Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: The Moonlight Meeting: The Nocturnals by Tracey Hecht

The Moonlight Meeting: The Nocturnals

Book Description:

In The Moonlight Meeting, Tobin, a sweet pangolin, Bismark, a loud-mouthed sugar glider, and Dawn, a serious fox, introduce their nighttime world to early readers. The story emphasizes friendship, sharing, and humor. Includes bonus animal glossary.

Rorie's Review:

I thought this was a really cute book. My kids all read it right after we got it in the mail. It was easy enough for my 6-year-olds to read, but still entertaining for my 9-year-old (who loves all things Nocturnal.) This is definitely a book that will be read over and over again. 
Here are reviews from two of my boys (I couldn't get one from the other 6-year-old.)

Micah - I liked how Bismarck acted. He acted funny. I like how Dawn came through the bushes. I also like how Tobin pooped out stinky stuff.

Braden - I like how the book was just like the first book in the beginning. I like how Bismark acted like he owns the woods. My favorite character is Dawn because she is so smart and can figure out problems faster then the others. Tobin is very protective about others and he cares about others. 

Tarah's Review:

How fun is this book?! Not only was I really excited when I got it, but my 6 year old was thrilled. She is just starting to read "chapter" books, and she thought she was the coolest thing ever to read this book just like her older siblings. They previously read the older version of the Nocturnals, and she knew all about it. In fact, it's a good thing I quickly read it before I handed it to her because I haven't seen it since. She plays games pretending to be the fox and my other kids think it's funny to talk in an accent like Bismark.

Do you have an early reader? Check this book out for them. It's super cute.

The Moonlight Meeting: The Nocturnals
 Title: The Moonlight Meeting: The Nocturnals
Author: Tracey Hecht
Publisher: Fabled Films Press
Published: September 2017
ISBN: 1944020152
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Review: Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering by M.L. Foreman 
Book Description:

The long-awaited final volume of the Adventures Wanted series. Whalen Vankin is the worlds greatest wizard, and he has only ever personally trained two other wizards. One is Alexander Taylor, a young man who has earned a reputation as a brave adventurer, a warrior, and man of honor. The other is Jabez, Vankin's nephew and a man whose choices have led him down a different, darker path.
Dark magic has covered Westland, and evil is stirring. Whalen and Alex must journey together into the heart of danger, confronting a sea serpent, battling their way through a goblin army, and facing down more than one dragon. Alex must find the legendary Axe of Sundering the one weapon that offers a chance to defeat Jabez and protect the land from the dark wizards plans. But finding it will be an adventure of its own as the only pathway to the Axe leads through the underground tunnels and secret passages of Castle Conmar.
But Jabez has one final weapon at his disposal: the powerful Orion Stone, which could spell the end to Whalen and Alex both.

Rorie's Review:

I didn't realize this was the 5th book in a series until my son pointed it out to me. He has the first book, and enjoyed it, but he didn't want to read this one until he's had a chance to read the other three books. 

I have to agree with him. Some books work well as stand-alone novels, but this one did not. There were a lot of things that were mentioned that I know would have made much more sense if I had read the first 4 books. Maybe that's why I felt like there wasn't a whole lot of depth to these characters and really, the whole story line. 

While this book just wasn't for me, I think my oldest two kids would really get into this series. We just need to get the middle three books now so they can read them all. :)

Tarah's Review:

I'm going to agree with Rorie on this one. Starting on the fifth book of this series was probably not the best idea I've ever had. It certainly was an entertaining book, but because we didn't know a lot about the characters they all seemed to be missing something. A lot of things weren't explained either. I'm assuming Alex's O'Gash was like his dragon personality or something, but no explanation was given in this book and I was left to my own devises to figure something out.

It's a beautiful cover though, no? In fact all of the covers in this series are great looking, so kudos to the design team there.

I'm interested in the other books of the series, but will probably only read them if they fall into my lap. I do think my kids would like them though. I'm hesitant to let them read this one first, just because it's the last book, but I think they would enjoy it. Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering
Author: M.L. Forman
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 1609079345
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Review: An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

 An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, #4)
Book Description:

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

Book Review:

I will admit that after Hunter's last book I was hesitant to pick this one up, but the first couple books and novella were just so good that I decided to give it a try. Starting with the cover, I don't really love it, but I do appreciate that it matches the rest of the series.

I really enjoyed Griffith in the other novels (although they can all be read by themselves in any order), so it was fun to see what made him, him. I enjoyed how the story started when he was just a boy at school. It was fun to see Ryland as a boy as well. My favorite thing about Griffith is how he tries to pick his wife. It definitely isn't something that is seen often, and I thought it was refreshing.

My favorite part with Isabella is when she is walking with Griffith and she starts smelling the trees. I found a lot of humor in that :) It was also fun for me to see the old characters make appearances and relate to each other. I am a sucker for family series, and this family is just a great family.

It's not the best book in the series, but I really enjoyed reading it, and I will read it again. If you are looking for a clean, light, easy, entertaining read, this will do the trick.

An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, #4)
Title: An Inconvenient Beauty
Author: Kristi Ann Hunter
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: September 2017
ISBN:   0764218271
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Blog Tour: Topaz Reign by Teresa Richards

Topaz Reign by Teresa Richards

Book Description:

Fairy tales are simply tales, told and re-told, but changed over time.

It has been four months since Maggie learned the dark truth behind the tale of the Princess and the Pea and freed Princess Lindy from the cursed Emerald. Lindy is now back in the past where she belongs, queen of her tiny Scandinavian country, and Maggie is a fully reformed ex-stalker.

Except … she can’t stop doing internet searches on Lindy and her country.

One morning, Maggie wakes to find history turned on its head. Apparently, you can’t destroy a centuries-old curse without consequence. In order to prevent the changes in history from wiping out the present, Maggie resurrects her stalking gene and learns that fairy tales don’t stay dead for long.

Or at all.

Back in 1623, Lindy is juggling a threat to her family, a handsome new guard she’s not supposed to have feelings for, and a cursed Topaz with ties to the tale of Thumbelina. When past and present collide, Lindy and Maggie are brought together again, and another of Andersen’s tales turns from twisted fiction to chilling fact.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Interview:

What inspired you to write Topaz Reign?

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it really started with a dream. I’d recently finished writing a different book I was really excited about, but was more women's fiction than young adult. Then one morning I woke up from one of those dreams that make perfect sense while you’re in them but fall to pieces when you wake up. It involved having to rescue a friend from certain death by getting a marble-like stone out from under her bed--I know, super random and weird. But it changed my direction.

I realized that the stone thread from that dream would make a really cool YA twist on the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. I love reading fairy tale retellings, and the idea of twisting one up that hadn’t been done before was so exciting. Immediately, the story spun to life inside my head, and I stopped thinking about that first book and started working on this one. Even once Emerald Bound was finished, I felt there was still so much more I wanted to see the characters do, and so many more places I could take it, that I knew I wanted to do another. Hence, Topaz Reign.

Is there a message in Topaz Reign that you want readers to come away with?

I really didn’t write this book with the intent to deliver a message, but I hope readers come away with a new appreciation for family. I also hope readers will realize that it’s possible to be strong even when you lose your support network and the odds are stacked against you, but it’s also okay to accept help when it’s offered. 

Who is your favorite character in your book, and why?

I love both of my leading ladies—Maggie and Lindy. But this book was about Lindy coming into her own, while Emerald Bound was more about Maggie. I love the person that Lindy became through Topaz Reign. She handled herself with dignity and poise even in the toughest of circumstances, and I admire her for that.

What are your hopes/goals as an author, and what other projects do you have in mind?

I write because I love it, but writing something you know you’ll be able to share with other people makes it that much better. I love talking with teens about writing (and, really, all things life) and I hope to inspire them to chase their dreams in a way I didn’t have the courage to do when I was their age. I signed with a literary agent about a year ago, with the goal of bringing my stories to a wider audience. We have a book currently on submission with editors, a YA contemporary suspense, and another YA contemporary that I’m working on. I don’t want to say too much about either project, but the first features a piano playing lottery winner, and the second involves roller-skating gymnasts. How’s that for vague?

Do you have any unusual habits while you write?

Well, right now I’m sitting in the back seat of my car, in a deserted parking lot, writing on my laptop while I wait for the library to open. Does that count as unusual? I have five kids between the ages of six and sixteen, so I have to make use of every moment I can. I often find myself writing in the car as I wait for somebody’s class/lesson/school activity/club to end, or waiting outside the library before it opens because I had to take one of my kids to school or to a doctor appointment before school and it would be a waste of time to go home. There are fewer distractions in the car (actually, like none—it’s not comfortable enough to lay down for a nap, and there’s no tv or internet or dishes or laundry) and I’m often able to focus better.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love music. I play the piano when I need a mental break (it’s better than a therapist, I’d say) and I’ve always got a song stuck in my head (which I sing out loud in all sorts of places I shouldn’t, like the grocery store and the movie theater). I also enjoy watching movies and spending time with my family and friends. And reading, of course. Always reading.

What is your favorite book, and why?

Oh, man, that’s like asking me to pick my favorite child. There are so many books I love, and for different reasons. The Book Thief is at the top of my list, just because it’s so surprisingly different in the way that it’s written. And, of course, the story is amazing. I also love a little book called Ella Minnow Pea for being so clever. And then there’s the Cinder series and the Splintered series, both fairy tale retellings that I adore. And there are so many others. So, yeah, I’m sorry but I can’t pick just one. Books are the best!

Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, October 3--Katie's Clean Book Selection
Thursday, October 5--Singing Librarian Books
Thursday, October 5--Cindy's Treasury of Good Tales--review

Friday, October 6--Blooming With Books
Saturday, October 7--Cindy's Treasury of Good Tales--Guest post, Interview with the Topaz Reign Characters
Saturday, October 7--By Robin King
Sunday, October 8--Head Over Books
Monday, October 9--Why not? Because I said so!
Tuesday, October 10--EmmyMom 
Tuesday, October 10--Five Take Flight
Wednesday, October 11--Kindle And Me 
Wednesday, October 11--Getting Your Read On
Thursday, October 12--My Book A Day
Friday, October 13--Brookie Cowles
Saturday, October 14--LDS Women's Book Reviews 
Saturday, October 14--Literary Time Out 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Book Blast: Game Changer by Charissa Stastny

Game Changer by Charissa Stastny 

Book Description:

Meridee Mansford wants nothing to do with the popular crowd. She’s comfortable being invisible. But that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about the hunky football player who visits the campus ice cream shop where she works. Still, she’s smart enough to know he’d never notice a girl like her, and she’d never want him even if he did. Too much unwelcome attention. 

Parker Harrington basks in the glory that’s been his since the game-changing passes he caught that pushed his team into the national spotlight. Sticky Fingers is his media moniker now, and the cheerleaders who used to ignore him when he sat the bench have become his most devoted fans. But when he accidentally crashes into a quiet coed and covers her in orange chicken, it throws off his offensive game. 

As fate, ice cream, and orange chicken throw the opposites together, will Parker continue keeping company with women he knows are only using him for his fame, or will he change up the game and risk his heart on a genuine girl who despises the attention he craves? 


Praise for the Book:

“A fun and flirty new adult romance. It’s a sweet indulgence that keeps you turning pages. The start to what is sure to be a great new series. – Jennifer Peel, author of Pianos and Promises series  

“Opposites attract when the overlooked sweet girl lands herself the popular football star in this quasi-Cinderella story. It’s the perfect read to keep you up way past your bedtime...”Taylor Dean, author of Chasing Fireflies


Twiddling my fingers, I waited for Ken to make up his mind. I hoped he’d order without looking up so he didn’t recognize me. Not that he would. But just in case, I kept my chin tucked as I stared at the counter.

“Um, let’s see.” His head stayed bowed. “I’ll have a triple waffle cone with a scoop of caramel cashew and…” He paused and scratched his head as though solving a physics problem. “…a scoop of huckleberry ripple, and, umm…I guess I’ll try a scoop of that…”

When he paused, I peeked up to see if he pointed at a flavor. Instead, I found him staring at me.

“Y-you,” he sputtered.

I cringed and wished a hole could open up in the floor and swallow me.

“You’re the girl I crashed into in the CUB yesterday, aren’t you?”

My cheeks burned and my throat felt like sandpaper. “W-what was the last flavor you wanted?” He hadn’t finished ordering.

“Oh, uh, yeah. Um…” His gaze dropped, but shot right back up to stare at me again.

“What’s your last flavor?” I determined to keep him on task.

His brows furrowed. “I guess I’ll have the licorice since it’s new.”

I shuddered, and attempted to ignore the infuriatingly sexy man gaping at me as though I had horns sprouting from my head. The tightening in my chest and labored breathing proved I tried in vain.


About the Author:

 Charissa Stastny is an avid reader, happy writer, wasp-hater, iris-lover, and food connoisseur (especially sushi and chocolate, but not together). She was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She is married to her high school sweetheart and has four children that make her smile and laugh all the time. She called Idaho her home for years, but has recently moved to Utah, where she was thrilled to discover dozens of flavors of hot chocolate to keep her happy in the winter. The cherry one might be her favorite (this week). She is the author of five books and ‘imagine-eer’ of many more.

  amazon or paypal 
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway:

Ends 11/5/17 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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Blog Tour: Safe House by Traci Hunter Abramson

Reviews * Giveaway
Safe House by Traci Hunter Abramson

Book Description:

The guardians, the shadowy heroes of the top-secret program designed to protect members of the most elite government organizations, are being hunted down one by one. There is a single explanation: a traitor must be embedded somewhere in their midst. But if they themselves are the target, who will protect them?

CIA operative Renee Niezen has heard tales of the guardians, though she's never really believed in their existence—until she is approached by Charlotte, an old friend who desperately needs her help to stop the systematic destruction of the guardian program. Renee accepts the plea for assistance, but not everyone is thrilled to have her on the team. Kade—one of the last guardians standing—is unimpressed with Renee's qualifications and turns instead to the legendary Saint Squad for help. But when Renee is caught in the crosshairs, Kade must set aside his antagonism for the woman in order to protect her. Their grudging alliance soon develops into much more—but before the pair can examine their feelings, their investigation takes a dramatic twist. With lives on the line, Renee and Kade must use their spy training at every turn as they draw dangerously close to the shocking truth.

Rorie's Review:

This was a two-day story. I was a little grumbly when I first started reading it, because at the time, I only had the pdf version, and I'm old-fashioned and only like to read actual (hard copy) books. However, it didn't take me long at all to get sucked into the plot and I could almost forget I was using a tablet (but I was very happy to switch over to the hard copy when it came today.)

I'm not sure how many of Traci's other books I've read, but I definitely want to check out the Saint Squad series. I really liked all of those characters in this story and would like to get to know them better. This is the second book in the Guardian series, and while I think it works relatively well as a stand-alone, it would be helpful to read Failsafe first.

I don't feel like things were completely wrapped up in a pretty little package at the end, and I'm sure that's just setting the stage for another book in this series. That's a good thing though, because there's a lot more to be told with Ace, Kade and all the others that played a part with the Guardians.
Andrea's Review:

Traci Hunter Abramson's books have been a bit hit-and-miss for me, but I was intrigued by the book description for Safe House, so I thought I'd give it a try. And, I'm glad I did. It was an enjoyable read, with a good amount of action and a clean romance.

I liked the mix of the Guardians and the Saint Squad. Other than the names (calling the members Ghost or the Saint Squad 😬) I really liked the interaction between the groups.

The book mentioned a burn phone several times, and that threw me. I've only heard it referred to as a burner phone.

At least one big thing was left undone, I assume to leave this open to a sequel. But the most pressing things were resolved. I liked the romance aspect, and even though the strong feelings came on quickly, it was written in a way that felt realistic.

This was a fast, clean and enjoyable read, and I’d read more about the Guardians.

Tarah's Review:
 I've always been a fan of Traci Hunter Abramson and I was really glad when she started just writing clean fiction. Don't get me wrong, I love the Saint Squad series, the Undercurrents Series, and the Royal Series, but I always appreciate it when an author who wrote LDS fiction branches out to non-LDS fiction, but still keeps it clean. I think I was a little surprised to see the cross-over of the Saint Squad series and Guardian Series in this book. I mean, it made me want to go back and reread some books, but I was surprised. 
Even though I've read the other book in this series, I would consider this a stand alone. I can't remember much about Failsafe and I didn't really feel lost while reading this one. I wonder how I would feel if I didn't know so much about the Saint Squad though. That might make it a little harder to understand.
It was a quick, entertaining read for me, and while I liked the characters and the action I did feel that the romance was way to quick. I mean, I liked it, but it didn't quite seem to be based on anything more than physical attraction. 
It's a keeper for my bookshelf though. I'll reread it and pass it along to my friends. I'm interested to see what she does for the rest of the series. 

Tour Schedule:

*Oct. 9th:

*Oct. 10th:,,

*Oct. 11th:,,,

*Oct. 12th:,,,

*Oct. 13th:,,,,

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Title: Safe House
Author: Traci Hunter Abramson
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 1524402753
Source: We received a copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: All That Makes Life Bright by Josi S. Kilpack

Dual Review
All That Makes Life Bright
The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe
 by Josi S. Kilpack

Book Description:

When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet's sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.

Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed-being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman's life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband's heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.

Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.

Can their love endure, especially after "I do"? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?

Andrea's Review:

I wasn’t sure how much I’d get into this book just because the other similar books in this series were interesting but not my favorite. However, All that Makes Life Bright was really enjoyable for me. I’m not sure if it was because it was about a woman and I could relate better than the books about male historical figures, or if it was something else entirely.

Kilpack had me crying several times during this book. I couldn’t help but think that if this were set in modern times Harriet and Calvin would have divorced. It was touching that they focused on their marriage covenant when times got tough instead of just throwing in the towel.

It was a bit of a slow read for me, but not in a bad way. It was just real. I haven’t made it through all of the chapter notes at the end of the book yet, but I do appreciate that the author included those so we can separate fact from fiction.

One line stood out to me when Harriet’s father told her perfection is a sin. I’ve definitely never thought that before. Interesting.

Rorie's Review:

When I start historical novels, I'm never sure what I'll be getting in to. There's always the worry that the story will be dry and history-bookish. Thankfully, this one was not like that at all. I was drawn into Harriet and Calvin's life right away. You could tell that they really loved each other, but their temperaments were so extremely different. 

The first year of marriage can be tough as you learn to live with someone who was brought up differently than you were, but then throw in your husband going overseas for 8 months with you being a few months pregnant, and life gets a whole lot more complicated.

There is no doubt in my mind that Harriet was very was Calvin. Since they didn't have more than a few short months together before having children, they never really learned how to be a couple. 

Even with all the conflict throughout much of the book, this story has a great message of learning how to stay true to yourself while changing enough to learn how to live with your spouse as equal companions. 

With these books, I always enjoy the timeline at the end. It's interesting to me to see what happened with these people and their families before and after the story took place.

Title: All That Makes Life Bright: The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: September 2017
ISBN: 162972341X
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Review: A Dangerous Engagment by Melanie Dickerson

 A Dangerous Engagement (The Regency Spies of London, #3)
Book Description:

Just as merchant’s daughter Felicity Mayson is spurned once again because of her meager dowry, she receives an unexpected invitation to Lady Blackstone’s country home. Being introduced to the wealthy Oliver Ratley is an admitted delight, as is his rather heedless yet inviting proposal of marriage. Only when another of Lady Blackstone’s handsome guests catches Felicity’s attention does she realize that nothing is what it seems at Doverton Hall.

Government agent Philip McDowell is infiltrating a group of cutthroat revolutionaries led by none other than Lady Blackstone and Ratley. Their devious plot is to overthrow the monarchy, and their unwitting pawn is Felicity. Now Philip needs Felicity’s help in discovering the rebels’ secrets—by asking her to maintain cover as Ratley’s innocent bride-to-be.

Philip is duty bound. Felicity is game. Together they’re risking their lives—and gambling their hearts—to undo a traitorous conspiracy before their dangerous masquerade is exposed.

Book Review:

Hmm...honestly my overwhelming feeling about this book is one of disappointment.  I really enjoyed a Spy's Devotion (the first in the series) and I haven't read the second one, but I was excited for this one. The cover is really pretty. Something just seemed really off in this book. Maybe it was because I don't remember A Spy's Devotion being YA. Not to say that YA wouldn't enjoy it, but the writing seemed to be a little more mature. This writing seemed very juvenile. And maybe that was because Felicity was supposed to be portrayed as young and inexperienced. Whatever it was it was annoying to me the whole book.

I had a hard time with the characters as well. Felicity was just annoying, Philip wasn't developed (he could have been a great character, but he wasn't), the Aunt and Oliver were over the top and their relationship was just weird. The revolutionist weren't a coherent group and I had a hard time believing that they would succeed in their fight. The escapes were overly simplistic and then you had to wonder since they were so simplistic why didn't they happen a lot earlier. Plus the ending was rushed and not well thought out.

Dickerson is a clean entertaining author, but I'd skip this one and read some of her other stuff.

A Dangerous Engagement (The Regency Spies of London, #3) 
Title: A Dangerous Engagement
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Waterfall Press
Published: September 2017
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

 Chasing Secrets (Elite Guardians, #4)
Book Description:

Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

Book Review:

Aren't all the covers in this series beautiful? Very clean and streamlined.  I love how the title is in a bold color, but it still meshes well with the person on the cover. I also love how the person on the cover could actually fit the main character in the book.  It's those little details that drive me bonkers when they aren't right. But this cover nails it on the head. Kudo's to the designing team there.

While this is the last book in the series, I really think you could read it by it's self and not get confused. I haven't read all of the series, and while I think that makes the book more enjoyable, I didn't feel lost or overwhelmed with backstory.  In fact, out of the ones in the series that I have read, this was probably my favorite. The characters were just right, the action and timing were spot on, and there was just the right amount of romance.

I read it so long ago that I can't remember anything that I didn't like about it. I'm sure there were some things, all novels have them, but I think it says a lot that it wasn't glaringly obvious or memorable. If I pick up a book and the first thing I remember about it is what I didn't like, that's not good. This book the overwhelming memory is of enjoyment and satisfaction. Take that for what it's worth, but if you like clean suspense novels, I'd definitely give this one a try.

Chasing Secrets (Elite Guardians, #4)
Title: Chasing Secrets
Author: Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell
Published: August 2017
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Blog Tour: For Love or Honor by Sarah M. Eden

Reviews * Giveaway
For Love or Honor by Sarah M. Eden

Book Description:

From the moment they met, Marjie’s heart has belonged to handsome Captain Stanley Jonquil, younger brother of the Earl of Lampton. But six long months ago, when Stanley’s sense of honor required that he do as he had sworn and return to the Continent to fight in defense of King and country, neither Stanley nor Marjie could have dreamed what the cost of his service would be. It has been ages since Stanley last wrote, and Marjie and the Jonquil family are plagued by his unknown fate—until the day he unexpectedly reappears. Marjie’s joy, however, is quickly shadowed by confusion—the aloof, battle-worn soldier before her is not the man he once was. In the wake of Stanley’s blatant disinterest in renewing their acquaintance, Marjie’s devastation turns to determination as she vows to help him find peace. But his scars run far deeper than anyone realizes. Despite his feelings for her, Stanley believes Marjie deserves a man whose hands are not stained with the violence of battlefields and whose mind and heart are not haunted by the horrors he has seen. Honor requires Stanley to return once more to the life he has grown to despise, one he knows will destroy him in the end, even as his heart beckons him to stay with Marjie, the only woman he could ever love, and the promise, at last, of redemption.

Andrea's Review:

Sarah M. Eden does it again! I am always so excited to read one of her books, especially when they have to do with the Jonquil brothers. I didn't remember much about Stanley-he was mentioned in the other books, of course, but he didn't stand out very much to me other than the fact that he was a soldier and usually gone. I felt like the relationship between Marjie and Stanley must have been mentioned in a prior book based on the bit of backstory we had in For Love or Honor, but I didn't remember Marjie. I need to go back and re-read Sarah's other Jonquil books. That said, this could be read as a stand alone novel, but I highly recommend reading all of Sarah's other books.

I read this very quickly, and my heartstrings were pulled many times at the agony Stanley had gone through during the war and what he was going through as he tried to remember to always be a solider. It was so sad that he didn't feel like he could unburden himself by sharing his losses with his loved ones.

Eden really knows how to get her readers emotionally involved in her character's lives. I devoured this book, and can't wait to read the next book (hopefully it will further the hint we got about Holy Harry).

Tarah's Review:

I was excited for this book because it was a Sarah Eden book, and because it was about the Jonquils, but I was also a little hesitant about this book because Stanley has never really been on my radar with this family. I was okay with the occasional side story of him and Marjie in Friends and Foes, I liked hearing Caroline in Drops of Gold refer to him as Stanby...with all the blue, and my heart broke for him in A Fine Gentleman when Mariposa told how the war was slowing killing his spirit.  I sort of felt like in all the stories he got his, and I was okay with that. But Sarah did it again. How she continually writes stories I didn't even know I wanted is beyond me. (Although, with that said can I tell you how excited I was to get a little peak into Holy Harry in this book?!?! That is going to be an interesting read, and who can't wait for little Charlie...trouble-making, I don't know who I am yet Charlie to get his own book. I seriously love this family).

I enjoyed Marjie in this book. She is a little different than the other women in the Jonquil family. Marion, Mariposa, and Sorrell are all really strong women. Clara, while quiet has a backbone, but Marjie was....sweet. She was maybe not strong like the other women, but maybe that helped me relate to her a little more. I will say that even though I liked Sorrel in her own story, she was kind of mean in this one.

One more little thing that I will try not to make a spoiler, but if I'm remembering correctly, characters from  A Glimmer of Hope show up in this novel. One of the reasons I enjoyed that novel is because it ended in such a way that I felt hope for the characters, and the ending was left open that I could imagine it ending how I wanted it to end. Well, this book killed that hope for me, and that made me sad. Now what going to happen with him?

I'm starting to ramble so I'll just say that I loved it, will read it again, and recommend it to my friends.

Rorie's Review:

The Jonquil books are some of my very favorite stories. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them so far, and this one is no different. I love how so many of the characters that I love from other Jonquil books play prominent roles in each story too.

This story is a bit different, because Marjie knows from the very beginning that she has fallen for Stanley, and he feels the same for her, although he is trying to keep those feelings at bay because he feels so hopeless with what his future holds.

This is kind of a difficult book to read and process at times, due to the horror that Stanley has experienced on the battlefield. I'm sure that they didn't have any idea what PTSD was back then, but it is clear that Stanley suffers from it. He has been through and seen so much during his time as a soldier, and it has pretty much taken away his will to live and turned him into just a shell of the man he once was. I found myself choking up several times throughout this story.

I completely enjoyed Pluck. He was hilarious. The phrases he came up with made me laugh out loud several times. Everyone should have a Pluck in their lives.

I have to say that I was kind of sad reading this story, because I'm realizing that we're running out of Jonquil brothers. I'm not certain on this, but I think only Holy Harry is left. I think the author needs to come up with some more ideas for this family, because I want to keep reading more about them!

Tour Schedule:

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Tour Giveaway:

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Title: For Love or Honor
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 1524402567
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase:  Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Blog Tour: Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

 Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Book Description:

Maddie is a normal twelve-year-old girl. Well, except for the fake mustaches she carries in her pocket. She likes to make people laugh and slapping on a mustache, especially a fuzzy pink or neon green one, always gets a smile. Maddie hopes that the class queen, Cassie, will find her mustaches as funny as she does and want to play with her at recess. She's been self-conscious lately because her right arm only feels normal when it's curled against her chest and she's constantly tripping over her feet. But that's probably just part of growing up and not something weird, right?

When Maddie's arm continues to bother her, her parents take her to a doctor who gives them a shocking diagnosis: the cause of the abnormal behavior of her limbs is a brain tumor and she must have surgery to remove it. She's understandably afraid as he describes the procedure, but knows she must find a way to be brave and must face her fears--all of them--at the hospital, at home and at school.

She will need all of her courage not only to face her illness, but also to face Cassie at school. Both Cassie and Maddie are auditioning for the same role in the school play, but when Cassie accuses Maddie of lying about her tumor in order to get attention, Cassie's bossiness turns into bullying.

And as Maddie's surgery approaches, she begins to worry more and more about the outcome. What if something goes wrong? What if the doctors don't get all the tumor out of her brain? What will happen to her family? What will happen to her?

It will take all of Maddie's vibrant imagination, a lot of kindness-both given and received-and of course, the perfect mustache to overcome the tough stuff ahead of her.

Andrea's Review:

When I first heard about the name of this book, I wasn't sure what to think, but it is a WONDERFUL read. Make sure you have some tissues handy, and then sit back and enjoy the ride.

Sixth grade was a long time ago, but it was easy to remember the game of trying to find your place. It is so sad that our human nature is to be selfish. Of course, not everyone is, but it's so easy to think the worst of others instead of trying to find out why they act the way they do. Mustaches for Maddie was inspiring in its lesson on compassion. And, that it just takes one brave person to make things better.

I highly recommend this book, and have given it to my kids to read.

Tarah's Review:

This book was a sweet, uplifting, funny, touching read. I loved reading about Maddie and her imagination. I love how she found the courage to be herself, even when it wasn't "popular". I love how she stood up for others, including the "bully". And I loved her mustaches :)

There are so many things I loved about this book. In fact, right after I finished reading it I handed it to my 7th grade daughter and told her to read it. I hope she does, and I hope she gets as much or more out of it than I did.

This middle grade book is one I think should be read by middle schoolers everywhere. But make sure you grab a box of tissues, because the emotions are real and you can't help but cheer on Maddie!

Rorie's Review:

This is a quick, enjoyable book to read. Shortly after I got this in the mail, several of the teachers in my kids' school posted on Facebook about how excited they were to be getting this book and reading it to their classes. Prior to that, I really didn't know much at all about Maddie's story.

Maddie is such a sweet, lovable person. I absolutely love her vivid imagination and all the games she comes up with. Her mustache antics made me smile too. She is such a sweet-hearted girl and my heart just broke for her with all the trials that she was going through with the brain tumor and the mean girl at school, all at the same time. It amazes me that through all of it, she was able to remain happy and optimistic, even though she was very scared.

I definitely recommend this book for just about every age. I think it can bring up several great discussions on bullying, being friends to everyone, and how we react to the trials we are given. I am so glad that Maddie's parents chose to write down Maddie's story to share with all of us.

Title: Mustaches for Maddie
Author: Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 1629723304
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Friday, September 29, 2017

Book Review: Mysteries of Cove: Embers of Destruction by J. Scott Savage

Mysteries of Cove: Embers of Destruction by J. Scott Savage

Book Description:

It's time to take the battle to the dragons.

In the third and final volume of the bestselling Mysteries of Cove series, Trenton and Kallista--along with their friends, Plucky, Simoni, Angus, and Clyde--fly their mechanical dragons south toward San Francisco, looking to rescue any survivors from the battle of Seattle.

Arriving in San Francisco and investigating the area in secret, the young riders are reunited with Kallista's father, Leo Babbage, who reveals that the humans in the city are working as slaves to the dragons, but that they don't want to be rescued--himself included. He says they are being protected by their new master: a huge, powerful white dragon who lives in an impenetrable tower fortress overlooking the city. Kallista is stunned by the news. Why would her father ever willingly want to work for dragons?

Trenton and his friends are confronted by the guards and their mechanical dragons are seized. Evading capture, the young riders escape and begin looking for a way to break the white dragon's hold over the city--and over Leo. Working with the kids from the city, the young riders track down the source of the dragon's power to an underground chamber that is accessible only through an underwater passageway below the tower fortress.

With the white dragon watching their every move, Trenton and Kallista will need every bit of creativity and ingenuity they can manage to find a way to retrieve their stolen dragons, enter the tower fortress, and take down the dragons once and for all.

Rorie's Review:

I loved the first two books in this series and was really looking forward to reading this one. I was not disappointed. The story drew me in right away, and even though it has been awhile since I read the second book, I didn't ever feel lost or like I would need to go back and read it again to remind myself what happened. (Actually, I had forgotten who Simoni and Angus were until the last half of this book, but that didn't detract from the story at all.)

Plucky is by far my favorite character. Her name completely fits her, and I really admire her strength, humor and determination. Clyde also shows that strong spirit with his determination to keep working on his art, even with what he was put through when he lived in Cove.

Trenton and Kallista are in a new situation, having to learn how to work in a group setting, instead of just relying on themselves like they were used to. There are a lot of growing pains with the group as everyone finds what role they fit into best.

I was pleased with the conclusion, even though it wasn't what I was expecting at all. This is definitely a series that I would recommend for youth and adults alike.

Tarah's Review:

Honestly, this is the first book of the series that I've read. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a stand alone novel, it wasn't too confusing. I like to know my characters and their stories, so I did miss out on that, but the great thing is my kids and I now have a new series to get into. I'm not the type that minds reading the last one first (as long as I'm not going to be totally lost, which I wasn't so it's all good).

Plucky was my favorite character, but I will admit she was a little hard to understand sometimes. I wondered if I would have understood her better had I read the previous books first. She was so well written that I could picture her in my mind and see her pulling out her knives and picking locks.

I also liked how the characters did "the right thing" and trusted each other even though they were very obviously from different backgrounds (maybe not where they lived, but how they were raised).

Overall I'm glad I read this and I'm looking forward to seeing what my 10-year-old thinks of it. Actually, I think my 12-year-old and my 8-year-old will enjoy it as well.

Zoie's Review:

I liked this book a lot. I liked how the characters in the book had to problem solve, and you could figure out the mysteries in the book on your own as the reader. This book introduced a lot of questions, but it also answered a lot of questions left lingering in the previous two books. One thing about this book that I really enjoyed was that the kids were the ones who were problem solving, and kind of in charge.

A little bonus to the story that I noticed was at the top of each chapter there was a drawing that progressed as you read.

I really enjoyed this book, and I'll probably read it again at some point. Embers of Destruction
Author: J. Scott Savage
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: Sept 2017
ISBN:  1629723398
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Spotlight: Forgotten Carols

Description of the show: 
The Forgotten Carols stage performance tells the story of Connie Lou, a nurse whose empty life is changed when Uncle John, a new patient she is attending, recounts the story of Christ’s birth as told by little known characters in the nativity story. The accounts from the Innkeeper, the Shepherd and others help the nurse discover what the world has forgotten about Christmas, ultimately encouraging her to open her heart to the joy of this special season.
Ticket Information: 
Here is a link to purchase tickets to see the Forgotten Carols. 

The Forgotten Carols is showing in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Washington, Texas, and New Mexico!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book Review: Emerald Bound by Teresa Richards 

Book Description:

A princess, a pea, and a tower of mattresses. This is the sliver that survives of a story more nightmare than fairytale... Maggie Rhodes, high school junior and semi-reformed stalker, learns the tale’s true roots after a spying attempt goes awry and her best friend Kate ends up as the victim of an ancient curse. At the center of the curse lies an enchanted emerald that has been residing quietly in a museum for the past fifty years. Admirers of the gem have no idea that it feeds on life. Or that it’s found its next victim in Kate. Enter Lindy, a school acquaintance who knows more than she’s letting on, and Garon, a handsome stranger claiming he knows how to help, and Maggie is left wondering who to trust and how to save her best friend before it’s too late. If only Maggie knew her connection to the fairy tale was rooted far deeper than an endangered best friend.

Rorie's Review:

The idea of this story was intriguing to me. I always enjoy retellings of fairy tales, and I was curious how the author would redo "The Princess and the Pea" since it's a pretty straight-forward story. 
Well, she completely turned that story on its head. I will admit, that I kind of forgot what this book was about, and didn't read the back of it when I got it to refresh my memory, so I was a bit surprised when the main character turned out to be a teenager. I'm not sure why I was thinking she would be older, but for whatever reason, I was. 
Anyway, the story jumped right into things but even still, it took me til the last half of the book to really get into it. Maybe it was when Garon came into the story. I liked him right away, although I kept picturing him more as an adult, instead of a teenager, so that kept making things a bit weird while I wrapped my head around the truth. 
This was an enjoyable story and I can't wait to read the next one.

Tarah's Review:

 Let's start with the cover, shall we? I have a thing for green. I love green, and I think it was used to great effect with this cover. I would pick this up off the shelf just because it is so pretty, but it does a good job with the darkness. For me I would assume that it's a little darker tale, and it is. However, there were parts that I laughed at (I thought it was really funny whenever Maggie used SAT words). This is a YA novel, and it wasn't dark to the point where I felt uncomfortable or wouldn't let me daughter read it.

I will admit that I had a hard time getting into this book. It took a little time and patience. The POV switches quite a bit, and sometimes I wished the author would just pick a time and stick with it. We needed the back story, and it was interesting I just had a hard time going back and forth.

I wonder why in YA books the romances need to be insta-romances. The "He completes me and I feel like half of myself is missing". Why can't they just like each other? The momma bear in me has a hard time with those type of romances. I liked Garon though. He was a fun character, and I'm glad he made it into the book.

Maggie was interesting, and definitely a well written teenager. She had her strengths and flaws, and I really liked that about her. I loved how she tried to break into the museum and totally failed. She was also very loyal to her friends, and I loved that. Her brother confused me a little bit. He showed up part way through and just was kind of there....he was kind of a character that I felt either need to be in or out, but he was really neither.
My most favorite thing about this novel was that after I had finished reading it I thought about it for a long time. That's the mark of a good book to me. I'm actually excited that she left it open for a sequel and I can't wait to read that one. Overall I was happy with this retelling of the Princess and the Pea. Emerald Bound
Author: Teresa Richards
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Published: Sept 2015
ISBN:  177233524X
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Cover Reveal: A Promise for Tomorrow by Michele Paige Holmes

Coming November 2017, from Michele Paige Holmes, Amazon’s bestselling historical romance author and Whitney Award Winner, comes the Hearthfire Historical Romance, A PROMISE FOR TOMORROW, sequel to Yesterday's Promise.

Scottish Highlands, 1700s:

Barely two weeks have passed since Laird Collin MacDonald first darkened Katherine Mercer’s doorstep and married her. Marriage has hardly been what she expected, given their grueling and adventurous days of travel to the Scottish Highlands. Along with the discovery that Collin’s twin Ian would like to see her dead, Katie must now face her own clan, whose chief wants to kill Collin and take her to wife himself. All because Katie possesses the Campbell gift of sight, passed down through centuries of her ancestors.

With little more than faith in her grandfather’s vision and her unique bond with Collin to guide her, Katie steps bravely into an unknown future, where the glimpses afforded her may bring more danger than direction. When the misuse of her gift takes Collin from her side, she is left alone and vulnerable. Help arrives in the most unexpected form as Ian MacDonald makes good on his threat to attack the Campbells and Katie learns that the bond between brothers and love knows no bounds.


Other Hearthfire Romances:

YESTERDAY’S PROMISE (Scottish Historical)
A PROMISE FOR TOMORROW (Scottish Historical, coming Fall 2017)

Book Review: Even This by Emily Belle Freeman 

Book Description:

Even This invites readers to make room for daily personal experiences with God. From the very first page readers will walk down a spiritual path meant to remind each of us that God will meet us in the unexpected, bringing His goodness, giving us cause to trust, reminding us of His capacity. Filled with deeply personal stories about holding onto belief, daring to trust, and longing for understanding, Even This chronicles one woman's quest to find God in the everyday moments-with one of the most powerful experiences taking place as she searches for sea shells while walking on the beach-and provides many opportunities for individual introspection. -Yes, God is good and He can be trusted, - Freeman concludes, -and it is the daily discovery of these truths that has the potential to become the greatest journey of a life and lead us closer to Him.-

Ultimately, the author hopes Even This will encourage and motivate readers to:

  • Stop letting fear dictate the depth of your belief through simple daily reflections that will restore your confidence in God.
  • Let go of your need to control by discovering what is holding you back from being completely vulnerable in your relationship with God.
  • Diminish the power of doubt by coming to understand why the place of deepest asking is where the believing begins.
  • Learn how to trust that God may have something entirely different in mind than you could ever anticipate--something better.

Rorie's Review:

With non-fiction books, it's a sign of how well I liked it by how many pages I have turned down by the time I finish. This book has a lot. :) This book isn't the typical "self-help" book that I've read in the past, where the author has a concrete beginning, middle and ending and you finish the book with the grand conclusion of how the author got to be in a better place (or how you as the reader should be in a better place if you've followed the steps outlined in the book.) This book was more like rambling thoughts of the author. There didn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to each chapter, and to be honest, some of them left me feeling kind of depressed.

But (and this is a big but) that's OK. Because life is not one happy package, tied up in a bow where if you do a, b and c, you will be totally happy and have no more trials or problems. No. Life is messy. You can do all in your power to do everything right, and you might continue to get trial after trial. Or, you might not. Instead of having big, noticeable trials, you might have smaller ones that aren't visible to anyone but you. But the wonderful thing about this book is that the author has been there, and she gets it. She understands how someone feels when horrible things happen and they start to wonder where God is in all of this. She understands how easy it is to try to dictate to God how you want your life to go, and then you get disappointed when His plan is so much different than yours is.

I love how the author points out that instead of giving God a to-do list, maybe we should ask Him what He would have us do. And then wait for the answers, and when you get them - do them. I also love how she points out that even though it may seem to us like nothing is happening, that doesn't mean that God isn't working for us. It may take days, weeks, months, even years for us to see His hand in certain situations, but that doesn't mean that He's abandoned us. Because He will never do that.

Like just about any non-fiction book I've read, this book is one that you take in small doses. You read a bit, ponder it for awhile, and then come and read some more. But this book, even though almost feeling hopeless in some places, is a very good read and offers the reader a lot of hope, if only they will completely turn their lives over to God.

Andrea's Review:

I must preface my review by saying that I don't read very much non-fiction. I prefer a lovely escape when I read-usually mind candy. But something about Even This called to me when I was given the chance to review it. It took me awhile to get started though (as is my usual hesitation with non-fiction), but I was really drawn in by what the author had to say. That doesn't mean that I read it all non-stop. I'd read a bit here and there, but that worked well with how the book was put together. It is a bit jumbled, but her experiences were relatable (and somewhat heartbreaking).

In the first section there is a chapter called "Tethered" and I liked how when the author was talking about Moses that she repeated "But, one experience with God's goodness doesn't tie you to Him forever" several times. It's so true. You can have an amazing, miraculous experience, but then life happens and time passes and you can stumble. In that same section she also mentions that along with the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea that God also took care of "the mud, the sludge, the mess". I hadn't thought about that before-so eye opening. Then she talks about the manna and how God sent it every day for 40 years, and how the people came to hate it. I really hadn't thought about that. Am I taking the time to recognize the daily miracles and blessings I get from God? I know I can do much better at that!

Along with the scriptural insights, I was touched by the author's personal stories. She definitely had some hard times in her life where she doubted and struggled. It was touching to see how she made it through and past those experiences. I appreciate her being willing to share those things in order for all of us to see and appreciate God's hand in our lives. He is always there for us. We just need to look and accept his help.

Tarah's Review:

Even This is not my typical want-to-read book. However, when I read the description, I thought, "Yes, that is something that would be good for me." And you know, it really was.

I did struggle with her almost poetic way of telling a story, and how we never get ending details. But, the meat of what she was saying really got me thinking, and I found myself saying, "Yes, I agree with that" or "Wow, I've never thought of it that way before."

My favorite parts of this book are when she looks at scripture stories in just a little different way. She points to things that even though I have read them multiple times before, I've never seen it that way.

I will be recommending this book to my reader friends, and hopefully I'll have the courage to start on my own journey. Title: Even This
Author: Emily Belle Freeman
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: Sept 2017
ISBN:  162972338X
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book