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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blog Tour: House Divided by Jennifer Peel

House Divided (1)
Tour Schedule
House Divided by Jennifer Peel

Book Description:

There is a law irrevocably decreed in the state of Alabama that you must choose a team. You're either an Auburn fan or an Alabama Fan. There is no fence sitting or waffling. It’s one or the other. However, it doesn't mean that you can’t fall in love with someone from the opposing side. They even have a name for it ... House Divided. 

Ellie Eaton and Brady Jackson were just such a couple, but unfortunately they were separated by more than just their loyalty to a university. Against the odds and against the rules, Ellie and Brady dove right into the forbidden current of friendship and then love. Their sweet, innocent romance was one for the storybooks, but old rules and family prejudices ultimately tore them apart, just as they were each ready to depart to their beloved universities, Ellie to Auburn and Brady to Alabama. But years later, when near tragedy strikes, they're brought together again and given a second chance at love, this time with help from some very unlikely sources. 

House Divided is a sweet romance filled with southern charm, a dash of humor and, for good measure, a pinch of lies and intrigue.

Review:

I am so glad I read this book! It is exactly as the blurb describes-"a sweet romance filled with southern charm". The setting was a lot of fun and really added to the story. I could picture the town and the division in church and everywhere else.

The familial prejudice was pretty sad (although it made for an entertaining story). The resolution was heart warming, and the characters were great.

This is the first book I've read by Jennifer Peel, and I would definitely read more by her. Not only was the story excellent, but it was clean and well edited, which made for a smooth and enjoyable read.

If you are a fan of second chance romances, give House Divided a try. 

Praise for the Book: 

"House Divided was one of those books that made me want to ignore my children, my to-do list, my need for food, and pretty much anything else that would keep me from reading. Jennifer Peel has a real gift for depicting first love, heartbreak, and hope." 

"A tender, soft, story that truly is a gem to read." 

"Ms. Peel has created a story that stands as a tribute to true southern gentility, it's foibles and strengths. Truly a beautiful read that gives heart and meaning to true devotion. She truly knows how to weave a story that has beauty and true southern charm."
   
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About Author Jennifer Peel:

Jennifer Peel Headshot I'm a Colorado native who currently calls Alabama home. I'm the mother of three amazing children who have grown up way too fast. I enjoy the mountains, vacations at the beach, date night with my husband, late night talks with my kiddos, touring model homes, and pink bubblegum ice cream. I grew up on the Western Slope in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I learned to love the beauty of the outdoors, but not camping--unless staying overnight at the Marriott counts. I met my husband while living in Denver and then several years later we traded the beauty and majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains for the art and culture of Chicago, Illinois. My family and I enjoyed living near this world class city, despite the crazy cold winters, but new adventures awaited in Northern Alabama--just six hours away from Orange Beach, Alabama. These three magical places (the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Chicago, and Orange Beach) are the inspired locations used in several of my books.


Jennifer Peel 

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Blog Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/12/15
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.

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house dividedTitle: House Divided
Author: Jennifer Peel
Publisher: Jennifer Peel
Published: January 2015
ASIN: B00SYZRMUO
Source: I received an eCopy via the tour host in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cover Reveal: Saving Marilee by Annette K. Larsen

Coming May 1, 2015 - Saving Marilee by Annette K. Larsen
Kindle-Cover-1

Saving Marilee by Annette K. Larsen Marriage wasn’t bliss—not for Marilee. Instead of finding contentment with the handsome son of a sovereign duke, she found betrayal and neglect. And fear. A fear that finally lifts when her husband dies, freeing her from his domineering hand. But freedom alone can't give her peace, and she must battle to regain her love for life, rebuild her happiness, and reclaim the ability to trust. When her charming neighbor intrudes on her quiet life, offering his friendship (and a dog, of all things), she must determine whether his interest is genuine, whether he is a friend or foe, and whether he deserves the fragile bit of trust she has managed to scrape together.


Preorder on

add to goodreads
Annette 
Author Annette K. Larsen I was born in Utah, part of a crazy, fun family of nine. I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and St. Louis, MO before striking out on my own college adventure in Virginia. I decided to try my hand at writing novels after I was married and living in Idaho. I write clean romance because it’s my favorite genre, but often difficult to find.
I have Charlotte Brontë to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally, a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.
Cover Reveal Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/8/15 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 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 23, 2015

Blog Tour: What is Lost by Lauren Skidmore

Tour Schedule
What is Lost by Lauren Skidmore

Book Description:

Angry at his failure to exact vengeance on the prince, mask maker Joch flees Venesia to find his lost love. When a red-cloaked assassin promises answers, he has little choice but to trust her -- even though he knows he may be walking into a trap. Unravel the deception in this dazzling story of second chances that will keep you guessing to the last page.

Review:

What is Lost is an enjoyable sequel to What is Hidden. If you haven't already read the first book, I'd highly recommend reading it. Stop reading this review if you haven't read that yet, unless you don't mind spoilers.

I liked that What is Lost was told from Joch's point of view (the bad guy from the first book). That was somewhat unusual, but it helped to understand why he did what he did in book one. I came to like him and Kit, and their interesting relationship.

I suspected who Kit was right away, but did enjoy the story as it came about revealing her true identity.

I was very surprised at the outcome. I definitely didn't see it coming. I enjoy a happy ending, and although Joch ended with good potential for his future, I wouldn't call the ending happy. It was left open for a sequel, which I will happily read. 

About the Author:

Lauren Skidmore grew up in Kansas, with stints in Ohio and New York, and currently lives in Utah. She attended Brigham Young University where she earned a BA in English Teaching with an emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language and Japanese. She then spent a year in Japan teaching and traveling. When she's not exploring new places, you can probably find her on the internet with fifteen windows open and looking at just one more thing before actually getting something done.


Title: What is Lost
Author: Lauren Skidmore
Publisher: Sweetwater Books
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 1462116213
Source: I received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for a review.
 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Book Review: This is Jesus by J. Kirk Richards


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Book Description: 
 
The life of the Savior is portrayed in stunning fine art pieces by award-winning artist J. Kirk Richards. These striking new images were created by the artist exclusively for this book. Accompanied by a harmonized account of the Savior's ministry, Atonement, and Resurrection, these exquisite paintings reflect a deep reverence for Christ's mission and sacrifice. Each page is beautifully designed to complement the unique style of the artist. A perfect reminder of the true reason we celebrate the Easter season, this handsome volume will be treasured by the entire family for years to come.

About the Artist:

Figurative artist J. Kirk Richards is known for his accomplishments as a painter of Judeo-Christian subject matter. While not all of his work is overtly religious, the majority of his themes stem from spiritual ideas and narratives. His paintings exhibit a love for the human figure, use of symbolism, and an emphasis on lyric composition. His original paintings can be found in private and public collections across the country. 

Book Review:

This is a beautiful book. Each page has a different picture by the artist accompanied by a scripture that takes the reader through the Savior's ministry, crucifixion and resurrection. 

I haven't had a change to read through this book with my kids yet, but I plan on doing that as we get closer to Easter. I plan on making it a yearly tradition to read this book with my kids at Easter time to help them more fully understand the reason why we celebrate this holiday.  This is definitely a book that I would recommend to anyone.


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Title: This is Jesus
Author: J. Kirk Richards
Publisher: Deseret Book Company
Published: March 2, 2015
ISBN:  1629720186
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Deseret Book  Amazon

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Book Review: The Outlaw Takes a Bride by Susan Page Davis

The Outlaw Takes a Bride
Book Description:

Johnny Paynter flees Denver to escape being hanged for a murder he didn’t commit. At his brother’s ranch in Texas, where he thought he could take refuge, he finds his brother, Mark—dead. Taking advantage of his strong resemblance to his brother, Johnny assumes Mark’s identity. Soon Johnny discovers that Mark had been corresponding with a widow named Sally in St. Louis, and she’s en route to be a mail-order bride to Mark. Seeing no other option, Johnny makes a fateful decision to go through with the wedding, posing as his brother. But Sally has secrets she's hiding, too. How will a marriage survive with so much deception?

Book Review:

This was a well written book filled with lots of .... angst.  You know the kind. The "I need to communicate with her, but..." and reasons upon reasons fill up pages of why these two can't communicate with each other.  So, that's not new there, but I did like the mis-identity of the story.

I can't even imagine going through anything like Sally goes through, and I appreciate her strength at the end of the novel. Johnny/Mark Paynter is a little too....weak for my taste. He can't make up his mind and is easily swayed back and forth. He is a sweet heart though and does the best he can for him and Sally.

Nothing really stands out in this novel, but it's a pleasant read, clean, and made me think about how I stand up to pressures of other people.


The Outlaw Takes a Bride
Title: The Outlaw Takes a Bride
Author: Susan Page Davis
Publisher: Shilo Run Press
Published: March 2015
ISBN:  163058259X
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Review: Murder at Tophouse by Clair M. Poulsen

Review * Giveaway


Book Description:

Officer Mike Denton can't shake the feeling that something isn't right. Since the shooting that nearly killed him, Mike has attempted to piece his life back together. Just when he thought things were starting to look up, false allegations leveled by his partner, Cal Granberg, have led to his suspension, and Mike begins to suspect that Cal may have played a role in the deadly attack. He has only one clue: a conversation he was never meant to hear involving guns in New Zealand.

Suspicious that he may have stumbled on an illegal gun trafficking plot, Mike sees his suspension as an opportunity to conduct an independent investigation into the shady actions of his ex-partner. He prepares for a month-long vacation to New Zealand to find the proof that would clear his good name but what he couldn't prepare for his lovely young New Zealander Skylie Yates, a woman with her own troubles. A dangerous enemy believes that Skylie is the key to finding a hidden fortune. The problem: Skylie claims to know nothing about the money. Now, Mike must set aside his own quest for evidence in order to discover who's behind the threats to the woman he's coming to care for. But when his two investigations collide and Skylie's life hangs in the balance, Mike finds himself in a race against time to unearth a corruption far deeper than he could have imagined . . .


Rorie's Review:

I have read several of Clair Poulsen's books and enjoyed them, so I was excited to be able to review this book. I struggled with this one though, and I can't quite figure out why. The best I can come up with is that the story seemed rushed and the characters just weren't developed enough, so I didn't feel any kind of connection to them.

That being said, the story line was interesting, and the last 1/3rd of the book kept my interest better than the first part of the story did. So, while this book was not my favorite, I do plan on reading more of his books in the future.

Tarah's Review:

I've never read anything from Clair Poulsen before, but this sounded intriguing so I thought I'd give it a try. I will admit that I don't love the cover (and we all know what a cover snob I am and the white background totally threw me) so it took me awhile to actually pick the book up and start reading it.

Mike seemed like a good solid person who had a lot of tragedy in his life. I know he was supposed to be a young detective, but I just kept picturing someone older so when he connected with Skylie it was weird until I remembered he was supposed to be younger.

There wasn't much to Skylie. We don't really get to see her and Mike's relationship develop, we are just kind of told that it does, so while I didn't love her, I didn't not like her either.

I don't know anything about cops and police work, but everyone in the book acted different than other cop books and movies I've seen :)  and let's face it, I just really struggle with first person writing. I guess I feel like I'm being told stuff instead of just being in the story with someone. For parts of the book the perspective changes, and I enjoyed that writing a lot. I was able to really get into the story in those parts. Plus, it made me want to visit New Zealand really bad :)

I appreciate the clean writing. A lot of junk could have been thrown in there, but there wasn't any, and it's nice to be able to read something like that. So while this particular book wasn't my cup of tea, I will try more from this author.

Blog Tour Schedule:

*March 16th: http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/, http://ilovetoreadandreviewbooks.blogspot.com/ 
*March 17th: http://melsshelves.blogspot.com/, http://katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com/, http://ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com/
*March 18th: http://mybookaday.blogspot.com/, http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/, http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/
*March 19th: http://www.bonnieharris.blogspot.com/, http://www.wishfulendings.com
*March 20th: http://www.wishfulendings.com, http://littlelightdesigncollective.com/category/entertainment/books/

Tour Giveaway:

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Murder at Tophouse
Title: Murder at Tophouse
Author: Jeanette Miller
Publisher:Clair M. Poulsen
Covenant Communications
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 1680470337
Source: We received a copy from the publisher in exchange for our reviews.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Blog Tour: Heart of Gold by Jeanette Miller

Review * Giveaway


Heart of Gold by Jeanette Miller

Book Description:

Ashlyn Carter feels as brittle as the lifeless roses that border her new house. A year after the tragic death of her husband, the young widow discovers a horrifying secret. Heartbroken and humiliated, she resolved that no one could ever know. Now, back in her hometown with her three-year-old daughter, she's ready for a fresh start. But Ashlyn is unprepared to find that an embarrassing memory, buried deep in her past, is about to resurface. . .

Ryan Anderson was the last person Ashlyn expected to see. After the unexpected kiss they d shared years earlier, she assumed she'd never see him again. Though she tries to avoid him at all costs, Ashlyn finds herself running into her former flame far more often than she'd like. Between her uncomfortable history with Ryan and the series of well-meaning suitors pursuing her, Ashlyn finds herself disenchanted with dating altogether. Yet as she and Ryan slowly become reacquainted, she feels her resolve to avoid a relationship slipping. But when moving forward with Ryan means revealing the secrets he's worked so hard to keep, will Ashlyn have the courage to leave behind her late husband's legacy of deceit and learn to love again?
 


Review:

The parts of Heart of Gold that took place in the present day made for an entertaining romance. A grieving, young widow returns to her hometown with her daughter to try to heal and move on with her life. Her faith in relationships has been shattered by what she learned about her husband after he died, and she has no intention of dating or marrying again. But, with encouragement from everyone, she does go on some dates, and a person from her past comes back into her life that is determined to help her heal.

There were a lot of elements that I enjoyed about the story. I liked the characters, especially the goodness found in Ryan. The small town element was endearing. I liked the cute, helpful neighbors, the matchmakers at church and around town, and just the overall feel of trying to find the positive and move forward with one's life.

I was hung up the entire time by the past kiss between a twenty-year-old woman and a sixteen-year-old boy. It was mentioned early on in the story, but briefly, so I hoped that as the story went on the explanation would make me feel better. It was explained, sort of, but the explanation didn't make me feel better. ILLEGAL kept flashing through my mind. I would have enjoyed the story more if that aspect had been changed so the age gap was closer, or the kiss had happened when Ryan was at least 18.

That part aside, I thought the present day romance was sweet. I would try other books by Jeanette Miller.

Blog Tour Schedule:

*March 9th: http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/, http://brooklynberrydesigns.com/
*March 10th: http://katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com/, http://ilovetoreadandreviewbooks.blogspot.com/
*March 11th: http://www.iamareader.com/, http://www.bonniesharris.com/
*March 12th: http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/, http://mybookaday.blogspot.com/, http://www.wishfulendings.com/, http://ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com/
*March 13th: http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/, http://melsshelves.blogspot.com/

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Title: Heart of Gold
Author: Jeanette Miller
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 1621087921
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book