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Friday, July 14, 2017

Blog Tour: The Song of Copper Creek by Kristen McKendry

Reviews * Giveaway
The Song of Copper Creek by Kristen McKendry

Book Description:

It's been more than a year since she lost her family - a tragedy that has left Grace Whitaker a shadow of her former self. Unable to move on surrounded by so many memories, she makes the desperate decision to return to her childhood home in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada. There she hopes to salvage the broken pieces of her life - but what she finds is the promise of peace and healing in an unlikely place.

Copper Creek Farm is part of a Canadian historical museum, offering glimpses into 19th-century pioneer life. Yet the farm offers much more than that - it is a place of second chances. For Grace, the opportunity to work the land alongside the loving Whelan family is the first step toward healing. But she isn't the only broken soul seeking hope on the farm. Grace is joined by a young man in trouble with the law, as well as the Whelans' son and grandchildren, who are struggling through their own heartbreak. Together, these survivors discover the strength that can be found in friendship. But when faced with the uncertainty of the future, will they have the courage to move beyond the past to forge new lives for themselves?


Andrea's Review:

The Song of Copper Creek is a good, albeit slow, story about healing and moving on after tragedy. It was the type of book I could put down and come back a day or so later to pick up where I left off.

I thought it was a sweet story. Grace had been through a big loss (although it takes quite awhile to get to the details in the book), and has left her home and everything behind to try to heal for the summer. She ends up at a working farm near Port Dover, Ontario, Canada, where she hopes to learn some new skills in exchange for room and board. She quickly bonds with Laura, Martin, their grandchildren, and their neighbor, Toby. I really liked Toby. His personality was just what Grace needed to start opening up and be a shoulder to cry on when she was ready.

Not a lot happens in the story, but a lot happens inside Grace being able to move forward with her life. The story showed the importance of family (even adopted family) in order to move on in life.

I don’t see myself reading this again, but I don’t regret reading it. It was clean.

Rorie's Review:

I'm torn on how to review this book. It had all the makings of a good story, but it was just missing the plot. This was more like someone's memoirs rather than a novel. There was a lot of description about the farm life and the different things they grew and the work they did, which was interesting in a way, but I don't think we needed that much detail for a novel.
 
It was interesting learning the backstory of each of the characters...Grace, Mason, Toby and Matt, but even with all of these different stories going on, the book moved really slowly. 

Tarah's Review:

I really need to stop expecting different things when I read Kristen McKendry. I keep expecting her books to be like her Garden Plot, which was funny and quick. The Song of Copper Creek was poignant and healing, but it was also slow and something that I could put down for days before I picked it up again. Don't get me wrong, I liked it. The characters were extremely well written and the process that Grace went through was touching. I suppose I just kept expecting something to happen. Some form of climax, and instead it was just a nice sweet story.

Tour Schedule:


Tour Giveaway:

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Title: The Song of Copper Creek
Author: Kristen McKendry
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: June 2017
ISBN: 1524403024
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book
 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Book Review: The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

The Captain's Daughter
Book Description:

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater which is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

An injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.


Book Review:

From my own perspective and from reading reviews on GoodReads, it seems like if you liked this book, you loved it, and if you were kind of "eh" about the book it was because of a couple of things. First, the title. While the title itself is fine, it doesn't have a lot to do with the story. I personally kept waiting for that aspect of the story to manifest itself somewhere and it never did. It's a beautiful cover though (which is neither here nor there, but it is nice).

Second, the pacing of the story. It goes from very fast paced, to pretty slow. This, for me, wasn't a book that I stayed with until it was finished. It took a number of days for me to finish and I really think it was just the pacing. The story itself was fine and entertaining. The characters, especially Nate's family, were well written and enjoyable to get to know, but it was pretty slow.

The theater portions were fun and different for me. I enjoyed that aspect of the book immensely. While I'm not in any hurry to reread this book, I will gladly read the rest of the series (I'm assuming about Rosalyn's sisters) when those books come out.

The Captain's Daughter

Title: The Captain's Daughter
Author: Jennifer Delamere
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: June 2017
ISBN: 
0764219200
Source: I received an copy from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review: A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd

 A Stranger at Fellsworth (Treasures of Surrey, #3)
Book Description:

Could losing everything be the best thing to happen to Annabelle Thorley?

In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancĂ© has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, the home of her long-estranged aunt and uncle, where a teaching position awaits her. Working for a wage for the first time in her life forces Annabelle to adapt to often unpleasant situations as friendships and roles she’s taken for granted are called into question.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to eventually purchase land that he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to the lovely Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s tragic death, Owen begins to dream of a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.


Book Review:

I keep reading these stories waiting to be wowed like I was before, and because the covers are generally really pretty (I know...that makes me petty, but I enjoy well designed covers). Unfortunately things keep falling a little flat for me. I enjoyed A Stranger at Fellsworth when I read it, although it took a few days instead of one sitting, and when I was done I couldn't really remember what I just read. Nothing was really memorable. Nothing stood out to say, "Oh, I loved that book! Let me tell you about it."

That being said I should probably mention that I will keep reading this author. I appreciate a good clean regency romance, and the author really does deliver that every time.

A Stranger at Fellsworth (Treasures of Surrey, #3) 
Title: A Stranger at Fellsworth
Author: Sarah E. Ladd
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: May 2017
ISBN: 
0718011856
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Blog Tour: Heartbeat of the Bitterroot by Janice Mineer

Heartbeat of the Bitterroot by Janice Mineer

Book Description:

Jenna Clark always tried to bury her bleak beginnings in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, but a newfound secret about her father’s identity forces Jenna to dig up her past. While there, mysterious threats and dangers suddenly enter her life that bring about an unexpected man of her dreams–Michael Callahan. After a lifetime of running away from family and love will Jenna find the courage to confront her past and step forward into the future?

Review:

I wasn't sure what to expect from The Heartbeat of the Bitterroot, but as I started reading I was impressed. I was pulling for Jenna, and intrigued by the conflict and potential romance. The message seemed to be about Jenna finding herself and happiness even though she felt somewhat damaged by her upbringing.

As the story progressed I was somewhat overwhelmed by everything that was going on. The search for her real father, in addition to the disgruntled former employee, the threatening texts and situations, trying to decide where she wanted to be, plus a potential romance felt a bit like a soap opera. I wasn't sure which aspect I really wanted to follow, but all of it together was a bit too much for me.

The Heartbeat of the Bitterroot is a clean story with a good message.

Tour Schedule:

Title: Heartbeat of the Bitterroot
Author: Janice Mineer
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Published: June 2017
ISBN: 1462120296
Source: I received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Friday, June 23, 2017

Blog Tour: Mormon Girl: Incognito by Kari Iroz


Book Description:

Hilarious heroine Jacklyn Wyatt is back—this time in a dicey Vegas adventure! Jacklyn “Jack” Wyatt is just your average Mormon girl—other than her brief stint with the FBI, her subsequent brush with death, and her dreamy boyfriend, Special Agent Damon Wade. But in the eight months since she helped save a kidnapping victim, Jack’s life has returned to its mostly stagnant state. She’s still trapped in a dead-end job, and even her relationship seems to be stuck in a rut. These days, adventures are few and far between. So when Damon heads to Las Vegas on assignment, Jack sees the perfect opportunity to surprise her boyfriend and rekindle the spark in their relationship. But the surprise is on her: she has just landed herself in the middle of a high-stakes operation involving Russian criminals. Unwittingly drawn undercover once more, Jack is all too aware that the survival of Damon and his associates depends on the success of her charade. In the unfamiliar world of luxurious limos, exclusive nightclubs, and gambling, Jack must convince the high-rolling hustlers that she is a terrifying international arms dealer. If only she knew anything about poker. Or guns . . .

Andrea's Review:

I absolutely loved Kari Iroz's book, A Date with Danger, so I jumped at the opportunity to review her new book, Mormon Girl: Incognito. It's a sequel to A Date with Danger, but I think you could probably enjoy it on its own (but, really, A Date with Danger is so hilarious that you should definitely read it if you haven't).

Jack (short for Jacklyn-her name bugged me in the first book, but eventually I got over the girl going by a guy's name) seems to be a bit lost. She's taking her time with school and works in retail. She has dreams of a future with her boyfriend, but he doesn't seem like he's ready for the next step. She steps out of her comfort zone to surprise him, and it really backfires on her when she steps in the middle of an op. But, her true colors really come out when she's willing to help even though her life could be at risk.

There is  a lot of humor in this book, and while I wasn't laughing out loud nearly as often in this book as I did with A Date with Danger, I still thought it made for an entertaining story. It kept the serious aspects from being too heavy.

I liked the characters and the overall story. The romance was clean and felt realistic. This is a fun story that I can see myself reading again. I'm also looking forward to reading A Date within Danger again.

Tarah's Review:

There is just something about these books that just pulls me in right away. Both A Date with Danger and this one I wasn't even going to start reading yet, but I opened to the first page to skim and didn't end up putting it down until I was finished. Which is awesome for a book, but not so awesome for my house and my children :)

My one complaint with this book was Damon's use of "Babe." Now I don't really mind the use of this word as a term of endearment. I occasionally use "babe" myself, but his use of it was completely over the top. It wasn't a once or twice thing, it was ALL THE TIME and it made me want to gag.

If you are looking for a clean suspense/funny novel, then I would recommend Mormon Girl: Incognito. That being said, I think you probably need to read A Date with Danger first to really understand the dynamic between Damon and Jack. There are lots of references to the first book. It actually made me want to go back and reread that one, which I did.

This is an LDS specific novel (if you couldn't tell from the title :) ) Content wise the setting is in Vegas (which the author had a whole different view of that city than I do) and there is alcohol, gun dealers, hit men, kissing and mild violence. It looks like a lot, but it is woven into the storyline as Jack goes undercover to stop these bad people and I would still consider it clean.

Another winner for Kari Iroz! Can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Rorie's Review:

I absolutely loved the first book with Jack and Damon when I reviewed it. Kari's tongue-in-cheek humor made me laugh out loud over and over again. This book was no exception. 
 
Before I get to the good though, let me get a few petty annoyances out of the way. 1) Damon's use of the word "babe." It didn't fit his personality from the first book, and it kind of grated on me every time he used it. 2) The description of how long it took to get from the airport to the casino. I lived in Vegas for five years, and while I avoided the Strip whenever possible, I do know that you don't have to drive through the ghetto part of the Strip to get from the airport to the Bellagio, and it's not that far from the airport to that part of the Strip anyway. If Jack really did take that long of a drive to get there, her cab driver was seriously scamming her. 
 
All that aside, I really enjoyed the story. Jack has quite a knack at getting herself into crazy trouble. And I loved her inner dialogue. While I liked Damon's character in the first book better, I liked seeing a more vulnerable side of him in this story. And I was happy to get to "meet" his mom and sister for the first time too. They were such likeable people, I hope they show up in future stories (I'm hoping there are future stories with Jack and Damon. There really should be.)
 
I like how the author intertwines spiritual things, such as praying, in the story - not making a big production out of it, but just having it be an important part of Jack's life. Kind of a good lesson for all of us, I think. 
 
Like I said above, I love Kari's style of writing, and can't wait to see what she comes up with next.


Tour Schedule:

*June 23rdhttp://minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/http://www.singinglibrarianbooks.com/http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/http://www.blogginboutbooks.com/

Tour Giveaway:

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Blast: Indigo Bay Sweet Romance Series

Escape to Indigo Bay…
Six authors. Six Sweet Romances. One small South Carolina beach town.
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Sweet Dreams by Stacy Claflin Ever since her twin became a singing sensation, Sky Hampton has struggled to be appreciated for who she is—apart from her sister. She wards off Aspen’s fans, who beg for autographs and selfies everywhere Sky goes. She can’t even find a guy who likes her for her. Sky flees to the small coastal town of Indigo Bay in hopes of blending in and building her blossoming career. Jace Fisher is the textbook definition of the strong silent type—nobody can break through his tough exterior. He has suffered more than his fair share of tragedies, and to protect his shattered heart, he pushes everyone away. Jace spends his days fixing the Indigo Bay cottages, and his nights… nobody really knows. He keeps to himself. When Jace shows up to fix Sky’s AC, he barely notices her and she’s distracted with settling in. It takes an emergency situation to get them talking, and when they do, the two find they have more in common than first appeared. As their attraction grows, defenses soar. Will they be able to risk love when they’ve both been burned in the past?
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Sweet Matchmaker by Jean Oram Ginger McGinty hates liars. And she just married a spy. Bridal shop owner Ginger McGinty excels at matchmaking unless it’s for herself. That is, until she meets the dreamy Aussie who helps her get into an event meant for engaged couples. Logan Stone is sweet, caring, thoughtful and fun—everything she desires in a man. But it turns out, her new fake fiancĂ© could use a bit more than just a pretend engagement to get him into parties—he needs a quick marriage keep him in the country so he can be with his adopted special needs daughter. With a marriage of convenience pro-con list longer than the average wedding veil, Ginger puts her faith in romance and offers Logan her hand in return for one thing—no lies. But little does she know, almost everything she knows about her new husband is based on a lie. Everything except his kisses and the way he accidentally spills his soul whenever they meet. And that’s quickly becoming a problem for Logan Stone who depends on distance and deceit to keep civilians such as Ginger safe from his enemy’s clutches. Will the two find love in their marriage of convenience, or will everything break apart when the truth rises to the surface, shattering everything, including their trust?
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Sweet Sunrise by Kay Correll Sometimes life has a way of teaching lessons whether you’re ready to learn them or not… The last place on earth Will Layton wants to be is Indigo Bay, but his younger sister needs him and he’s never been able to say no to her. But she left out a few details… like their father staying with her and the girl who dumped him years ago is living right next door. The last person Dr. Ashley Harden thought she’d see in Indigo Bay is Will Layton, but he’s back in town and just as irresistible as when they were young. Seeing Will again is a complication that isn’t on her carefully mapped out life plan. In spite of Ashley’s best intentions, she starts falling for Will again, but nothing has changed. She’s still focused on getting the townspeople to accept her and see her as more than the girl from the wrong side of town, while Will is determined to guard his heart at any cost. Not the easiest road to true love… especially when secrets from the past are revealed and history threatens to repeat itself.
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Sweet Illusions by Jeanette Lewis Eva Malone was very young when her mother forced the family to join a violent doomsday cult, but she remembers a little about how normal life used to be. As a young woman, she escapes the cult and relocates to Indigo Bay, South Carolina to pursue her dream of peaceful anonymity. After several tumultuous years as a policeman in Atlanta, Ben Andrews has had enough. He returns home to Indigo Bay and joins the Indigo Bay PD, where the most exciting part of the job is getting a kitten out of a tree or rescuing tourists who lose their keys at the beach. Eva and Ben are immediately drawn to each other. But as the prophesied date of the apocalypse draws near and the cult steps up its efforts to find her, Eva realizes she can’t maintain her sweet illusion forever.
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Sweet Regrets by Jennifer Peel Melanie Dixon never thought she would find herself divorced, pregnant, and living back with her parents in Indigo Bay. Not one to let misfortune get the best of her, she picks up the broken pieces of her life and bit by bit puts them back together. She’s determined to go it alone, but her loving and equally determined family and friends have another idea. Enter Declan Shaw, the boy next door from long ago. The boy she wasn’t quite ready to commit forever to at eighteen. Back in Indigo Bay due to a recent job promotion, Declan sees this as a second chance to reunite with the girl who has owned his heart since the day they met in their junior year of high school. But Melanie is a tougher sell on the idea than he thought she would be. Now it’s up to him to prove to Melanie that she can trust him with her heart and that he’s the man she and her baby deserve. Will the regret and hurt of the past win out? Or will love prevail?
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 Sweet Rendezvous by Danielle Stewart On her last tank of gas Elaine Mathews drives South. Spontaneity had never been her strength, but there was something about being publicly fired that had a way of changing things. An empty bank account, broken heart, and enough humiliation to last a life time was all Elaine could claim as her own. Her car choked to a stop in the quiet beach town of Indigo Bay and all she could do was sit on the curb and wait for the sun to set on her misery. Davis Mills has a routine. Wake. Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. It hadn’t always been that way. He’d left indigo bay once and returned a broken man. Now he kept his dreams small and his schedule tight. If there was no room in his life for anything new then he’d never repeat his mistakes. When fate has them, quite literally colliding Elaine and Davis are faced with an important question. Can you live a full life if you never take a risk? Or is life made up of every mistake, miracle and chance that comes with being in love?
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amazon or paypal 
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 7/17/17 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 author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CD Review: Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Friends

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

CD Description:

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has collaborated with some of the most legendary vocalists and performers over the years. For this album, the Choir has assembled an unprecedented collection of recordings taken from standout performances over the past 15 years. Most of these performances were recorded live at the 20,000+ seat Conference Center in Salt Lake City. In addition, some real gems were uncovered or created specifically for this album, including a performance recorded live before millions of viewers at the start of the 2002 Winter Olympics (Sting & Yo-Yo Ma performing "Fragile") and new recordings such as Amy Grant's "Thy Word," The King's Singers' "I'm Running On," and Santino Fontana's "He Lives in You."

Album includes 11 tracks:
  • Fragile, feat. Sting & Yo-Yo Ma
  • The Prayer (from Quest for Camelot, feat. David Foster
  • Thy Word, feat. Amy Grant
  • That Lonesome Road, feat. James Taylor
  • He Lives in You (from The Lion King), feat. Santino Fontana
  • How Can I Keep from Singing?, feat. Renee Fleming
  • Through Heaven's Eyes (from The Prince of Egypt), feat. Brian Stokes Mitchell
  • Vitae Lux, feat. Sissel
  • Homeward Bound, feat. Bryn Terfel
  • Beauty and the Beast (from Beauty and the Beast), feat. Angela Lansbury
  • I'm Runnin' On, feat. The King's Singers


Review:

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Friends CD is a great collection that has something for everyone. Each track is a powerful performance, and I enjoyed having it play on repeat while I worked on the computer.

My favorite song is "Through Heaven's Eyes" featuring Brian Stokes Mitchell, followed closely by "That Lonesome Road" featuring James Taylor. While I didn't love every song, I really liked most of them, and I listened to the CD over and over. I'm happy to add this to my collection.

About the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:

The 360 members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir represent men and women from many different backgrounds and professions and range in age from 25 to 60. They reflect a medley of unique lives and experiences and are brought together by their love for singing and their faith. Their incomparable voices are the common chord that unites to form the choral group known all over the world as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir originated in the mid-19th century in Salt Lake City. As the Latter-day Saints moved west, Church President Brigham Young included musicians among members of the advance parties. Consequently, a small choir first sang for a conference of the Church in the Salt Lake Valley on August 22, 1847, just 29 days after the first group arrived. The origins of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir may be found in the desire and commitment of early converts to include appropriate music in both sacred and secular events.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has appeared at 13 world's fairs and expositions, performed at the inaugurations of five U.S. presidents, and sung for numerous worldwide telecasts and special events. Five of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's recordings have achieved "gold record" and two have achieved "platinum record" status. The most popular was the Grammy-Award-winning 1959 release of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" with the Philadelphia Orchestra.