Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Review: Goodnight, Ark by Laura Sassi illustrated by Jane Chapman

Goodnight, Ark

Book Description:

The padded board book edition of Goodnight, Ark tells the story of Noah and the animals as they try to sleep through the storm that is raging outside. But when the storm gets louder boars, quails, elephants, snakes and a few other furry friends join Noah in bed, creating quite the commotion! Author Laura Sassi brings a new dimension to one of the Bible's most popular stories, giving a delightful glimpse into the emotional bond between Noah and the animals in his care. With sleek, buoyant verse and eye-catching illustrations by New York Times bestselling illustrator Jane Chapman, this read-aloud bedtime tale is sure to become a favorite of children and parents alike.
Book Review:

Okay, so I'm always a little hesitant with children's stories that are religious. Are they going to teach what I believe, are the from the version of the Bible that I read, are they correct, are they too preachy, etc. However, the only thing I can say about Goodnight, Ark is that it is super cute! I love rhyming stories, and the pictures are adorable. While Goodnight, Ark is fictional (Noah is the main character, but it's not the story of Noah...if that makes sense) it's a great bedtime story.

All my kids really like this book, and I love that it is a board book so my 2 year old won't destroy it as fast as a paperback book. My four year olds favorite part of the book was with the skunks, and I'll admit that made me giggle too.  I even read it to my four year old's friend and asked what she thought about it. She had a smile on her face the whole time and told me it was, "Good!" Can't argue with that I guess :)

Goodnight, Ark
Title: Goodnight, Ark
Author: Laura Sassi
Illustrator: Jane Chapman
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Published: August 2015
ISBN: 0310749387
Source: I received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Tour: Legally and Lawfully Yours by Anita Stansfield

Legally and Lawfully Yours by Anita Stansfield

Book Description:

Following the revelation of her fiancĂ©’s philandering ways, high-powered New York attorney Shannon Turney’s wedding is off. At a time like this, the last thing she can handle is family drama. But when she learns how far her brother and sister-in-law’s lives have spiraled out of control, the only thought in her mind is the safety of her young niece and nephew. After Shannon is granted custody, she and the children are eager to run long and far from their problems. The end of the road is Sugar City, a place as delightful as its name implies. In the tiny town, Shannon gets much more of a change than she bargained for. Welcomed with open arms by the townspeople, including the handsome local veterinarian, Shannon and the children slowly begin to heal. But when their idyllic existence is threatened by the return of the children’s mother, Shannon has no choice but to return to the courtroom she left behind. She has one last legal battle to fight, and the outcome may mean losing everything she loves . . .

Tarah's Review:

The book started out great, and I got drawn in right away to what was going to happen with Shannon and the kids. However, once they get settled (and by settled I mean they drove for three days straight, and then end up in the same state they left, New York. Seriously? New York is not that big, and if you were trying to get away from people, wouldn't you want to go as far away as possible?) the book changes in its tone, and instead of being in the story and experiencing it, you just get told stuff, and I'll admit I got bored, until right at the end when the tone changed again to like it was at the first.

Phillip is great (I admit I have a thing for Veterinarians). He is super understanding of Shannon's past and the situation at present. Also, he's a nerd, and I'll admit I have a thing for nerds too :) However, sometimes he seemed too great, if you know what I mean. I loved his mom though, she was fun.

Legally and Lawfully Yours is a clean read that handles some disturbing situations in a G rated manner.

Andrea's Review:

My review copy arrived just before I left on vacation. I took it with me sure that I'd have plenty of time to read it. Totally out of character for me, I didn't do a lot of reading while I was gone (which in some ways is sad, but others it's better since I was more actively engaged and communicating with my family). :)

My take on what I've read so far is similar to Tarah's review. I was really held up by the driving with two young kids for three days and not having left the state. Most kids aren't very content in cars for long amounts of time, and not knowing where she was made me question her competency. Yes, she's stressed, and just trying to go where it feels right, but it bugged me. Of course, still being in New York seems to be important for her job as things progress, so I get that.

It's been a clean read so far. I think if I'd been pulled in more, I probably would have finished the book already. As it is, I think it's interesting, but not the type of book I devour.

Rorie's Review:

I'm a bit delayed posting this review, but better late than never, right?

The idea of the book intrigued me, but sadly, the story kind of fell flat. It started out really well, but then the middle really dragged on. I felt almost like it was too happy, too perfect, too easy of a relationship between the main characters. I like stories where the main characters have some conflict between the two of them that they have to work through.

Things got a bit better near the end of the book, but it still wasn't quite enough to make the book an excellent read. As it is, it's a decent story, but lacks depth. 

Blog Tour Schedule:

Tour Giveaway:

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Legally and Lawfully Yours
Title: Legally and Lawfully Yours
Author: Anita Stansfield
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
Published: August 2015
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Blog Tour: Portrait of Lies by Clair M. Poulson

Review * Giveaway
Portrait of Lies by Clair M. Poulson

Book Description:

It was a robbery gone bad, or so they said. For Detective Trey Shotwell, the murder of his mother, a prominent artist, was the catalyst for setting aside his own artistic aspirations to pursue a career in law enforcement—despite the opposition of his father, also a famous painter. When he agrees to attend an art auction featuring his father's work, the cruise ship locale provides the relaxation that Trey needs—and when he meets stunning fellow passenger Ariah Stanton, the undeniable chemistry they share is an unexpected bonus.

But the tranquil voyage quickly turns into a nightmare at sea. The Shotwell paintings have disappeared, and amidst the chaotic hunt for the thief, a murderer is free to roam the halls of the ship. Ariah finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and miraculously escapes the murderer—for now. But another victim is not so lucky...

The crime is eerily reminiscent of the death of Trey's mother so many years before. But this time, the young detective has the resources he needs to track the killer. As the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, they paint the chilling picture of a sinister plot years in the making. In a manhunt that takes him from the high seas of the Pacific to the wilderness of Australia, Trey will stop at nothing to solve the crime and protect the woman he loves.

Rorie's Review:
I have always wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand, so I enjoyed that parts of this book were set in those countries, even though most of the story took place on the cruise ship.

My favorite character was probably Trey's friend, Hans. He was so energetic and fun-loving, you just couldn't help but like him.

Finding out who the bad guy was at the end was a complete shock to me. I always try to figure it out before it's revealed to the reader, but there was no way I would have guessed this one.

The romance between Trey and Aariah fell kind of flat for me. There just didn't seem to be a whole lot of emotion involved. I do wish that part of the book had been developed a bit better.

Tarah's Review: 

I've got to admit that most of this story fell pretty flat for me. The dialogue just wasn't there, and while I really enjoyed the premise of the story I felt like I was just being told a bunch of stuff. I didn't lose myself in the story. Instead, because of how many bad guys there are, I felt like I was constantly trying to figure out who was who, and not in a "who-done-it" way.

I did, however, enjoy the parts about Australia. There is a scene in the book with kangaroos and snakes, and if it was portrayed correctly the animal behavior was interesting.

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Tour Giveaway:

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Author: Clair M. Poulson
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
Published: August 2015
ISBN: 1680472445
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Blog Tour: Marrying Christopher by Michele Paige Holmes

Marrying Christopher by Michele Paige Holmes

Book Description:

Having seen both his sisters Grace and Helen happily married, Christopher Thatcher is free to pursue his dream of life in America. With adventure in his heart and mind, he boards one of the first steamships set to cross the Atlantic in the record breaking time of only twenty-five days. Within the first two of those, his resolve—to avoid women and the complications they often bring to a man’s life—falters when he meets Marsali Abbott, a young woman with a past even more troubling than his own. Whether from years of habit protecting his sisters, or simply because he feels drawn to Marsali, Christopher chooses to help her and becomes her friend. As the truth about what awaits Marsali in America becomes evident, he is faced with a more difficult choice, one that will impact their lives far beyond four weeks together at sea.


It took a couple of chapters before I was drawn into this story. I wondered if I'd skipped something between the first and second chapters. I also struggled with the main female character's unusual name (names can really hold me up when reading). But I did get pulled in.

Life on a steam ship crossing the Atlantic was quite interesting. And the small group of passengers and crew with their varying personalities made for an entertaining journey.

As the story progresses it becomes somewhat of a soap opera-lots of drama and miscommunication. I'm not typically in the mood for that, but if you like drama, this could be the historical fiction novel for you. It is clean and has a sweet love story with a happy ending.

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Blog Tour: Eleanor and the Iron King by Julie Daines

Review * Giveaway
Eleanor and the Iron King by Julie Daines

Book Description:

Eleanor de Lacy is forced into an arranged marriage with her father’s greatest enemy, Brac Goch, the Welsh king. All Eleanor knows of Brac is that he is a ruthless, war hungry man.

Eleanor arrives at the Welsh castle of Bryn Du already expecting the worst. When the ghost of Brac Goch’s first wife appears and warns her that the Welsh king is not to be trusted, all of Eleanor’s fears are confirmed.

As the countdown to her wedding day approaches, Eleanor must figure out who is lying, who is telling the truth, who is loyal, and who is the traitor--and most of all, if she can love an enemy king.

Tarah's Review:

I love reading a book where the minute it's over, I want to start reading it again. That's how I felt with this book. I've already recommended it to my reading friends, and like I said, I can't wait to read it again.

Brac Goch is awesome. Gotta love a strong male lead like him. Sometimes Eleanor made me want to shake her, but really, with everything she's gone through how she reacts to things is completely believable. Overall, I liked her as well.

Some of the mystery I was able to guess at, but I was surprised by some parts. I don't read a lot of Welsh literature (I find the names really distracting :) so this historical fiction was a new one for me, but it was very well done. I especially appreciated the pronunciation guide at the front of the book.

Content wise it has some blood and some...dark magic? People think Eleanor is a witch, which she isn't, but there is a witch in the story and some darker elements, so if you are sensitive to that you need to be aware that it's there. Otherwise, there is no swearing or sex. I'd give it a clean rating (if I rated things like that).

Rorie's Review: 

I really liked this book. So much so that it was my nightly reward for working hard each day. I am once again reminded how blessed I am to be living in this time and this country where I am free to make my own choices. I can't even imagine how horrible it would be to be given in marriage to the enemy, all for the sake of peace. I kept thinking that I would probably just run away if I had been put in the same situation.

While my heart ached for Eleanor and her situation, she was unbelievably stubborn and pig-headed in her attitude towards Brac Goch. No matter how nice he was to her, she would only rarely return the favor.

The characters were all really well developed and I finished the story wanting a whole lot more. Maybe a sequel in the future? :)

I am also eternally grateful to the author for putting the Welsh pronunciations in the beginning of the book. I always struggle reading books with Welsh names, because I have no clue how to pronounce them, so that really helped.

Blog Tour Schedule: 

Blog Tour Giveaway:

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Eleanor and the Iron King Title: Eleanor and the Iron King
Author: Julie Daines
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
Published: August 2015
ISBN: 1680472372
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review. 

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book