Monday, August 13, 2018

Book Review: Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

Called to Protect (Blue Justice #2)
Book Description:

For the past year, Chloe St. John has been working as a K-9 cop with her German shepherd partner, Hank. After being dumped by her fiance for another woman, Chloe has decided that Hank is just about the only male she likes. She's over the whole romance thing and focuses her attention on doing her job. Because a serious case of human trafficking with connections to her missing cousin just landed in her lap.

When US Marshall Blake MacCallum's daughter goes missing, he's ordered to kill the judge he's protecting and tell no one about his daughter's disappearance or she will die. Blake races against the clock to rescue his daughter while Chloe and Hank are asked to be a part of the task force assembled to bring down the traffickers. Chloe finds herself attracted to the silent, suffering man, but thanks to her previous bad judgment, she wonders if she can trust him. And can Blake trust himself around this firecracker of a woman?

Bestselling author Lynette Eason warns readers to buckle in for a fast and furious ride that will have their hearts pumping from the very start.

Book Review:

It's been a while since I've read an action/suspense novel, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy them. However, I probably shouldn't have read it while I took my kids on vacation. It freaked me out the whole trip since the story is about human trafficking. I should probably be freaked out at home since it seemed that's where everything took place in the story, but man...I watched my kids like a hawk. People probably thought I was being an over-protective parent, but this book really got me thinking. I know human trafficking happens, but I know so little about it that I've never given it any thought. Super sad, super scary. I will never fathom how these people's minds work. 

The topic was done in a way that wasn't as graphic as it definitely could have been, and I was extremely grateful for that. The aftermath of it was never really delved into in this story, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I mean, the story was over, and you could probably write a whole other book just on dealing with that, but it seemed sort of glossed over, oh you're home so you are fine. That didn't sit super well with me. I enjoyed the relationship in this novel, but the book summary made it sound like it was going to be different, and it flowed a lot better than I was expecting. Actually, all the relationships in this book happened kind of quickly, or without a lot of drama. There was father/daughter drama, but it resolved super easily and I'm not sure how I felt about that.

I loved how this series is about a family. Somewhere along the way I missed book one. So this can be a stand alone novel. However, this family is huge and I was getting lost on who was who and the relationships between everyone. I don't know if reading the first one would have cleared that up or not, but I am interested in going back and finding the first in the series. Actually, she had a little blurb for the third one at the end of the book and that caught my attention as well. So I'm pretty excited about this series. Hopefully the next one's topic isn't as heavy as this one was. If you are sensitive to that kind of stuff I'd skip this one and read her others. Like I said earlier, it was done as non-graphically as possible, but you should beware that it is in this book. 

Called to Protect (Blue Justice #2) 
Title: Called to Protect
Author: Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell
Published: July 2018
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Blog Tour: The Roses of Feldstone by Esther Hatch

Reviews * Giveaway
The Roses of Feldstone by Esther Hatch

Book Description: 

Standing before Feldstone Manor, site of so many happy memories, Rose Davenport feels nothing but dread. Her family’s annual visit to the stately home was once brightened by her friendship with the earl’s youngest son, William, but everything changed the day his elder brother was disinherited and William became heir to his father’s earldom. From that moment, William made it clear he has no interest in continuing an acquaintance with Rose. Heartbroken, she sets out to prove that she will simply not be ignored—or outdone—by the arrogant future lord of the manor. When his elder brother marries for love, William’s entire life changes in an instant. He does not have the same option to marry whom he chooses, and he must let go of the feelings he has harbored for his dear friend, Rose. He steels himself against her annual visits, determined to keep his feelings for her a secret. But when he makes the hasty promise to marry within six months, he never dreams that his actions will lead Rose to impulsively undertake the same challenge.

Rorie's Review:

I can't even imagine going to stay for several weeks at someone's house when you don't get along with one of those people. I was amazed that Rose kept trying to befriend William, even though he made it perfectly clear that he wanted nothing to do with her.

Their relationship issues could have been resolved so quickly if they would have just taken two minutes and actually communicated with each other. Of course, that would have made for a very short story, but I still wanted to smack them both upside the head.

This is a quick, easy read but I do wish that the author had gone deeper into the relationship a bit more. (Both the good and the bad parts.) There was just a little something missing for me. That being said, I did enjoy this story and will definitely read more from this author.

Tarah's Review: 
I brought this book on vacation, and the vacation was finishing and I was sad I hadn't had time to even open it up. However, due to some difficulties sleeping I was able to start and finish this book very quickly. I was surprised by how fast I finished it. I was taken in by the book right away, and as much as I was craving sleep, since that wasn't happening, this book was an awesome filler. I was sad to see it end, although I enjoyed the ending very much. 

I normally don't really enjoy a lot of flashbacks in novels. This had a lot of them, but they weren't super distracting. They flowed well with the story line and I didn't feel like I was yanked out of something that I was into only to be thrust somewhere else. 

I will say that I was hoping for a little more with Rose and William's relationship. They go from best friends, to he can't stand to be around her, to more than friendship really, really quickly. It actually didn't feel that way while reading it, but thinking about it after I was wondering where their relationship developed.

I hope that this author writes more stories. I look forward to reading them, and I will be recommending this to my book reading friends.

Andrea's Review:

You take a chance with every book you read, especially with a new author. I'm happy to say that The Roses of Feldstone was a good risk. This debut novel was enjoyable from the outside in (don't you love the cover?). The storyline was captivating, and Hatch did a great job of making me want to keep reading.

I felt really bad for Rose, especially as more and more of her hurt was laid out. It is hard to imagine your best friend turning on you overnight. The relationship she had with William had once been a comfort and source of happiness, but it became a huge source of confusion and pain. She fought back in her own way, but it didn't help her understand what had happened. In some ways it's surprising that her parents would continue to make her join them. They must have noticed the animosity between Rose and William.

I enjoyed the moments throughout the story that we got to see goodness from the main characters. Little touches here and there that let us know despite their relationship with each other, they were kind and thoughtful people.

The Roses of Feldstone was a quick, clean, enjoyable read. I would read more by this author.

Tour Schedule:

*August 6th:,,
*August 7th:,,
*August 8th:,,
*August 9th:,, *August 10th:,

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Roses of Feldstone Title: The Roses of Feldstone
Author: Esther Hatch
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
Published: August 2018
ISBN: 9781524405892
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Monday, July 23, 2018

Blog Tour: The Golden Plates

Book Description:

The Golden Plates is an illustrated adaptation of the fifth best selling book of all time, The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which has sold over 120 million copies. This graphic novel/comic book adaptation was first created in 2005 by award winning artist Michael Allred. The Premium Edition has replaced the full text originally included in the first edition with simplified and edited text, making the story easier for younger readers to follow and also showcasing more of the stunning artwork. It has also been converted to digital form for enjoyment on phones, tablets, and desktop devices through Amazon, iTunes, and Kobo. New printed editions have also been released through Amazon.

The first 6 issues cover the first 145 pages (27%) of the Book of Mormon, from 1st Nephi through the Words of Mormon. This adaptation is a fun and enthralling to way to help older children and teens understand and enjoy the Book of Mormon in a format more advanced than simplified children's stories or scripture readers meant for young children.

Rorie's Review of The Golden Plates #1: Escape from Jerusalem:

My four kids snatched this up as soon as it came in the mail, and I haven't seen it since. Because of that, I can't give my own review, so you get to enjoy the eloquent musings of my kids (ages 6 - 12.) I do know that they all loved it (my 10-year-old is especially interested in comic books, so this was right up his alley.) They would all love to own the rest of the comics in the series.

Son #2 - I thought it was pretty interesting to see scriptures in comics, so I can actually see what it looked like and what happened. The only thing I didn't like was probably how creepy the angel looked with his white eyes.

Son #1 - I liked how it spent a lot of time telling you the details, and that the whole story of Nephi wasn't in one comic book.

Son #3 - He didn't like how the angel looked evil. He liked reading about how Nephi was able to get the plates.

Son #4 - The thing I didn't like is the lightning in the pictures. I liked that Nephi taught Laman and Lemuel to follow Jesus. I also liked that Nephi listened to Jesus.
Andrea's Review of The Golden Plates #1: Escape from Jerusalem:

Graphic novels are new to our house, but I thought my kids might be interested in reading this, especially my 11-year-old son who enjoys comics. They weren't fighting over who got to read it first, but I was happy that both of my kids liked the illustrations. My 11-year-old son was more into it than my 14-year-old daughter, but they thought it followed the Book of Mormon quite well and liked it.

This first book covers the First Book of Nephi in the Book of Mormon, and I thought the authors/illustrators did a very nice job portraying the story in an abbreviated form with engaging illustrations. Yes,  the angel is a little creepy looking with no irises or pupils, but it seemed like a good fit for this format.
It is a fast read, maybe around 20 minutes if you aren't spending a lot of time looking at the illustrations.

I could see my son reading this again, and being interested in the rest of the books in the series.

Tarah's Review of The Golden Plates #1: Escape from Jerusalem:

We don't read a lot of comic/graphic novels in our house, so my kids were pretty excited to get this. I was impressed that someone had this idea to put the awesome Book of Mormon stories into this format. I think it is going to reach a lot of kids. I liked how it stayed pretty true to the actual account. My kids all really enjoyed it and asked if we would be getting the other five books in this series. Here is some of what my kids said:

"I thought it was fun how they put this story into a comic book, but it still feels like you are reading scriptures."

"I think the angel needs iris'. I like it. I would read more"

"It is like the scriptures, expect it is like an easier version. And half the time you don't realize you are reading a comic book. It transfers the stories of the scriptures into a kid book easily. I would read the rest of the series. Although the angel does look a little unrealistic."

Tour Giveaway:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Cover Reveal: Night at the Opera by Stacy Henrie

I'm very happy to share the cover reveal of Stacy Henrie's new novel, Night at the Opera.

Coming October 16, 2018

Isn't it beautiful? October 16th can't come soon enough.

Goodreads Summary:

From USA Today bestselling author Stacy Henrie, comes NIGHT AT THE OPERA, an American Heiress Novel.

NIGHT AT THE OPERA - Book 1 (1908)

When American heiress Gwen Barton aids an injured gentleman in an opera box in London, she shares a kiss with the stranger that changes her life. More determined than ever to be herself, in spite of the limp she’s sustained since childhood, she will marry for love and not a title. She also resolves to learn the identity of the man she helped—and kissed. Surely he can’t be the irritating Avery Winfield, though. But as circumstances continue to throw Gwen and Avery together, she begins to wonder if there is more to this man than she first thought.

While most of London only knows him as the nephew of a duke, Avery Winfield is actually working for the Secret Service Bureau to ferret out German spies from among the ton. It’s a profession that gives him purpose and a reason to remain a bachelor. But the more he interacts with Gwen Barton, an heiress from America, the more he begins to question his plans and neglected faith. Then he learns Gwen is the young lady from the opera box who helped him. Now his most important mission may have nothing to do with saving Britain from danger and everything to do with risking his heart for the woman he met that night at the opera.

More American Heiress books:
Beneath an Italian Sky (April 2019)
Among Sand and Sunshine (October 2019)

Pre-order link:

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Blog Tour: The Matchmaker's Match by Brittany Larsen

Reviews * Giveaway
The Matchmaker's Match by Brittany Larsen

Book Description:

Eliza Woodhouse has everything a girl could want: a delightful little beachside flower shop, a loving family, and the best friend a girl could ask for. And while she suffers a chronic lack of romance in her own life, the bohemian beauty is a self-proclaimed matchmaker extraordinaire, as evidenced by her recent successes. Having found a fiancé for her sister and a boyfriend for her best friend, she is now taking her lovelorn new employee under her wing. Yes, life is working out quite nicely for Eliza. Until Parker Knightley walks back into her life.

After three years in Hong Kong, Parker is in town for his brother's upcoming wedding to Eliza's sister. They've all known each other their whole lives, and Eliza will never be anything but Little Liza Belle to her handsome childhood tormenter. So the fact that their siblings are getting married simply puts Parker one step closer to becoming the big brother he and Eliza have always joked about him being. But the more time they spend together, the more confused Eliza's feelings become. Because she has come to the shocking realization that the role of brother is the last role she wants Parker to play in her life.

Rorie's Review:

Ah, where to begin with this book? First off, I love Eliza's dialogue - with others but mostly her inner dialogue. Snarky, punny, and the kind of thoughts I tend to have on a regular basis. I laughed out loud more than once because of this dialogue.

Now to Eliza...I'm kind of torn on my opinion of her. She was brought up with a silver spoon in her mouth and really never knew anything different. (There's nothing wrong with this.) The only issue was that she tried to do the right thing (helping people) for all the wrong reasons (to make herself feel better.) She was naive enough to not realize what she was doing, and because of that, she kinda really bugged me.

The supporting characters were all enjoyable to get to know. I enjoyed the story line and the growth that we saw from Eliza as well as other characters in the story. There were times in the story where I was feeling so sad for Eliza that I was getting choked up! This was a fun book to read and I'm looking forward to what the author comes up with next.

Tarah's Review:

The Emma story is one of my favorite Jane Austen stories. And as a book lover I'm cringing as I type this, but I loved the Gwyneth Paltrow movie version the best. Ooo, I should start watching that with my girls. I don't think they've seen it yet. But anyway, the point of all that was that I was ready for an awesome contemporary Emma story. The book has a beautiful eye catching cover, a great synopsis on the back, and the opening of the book just hooks you right away. Pretty quickly though I was figuring out that instead of Gwyneth Paltrow we were getting more Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. Which I used to enjoy watching when I was younger, but it's not something that I appreciate now.

I was kinda hoping for more with Parker and Eliza. He really does just criticize her all the time while he is nice to other people. Their friendship is obvious, but the love part didn't sit well with me and didn't really develop to my liking. I'm also confused with the "Mormon" aspect of the story. I really felt like that was thrown in there with no point or purpose. Eliza's dad though, I really liked him. He was an awesome character that I could get behind.

Andrea's Review:

The Matchmaker's Match is a contemporary re-telling of Jane Austen's Emma. I think Larsen does a good job with her re-tellings, but I'll admit that Emma isn't my favorite story. It was a bit of an uphill battle to win me over.

Eliza had good intentions, but the way she looked down on people for things they couldn't control wasn't endearing-at all. She was a snob and it was actually a bit hard to understand why Parker liked her or how she had true friends that didn't seem like snobs. Much to their credit, those friends and some of the other supporting characters gave us a lot of kind gestures and instances of rising above themselves in the story.

Even though I didn't really like Eliza, I did feel bad for her with so many changes in her life that left her feeling alone. She had a lot of growth throughout the story, and I appreciated that.

It's clean and a fast read, and I think if you are a fan of Emma you would probably enjoy Larsen's re-telling.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Dates: Title: The Matchmaker's Match
Author: Brittany Larsen
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
Published: July 2018
ISBN: 1524406767
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon |  Deseret Book

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Blog Tour: Trek DVD

Reviews * Giveaway
Trek: The Movie

Andrea's Review:

I had the opportunity to take my 14-year-old to see Trek in theaters earlier this year, and it was such a fun experience. It's not unheard of for the acting in films like this to leave much to be desired, but I was pleasantly surprised by the good acting. The cinematography was also excellent. It seems a little cliche, but I laughed and I cried. It really was the "feel good movie of the summer" for me.

Once the DVD was released I brought my family together to watch it. There is a lot of humor, but there are also touching, tender moments throughout the film. My daughter was going on Trek and I thought it'd be fun for my son to get a general idea of what the kids do when they go.

Being a show about LDS youth going on a church field-trip of sorts, I was bothered by the inclusion of a swearword (or possibly two-I only noticed one, but one of my kids said there was another one). It was mild as far as swearing goes, but I'm never a fan. And, honestly, we saw a pre-screening when we went to the theater, so I was hopeful that it wouldn't make the DVD. Keep that in mind if you are planning on showing your younger children. Also, there's a scene with an injury that might make some uncomfortable, and some kissing (although those scenes were typically humorous).

I would happily invite my 14-year-old and 11-year-old to watch this with me again.

Tarah's Review:

LDS movies are kind of hit and miss for me. They seem to be either really good, or really bad in a cheesy I really can't watch this anymore way. So I wasn't really sure what to expect with Trek. I was mostly intrigued because I've never been on a Trek. They started doing them in my home ward after I was out of Young Women's. I've always wanted to do one, and so I was super curious about the movie.

Because it was an LDS movie I assumed that I could watch with my whole family. I didn't worry about my 5 year old watching it with me. My other kids were in and out the whole movie, except my 7 year old. She watched the whole thing, and I'm pretty sure she liked it. She was crying and trying to surreptitiously wipe her tears, and I had to laugh because I was doing the same thing right next to her! I will say, however, that I was super disappointed with the swear word I heard in the movie. Why? What was the point? What did it add? I got me thinking that maybe I shouldn't be letting all my kids watch this, and that made me sad. I wanted it to be a family movie. When I watch a church movie I don't want to have to worry about the content.

I was expecting the focus to be more on the actual trek, but it was more of a personal redemption story. I liked that. A little sad that the actual trek part was kind of glossed over, but what can you do? Yes, it was a little cheesy. Yes, some of the characters were over the top. But all in all it was a cute movie with a good message.


Message from Alan Peterson, Director of TREK The Movie:

It’s exciting to anticipate the DVD/BluRay release of TREK, the movie. Being with audiences in theaters is the fulfillment of any director’s dream.  But, the reality of independent film is that you can’t get a movie into enough theaters so that everyone who wants to, can see it.  July 3rd is a day that lots of TREK fans have been waiting for.  Now, everyone can enjoy the laughs and lessons of TREK whenever they want.  One of our goals in producing the movie was to create a story that would honor the wonderful tradition of this hands-on experience unique to our faith.  Trek provides a critical chance to connect with our past. Why is this important?  I’ll let Elder Russell M. Ballard explain:

"I have a deep conviction that if we lose our ties to those who have gone before us, including our pioneer forefathers and mothers, we will lose a very precious treasure. I have spoken about “Faith in Every Footstep” in the past and will continue in the future because I know that rising generations must have the same kind of faith that the early Saints had in the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.” (General Conference, October 2017, The Trek Continues!)

It is too easy to forget what our pioneer ancestors sacrificed for their faith and for our good. I hope families can sit down together and share the movie and talk about how grateful we should be for the men, women and children who marched into the unknown following a prophet of God so long ago. And, I hope they will talk about the challenges they face today as members of the church as we march forward into the unknown.  Do you feel like Tom and wonder where God is?  How do we connect with Him? What do we do when we feel weak and alone? Hopefully, TREK helps us know that our Heavenly Father is there and that He cares.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, July 16, 2018

Book Review: The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson

The Orphan's Wish (Hagenheim, #8)
Book Description:

From the streets to an orphanage in a faraway kingdom, Aladdin has grown up alone. Until he meets Kirstyn. With a father who is the duke of Hagenheim and a mother who is the patroness of the orphanage where Aladdin lives, Kirstyn is a member of the most powerful family in the land . . . and way out of his league. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion for taking walks in the forest, and their childhood friendship grows along with them.

Through his scrappy skills, intelligence, and hard work, Aladdin earns a position serving in the duke’s house. But he knows it isn’t enough to grant him his one desire: Kirstyn’s hand in marriage. If he hopes to change his station in life and feel worthy of marrying Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim to seek his fortune.

But once Aladdin leaves, no one is around to protect Kirstyn, and the greedy men desperate to take advantage of her father’s wealth take notice. Now, more than Aladdin’s background stands in the way of the future he’s worked so hard to obtain. His only hope is to rescue Kirstyn and somehow manage to win her hand as well.

Book Review:

Has Melanie Dickerson changed to writing YA novels? Did I miss something somewhere? It seems like her earlier work was for an adult audience. I don't mean that any of the content was inappropriate or anything, it just seemed less juvenile than her current writings. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good YA novel, except I'd like to be expecting it, and this just seemed...well, a little juvenile.

It's an interesting take on the Aladdin story. I didn't have any problems with the changes the author made. I kind of like it when the author takes liberties like that. I want to read something different from all the rest of the versions. And since there aren't a lot of versions of Aladdin (that I've read anyway) it was fun for me to read those changes. I also didn't have a problem for Germany to be involved in this telling. I don't think there was some deeper meaning. I think the author has set up a lovely world and family in Germany, and it made sense to move some of the setting to this time and place.

All that being said, I hate love triangles. I especially hate love triangles when the people don't really love each other. It makes for awkwardness, and I hate reading about awkwardness. It's definitely a personal opinion, but that kind of ruined this book for me. Other than being a little juvenile it was a fine story, but then the love triangle happened and I just cringed and kept reading because I hate stopping in the middle of a story.

If you don't mind love triangles, are looking for a quick clean read, and are a fan of Melanie Dickerson's newest stuff, definitely give this one a try.
The Orphan's Wish (Hagenheim, #8) 
Title: The Orphan's Wish
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: June 2018
ISBN: 0718074831
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.