Friday, June 28, 2013

Review: Glimmer of Hope by Sarah M. Eden

Title: Glimmer of Hope

Author: Sarah M. Eden

Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.

Published: June 2013

ISBN: 1621084655

FTC FYI: I was loaned an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book | Seagull Book

Book Description:

Stunning Miranda Harford once had the world at her feet. She was young, carefree, and desperately in love. But when her new husband left for London without her, her world fell apart. Devastated by his abandonment, Miranda fled their home, taking residence at her husband’s rarely visited countryside estate. For three years, she lived alone. But now, as the holidays draw near, an unexpected visitor arrives . . .

Carter Alexander Harford, Seventh Viscount Devereaux, is a man driven to succeed. His work is his life, and the position of Prime Minister of England is within reach. But in truth, Carter is a man haunted by lost love. Estranged from his beautiful wife, Carter is shocked to find Miranda—the woman he’d loved and who he believes has left him—in residence at his country home.

As plans for a holiday party move forward, the uneasy couple realizes that to avoid further scandal, they must keep up appearances in a charade of marital happiness. Thrust together by fate, it quickly becomes clear that they have both been living beneath a conspired cloud of misunderstanding. As family, career, and social pressures threaten to keep them apart, can love have even a glimmer of hope?


I love Sarah M. Eden's books, and couldn't wait to read Glimmer of Hope. I was a little worried that my high expectations wouldn't be met, but it turned out that I worried for nothing.

Glimmer of Hope is much more emotional than Eden's other books, but it was pretty much amazing. I rode Miranda's emotional roller coaster from the very beginning, and ached for her suffering. She is such a great character!

Initially I didn't like Carter. He seemed like a huge jerk, even though he was in the dark too. But, I grew to like him quite a bit.

This is such a sad and touching story full of betrayal. I normally prefer more upbeat stories, but Eden presented everything in a way that didn't depress me. I was definitely sad for the characters, but there is a very happy ending that I look forward to reading again.

If you haven't read Sarah M. Eden's books yet, you really should give them a try!

About the Author:

Sarah M. Eden is the author of multiple historical romances, including Whitney Award finalists Seeking Persephone (2008, Covenant Communications) and Courting Miss Lancaster (2010, Covenant Communications). Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances. She holds a Bachelor's degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: The Knight of Redmond by Jennifer K. Clark

Title: The Knight of Redmond

Author: Jennifer K. Clark

Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.

Published: May 2013

ISBN: 1621080722

FTC FYI: I was loaned an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book | Seagull Book

Book Description:

Lily is desperate to experience the world beyond her small village. A summer trip through the kingdom in the company of her uncle promises just the sort of escape she yearns for until, scarcely a day into their journey, the threat of battle on the road ahead ends her exploration before it’s even begun. But the path home proves more perilous than she could have imagined. After a terrifying encounter with her uncle’s merciless adversary, Lily must flee for her life. Separated from her uncle, she has no choice but to enter enemy territory alone. It appears that adventure is on the horizon after all . . .

Thrust into an unfamiliar world, Lily is forced to align herself with Wren, a young knight from a rival land. With war looming, they must set aside generations of contention to save the ruling family—as well as Lily’s own people—from annihilation. But when a shocking secret is revealed, her allegiance to her clan and her growing feelings for Wren are called into question. Now, Lily must make a choice: continue on the conflict-ridden path of her kin or break down the barriers in her land . . . and her heart.


I love the cover for The Knight of Redmond and have enjoyed the medieval romances that I've read, so I was excited to read this book.

The Knight of Redmond has quite a bit of action with a good romance. It also has some great characters. I especially liked how Lily was so observant. This character trait reminded me a bit of Sherlock Holmes, and made figuring out what was going on more intriguing.

This clever story was pretty engaging early on with its inclusion of "witches", knights, superstition, secret groups, murder, etc. I found my attention waning somewhat as everything unfolded, although I can't put my finger on why. In spite of that, I liked the story overall.

About the Author:

Jennifer K. Clark grew up in the small mountain town of Monticello, Utah, and graduated from the College of Eastern Utah, where she studied art. She spends a lot of time with the characters in her head, putting their stories down on paper. In her spare time she likes to study history and attend renaissance festivals.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cover Reveal: My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White

After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

Karey 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.

Excerpt 1

Janessa folded her arms and looked at me for so long I started to squirm. “What?”
“I wish you’d look at yourself. You’re ruining your life with this stupid obsession.”
“I’m not obsessed.” I stood up quickly, nearly tipping my chair over. I rinsed my plate and put it in the dishwasher. I could feel Janessa’s eyes on me the entire time, but I refused to look at her. “And just because I’m not interested in this guy doesn’t mean my life is ruined.”
“Let me guess. Was he blond?”
“Knock it off.”
“Too short?”
“He wasn’t short. I’ve got to go.” I left the kitchen with Janessa on my heels.
“Was he too cheerful?”
“Oh brother. I’m not having this conversation with you.”
Janessa grabbed my arm and turned me toward her. “Yes, you are.”
“I’m going to be late for work.”
“Then we’d better talk fast.”
“I don’t have anything to say,” I said.
“Then I’ll talk. You listen. You have to start giving these guys a chance.”
I folded my arms tightly. “I give them a chance.”
“You give them one date, two at the most. But you’re not really giving them a chance because your mind’s already made up before you even go out.”
I was getting annoyed. “I don’t have time for this conversation again.” Janessa was practically reciting word for word what she’d said after my last date. And the one before that.
“Lizzie. If you don’t want to have the same conversation, do something different. Shake things up a little.” She smiled and did a little shimmy. I refused to smile no matter how silly she looked.
“How do you suggest I do that?”
“If this guy… What’s his name?”
“If Chad calls you back, go out with him again.”
“I don’t see the point.”
“Did you get a serial killer vibe from him?”
“No, I got a nice-guy-that-doesn’t-deserve-to-be-led-on vibe from him.”
“Nice guys are good. So you’ll say yes, right?”
“If I’m not interested, it wouldn’t be fair to say yes.”
“Oh knock off the baloney. You haven’t been fair to a guy since high school. You’re just afraid if you get to know a guy, you might like him. And wouldn’t that be awful? Was Chad funny?”
“Yes, he was funny.”
I sighed. “I don’t know if I’d call him handsome, but he was cute.”
“Cute is good. Especially if he was funny. So go out with him again.”
“You act like it’s all up to me.” I walked to the closet and collected my purse. Like a tiger leaping on her prey, Janessa pounced at the bowl on the entry table and grabbed my car keys. “This isn’t funny, Janessa. I’m going to be late for work.”
“Then let’s make a deal. You agree to go out with him ten times before you toss him aside and I’ll give you your keys.”
“Ten times? No way.”
“That’ll give you time to get to know him.”
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
“I’m serious, Lizzie. Ten is a good number. In that amount of time, you can make a real decision. Instead of one based on a stupid movie.”
Now Janessa was skipping through a minefield. “It’s not a stupid movie and I’ve got to go.”
“It’s the stupidest movie in the world if it ruins your life.”
“Nothing’s ruining my life and I’m going to be late. Give me my keys and we’ll talk about this later.” A little tussle ensued as I tried to rescue my keys from her clutches. I almost had them when she darted to the bathroom and shut the door hard and fast, locking it behind her. “This is real mature.”
“I don’t care about mature. You’re my best friend, Lizzie.  I love you and I’m trying to save you from yourself.”
I banged on the door. “Give me the keys. Now.” My voice had become shrieky.
“I’ll give you the keys as soon as you promise you’ll go out with him ten times.”
“I doubt he’ll ask me out again.”
“Why? Were you a jerk?”
“Are you sure?”
I hesitated, knowing I hadn’t been very good company. “I’m pretty sure.”
“If he doesn’t ask you out, you have to ask him.”
“No way am I asking out a guy ten times. No way!”
“You just have to ask him out once. If he doesn’t return the favor you can move on. But you have to be nice to him and give him a reason to want to ask you out again.”
“This is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had.”
“Listen Liz, I’m doing this for you. Give a guy a chance before you give him the old heave-ho.”
I leaned my head on the door. “Just give me the keys. Please.” Now I was whining.
“You’re the one keeping yourself from your keys. And probably true love.”
I looked at my watch. Now I’d have to risk a speeding ticket or get to work five minutes late. I wasn’t sure which was worse—a ticket from a police officer or a tongue-lashing from Delia.
“Fine. I’ll go out with him again if he asks me.”
“If he doesn’t ask me, I’ll ask him?”
“Right. And how many times will you go out with him?”
“Way too many,” I said under my breath.
“I can’t hear you.”
“Ten times. If he asks me.”
The door cracked open. “And you’ll be nice to him?”
“Whatever you say. Now give me the keys.”
Janessa emerged from the bathroom and triumphantly dropped my keys into my outstretched hand.
“You’re an idiot,” I said.
“An idiot that loves you and wants you to be happy,” she said. She turned and headed down the hall. “Someday you’ll thank me,” she sang.
“If I don’t kill you first.” I slammed the door behind me.

Excerpt 2

It was a busy Monday morning. I was looking out at the line of waiting customers when he walked in. I gasped, shut my thumb in my cash drawer, and then tried not to cry while Mr. Sandoval from a hearing aid store asked me if I was okay.
When I finished Mr. Sandoval’s transaction, I looked at him again. He was taller than anyone in the room. Of course. His hair was dark and a little disheveled. It was hard to see from where I was, but his eyes looked like they were blue. And best of all, he didn’t smile. He looked gorgeously unpleasant and impatient. He looked around the room and his eyes met mine. Still he didn’t smile. My heart was racing. He looked perfect.
I did my best to time it so I’d be his teller. I went a little too fast with one customer and accidentally shorted her a twenty dollar bill. I tried to concentrate as I corrected the transaction. I slowed way down on the next customer, but just when I thought I was finished and would be able to help him next, my customer asked me to break a ten into change. He walked up to Courtney’s window while I counted out nickels and dimes. Furious, I stomped my foot. Not too loudly but enough to release a little of my frustration.
I listened closely as Courtney helped him to see if I could learn anything, but he hardly spoke. He gave a terse nod when Courtney thanked him for coming in and turned on his heel and left. He had excellent posture and a nice, confident stride.
I finished with my customer, and then before anyone else could step forward, I picked up the phone and dialed Courtney’s extension. She glanced at her phone’s display and looked over at me curiously.
            “Who was that?” I whispered when she picked up the receiver.
“Elizabeth, look how many customers there are.”
“I know. Just tell me who that was.” I watched as Courtney picked up her last transaction slip.
“His name is Matt Dawson.”
“Is he married?”
“I have no idea,” Courtney said.
“Was he wearing a ring?”
“I didn’t look. What’s going on, Lizzie?”
“I just need to know about him.”
“Well, I don’t know anything about him and Delia’s watching us. I’ve gotta go.”
Matt Dawson. Matt. Matthew. Like Matthew Macfadyen. Dawson. It was pretty close to Darcy. The only way it could be better is if his name was Fitzwilliam but I’d never met a Fitzwilliam in my life.
Matt Dawson.
This had to be a sign.  

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Armor Up by Brad Wilcox, John Hilton III, Anthony Sweat, John Bytheway, Hank Smith, and Laurel Christensen

Title: Armor Up

Authors: Brad Wilcox, John Hilton III, Anthony Sweat, John Bytheway, Hank Smith, and Laurel Christensen

Publisher: Deseret Book Company

Published: 2013

ISBN: 1609073177

FTC FYI: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Deseret Book | Amazon

Book Description:

“Take upon you my whole armor that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand.” —D&C 27:15

These words are as true today as they were back in 1830 when Joseph Smith received them in revelation — almost more so as today’s youth face the growing challenges of our society. But now in this compact yet powerful book, today’s most beloved youth speakers explain how wearing that spiritual armor can not only help youth face those difficult challenges in life, but also conquer them.
  • “Girt About with Truth” by Brad Wilcox
  • “A Bulletproof Breastplate” by John Hilton III
  • “Put on Your Gospel Shoes” by Anthony Sweat
  • “Shields Up!” by John Bytheway
  • “Buckle On Your Helmet” by Hank Smith
  • “Your Spiritual Sword” by Laurel Christensen
Filled with quotable quotes and video QR codes, this is the perfect book for those who want to line up on the Lord’s side and Armor Up!


Although Armor Up is directed at teens, I found it to be a very enjoyable book with principles that anyone can take into their lives to help them protect themselves from the many evil influences in the world.

I would highly recommend this book to teens! Some of the authors have a humorous writing style that keeps a reader engaged, and all of the sections are also uplifting with great ideas that will help combat the daily battles.

Each author's chapter ends with a challenge that includes some different ways the principles discussed can be applied. I'm confident that if readers take on the challenges that their lives will be blessed and changed for the better!

I haven't used many QR codes, but found that interactive part of this book to be fun. The videos linked to the QR codes were a great addition to Armor Up.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Blog Tour & Author Interview: Evertaster - The Buttersmith's Gold by Adam Glendon Sidwell

Evertaster Tour
The Buttersmiths' Gold


Everyone knows the most coveted treasure of the Viking Age was blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffins so succulent that if you sniffed just a whiff, you'd want a whole bite. If you bit a bite, you'd want a batch; if you snatched a batch, you'd stop at nothing short of going to war just to claim them all.

Young Torbjorn Trofastsonn comes from the clan that makes them. He's a Viking through and through – he's thirteen winters old, larger than most respectable rocks, and most of all, a Buttersmith. That's what he thinks anyway, until a charismatic merchant makes Torbjorn question his place among the muffin-makers. When Torbjorn lets the secret of his clan's muffin recipe slip, he calls doom and destruction down upon his peaceful village and forces his brother Storfjell and his clansmen to do the one thing they are ill-prepared to do: battle for their lives.

Purchase on


About The Buttersmiths' Gold

The Buttersmiths' Gold is a spin off novella in the Evertaster series that tells the story of two Viking brothers and their adventurous past. The Evertaster series (Book #1 released June 14, 2012) is about Guster Johnsonville, who goes searching for a legendary taste rumored to be the most delicious in all of history. Along the way he meets a slew of mysterious characters, including two Viking brothers Torbjorn and Storfjell. The Buttersmiths' Gold is their story. 124 pages. By Adam Glendon Sidwell. Published by Future House Publishing.

Evertaster, Book #1:

A legendary taste. Sought after for centuries. Shrouded in secrecy.

When eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother’s casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him into the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city they meet a dying pastry maker. In his last breath he entrusts them with a secret: an ancient recipe that makes the most delicious taste the world will ever know — a taste that will change the fate of humanity forever.

Forced to flee by a cult of murderous chefs, the Johnsonvilles embark on a perilous journey to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves. Along the way they discover the truth: Guster is an Evertaster — a kid so picky that nothing but the legendary taste itself will save him from starvation. With the sinister chefs hot on Guster’s heels and the chefs’ reign of terror spreading, Guster and his family must find the legendary taste before it’s too late.

Purchase on


Book Trailer:  

Author Interview:

*What inspired you to write the Evertaster books?

Vikings did. The horned menaces are really delightful bakers, so why not give them their own book? Kids and teachers alike always told me, "I love the part with the Vikings in Evertaster," so I went ahead and wrote a whole book about the two big fellas, Torbjorn and Storfjell.

*Who is your favorite character in your books, and why?

I’ll confess that my favorite character is actually Mabel, Guster’s mom. She’s humble and pure in heart, but completely dorky in the way that an 11 year-old kid finds his mom dorky – wearing aprons all day, bad jokes, she makes you do your chores. She is pure mom-ness. Mabel realizes that about herself to a certain extent, which is why she half-heartedly lets the family set out on the adventure – she wants to prove something to herself. In many ways, she is based on my mom. My mom is a kindergarten teacher, finger paints, nursery rhymes, sugary sweetness and all. My mom had never been out of the United States until just a few years ago, and that’s the case for a lot of moms who are busy raising their families.  So I wanted to see what would happen if a mom like that – Mabel – were to go on a dangerous quest around the globe. The tendency in children’s books is to write about orphans. On this point I was firm while writing – Mabel was always going to play an integral role in my book, and the kids were going to learn to deal with that, scolding and all. The family dynamic only enriched the adventure.

*What are your hopes/goals as an author, and what other projects do you have in mind?

A new journey’s is beginning for me. In a few months, I’ll release CHUM, the story of a teenage boy who seeks fame and fortune on a TV show out at sea and gets mixed up with a bunch of tech-savvy pirates. I’ll also finish off the next two books in the Evertaster series. I’m working on a picture book right now as we speak. I can’t wait to show you that! This is a new era for me!

*Do you have any unusual habits while you write?

I like to wear a luchador mask.

*What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I like to wander the wilderness, dive underwater and spear fish with a pole, and patrolling the neighborhood looking for dogs with my kids.

*What is your favorite book, and why?

The Bible. It’s epic. It’s big, and it has a great ending.

*Do you like having books you enjoy made into movies? What is the best/worst adaptationyou've seen?

I certainly do! It means more work and tacos for my animator friends. A really great movie adaptation I have seen is Hunger Games. It caught the feeling of the book in some ways even better than the book did. Visuals can do that in a way that writing can’t.

*If money were no object, where would you like to go, and what would you like to do while you are there?

The Moon. I’d drive the lunar rover. I want to go there so bad.

About the Author:

In between books, Adam Glendon Sidwell uses the power of computers to make monsters, robots and zombies come to life for blockbuster movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong, Transformers and Tron. After spending countless hours in front of a keyboard meticulously adjusting tentacles, calibrating hydraulics, and brushing monkey fur, he is delighted at the prospect of modifying his creations with the flick of a few deftly placed adjectives. He’s been eating food since age 7, so feels very qualified to write this book. He once showed a famous movie star where the bathroom was. Adam currently lives in Los Angeles, where he can’t wait to fall into the sea.

Blog Tour Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 7/2/13
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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Prize value $25 US.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Toads by Danyelle Leafty

trouble with toads tour

trouble with toadsTitle: The Trouble With Toads

Author: Danyelle Leafty

Publisher: Curious Leaf Press

Published: May 2013


FTC FYI: Received an eCopy via the tour host in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Book Description:

Once upon a time a young girl wanted revenge. But first, she wanted to be beautiful.

Twelve-year-old Bettony has read enough stories that begin with ‘Once upon a time’ to know what happens to the ugly stepsisters at the end, and she’s determined to escape that fate by any means necessary—even by magic.

Unfortunately, when it comes to magic, there is no place for regret, refunds, or exchanges. Even if you accidentally turn your older sister into a toad.

If Bettony wants her Happily Ever After to end well, she’s going to have to find a way to turn her sister back into a person before their mother finds out she’s been dabbling with magic and grounds her for life.

Tracking down the family magic turns out to be surprisingly easy. Now, if only it came with directions . . .

THE TROUBLE WITH TOADS (45,000 words) is the first book in a new upper MG series The Secret Stepsister Society. The second book will be released Summer 2013.


In general, I don't seek out Middle Grade books, but when I read the description for The Trouble With Toads and saw the cute cover art, I thought my third grader would really enjoy it.

The Trouble With Toads is clean and has likable characters. Plus, this Cinderella-ish spin-off told from the point of view of one of the ugly stepsisters is fun. Some of the vocabulary might be over a third grader's head, but the "big words" aren't in excess, so I don't think kids would be lost.

The pace of the story is put on hold at the beginning of about half the chapters where the author takes several paragraphs to write about witches, problems, types of people, etc. The topics aren't irrelevant, but may frustrate those anxious to find out if Bettony can fix her error.

I would definitely let my daughter read The Trouble With Toads, but I would probably wait until the sequel comes out. It's no secret that this is part of a series, but other than a potential familial bond, it lack resolution. Bettony's adventure is entertaining, and she goes through a lot, but I prefer at least some closure (thinking of other first books in a series, Voldemort is still on the loose, but at least Harry found the sorcerer's stone). 

About the Author:
danyelle Danyelle Leafty writes upper MG and YA fantasy, and is the author of THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA series. Danyelle has always loved fairy tales, and prefers stories where someone gets eaten, or at the very least, transmogrified. Much of her inspiration has come from fairy tales, because as G.K. Chesterton so aptly states, "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She also collects books, and one day hopes to make a house out of them. She enjoys learning languages, fiddling with her harp, and perfecting the fine art of mothering. (It's a lot like trying to herd chickens during a lightning storm while a goat stampede is going on.) One of her heroes is Albert Einstein, particularly for the following quote: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The most important thing is not to stop questioning."

Blog Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 6/28/13
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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Prize value $25 US.  
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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Blog Tour: Young Chefs by Christina Dymock

Tour Schedule

Title: Young Chefs

Author: Christina Dymock

Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.

Published: June 2013

ISBN: 1462111955

FTC FYI: I received a hardcopy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Cedar Fort | Books & Things

Book Description:

Kids in the kitchen don’t have to make a mess—as long as they know what they’re doing! Teaching your children how to cook can be daunting, especially when you don’t know where to start. Wipe away your worries with this cookbook made specifically for kids.

Inside you’ll find tips for a variety of cooking techniques, a glossary for common cooking terms, and a book boiling over with recipes written for children such as Peanut Butter Morning Cake, Bobby’s Pork Chops, Pirate Eggs, and Banana Tacos. Along with interesting trivia and a section for needed tools, each recipe outlines which stages require adult help, and each process is broken down into simple, easy-to-follow steps.

Author of 101 Things to Do with Popcorn, Christina Dymock knows the adventures kids can find in the kitchen. Spending cooking time together can only help family relationships. So teach your children the skills found in Young Chefs, and be amazed that your new favorite meals came from the smallest hands.


My daughter has been wanting me to let her cook for quite awhile now, but aside from a few easy things like Ramen Noodles or macaroni and cheese, I've struggled to really hand over the reigns. She's very competent, but I prefer to have the control so the messes are kept to a minimum. However, when I had the opportunity to be a part of the Young Chefs Blog Tour, I decided it was time to try to work on my issues.

When I told my daughter about the plan, she was SO excited! She checked the mailbox every day, and wanted to get started cooking as soon as the book arrived.

Young Chefs is a really cute recipe book, complete with great information for parents and kids. My daughter and I sat down right after it came and read about learning to cook, cooking terms, and the very helpful information in the how-to section. I really appreciated that there was also some explanation about why things are done the way the book suggests.

My daughter tried several of the recipes in the book, and is excited to try making the rest of them as soon as possible. I need to give some more instruction on good cleanup skills, but she has loved the experience of making various dishes. She and a friend even made the "Perfectly Petite Tea Cakes" the other day without any help from me.

We got a good sampling of the breakfast recipes, and a few recipes from the other sections as well. The instructions were easy for my daughter to follow, and we found most of the recipes to be quite tasty.

I highly recommend Young Chefs to parents with children that are eager to cook.

About the Author:

Christina Dymock graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in Public Relations. She has been published in Woman’s World Magazine and several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and she is the author of 101 Things to do With Popcorn. She resides in Central Utah with her husband and four children. You can follow their cooking adventures at

Friday, June 14, 2013

Get Caught Giving - The Summer of a Million Gifts Giveaway

Deseret Book Kicks-off a Summer of a Million Gifts

Prizes include an 8-day cruise, a missionary wardrobe, a wedding reception, and daily gifts

Deseret Book is looking to give back this summer with its Summer of a Million Gifts. The store’s customers can anticipate random daily in-store gifts and an opportunity to win one of three grand prizes.

In June, one lucky customer will win an 8-day Caribbean Cruise with Alex Boye, British-born LDS singer and songwriter, courtesy of Morris Murdock Travel. In July, another will win a missionary wardrobe courtesy of Mr. Mac. And in August, one couple will win a wedding reception courtesy of Temple Square Hospitality. 

The giving will take place online and in person at every store throughout the summer months. Each day on Deseret Book’s official Facebook page and in Deseret Book stores, an associate will give a gift to at least one customer a free pass to Lagoon theme park, double Platinum points, a free book at check-out, an act of service, or some other free prize. 

More information about the Summer of a Million Gifts can be found online at, on Facebook at, or in any of Deseret Book’s retail locations.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: Fallen Angel by Molly Snow

Title: Fallen Angel

Author: Molly Snow

Publisher: Breezy Reads

Published: May 17, 2013


FTC FYI: I received an eCopy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Book Description:

Teen angel, Persephone, is the only one in all of Heaven who can’t sing. In fact, her name literally means “Voice of Destruction.” So diving down one of Heaven’s portals, straight into singer Taylor Hamilton’s bedroom, seems like a good idea at the time. Maybe, just maybe, he can help. Plus, he is sooo cute!

While it can be fun swooning over a mortal, it can also be frustrating. Angels aren’t supposed to fall for mortals. Then there’s Taylor’s guardian angel, who is ready to sabotage the budding romance at every turn. Will Persephone learn to sing before Heaven calls her back? And, most importantly, can love prevail for an angel who has fallen head-over-wings for a mortal?


Fallen Angel is a clean, quick YA read with plenty of humor and a few tense situations that move the story along. Most of the issues and feelings in the story aren't things I relate to at this point in my life (so glad to be past that teen stuff), but I think many young teen girls would enjoy Persephone's story, especially if they can relate to crushing on a cute boy and/or wanting to change something about themselves so they can stay with their friends.

Although somewhat clueless in her new surroundings, Persephone has moments of strength that shift her focus from herself to helping others.

I had a hard time letting go of my idea of angels and how they might act if they visited, but aside from that the story was pretty cute.

About the Author:

Molly Snow is a Top 10 Idaho Fiction Author, awarded by The Idaho Book Extravaganza. Her works include quirky teen romances BeSwitched and Fallen Angel. Also a speaker on writing, her school assemblies have been featured in The Contra Costa Times and The Brentwood Press. Snow is married to her high school crush, has a set of silly twin boys and a bobtail cat named Meow-Meow. 

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review: I, Spy by Jordan McCollum

Title: I, Spy

Author: Jordan McCollum

Publisher: Durham Crest Books

Published: June 5, 2013

ISBN: 1940096006

FTC FYI: I received an eCopy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Author Store | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Description:

Canada is probably the last place you'd expect to find an American spy. But even idyllic Ottawa has its deadly secrets--and so does CIA operative Talia Reynolds. She can climb through ventilation shafts, blend in at the occasional diplomatic function, even scale buildings (small ones). But there's one thing she can’t do: tell her aerospace engineer boyfriend Danny about her Top Secret occupation.

It worked for a year, keeping Danny in the dark, keeping him away from danger, keeping her secrets. And then Talia finally catches a hot case: Fyodor Timofeyev. Russian. Aerospace executive. Possible spy?

She can make this work, too--until Danny needs her at the same time her country does. And when Fyodor targets Danny? Suddenly her schedule isn't the only thing suffering. Now to save her country and her secrets, Talia must sacrifice the man she loves.

Read an excerpt from the book: 


I saw a few cover reveal posts for I, Spy back in April, but I'll admit that I didn't look further into the book due to the sexy cover. Yes, I know you aren't supposed to judge books by their covers, but with so many novels on my to-read list, I tend to avoid those with covers that don't grab me, or those that imply content that I don't care for. BUT, I was totally wrong about the content of I, Spy, and I'm very grateful the author contacted me about reviewing her book. She thought I might enjoy it because I've liked books by Ally Carter and Traci Hunter Abramson-she was so right!

I, Spy is the kind of book that makes you avoid housework and other non-pressing duties. I read this romantic suspense novel in one day, and didn't feel too bad about my kids having some extra time on electronic devices (hey, it's summer vacation).

There is some violence, but it's not very graphic. The language and romance are clean, and Talia is a great main character. She's an excellent spy, and I really liked her humorous side too. It kept some of the very serious situations from giving the book a heavy feel.

I thought the writing was excellent and I'm looking forward to reading more of McCollum's work.

A Gift from the Author:

As part of the I, Spy book launch tour, Jordan McCollum's books are currently discounted through her website store. She has also offered Literary Time Out followers free eCopies of the I, Spy prequel,  Mr. Nice Spy, for the next week. Just use the coupon code LTO683 to "buy" your copy through the store on her site.

About the Author:

An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can't resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don't want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most--she's a mom.

Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blog Tour: Above Rubies by Jaclyn M. Hawkes

above rubies tour  

above rubies Title: Above Rubies

Author: Jaclyn M. Hawkes

Publisher: Spirit Dance Books

Published: April 2013

ISBN: 0985164824

FTC FYI: I received an eCopy via the Blog Tour host in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon 

Book Description:

His chivalry was strangling her.

He thought he was helping her—and in truth, he was. She was in desperate straits. But as honorable as he was, he was also breaking her heart.

Her attraction was drowning him.

When World Champion rodeo cowboy Rossen Rockland and his friends rescue a young runaway who has been abused by her foster father and take her home to his parents’ ranch, he expects her to turn out to be a pain in the neck. And sometimes she is.

It doesn’t take him long to figure out that she has way more than her allotment of troubles—and far more than her share of gifts. Lovely, talented, and ravingly brilliant, Kit Star is too young, unbelievably humble, and oh, so loveable. Knowing that she needs his protection and time to grow into her potential, Rossen also figures out that what she really is, is a pain in the heart.


Above Rubies is an enjoyable story that I didn't want to put down. Even though cowboys haven't ever been my type, I thought Hawkes made them quite appealing in this clean and exciting romance.

A few of the character names were strange and somewhat distracting, but I liked the characters. Some of their actions may not have been entirely realistic, but they were sweet and well-intentioned.

I was a little impatient with how slowly the relationship between the main characters moved, but the overall pace of the story was pretty fast and full of many exciting elements: a runaway, gang confrontation, angels on earth (in the form of a loving family), a rock star, etc.

If you are looking for a clean romance that includes a great message about virtue, give Above Rubies a try.


Millions of lights on the Las Vegas strip streamed through the smudged bus windows like alarm beacons.  It felt like hundreds of flashing cop cars at some freakishly huge accident.  The glare made the hungry knot of worry in the pit of her stomach tighten.  Before she’d even gotten off the Greyhound, Kit knew she'd made a disastrous mistake.

Girl, what are you doing?  As Rossen Rockland began to fill his truck with gas, he shook his head as he watched a slender young girl walking alone in the dark carrying a guitar.  She was anything but safe out by herself in Las Vegas at almost one o’clock in the morning.  Down a side street he could see a number of teenagers hanging out in an unruly bunch.  Even though he was from a part of Wyoming that didn’t have a problem with gangs, he still recognized one when he saw one.  They were making hand gestures to another group of youth who appeared near the rear of the station, not far from the young woman and he heard himself repeat out loud, “Girl, what are you doing?”

His best friend and roping partner, Slade Marsh, had gotten out to double check the horses in the trailer they were pulling and wash the windows, while Slade’s fiancĂ©e, Isabel remained in the cab.  Even at this hour of the night, Las Vegas was just really getting going and she was more secure inside in this wide open party town.   
The three of them had just come from the last round of the National Finals Rodeo, where the two men had taken top honors in their events.  They'd reached their ultimate rodeo goals, but now, as tired as they were, they just wanted to go home.  They’d been on the road rodeoing for most of the year, and it had been a great ride.  But the season was over, Christmas was a mere ten days away, and they intended to be home on their ranches in Wyoming by morning. The entire National Finals had been a roller coaster of not just rodeoing, but several other troubling instances as well, and the three wanted to leave the hubbub of the City of Sin behind, and return to the peace and serenity of the mountains.
Almost as if Rossen’s thoughts had started it, the girl was approached by a cocky youth from the gang hanging out behind the station.  Even though Rossen’s tanks weren’t yet full, he returned the nozzle to the pump and jumped back into the truck.  As Slade climbed back into the passenger seat, Rossen drew his and Isabel’s attention to what was going on as the heavyset young gangster approached the girl.  She immediately turned around and started walking in the opposite direction, but the youth simply turned and followed her.  As he dogged the young woman, Rossen gunned the truck toward the girl, all three of its occupants tense at what they were watching take place. 

The gang member followed the girl for a moment, then grabbed her by the arm and started dragging her toward the back of the station as Rossen and Slade slammed out of the idling truck.  Rossen yelled, but it was only swallowed up in the music that issued from the station speakers and they started to run. 
It all happened so fast they couldn’t stop it as the girl slapped her aggressor and began to fight him.  The much larger youth backhanded her, sending her reeling into the building.  Her guitar was knocked away and shattered as it hit the pavement and the gangster jerked her arm up behind her back, turned her and slugged her full in the face.  The blow knocked her backwards.  She stumbled off the curb, tried unsuccessfully to put an arm back to break her fall and then slammed into the asphalt on the back of her head.  Rossen was horrified when the young woman lay sickeningly still. 
Arriving seconds too late, Slade punched the gang member, doubling him over, and then slamming his face into his raised knee, as Rossen bent to the still form on the pavement. 
At that moment Isabel shouted and began to gesture at something around the corner of the building.  She was pointing and yelled, “Get her inside quick, before they get here!”  Rossen scooped the unconscious girl off the street and quickly climbed into the rear door Slade held for him, then Slade jumped into the driver’s seat, pulled out of the station and onto the freeway, literally closing the door as he drove away. 
Slade drove as fast as he dared with a trailer full of horses, while Isabel bailed over the seat to help Rossen try to stop the girl’s bleeding.  At first, they couldn’t believe a nose could bleed that much, but it took only a moment to find she also had a two inch gash down the back of her head that was gushing blood.  They quickly depleted the supply of napkins in the cab and went through a pillow case and then Isabel’s soft jacket, before the flow even slowed.  It wasn’t until then that they noticed her left arm bent at a strange angle, and it felt like hours more before they sighted the hospital sign posted at the freeway exit, and pulled off the interstate. 

About the Author: 


Jaclyn M. Hawkes grew up in Utah with 6 sisters, 4 brothers and any number of pets. (It was never boring!) She got a bachelor’s degree, had a career and traveled extensively before settling down to her life’s work of being the mother of four magnificent and sometimes challenging children. She loves shellfish, the out of doors, the youth and hearing her children laugh. She and her fine husband, their family, and their sometimes very large pets, now live in a mountain valley in northern Utah, where it smells like heaven and kids still move sprinkler pipe.

Blog Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 6/26/13

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