Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: The Express Rider's Lady by Stacy Henrie

The Express Rider's Lady

Book Description:

Delsie Radford is going to make it to California, no matter the danger or difficulty. Her father may have kept her and her sister apart, but Delsie refuses to miss her sister's wedding—even with only eighteen days to get there. And she's found the perfect escort in Pony Express rider Myles Patton.

Myles can't believe it when a pretty socialite hires him to take her cross-country through rough terrain and dangerous territory. Surely she'll quit before they reach their destination—he's known girls like her before. But the longer they ride together, the more Myles notices Delsie's toughness and kindness beneath her polished exterior. And though they may be worlds apart…they might just be perfect for each other.

Book Review:

Sigh. I love a good historical romance, and I'll admit that I enjoy stories about the Pony Express (did you ever watch that show a looooong time ago? Good times, good times).  Unrelated, but if you read this book you should definitely read the note from the author at the end. It's really interesting and explains the time-line of things if you are a stickler for accuracy.

Can I admit that I'm still shocked every time I read a book by this publisher? I guess this line from Harlequin is clean and religious, but it still gets me :) And can I complain a little about the size of the book? I am getting used to the wider and higher books. My hand hurt from holding this :)

Does it seem like I'm nit-picking? I am, it's true. Really, I loved this book. The story was great, and moved along at a good clip (which is tricky since they are covering so many miles). The ending might have been a little hasty, but I would definitely read this again, and highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical romance. Hopefully you will love Delsie's grit, and Myles character just like I did.

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.
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Stacy Henrie has always had a love for history, fiction, and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a mother to three, Stacy loves to live out history through her fictional characters. In addition to author, she is also a reader, a road trip enthusiast, and a novice interior decorator.

Tour Giveaway

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The Express Rider's Lady
Title: The Express Rider's Lady
Author: Stacy Henrie
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Historical
Published: February 2016
ISBN:  0373283482
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for a review. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Blog Tour: Not Always Happenstance by Rachael Anderson

Review * Giveaway

Not Always Happenstance by Rachael Anderson

Book Description:

Lani has lived in Hana, Hawaii for five years. She’s learned to surf, fish, dive, and manage her grandmother’s bed and breakfast. She’s also learned to take one day at a time the way it should be taken—relaxed and unrushed, savoring every moment. But, like a large wave on the brink of breaking, her life is about to crash out of control. A proposal of marriage, a conniving grandmother, a cryptic Asian woman, and a handsome guest, and suddenly everything calm begins to churn, everything clear becomes confused, and all that was normal segues into peculiar. As Lani struggles against the current to hold her ground, she realizes that she can either continue to fight and eventually lose, or take a take a leap of faith, hold her breath, and ride the wave wherever it takes her. 

***This book is part of the Power of the Matchmaker series that features one recurring character—the match maker—but it is a STAND-ALONE novel.*** 
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Andrea's Review:

Rachael Anderson is an excellent author, and her latest book, Not Always Happenstance, is a wonderful addition to any clean romance collection. And, even though it is a stand alone novel, it is also a great addition to the Power of the Matchmaker Series.

This was the perfect, take-me-away novel to read in the winter. The characters were a lot of fun, and the setting and culture of Hawaii added so much. If I had the money I'd take my family over there right now to get a break from the freezing temps and snow that doesn't seem to want to stop. But I digress. . .

Easton was a bit of a mystery for a lot of the story. I had to warm up to him, but he ended up being very likable.

I liked the twists and turns. It wasn't just a cut and dry romance of people meeting and falling in love. There were obstacles throughout the story and it made it seem more realistic.

Tarah's Review:

There is just something about Rachael Anderson's books that are always winners. Clean romance? Check. Real and believable characters? Check. Great secondary characters? Check. What more could you ask for?

I guess the only thing that had me scratching my head for a bit was the fact that Lani was in a relationship for nine years! Wow...I can't even fathom that. Oh, I'm sure it happens, so it probably isn't even atypical for most people. It was just weird to me :)

I loved how believable the romance was. Sure there was attraction to start with, but then it had to go through ups and downs and figure things out stages.

Considering I'm reading it for the second time, I'd highly recommend this as a great book if you like clean contemporary romance fiction.

About the Author:

RachaelUSA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Blog Tour $50 Giveaway:

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/29/16
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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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Not Always HappenstanceTitle: Not Always Happenstance
Author: Rachael Anderson
Publisher: HEA Publishing
Published: February 2016
ISBN: 1941363156
Source: I received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cover Reveal: Painting Rain by Annette K. Larsen

Painting Rain

Painting Rain by Annette K. Larsen

Book Description:

How do you heal your heart after tragedy leaves you broken? When the person you loved didn’t deserve it and they can’t earn your forgiveness because they’re already dead? How do you move on, and heal, and love?

If you’re Princess Lorraina, you paint. A year ago Lorraina watched Tobias die, and she still doesn't know how she's supposed to heal—or forgive. How can she when she’s still running away? In an attempt to reinvent herself, she steps outside her comfortable life as princess and seeks the tutelage of a master painter—a man who is not at all impressed by her pedigree, and demands not just talent, but emotional honesty. Struggling to learn what’s being taught, she finds herself drawn to someone who not only knows her secrets, but who she once considered far below her notice. Now she is compelled to seek him out despite knowing their relationship would be forbidden if discovered. Staying away from him doesn’t seem possible when discovering him may be the key to healing her heart and rediscovering herself.
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About Author Annette K. Larsen:

Annette LarsenI was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona and St. Louis, Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University, where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children. 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 Code or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/22/16
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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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Friday, January 29, 2016

Review: Larry H. Miller—Behind the Drive: 99 Inspiring Stories from the Life of an American Entrepreneur

Larry H. Miller—Behind the Drive:
99 Inspiring Stories from the Life of an American Entrepreneur
Compiled by Bryan Miller

In Driven: An Autobiography, business mogul Larry H. Miller shared his painful and joyful lessons about the many facets of his life and legacy and candidly spoke about the people and circumstances that influenced him. In Behind the Drive, the tables are turned as we hear firsthand from both famous and obscure people whose lives were influenced, inspired, and even transformed by the compassion, generosity, and leadership of Larry. More than 100 individuals share personal stories about the man who they came to know and love as a philanthropist, a Good Samaritan, an angel in disguise. Quite frankly, Larry H. Miller was addicted to helping people. It didn't matter who they were. It didn't matter what he was doing at the time. When Larry heard the call for help, he unassumingly went about to make things better. The marvel of Miller isn't what he did to shape a community or touch a life, it's how he did it—one person at a time. Readers might ask how did Larry H. Miller have the time to personally impact so many lives? The answer—Larry chose to use his time a little bit differently than most. Behind the Drive pulls back the curtain and shows us the difference one person can make when he's driven to serve.

Joseph's Review:

I’ll start out by saying that I was a big Utah Jazz fan back in the Stockton, Malone era.  I would spend many an hour watching or listening to games agonizing over loses and reveling over wins.  I have always had great respect for Larry Miller and what he did to keep the Jazz here in Utah and help make them relevant. 

A while ago I read the book Driven and enjoyed learning about Larry Miller and how he lived his life and the impact that he made on our community and the lives of many people. He truly was driven and had many talents that made him successful. Reading the book Behind the Drive by Bryan Miller was another opportunity to gain perspective and understanding of Larry Miller. The traits of an incredible memory, mastery of numbers, risk taking, relentless work and a kindness towards his fellow men were all exemplified in this book. (I guess if you’re going to write a book an easy way to do it is to ask 99 people to write two or three pages each on stories that exemplify Larry Miller and bind them all together).

I thoroughly enjoyed the stories from these 99 people from all walks of life. From young children, to employees, successful business people, religious leaders, sports personalities and neighbors, they each gave insight to a very complex and giving man. Each of these stories point out character traits, both good and bad, that made Larry Miller so successful.

Behind the Drive is a very easy read and very entertaining. It was well worth my time and was inspiring to read what a difference one man can make in the world.

Cameron's Review:

I was a young boy when Larry H. Miller was really starting to make a name for himself in our community. As a very big fan of the Utah Jazz, and a kid who was very dedicated to sports, what he built with the Utah Jazz franchise went far from unnoticed. I paid attention to as much as I could when it came to how the team was run and what they did to be successful. I even paid attention to his softball teams, as my father’s construction team also played in a league, which was, if I recall correctly, a level below Larry H. Miller’s teams.

Fast forward several years as I grew up, and as with most people who followed what was going on with sports in Utah, Larry H. Miller really did have his hands in just about everything. Basketball, baseball, racing, etc. But then it started to grow to educational contributions, religious endeavors, and other very worthy causes. Not only was he now the guy who was very involved with owning the Jazz in a hands on way, but he was making his mark everywhere else as well.

I eventually ended up reading his book Driven and as someone who is very involved with sport management and business, found his approach and drive to succeed to be very helpful.

So when I had the chance to read Behind the Drive I certainly jumped at the opportunity. This was a very easy book to read, and with the format, is one that can be read in a very short amount of time, or can be done over an extended period. As I read it, one of the things that I came away with was just how much influence for good that he had. To have that many people contribute to the book is pretty
impressive. The other thing that I liked was how you got a feel for the way that Larry progressed throughout his life. He was willing to work on his weaknesses and deal with them to the very end. I found that to be motivational. Not one of the 99 stories implied that he was doing what he did with an extremely selfish attitude.

Yes, he demanded success and refused to fail, but it seemed like he had a constant internal battle to make sure he was also trying to do what was right and make a difference for the better. 

Overall, this was a book I would recommend to anyone. As I mentioned, it’s an easy read, that can be rather motivational in respects to making a difference, admitting to weaknesses, and enduring to the end.

Title: Larry H. Miller—Behind the Drive: 99 Inspiring Stories from the Life of an American Entrepreneur
Author: Bryan Miller
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Source: We received review copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Review: My Fair Gentleman by Nancy Campbell Allen

My Fair Gentleman
My Fair Gentleman by Nancy Campbell Allen

Book Description:

In this Regency twist of My Fair Lady, Jack would rather be at sea than fixing the mistakes of his grandfather, the late Earl of Stansworth. Instead, he finds that inheriting his grandfather's wealth and title—and securing the welfare of his sister and mother—means joining the ranks of high society and living with the aristocracy. Luckily, Ivy Carlisle, the granddaughter of a dear friend of Jack's late grandmother, is willing to teach him etiquette and properly introduce him into society. Jack soon learns that his challenge isn't surviving his new lifestyle but surviving the conspiracies against him—as well as keeping himself from falling madly in love with his new tutor.

Andrea's Review:

I have been very pleased with Shadow Mountain's Proper Romance novels, and My Fair Gentleman by Nancy Campbell Allen did not disappoint. I got it in the mail on a Monday afternoon and finished the book the next evening (sadly work interrupted finishing as quickly as I would have liked). 

I was immediately pulled into the story. Jack had an appeal right off. I suppose it was a bit of a bad boy attraction (which I haven't really thought of as being my thing, but it worked very well in this story, especially because he wasn't really bad). He was stubborn, but his love for his mother and sister trumped his personal desires, and that definitely added to his appeal.

Ivy was a great character as well. Her sister's shame on the family made a big difference in her life. She tried so hard to be proper and please her parents, but she was also very kindhearted, and that lead her to not fit society's proper mold at times. I loved the interaction she had with her grandmother, and the strength and support that gave her.

It was just an all around great story that I'm excited to read again. 

Tarah's Review:

If you are going to read this book may I suggest that you start it when you have the time to actually finish it, because you are NOT going to want to put it down until you are done.  I started it when I had to keep doing other things, and the annoyance I felt was great.  So learn from my experience, and only start this when you have time to read the whole thing :)

I will say that I didn't love the cover. It's so sad being a cover snob, but honestly, nothing about the cover makes me want to pick this up and read it, except for the tiny blurb up top that says, "A Proper Romance".

It goes without saying that I loved the main characters, but I really enjoyed Jack's best friend and his sister. I'm kind of hoping they get their own book, they were that good....and maybe Pug can play a part in their story too :)

Clean - check. Regency fiction - check. An entertaining read - check. Recommended - check. 

Rorie's Review:

This is NOT the kind of book I typically read. I tend to shy away from books that announce they are romance novels. This was also made very clear to me when my husband saw the cover and teased me to no end about it. :) That being said, I'm so glad I decided to give it a try. This was such an enjoyable book to read. Although I need to google a few words - what on earth is a "pelisse" and a "ton?" 

Reading stories set in Regency times is both fascinating and appalling. I can honestly say that I really related to Jack and his reluctance to enter into the lifestyle of the rich. Granted, manners are always a good thing, but good grief! I know I've said this before, but I am so very, very glad that I was not born way back then.

OK, now to the story. Jack's character is rough, and he's got quite a temper - completely understandable, considering how he grew up and what his grandfather did to his entire family. His complete dedication to his mother and sister is heartwarming. Ivy is such a fun character. I can picture us being friends. :) 

The romance developed perfectly, and it was very believable. All of the characters in the book were brought to life really well. I really liked some and really couldn't stand some others. Definitely a book I would recommend.

My Fair Gentleman Title: My Fair Gentleman
Authors: Nancy Campbell Allen
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: January 2016
ISBN:  162972095X
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Monday, January 25, 2016

Blog Tour: Abby's Crossing by Darryl Harris
Book Description:

Fall 1862 Following her husband's tragic death, young widow Abby Butterfield Browett's first responsibility is to her son. Her desire to provide a secure future for her child has led her to accept a proposal of marriage from Isaac, a man twice her age. In her heart, she knows that Isaac lacks the fire and zest for life that defines Abby, but her son will be cared for. Can she be happy with only that? Despite her reservations, Abby joins her fiancé on the journey to the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, unprepared for the challenges that begin soon after they embark. When their trouble turns dangerous, it is a group of rough frontiersmen that come to their aid. The incident provides Abby the excuse she needs to turn back and postpone the wedding and in truth, she simply can't forget the connection she felt with Scooter, the leader of their rescuers. But as hostilities arise between the local Indians and the white frontiersmen, Abby's focus turns again to the safety of her son. When the young boy disappears following an attack, Abby disregards propriety and turns not to her fiancé for help, but to Scooter. In the face of unimaginable odds, the pair embarks on a quest to find Abby's son, a journey that will test their courage and faith as never before . . .

Rorie's Review:

This book just fell flat for me. I can't really pinpoint why, but I had a really hard time getting lost in the story. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. It was just OK. I was still able to finish it in just a few days though. I'm having a hard time coming up with a review for this book, and I think it's because nothing really stood out to me. The part I enjoyed the most was the climax near the end, but after that was resolved, the book went back to being just OK again. 

Tarah's Review:

First, let me say that I think anyone who writes and can get a book published needs to be given kudos. That takes serious talent, and more hard work and effort than I can fathom. So, kudos to Darryl Harris for being a published author.

All that being said, I struggled through this book. I kept wondering why I was struggling, and here is what I came up with. First, it reads more like a history than a novel. Yes, there is a story line, but there is so much history that I feel like the story gets lost. Second, I found the story to be really pretentious. I was going to classify Abby as really judgmental, but on further reflection she isn't judgmental so much as thinking she's just better than everyone else. Granted she never says anything like that, but with the way her thoughts toward other people are geared it comes across as ... well ... pretentious.  Scooter's reactions were somewhat baffling to me as well. Abby just sees a massacre and can't find her child, and he expects her to say goodbye with a hug or something? What?!?  Not much about their relationship seemed real to me, and that made me sad.

While this wasn't a book for me, if you really like Utah Pioneer History, you may really enjoy this book. There were lots of stories from up in the Logan area that I wasn't familiar with.

Blog Tour links:

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Title: Abby's Crossing
Author: Darryl Harris
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Published: January 2016
ISBN:  1621088324
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review. 

Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book


Cover Reveal: First Light (Forever After Series, Book 1)

Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Adrielle doesn’t believe in magic; she merely possesses it, though no one has ever mentioned that her unusual gifts—exceptional speed, a flair for fire, and an intimate knowledge of flora—aren’t things she was born with. When Adrielle starts a fire that burns down the family home, she must deal with both her grief and her siblings’ hurtful rejection.

While journeying to far away Tallinyne, in search of her older, estranged sister—the only relative who might take her in—Adrielle is separated from her escort when the carriage is beset by thieves. Alone, she is thrust into a dangerous and unfamiliar world where she encounters fairies and gypsies, a wild boar, a drunk cook, and an evil queen whose curse is sweeping death across the land. Adrielle also finds love, falling hard for a kind, funny, handsome—and completely unavailable prince.

From the glowing pearls tucked beneath her mattress and keeping her awake at night, to Queen Nadamaris’s curse that seems to thwart Adrielle’s every effort, Adrielle struggles to navigate a world of magic she never imagined, where people she knows and loves are not always what they appear to be. With the glowing pearls—and her fondest desire—within her grasp, she is forced to make a choice no girl should ever have to—satisfying her own heart or saving the kingdom.

Release Date: February 25, 2015

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