Monday, March 30, 2015

Book review: Real Moms: Making It Up As We Go

Book Description:

Raising human beings is no joke, observes debut author Lisa Valentine Clark. It is funny and ridiculous, and it is serious business too.

Every mother has those surreal moments when the bizarre and ludicrous happens--situations no one could prepare you for. Even if they had tried, you would not have believed them. This laugh-out loud read portrays the brass tacks of motherhood with humorous and heartwarming observations, anecdotes, and musings--as well as lots of advice you did not ask for, a few side rants, and a healthy dose of encouragement. Whether you are a mom of little kids, older kids, or grown-up kids, and whether you are a stepmom, a single mom, a married mom, or a someday mom, the role of motherhood has a way of encompassing (or totally and completely swallowing up) all other areas of life. The reality is that being a mom changes everything, and while most of us do not mother our kids under perfect circumstances, the good news is we are all in this together.

Book Review:

I really enjoyed reading this book. The author has a way with writing that makes you feel like you're having a conversation with her in person, and not only that, but it's a conversation with a good friend.

This isn't a typical parenting book where the author will give you lots of "how-to's" and tell you that your kids will turn out just fine if only you do (insert advice here.) Instead, this book focuses on how we're all just trying to do our best and what works for one mom (or, really, one kid) might not work for the next one.

In one chapter, the author talks about how it's OK to lower the bar - in that we don't need to constantly compare ourselves to other moms and try to one-up everyone. Motherhood is enough, we don't need to add all the stress-causing "frilly" things like elf on the shelf or a Pinterest-worthy birthday party for our children...unless we want to and enjoy doing those things, and then of course it's OK.

I could completely relate to the author's mantra "Alive by 5" because I am completely immersed in keeping my very rambunctious, curious and way-too-smart-for-their-own-good twins alive. I think I will frame that mantra and hang it on my wall to remind me that sometimes, just keeping them alive is all we can manage for the day.

About the Author:

LISA VALENTINE CLARK graduated with a B.S. in English from Brigham Young University. She was part of the sketch/comedy troupe The Garrens in Provo from 1995 to 2000, and co-founded the theater-as-improv troupe The Thrillionaires. She has done a variety of voiceover and acting work in independent features, including Gracie in the award-winning webseries Pretty Darn Funny, which she also writes and produces. Lisa spends most of her time in Provo with her husband, Christopher Clark. They are the parents of five children who seem to make up a unique comedy troupe all their own.

Title: Real Moms: Making It Up As We Go
Author: Lisa Valentine Clark
Publisher: Deseret Book Company
Published: March 2, 2015
ISBN: 1609079965
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review

Purchase: Deseret Book  Amazon

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blog Tour: House Divided by Jennifer Peel

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

Book Description:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Praise for the Book: 

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

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

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

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

Jennifer Peel 


Blog Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/12/15
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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

Purchase: Amazon

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cover Reveal: Saving Marilee by Annette K. Larsen

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

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

Preorder on

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Author Annette K. Larsen I was born in Utah, part of a crazy, fun family of nine. I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and St. Louis, MO before striking out on my own college adventure in Virginia. I decided to try my hand at writing novels after I was married and living in Idaho. I write clean romance because it’s my favorite genre, but often difficult to find.
I have Charlotte Brontë to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally, a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.
Cover Reveal Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/8/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 23, 2015

Blog Tour: What is Lost by Lauren Skidmore

Tour Schedule
What is Lost by Lauren Skidmore

Book Description:

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


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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Book Review: This is Jesus by J. Kirk Richards 

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

About the Artist:

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

Book Review:

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

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

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

Purchase: Deseret Book  Amazon

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

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

The Outlaw Takes a Bride
Book Description:

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

Book Review:

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Review: Murder at Tophouse by Clair M. Poulsen

Review * Giveaway

Book Description:

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

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

Rorie's Review:

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

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

Tarah's Review:

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Tour Schedule:

*March 16th:, 
*March 17th:,,
*March 18th:,,
*March 19th:,
*March 20th:,

Tour Giveaway:

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

Friday, March 13, 2015

Blog Tour: Heart of Gold by Jeanette Miller

Review * Giveaway

Heart of Gold by Jeanette Miller

Book Description:

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

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


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

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

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

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

Blog Tour Schedule:

*March 9th:,
*March 10th:,
*March 11th:,
*March 12th:,,,
*March 13th:,

Tour Giveaway:

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

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Book Review: Maximus by Richard L. Black 

Book Description:

A sweeping Christian fiction epic, the story is also part mystery, part detective story and filled with intrigue. General Maximus is a battle-weary commander of one of Rome's finest legions. When he returns from a long, bloody campaign Maximus finds himself questioning his life. Word has reached Rome of a man named Jesus who is causing a stir in faraway Judea. Maximus, disguised as a Jew, is sent to investigate the situation and assess his potential threat to Rome. In this innovative rendering of the story of Christ we see Jesus from the perspective of an outsider who is stripped of his cultural identity and therefore free to ponder whether he can believe Jesus and find a new purpose in his own life.

Book Review:

Maximus was a captivating character. The author did a great job bringing him to life, complete with the internal struggles he was going through. The book moved slowly at times, but then there were plenty of times that I had to read "just one more chapter" (and another and another) before I could put the book down.

I enjoyed how the relationship between the two Romans and Jershon and his family developed. It didn't seem too rushed, even though it happened in a short amount of time. I really liked how Jershon was able to look past cultural prejudices to see the good in people, no matter where they were from - a lesson we all could learn.

The one negative I had about the book, was how often the author switched from the main character's Roman name to his undercover Jewish name. At times, it happened more than once on a single page. Not a huge deal, but kind of distracting.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

About the Author:

Richard L. Black is a writer with a background in the software industry who has worked closely with Department of Defense and intelligence community, an experience which informs his writing style which shows a flair for undercover mystery and intrigue. A native of San Diego, he now lives with his family in the Southwest and is an avid car enthusiast and guitar player. This is his debut novel. 

Title:  Maximus
Author: Richard L. Black
Published: March 3, 2015
Publisher:  Shadow Mountain Publishing
ISBN:  160907985X
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review

Purchase: Amazon  Deseret Book

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Blog Tour: I Hope They Call Me On A Mission by Ben White

Tour Schedule
I Hope They Call Me On A Mission by Ben White
Illustrated by Corey Egbert

Book Description:

It’s never too young to prepare! This charmingly illustrated picture book teaches children what it’s like to be a missionary, from riding a bike to studying the gospel to having a companion, and everything they can do now to be ready so that when the time comes, they’ll be the best missionaries they can be. Colorful and cute, it’s a perfect gift for baptisms and birthdays.


I joined this review tour with my seven-year-old son in mind. When the book came I was a little worried that it was more for younger children (the illustrations and the conversation from the first few pages seemed geared for a younger audience). However, I was very happy when my son said that he really liked the book.

He liked that it told about what you do on a mission, and that you don't always get what you want (let in to talk to people, baptizing people, etc.). He liked the letter writing part of the story. He wasn't sure if his friends would like the book or not, but he thought it would be a good book for them to have to learn more about missions.

My eleven-year-old daughter also liked the book. She's into art, and liked that the illustrations were different. She also enjoyed that it told the goods and bads of a mission. She got a kick out of the part that talked about having to eat gross food. She thought it was geared toward younger kids, but had some parts for everyone.

About the Author:

Ben White is the author of 10 Questions to Answer while Preparing for a Mission. He has been a Seminary Teacher from 2003 to the present. He has a M.A. in Religious Education from BYU, B.S. in Marriage, Family, and Human Development from BYU. He is an EFY speaker and has recorded two talks with the Mormon Channel on their “For the Youth” program.

About the Illustrator:

Corey Egbert has always loved books and art, so when he discovered that he could create both at the same time by being an illustrator, he couldn’t have been happier. His illustrations can be seen in The Niuhi Shark Saga books and the album covers of recording artist Rob Taylor. He lives in Buena Vista, Virginia, with his wife Natalya, son Oliver, and their cat, Rex.

Title: I Hope They Call Me On A Mission
Author: Corey Egbert
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 1462115519
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Books & Things

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Blog Tour: The Wife Maker by Karey White

Review * Giveaway

Wife Maker (1)
Blog Tour Schedule
The Wife Maker by Karey White

Book Description:

Charlotte has spent years as the husband maker, sending every guy she dates off to enjoy marital bliss with the next girl he dates. But things have now changed, and she's determined to use her husband-maker abilities one last time--on herself. And she finally knows exactly who she wants. 

Angus has loved Charlotte since they were teenagers, but he's tired of waiting for her to realize how good they could be. She's broken his heart one too many times, and it's time to move on with his life. Maybe a position halfway across the country will be just what he needs to get over her. But when Charlotte won't let him go without a fight, Angus has to decide if he's willing to let her in again or if she's too late.

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I've enjoyed this series by Karey White (even though the first two books ended with cliff hangers). The series did wrap up as I expected, but it had some twists and turns getting there, so it was a pretty enjoyable ride to the end.

At one point I wondered if Charlotte should just give up. She had left so much of what she loved to pursue Angus, and he didn't seem to be coming around.

I missed the relationship that Charlotte and Angus had in the first two books. Their banter and just the way they acted as friends was very enjoyable in the series. But, the difference in this book definitely had its purpose, and I thought the ending was good.

About the Author:

Karey WhiteKarey 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.


Blog Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/22/15
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.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wife MakerTitle: The Wife Maker
Author: Karey White
Publisher: Orange Door Press
Published: February 2015
ISBN: 1941898076
Source: I received an eCopy via the tour host in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle

Monday, March 9, 2015

Blog Tour: To My Friends by Jeffrey R. Holland

 To My Friends: Messages of Counsel and Comfort by Jeffrey R. Holland

Book Description:

"If you need a burden lifted, I want you to imagine I am in a personal, private, closed-door chat with you. I want to help you if I can." With those words, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland invites every reader of his latest book to become a friend, to receive instruction and encouragement, counsel and comfort.

Elder Holland addresses these powerful messages "to my friends who love the Lord," "to my friends who want to change," "to my friends who face opposition," and more. Each chapter begins with a beautifully designed quotation to help convey the message in an artistic way, making the book a lovely gift for friends to share. 

Throughout, Elder Holland's powerful witness of the Savior shines through, for, as he writes, "I am grateful for the greatest friend any of us could ever have, in time or eternity, the Lord Jesus Christ."


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland is always a joy to listen to. Even when his words are a reprimand of sorts, you can tell that what he's saying is said with love. Having heard him speak often, when I read To My Friends I could almost hear his voice. I know his advice is lovingly given, and as a friend, I should heed his counsel.

The words on forgiveness really stood out to me. He mentioned a boy from his hometown that had a bad situation, and those surrounding him who should have been his friend and good examples as followers of Christ, didn't help him rise above his situation. Years later the boy had turned his life around, but when he returned to his hometown, his old "friends" didn't let him forget his past. Elder Holland said that when someone is struggling in the waves, we shouldn't use our boats to go out and beat the swimmer with our oars.

Not only are the words beautiful, but the book has some beautiful images.

About the Author:

JEFFREY R. HOLLAND was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June 1994. A native of St. George, Utah, he received bachelor's and master's degrees from Brigham Young University and a master's degree and PhD in American Studies from Yale University. In 1974 he became dean of Religious Education at BYU and two years later was named Church Commissioner of Education. In 1980 he was appointed president of BYU, where he served until he was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1989. Elder Holland is the author of several books, including Broken Things to Mend and Christ and the New Covenant. He and his wife, Patricia, have three children and thirteen grandchildren.

Title: To My Friends: Messages of Counsel and Comfort

Author: Jeffrey R. Holland
Publisher: Deseret Book
Published: December 2014
ISBN: 1629720291
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Friday, March 6, 2015

Blog Tour: Silence by Deborah Lytton

 Silence by Deborah Lytton

Book Description:

Stella was born to sing. Someday Broadway. Even though she is only a sophomore at a new high school, her voice has given her the status as a cool kid. But then a tragic accident renders her deaf. She cannot hear herself sing not to mention speak. She cannot hear anything. Silence. What happens when everything you have dreamed of and hoped for is shattered in a single moment?

Enter Hayden, the boy with blonde curls who stutters. He is treated like an outcast because he is not normal. And, yet, Stella feels an attraction to him that she cannot explain. As Hayden reaches out to help Stella discover a world without sound his own tragic past warns him to keep a distance. But their connection is undeniable. Can the boy who stutters and the girl who is deaf find a happily-ever-after?

SILENCE is a story of friendship and hope with a lesson that sometimes it takes a tragedy to help us find beauty and love in unexpected places.


I really enjoy a good YA. For the most part, I feel like they'll be safe (content-wise), and enjoyable and entertaining. I was happy to find that Silence met (and exceeded) my expectations. I loved the characters and was immediately drawn into the story. Stella's situation (even before her accident) tugged at my heartstrings. Hayden was amazing. Not many kids his age would reach out like he did, but their situations were a perfect combination to help each other.

The story was very emotional. Even though it caused physical pain (my head hurt from all the crying), I'm really happy I had the chance to read this ARC. I don't know that I would have picked it up just based on the cover. If you feel the same, you really should look past that and dive into the story. It is worth the read.

Silence is clean and an engaging story with an excellent message that who we are is much more important than what we are. It also has good messages about forgiveness and serving others. I will definitely read more by Deborah Lytton.  

About the Author:

Deborah Lytton is an established writer who began her work life as an actress at the age of six. She graduated from UCLA and Pepperdine University with a degree in law before becoming a writer. She lives in California with her two daughters and is an active blogger and member of SCBWI.

Title: Silence
Author: Deborah Lytton
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 1609079450
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.
Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Short Film Review: He Knows My Name


Little Rebekah is fascinated by the man her neighbors call Jesus and she wants to hear all he has to say. But her mother, Sarah, wants Rebekah to keep her distance from the man some call Master and others label a heretic. Sarah has heard rumors that some factions wish to harm Jesus of Nazareth. But Rebekah is persistent, and one day she brings Jesus home to meet her mother and grandfather—a simple act that will forever change all their lives.


I had the opportunity to watch "He Knows My Name" with my family for our Family Home Evening this week. I thought the short film was very well done, and I really liked that the focus was on the faith of a child. When we study the scriptures, we read that Jesus loved little children, but otherwise there isn't much mention of children. I think that can make it a little hard for children to relate to and understand the scriptures. But, this film did a great job with creating a relatable situation for children.

Pre-Order a Copy from Amazon, just in time for Easter.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Review: Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter by Emily Belle Freeman

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter: Seven Traditions to Lead Us Closer to Jesus Christ

Book Description:

One of the few titles for adults on the Easter holiday, this beautiful gift book tells the story of Jesus from Crucifixion to Resurrection in short chapters, illustrated with line art, told in the first-person narrative of seven disciples. Each section offers the author's commentary on the lessons learned from each disciple and suggests simple traditions to follow to remember how implementing the teachings of the Easter holiday can vastly enrich your life today.

Book Review:

First of all, if you would like to read this book but feel like you are just too busy and don't have the time, guess what? It's short, and quick and easy to read. You could easily read a chapter while eating breakfast in the morning, then another couple chapters while waiting to pick your kids up from school, and by then, you're done with the book. So, go ahead and give it a try :)
I think my favorite part of this book was when she was talking about Simon of Cyrene. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I don't ever remember this guy in the Easter account. So not only was that good for me to learn about him, I loved the lesson about bearing one another's burdens. 
Another interesting point, at least for me, was that she used both the KJV and the NIV version of the Bible. Since I've never read the NIV it was interesting to hear her talk about that. 
There are seven "traditions" you can modify to fit your family and lifestyle, and I thought they were beautifully done and well thought out. I'm excited to try some for our own Easter traditions. 

Title: Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter
Author: Emily Belle Freeman
Publisher: Ensign Peak
Published: February 2015
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cover Reveal: Falling Slowly by Julie Coulter Bellon

I'm very happy to be a part of the Cover Reveal for Julie Coulter Bellon's new book, Falling Slowly. This is a companion novella to All Fall Down (one of the books in her Hostage Negotiation Series). The series has some great characters and if you like clean romantic suspense novels, I'd recommend checking it out.


The author has a giveaway on her blog. Head on over and comment for a chance to win.

Book Description:

Rafe Kelly never thought he’d fall in love with Claire Michaels, the hostage negotiator sent to get him out of a life or death situation. Though it was easy to see from the beginning that Claire was good at her profession, Rafe quickly realized she was even better for him personally―and that they might have a future together.

When they get back from their mission in Afghanistan, however, Claire goes back to the Hostage Negotiation Team and Rafe is left to deal with the huge hole in his life after leaving the SEALs.& Trying to balance an uncertain future with a new relationship is made even more complicated when a family crisis strikes. Will Rafe and Claire be able to turn to each other for strength or are they over before they've really begun?