Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Blast: Fortune Cookie by Josi S. Kilpack

Fortune Cookie
Fortune Cookie 

Sadie Hoffmiller has always liked things to be just so. A place for everything and everything in its place. Order over chaos. And of all things Sadie should be able to control, her own wedding is at the top of the list. With the big day just three weeks away, Sadie is busily adding the final touches to her wedding plans but the arrival of a mysterious letter from San Francisco changes everything. The only person Sadie knows in San Francisco is her older sister, Wendy, whom she hasn’t seen since their mother’s funeral nearly fifteen years ago. Sadie has faced off against murderers and criminals in recent years, yet the possibility of reconnecting with her sister is both overwhelming and frightening. Sadie soon discovers, however, that the letter is just the beginning when Wendy’s world turns out to be a place of unanswered questions, twisted truths, and more than one person with a motive for murder. The more Sadie digs into her sister’s past, the more she places her own future at risk.

Culinary Mysteries

Fortune Cookie Tour
JosiAuthor Josi S. Kilpack Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009. Josi currently lives in Willard Utah with her husband, children and super-cute cat.
book blast button       Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/30/14 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. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 28, 2014

Blog Tour: A Death in the Family by Marlene Bateman

Book Description:

Meet Erica Coleman—a gifted and quirky private investigator with an OCD-like passion for neatness and symmetry, a penchant for cooking, (ten terrific recipes are included), and a weakness for chocolate.

A Death in the Family, the second in the Erica Coleman series, private eye Erica Coleman and her family happily anticipate Grandma Blanche’s eighty-first birthday celebration in the picturesque town of Florence, Oregon. But when the feisty matriarch, a savvy businesswoman, suspects wrongdoing and asks Erica to investigate her company, things get sticky.

Before the investigation can even begin, Blanche’s unexpected death leaves Erica with more questions than answers—and it is soon clear Grandma’s passing was anything but natural: she was murdered. When another relative becomes the next victim of someone with a taste for homicide, Erica uses her flair for cooking to butter up local law enforcement and gather clues.

Erica’s OCD either helps or hinders her—depending on who you talk to—but it’s those same obsessive and compulsive traits than enable Erica to see clues that others miss. When she narrowly escapes becoming the third victim, Erica is more determined than ever to solve the case.


“It’s hard to believe she’s gone,” Kristen said dolefully. “When I moved here, I thought I’d have years with Grandma. She was always so active—I thought she’d keep going for years.”

“And all the time, her heart was getting weaker,” Trent said glumly.

Walter commented, “The last time I saw her, Blanche said the doctor told her she had the constitution of a mule.”

There were a few smiles at this, but Martha’s brow furrowed in confusion. “But Mom’s death didn’t have anything to do with how healthy she was.”

“What are you talking about?” Trent’s impatient voice billowed out and filled the small room.

Martha squirmed but fluttered on, “Well, after what Mom said when she came to visit me, you know—about how something wrong was going on in the company—I worried that something might happen.”

Her response reverberated around the room. Everyone went very still—as if they were holding their breath. 

Martha’s eyes went from one to another. “I didn’t mean—oh, I shouldn’t have said anything,” she stammered. Her voice was pure distress. “It’s just that . . . well, we’re all family here, so it’s okay, isn’t it? I mean, no one else knows.”

“No one else knows what?” Trent said brusquely.

Visibly flustered, Martha’s hands twisted in her lap. “And . . . and Mother was very old and—and the police haven’t even come, have they?”

Erica wondered what Martha could be getting at. Everyone darted quizzical looks at each other, trying to make sense out of Martha’s confused chirruping.

After meeting blank looks all around, Martha blurted, “I mean, that’s good . . . isn’t it? For the family?”

The room remained deadly silent as Martha’s cheeks flamed red.

There was a rumble as Walter cleared his throat. “Why would the police come?”

“Why, to arrest someone.” Martha sounded surprised—as if he had asked something that was completely and absolutely self-evident. She stared at Walter, as if he and he alone could straighten everything out. “Isn’t that why they’re doing an autopsy? I mean, don’t they always do an autopsy when someone has been murdered?”


You began by writing nonfiction—Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, then a 3-book series about true angelic experiences, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visits from Beyond the Veil, and By the Ministering of Angels, and then last year, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and Heroes of Faith. What made you turn to fiction?

I started out writing magazine articles when my children were little because that’s the only writing I had time for. From that, my writing evolved into nonfiction.  I longed to write fiction, but didn’t think I could write novels. But I wised up and at some point realized that non-fiction writers are just as talented as fiction writers. So I finally decided to write a novel. It was hard but very rewarding. I kept working at it for three years, then sent it into a publisher, who accepted Light on Fire Island, which turned out to be a bestseller. Yay!

Does music help you or distract you while you are writing? If you like to listen to music while you write, what is a favorite selection?

I don’t generally listen to music as I write.  However, once in a while I’ll slip in a CD, but it is something simple and soothing, like “Sounds of the Forest” or “Rain” or “Sounds of Nature.” I don’t listen to anything with lyrics (except at Christmas time) so I don’t get distracted.

Who is your favorite author? Can you name a favorite book?

One of my favorite authors is Maeve Binchy.  I love her writing; she has a way of getting you so involved in her characters.  She writes about Ireland and it’s so interesting. I just finished Minding Frankie, which is good.  Glass Lake is amazing, as is Firefly Summer.  I’ve read everything she’s written.

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

In Jr. High. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a writer. In high school I made a time line of my goals in life, which included having five books published by the time I was thirty!   I didn’t quite make that because when I was in college, I got married and when children came along, I put my dream of writing on the back burner until they got older. 

Were you ever discouraged as you tried to become published? If so, how did you deal with it?

I started out by writing for magazines, which was very discouraging, because it’s a tough field and involves a lot of rejection.  Looking back, I think part of my discouragement came from not having much time to write. Also, I never did develop a thick skin. Despite feeling discouraged, I kept telling myself to persevere and each time I got rejected, I would redo the article and send it to another magazine.

Where do your ideas for mysteries come from?  

Mostly my ideas come from other books.  I pay attention to novels I read and often when I’m done with a book I like, I write up a short summary and file it away. Then, when it’s time to come up with a new idea for a book, I read through all of my summaries, do a lot of thinking and pondering, and eventually come up with an idea for a new plot. 

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

I get my names from two sources. First, I can look online. I found a great website that lists names according to year. This way, if I have an older character, I can type in their birth year and have a long list of names from that era to pick from.  Second, I save names from the sports pages of my local newspaper when they list all-star football and basketball teams.  I clip out the entire page and file it away for when I need some current popular names. Each page has dozens of cool names.

As for the place names in my books, they are all 100% accurate. For A Death in the Family, my husband and I drove to Oregon, rented a car and drove all over Florence and Lake Oswego. When I describe the Sea Lion Caves and how the gift shop and caves are laid out, it’s all accurate, as is the descriptions of the beach, Heceta Head lighthouse, the  historic Siuslaw Bridge, Charl’s Restaurant, etc. Everything, including the church house and stores in historic Florence are as described. I take great pride in going to each and every setting I write about, taking tons of pictures and notes, so that everything is accurate.

About the Author:

Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they are the parents of seven children. 

Her hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading.  Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, and Heroes of Faith.  Her latest book is Gaze Into Heaven; Near Death Experiences in Early Church History, a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences from the lives of early latter-day Saints.

Marlene’s first novel was the best-selling Light on Fire Island. Her next novel was Motive for Murder, which is the first in a mystery series that features the quirky private eye with OCD, Erica Coleman.

Title: A Death in the Family
Author: Marlene Bateman
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: February 2014
ISBN: 1621085732

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book | Seagull Book

Available online and at LDS bookstores

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: The Light We Share by Harriet Uchtdorf


Book Description

What difference does it make to have the light of the gospel in your life? To a twelve-year-old girl in post-World War II Germany, it made all the difference.

In this charming book, Sister Harriet R. Uchtdorf reflects on the power of heavenly light in her own life and recalls the joy it brought to her family during a dark and difficult time. "It was like a miracle," she explains as she describes how hope came back into their lives.
Discover how the light we share can make a life-changing difference to those whose lives we touch-as family members, leaders, missionaries, teachers, friends, and brothers and sisters in the gospel.

Book Review

If you or anyone you know is needing a quick pick-me-up, this is a great book. It's message is hopeful, and the pictures on each page are beautifully done. While reading I kept thinking that this book would be a great gift for the ladies that I visit teach.
One of my favorite parts of the book was, "Your influence will be unending as you focus on the strengths of others rather than their weaknesses and mistakes." Isn't that beautiful? And probably something most of us need to hear.
It's also fun to get a little insight to what the wives go through with each calling their husband accepts. Sister Uchtdorf seems like an amazing woman.

About the Author

Harriet R. Uchtdorf received a bachelor's degree in business administration in Frankfurt, Germany, and worked with the public transportation department prior to her marriage to Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who now serves as Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has served in many callings in the Church and as an institute teacher in Frankfurt. She and her husband have two children and five grandchildren. 

Title: The Light We Share
Author: Harriet R. Uchtdorf
Publisher: Deseret Book Company

Published: March  2014
Source: I received a copy via the publisher in exchange for a review

Friday, March 21, 2014

Blog Tour: Imperfect Love by Rebecca Talley

Review * Giveaway
Imperfect Love Tour
Tour Schedule
Imperfect Love by Rebecca Talley

Book Description:

Lauren Wilson is well on her way to her happily-ever-after. She’s passionate about her career as a middle school English teacher, she adores her handsome, hard-working husband, and with a baby finally on the way, her perfect life is within her grasp.

But then a devastating test result changes everything.

Forced to choose between her baby and her husband, Lauren makes the only decision she can live with, and she returns to her small hometown in hopes of rebuilding her shattered life.

Ethan Campbell is a gifted photographer who travels the world and has no desire to settle down. When his mother dies, he must go home to settle her estate. Then it’s back to exciting adventures across the globe.

When Lauren crosses paths with Ethan, her teenage crush, old feelings resurface—feelings she’s not prepared to face. Will Lauren have the courage to trust again or will she spend her life alone?
Imperfect Love is a story about sacrifice, healing, second chances, and discovering that although love isn’t always perfect, sometimes it’s the imperfect love that’s the sweetest of all.

Andrea's Review:

Imperfect Love is a heart wrenching story. The first half of the book focuses on a relationship that is struggling and crumbling. I really felt for Lauren and disliked Paul immensely. I wondered if he was being unfaithful, and came to realize that being unfaithful doesn't need to intimately involve a person outside the relationship. He was unfaithful by putting his work and parents over Lauren.

I can only imagine the struggle that people have when they get the news that their baby has a severe disability, but Paul was so stubborn. I wish he would have at least considered other options, but I was very grateful that Lauren followed her heart in the decision about her baby.

The story isn't as predictable as you anticipate from all of the details in the book blurb. Talley throws in a few curve balls that keep a reader on their toes.

Ethan was great. He really seemed like the perfect guy-handsome, successful, caring.

I loved the happy ending and the courage displayed to make the best out of what we're given, and that we can do hard things.

As much as I enjoyed the story, I would have appreciated the book blurb to not give away so much of the story, or for the time spent on the bad relationship to take up less of the story.

About the Author:

rebeccaRebecca Lynn Talley grew up in the gorgeous seaside city of Santa Barbara, CA. She met, and married, her husband, Del, while attending Brigham Young University. She graduated from BYU with a degree in Communications. She currently lives in rural Colorado on a small ranch with a dog, too many cats to count, and a herd of goats. She and Del are the proud parents of ten wildly-creative, multi-talented children. Rebecca is the author of a children’s picture book, Grasshopper Pie (WindRiver 2003), a children’s chapter book, Gabby’s Secret (DuBon Publishing 2011), four novels, Heaven Scent (CFI 2008), Altared Plans (CFI 2009), The Upside of Down (CFI 2011), and Aura (DuBon Publishing 2012). She has also authored numerous children’s stories and articles for both print and online magazines. When she isn’t writing, Rebecca loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house. She has folded at least one million loads of laundry, baked hundreds of batches of chocolate chip cookies, and eaten 5,478 gallons of ice cream.

Blog Tour Giveaway:

Details $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/10/14 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 authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Imperfect Love 
Title: Imperfect Love
Author: Rebecca Talley
DuBon Publishing
Published: February 2014
Source: I received an eCopy via the tour host in exchange for a review

Purchase: Amazon

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Blast: The Fortune Cafe by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson and Heather B. Moore

Fortune Cafe

The Fortune Café
 a novel in three parts

MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Café will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the café, Emma accidently cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.

LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky . . . until her parents meet her fiancé’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Café, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brave, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered it lucky how she met her fiancé. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiancé dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows.

TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Café, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?    

About the Authors  

JulieWJulie Wright started her first book when she was fifteen. She’s written over a dozen books since then, is a Whitney Award winner, and feels she’s finally getting the hang of this writing gig. She enjoys speaking to writing groups, youth groups, and schools. She loves reading, eating writing, hiking, playing on the beach with her kids, and snuggling with her husband to watch movies. Julie’s favorite thing to do is watch her husband make dinner. She hates mayonnaise, but has a healthy respect for ice cream.

MelanieJMelanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and romance novels. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed houseplants. Melanie is a former English teacher and a sometime blogger who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time (ha!), she writes romantic comedies and pines after beautiful shoes.

HeatherMHeather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes historical thrillers under the pen name H.B. Moore, her latest is Finding Sheba. Under Heather B. Moore she writes romance and women’s fiction. She’s the co-author of The Newport Ladies Book Club series. Other women’s novels include Heart of the Ocean, The Fortune Café, the Aliso Creek Series, and the Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology Series.

Fortune Cafe Tour

book blast button        

Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/18/14 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. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Blog Tour: Ripple Effect Series Book 1 Home Matters by Julie N. Ford

Home Matters Updated

Home Matters by Julie N. Ford:

According to her mother, Olivia Pembroke was born to be a star. But how is she supposed to be famous when she can't even get a decent acting gig? Her lucky break comes when she lands an audition for a wildly popular home improvement show. Even though she has no design training and has never even held a power tool, she refuses to let that stop her. She's confident that her destiny is finally within reach. When her affections are torn between her heartthrob co-host and the irritating, yet somehow endearing lead contractor, does she continue to reach for the stars? Or does she design a new happily ever after? One that leads not to the fading lights of fame and fortune, but to a love that will burn forever.

Tarah's Review:

This book sets up the rest of the series, and it does a nice job setting it up. Content wise this is a clean romance. There is some kissing, and description of a scantily clad woman who was probably in an intimate situation, but that's left up to you as a reader :) 

Things I loved: it's a short, clean, romance. What's not to like about that? Olivia finds herself and becomes less shallow and selfish. I loved the HGTV stuff. I love watching things like that so it's fun to read about it too. 

Things I didn't love: I didn't really feel like there was a lot to the relationship. It's hard for me to pinpoint when the characters changed their minds about each other. I didn't have a great initial impression of Pete, and that didn't change through the story-even though he did a lot of great stuff in the book.

Overall, if you have an hour of two and need a light, quick, romance, give this one a try.

Andrea's Review:

Home Matters is a cute novella. Olivia is a spunky main character, and the Southern touch/setting was fun. Some novellas are really lacking in certain aspects due to their shorter format, but I wasn't bothered by that in Home Matters. It may have been knowing that it was short that I didn't mind fewer details in the relationship.

This isn't a deep story, but it was a fun and quick read for me. There were some pretty funny situations, especially the first meeting between Olivia and Pete. I was embarrassed for Olivia, but couldn't help but laugh at the situation.

The passion in the story went a little further than I expected, but I was glad for the clarification that the main character "wasn't that kind of girl."

I used to watch quite a few home improvement shows, so Olivia's job was another aspect that drew me in to the story.

I liked the overall message about what is really important in life, being ourselves and making a difference.

Author Julie N. Ford:

Julie Julie is a forty-something, dangerously close to becoming a fifty-something, graduate from San Diego State University with a BA in Political Science. In addition, she has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama, which has only made her better able to recognize the unhealthy, codependent relationship she has with writing. Professionally, she has worked in teaching and as a marriage and family counselor. She is the author of four women’s fiction novels, including Count Down to Love, a 2011 Whitney Award finalist. When she’s not writing, she entertains delusions of being a master gardener, that is, when she’s not killing the unsuspecting plants in her yard with her good intentions. She lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, two daughters, a Betta named Bob, and a Scottish fold kitten, Ardweal.

Updated Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series:

Enjoy this exciting new series of clean novellas by six critically-acclaimed authors. "Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love." Book 1: Home Matters by Julie N. Ford Book 2: Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin Book 3: Righting A Wrong by Rachael Anderson Book 4: Lost and Found by Karey White Book 5: Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver Book 6: Immersed by Jennifer Griffith

Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/31/14   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 Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY a Rafflecopter giveaway

Home Matters (The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series, #1)Title: Home Matters
Author: Julie N. Ford
Publisher: HEA Publishing
Published: February 2014
ISBN: 1941363008
Source: I received an eCopy in exchange for a review.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Blog Tour: Luminescence by Braden Bell

Review * Giveaway

Luminescence by Braden Bell

Book Description:

“He’s alive!” she yelled. “He’s alive!”

As Lexa spoke the words, she knew they were true. She knew with total certainty.

“Dr. Timberi’s alive!”

When Lady Nightwing kidnapped Dr. Timberi, everyone assumed their teacher had been killed. So when Lexa discovers that he isn’t dead, Conner can’t believe his ears.

Determined to rescue their favorite teacher, Conner, Lexa, and Melanie confront their worst fears and use their powers in unexpected ways to defeat Lady Nightshade, the treacherous Darkhand leader. But when the trio makes a terrible choice to save Dr. Timberi, their powers may not be enough to keep everyone alive. A thrilling conclusion to the Middle School Magic series!

Your favorite characters return in this satisfying conclusion of the Middle School Magic series! Filled with plenty of twists, humor, and adventure, Luminescence will keep you guessing until the last page.

Study hall? Definitely. Substitute Teachers? Absolutely. Rescuing people from brutal villains? Bring it on!


Luminescence is a great ending to Braden Bell's Middle School Magic series. I read The Kindling in the summer of 2012, and Penumbras in July of 2013. The story wasn't fresh in my mind, but I did remember the basics of what had last happened, and I looked forward to the resolution.

It took awhile for the story to really grab my attention, but the action really spiked about half way through. My emotional attachment to the story also went up exponentially at that point, and I loved the details that unfolded about the characters.

I teared up at least once, and I enjoyed the character transformations that took place. Once again, Braden Bell wrote a clean story with a great message about selflessness and sacrifice. If your Middle Grader is looking for a fun series, be sure to check out this Middle School Magic series.

Tour Schedule:

Tue Mar 11- Fire and Ice
Wed Mar 12- Lisa Swinton Queen of Random
Thurs Mar 13- The Hungry Family
Fri Mar 14- Literary Time Out
Mon Mar 17- Queen of the Clan
Tues Mar 18- I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
Thurs Mar 20- Why Not? Because I Said So!
Fri Mar 21- BrooklynBerry Designs
Thurs Mar 27- Getting Your Read On

Book Trailer:

About the Author:

Braden_BellDuring his middle school years, Braden Bell was the least-stable, lowest-achieving student in the history of the world. He shocked every former teacher by graduating from high school and college, and then going on to earn both a Master’s degree as well as a Ph.D. A teacher by day and a parent by night, he is around teenagers 24/7. He teaches music and directs plays at a private school, much like Marion Academy in The Middle School Magic series. Whether he fights evil after hours is something he cannot disclose.

Braden Bell holds degrees in theatre from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. from NYU. A committed educator, he has been directing plays and teaching school now for over twenty years. Braden lives with his family on a quiet, tree-lined lot outside of Nashville, TN, where he teaches theatre and choir at a middle school. The author of The Road Show, The Kindling, and Penumbras.

$25 Amazon giftcard or Paypal cash:
a Rafflecopter giveaway   

Luminescence (Book 3 of Middle School Magic series)Title: Luminescence
Author: Braden Bell
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
Published: March 2014
ISBN: 1462114059
Source: I received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Books & Things

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blog Tour: The Hungry Family Slow Cooker Cookbook by Christina Dymock


Tour Schedule
 The Hungry Family Slow Cooker Cookbook by Christina Dymock

Book Description:

It’s every busy mother’s dream-come-true: dinner that makes itself! With the help of your trusty slow cooker and these healthy, easy recipes like Peppery Cilantro Salmon, Sausage Stew, and Dark Chocolate Mini Cakes, you can put dinner on the table even on the craziest of days. Don’t let the whirlwind of life stop you from feeding your family the food they deserve-delicious, home-cooked meals straight from your slow cooker.


Cooking dinner has been such a chore lately. When I heard about The Hungry Family Slow Cooker Cookbook it seemed like just the thing to help me (especially with the tag line "Every mother's dream come true: dinner that makes itself!). Being able to throw ingredients in a slow cooker in the morning so dinner is ready to eat when everyone gets home is very appealing.

I learned a few things from this cookbook. First, I had no idea what size of slow cooker I own. I've had it for years and the box is long gone. I looked and looked and couldn't find the size on it anywhere. I ended up having to measure the amount of water it could hold to determine that it's a four quart slow cooker. Many of the recipes in the book call for a six quart slow cooker, and luckily two of my neighbors let me borrow their larger slow cookers to test some of the recipes (neither of which listed their sizes-slow cooker manufacturers really should include that on their products).

I also learned that I must usually use my slow cooker on the low heat setting. Running three slow cookers at once is probably not advisable when you're trying to keep settings straight. I appreciated the note in the beginning of the book that said one hour on high is the equivalent of two hours on low so my dishes weren't ruined when I didn't start them correctly.

The Citrus Roast and Peanut Butter Lover Brownies were big hits (and easy). The Sweet Potatoes with Thyme were good-not a kid favorite though. The Cranberry Wild Rice was very tasty, but some of the rice was very mushy while some was still crunchy (it's a mixture of long-grain rice and wild rice-possibly the texture would have been different with different brands of rice). We loved the cake part of the Pumpkin Pudding Cake, but the bottom layer didn't set up nearly as much as we expected. If there is ever an update to this book, I would love pictures of every recipe and something that notes what the consistency should be.

I haven't been very successful at planning a weekly menu, and I found that most of the recipes I tested required some ingredients I don't typically have on hand. So, while this is a time saver just before dinner time, I'd need to plan ahead at least by a day to make sure I had the needed ingredients. 

This cookbook isn't the miracle to solve my dinner making woes (honestly the miracle would be a personal chef), but the recipes with long cook times can definitely help me if I plan ahead. 

Book Launch Party:

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, several Chicken Soup for the Soul books and is the author of “101 Things to do With Popcorn” and “Young Chefs: Cooking Skills and Recipes for Kids.” She resides in Central Utah with her husband and four children. You can follow their cooking adventures at

Title: The Hungry Family Slow Cooker Cookbook 
Author: Christina Dymock
Publisher: Front Table Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.
Published: March 2014
ISBN: 1462113621
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.
Purchase: Amazon | Books & Things

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Blog Tour: Patchwork Reality by Pauline Hansen


Tour Schedule
Patchwork Reality: Happily Married to a Schizophrenic by Pauline Hansen

Book Description:

Through a series of dreams and delusions, Curtis Hansen becomes convinced that he and his wife, Pauline, are part of an intricate game devised for the entertainment of wealthy onlookers. To win, the couple must stay together despite a series of temptations and trials designed to break up their marriage. After playing “The Game” with Curtis for nine arduous years, Pauline makes a shocking discovery. Read the riveting, true account of her decade in the dark and her return to reality after Curtis is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Book Trailer:

Early Reviews:

“It was with wonder and astonishment that I read this amazing book sentence after sentence, unable as the cliche goes, to put it down.”  Tom H.

“It made me cry about 5 times! And had my grandma on the edge of her seat, she would barely let me stop reading it to go to the bathroom!”  Tamra L.

“Patchwork Reality was riveting, climaxing, and gripping. I could not put the book down until I had figured out the secret of The Game!”  James B.

“If you want your faith strengthened and to learn about the resilience of the human spirit, this book is for you. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I certainly wasn’t.”  Cynthia K.

About the Author:

Born and raised in a tiny town in southern Utah, Pauline Hansen met and married her sweetheart, Curtis Hansen, in 1987. They are the parents of five children ranging in age from seventeen to twenty-six. After raising their own children to an independent age, Pauline and Curtis became certified for foster care and enjoyed helping children and families in difficult circumstances. With the publication of Patchwork Reality, they hope to be a source of encouragement and enlightenment for anyone in a similar or related situation. Pauline received an associate degree from Dixie State College in 2004 and currently works as a teacher’s aid in the special education department at their local high school. Patchwork Reality is her first published work. Pauline will be a presenter at the Write Here in Ephraim writer’s conference March 29 at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.

Title: Patchwork Reality: Happily Married to a Schizophrenic
Author: Pauline Hansen
Published: February 2014
Publisher: Plain Sight Publishing, an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.
ISBN: 1462113648

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Books & Things

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blog Tour: Cragbridge Hall by Chad Morris

Book Description

The adventure continues when Abby and Derick begin their second semester at Cragbridge Hall, the most prestigious secondary school in the world. But when Grandpa Cragbridge admits them to the Council of Keys—a secret group of people who have keys to travel back in time—strange things begin to happen. One by one, members are found unconscious and unable to wake, their keys stolen. Now Abby and Derick must scramble to figure out who is behind the attacks before they become the next victims, which would give their enemy the power to change the past forever.
A page-turning, time-travel adventure that teaches powerful lessons about choice and consequence, believing you can do hard things, and valuing history.

Book Review

If you haven't read this book yet (or this series) you need to! This was such a great book. You know how sometimes Youth Fiction either has a good story but poor writing, or good writing, but the story is lacking? Well, The Avatar Battle hits both squarely on the head.  Even my husband thought the writing was really well done (and he's pickier with his youth fiction than I am). In fact, he stole both this book, and The Inventor's Secret (the first book in the Cragbridge Hall series) from me, and I had to wait until he was done to even start them.
Even though you need to read the first book of the series to really understand the second book, I wasn't at all disappointed. Normally the second book in a series always seems like a filler to me. It's never quite as good as the first, but this one was fun. I like how we got to know Derick and Rafa better in this book, but that all my favorite characters from the first book were back.
If you enjoy Youth Fiction you really need to pick these up. I will definitely be reading these again, and my children are going to love them. This is a book for the whole family.

Title: The Avatar Battle
Author: Chad Morris
Published: February 2014
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
ISBN: 1609078098
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review