Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Book Review: Hoolie and the Hooligans: The Alien that ate my Socks by Brandon Dorman 

Book Description:

An adventure that will knock your socks off!

Hank, Hector, and Henry Hooligan are fun-loving, go-cart racing, up-for-anything boys. When the school bully, Rock, challenges the Hooligans to a go-cart race down Dead Man s Hill, the last thing anyone expects to see is a huge, blobby, purple alien in the middle of the road.

Luckily Hoolie isn t a dangerous alien. He s friendly (if a bit smelly), and he eats clothes (particularly socks). He even has a cool compartment in his belly that can somehow hold all kinds of neat gizmos and gadgets.

But when a team of mysterious strangers dressed in black and who call themselves Animal Control arrive, the Hooligan boys know their new friend is in danger.

Can the Hooligan boys stand up to Rock, help Hoolie earn his extraterrestrial space scout merit badges, and protect him until he find his way home? Or will Animal Control capture him first?


I picked this book up from the post office on my way to pick my kids up from school. When my 8-year-old got in the car, I handed it to him and by the time we got home 20 minutes later, he was already completely engrossed in the story. He finished the book by the next day. So first, here's his review (keeping in mind that he's 8 and getting him to be descriptive at all is like pulling teeth.)
"I liked the story because it was very funny. My favorite character was Hoolie because I like his appetite. The whole book was funny. Yes, I would read other books by this author."

I had to go and hunt the book down after he finished it so that I could have a chance to read it. It is definitely a funny book. Several places had me laughing out loud. I think I'm going to start yelling out "bag of hair!" when the need arises. The book definitely leaves you wanting more, so I hope the author comes out with book #2 quickly, especially for my son's sake. :)

About the Author:

Brandon Dorman is the illustrator of theNew York Timesbestselling Fablehaven series. He and his wife, Emily, have three children and live in Washington, where he enjoys working as a freelance illustrator. His work has appeared in children's books and on numerous covers, including the series for Pingo, The Candy Shop War, and Janitors. The Alien that ate my Socks
Author: Brandon Dorman
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: September 2016
ISBN: 1629722227 
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Book Review: To Suit a Suitor by Paula Kremser 

Book Description:

Julia North is nearing the end of her third London season and has just been jilted. Again! All she wants is to leave London and its eligible gentlemen behind. When the opportunity to leave for two months comes her way, Julia jumps at the chance. But her mother will only let her leave on the condition that she choose Julia's next suitor, and her mother isn't nearly as picky as Julia would like. Against her better judgment, Julia makes the promise and leaves town, only to run into Henry Chamberlain. Julia is warned that his heart is locked up tight, but she doesn t need to be warned away from him; Julia has been jilted enough to know that his flirtatious smiles can't be taken seriously. With time running out, a change of mind and a change of heart is their only chance for the joy that only true love can bring.

Rorie's Review:

My, how times have changed. Imagine living in a time when marriage was much less about love and much more about what you could gain from it materially. This book starts out with that very thing, talking about Julia's mother and setting the stage for why things are the way they are in the story.
My heart goes out to Julia. She has been dumped so many times, and she just can't figure out why. I kinda cheered her on when she decided life would be so much better if she could escape the marriage mart craziness of London, for the relative peace and quiet of the small town of Barrington. 

Since she was jilted so many times in London, it makes sense that it's really hard for her to trust anyone else who might try to get close to her. I really admire Henry for not giving up though, but I wanted to smack him upside head later on in the book...actually, they both could have used a good smack. Communication is so important, and yet, so lacking in many relationships.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read, with a happy ending for more people than you would originally think.

Andrea's Review:

I really enjoyed To Suit a Suitor. It is a cute story, and I really liked Julia. She doesn't fit the mold and although I felt sorry for her failed courtships, her personality definitely made me laugh at times.

I didn't like her mother. She seemed quite selfish. I was happy when Julia was able to get out from under her matchmaking ways.

The small size is perfect to fit in your purse if you want to take a book with you (for those who prefer a paperback over ebooks).

It is a clean, quick read that I'd happily read again.

Tarah's Review:

It's a beautiful cover, but funnily enough, I actually didn't look at it until right now :) I think I was dismayed by the size of the book. It doesn't fit well on my book shelf (it's not the same size as Sophia the author's other book), and it's more difficult to hold. But put all that aside, and this was a great story. Laugh out loud funny in some parts....the horse fly....hehehehehe.

Nothing is really shocking in the book. You can guess the end before you even start, but I like my books that way. I was surprised by the mother's behavior. Honestly, at the beginning of the book I can see why she does things, but then I just don't understand her motivation, and I kind of despise her.

Julia is just such a likeable character, and while Henry is a tab bit conceded he's so adorable about it and naive that it makes him likeable too. I will definitely be recommending this to my friends, and rereading it again. Title: To Suit a Suitor
Author: Paula Kremser
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Published: November 2016
ISBN: 1462119336
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book


Monday, November 21, 2016

The Forgotten Carols 25th Anniversary Tour

The last time I saw The Forgotten Carols I was in college (on a bit of an awkward date, but let's not focus on that). I listened to a lot of Michael McLean's music when I was growing up, and going brought back memories of the wonderful McLean family and the peace that McLean's music brought to me. I was excited to hear about the 25th Anniversary tour, and am very excited to take my daughter to it. If you are looking for a great event to go to this Christmas season, consider The Forgotten Carols.

Popular Musical Production ‘The Forgotten Carols’ celebrates 25th Anniversary

The Forgotten Carols, a seasonal concert favorite, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.  Michael McLean, a well-known performer, composer, songwriter, author and director staged his first one-man concert in 1991 with the hopes of it becoming a tradition families would enjoy. For those first performances McLean played all the parts to give people a sense of how families could create their own narration at home.

Over the course of the last 25 years, McLean’s modest one-man show has evolved into a huge theatrical production with over 1 million concertgoers enjoying the music that has become a time-honored Christmas tradition and attracts repeat attendance from guests of all ages. The show has been produced all over the world in limited runs, including shows in Ireland, Germany, England and even Ukraine. “One of the great things about touring is seeing the familiar faces that have been coming for years and are part of the Forgotten Carols family,” shares McLean. “New comers and longtime devoted fans of this production keep the magic of the performance alive. We embrace, giggle, and sometimes cry at these reunions.”

The Forgotten Carols 2016 concert schedule includes performances in four states Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona. The production has arranged over 20 shows in 12 different cities and showcases an elegant arrangement of special musical choral performances and solos. McLean stars as one of the musical’s primary characters, John, an elderly gentleman who helps Constance, a young nurse who can’t be bothered with Christmas, discover a new love for the season.  

Each year, local community and student choirs are invited to perform alongside the professional Forgotten Carol company members during the concert in their cities. It’s important to McLean and the show's producers to preserve this tradition that keeps the magic alive for an enchanting experience each year.

Performance tickets are on sale now. For a complete listing of concert dates and locations or to purchase tickets visit the website at


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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Blog Tour: To Win a Lady's Heart by Sian Ann Bessey

Book Description:

For eighteen years, Lord Gilbert has been tortured over a grievous lapse in judgment. Bitterness has
tainted his interactions with the people of Moreland and his relationship with his only daughter, Lady

With a wolfhound guarding her around the clock and no freedom to leave the castle grounds
unattended, the only time Lady Joanna can be alone is when she sneaks out through an old castle tunnel to visit the healer Agnes in her cottage by the sea. One morning as Lady Joanna approaches the cliffs, she discovers an injured man. She immediately goes to Agnes for help. The wounded stranger is Sir Lukas, and while he recovers, he makes plans to identify his attackers and their motive. Upon learning that Moreland’s wool has been stolen, Sir Lukas comes to believe that the crimes are related and point to a much more sinister plot. 

When Lord Gilbert announces an archery tournament, the prize being Lady Joanna’s hand in marriage, it attracts noblemen from across the land, and suddenly Sir Lukas’s pursuit of the villains takes a different turn. As Lady Joanna and Sir Lukas’s feelings for each other grow, the stakes soar, and only Sir Lukas’s skill with a longbow can save them.

Andrea's Review:

This was a very enjoyable story. It's not very long, but in relatively few pages the author does a great job of developing characters that make a reader care about them. Lady Joanna had such a sad and lonely upbringing and I really liked Agnes, Slip and Garrick for the role they played in her life.

It has been awhile since I read a medieval story, and it was a fun ride. This is a clean, fast read with a bit of mystery/suspense. The romance is well done (and reminded me a bit of Robin Hood).

Tarah's Review:

Okay, this cover is seriously beautiful. Not only is the cover beautiful, but the story matches in every way. It is a very fast quick read. It's 250 pages, but it feels a lot faster. Another thing I appreciated was the glossary in the front of the book. I knew most of the terms, I think most people would, but there were a few surprises, like "Waghalter"..

I loved how the book started with Joanna's father, back in the day. It sets up the story nicely so we understand the whys of things. The characters might not have been the deepest, but they were easy to love and the story keeps you captivated. This is a story that I will be telling my friends about and recommending that they read.

Tour Schedule:

Tour Giveaway:

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To Win a Lady's Heart
Title: To Win a Lady's Heart
Author: Sian Ann Bessey
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Published: November 2016
ISBN: 9781524401528
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Blog Tour: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Ace Collins

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Ace Collins

Make this upcoming Christmas holiday a Christ-filled season of joy and wonder with the help of Ace Collins' new devotional, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the Christmas season with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas. Download a free sampler of the book by clicking here.

Book Review: 

Every Christmas season our family always makes little goodies to take around to neighbors and friends. The kids love running up to the door to drop off the goodies and it's fun to catch up with everyone when life gets really busy. There are so many recipes in here that sound so yummy and easy that I can't wait to try them to take around to the neighbors.

There are so many interesting stories that I can't wait to tell my kids when we start this little advent in December. I'm not big on oils and salts, but the recipes look really easy to try if I ever wanted to give it a try. I like how it gives you something to do or try every day. One of my favorite things was when we send Christmas cards or whatever, to right a meaningful little note or memory to the person you are sending the card to. I would love to receive something like that. Everyone can always use a little pick-me-up, and I thought that was a sweet idea.

Join Ace's Christmas festivities by entering to win the Magic of Christmas Prize Pack. Create new traditions this holiday season with your family and friends with the goodies included in the giveaway.


One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 21. The winner will be announced November 22 on the Litfuse blog.

Blog Tour:

Debra | 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
Elisha | Rainy Day Reviews
Amelia | Rejoice Evermore
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!
Rebecca | Raventhreads
Stacey | Books,Dreams,Life

Sharon | Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews

Leslie | Did YOU Hear about the Morgans?
Rachel | Smart Mom Smart Ideas

Dianna | Savings in Seconds

Carole | The Power of Words

Lisa | A Rup Life

Linda | Mocha with Linda
Amy | A Nest in the Rocks
Lena | A Christian Writer's World
heidi | Heidi's Wanderings
Rebekah | Caffeinated Christian Raves - N - Review

Tima | Book Reviews by Tima

Dominique | Mama Bear Reads
nicole | bless their hearts mom
Laura | Lighthouse Academy
Karen | Karen's Korner

Joy | Splashes of Joy
Jennifer | Mother of Three
Wendy | Life at Rossmont
Rachel | Smiling Book Reviews
Sarah | Running Through The Storms

Erin | For Him and My Family
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart

Pam | Southern Gal Loves to Read
Penny | Beauty in Every day Things
Donna | Donna's Bookshelf
Annie | Just Commonly

Cheryl | cherylbbookblog
Julie | More Of Him
Sherry | My Journey Back
Laura | Once Upon a Storyville
Carrie | Reading Is My SuperPower
Andi | Radiant Light

Mark | Thoughts of a Sojourner
Janelle | Milk & Honey Meadows
Deana | Texas Book-aholic
Erika | Pray Species
Tarah | Literary Time Out
Jill | I am believing God
Denise | Ramblings of a California Couponer
Randi | A Modern Day Fairy Tale
Zac | Living Life Unwasted™

April | Dixie n Dottie
Billy | Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
Michaela | Baker Kella

Beckie | By The Book
Lois | The Minister's Wife
Amanda | The Talbert Report
Natalie | Natalie Walters

vanessa | this moms reviews and more
Keri | My Table of Three
Leslie | Edits and Reviews by Leslie
Trish | View from the Birdhouse
Meagan | Meagan Davenport
Kathy | MysteriesEtc
Loren | Heart of a Bookworm

Amanda | Inklings and Notions
Nicki | Confessions of a Teenage Bookworm
Becky | Christian Chick's Thoughts
Sue | Thoughts from Mill Stsreet
Jodie | Jodie Wolfe

Beth | Beth's Book-Nook Blog
Urailak | Fruitbearers
Missica | Through the Open Window
Jennifer | Adventures in Unsell Land
Beth-Anne | Book Reviews

Abi | The Blended Blog
Stacey | WORD Up!
Bethany | Perfect Beginnings
Michelle | New Horizon Reviews
Kerrie | comfy reading
Tressa | Wishful Endings
Carrie | Farming On Faith
Rachel | Wife, Then Mama
Ariel | The Librarian's Bookshelf
Tiffany | Learning to Love
JoyAnne | Deco My Heart

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: A Countdown to Christmas
Title: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Author: Ace Collins
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Published: October 2016
ISBN:  1501822608
Source: I received copy from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Review: Love's Broken Road by Julie Coulter Bellon

Love's Broken Road by Julie Coulter Bellon

Book Description:

After surviving an abusive marriage, Victoria Newel needs a clean slate for herself and her son. Taking a job as a math teacher, she moves across the country to the small town of Lincoln, Utah, where no one knows her and she can start over. However, her new colleague, Drew Dalton, offers her friendship and maybe something more. But has her heart healed enough that she could trust again?

Drew Dalton lost his wife to cancer years ago and he locked his heart away, throwing himself into his teaching job. But when Victoria Newel starts working at the high school, she awakens something in him that he never thought he’d feel again. Her gentle nature and quiet strength draws him to her, but it’s obvious she’s hiding something in her past from him. Can he open his heart to a woman who harbors so many secrets of her own?


I've read quite of few of Julie Coulter Bellon's suspense novels and was excited for the opportunity to read her latest novel, Love's Broken Road, even though it is a different genre.

Bellon did a good job writing believable situations and likable characters. I really felt for Tori and Drew. Both had lost a spouse, but their feelings on it couldn't have been more different. Victoria had been abused and felt relief that her husband passed away. Drew and his wife had a great relationship and her passing was very difficult for him. I appreciated that neither passing was very recent so working on moving on was realistic, although not easy.

This is a clean, quick read with a happy ending.

About the Author:

Julie Coulter Bellon is the author of more than a dozen romantic suspense novels. Her book All Fall Down won the RONE award for Best Suspense and Pocket Full of Posies won a RONE Honorable Mention for Best Suspense.

Julie loves to travel and her favorite cities she's visited so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She would love to visit Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, and Scotland someday. She also loves to read, write, teach, watch Castle, Hawaii Five-O, and eat Canadian chocolate. Not necessarily in that order.

Julie also offers writing and publishing tips as well as her take on life on her blog

Title: Love's Broken Road by
Author: Julie Coulter Bellon
Publisher: Stone Hall Books
Published: October 2016
ISBN: 0692800883
Source: I received an eCopy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Blog Tour: From Cairo, With Love by Nancy Campbell Allen

Book Description:

Valentine Baker longs for adventure, so when the opportunity comes to travel to Venice and be a companion for the unconventional Contessa, she takes it--but they don’t stay in Venice long. Valentine finds herself on a ship bound for Cairo so the Contessa can hunt down a thief at one of her archaeological digs there. Before they ever get close to the coast of Egypt, however, the ship is threatened by a violent storm and someone has an ulterior motive for sticking close to the Contessa and her traveling companions.

Mr. Maxwell is assigned to protect the Contessa and the charming Valentine. He tries to keep his distance, but her warm nature and easy laugh draw him in. He soon comes to cherish their time together, until someone attempts to drug him, and the aftermath reveals serious consequences for Valentine. He’ll do anything to keep her safe and her reputation intact, yet with treachery on board and his heart at stake, Mr. Maxwell must make a choice that will change his life forever. Can he win the woman of his dreams or will whoever wants to hurt them get close enough to take away his one chance for love? 

Andrea's Review:

Most novellas leave me wishing for more, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed From Cairo, With Love. Kudos to Nancy Campbell Allen for being able to write a novella that doesn't feel rushed or lacking in detail. The character development was very strong as well.

It was a perfect read while I was on vacation. It held my interest and was very entertaining with its fun adventure and enjoyable romance.

Valentine and Maxwell were such fun characters to follow. This story is so different from most in the same time period that I've read, and I really enjoyed that.

I would recommend From Cairo, With Love, and plan on reading it again.

Tarah's Review:

Well, just like a novella is short and sweet...this review will follow that pattern :) I liked this story. It was fun and enjoyable, albeit predictable (but I don't mind predictability). The characters were well written and it was fun to read a regency set in a different place. I haven't read many regencies on a boat, so that was fun. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway Title: From Cairo, With Love

Tour Schedule:

November 7:  Heidi Reads / Katie's Clean Reads
November 10: My Book a Day / Wishful Endings

From Cairo, With Love (Timeless Romance Single Book 1)
Publisher: Mirror Press
Published: November 2016
Source: We received eCopies in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Blog Tour: Not a Word by Stephanie Black

Book Description:

Everybody has a secret. Two years ago, psychologist Natalie Marsh's dying mother disinherited her and left everything to her sister. Still dealing with the pain of rejection, Natalie struggles with feelings of envy and discomfort toward coworker Skyler Hudson, her late mother's trusted therapist who knows the worst of the family's rift. Fresh personal challenges begin heaping on top of professional ones when Natalie's best friend, Camille Moretti, confides that she thinks someone is stalking her— and she's not the only one in danger. When tensions rise and everyone has something at stake, is there anyone Natalie can trust? Or will she find herself slowly drowning in the mysteries?


The author does a really good job of throwing you off track with the suspect(s) in this story. She keeps you guessing until almost the end. I did finally figure out who it was a little bit before the reveal, but not by much. The climax of the story was very well written (well, the whole story was, but the climax especially so.)

I liked the little twist thrown in there, and I can't really say any more about that because I'd give away a big part of the story. Just know that it's a good one. :)

This book is definitely a keeper for me. I'm not sure if I've read any of the author's other books before, but I am looking forward to doing so now.

Tour Schedule:


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Title: Not a Word
Author: Stephanie Black
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: November 2016
ISBN: 1524401242
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Book Review: Fablehaven Book of Imagination by Brandon Mull 

Book Description:

Learn how to make Wizard Slime, create fairy fashions, and solve the Dreamstone maze in this first-ever interactive book of Fablehaven awesomeness. And that s just the beginning: *Make your own origami model of Raxtus the dragon *Draw a map of your own magical preserve *Practice withstanding a distracter spell *Solve riddles from the sphinx *Learn how to play a game of Shadow Tag *Learn how to draw a dragon *Color detailed coloring pages of Fablehaven creatures *Make an enchanted rain stick *Learn to cook Ogre Stew *And much, much more . .

   And within the pages of this book are secret codes that will help readers discover a secret    message from Brandon Mull about Dragonwatch, the sequel series to Fablehaven.

Rorie's Review:

This is such a fun book. Every page is packed with a wide variety of activities for kids to do. My kids gravitate towards mazes and Mad Libs type activities, which this book has several of. Even my 5-year-old twins spent a good amount of time finger tracing the mazes over and over again. None of my kids are huge fans of coloring, so I can't see the coloring pages getting used, although who knows, I might just do them. :) 

This book would make a great present for any fan of Fablehaven, especially someone who loves writing and drawing. I can also see using this as a great car trip activity.

Tarah's Review:

I've barely seen this book since I got it in the mail. My kids got a hold of it and have been reading/marking/playing with it every since :) Which I find interesting because we actually haven't ever read Fablehaven. I was hoping this would be a good into to the series, but I'm not sure my children made that connection. We will have to make a trip to the library so they can start.

As a parent I like that even though it's a "activity book" some of the activities are reproduced in the back so you can either make a copy or cut it right out of the book, but still have the original.

All my kids were laughing at the Mad Libs and taking turns with that. I enjoy that it helps encourage grammar usage. I was proud of my 8 year old when he told his sister what a past tense verb was. I didn't think he knew that, but he did :) 
Title:Fablehaven Book of Imagination
Author: Brandon Mull
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: October 2016
ISBN: 1629722413 
Source: We received copies in exchange for an honest review.  

Purchase: Amazon  Barnes & Noble