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Friday, March 24, 2017

Blog Tour: You are the Mother Your Children Need by Christie Gardiner



Book Description:

The woman you want to be . . . the one who has within her every talent, gift, and ability to be what her children need? She’s already there. She is you. Motherhood is the toughest job you’ll ever take on: there is no interview, no job description, and no salary. When you get the position, it can be all too easy to feel underqualified and overwhelmed. But with a sweet message of encouragement, Christie Gardiner reminds women there are as many ways to be a good mother as there are mothers in this world—and there’s no one more capable of raising your children than you! In this uplifting book, mothers are encouraged to let go of the quest for perfectionism and recognize the divinity within. Discover how to own your strengths and weaknesses, and allow your true self to shine! With practical advice on learning to accept failure, holding on to your identity, and harnessing the divine help available to mothers, women will gain the confidence to embrace their uniquely perfect qualifications for the job of motherhood.

Review:

I don't read a whole lot of non-fiction books - I prefer to use my reading time to escape into fantasy. :) But I also know there is a lot to be said from bettering yourself by reading books that can help make you a better person. This book is one of them. Mommy guilt is a very real thing. It's on constant replay in my head "I should be doing more of this. I shouldn't have done that. My kids are doomed." etc, etc, etc. But, while I do strongly believe in constantly trying to better oneself, this book is really good at pointing out that what one mother's strengths are might not be your strengths. And that's OK.

We don't all have to be the "Pinterest-worthy party mom", or the "my kid is always clean and wearing fashionable clothes mom" or even the "we have Family Home Evening every Monday night like clock-work kind of mom." Nothing is wrong with any of those moms. And if you're not that kind of mom, that's totally OK too.

Oo, if I'm not careful, I'm going to spoil the whole book for you. There is so much good information in this book. Chapter 6 was painful for me to read, because I really needed to read it, and not only read it, but actually act on it. That will be a huge challenge for me.

Please keep in mind, this book is not meant to make you feel guilty. It's meant to offer you encouragement and to buoy you up. I have so many pages marked in this book to go back to and re-read. This book is definitely a keeper.

Tour Schedule:
March 20th: http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/
March 24th: http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/http://sweetlymadejustforyou.com/http://brooklynberrydesigns.com/
Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91-qn1YZh3L.jpg 
Title: You are the Mother Your Children Need
Author: Christie Gardiner
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: March 2017
ISBN: 1524402842
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase:  Amazon  | Deseret Book 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Blog Tour: Condemn Me Not: Accused of Witchcraft by Heather B. Moore

Review * Giveaway


Condemn Me Not: Accused of Witchcraft
by Heather B. Moore

Book Description:

“This woman was one of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures of this world; and she did now throughout her whole trial discover herself to be such a one. Yet when she was asked what she had to say for herself, her chief plea was that she had led a most virtuous and holy life.” —Reverend Cotton Mather, 1692

USA Today Bestselling author Heather B. Moore brings the life of her 10th great-grandmother to center stage. Susannah North Martin, accused of witchcraft in 1692, joins five women in the Salem Jail, all sentenced to death for their crimes. Amidst tragedy, Susannah finds hope and compassion as she remembers a well-loved life, and readers discover that love reaches far beyond the grave as Susannah faces the magistrates in Salem.

Review:

I don't remember having read any books about the Salem witch trials other than The Witch of Blackbird Pond. That was so long ago that I don't remember much about it, but I was intrigued when I heard Heather B. Moore was writing about her 10th great-grandmother who had been accused of witchcraft. I can't even imagine this situation. What a sad time in history.

This was such an interesting story, and it was full of emotion (both good and bad). One of the things that drove me crazy with the accusations was that if these women were so powerful, why wouldn't they have been able to free themselves from jail? Why did so many jump on the accusing bandwagon even when rational people would have been able to see that it was ridiculous? I appreciated that Moore addressed those types of questions by including parts in the story that indicated that the accusers often had something to gain (i.e. land).

There were quite a few disturbing moments, but one that stood out as something I hadn't heard before was the court having the accused strip completely so they could examine them. How mortifying!

I'm not always a fan of flashbacks, but it was nice to have a break from the horribleness of jail to some happier times in Susannh's life. I was so happy that she had been able to find love and happiness in her life, and that this event didn't occur until she was old.

As far as content, besides the obvious disturbing situation and details that went along with it, there were a few pretty passionate scenes and fade to black (marital) sex.

It was very eye opening with a bittersweet ending. I learned a lot.

Tour Schedule:


Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Title: Condemn Me Not: Accused of Witchcraft 
Author: Heather B. Moore
Publisher: Mirror Press
Published: March 2017
ISBN: 1941145957
Source: I received an eCopy via the tour host publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Review: Beauty & the Beast by K.M. Shea

 Beauty and the Beast (Timeless Fairy Tales, #1)

Book Description:
Once upon a time Elle made a mistake. A small miscalculation sends her through the roof of an enchanted chateau. Stranded until her broken leg mends, Elle is unwillingly forced to rely on the good will of the sour chateau owner —the cursed Prince Severin.

Prince Severin—the commanding general and staunch supporter of his brother the crown prince—is cursed to look like a beast until a maiden falls in love with him. He has given up all hope of shattering the curse, and has only disdain for Elle.

Unfortunately, the pair can’t seem to avoid each other thanks to the meddling of the chateau’s cursed servants. Eventually Elle’s playful manners and Severin’s hidden gentleness draw the pair together.

But not all love stories can end that easily. After all, Elle is not what she seems, and Severin’s life is placed in danger when hostilities flare between his brother and the monarchs of a neighboring country. When Elle risks everything to save Severin, will he be able to forgive her for her lies?


Book Review:

I thought since the new Beauty and the Beast movie was coming out, it would be fun to do a review on the Beauty and the Beast story. I've had this book on my kindle for who knows how long. I don't know where I got it (I'm assuming it was free on Amazon once) and I didn't know anything about it, other than it was a retelling, and we all know what a sucker I am for those :) Besides the fact that the cover had nothing to do with the content of the book (well, I guess she does wear a rose colored dress, but that isn't at all how I pictured it in my mind) can I say that I was pleasantly surprised by this retelling?

Elle is a great character. It took awhile to get her, and honestly it wasn't until the end of the book that I really understood her and what made her, her.  I like the twist on the curse with the servants and I thought the description of the Beast was fitting. He was a great character. I also enjoyed his relationship with his brother (although his brother is not my favorite character).

This matches the (I want to say original story, but I'm not sure I've ever read that...so I guess I'm thinking Disney) story well enough, but it has some differences that I really liked and approved of. I can't wait to read it again, and I'm excited that I saw she had written other fairy tale retellings.  Can't wait to get started on those!

Beauty and the Beast (Timeless Fairy Tales, #1)

Title: Beauty & the Beast
Author: K. M. Shea
Published: December 2013
ASIN: B00H8XT2T2

Friday, March 17, 2017

Blog Tour: Love, Jane by Ranee S. Clark

Reviews * Giveaway
 Love, Jane by Ranee S. Clark

Book Description:

Jane Reeves and Sean O'Callaghan seem to be a match made in heaven—but the timing is all wrong. Jane has her heart set on serving a mission, and she can't delay telling Sean the news any longer: not only has she quietly submitted her mission papers, but she's also leaving in a month ... for Alaska. Shocked and devastated, Sean struggles to come to terms with Jane's decision. Unable to deny the depth of their feelings for one another, Sean makes a promise to wait for her.

Life unfolds for both Jane and Sean, with communications limited to weekly e-mails. But with just a few months left in Jane's mission, Sean's messages stop. When she receives the dreaded "Dear Jane" breakup along with the news that she has been replaced by Sean's former flame, Jane knows the future she envisioned now belongs to another woman. But upon her return home, Jane quickly realizes some things are worth fighting for—perhaps, most of all, a shot at true love. 

Andrea's Review:

I read the description for Love, Jane a month or so before I got it, and didn't re-read it when it arrived. I prefer that over having a fresh blurb in my mind (they can give too much away). Having done that, the first section of this book was FULL of angst! I just kept thinking that Sean was going to be so hurt when Jane finally got the guts to tell him about her plans. The emotions were so intense during that part! I liked the characters, but Jane not telling Sean about moving forward with her mission plans was just mean. Her likability during that part was on shaky ground.

The book has two other sections that weren't quite as emotionally intense as the first section, but those sections definitely had their moments of high emotion. At times I really wasn't sure how things were going to pan out for our main characters. I really had grown to like them, and wanted their happiness.

Initially I didn't realize this was a spin off of two other books this author has written (Playing for Keeps and Double Play), but since I liked those books, that was a pleasant surprise. They gave me some background into some minor characters in this book, but you can read this on its own without feeling lost.

This was a really enjoyable read for me. It is LDS fiction (the main characters are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and the mission is for their church. There is discussion of faith and personal conviction, and I liked how the author included those aspects in a natural way that felt real without being preachy. It was a clean, quick read with a great romance that felt very believable.

Rorie's Review:

I have one thing to say. Communication! Really, is that so very hard? Well, ok, yes. Yes it is. Our family has a running joke about how well we communicate. But even I tend to get frustrated reading about it, when I know it would just be so very easy to open your mouth and say something and then there would be no problems at all...you know, for everyone else, not me. :)

So, Jane has communication issues. She doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so she leaves things unsaid. Pretty important things. And then they fester and grow in to something that blows up in her face.

Sean has nice-guy issues. He's too nice to everyone. He wants to help everyone and not let anyone down, but it's often at his expense.

Both of these characters are good people, but they have that major flaw that makes what could be a happily-ever-after couple turn into a bit of a nightmare of resentment and misunderstandings for them. And then Victoria comes in to the picture. I just didn't like her. She seemed too cold and calculating and not at all Sean's type.

I was happy with the ending, and the book was enjoyable to read, but I did find myself in a constant state of annoyance that Sean and Jane couldn't just talk their issues out already. :)

Tarah's Review:

What a beautiful cover! I love the balloon, the skirt, the heels, and I really love the font on the title. Yes, I am aware how geeky that makes me sound, but I love a good font. Plus, I enjoy when the title is part of the book. Things like that make me happy.

I'm not sure that you would say this is part of a series. I haven't seen anything that says it is (but sometimes I don't notice the obvious). You could read this and not read the other two novels, and you would be fine. Minor characters play a part, but not a big enough one that it would be confusing. Everything pertinent is mentioned in the writing.

If you are reading this book you are most likely aware that it is LDS fiction. Especially since it is about Jane serving a mission. So obviously religion is a part of the book and you won't be surprised by it.

If you liked the other books by Ranee Clark, you will definitely want to give this one a try.
 
Tour Schedule:


Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Title: Love, Jane
Author: Ranee S. Clark
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: March 2017
ISBN: 1524401366
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase:  Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Review: Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure by Brandon Mull

Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure by Brandon Mull

Book Description:

In the long-awaited sequel to Fablehaven, the dragons who have been kept at the dragon sanctuaries no longer consider them safe havens, but prisons and they want their freedom. The dragons are no longer our allies....

In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.

No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to gather again if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who originally confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help.

As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.

How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it?

Rorie's Review:

Brandon Mull has done it again with this newest addition to the Fablehaven series. I was drawn in immediately, and even though it has been several years since I read Fablehaven, I quickly recalled most of the story line and characters. I do want to go back and re-read those books, since I have forgotten a lot of the details. Plus, while my oldest has read and loved the series, my second son has only just begun, and these are great books on CD to listen to in the car.

Seth's impulsiveness and mischief-making always kind of bugged me, (that must be the parent in me talking) so I was happy to see his growth and determination to do what was right in his new role as caretaker. Both Kendra and Seth learned a lot about themselves, although I think this book focuses more on Seth's growth.

I'm anxious to find out what happens in the next book in this series. It will be interesting to see what role Knox and Tess play in the upcoming books too.

Andrea's Review:

It's been years since I read the Fablehaven books, but I was pleasantly surprised that I remembered so many details. Dragonwatch seemed to pick up right from where I remembered the Fablehaven books leaving off.

I thought my son would really enjoy this series, but he was hesitant to read it. He has liked other fantasy books in the past though, so I think I'll try introducing him to the Fablehaven books first.

Dragonwatch is an entertaining, easy read, perfect for middle grade readers looking for a fun adventure.

Tarah's Review:

I haven't actually read the Fablehaven series so I wasn't sure what to expect with Dragonwatch. All I knew is that my 10 year old really enjoyed Fablehaven. Even though I haven't read the other, I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and am looking forward to going back and seeing what started it all.

If you haven't read Fablehaven would you be lost with this book? Yes and no. I was able to really enjoy it even though I didn't have any context for the previous books. However, I never really felt lost, just a desire to go find out what I missed.

I can't wait for the next book in the series...for more reasons than one. First, it really was good and I am excited to follow Kendra and Seth on their journey. Second, the ending wasn't an ending I typically enjoy. Not a cliffhanger so much, but it definitely left everything open for more. I normally only read books like this when the whole series is out so I can binge read them all at once and not wait on pins and needles for the next. So, you win some, you lose some.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61bmy953K8L.jpgTitle: Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure
Authors: Brandon Mull
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: March 2017
ISBN: 1629722561
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Blog Tour: Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience Anthology

Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience Anthology

Book Description:

Around the turn of the century, matches were made for all sorts of reasons–whether to keep a family together or simply to make ends meet. But love has a way of turning up in the most unexpected places! With four historical romance stories in one, this fun anthology will sweep you from the dance floors of aristocracy to the hearths of country living, leading to love through the most unusual circumstances.

Andrea's Review:

Unexpected Love is a fun collection of novellas that all have a marriage of convenience. The four novellas are Ashbrook Abbey by Heather Chapman, First Comes Marriage by Paula Kremser, The Price of Her Heart by Mandi Ellsworth, and Beauty and the Beholder by Ashtyn Newbold. All four authors are great. I enjoyed all of the stories. The Price of Her Heart took me a bit to get into (the setting and characters are quite a bit different than the other stories), but it grew on me and I ended up really liking it. 

Although there were some pretty serious moments in some of the stories, they were easy reads. Perfect for when you just want a quick and enjoyable story. This is a clean collection, and I'd read it again.

Rorie's Review:

Every time I read novellas, I find myself kind of disappointed. The stories are so short that I just don't feel like I get to really know the characters...there's not enough time to have them come to life.

There are four stories in this book, and while two of them sadly did feel that way to me, I found that I enjoyed the last two stories. My favorite was probably "Beauty and the Beholder." Both Fanny and Percy have lost so much, and neither of them wants to be together, but after a lot of rough starts (a whole lot of them...) they finally start to break through their barriers and come to understand each other.

I also enjoyed "The Price of Her Heart" even though it took me a bit to warm up to it. Geoffrey just seemed like a good, respectable man through and through, and Faith was a fun, feisty character.

I don't know that I'll read many other novellas, but if you enjoy short stories, this is a fun, easy read.


Tarah's Review:

Honestly, sometimes I'm just in the mood for a really good short story. When I'm not in the mood to read (gasp!) novellas will normally break me out of my funk. Sometimes I just need instant gratification. Granted, they still have to be well written and they have to feel like the whole story. I don't want to feel jipped when I read. I'm happy to report that the novellas in Unexpected Love are complete novellas, and well written.

I had my favorites out of them. Beauty and the Beholder was up there and The Price of Her Heart  and First Comes Marriage were fun too. I did struggle a little with Ashbrook Abbey. I had a hard time liking Ambrose. He ended up a good character, but it took me a while to warm up to him, and lets be honest...there isn't a lot of time in a novella to warm up to characters.

Out of all of them I think I'd like to see The Price of Her Heart as a full length novel. I liked it, and it was fun, but I think it had more potential to be drawn out and explored a bit more.

I've already reread some of them, and will most likely pick this book up again and again when I need my instant gratification fix :)

Tour Schedule:


3/14/2017http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/
3/15/2017http://livetoread-krystal.blogspot.com/
3/16/2017https://seeker-of-happiness.squarespace.com/
3/17/2017http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/
3/18/2017amandanicolle.blogspot.com/
3/19/2017http://www.kindleandme.com/
3/20/2017http://hardcoverfeedback.blogspot.com/
3/21/2017writingwormblog.wordpress.com
3/22/2017http://geolibrarian.blogspot.com/

http://heidi-reads.blogspot.com/
3/23/2017http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com/

http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com

www.melsshelves.blogspot.com

http://www.singinglibrarianbooks.com/
3/24/2017http://www.bookworm2bookworm.wordpress.com

www.ablisscomplete.com
3/25/2017kakirecommends.com
3/26/2017www.thethingsilovemost.com
3/27/2017mybookaday.blogspot.com
3/28/2017http://katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com/
3/29/2017www.BloomingWithBooks.blogspot.com


3/30/2017jorielovesastory.com

http://tressaswishfulendings.blogspot.com/
3/31/2017www.thedragonsnook.com

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/A1TH4iufE2L.jpg

Title: Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience Anthology
Authors: Heather Chapman, Paula Kremser, Mandi Ellsworth, Ashtyn Newbold
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Published: March 2017
ISBN: 1462119794
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book

Friday, March 10, 2017

Blog Tour: A Fine Gentleman by Sarah M. Eden

Reviews * Giveaway
 
A Fine Gentleman by Sarah M. Eden

Book Description:

London barrister Jason Jonquil has spent his entire life working to establish his identity as a gentleman, a man of refinement like his father and brothers. But when fiery Spanish beauty Mariposa Thornton walks into his office, he finds himself losing his grasp on his dignified character. The woman is infuriating, pushing him to the limit of his legendary patience. However, her case seems simple enough—a small matter of inheritance. Or so he believes.

Once a well-born lady, Mariposa fought to survive the brutalities of Napoleon’s war on Spain. She braved horrific perils and undertook dangerous missions on behalf of those fighting against the invading French army. But her greatest battle still lies ahead: after being separated from her family, Mariposa sets in motion a plan to reunite with her loved ones in England. To avoid drawing the attention of the French, Mariposa dons a carefully crafted persona to conceal her true purpose. As Jason and Mariposa are drawn together by the case, they come to know the people beneath the masks they both wear.

When the truth of Mariposa’s quest is revealed, the couple is pulled into a mystery that will test the limits of their courage—and expose the true desire of their hearts.


Rorie's Review:

I'm not usually a fan of really long car rides but in this case it gave me plenty of opportunity to read this book. I finished this book in about a day. I love the Jonquil family. I kind of wish they were real. I would love to get to know them all better in real life... you know if they actually existed.

The story drew me in right away. Mariposa's fiery character was a great match to Jason's attempt at being somber and stoic. I really enjoyed the little twist in the story that helped Jason with a family relationship. This is definitely a book that will go into the keep shelf.

Andrea's Review:

Friends, and any person out there who likes to read, if you are not already a fan of Sarah M. Eden, you really should read some of her books. She is a wonderful author. One of my favorite things about her is that she is an author you can count on. She doesn't add or take out certain content based on the publisher. She writes excellent, clean fiction filled with lovable characters and heartwarming stories.

I jumped at the chance to review A Fine Gentleman when I heard it was coming out. It has been a little while since I read one of Eden's Jonquil Brothers books, but even though it's been awhile, I fell right back into love with the family. Jason is definitely unique. His personality isn't extremely endearing (at least initially), but his interactions with the unpredictable Mariposa really made for a charming story. I loved how she pushed his buttons! And I loved how both Jason and Mariposa helped the underdogs around them.

Eden has just the right about of humor and emotion in A Fine Gentleman. I was drawn into the story immediately, and didn't want to put it down until I finished it. I will definitely read this again.

Tarah's Review:

It's probably sad to admit that I'm already on my second time reading this book, but it's true. I just love this family. I love even more, that while the stories of the brothers coincide with and weave in and out of each other, they are all stand alone stories. You could read any of these in any order and be just fine (although why you would want to read just one is beyond me).

I love Mariposa's character! She would be a fun lady to be friends with. I liked her interactions with her staff, her abuela, and with Jason. I will admit that I thought from her end it was really funny to goad him, but I can see from Jason's end how frustrating and deeming it was.

I appreciated that Jason wasn't a guy that I loved his personality right from the start. Don't get me wrong, I loved reading all about him, but he definitely grew in this novel and that's always fun. Normally when that happens though it means I don't like the character for the first half of the book. Not so with Jason. Even though he was stiff and formal he makes for a great read.

I loved the banter, I loved the book and I highly highly highly recommend A Fine Gentleman to anyone who enjoys Regency Romances.

Tour Schedule:

March 10thhttp://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/,

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
About the Author:

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today Bestselling author of witty and charming historical romances, including AML's "2013 Novel of the Year" and Foreword Review’s 2013 “IndieFab Book of the Year” gold medal winner for Best Romance, Longing for Home, as well as 2014 Whitney Award winner for "Best Romance" and "Best Novel of the Year," Longing for Home: Hope Springs. Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a Bachelor's degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah lives with her husband, kids, and mischievous dog in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain she has never attempted to ski.  

Title: A Fine Gentleman
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: March 2017
ISBN: 1524402109
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase:  Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Kindle Scout: Keeping Kinley by Annette K. Larsen

Annette K. Larsen is an excellent author of sweet, clean romances. I just learned that she has a new novel up for nomination on Kindle Scout. If you are a fan of Annette's books, be sure to head over to place a vote for Keeping Kinley. If you aren't a fan of her's yet, head on over and read the sample.

Keeping Kinley by Annette K. Larsen

Book Description:

He's noble. She's common. It's complicated. Kinley is content with her common life until a chance meeting with an old friend—a noble—brings the possibility of love. Though Rylan pursues her with a charming carelessness, she doesn’t dare hope that their relationship will be accepted. When Kinley’s livelihood is threatened, she is thrust into his world as a servant, but the Rylan she encounters there isn’t the quirky friend she thought she knew. Can she trust him, or will she be forced to accept that her dreams are only that—dreams?

   
Excerpt:

My breath caught as soon as he said the name and my eyes searched his features, looking for the little boy I had known in the man that stood before me.

“Rylan?” I breathed and he nodded, still with that familiar grin in place. “Oh…my,” was all my idiot brain could say as I took in his fine horse and his fine clothes and his fine eyes. I probably still had pear juice on my face.

“How are you, Miss Kinley?” he asked with the same light in his eyes that he used to have whenever he would tell me about his favorite part of a lesson.

“I am…well,” I answered in a breathless sort of stuttering. “Very well, thank you. I hope all is well with you and your family. How are Lord and Lady Baylor?”

“My father runs his business affairs with an iron fist and my mother coddles the staff, so everything is as it should be.” He grinned.

“Good.” I had to ignore the grin so that I could speak. “And Master Welsley and Tayana?”

“Welsley takes life too seriously, but is ready to take over for father at a moment’s notice. Tayana is soon to be married.”

“Good, good. That’s very good.” It was so very awkward to be standing in front of this man who had befriended me as a child. How was I supposed to act?

“And what of your family?” he asked eagerly. “It was your brother, was it not? That married…”

“Princess Ariella, yes.” No one seemed to be able to say it out loud, worried that if they were wrong, I’d somehow be offended. I was used to finishing the thought.

He gave a crooked smile. “That must have been an interesting adjustment.”

I laughed, surprised at how succinct that description was. “It was a surprise and an adventure, and I really do adore her.”

“I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting her, but everyone seems to have an opinion one way or the other.”

“I can only imagine.” While most of the common folk had accepted Ella and Gavin, I knew that the nobility had not been so easily convinced when she’d stooped to marry a commoner. He smiled, so casual, so comfortable. I felt the need to fill the silence. His horse bobbed its head, trying to get Rylan’s attention. I pointed to him.

“And who is this?”

He reached up, stroking the horse behind its ear. “This is Apollo. Say ‘Good day,’ old man.”

The horse actually nodded its head up and down. I was reminded of Herman, who I had abandoned.

“I should go.” I gestured awkwardly down the lane. “It was a pleasure seeing you.”

“Wait, can I see you tomorrow?”

My confusion made the corner of my mouth quirk up.

“Why would you do that?”

“Because I’d like to speak with you again,” he said as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

“Oh, um.” He was nobility, and I was decidedly not.

“I have to get Herman. My pony, he’s—” I pointed behind me as if that would explain my inability to speak coherently, then turned to walk back the way I had come.



 

About Author Annette K. Larsen:

I was born in Utah, but migrated to Arizona, Missouri, and Virginia before settling in Idaho. Though I dabbled in writing throughout school, being an author seemed like an unattainable dream. It took me seven years to write my first book, Just Ella. During that time, I taught myself how to write a novel. Not the most time effective method, but it gave me an education I wouldn’t have received from a class or a how-to book. Something about the struggle of writing without a formula or rules worked for me. I write clean romance because I love it. Jane Eyre is the hero of my youth and taught me that clinging to your convictions will be hard, but will bring you more genuine happiness than giving in ever can. I love chocolate, Into the Woods, ocean waves, my husband, and my five littles. And I love books that leave me with a sigh of contentment.

Website * Facebook

Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/9/17 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.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller

Book Description:

Pride, prejudice and forgiveness...
Hampton Hall's new owner has the villagers of St. Hampton Heath all aflutter--all except Lavinia Ellison. The reverend's daughter cares for those who are poor and sick, and the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury definitely does not meet that criteria. His refusal to take his responsibilities seriously, or even darken the door of the church, leave her convinced he is as arrogant and reckless as his brother--his brother who stole the most important person in Lavinia's world.

Nicholas Stamford is shadowed by guilt: his own, his brother's, the legacy of war. A perfunctory visit to this dreary part of Gloucestershire wasn't supposed to engage his heart, or his mind. Challenged by Miss Ellison's fascinating blend of Bluestocking opinions, hoydenish behavior, and angelic voice, he finds the impossible becoming possible--he begins to care. But Lavinia's aloof manner, society's opposition and his ancestral obligations prove most frustrating, until scandal forces them to get along.

Can Lavinia and Nicholas look beyond painful pasts and present prejudice to see their future? And what will happen when Lavinia learns a family secret that alters everything she's ever known?


Book Review:

The cover and the back blurb drew me into this story right away. Seriously, isn't it a beautiful cover? The Regency genre is one of my favorites, and guessing that it was going to be a clean read I was pretty excited to start this story.

The characters, especially Nicholas, are well written. I enjoyed watching him change and develop from the first of the book. Some of it maybe wasn't as believable, but it was interesting all the same. I really felt for him and the dilemmas he had. Some were his own making, and some were pressure from is mother and society. It's hard for me to understand that since I have my mother's support, and a lot of times I don't really care what society thinks of me. But boy, how would it have been to have lived in a time where it was all about society thought and how accepting they were of you.

Lavinia was well written, but I could take or leave her. I did appreciate that she changed too, though. She had her own prejudices that she had to figure out and fix. Sometimes she was just sooo stubborn that I felt it slowed the story down.   And honestly, sometimes the pacing was a bit slow at times. This wasn't a novel I devoured in one sitting. I read until it got slow and would pick it up and put it down until I was finished.

The religious part, while I felt it fit with the story, and didn't come out of left field or get shoved down your throat, is a big part of the story. Lavinia is a preachers daughter, and she believes. Nicholas goes through his own conversion and so, yes it has religious overtones...and undertones...and tones :) I didn't mind it, but if you don't like that sort of thing you should be aware of it going into the story.

If you'd like more info you can go to http://litfusegroup.com/author/CMiller.

Giveaway:

Regency romance fans have another must-read novel to add to their lists: Carolyn Miller's The Elusive Miss Ellison. Enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister's daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God's grace and the true strength of love. These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society's opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

Settle in for a cozy night of reading with a cuppa and a Kindle from Carolyn!


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on March 22. The winner will be announced March 23 on the Litfuse blog.



Title:The Elusive Miss Ellison
Author: Carolyn Miller
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published: February 2017
ISBN: 0825444500
Source: I received a copy from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Blog Tour: Be Happy by Hank Smith




 


Book Description:

You can be happy—solidly, genuinely happy—no matter what's going on around you, no matter what happens to you, no matter what storm comes along to batter and bruise you.
Keep reading, and I'll show you how . . .
Face it: it's not always easy to feel happy. With all of the worries and trials of day-to-day life, the cares of the world can seem overwhelming. But as popular speaker and author Hank Smith demonstrates, no matter your circumstances, you can be happy—the kind of happy that illuminates you from the inside out, a joy that does not depend on what happens to you but on what you do with what happens. With his characteristic humor, Hank offers readers a fresh perspective on finding joy in the journey with a collection of tools and strategies designed to inspire genuine happiness, such as: • Learning to develop an optimistic outlook
• Understanding how to deal with feelings of depression<
• Mastering ten simple tricks to jump-start your joy each day
Featuring an inspiring collection of real-life examples, enlightening doctrinal direction, and motivating goals, Be Happy is the guide you need to start living a happier life, today!

Rorie's Review:

I wasn't in the mood to read a non-fiction book, but I am so glad I read this one. My copy of this book has so many pages dog-eared, and I wish I had a highlighter with me when I was reading it, so I could have marked certain phrases and passages when I was reading them.

There is just so. much. information. in this book. Things that I have thought about but haven't done, and things I never even thought of before, but know I should be doing. I even used a few principles the past few days on a family vacation. And you know what? I enjoyed my vacation more than I normally would have. Because I am the queen of crankiness when it comes to being out in large crowds with my family. Was I perfectly, Zen-approved happy? No, no I was not. But I was happier than I normally would be, so that's huge for me.

So, would I recommend this book? Do you wish you were a bit (Or a lot) happier? If so, yes. Read this book.

Tarah's Review:

I was actually pretty excited about this book, which is strange for me considering it is non-fiction. We love listening to Hank Smith CD's at our house. In fact, on an 8 hour drive one of my kids wanted those CD's put on an MP3 player to listen to on the trip, and then the other kids fought for turns listening to it until she finally took the headphones out so everyone could hear....talks that they had heard multiple times before. So that's fun for me.

There are so many things I like about this book it's hard to know where to start. I consider myself a happy person, but in the few days since I've read and applied this stuff I've noticed a distinct difference. Is any of the information earth shattering and unheard of? No. But it is put together in a way that is easy and fun to understand and like I said earlier, apply.

I just have to share a could quotations that I really loved. In this one, the topic is about work and he says, "Did you ever consider the fact that God left the world unfinished so we could apply our skill and workmanship to it?" Sadly I haven't thought about it like that. I like things just sort of handed to me with a pretty little bow. Next up is a quote about patience. Who doesn't need more patience? "When selfishness, impatience, and anger take over, happiness dies a painful death." Oh...yes. Yes, I can definitely see this happening in my life. It's probably time to nip this little happiness killer in the bud.

When I got this book in the mail, my two oldest (11 and 10) both tried to take it from me to read first. I prevailed, but I think it's fun they have the desire to read this, and now that I have, it is something I can recommend to them without hesitation.

Tour Schedule:
March 3rd: http://www.blogginboutbooks.com/http://melsshelves.blogspot.com/http://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/
Giveaway:
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https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81YNMLymJIL.jpg
Title: Be Happy
Author: Hank Smith
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: February 2017
ISBN: 152440263X
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Blog Tour: Sophia's Leap-Year Courtship by Kristin Holt

Review * Giveaway
Sophia's Leap-Year Courtship by Kristin Holt

Book Description:

Union Pacific Station Agent Chadwick Hughes has everything in a state of readiness to welcome his mail order bride…everything but the bride. The woman he’s corresponded with for a year didn’t change her mind or miss her train in Omaha—she never existed. Chadwick’s mortified to discover he’s been swindled by a fraudulent matrimonial agency in Chicago. He needs a lawyer if he’ll ever recover a dime of the fortune he spent on worthless membership fees and the nonexistent bride’s transportation west.

Sophia Sorensen, Attorney at Law, is a spinster on the edge of propriety. The good people of Wyoming Territory are open to a lot of things, including Lady’s Privilege during Leap Years, but some aren’t fond of her day-to-day behavior. Why, the woman rides her bicycle hither and yon, showing her petticoat ruffle and ankles. She might be the least ladylike specimen beneath Wyoming skies, but it’s entertaining to watch her court the U.P. Station Agent, Chadwick Hughes, the most-eligible bachelor in the county.

Review:

Sophia's Leap-Year Courtship is a very enjoyable story! I loved Sophia's out of the ordinary character, and really felt for her. The local paper kept writing about her (almost always negative and stretched truth or downright lies). The story didn't touch much on the attitude of the people in town, but if the newspaper articles were even close to how others felt, it couldn't have been easy for Sophia to keep trying to have her business (a female lawyer in that time period was very unusual), or to even show her face in town.

The mail order spouse service was also such an interesting aspect to the story. It is so hard to imagine a reality where that wasn't uncommon.

I liked the sweet romance and enjoyed the ending. The gift at the end was so thoughtful. It was a clean, fast read. I could see myself reading it again, and would definitely read more by Kristin Holt.

Tour Schedule:


Tour Giveaway:

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About the Author:

Kristin Holt, USA Today Bestselling Author writes Sweet Victorian Romance set in the American West. She writes frequent articles about the nineteenth century American west--every subject of possible interest to readers and amateur historians. She contributes monthly to Sweet Romance Reads, Sweet Americana Sweethearts, and Romancing the Genres. 





Title: Sophia's Leap-Year Courtship
Author: Kristen Holt
Publisher: Mirror Press
Published: February 2017
ASIN: B01N58GG4N

Source: I received an eCopy from the tour host in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon