Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Blast: Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel

Trouble in Loveland peel  

Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel

Book Description:

What teenage girl hasn't gone to great lengths to get noticed by her crush? 

Charlee Jensen is no exception. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately in the end, Ryan her much older neighbor and unrequited love has no idea she exists during her teenage years, at least not the way she wants him to. 

That all changes, though, when Charlee returns home, after eight years, to work for her estranged father and Ryan ... her teen crush. This time, Ryan has no problem noticing her. His only problem is that he isn't quite sure what to do with this woman who is suddenly all grown up, beautiful and annoyingly charming. 

Throw in a cute three year old, and an ex-wife that's not quite ready to let go, and you have a whole lot of trouble in Loveland. 

Trouble in Loveland is a clean, heartfelt romance filled with humor and tenderness.

Grab your copy now!
Praise for the Book:

"Jennifer Peel's writing captures you from the start and pulls you in. Trouble in Loveland is a fantastic book and was the perfect escape that I look for when I read. It has it all! Drama, humor, and romance. Highly recommend!"

"I have a new favorite author! I am so glad that Jennifer Peel started writing because she writes exactly the kinds of books that I love and Trouble in Loveland is no exception--it's good, clean, romantic fun!"

"Funny and heartfelt! Jennifer Peel creates characters that are so relatable! This story made me both laugh and cry. A must read!"    


Ryan’s eyes seared into mine. “I was hoping I would get to dance with you tonight.”

“You were?”

“Yes, but you’ve been quite popular.” He pulled back a tad and looked down at my dress. “You look very …”

“Please don’t say grown up.”

He smiled and shook his head. “I wasn’t going to say that, I was going to say …” he tried to think of something.

“You were going to say it, weren’t you?”

He sighed. “Charlee, you really know how to make a guy feel inadequate don’t you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I find I like it.”

“You do?”

He nodded his head. “I also find you to be very …” he hesitated.

“Very what?”

“Beautiful and annoyingly charming.”

“How can somebody be annoying and charming at the same time?”

“See what I mean?” He winked.

In my heels, we were practically eye level, and our faces were mere inches apart. I could smell the sweet smell of honey on his breath; I wanted more than anything to taste it, and the way he was looking at me at that moment, I thought maybe he felt the same way. His eyes quickly turned to confusion though before he pulled me a little closer. I rested my head against his and swayed against him. It was even better than I imagined. I wanted the dance to last forever.

“By the way,” I whispered in his ear. “I find you very beautiful too.”    

About Author Jennifer Peel:

Jennifer Peel HeadshotI'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.

Also by Jennifer Peel
Jennifer Peel


Book Blast Giveaway:

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 6/21/15
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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Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Review: A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

A Worthy Pursuit

Book Description:

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan’s Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the little girl entrusted to her care after her mother’s death. Charlotte promised Lily’s mother she’d keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When the teacher he’s after produces documentation that shows she’s the little girl’s legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he’s been led to believe. Is Miss Atherton villain or victim? She acts more like a loving mother than an abductress, and the children in her care clearly adore her. Should Stone break his perfect record?

Then a new danger threatens, and Charlotte is forced to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone becomes determined to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he’s ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte’s heart.

Book Review:

Karen Witemeyer is one of those authors that never seem to disappoint. Sure I like some of her books more than others, but I find myself rereading all of them, even the ones I didn't love.  A  Worthy Pursuit is no exception for me, but let's start at the cover :)

While the cover screams Karen Witemeyer, and fits the other books she's written, I don't feel it really fits this book as well. Maybe it's the smiling lady on the front. Charlotte wasn't known in the stories for smiling at Stone a lot, because it was a really big deal when she did. But whatever...I mean, a cover is just a cover...the important stuff is the content.

A Worthy Pursuit had great characters to get to know. I liked getting to know what Charlotte was like behind the mask she always wore. I liked seeing how Stone reacted to different situations, especially his teasing of "the gnome". The kids were a pleasure to see grow and develop and even the secondary characters like Dead Eye Dan added some flair to the novel.

While I would have liked more dealing with Charlotte and her family, and while it seemed like the conflict was solved rather easily, I'd still recommend giving this book a try. Gotta love good clean fiction.

A Worthy Pursuit
Title: A Worthy Pursuit
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: June 2015
ISBN:  076421280X
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Blog Tour: The Moses Chronicles: Bondage by H.B. Moore

Review * Giveaway
The Moses Chronicles: Bondage by H.B. Moore

Book Description:

Moses has always felt like an outsider in his powerful Egyptian family, even though his close relationship with Ramses, the prince of Egypt, and their cousin Pentu keeps him entwined in the dealings of royalty. But when their youthful antics get them in trouble, the Pharaoh decides it’s time for all three of them to grow up and own their respective responsibilities. Now betrothed to a woman he cares nothing for, Moses wonders where his life is headed.

Miriam, a Hebrew slave, lives with a secret she cannot share with anyone. And though it has been eighteen years since she saved her baby brother, she is constantly getting in trouble for spying on him. In a desperate attempt to control Miriam, her older brother, Aaron, and her father look to find her a husband, something Miriam has never been interested in—until Caleb, a young, handsome man, confesses his feelings for her and asks her father for her hand in marriage.  

When Libya advances on Egypt, Moses and Miriam are suddenly thrown together as the Egyptian royals and soldiers flee. Hebrew slaves are forced to defend the kingdom, and Miriam and Caleb are enlisted under Moses’s direction. Moses quickly sees there is more to this downtrodden people than what he’s been taught. When he witnesses the atrocities enacted against the slaves, he realizes he must leave—he must find out who he really is. 

A gripping account of the events that led to Moses’s flight into the wilderness, The Moses Chronicles: Bondage will take you back back to a rich period of history replete with scandal, strife, love, and hope as God prepares a prophet to lead His chosen people. 

Andrea's Review:

It has been awhile since I've read one of H.B. Moore's scriptural based novels, and to be honest I was a little hesitant to read Moses. I guess I've had him in my mind in a certain way, and I didn't really want to mess with that. Especially if it wasn't handled . . . reverently, I guess. However, I'm really glad that I gave this book a shot. I was reminded about how well Moore brings scriptural characters to life. I've read other scriptural based novels that really didn't place prophets in a good light, but Moore doesn't do that. Her characters are still very human, but their human follies make them more relatable instead of making them seem evil.

There were a few things I questioned, but I actually like that about her books. It makes me have a desire to go right to the source to separate fact from fiction. Plus, this book seemed as much, or more, about Miriam and Moses's adoptive mother as it was about Moses. It was enjoyable to consider his family life and his relationships with those around him.

I didn't care for the cover, but the story was very enjoyable. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Rorie's Review:

I have always enjoyed historical fiction, so I was excited to have the chance to review this book. I went into it expecting most of it to be about Moses, but was pleasantly surprised to find that the book focuses a lot on Miriam and Bithiah, Moses' Egyptian mother as well.

For the first part of the book, I found myself picturing Moses, Miriam and Aaron as they are depicted in the cartoon "The Prince of Egypt" but as I got further into the book, they each took on a life of their own. I also found myself extremely grateful that I was not born back in that time and place where a woman really has no freedom at all.

I really enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to reading volume two when it comes out.

Tour Schedule:

*May 18th:,
*May 19th:,, and
*May 20th:, http://www.ldswomensbookreview.com,
*May 21st: (Cheryl),,
*May 22nd:,,

Tour Giveaway:

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Title: The Moses Chronicles: Bondage
Author: H.B. Moore
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: May 2015
ISBN: 168047166X
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase:  Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review: Undercover Bride by Margaret Brownley

Undercover Bride (Audio CD)

Book Description:

Pinkerton detective Maggie Cartwright is tasked with going undercover as a mail order bride. Her “fiancé” is widower Garrett Thomas, aka the suspected Whistle-Stop Bandit. No sooner does Maggie arrive in Arizona Territory when she’s confronted with an early wedding date—the clock is ticking on her detective work or she may end up a criminal’s wife! As the day of the wedding draws near, Maggie begins to panic. The problem is that the more she gets to know Garrett and his two adorable children, the harder it is to keep up the deception. Can a man as kind and gentle as Garrett really be the Whistle-Stop Bandit?

Book Review:

 I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I had read The Petticoat Detective, and while I enjoyed it, it was cheesy and I didn't take it seriously. This book had substance, which I wasn't expecting.  Set in the Old West this clean romance had great characters and a mystery that wasn't entirely predictable.  I love the concept of mail order brides, and this was a fun twist on that, since Maggie isn't actually a mail order bride...just pretending to be one.

If you like Westerns and good clean romances, I'd give this one a shot.

Undercover Bride (Audio CD)
Title: Undercover Bride
Author: Margaret Brownley
Publisher: Shilo Run Press
Published: June 2015
ISBN: 1630588814
Source: I received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cover Reveal & Author Spotlight: Mysteries of Cove: Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage

Book Description:

STEAMPUNK! Plus Dragons!

Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime and "invention" is a curse word. Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, whose father died in an explosion-an event the leaders of Cove point to as an example of the danger of creativity.

Working together, Trenton and Kallista learn that Leo Babbage was developing a secret project before he perished. Following clues he left behind, they begin to assemble a strange machine that is unlikely anything they've ever seen before. They soon discover that what they are building may threaten every truth their city is founded on-and quite possibly their very lives.

Author Note:

Like many of my books, the inspiration for my new series Fires of Invention came from the collision of two ideas. The first time the story occurred to me was while I was watching the musical Wicked with my wife. The moment I walked into the theater and saw the huge mechanical dragon above the stage, I thought, Wow! I have to write a story about that! A few weeks later, I was talking with my nephew, who is probably the most creative kid I know, but whose inventiveness often gets him into trouble, and I thought, What if a kid who had the talents of my nephew lived in a world where creativity was against the law? What if the kids were building . . . a steam-powered dragon? Bam! I had my story.

Powered by great feedback from my agent, Michael Bourret, my good friend and author James Dashner, my publisher, Chris Schoebinger, and the song “Warriors” by Imagine Dragons, I wrote the entire first draft of the first volume in the series, Mysteries of Cove in four weeks. This book is unlike anything I have ever written. There are elements of City of Ember, Dragon Riders, and Hugo in it all mashed up together in a world I fell in love with from the moment I started writing.

I think what’s most exciting to me about this book is that it’s about giving yourself the freedom to imagine. To take chances. Too often we limit ourselves by only trying things we’re confident we can succeed at when what we need to do is give ourselves permission to fail. Often it is when we attempt things with no idea of how we can possibly pull them off that we achieve our greatest successes.

Author Bio:

J. Scott Savage is the author of the Farworld middle grade fantasy series and the Case File 13 middle grade monster series. He has been writing and publishing books for over ten years. He has visited over 400 elementary schools, dozens of writers conferences, and taught many writing classes. He has four children and lives with his wife Jennifer and their Border Collie, Pepper, in a windy valley of the Rocky Mountains.

INSTAGRAM: jscottsavage

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Book Review: An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

An Uncertain Choice (An Uncertain Choice, #1)
Book Description:

Due to her parents' promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father's enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents' will left a second choice. If Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the cloister is the best place after all. If only one of the knights the one who appears the most guilty had not already captured her heart.

Book Review:

 I was skeptical starting this book, even though what I've read previously from this author I really liked. Plus, I enjoy the cover, so I'm not sure why I was skeptical. Maybe it was the the fact it was geared toward teens, but whatever the reason there was no reason for the skepticism because I was pulled into the book immediately.

I will say that it was juvenile, but considering the target audience, Hedlund nailed this one right on the head.  The plot wasn't as flushed out as I'm used to, but it was a fun read.  I liked how Rosemarie is both certain and uncertain, strong and weak. I enjoyed her compassion and her willingness to learn new things to become better.

I enjoyed all the knights vying for her attention. One reviewer compared it to a "Medieval Bachelorette" and I love that comparison (can't say if it's accurate or not, I've never seen the show, but I thought it was funny). The knights personalities were so different, but their individual skills and their friendship made this great. It made you wonder for a bit if their friendship would survive the courtship.

The ending wasn't much of a surprise, but this was a well written novel, and highly entertaining. I would recommend it for both teens and adults who like clean medieval fiction.

An Uncertain Choice (An Uncertain Choice, #1)
Title: An Uncertain Choice
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Zondervan
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 0310749190
Source: I received an eCopy from BookLookBloggers in exchange for a review.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Blog Tour: Trouble in Paradise by Karen Tuft

Book Description:

Andy Kendrick has always dreamed of bigger things than tiny Eagle Bluff, Arizona. So when the opportunity arises to shake off the dust of his hometown and move to the tropical paradise of Hawaii, he grabs it. But he never imagined that a piece of his past would follow him to his new life . . . Kimberly Briggs has lived her life on the fringes of the crowd, timid and afraid since the death of her brother, but when she learns that Andy, her lifelong crush, is moving to Hawaii, she's finally ready to step out of the shadows and take a risk.

Kimberly is the last person Andy expected or wanted to see in Hawaii. But when fate incessantly throws the pair together, there's little to be done but make the best of the situation. As the awkwardness fades and Kimberly begins to emerge from her shell, Andy realizes there's much more to her than he realized. But even as they revel in the adventures of island life, drawn together by a growing attraction, an unforeseen peril threatens Kimberly's life.

Can the once-timid young woman now draw upon the inner strength Andy has helped her discover so the two of them can build a life together? Will Andy grasp that love knows no geographical bounds?

Andrea's Review:

Trouble in Paradise is an enjoyable read. I read the author's book Reality Check a few years ago, and it was fun having a few of the characters from that book in this one.

The prologue of Trouble in Paradise is sure to catch your attention (unless you are heartless). It was somewhat heartbreaking, and really made me feel for Kimberly. I liked how she grew throughout the book. I also enjoyed the setting (hello-it's Hawaii). Kim's boss at the souvenir shop was a really fun addition to the story, especially since most of the other characters were not native Hawaiians.

I didn't really love Andy, but this came to me after I was finished reading. He had his ups and downs in the book, and his character grew at the end, but he wasn't a standout, loveable leading man. But, his relationship with Kim in Hawaii was entertaining. Especially initially where they kept running into each other.

If you are looking for a clean romance with a suspense, I'd recommend Trouble in Paradise.

Rorie's Review:

This book drew me in very quickly. I'm talking, forget laundry, dinner, all of that other stuff kind of drawn in, because I just needed to find out what was going to happen.

I did not like Andy for the first half or so of the book. His attitude was so off-putting to me. Even though it took him way too long to change, he became a very likeable character once he finally did.

Even though it wasn't the main part of the story, I wish that we could have gotten to know more about Dave. He intrigued me and I wanted to know what made him tick. That part of the story seemed to be a bit rushed to me.

Tarah's Review:

So it seems like the consensus about this novel is that it's a fun quick read. I'll go with that. There's nothing deep or mind-provoking about it, but it's an enjoyable way to spend a couple hours. I brought it along with me on errands and wasn't tempted to start on something else while I was reading it.  I will admit that this book made me feel old though :) When we were first introduced to Andy I just kept thinking how immature and...spoiled.... he seemed. I hope I wasn't like that in college :) I'll even admit I liked one of his roommates way better than I liked him.

I enjoyed Kim's character, even if I didn't really love her taste in men. I liked how she knew she was fragile but was really trying to overcome instead of excusing herself from different situations.

Do I see myself reading this again? I'm not sure, to be honest. It's not a book that I would reread immediately after having finished it (yes, I know that's weird, but that's how I know if I really like a book :) but given time I'd probably pick it up again.

Tour Schedule:

May 11th:
May 12th:
May 13th:
May 14th:
May 15th:

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Trouble in Paradise
Title: Trouble in Paradise
Author: Karen Tuft
Publisher: Covenant
Published: March 2015
ISBN:  1680472097
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Movie Review: The Cokeville Miracle

Last week I had the privilege of attending a screening of The Cokeville Miracle, a film that is being released in theaters on June 5th. With several survivors in attendance, the experience was quite emotional. Not only was the film well done, but it has a wonderful message about seeing miracles in our lives.

It is not unusual for me to cry during movies, but the tears I shed watching The Cokeville Miracle were not solitary. Throughout the film I heard many others crying. I was really impressed by this film, and can see why it won an Audience Choice Award.

Cokeville is only about two and a half hours away from the small town where I grew up. It hasn't ever been on my radar before, but I was able to relate to the people. I think it's a sign of a good movie when I have a desire to learn more about the actual event.

I believe in miracles, and have seen them in my own life numerous times. If you are looking for an uplifting film, be sure to find a theater where you can watch The Cokeville Miracle.

This Saturday, May 16th, marks the 29 year anniversary of the hostage crisis. Spend time that day with the people you love. #seemiracles



From T.C. Christensen comes The Cokeville Miracle, the remarkable true story of a town facing a terrible tragedy, and the Sheriff’s investigator who struggles with his faith as he gathers evidence that defies easy explanation.


Cokeville Wyoming, a town of just over 500 people that sits near the Utah-Idaho border, is not known for much beyond it’s strong family values, but in 1986 Cokeville made national headlines when a madman and his wife entered the elementary school with guns and bomb. They gathered over 100 children and teachers into a small room, and made a demand: $200 million dollars for the lives of the children—but then the bomb went off...

The Cokeville Miracle is not just the story of a hostage crisis, or a terror attack on American soil. It is not just the story of a bomb that could have destroyed an entire generation, and ripped a town apart. The Cokeville Miracle is about what happened instead. How did a bomb that should have leveled the room take only two lives that day, the madman and his wife? Each child, each adult who made it out of that room has a story to tell. Follow the Sheriff’s investigator Ron Hartley as he pieces together the evidence, including stories of prayer and divine intervention from multiple witnesses. Gather the evidence and decide for yourself. Do you see coincidence, or do you see miracles?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book Review: A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade

A Love Like Ours (Porter Family, #3)

Book Description:

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

Book Review:

This is my first book by Becky Wade (even though it's the third book in the Porter Family series), and I've got to say, "Why haven't I read her sooner?" Sometimes I get stuck (although, since I enjoy it I don't feel stuck) reading one genre, and when I branch out to something different I remember how much I like that genre in the first place. Really, there is nothing better than clean contemporary romance...unless it's clean regency...or clean fantasy....or clean, well, you get the picture. Apparently I'm not a genre snob as long as it's clean :)

Speaking of being a snob though, let's take a look at the cover, because I am a cover snob.  Isn't this cover beautiful? Seriously, I love what she's wearing, and would wear it if I could find it. I don't love his shirt, I'll admit, but it's an eye catching lovely cover. And what makes it even better is the content inside.

As far a it being christian fiction, it isn't over the top or preachy. Yes, it's there, Lyndie's family motto is, "God is good", but nothing is shoved down your throat. Content wise, there is kissing, but it's kept pretty clean. Nothing made me uncomfortable and I don't think I'd have a problem with my teenage niece reading it.

I loved the main characters (and the secondary ones as well). Jake is different from most of the leading males I typically enjoy. I think what I enjoyed most was that he was so real. The struggles and hardships he was going through emotionally while still trying to hang on to reality and who he thought he needed to be was super touching.

I would definitely recommend this to others and add it to my own collection.

A Love Like Ours (Porter Family, #3)
Title: A Love Like Ours
Author: Becky Wade
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: May 2015
ISBN:  0764211099
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Book Review: Keep it Real and Grab a Plunger by Julie K. Nelson

Book Description:

Get the parenting results you want without stepping into the battle zone. Popular radio personality, university professor, author, and TV expert Julie K. Nelson combines her professional expertise with her personal experience as a mom of five in this book. Humorous, insightful, and authentic, this must-read will help you enforce rules without manipulation or coercion and addresses a wide variety of essential parenting topics.

Book Trailer:

Rorie's Review:

I haven't had a chance to finish this book yet, but I am about half-way through it. I know it's not the intent of this book, but boy, what a guilt trip! I have so much to work on as a mother. I would read each chapter and think "Yep, that's me." or "Boy, I really need to do better on that." That being said, this book is presented well and gives a lot of good advice on parenting. None of us are perfect parents and none of us have perfect children. I'm pretty sure that most, if not all parents can relate to at least one topic in this book, and can (hopefully) learn something from it.

One chapter that stuck out to me a lot was "Keep it real and learn your ABCs." All of my children are awesome of course ;) but one of them in particular is so much like me that we tend to butt heads a lot. Reading this chapter helped me realize that sometimes (OK, maybe a lot of the time) the way I react to his actions is most likely making the situation worse. As the popular saying goes, "Knowing is half the battle." This book is one that I can refer back to over and over again (because I'm stubborn and sometimes take a long time to learn things) as I'm trying to figure this whole parenting thing out.

Tarah's Review:

Ah parenting books....we have a love/hate relationship. I tend to avoid them for a couple reasons. 1-It's not mind candy. Apparently I like fluff stories. I can whip through those in hours, no problem. Non-fiction books I slog though and hope to eventually finish because it's good for me and I should be doing something better with my mind. 2-The guilt issue. I tend to avoid things that make me feel guilty :)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, I'll admit that it was the plunger that grabbed my interest. That, and the use of the word "surviving" in the title. They both seemed very apropos for my current parenting experience.

The very first thing I read in this book was chapter 9. Yes, I know that's weird, but that's what I did. It's the chapter on how to stop yelling at your kids. Again, very relevant to my current situation. I've actually read that chapter twice now, and since I'm going to be watching my nephews for a week this chapter gave me some great ideas on how to calm everyone down (is that possible with 8 kids under 9 in your house?)

I actually finished this book very quickly (very unusual for me...see reason number one above). Although, I will admit to skimming chapters that didn't relate to my current situation. I enjoyed the real life stories, the humor, and the reminder that we aren't perfect, but we can keep trying. A couple things that stuck out to me were when she shared the quote, "Right is right, even if no one is doing it. Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." Amen, sister! Love that. And this quote I felt was basically the premise of her book. "In the long run, the only thing of lasting value you can give your child is your time and the memories of the time you shared together." -Ibid, xxiv

 There were so many topics covered in this book, it really seems like it had something for everyone. Everything from potty training, to blended families, to vacations, to honesty and values, and a whole lot more. It was well written in a non-guilt inducing way (although, let's be honest...I'm a woman. Isn't guilt hardwired into me somehow?)

Julie K. Nelson is a wife and mother of five children, raising them in Illinois and now Utah. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree from Utah State University in marriage, family and human development. Her scholarly research and creative writing have been published in journals and anthologies, and she has won numerous state and national awards for her writing. Julie has enjoyed teaching children in public and private schools and currently teaches at Utah Valley University.

 Title: Keep it Real and Grab a Plunger
Author: Julie K. Nelson
Publisher: Plain Sight
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 1462116329
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Book Review: Extreme Measures by Michele Ashman Bell

Book Description:

Following the trauma of her estranged husband's untimely death, Emma Lowell is happy with the life she has rebuilt for herself. She's engaged to a wonderful man and anticipates a fresh start, free from her troubled past. Only one persistent obstacle remains: Margaret Lowell, her former mother-in-law. Margaret continues to be a demanding presence in Emma's life, and her requests have become increasingly disconcerting. When Margaret asks Emma to accompany her on a sentimental journey to the family s mountain cabin, the young woman reluctantly agrees. After all, her fiancé is out of town. No one will miss her. Emma could never have suspected the horror that awaits in the snow-bound cabin, for beneath Margaret Lowell's elderly façade lies a sinister and terrifying nature and a plot born of insanity. Alarmed by the dark plan that unfolds, Emma struggles to escape the isolated cabin in a chilling game of cat and mouse. As the danger escalates, and with little hope of rescue, Emma must engage in a battle of wills if she is to avoid becoming the final piece in Margaret s twisted puzzle . . .

Blog Tour Schedule:

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Rorie's Review:

This story got its hooks in me almost from the very beginning. I was able to finish it in two days and found myself looking for any time that I could find to read some more. Whenever I read suspense books, I tend to put myself in the main character's shoes and think about how I would have done this or that differently. This book was no different and I found myself getting frustrated with Emma at times due to her actions. However, if she had done things "the right way" (i.e. my way) there wouldn't have been much of a story at all. :)

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and plan on reading more books from this author.

Andrea's Review:

The book blurb for Extreme Measures grabbed my attention. Sadly, I never did get fully pulled into the story. The idea was interesting, but I didn't feel a connection with any of the characters. I was curious about how everything would end up, so I kept picking the story back up, but I did a lot of skimming. Margret's scheming was way over the top for me, and it kept coming in waves. The dialogue didn't really grab me either.

Readers who enjoy Bell's writing style seem to really like Extreme Measures, so if you're a fan of Bell's other books, you might want to give this one a try.

Tarah's Review:

This isn't a typical book for me to read. I like suspense novels, but I like a dash of romance on the side :) This was just the "suspense" part, and I missed having something to look forward to. I will say that I was surprised when I realized who the author was. I've read a number of her other novels and I have to admit that this novel felt like a first novel, not something from someone who has written multiple ones.

The best written character was Margret, the crazy mother-in-law. She had depth and dimensions, all of the other characters seemed over the top and not believable at all.

I really wanted to like this book, but I kept putting it down and starting something else.

About the Author:

Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah, where she met her husband, Gary, at Dixie College. They are the proud parents of four children: Weston, Kendyl, Andrea, and Rachel.

A favorite pastime of Michele’s is supporting her children in all of their activities, traveling both in and outside the United States with her husband and family, and doing research for her books. She also scuba dives. Aside from being a busy wife and mother, Michele is an aerobics instructor at the Life Centre Athletic Club near her home. Michele is the best-selling author of several books and a Christmas booklet and has also written children’s stories for the Friend magazine.

Tour Giveaway:

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Title: Extreme Measures
Author: Michele Ashman Bell
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Published: May 2015
ISBN: 1680471651
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Spotlight: Robin's Reward by June McCrary Jacobs

Robin's Reward by June McCrary Jacobs

Book Description:

Bonita Creek’s librarian Robin Bennett is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. The mysterious and handsome Jeff Clarke arrives unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Then, without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true love withers again.

Just when it seems Robin and Jeff might have a future, Susan Stinson, whose cruel taunting has plagued Robin since they met as young teens, decides Jeff should be hers, not Robin’s. Susan’s anger and jealousy escalate dangerously. Her vindictiveness threatens the foundation of Jeff and Robin’s young relationship.

Robin’s journey through the peaks and valleys of her life meanders along the twists and turns of new challenges. Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive? Can they move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? When their pasts rear their ugly heads, Jeff and Robin must use their faith to remain strong and true. But will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together?


"Robin's Reward, a sweet romance with great characters, is as refreshing as a walk among flowers."

-Author Rebecca H. Jamison, Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale.

Link to Giveaway:

June is giving away two signed copies of Robin's Reward on her website. (United States residents only. No purchase necessary.) The Rafflecopter contest will end on May 31st, and June would like to invite readers to enter for a chance to win one of these paperbacks. Here's the link to the entry form:

About the Author:

Award-winning author, June McCrary Jacobs, was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’. ‘Robin’s Reward’ is her first full-length novel, and is set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’.

June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and blogs in the past few years. When she’s not writing, reading, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, and visiting art and history museums. She also enjoys touring historic homes and gardens and strolling around the many historic Gold Rush towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the summertime you can find June at a variety of county fairs and the California State Fair admiring the sewing projects, quilts, and handiwork other inspired seamstresses, quilters, craftspeople, and artists have created.

Website | Facebook | Author Page | Goodreads Author Page | LinkedIn

Title: Robin's Reward
Author: June McCrary Jacobs
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 1508717508

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble

Monday, May 4, 2015

Book Trailer and Giveaway: Remake by Ilima Todd

I was able to review Remake by Ilima Todd last fall, and I really enjoyed it. Today I'm happy to share the new book trailer with you, along with a giveaway from the publisher. If you are interested in Dystopian YA, be sure to check out Remake.

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