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Friday, September 29, 2017

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

Reviews
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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.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BjEJUX99L.jpgTitle: 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. 
video 

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

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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.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2B4FBCAgfL.jpgTitle: 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.


Goodreads

Other Hearthfire Romances:

SAVING GRACE
LOVING HELEN
MARRYING CHRISTOPHER
TWELVE DAYS IN DECEMBER
YESTERDAY’S PROMISE (Scottish Historical)
A PROMISE FOR TOMORROW (Scottish Historical, coming Fall 2017)
HEARTHFIRE ROMANCE COLLECTION, VOLUME 1 (box set)

Book Review: Even This by Emily Belle Freeman

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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. 

 
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71pb4o5ZQoL.jpg 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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Blog Tour: Wish Me Love by Michele Ashman Bell

Review * Giveaway
Wish Me Love by Michele Ashman Bell

Book Description:

Charlotte Wells does not date. After surviving a broken engagement, she's taken a leave of absence from the social scene. So when her best friend and coworker, Jack, challenges her to get back in the game, she's not so sure she's ready to play. But ultimately, curiosity gets the best of her, and Charlotte accepts the daunting challenge: she will attempt to have fifty first dates in her effort to find "the one." Unfortunately, she quickly realizes that the dating pool mostly holds clown fish as she goes on one lousy outing after another. Without a good man in sight as summer ends, Charlotte cuts her losses and sets her sights on a fun-filled trip to her cousin's destination wedding in Brazil.


Brazil is a land of beautiful sights and delicious offerings—including Max, the charming brother of her cousin's new husband. Max has all the makings of a Prince Charming in soccer cleats, and Charlotte's happily ever after seems to be within reach. But love is a funny thing, and soon Charlotte finds herself wondering: could it be that her true soul mate has been right in front of her all along?

Review:

This type of story has been done before. You pretty much know how things are going to end up right from the start. But you know what? That's ok, because this is an enjoyable story with likable characters and fun side-stories.

The fifty first dates made me laugh and cringe at the same time. I kind of side with Charlotte on this one. It seems like a form of torture to have to go through that many first dates. Having to come up with first date conversations over and over again might be the end of me.

I like the detail that the author put into Charlotte's house remodel as well as the trip to Brazil (including food poisoning, because yeah, that happens.)

Max and his family were such good people - the kind I would love to get to know in real life. Same with Charlotte's parents.

The ending took a bit longer to get to than I would have liked, but that's probably because I knew what I wanted to happen and I just wanted it to happen already! :-)
 
Tour Schedule:
 *Sept. 18th: http://reviewsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/, http://mybookaday.blogspot.com/, 
http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com/, http://melsshelves.blogspot.com/ 
 
Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Title: Wish Me Love
Author: Michelle Ashman Bell
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc
Published: Sept 2017
ISBN:  1524402699
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book
 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Blog Tour: The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson

 
The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson  

Book Description:

When wills clash and hearts collide, who will reign victorious?

Termed an Incomparable during her first London season, Lady Harriett Cavendish is beautiful, spirited, and confident, capturing the attention of a great many suitors. Unfortunately, they all failed to capture her attention, and she concluded the season as unattached as she’d begun it.

Only weeks prior to her second season, Harriett encounters Lieutenant Christopher Jamison while visiting Tanglewood Manor. Recently returned from war, the lieutenant is everything that Harriett's previous suitors were not. He’s arrogant, ungentlemanly, irritating, and challenges her at every opportunity. When he goes too far, Harriett decides that it’s time to turn the tables on him. But as she sets out to put the lieutenant in his place once and for all, she discovers there is more to him than meets the eye, and when it comes to matters of the heart, she has no control whatsoever. 

 
Andrea's Review:

Rachael Anderson doesn't disappoint with her latest novel, The Pursuit of Lady Harriett. When I first started reading, some aspects felt familiar and I wondered if I'd already read it. But, as it went on I realized that this is the third book in the Tanglewood Series, and I'd read about some of the characters in the first two books, The Fall of Lord Drayson and The Rise of Miss Notley. I would recommend reading those books first (just because they're very good), but you could read this without having read the others.

I really liked the banter between Christopher and Harriett. Their first "meeting" was pretty funny, and I looked forward to what they would come up with to annoy each other. These situations made for a realistic relationship that didn't feel rushed.

The Pursuit of Lady Harriett is a sweet, clean story that I would read again.

Excerpt:

Harriett looked at what remained of the cake. Apparently, he didn’t intend to finish it off after all, so she collected their forks and stood. “Forgive me for saying so, but you look quite done in, Chris. If you do not go up to bed now, you will probably fall asleep here. Only imagine what Mrs. Caddy might say if she discovers you here with the mostly-eaten cake. For your own sake, you ought to retire. I will do my best to tidy things up.”

Before she could move away from him, he grabbed her hand and guided her to sit back down, keeping hold of her fingers. “Not so fast, my lady. I meant it when I said that I’m in desperate need of the distraction that only you can provide. Thus far, all I have done is burden you with my troubles.”

“I do not feel at all burdened, sir.” Indeed, Harriett suddenly felt breathless and somewhat giddy. The effect this man had on her was something of a wonder.

“Sir?” he asked. “I thought we were beyond that.”

“I thought so as well, but you only just called me ‘my lady.’”

He frowned and blinked as though he hadn’t realized he had. “Forgive me, Harry. I fear my exhaustion has muddled my thinking.”

This time, she did not let the name slide. She snatched her hand free and frowned at him. “Obviously it has.”

He laughed—not a tired attempt at a laugh, but a real one filled with the richness that warmed her straight through. Only this time, it did not bother her at all. In fact, it felt wonderful, almost like a compliment.

“I knew you’d come through for me,” he said, leaning close enough to touch shoulders with her. “You have no idea how much I needed to laugh or how good that felt. I could honestly kiss you right now.”

Harriett tried her best not to blush or appear astonished by the suggestion—he had obviously made the comment in jest—but when his smile widened into a devilish grin, she knew she’d failed. He leaned in closer, and his gaze wandered briefly to her mouth before returning to her eyes. She could smell vanilla and lemon and a hint of something else—leather perhaps? A delightful pulse whipped down her arm, and she was hard-pressed not to shiver.

“Admit it,” he said. “You have missed me.”
 
 

About the Author:

Rachael
Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.



 

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway:
Ends 10/1/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Book Review: The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

The Two of Us
Book Description:

After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she's focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who's pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia's plans.
Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He's poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who's asked him to be his best man at his wedding.
Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake. And Jake, who can't help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he'll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake's courage and Mia's caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .


Book Review:

It's good to get back into contemporary romance. I've been spending a lot of time in the Regency era lately, and I do enjoy a good contemporary novel. Victoria Bylin is a new author to me. I haven't read anything else she's publish so honestly I was hesitant to start this novel. New to me authors always make me leery just because I don't know what to expect content wise. Coming from Bethany House I knew it was Christian fiction, but that doesn't always guarantee a clean read.  But back to the story at hand.

There is a lot going on in this novel. I think my biggest complaint about this book is that a lot of it revolved around Sam and Lucy. Don't get me wrong, you had an interesting story there, but I personally don't like two stories within one story. I want my main characters and I want good supporting characters, but if you are going to do two stories...write another book. To be fair, I will say that Sam and Lucy were need for Mia and Jake to meet and to stay in contact with each other. I get why the author did what she did, but I didn't want a story about Sam and Lucy, I wanted a story about Jake and Mia and every time it switched I felt abruptly pulled my my story into a place that I didn't care about traveling.

The romance between Jake and Mia was sort of already decided. We didn't get to watch the characters fall in love, we got to watch them decide what they were going to do about it. And I'm not sure how I feel about that. I think it was okay. Not typically what I look for when I read, but the emotions and decision were so honest and well written that I didn't feel cheated in the romance department.

Content wise there is premarital sex (not described) which results in a pregnancy. Kissing, lots of talk about being a virgin, talk about sex within marriage, and vandalism.


The Two of Us
Title: The Two of Us
Author: Victoria Bylin
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: August 2017
ISBN:  0764217380
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Blog Tour: Mind Games by Stephanie Black


Book Description:

Psychologist Natalie Marsh's dream is now reality: her mental health services clinic has opened and is housed in an elegant, newly renovated nineteenth-century building. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with the clinic's presence, including Heather Osbourne, a troubled young woman who wholly objects to the occupation of the building. Heather has spent years wandering the halls of the abandoned structure, convinced she's communing with her ancestor's ghost. When Natalie thwarts Heather's attempt to leap from a window, the shaken psychologist soon realizes Heather's failed jump is merely one piece of a disturbing puzzle. Greed and deceit are weaving a web around Natalie, and someone will stop at nothing—not even murder—to get what they want. Stretched to her breaking point, Natalie struggles to learn the truth, but only one thing is clear: nothing is as it seems.

Review:

I was a little concerned for the first few chapters because there were so many characters introduced and I was getting them confused already. Thankfully, after justa few more chapters, we get to know the supporting characters better, so it was easier to keep them straight.

As I was reading this book, I kept getting the feeling that I've read another book with Natalie and Gideon in it. I need to go look up the author's previous books to see what else of hers I've read.

I got really caught up in this story, and even though I haven't quite finished it yet (I'm so close! But my bed is calling my name, so I'll have to finish tomorrow) I can't wait to find out who the bad guy(s) are, because so far I haven't been able to figure it out! It takes a really good author to keep the reader guessing up until the end, and this author has done that with me.

Tour Dates:
Sept. 11th: http://bonnieharris.blogspot.com/, http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com/

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91cy8iucbhL.jpgTitle: Mind Games
Author: Stephanie Black
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: September 2017
ISBN: 1524404373
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Blog Tour: Love Remains by Sarah M. Eden

Love Remains by Sarah M. Eden

Book Description:

From Sarah M. Eden, the USA Today Bestselling author of the Longing for Home series, LOVE REMAINS is a new romance novel set in the beloved world of Hope Springs.

For nearly a year, Tavish O’Connor has carried the crushing weight of his family’s future on his shoulders. He has taken on the care of his youngest brother, Finbarr, who lost his eyesight in a terrible accident. But the lad needs more than Tavish can provide. Finbarr needs hope.

Cecily Attwater specializes in hope. As a tutor to the newly blind, she has dedicated her life to helping others overcome the obstacles she herself has conquered. Her new assignment in a remote corner of Wyoming proves trickier than usual: Finbarr refuses to learn. To make matters worse, his family—and the other Irish townspeople—are less than thrilled to discover an Englishwoman in their haven.

Cecily’s only hope lies in securing the cooperation of her pupil’s brother Tavish, who happens to be her harshest critic and quite possibly the most frustrating man she’s ever known.

For Finbarr’s sake, Tavish and Cecily forge an uneasy alliance that, as the weeks pass, tiptoes toward something deeper than either dares admit or face, and toward a future they know to be impossible. There can be no hope of a happy outcome for an Irishman and an English woman amongst a people reeling from violence and centuries of hatred between their two homelands.

 

Andrea's Review:

Wow-Love Remains is amazing! Sarah M. Eden really knows how to write a story that will capture and hold your attention. Her characters are deep and I couldn't help but become emotionally attached to them. I was heartbroken for how Cecile was treated (seriously, tears were shed on multiple occasions). And then there's Tavish. He really carried a lot on his shoulders with his entire family depending on him for their happiness and well being. Both characters dealt with so much, but it said so much about them that they kept on moving forward.

This is a clean story that I read very quickly, and one that I'd read again. I'm looking forward to re-reading the other Hope Springs books.

Tarah's Review:

I love Sarah Eden's books, but I will say that I had to reread the Hope Springs novels to really get into them. They definitely improved on the second reading. Love Remains, however, was moving. The amount of emotion that I felt while reading this book was incredible. The prejudices and treatment of others makes you think. Especially if you've read the other books in this series, because you love this family, and to have this family that you love treat someone who is there to help their son the way they treated her is heart-wrenching. If the book was only about that it would have been good, but then it also deals with blindness and how that affects Finbar, Cecile and all of the family. There are so many aspects of this book that just make it great. The love story is definitely up to Eden's usual standard, as is the story in general. I like the hope that you find in Eden's stories. It doesn't matter what the characters are going through, you are going to find hope in her stories, and I love it. I will be rereading this (already have gone back and reread my favorite parts) and will definitely recommend this to others.

Tour Schedule:

September 11: My Book A Day, Smiling Book Reviews, Peggy Urry

September 12: Bookworm Lisa, Wishful Endings, Getting Your Read On

September 13: LDS Writer Mom, Min Reads and Reviews

September 14: Literary Time Out, Heidi Reads, Singing Librarian Books

September 15: Katie's Clean Book Collection, Why Not? Because I Said So!, Mel's Shelves

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Books by Sarah M. Eden:

Other Books in the Hope Springs Series:
Longing for Home
Hope Springs
My Dearest Love

Regency Romances:
The Kiss of a Stranger
Glimmer of Hope
An Unlikely Match
For Elise
All Regency Collection
British Isles Collection

The Jonquil Brothers series:
Friends and Foes
Drops of Gold
As You Are
A Fine Gentleman

The Lancaster Family series:
Seeking Persephone
Courting Miss Lancaster
Romancing Daphne

Title: Love Remains
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Publisher: Mirror Press
Published: September 2017
ISBN: 1947152025
Source: We received an eCopy from the tour host in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Review: Yesterday's Promise by Michele Paige Holmes

Yesterday's Promise by Michele Paige Holmes

Book Description:

In the year 1761--Scottish Highlands:

Nineteen-year-old artist Katherine Mercer dreams of selling her paintings to help support her struggling family. Before she has the opportunity, Katherine learns she is to be sold—or practically so—given in marriage to a lord she has never met or even heard of. In return, a much-needed settlement will be made upon her mother.

Katherine’s situation goes from frightening to surreal when her husband-to-be Laird Collin MacDonald arrives with an entourage of men, each heavily armed and speaking with a thick brogue. As if leaving all she knows behind and traveling to another country with strangers isn’t bad enough, Katherine soon discovers a Scottish heritage she knew nothing of, a brother-in-law who wants her dead, and far more at stake with her paintings than she had ever imagined. Forced to turn to her reclusive husband for answers, comfort, and even her very survival, Katherine begins to unravel the mysteries of her past and what it is to love and be loved.


Review:

I was pulled into Yesterday's Promise from the very beginning. Sometimes prologues don't work for me, but I was definitely intrigued by Collin's situation, and how it was going to tie into Katie's story. My attention didn't wane at all as I was introduced to Katie. I felt for her right away as she was losing her home and everything she held dear. I can't imagine being told that I was going to be married to a complete stranger the next morning, and would be taken far from my home.

I really enjoyed seeing everything unfold, and finding out more about Katie's past. The fighting between clans was so interesting, and I loved the way the relationship between Katie and Collin brought everything together.

This was an excellent story, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.

Content-wise there is fighting and some passionate kissing.

Title: Yesterday's Promise
Author: Michele Paige Holmes
Publisher: Mirror Press
Published: July 2017
ASIN: B072TZQY87
Source: I received an eCopy from eBooks for Review in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Kindle

Friday, September 8, 2017

Book Review: Miss Leslie's Secret by Jennifer Moore

Triple Review * Giveaway
Miss Leslie's Secret by Jennifer Moore 

Book Description:

Decorated war hero Conall Stewart has spent ten years envisioning his return to his beloved Scottish Highlands. But now, with the days of battle finally behind him, it seems that his dreams of home have been in vain: the land of his youth lies in ruins, and his family is gone. Though he will never stop searching for his kin, Conall knows he must begin again. But when he takes on a rented farm in a nearby town, he finds far more than the fresh start he was looking for.
 

After catching a mischievous local lad stealing, Conall returns young Jamie to his mother, Aileen Leslie and finds the woman's coddling of the child maddening. What Conall does not realize is that Aileen hides a frightening secret: her devoted protection of Jamie is all that shelters them from discovery by a dangerous man from their past. Drawn together by circumstance, Conall soon develops a fatherly relationship with Jamie as well as romantic feelings for Aileen. But even as the couple accepts their growing affection for one another, time runs out for Aileen and her son: after years of hiding, they have been found. Conall lost his family once he will do all in his power not to let history repeat itself.

Rorie's Review:

Let's get the negative out of the way first. The Scottish brogue. It was kind of distracting. Granted, the story takes place in Scotland, so of course they're going to speak like that. But I find it a lot easier to get lost in a story if I don't have to keep stumbling over pronunciations. But really, that's just a minor complaint. Other than that, I enjoyed this story.

Aileen is a spitfire, and she guards her son Jamie with a fierceness only a mother could understand. Yes, she was way too permissive with him in the beginning, but it's easy enough to understand why, given her history. I loved how Jamie matured with Conall's influence. He was a sweet child and just needed a father figure in his life. I admit, I don't know much (well, anything really) about the whole landowner thing that caused so many people to lose their homes, like in this story. I think it would be interesting to research and learn more about it. I was a little underwhelmed with the climax to the story, but I do like how it was resolved - it just seemed to happen a bit easier than I would have liked. All in all, a great book that I would recommend to others.

Andrea's Review:

I have really enjoyed Jennifer Moore's books, so I was very excited for the opportunity to review Miss Leslie's Secret. I haven't read many books that take place in Scotland, so the historical situation was somewhat eye opening for me. Moore did a good job of making the reader feel for the hardship and heartache the people had gone through.

I can get held up in books when the dialogue or unfamiliar words interrupt the flow, but surprisingly that wasn't really a problem for me with Miss Leslie's Secret. I also appreciated that when Celtic words or terms were used the author usually shared them in a way that also told what they meant.

Moore created a great setting with likable characters. The superstitions added a fun and interesting aspect to the story. The first half was more intriguing to me than the last half, and as such I didn't devour this like some of her other books, but it was worth the read.

Tarah's Review:

My favorite thing about Jennifer Moore's stories is the setting. I love how she takes a time frame and goes somewhere different with it. I know there are a lot of books set in Scotland, but I haven't read many of them, and I loved being taken there with her characters in Miss Leslie's Secret.

The characters were great (especially Aileen's elderly neighbor), and I enjoyed the storyline. Things maybe got wrapped up a bit soon at the end, but it was all wrapped up. It is a quick read, and content wise it has a small bit of human slavery in it, and talk of being in a war, oh, and kissing, but sweet kissing not gross :)

Tour Schedule:


*Sept. 8th: http://readingismysuperpower.org/ , http://minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/, http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com/, http://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/, http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/, http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/

Tour Giveaway:

 
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51kkgLlDF7L.jpg Title: Miss Leslie's Secret
Author: Jennifer Moore
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: September 2017
ISBN: 1524404152
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Blog Tour: Safe House by Shannon Symonds

Safe House by Shannon Symonds

Book Description:

In a small coastal town, Amber and Kelly know the deadliest people sleep down the hall. Will they let Grace in?

As a victim’s advocate, Grace James is used to rushing into trouble to save her victims from abuse or assault. And with a handsome officer like Joe Hart at her side, Grace is sure there’s nothing she can’t do. But an ominous storm brewing on the Oregon horizon is about to change everything-and bring with it dangers and revelations Grace and Joe never expected.

Rorie's Review:

I liked this story, and it had me on the edge of my seat at times. It was heartbreaking reading about what each of these families were going through with all of the abuse. It was also kind of eye-opening to see just how much psychological damage can be done by the abuser. It's easy for someone who has never been through it to say "Well, if they're in a horrible relationship, why don't they just leave?" but for someone who has been beaten down so much, that they're worthless, and been made to feel like they are completely dependent on their spouse, they feel like they have no choice but to stay.

I liked Grace and her caring and empathetic manner towards those she was trying to help. It must be pretty emotionally draining to have a career like her, especially knowing that you can't save everyone, no matter how hard you try.

The two complaints I have about this book are that there were so many characters in it, and the chapters were so short, switching back and forth so quickly, that it was really hard for me to keep track of who was who. I had to constantly flip back a few chapters to remind myself who I was reading about. Also, I don't feel like things were resolved with Emily's husband Berk.

Other than those two issues, I did enjoy the story and would read more from this author.

Andrea's Review:

I was pulled into this story right away with the tension and fear in Amber's home. I've taken classes for foster care, and situations like those described in this book really tug at my heart. You can't help but feel for the parties involved (not so much the abusers, but even a little bit for them-they really need help too). It was somewhat eye opening reading about the situations from all sides, and sad to see how the abusers were having their triggers (alcohol, pornography, etc.).

I wasn't expecting so many points of view, and will admit I was distracted when the story moved from Amber, to Grace, to Kelly, to the abusers, to the police, to the school administrator, to the friend, and all around between them. I think it had good potential, but I was torn between too many people vying for center stage. It would have worked better for me if it was all told from one of the perspectives.

Tarah's Review:

I like my mind candy books, but every once in awhile I appreciate a heavier topic. Safe House definitely covered the heavy topics. I don't know much about domestic violence, and to read this knowing that the author was a victim's advocate and had first hand knowledge is just....emotional.

The thing I appreciated most from this book is that it dives into the reasoning behind things, and while some of the reasoning is foreign to me and I don't understand it, these women have genuine reasons for staying in a domestic violence situation.

Each of the characters was interesting, but because there were so many of them it was confusing at times which story you were into because the writing jumped around, a lot.  Grace has her family, there are the police men, then there are the victims and their families plus the parents of the abusers, oh and another family that gets pulled into the story. It's just a lot.

I was disappointed in the romance in this story. It started one way and then ended up another, and I didn't feel satisfied for one of the characters. It sounds juvenile, I know, especially considering the type of book this is, but I want happy endings, and well, I feel like the author mislead me in this department.

Content wise this is a book about abuse, so be prepared for that. There is also drinking, mentions of pornography and infidelity, and an attempted rape. A lot of the characters in this book are LDS and there are church references about that religion. There is praying and talk of God.


Title: Safe House
Author: Shannon Symonds
Publisher: Bonneville Books
Published: July 2017
ISBN: 1462120369
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle

Monday, September 4, 2017

Blog Tour: I Can Love Like Jesus by Heidi Poelman Illustrated by Chase Jensen

COVER I Can Love Like Jesus.jpg
Book Description:


Help your little ones live and love like Jesus did with this adorable picture book. The simple text and beautiful illustrations show children exactly how Jesus loved others and how to emulate Him with small acts of kindness, like sharing, forgiving, and comforting. Invite the Savior into your home and feel His peace each time you read this book together.

Tarah's Review:

What a cute book. To start off with, the cover is super eye catching.  Love the colors and all the illustrations (which is a must have for children's books...good pictures, you can't beat 'em). When this came in the mail my 4 year old was extremely excited that a book came for her instead of mommy. She insisted we read it right away, and we did. Twice. Plus I've seen her looking at it multiple times by herself. She even played a matching game with the pictures on the inside cover :) It was cute.

My favorite part of this book is that it gives examples that the kids can use and understand about how they can love like Jesus. These examples aren't just in the words, they are found in the pictures too. I like stories that help the kids apply what they are learning. I also loved how the Savior was in every picture somehow. It was fun to see how that was put together.

This will be a book we keep around and I'll read as often as I'm asked to. It's also a good reminder for grown-ups too :)

Rorie's Review:

This is a cute little book that can really get kids thinking about how we can love like Jesus did. My middle son sat down and read it first and this is what he said about it: "I thought that this book is likea fun book and a book that teaches people about the Savior. It's good for all kids. You can use this book for Family Home Evening lessons. You can also use this book for teaching other kids. This is why I like this book."

I sat down tonight with my youngest three and read the book, stopping on each page and having them answer the questions about all of the different ways that we can love like Jesus did. Some of the answers from my 5-year-olds were a little off the wall, but it still made them think, and it made me think of ways that I can be better at loving others too.

Definitely a book that we'll keep in our bookshelves to read over and over again.

About the author:
Heidi Poelman is the author of A is for Abinadi: An Alphabet Book of Scripture HeroesA Mother’s Greatest GiftThe Two-Minute Marriage Project: Simple Secrets for Staying in Love, and the upcoming books I Can Love Like Jesus and A Is for Adam: An Alphabet Book of Scripture Heroes. Heidi received her degrees in communication from Brigham Young University (BA) and Wake Forest University (MA). When she’s not writing, cooking, cleaning, or carpooling, Heidi loves playing in the outdoors with her family, going out for date night, and reading bedtime stories. She lives in Utah with her husband and four children.
“Right Next to Me” blog tour schedule:
I Can Love Like Jesus
Title: I Can Love Like Jesus
Author: Heidi Poelman
Illustrator: Chase Jensen
Publisher: CFI
Published: August 2017
ISBN: 1462119409
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Blog Tour: Right Next to Me by Rachel Ward

Right Next to Me by Rachel Ward

Book Description:

The only thing Sydney doesn’t love about her new college life is the fact that her amazing boyfriend, Gavin, is all the way across the country at Yale. When she returns home for break, Sydney quickly discovers there’s more to her relationship with her best friend, James, than she thought. Now she’s faced with an impossible choice: her perfect boyfriend or the perfectly flawed boy who has loved her all along.

Andrea's Review:

Right Next to Me is a cute story, and a fast read. Most chapters included a flashback to events that showed how James had been a big part of Sydney's life (things that she didn't realize were significant at the time). I liked that the story built up to a potential relationship between Sydney and James. Friendship is a great foundation for a relationship, and we got to see what great guy James was. I felt bad for his struggle of liking Sydney so long and not feeling like he could do anything since his best friend was dating her. I also felt for Sydney when she felt somewhat stuck in a long distance relationship with Gavin. She didn't want to hurt him.

Right Next to Me is a clean and entertaining read that I'd probably read again.

Rorie's Review:

This was a quick read, and I really liked it. We get to know a lot more about the relationship between Sydney and James than we do with her and Gavin. That being said, I liked both boys. She had a good relationship with Gavin, but a better one with James (even though she didn't see it for the longest time.) 
 
A lot of Sydney's decisions with her relationships with both boys stemmed from her experiences with her dad, and her resulting feelings of betrayal. 
 
This story couldn't continue on without someone getting hurt. It actually made me sad because I liked all of the main characters so much. This book doesn't have a "riding off into the sunset, living happily ever after" ending, but it does have a realistic ending and I'm good with that.

Tarah's Review:

The inner teenager in me loved this book. It was a really quick fun read that made me wonder if my teenage self is more apart of me than I originally thought :) It also made me super glad that I am past my teenage phase (you couldn't pay me enough to go back and redo high school....and I enjoyed high school) and married to a wonderful man.

This is one of those books though that you want to smack Sydney and tell her to wake up and open her eyes. For the reader her situation is obvious, but living it I can see how it would not be as apparent.

There were things I liked, and things I didn't (vague enough for you?) but I'm going to hold on to this book for my girls when they get a little older. It's definitely something I wouldn't mind them reading.

Tour Schedule:

  • August 24: Mylissa’s Reviews and Book Thoughts
  • August 25:
  • August 26:
  • August 27: Heidi Reads
  • August 28:
  • August 29Inklings and Notions
  • August 30:
  • August 31A Bliss Complete || My Book a Day
  • September 1Literary Time Out || Mel’s Shelves
  • September 2:
  • September 3Jorie Loves a Story
  • September 4:
  • September 5Emmy Mom
  • September 6The Singing Librarian
  • September 7Getting your Read on || Wishful Endings
  • September 8Fire and Ice Reads
  • September 9:
  • September 10Overstuffed Life


  • Title: Right Next to Me
    Author: Rachel Ward
    Publisher: Bonneville Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.
    Published: August 2017
    ISBN: 1462121012
    Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Purchase: Amazon | Kindle