Monday, July 29, 2013

Blog Tour: Mormon Mama Italian Cookbook by Shannon M. Smurthwaite


Tour Schedule

Title: Mormon Mama Italian Cookbook

Author: Shannon M. Smurthwaite

Publisher: Front Table Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc.

Published: March 2013

ISBN: 1462111092

FTC FYI: I received a Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Description:

Italian cooking has never been easier or more delicious! From her mother’s meatballs to easy but authentic pasta dishes, focaccia bread, and truffles, Shannon’s recipes will excite even the pickiest eaters. Bring your whole family together for a little taste of Italy with this delightful and entertaining cookbook filled with Word of Wisdom–approved recipes!


I am a big fan of Italian food, but the extent of my Italian cooking at home is usually boiling some pasta and heating up a jar of sauce. I was excited when I read that Shannon Smurthwaite's new cookbook includes authentic Italian recipes, some of which are fairly simple to make.

The Mormon Mama Italian Cookbook is very attractive-definitely one I'd pick up off a shelf to look at the recipes. The pictures of completed recipes inside are also great. I would have liked pictures with every recipe, although that doesn't seem common in recipe books.

Some of the recipes are very easy. My nine-year-old made one or two without help, and at least one more with minimal assistance. The recipes we tried were quite good and enjoyed by most of our household.

I noticed the order of the ingredients on at least one recipe was unusual (wet and dry weren't separated-everything mixed together at once), but the end result turned out well.

We have enjoyed this cookbook so far and are looking forward to testing more of the recipes.

About the Author:

Shannon McClary Smurthwaite grew up in Los Angeles, California.  The oldest of three daughters, Shannon loved spending time at her Italian grandmother’s side. She attended Cal State Northridge and BYU, studying art and design. She is married to Donald Smurthwaite, and they are the parents of four wonderful children. Shannon’s family happily serve as her official food taste testers and share their mother’s love for cooking and creating in the kitchen. She resides in Meridian, Idaho, and serves as her stake’s Young Women president.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blog Tour: Lifestyles of the Great & Spacious by John Bytheway

Title: Lifestyles of the Great & Spacious: Finding Your Path in Lehi's Dream

Author: John Bytheway

Publisher: Deseret Book Company

Published: 2013

ISBN: 1609073711

FTC FYI: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Deseret Book | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Seagull Book

Book Description:

With every passing day, the unforgettable imagery in Lehi’s dream becomes more real and more relevant. In our modern world, we can literally hear the taunts and see the pointing fingers of people like those in the great and spacious building. We find ourselves clinging with greater energy to the rod of iron as we work through the massive mists of darkness toward the tree of life. In Lifestyles of the Great and Spacious, John Bytheway looks at Lehi’s dream, and with his characteristic humor, comments from Church leaders, scholarly insights, and personal experiences, he expands our understanding of these precious verses of scripture.


I've enjoyed listening to John Bytheway speak for years, and have recently taken the opportunity to read some of his books. He's able to catch an audiences' attention (both in speaking and writing) using short bits of humor among serious topics. He shares relatable stories that help bring important messages into focus.

The story of Lehi's dream is very well known among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but Bytheway's breakdown of the dream is a great way for people to apply it to their lives.

One point that stood out to me was that we can be on the path back to our Heavenly Father, but not holding the rod. Such an important visual to remind us that we have to do more than just walk on the path. When life is at its darkest, we need that rod to help us through, or we can easily fall off the path. Are we reading the scriptures, and in effect holding to the rod?

Lifestyles of the Great & Spacious is a great reminder for everyone of what we need to be doing to stay on the right path, and also a warning about how how easy it can be to fall off and go astray.

About the Author:

John Bytheway is a bestselling author, favorite speaker, and part-time instructor at Brigham Young University. His many titles include Heroes: Lessons from the Book of Mormon; Standards Night Live; Isaiah for Airheads; A Crash Course in Teenage Survival; Behind Every Good Man and his most recent book, Of Pigs, Pearls & Prodigals. He has also created numerous talks on CD, many of which are combined in The John Bytheway Collection, Vols. 1 and 2.

John served a mission to the Philippines and holds a master’s degree in Religious Education. He and his wife, Kimberly, have six children.

John's Facebook Page

Monday, July 22, 2013

Blog Tour: Motive for Murder by Marlene Bateman

Author Interview * Excerpt

 Title: Motive for Murder

Author: Marlene Bateman

Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.

Published: June 2013

ISBN: 1608612414

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book | Seagull Book

Book Description:

Meet Erica Coleman—a gifted and quirky private investigator with an OCD-like passion for neatness and symmetry, a penchant for cooking, (ten terrific recipes are included), and a weakness for chocolate.

Erica imagined that her trip to Florida would be a slice of heaven—a chance to get away from it all and catch up with her best friend, Wendy. But one day into her vacation, all hope of fun in the sun is dashed when she stumbles, literally, over a dead man on Wendy’s driveway. With police closing in on her friend as their main suspect, Erica must find the real killer before Wendy ends up behind bars.

With Erica’s skill, solving the mystery should be a piece of cake but then a second homicide-attempt hits close to home and generates a whole new list of suspects. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, a murderer is on the prowl, and no one is above suspicion.

As the plot thickens, it appears Erica may have bitten off more than she can chew, but she forges on, sifting through mounting evidence until she hones in on the killer who has a surprising motive for murder. With a dash of romance and some surprising twists, this thrilling mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

Author Interview:

What inspired you to write Motive for Murder?
I love mysteries so much that I finally decided to write one.  My first book, Light on Fire Island, was a combination mystery/romance, and while there is a little romance in Motive for Murder, it is more of a full-blown mystery. I loved the idea of a quirky, OCD private detective, so created Erica Coleman, who will star in forthcoming mysteries.  Erica is both helped and hampered by her OCD tendencies, which alternately charms and irritates people.

Who is your favorite character in your book, and why?
I like Erica Coleman the best, but I had a lot of fun with Myrna and Coby Kincaid. I loved it when Erica helped Coby sneak some cookies while his wife isn’t looking!

What other projects do you have in mind?
First, I hope to do a sequel to my non-fiction book, Gaze Into Heaven, which was published earlier this year. Gaze into Heaven is a collection of 50 near-death experiences in early Church History. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from readers, and that has been very encouraging.

I am also continuing to write mysteries and will have another Erica Coleman book out next year.  I titled it Charade, but my publisher usually changes the titles. Finally, I am finishing up a romance,  which is called (for now, anyway) A Home for Christmas.

Do you have any unusual habits while you write?
Not really, but I have four furry friends who keep me company. I have three cats and two dogs and both dogs and two of the cats follow me around wherever I happen to be working.; My husband built a little gazebo in the back yard, and I often go out there to write and my little friends always go out with me and curl up in the shade.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
My husband and I like to go camping. We roughed it when we had kids, but then bought a 5th wheel. Much nicer! Air conditioning, queen size bed, microwave, stove, the works. I take my laptop of course, and occasionally “work” but it doesn’t seem like work when you’re sitting underneath tall pines and enjoying the great outdoors.

What is your favorite book, and why?
I’m not sure I have a favorite book, but I do enjoy all of Mauve Binchy’s books. She has a great way with characters, you just fall in love with them. She has such an amazing way of letting the reader know about the people and understand them.  I also enjoyed James Herriot’s books.  Its amazing that James was a veterinarian when he’s such an amazing writer. Of course it helps that I’m an animal lover as well.

Do you like having books you enjoy made into movies?
Movies can never match up to books and so I’m usually disappointed if I’ve read the book first.

If money were no object, where would you like to go, and what would you like to do while you are there?
I’m a real homebody.  Although I love to go camping, there are not a lot of places I’d like to go.  Although I’ve always wanted to go to Australia and see kangaroos and koala bears.


As she drove back to Wendy’s house, the headlights cleaved the darkness and shone through the rain, which was falling harder now. Erica parked across the street and was nearly to Wendy’s door when she stopped suddenly, catching herself as she nearly fell over something.

It was the still figure of a man lying face down on the driveway. He was strangely unmoving. The light from the porch illuminated a puddle alongside him, which was growing bigger by the second. A chill shivered down Erica’s spine as she noticed that the puddle was streaked by dark red threads that ran and merged with rivulets of rain.

About the Author:

Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they are the parents of seven children. 

Her hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading.  Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, and Brigham’s Boys. Marlene also wrote the best-selling novel, Light on Fire Island.

A busy writer, Marlene is set to have three books published this year. Gaze Into Heaven, a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences in early church history, was published earlier this year. Next is Motive for Murder, the first in a mystery series featuring the quirky Erica Coleman. In July, Heroes of Faith, a collection of stories about people who risked their life for the gospel, will be released by Cedar Fort Inc.
Author Website

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Blog Tour: Penumbras by Braden Bell

Review * Author Interview * Tour Giveaway

Tour Schedule

Title: Penumbras

Author: Braden Bell

Publisher: Sweetwater Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc.

Published: July 2013

ISBN: 146211220X

FTC FYI: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Author Site | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Description:

Conner Dell didn't meant to blow up the school bus.

Or the bathrooms.

In fact, he only wanted to go to sleep and possibly dream about Melanie Stephens.

But explosions had a funny way of happening when Conner and his friends were around.

Conner Dell wants to be good--he really does. But he is terrified that he might be turning into a Darkhand, especially when new powers start to surface. What's worse, the Stalker is following Conner, but no one else seems to be able to see him. The Magi think he might be hallucinating, the guilt of what happened in the Shadowbox keeps weighing on him, and his relationship with Melanie Stephens is complicating things. Even for a Magi, Conner knows his life is anything but normal.

Click here to read the first three chapters on the author's website.


Penumbras is the second book in Braden Bell's Middle School Magic series. I read the first book, The Kindling, over a year ago, so I particularly liked that Penumbras includes some recap (and that it's included in a way that feels smooth and shouldn't be redundant to readers who just read book one).

The story starts off with a bang, and then slows down as the kids are trained and Conner tries to figure out what he's become. I'm a bit of an impatient reader, so I was glad when the action really picked up. I found myself very emotionally involved-I even cried a few times!

There is a little bit of awkwardness with the pet names Dr. Timberi uses with the kids, and Lexa's quest to break down his emotional wall with lots of hugs (what with teacher/student etiquette), but I enjoyed getting to learn about Dr. Timberi's past and what makes him tick.

The ending is pretty exciting (and a bit of a cliff hanger). Sadly, book three isn't written yet, but this is a fun (and clean) series that I'd recommend to middle grade readers.

A bonus to Penumbras is that it's more than just an entertaining story. There is a great reminder about the good in people, and how the adversary wants us to think the worst of ourselves. Readers get to feel the importance of not giving up on the light within. Well done Braden Bell!

Author Interview:

Q: Tell us about Penumbras.

A: Penumbras is the second volume in The Middle School Magic series. The first installment, The Kindling  came out last summer. I am currently working on the third volume, which will hopefully come out next summer.

Q: “Penumbras” is a somewhat unusual title. Can you explain it?

A: A penumbra is a vague, shadowy, area, neither fully light nor dark. The Kindling, the first book in the series was about the sparking of new and exciting powers. This particular book follows the characters as they confront the complex consequences of those initial events and confront the shadowy places in their own hearts.

Q: How did you get the idea for this series?

A: One night during a sky-splitting spring thunderstorm, my kids came home from a church activity and told me about a man they had seen driving home. He had a black cape and was walking across people’s yards in the storm. Wondering about who he was and what he was doing triggered the idea for the book.

Q: What is your background?

A: I am a middle school choir and theatre director at a small private school. I’m the father of five children and the husband of one wonderful wife.

Q: Speaking of that background, is it a coincidence that a middle school theatre and choir teacher has such a prominent part in the book? How about the students and other teachers in the book? Are they based on anyone specific?

A: Well, writers write what they know! Dr. Timberi is admittedly similar to me in some ways. However, that’s not because he’s modeled on me. Rather, it’s because he is someone I would like to be. As far as the other characters, in the very beginning, I did sort of model their voices on some specific people—but that changed within a few pages of the first draft and they quickly become their own unique characters.

Q: Beyond the characters, are there any other events based on real life experiences?

A: There is a sad scene towards the end between Dr. Timberi and one of his students. While it is not an exact replication, being a theatre director means I have dealt with disappointed and/or angry students (and parents!) for many years. I tend to have a pretty thick skin. However, there are occasional times when this gets to me. This scene was actually inspired by a particularly difficult confrontation with a student of whom I was quite fond. I wrote the scene as a way of working through the incident—and ended up keeping it. The only other thing that might be based in reality is the degree to which teachers truly do care about their students. I don’t think the students often realize just how much teachers and other adult figures care about them and what they would do to protect and help them.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do, besides reading or writing?

A: My wife and I love to watch old movies, or adaptations of literary classics. Nearly anything by the BBC! I also love working in my yard.

About the Author:

Braden Bell grew up in Farmington, Utah and graduated from Davis High School. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theatre from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York University. He and his wife, Meredith live  with their five children on a quiet, wooded lot outside of Nashville, Tennessee, where he teaches theatre and music at a private school. An experienced performer, Braden enjoys singing, acting, reading, gardening, and long walks with the dog.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog

Tour Giveaway:

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Dual Review: Love Spell by Stan Crowe

I'm very excited to have another reviewer join me here at Literary Time Out. Tarah is also an avid reader and we have a lot of fun suggesting books to each other and discussing them.

Title: Love Spell

Author: Stan Crowe

Publisher: Breezy Reads

Published: June 2013


FTC FYI: We received eCopies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Book Description:

Clint Christopherson’s love life was a running joke. When a crazed gypsy curses him with the best wish he could ever ask for, the punchline stops being funny. Now, even his barest touch drives girls mad for him.

Desperate to reverse the curse, Clint turns to his last hope: an attractive private investigator who might be able to locate his missing gypsy. If only Clint knew who it was he had just hired…

Tarah's Review:

Love Spell wasn't at all what I was expecting. I loved that it was a good clean, action packed romance. My biggest hang up about the book was that I really didn't like Clint, one of the main characters. Several times in the book I found myself wishing Lindsay, the main female character, would find someone ... sweeter? There isn't anything wrong with Clint, Stan Crowe did a great job making him come across as a regular guy. But, when I read a romance I want the guy to be something special. :) I would recommend the book though, and I will try more from this author.  

Love Spell was engaging and hard to put down.

Andrea's Review:

I was introduced to Stan Crowe's writing last fall during the blog tour for The Cinderella Project. I REALLY enjoyed that book, and jumped at the chance to review his new book, Love Spell.

While Love Spell wasn't as entertaining to me as The Cinderella Project, I still found it to be an enjoyable read. The story is unique, and Clint's situation is laugh out loud funny at times. 

That said, I didn't love Clint. His actions were quite jerk-like at times, and I had a hard time seeing what Lindsay saw in him for most of the story. But, there is hope for him at the end. I would have liked some more closure, but having a glimpse of a change in Clint was good.

With all of the new books out there, I don't see myself reading this again. But if you are looking for a quick, entertaining read, check out Love Spell.

Reviewers Consensus: 

Clean and enjoyable one-time read. We would both read more from this author.

Follow Author Stan Crowe:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Blast: Heaven's Just a Prayer Away by Diony George

heaven is justHeaven's Just a Prayer Away

Before we came to earth, we lived in heavenly realms. We knew our Heavenly Father. We walked and talked with Him. We heard His voice. We felt His love. In Heaven’s Just a Prayer Away, beloved author Diony George teaches us how to reestablish that relationship with Him here on earth. With the help of this book you will  

• Learn that nothing is too small or unimportant to discuss with Heavenly Father  

• Find peace and contentment through daily communication with God  

• Gain a better understanding of why some prayers seem to go unanswered  

• Develop a greater knowledge of the power of prayer  

The inspirational and enlightening experiences found within these pages will change your life forever by strengthening your relationship with God and filling your life with peace, teaching us that heaven really is just a prayer away.  

Praise for Heaven’s Just A Prayer Away:

“I found myself either smiling or teary-eyed as I immersed myself in these stories. I was reminded that prayer is healing and sanctifying, can bring inspiration, can ease burdens, and lets us feel the love of God for ourselves and those around us —Heather B. Moore, author of Christ’s Gifts to Women  

“In Heaven’s Just A Prayer Away, Diony provides a comprehensive discussion on prayer through inspiring stories, basic principles, and heartfelt testimony. Her personal approach makes answers to prayer and divine blessings seem more within reach. —John McConkie, Stake President
diony Author Diony George

Diony George is a wife, full-time mom of seven, grandmother of three, and a published author of uplifting women’s fiction and inspiring nonfiction. She is also a regular contributing writer for Deseret Connect and FamilyHow. Originally from Alaska, she currently lives in Salt Lake City with her family. Besides writing she loves to read, especially romantic suspense, bake, sew and craft. Her current fiction WIP, Inside the Heart, is based around the kidnapping and disappearance of four-year-old Emma. Her newest nonfiction book, Heaven’s Just a Prayer Away was just released by Cedar Fort, Inc.
Heaven Tour    

BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 8/1/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Kindle Fire Giveaway

Kindle Summer  
This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7".
Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)
  Or $199 Gift Card (International)
  Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

Sponsoring Bloggers & Authors

  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. New Adult Addiction
  4. Jessabella Reads
  5. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Somthing Year Old Girl
  6. Books Unhinged by StacyHgg
  7. S.A. Larsen - Writer's Ally
  8. Author Inger Iverson
  9. The Geeky Gamers
  10. annakyss
  11. Everyday Word Magic
  12. Candance's Book Blog
  13. Page Flipperz
  14. SMI Book Club
  15. Laurie Here
  16. Feed Your Fiction Addiction
  17. Phantasmic Reads
  18. The Book Bellas
  19. Please Don't Remove MarGreat's Glasses
  20. Author Jennifer Laurens
  21. J.C. Valentine
  22. Holly Hood
  23. Young Adult Novel Reader
  24. Author Heather Bixler
  25. Literary Meanderings
  26. Suspense Author Kim Cresswell
  27. Mother Daughter & Son Book Review
  28. Meredith's Musings
  29. Auggie Talk
  30. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
  31. Author Lena Sledge
  32. LoriTheAuthor
  33. Author Dianne Venetta
  34. Curling Up with A Good Book
  35. MyLadyWeb
  36. Fae Books
  37. Bea's Book Nook
  38. Girls with Books
  39. Ketch's Book Nook
  40. Turning Pages
  41. Bookhounds
  42. Karey White
  43. My Devotional Thoughts
  44. Author Talia Jager
  45. Author Helen Smith
  46. Sher A Hart: Written Art
  47. Author MK McClintock
  48. Word to Dreams
  49. Buku-Buku Didi
  50. Tasty Book Tours
  51. Readerlicious
  52. Romance Bookworm's Reviews
Giveaway Details
1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire. Sponsor a future Kindle Fire Giveaway by signing up HERE.
Ends 8/15/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Blog Tour: Ashes Ashes by Julie Coulter Bellon

Welcome to my stop on the Ashes Ashes Blog Tour. Don't miss my review, the excerpt, and the tour giveaway below.

Tour Schedule

ashes ashes Title: Ashes Ashes

Author: Julie Coulter Bellon

Publisher: Independently Published

Published: May 2013

ISBN: 1484886402

FTC FYI: I received an eCopy via the blog tour host in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Description:

Are you ever really innocent until proven guilty?

Sophia Naziri is wanted for questioning in the murder of a U.S. senator. She’s worried the police will show up on her doorstep any moment, but when Detective Colby Black appears, it’s to help her put out a kitchen fire, not take her in. Yet. His easy smile and persistence in getting to know her pushes all her troubles to the back of her mind, until a hit man tracks her down. Getting arrested becomes the least of her worries and the handsome detective could be her only way out---if she tells him the truth.

Colby Black’s sniper skills have been a blessing and a curse to him. As a member of a Hostage Negotiation Team, he can use them to save people, but sometimes he can’t protect the innocent despite his best efforts. When a hostage situation goes bad, he tries to put it behind him by helping out his mysterious next-door neighbor, Sophia Naziri. But she pulls Colby into a web of lies and conspiracy that will force him to use every skill he has in order to survive. Faced with the moment of truth, can he trust anyone around him---including the woman at the center of it all?  


Last fall I had the opportunity to be a part of a blog tour for a book called All Fall Down. This was the first book I'd read by Julie Coulter Bellon, and it was refreshing to find a good romantic suspense novel that was clean! When I heard that Bellon had another book coming out, I was eager to read it.

Ashes Ashes is an exciting story with a few surprising twists and turns. The main characters have some quirks, but it may be those quirks that enhance their likability. Not being able to read Sophia right off kept me intrigued. Colby's job as a sniper is an occupation I can't begin to imagine having, especially due to the emotional toll it would take on a person. The way Bellon described his reaction to his job was somewhat eye opening. He really seemed like a great guy (who wouldn't love a guy who cleans and bakes to help deal with his stress?).

A few instances felt a little rushed for the level of trust/interest given, but it wasn't out of place with the pace of the story. This is a clean and entertaining story with a good romance.

Ashes Ashes is book two of Bellon's Hostage Negotiation Team series, but I think it stands on its own very well. The main characters in book one are supporting characters in book two, so a reader isn't lost by not having read the first book in the series (although it is a very good story, so read it if you can). 

About the Author:

Julie Coulter Bellon is the author of seven international suspense novels: Through Love's Trials, On the Edge, Time Will Tell, All's Fair, Dangerous Connections, Ribbon of Darkness and All Fall Down. She loves her work partly because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She taught journalism at BYU for fourteen years and that kept her on the cutting edge of current events and world news---which is where she gets her story ideas. She also has one non-fiction title: Be Prepared: A Parent's Guide to the Duty to God and Eagle Scout Awards---What You Should Know and is part of two compilations, How Will Christmas Find Us and Life Lessons From Mothers of Faith. She is the mother of eight children and when she's not busy being a mom or a writer, you will find her browsing through bookstores to add to her book collection, at the library borrowing books, or reading the treasures she's found.


It was gut-check time.
Detective Colby Black looked down the scope of his rifle, a bead of sweat running down his back. It felt like they’d been there all day, but the afternoon sun still beating down on him high overhead told him it’d only been an hour or so.
“Black, can you see the suspect?” Captain Reed’s voice came over his earpiece.
“Affirmative.”  Colby had hardly been able to take his eyes off the stringy-haired
guy with the gun who was pacing behind his hostage, shouting at her and anyone else within hearing distance. The shrill ringing of the phone on the wall behind them punctuated whatever the man was yelling at her.  “He’s still pretty agitated.  You think he’s going to answer that phone anytime soon?”
A shot cracked the air and the ringing abruptly stopped as a bullet ripped into the phone.  “I guess that answers that question,” Colby muttered to himself.
“Stand by for orders.”  The captain sounded calm, but Colby knew him well enough to hear the thread of frustration.  If they couldn’t make contact, the entry team would be sent in, and it was game over for any type of negotiation. 
Colby flexed his wrist before hunkering down once again.  From the little they knew about this guy, he’d already killed two store clerks today and shot an officer in the thigh during the getaway attempt.  When he barricaded himself in the house with his wife and two kids, the Hostage Negotiation Team was called and Colby headed out.  In the hour they’d been there, the guy had shot out two windows and screamed obscenities at the cops outside as he fired his gun randomly.  Colby always hoped the situation stayed controlled and they could get everyone out safely, but his instinct was telling him this one could get out of control fast with how erratic this guy was acting. 
Colby adjusted his earpiece a bit, but didn’t miss a syllable of Claire Michaels checking in with the team.  She was the main negotiator and was good at her job, but she was always a little anxious until they established contact with the hostage-taker.  Once that line was set, she calmed right down.  Colby clenched his teeth together, hoping she could figure out a way to make contact so the patrolman using the bullhorn could stop.  The man’s grating voice was getting on his nerves. 
Colby was grateful for a straight line of vision into the kitchen where the subject had holed up and he looked into the scope again just in time to see the man grab his wife by the hair and haul her against him, still screaming in her ear.  He waved his .40 caliber handgun in front of her before pointing it right at her temple.  “Sir, he’s got the gun to his wife’s head,” he reported. 
He kept a close watch, waiting for orders, but sucked in a breath when he saw a child around four years old enter the room where the hostage-taker stood with his wife.  “Sir, we have two hostages confirmed.  Woman and child.  No sign of the reported second child.” 
“Colby, the entry team’s about ready.  They’ve got a flash-bang coming through the back as a diversion.”
Colby heard Captain Reed’s words, but knew it was the wrong move to make.  “A flash-bang, sir? When there are hostages?”
“We need to get this guy’s attention, fast, so we can move in as safely as possible and that’s the only choice we’ve got right now.”
Colby shook his head.  This guy was on the edge and if they entered now, it would end badly. Colby could feel it.  He squinted to see if he could get any better view, anything that would force the entry team to wait and give them a little longer to try to get him to negotiate.  “Come on,” he said to himself.  Nothing.  “Sir, does Claire
His sentence was cut off at the sound of gunfire and the scream that followed it. 

Giveaway Details
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 7/24/13

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer of a Million Gifts - July Giveaway

Last month I posted about Deseret Book's Get Caught Giving - The Summer of a Million Gifts Giveaway. It's easy to overlook how many people in our lives are giving selflessly of their time, talents and resources, so I appreciate this reminder to recognize them.

This month Deseret Book has another great grand prize, and another $50 Deseret Book gift card giveaway.

If you haven't checked this out yet, head over to,, or any of Deseret Book’s retail locations. 

Deseret Book is also giving away a free eBook this month called A Taste of Deseret Book. Click here to get this free recipe eBook.

$50 Gift Card Giveaway

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cover Reveal: Finding Sheba by H.B. Moore

Author H.B. Moore is at it again. Her latest novel, Finding Sheba, will be published in August.

And now for the cover reveal:

Book Description:

An ancient legend is reborn . . . One that might prove the Bible false.

For centuries, historians have theorized the Queen of Sheba as only a seductive legend, and scholars have debated over the legitimacy of King David or King Solomon. When undercover Israeli agent, Omar Zagouri, stumbles onto a tomb in Northern Jerusalem he unknowingly finds the final clue that threatens to overthrow government claim to the Holy Land, pits wealthy collectors against one another, and sends ruthless archaeologists scrambling to find the queen’s secret burial place. An assassination attempt on the Coptic Pope, His Holiness, Patriarch Stephanus II, is only the first in the chain of lethal crimes. Omar must find a way to prevent the greatest discovery of the century from becoming the most deadly.

About the Author:

Heather B. Moore is the award-winning author of several historical novels which are set in Ancient Arabia and Mesoamerica. She is not old and doesn’t remember the time period, so Google has become a great friend. Although she has spent several years living in the Middle East, she prefers to forget the smells. Heather writes her historical thrillers under the pen name H.B. Moore so that men will buy her books. She is also the author of two non-fiction books, and several women’s novels including the co-authored series The Newport Ladies Book Club, the anthology series A Timeless Romance Anthology, and the historical romantic suspense novel Heart of the Ocean. These are all written under her real name so that women will buy her books.

Heather graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in Fashion Merchandising and minor in Business Management–which has absolutely nothing to do with writing novels. But at least she can balance a mean checkbook and color-coordinate her kids’ school clothes.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Blog Tour: Guardians by Heather Frost

Tour Schedule

Title: Guardians

Author: Heather Frost

Publisher: Sweetwater Press, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc.

Published: July 2013

ISBN: 1462110355

FTC FYI: I received an eCopy via the author in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Description:

Kate Bennett has escaped captivity, but she has not escaped the hunt. The Demon Lord has one million dollars on Kate’s head, and every bounty hunter around is just waiting for the chance to break through her guardian force. Kate’s only shot at staying alive and protecting her loved ones is to lead the seers on a mission to the past and kill the Demon Lord before he comes to power.

But Patrick, Kate’s immortal guardian and the love of her life, knows what happens when she travels back in time: he has seen her die in his arms. With Patrick keeping a protective watch over her, Kate knows she can never lead her mission, but she cannot wait around to be captured by demons again, either.

This final installment of the Seers trilogy brings Kate Bennett’s tale to a surprising and exciting conclusion filled with love and heartache, danger and triumph, loss and redemption.


The Seers trilogy is an exciting paranormal YA series that has the added bonus of also being clean!

I read the first two books in the series ten months ago, and really enjoyed them. The second book was especially intense, and had a huge cliff hanger ending. Sadly, I didn't have time to re-read the books, or even brush up on what had happened before reading Guardians. I really, REALLY recommend reading these close enough together that you have the details of book two fresh on your mind. You'll enjoy the book so much more if you do!

The first half of Guardians moved along a bit slowly for me, although that could have had something to do with being a little lost since the details of the rest of the series were hazy. The pace and action got very interesting about half way through, and I was excited to see how everything was going to turn out.

Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that I was really happy with a change of heart that occurred, and the ending for all of the characters was pretty satisfying.

If you like paranormal YA, don't miss the Seers Trilogy.

About the Author:

Heather Frost was born in Sandy, Utah, and raised in a small Northern Utah town. She is the second oldest of ten children, and she has always been an avid reader and writer. She’s a graduate of Snow College, and, more recently, Utah State University. She enjoys playing the flute, listening to all types of music, and watching a wide variety of movies. Ever since she wrote her first short story—at the age of four—she has dreamed of one day becoming an author. Guardians is her third published novel; her second book, Demons, was a Whitney Award Finalist.


Heather Frost is offering one copy of Guardians to a Literary Time Out follower (hard copy for a winner in the US or Canada, eCopy for an international winner). To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below by midnight EST on July 14, 2013.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Book Blast: Rising Sun, Falling Star by Vickie Hall

Rising SunRising Sun, Falling Star

Different eyes and skin Mock me from the mirror’s light Enemy am I. Dec 7, 1941 Today my life changed forever . . . I am no longer considered American, but by shear heritage I am now the hated enemy . . . The lives of Kenji and Aiko Onishi and their American-born children are about to unravel when the United States is thrust into war with Japan. Confronted by insurmountable prejudice and fear, the family is ripped from their California home without just cause by the American government and sent to an assembly center “for their own protection.” Forced to live in deplorable circumstances, every aspect of their lives regulated and controlled, the Onishi’s freedoms are stripped from their grasp as they struggle to survive behind barbed wire. It isn’t long before the mind-numbing confinement and feelings of helplessness begin to pit the family against one another. When sent to a relocation camp in the center of the Utah desert, they’re beset by ever increasing emotional and physical challenges, and Aiko is faced with her greatest yet: to mend the broken spirits of her family, or risk losing them forever. Based on true and tragic events that transpired during World War II, Rising Sun, Falling Star is a heart-rending story of one family’s struggle to survive uncalculated loss and emotional destruction.

 rising sun tour
Author Vickie Hall

Vickie is a native of Utah, but growing up, lived in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Nebraska. When she’s not writing, she’s composing music, or shopping with her sister. She loves animals of all kinds and camping with her family. Her favorite pastime is watching old movies on TCM, and unashamedly has a crush on Cary Grant.


BookBlast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 8/2/13

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Blog Tour: Swept Up by the Sea by Tracy & Laura Hickman

Title: Swept Up By the Sea

Author: Tracy & Laura Hickman

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published: July 2013

ISBN: 1609076613

FTC FYI: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book | Barnes & Noble

Book Description:

Determined to seek his fortune, Percival Taylor leaves behind his sleepy hometown and sets out to become a legendary pirate—only no one at the roguish seaport of Blackshore will allow him any- where near a ship!

Percival must find other means to win the heart of the beautiful Tuppence Magrathia-Paddock, who has mistaken him for a pirate rogue out of one of her romantic tales. She is entirely willing to swoon into his arms if he can prove his buccaneer soul—and she is willing to arrange her own kidnapping to prove it.

Percival eventually finds himself captain of a broken-down ship, complete with a crew of pirates who make their living selling fake treasure maps, a jilted fiancee, a reclusive Master Shipwright, and an old professor with a secret that could kill them all. It’s Pirates of Penzance meets Princess Bride as this motley group of characters sets sail for treasure and romance.


I'm not a huge fantasy fan, but when I read the description for Swept Up by the Sea, I thought it sounded interesting. And, the comparison to The Princess Bride also helped me decide to give it a try.

It took me awhile to read Swept Up by the Sea, at least partially due to the story jumping around quite a bit as new characters were introduced. Once everything came together about half way through the story I found myself much more interested in it.

Overall the story is silly-I couldn't help but think of the recent Pirates of the Caribbean movies while I read it, although this isn't violent. I typically prefer stories that are a bit more serious, but I was intrigued by the shipwright's story and Vestia's situation.

About the Authors:

Tracy Hickman is a New York Times best-selling fantasy author who has published more than 40 novels, many of them co-authored with Margaret Weis. He published the first of his solo novels in 1995. Laura and her husband, Tracy have been collaborating on fantastic works of fiction since their marriage in 1977. Together, Laura and Tracy have written role-playing games, screenplays, and works of fiction, including their first co-authored novel in 2004.