: http://fireandicereads.com/
19th: http://ilovetoreadandreviewbooks.blogspot.com/ & http://mybookaday.blogspot.com/
20th: http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/, &  http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/
21st: http://littlelightdesigncollective.com/
22nd: http://www.wishfulendings.com/ & http://www.iamareader.com/ 

Review:

Deceived opens up with a pretty intense scene that caught my attention right away, and Tara's fuzzy memory about what happened kept me guessing. What really happened to her aunt? Had Tara pulled the trigger?

The romance was also a bonus to the story. Even though the novel only covers a short amount of time, with so much going on the romance felt natural instead of the "insta-love" you get in a lot of novels.

The characters, especially Tara, Joseph, Bear and Digger, were fun to get to know. The ranch setting mixed with the suspense of hiding out from a rogue cop, and someone trying to shut the ranch down held my attention. The inclusion of Indian and Irish tales also made for an interesting story.

Sadly, the resolution didn't do it for me. I didn't mind at all that the bad guy wasn't who I suspected (that surprise was great), but the motives and how things were executed were a bit over the top. Plus, in the intensity a few things only felt partially explained.

About the Author:

Kathi Oram Peterson loves to write edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense and young adult time travel. The constant thread she sews in both genres is faith in a higher power. She works hard to entertain her readers with clean, uplifting stories. Her path to publication took a detour as she raised three children. During those years, Kathi read all the how-to books on writing that she could find. When her last child graduated high school, she went back to college and earned her BA in English. She was fortunate to do an internship for the University of Utah’s Continuum magazine, where she learned to edit and write articles in the “real” world. Shortly after graduation, she was hired by a curriculum publisher to write and edit concept and biography books for children. She worked shoulder to shoulder with artists and computer programmers as she watched her children’s stories come to life. But the desire to write full-length novels called to her. Leaving the workforce, she devoted herself to writing fiction. You can contact Kathi through her website, www.kathiorampeterson.com, and her blog, www.kathiswritingnook.com.

Tour Giveaway:

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Deceived

Title: Deceived
Author: Kathi Oram Peterson
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Published: November 2014
ISBN: 1621088537
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Blog Tour: The Match Maker by Karey White

Review * Giveaway

The Match Maker by Karey White
(The Husband Maker #2) 

Book Description:

(Summary contains spoilers if you have not yet read book #1 The Husband Maker)

It’s been six months since Charlotte and Kyle broke up, and the Husband Maker strikes again. Kyle is officially engaged, while Charlotte is still nursing a broken heart. In an effort to get Charlotte out of her rut, she and her best friend decide it’s time for some good old-fashioned matchmaking. While Aleena arranges for Charlotte to meet up with a handsome Scottish tourist, Charlotte gets her two best friends together. But when sparks start to fly between Aleena and Angus, Charlotte is left feeling more alone that ever--at least until the charming Scotsman becomes more than just a safe, rebound guy and teaches her that maybe, just maybe, she can dare to open her heart again.

Review:

After the abrupt ending in the first book of this series (The Husband Maker), I was antsy to read The Match Maker.

I really enjoyed how everything played out in book two. Actually, that might not be true. I thought the story was great, but there were moments when I was yelling inside about some injustices! But, I loved how we got to know several characters better, and how Charlotte was able to take some time to enjoy herself and think about what she really wanted. I loved the settings of the story!

As fair warning, book two also ends somewhat abruptly. I felt more closure this time though, but hope that the third book in the series won't take too long to come out. I have my predictions for the final outcome, but I've become somewhat invested in these characters and am looking forward to how it all plays out.

I'd definitely recommend this clean romance series. If you don't handle cliff hangers I'd suggest waiting until the entire series is written before you start.

About the Author:

Karey WhiteKarey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.



$25 Blog Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 11/30/14
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 publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 
  
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Match Maker Book CoverTitle: The Match Maker
Author: Karey White
Publisher: Orange Door Press
Published: November 2014
ISBN: 1941898025
Source: I received an eCopy via the tour host in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble

Monday, November 17, 2014

Online eBook Sale

If you are looking for some great deals on eBooks, be sure to check out Bookmarked Bargains this week for their four day eBook sale. There is also a chance to win a Reader Party Pack. Head on over to check it out.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Blog Tour: Lady Emma's Campaign by Jennifer Moore

Review * Giveaway
Lady Emma's Campaign by Jennifer Moore

Book Description:

The London Season is ushered in with a thrilling flurry of invitations, gowns, and parties. But despite her status as belle of the ball, lovely socialite Emma Drake simply cannon fathom becoming entangled with any gentleman of her acquaintance. For, in truth, since childhood, her heart has belonged to Captain Sidney Fletcher, a man of the sea—and her brother's best friend.

Emma knew Sidney's directive to free the Spanish city of Cadiz from French occupation would be dangerous, but when word arrives of his capture, she is frantic. Determined to aid her brother in Sidney's rescue, she hides aboard her brother's ship and sets a course to Spain. But the realities of war are a far cry from the drawing rooms of London, and Emma finds the man she loves a mere shadow of his former self. When a series of events leaves them trapped together behind enemy lines, Emma and Sidney must embark on a journey fraught with danger—from a bloody hunt for Spanish treasure to the battlefields of war-torn Spain, new threats lurk around every turn. As their flight becomes increasingly perilous, Sidney and Emma must trust each other with their lives—but can they trust each other with their hearts?

Review:

What an excellent book! I didn't realize before I started reading Lady Emma's Campaign that this is a sequel to Becoming Lady Lockwood. It took me several pages to place everyone since it'd been awhile since I'd read the first book, but once I did I was excited to read more about Sidney (one of my favorite characters from Becoming Lady Lockwood).

I loved how Emma fell in love with Sidney, her older brother's friend, when she was young, and held onto that love for years. She didn't know if he might return her feelings, or even thought of her, but no one else compared to him.

If you have a lot to accomplish, you might want to hold off starting Lady Emma's Campaign. Once I started, I didn't want to put it down. The adventures were intense, and were a great way to develop each character.

This book can be read as a standalone, but I think it was even better having the character background gained from Becoming Lady Lockwood. Either way you choose to read it, it is a clean and entertaining read that I'd recommend, and one that I will read again.

Blog Tour Schedule: 

*10th: http://www.charissastastny.com/, http://www.iamareader.com/ (review by Kathy)
*11th: http://mybookaday.blogspot.com/, http://fireandicereads.com/
*12th: http://www.minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/ & http://www.ldswomensbookreview.com, http://www.blogginboutbooks.com/
*13th: http://www.iamareader.com/ (Review by Cheryl), http://www.wishfulendings.com/
*14th: http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/, http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/
*15th: http://ilovetoreadandreviewbooks.blogspot.com/

Tour Giveaway:

Enter to win a $75 gift card to Sweet Salt Clothing using the Rafflecopter form below.

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Title: Lady Emma's Campaign
Author: Jennifer Moore
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
Published: November 5, 2014
ISBN: 1621087883
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase:  Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Blog Tour: Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett

*Review*
Tour Schedule
Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett

Book Description:

“Marley was dead to begin with . . .”

These chillingly familiar words begin the classic Christmas tale of remorse and redemption in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Now R. William Bennett rewinds the story and focuses the spotlight on Scrooge’s miserly business partner, Jacob T. Marley, who was allowed to return as a ghost to warn Scrooge away from his ill-fated path. Why was Marley allowed to return? And why hadn’t he been given the same chance as Ebenezer Scrooge?

Or had he?

Written with a voice reminiscent of Dickens, Jacob T. Marley is a masterfully crafted story of remorse and redemption, sure to become a Christmas favorite.

Review:

I highly recommend Jacob T. Marley for anyone looking for a story of forgiveness and redemption!

I don't know that I'd put much thought into Marley's ghost before reading this book, but R. William Bennett does an excellent job sharing Marley's story. Reading about his life was so interesting, and then seeing his remorse as he looked back on pivotal moments in his life was heartbreaking.

The story really pulls at the heart strings. All of our choices have an impact on those around us. We never know what will happen from the choices we make, but taking a look at the consequences from afar as was done in this story is really eyeopening.

I thoroughly enjoyed this spin off of A Christmas Carol both times I read it. Yes, it is worth reading more than once. I'm excited to a have copy that I can pull out each year as Christmas approaches to help me get into the Christmas Spirit. But, this book would really be great any time of the year. The lessons it teaches are invaluable.

Author Interview:



Title: Jacob T. Marley
Author: R. William Bennett
Publisher: Shadow Mountain; Reprint edition
Published: October 14, 2014
ISBN: 1609079159
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Deseret Book | Amazon | Kindle