Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review: Random Acts of Murder by Christy Barritt

Random Acts of Murder by Christy Barritt

Book Description:

When Holly Anna Paladin is given a year to live, she embraces her final days doing what she loves most—random acts of kindness. But one of her extreme good deeds goes horribly wrong, implicating Holly in a string of murders. Holly is suddenly in a different kind of fight for her life.

Only two other people know Holly was at the site of the murder, and one of them is the killer. Making matters stickier is the fact that the detective assigned to the case is her old high school crush and present day nemesis.

The clock is ticking as Holly is forced to play a dangerous game. Will Holly find the killer before he ruins what’s left of her life? Or will she spend her final days alone and behind bars?


I recently discovered Christy Barritt's Squeaky Clean Mystery Series. I haven't been able to get my hands on very many in the series yet, but Barritt writes such an entertaining story that I jumped at the chance to read her Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries.

I was intrigued by Holly Anna's story from the first page. When she is given less than a year to live, she decides she wants to do good with the time she has left. Her method of performing random acts of service is definitely odd (and illegal in the instance we find her in at the beginning of the book), but she really does have the best intentions. She bites off way more than she can chew and finds her life in danger.

Holly Anna is a great character. Not only does she have a good heart (even before her diagnosis she was making a difference as a social worker), but she's also likeable in her uniqueness. She likes to wear vintage dresses and drives a '64 1/2 Mustang. She is very close to her family and is an optimist. She comes across as a good, moral person, although a big dilemma in this story is not being honest about what she found. It's a tough situation because she's not fessing up in an effort to save the problems it would cause her high profile family.

The tension between Holly Anna and Detective Dexter (her old high school crush) really added a lot to the story too. This was a great ride. If you enjoy clean mysteries, definitely try Christy Barritt's books.

About the Author:

Christy Barritt is an author, freelance writer and speaker who lives in Virginia. She’s married to her Prince Charming, a man who thinks she’s hilarious—but only when she’s not trying to be. Christy’s a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who’s known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado. She’s only won one contest in her life—and her prize was kissing a pig (okay, okay… actually she did win the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery also). Her current claim to fame is showing off her mother, who looks just like former First Lady Barbara Bush.

When she’s not working or spending time with her family, she enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and exploring small, unsuspecting towns where people have no idea how accident prone she is.

Title: Random Acts of Murder
Author: Christy Barritt
Publisher: River Heights
Published: June 30, 2014
Source: I purchased an eCopy as part of Fatal 5: Novels of Mystery and Suspense

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Unstuck by Robert Reynolds 
Book Description:

''This book was not written by a General Authority. In fact, it was written by a run-of-the-mill sinner. Are you going to keep reading?'' Robert Reynolds, an entertainment attorney and manager of Grammy-nominated band The Killers, refreshingly tackles the why-did-I-do-it-again? cycle that entraps many of us. Reynolds explains that whether we find ourselves reluctant to let go of our ''favorite sin'' or exclaiming in frustration, ''Dang it! I did it again,'' the Savior and His Atonement can change our desires and set us free to become better and stronger. With a fresh, relatable voice, Reynolds provides insights into the why behind the things that tempt us. He also shares the hope we can have in overcoming even the most alluring of sins through reliance on the Lord s grace. Learn how to find and maintain a mighty change of heart and discover a rich increase of spiritual power, joy, and peace in your life.

Rorie's Review:

I started reading this book thinking that it would be full of real-life anecdotes from the author, based on the description of the book. I was wrong. It does give some examples, but not too many of them. That disappointment aside though, this is a really good book. My copy has almost more pages dog-eared than not, something I did whenever I read something that I really stuck out to me. 

The main premise of the book is that we all have sins - some big, some small - that we can't seem to let go of. The book guides us through how to acknowledge what these sins are and how to go about getting rid of them. The most important part is that we have to have the desire to let go of these sins, and then we have to turn away from them. As the author states, "He (the Lord) is not going to help you rely solely on Him if you'd rather keep one foot in Babylon."

This is definitely not the type of book you read in one day. It is much better read slowly, taking in the advice, pondering it and seeing how you can utilize it it your own life. This is definitely a keeper.

Andrea's Review:

I love reading fiction, and if I had to guess I'd say well over 90% of my reading time is spent there. It has always been my preference, even though for years I've thought I really should broaden my horizons. I've given efforts here and there, but being entertained often wins out over *gasp* learning. However, when I was given the opportunity to review Unstuck the pitch struck a chord, and I decided to give it a try.

I was expecting it to be full of experiences from the entertainment industry, and while it does have some of that (along with other experiences from the author's life) it wasn't quite what I expected.

That said, Unstuck is the kind of book that makes you think. The real life examples the author used were probably my favorite parts, but there is a lot more to the book. I'm not sure how many years it has been since I pulled out a highlighter and marked up a book, but my copy of Unstuck is no longer pristine. And maybe that is fitting given the topic. We are all sinners. None of us are "pristine" anymore. And the only way to get back to our Father in Heaven is to take advantage of the Savior's Atonement. We need His help daily to get past our sins. We have to want to overcome them. I love the part that says, " . . . the Atonement wasn't intended for me to simply repent over and over for the same sins but instead to remove my very desire to commit sin." Being able to remove a desire is so appealing. We all have our vices, but none of us have to be stuck.

I'm not a fast non-fiction reader, and it took me several weeks to read this book. I'd read a few pages here and there. But once I buckled down, I read the last half of the book in an evening (highlighter in hand). I'm not sure if I'll re-read the book in its entirety, but I can definitely see myself re-visiting the Key Points at the end of each chapter (and my highlighted sections).

Tarah's Review:

I loved this book! (Which is saying something considering how I generally feel about non-fiction reads.)  If I read a non-fiction it's normally, "Oh, that was good, but..." However, this book was exciting to me. I would read a section and go find my husband and excitedly tell him all about it.  I've even brought it up in my book club and tried to explain it.

I like that it just made sense. It was laid out in a way that wasn't pretentious, that wasn't "look how much I know", it was down to earth and real. One example in particular had me in tears because of how I could relate, and the hope that it brought to me. Most importantly, it made me excited to start working on some things. It's kind of fun too, that while reading the scriptures I found verses that would coincide with the chapter that I was reading.

My copy is completely marked up and highlighted, and I can't wait to pass it on to family and friends so we can all talk about it after they've read it.  I intended to have some quotations from the book in my review that I really enjoyed, but there were just too many of them to chose from.

 I really wish I had the words to express exactly why I liked this book, but since that isn't my strongest suit I'll just say that I will probably re-read this and that is the highest recommendation I can give it, especially considering I don't ever re-read non-fiction. 
Title: Unstuck
Author: Robert Reynolds
Publisher: Deseret Book Company
Published: December 2015
ISBN:  1629721158
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Deseret Book | Amazon

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Book Review: The Land of Look Behind by Aaron Blaylock

Book Description:

When Gideon, a former missionary, discovers a mysterious drawing tucked in an ancient journal he returns to Jamaica with dreams of finding a centuries old treasure.  He quickly learns there are those who would kill to keep the treasure secret. This thrilling adventure takes you deep into Jamaica's treacherous cockpit country and back in time for a spine-tingling mystery you won't be able to put down.

Rorie's Review:

The idea behind this book intrigued me. Mystery, intrigue, running for your life, all of the things that I enjoy in a book. First off, the not-so-good: The author uses a lot of patois, which is the slang-speak used in Jamaica. Now, this makes sense, due to the fact that they are in Jamaica after all, but it was really hard to follow the conversations that the characters were having, and I found myself having to read each sentence a few times before I could get it. That was a bit distracting from the story. I eventually got used to it and was able to read those conversations easier towards the end of the book. I also would have liked to have an explanation on why it's called the cockpit country, but I suppose I can Google that.
The story bounces back and forth from a soldier named Jarvis 300 years ago and the main character, Gideon in modern day. I found myself really enjoying the chapters that dealt with Jarvis, but I didn't enjoy the modern-day chapters as much until the climax at the end. I think it was because Gideon came across as kind of a holier-than-thou punk. (He got better as time went on, but it took awhile.)

I never would have guessed what the mystery ended up being in this book. It completely took my by surprise, but it was a pleasant one.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Arizona, Aaron is proud to call the desert home.  He came of age in the suburbs of Sacramento, California and as a missionary in Jamaica, where he fell in love with the people and their culture, but he has always been drawn back to the valley of the sun.  He married his childhood crush, and the girl of his dreams, in 2001.  Together they are raising four beautiful and rambunctious children.  He worked as a freelance sports reporter for The Arizona Republic for nearly ten years, combining his love of writing and sports.  In his storytelling he draws heavily on his love of history, adventure, his faith and his own life experiences. 
Title: The Land of Look Behind
Author: Aaron Blaylock
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Published: February 2016
ISBN:  1462117953
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Blog Tour: The Spider and the Sparrow by A.L. Sowards

Reviews * Giveaway

The Spider and the Sparrow by A.L. Sowards

Book Description:

May 1915. After tragedy strikes during the Second Battle of Artois, Frenchman Julian Olivier will do anything to get out of the trenches. So when British Intelligence recruits him to spy behind enemy lines, he jumps at the opportunity. Just before he begins, however, he has a chance encounter with a young French woman who leaves his heart marked for the remainder of the war—even if he doesn't know her name.

Warren Flynn is a Canadian airborne hero, and dogfights with the Germans are all in a day's work. Second only to his love of flying is his fascination with Claire Donovan, the daughter of an American munitions manufacturer living in Paris. Warren flies Julian into Germany and soon receives orders to post the Allies newest operative—an attractive peasant woman named Evette in Claire's home.

As a dangerous ring of spies and saboteurs threatens to turn the war against the Allies, Julian discovers goodness in his enemies' hearts. But even if he survives, will he ever be reunited with the woman whose memory he can't erase? Will Warren survive the war, and will Evette unearth the infiltrator in her own territory before it's too late?

Rorie's Review:

I will admit, this book started off kind of slow for me, and I was wondering how I was going to manage to read it before the deadline. I needn't have worried. After the first few chapters, the book picked up quite a bit, and I ended up finishing it in only a few days. I was completely caught up in the story-line.

I don't really know very much about World War I - basics like when it happened and why it started, but that's about it. History has always been somewhat fascinating to me, so I enjoyed learning a little bit more about what was happening during this time period, and I would like to learn more about what happened during this war.

The whole spying thing intrigued me, especially Evette's situation. I can't even imagine being discreet enough to successfully spy on anyone without getting caught. The whole way through the book, I was kept guessing who the infiltrator was. The author did a good enough job making several people seem guilty that I kept changing my mind several times until the traitor was finally unmasked.

Definitely a book that I would recommend. I'm not sure if I've read any of the author's other books, but you can bet that I will now!

Tarah's Review:

This is not my typical type of story, and I'll admit that I kept putting off actually opening the book because the cover did nothing for me. However, once I opened the book and started reading I was pulled into the story right away (baring some confusion with names), and I kept wondering how things would go and how things would turn out.  I especially loved how this novel was from a French POV and Canadian POV (with background of Germans as well). It really made me feel connected to each side, and feel for each.  I cried a couple times feeling the loss of hope and dreams, and for seeing people for who they are instead of where they lived.

Content wise, this is a book about war, and therefore you should not be expecting daisies and roses. However, I will say that the author managed to convey the horrors of the infantry and cavalry soldiers without being graphic. She was also able to convey a plethora of different feelings towards the war, towards spies, and the different nationalities. I can't even imagine living through something like this.

Religion wise there are references to God, and the afterlife, which flowed very smoothly in the novel. It makes sense to think about both of those when you are staring at death everyday. Anyway, it wasn't preachy, and didn't seem out of place.

Since this isn't my typical fluff novel, I'm not sure how likely I am to reread it, but I would recommend it, and I will be thinking about it for a long time.

Andrea's Review:

I have really enjoyed A.L. Sowards' WWII novels, so I was excited for the chance to review her new WWI novel, The Spider and the Sparrow. However, once it arrived I was a bit hesitant to start. I think it may have been the cover. I'm not sure what I would have done differently, but it's not one that catches my eye (although my pilot husband thought the cover was good). This is a perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. Once I started reading, I found the story to be engaging. It tells of the horrors of war without dragging you into lots of gory details.

I felt a connection to the main characters almost immediately. Their situations were all so challenging, and then when the espionage was added there was an entirely new level of danger. I like spy stories, but I don't typically think too much about the danger to the spy if they are caught. I think it was important that Sowards addressed that. Also, when I think about the time period, I usually just think of the male soldiers. But women played an important role, and it was eye opening to see how they were involved, not only in factories, but in the espionage as well.

There were a few slow spots in the story where I felt like I was getting a daily log instead of much emotion, but in hindsight I think there must be times in war where you have to put aside emotion to just get through the day.

I had my suspicions about one of the bad guys, but there were several twists and turns that kept me intrigued. I was quite happy for the resolution, and I am looking forward to going back and re-reading Sowards' other books.

If you are a fan of clean, historical fiction, I'd recommend A.L. Sowards books.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway Title: The Spider and the Sparrow
Author: A.L. Sowards
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: February 2016
ISBN:  1680479385
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review. 

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blog Tour: Escape to Eden by Rachel McClellan

Run now!

When seventeen-year-old Sage wakes up in a hospital with no memories, her only clue are the words written on her hand. With a deadly disease threatening to wipe out mankind, Sage must find out who she is and why most people would kill to get their hands on her--before it's too late. This fast-paced, futuristic thriller is a spine-tingling read!

Rachel McClellan was born and raised in Idaho, a place secretly known for its supernatural creatures. When she's not in her writing lair, she's partying with her husband and four crazy, yet lovable, children. Rachel's love for storytelling began as a child when the moon first possessed the night. For when the lights went out, her imagination painted a whole new world. And what a scary world it was... 


Andrea's Review:

Escape to Eden caught my attention right from the beginning of the story and held it throughout. Sage's amnesia combined with her skills to escape from her captors was very intriguing. Her journey to find out who she was, and then to help her family and those around her made for an intense story.

I'm not typically a sci-fi fan, but the messing with DNA that changed society into so many crazy beings was really interesting. The characters were well developed, and the group that worked together had such a great dynamic. Their personalities varied immensely, but each member played an important role. I was definitely invested in the well-being of each of them.

The only thing that I didn't really like about the book was the ending. It was done well, but I wanted more. As it was, it set things up well for another book. I'm not sure what the author and publisher have in mind, but hopefully another book that continues Sage's journey will be coming soon.

If you are a fan of YA dystopian novels, I'd recommend Escape to Eden. Rachel McClellan is a talented author, and I'd definitely read more of her work.

As far as content there is some swearing and violence.

Rorie's Review:

Please tell me there will be a second book, because one book was just not enough. This book had me hooked from the very first page, and kept me entranced clear til the last page. I was really sad and kind of a bit mad when it ended. Again, I really hope there is a second book coming. I need more!

The author did a great job at bringing all of the characters to life. Sage and Colt were my favorite, but Tank and Anthony were great too. I didn't feel like we got to really know Anthony all that well (ahem, in the second book, right?) and Jenna was horribly annoying but not in a "I can't stand her and want her to disappear" kind of way.

I tend to gravitate towards books that are set in a dystopian society, so this story-line was right up my alley. I also plan on reading more of the author's books, since she did such a great job with this one.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Blog Tour: Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt


Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt 

Book Description:

They seek him here; they seek him there. For centuries, the elite of the world have sought the Pimpernel everywhere. Some want to kill him, others want to hire him, but Jack Cavanaugh knows that the love/hate relationship comes with the job title. At present, Jack is trying to dismantle an investment scheme centered in Las Vegas, but "trying" is the operative word. It's been a month since he put the face of the scheme behind bars, yet the scam is still going strong. As Jack tries to uncover who has stepped in as the new head, what miniscule evidence there is all seems to point him back to Claire Ramsey, an introverted PhD student studying at UNLV. If ever there as an unlikely head of a investment scheme, Claire's it. She has a genius IQ, but from all Jack has seen, Claire’s intelligence is as much a blessing as a curse when paired up with her acute OCD. Claire can barely make conversation with the cute guy down the hall, which makes it hard to believe she could be the charismatic salesperson who is getting international businessmen to invest $5—50 million a pop. So what is Jack missing? What is the real story behind Claire Ramsey? And once Jack learns it, will he be able to walk away?

 amazon get it

Andrea's Review:

I LOVED this book! It was such a fun read. When I have moments of down time, I go back to my Kindle app and look up my favorite parts to re-read. I'll definitely be reading this in full again soon.

Pimpernel is a great story, with some twists and turns that move everything along nicely. I really wish there was more! It had such a sweet ending, and I LOVED the characters!

Claire was so great. Her OCD made her interesting, and she had a good, innocent heart. Her family was awful, which made her relationship with Jack and his team all the more endearing.

I loved Jack! I was very surprised by who he'd been undercover as. He is so talented, and just the perfect leading man.

The spy stuff was very intriguing and their gadgets so high tech. It kept things very exciting! Pimpernel is just an all around awesome story. It had humor, mystery, suspense, and a sweet romance.

As far as content, there is some newbie-passionate kissing (as in first kiss and some initial awkwardness followed by pure (clean) bliss). I love how that all came about, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Just do yourself a favor and read this book!

I would love more books about these characters!

Tarah's Review:

What a fun book! I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started this, but it just kept getting better and better. Did you ever watch the old Scarlet Pimpernel movie with Jane Seymour? Good memories. This book is like a continuation of that story line with his progeny in modern times. I love that tie in. However, if you are unfamiliar with the Pimpernel story, no worries. You don't need it at all to really enjoy this fun book.

Part of the book made me think that there was possibly a story before this one, but I looked, and I couldn't find one, so really all it makes you do is want to read more and find out more about Jack, and his team.

I've already reread this, and will read it again.  Content wise there is smoking and one scene with a drink. That didn't bother me, but if you are sensitive to things of that nature, be aware that it's there.

Personally, I can't wait to find out more. Hope another book comes out soon :)


The high-pitched scream from the other side of her apartment door shattered Claire’s thoughts.

“Daniel?” That shriek had been way too high to come out of a man.

“Help!” Daniel’s voice cried out from the other side of the door. Claire unlocked the door and pushed it open, finding Daniel cowering on the couch in sailor-themed boxer briefs. Classical music played from his bedroom, indicating Daniel had been sewing before he ended up on the couch. On the ground between them lay the lounge robe Daniel had made in his fashion design class along with his house slippers. They looked like they’d been flung at random.

“Move!” he shrieked at her, stabbing his finger at the ground like a mad man. “Take the high ground and leave the door open. Maybe it will go back to the gates of hell, where it belongs!”

Claire followed the direction of his manic gesturing, freezing when her eyes locked on something the size of her fist with eight hairy legs.

“Daniel? Please tell me that is a toy.”

“That. Is. NOT. A. Toy!”

The spider chose that moment to make its move—which happened to be sprinting her way. Claire shrieked as Daniel motioned for her to join him on the couch.

“High ground!”

Was he insane? She would have to leap over the tarantula to get to him. Why in the world would she do that when she could just run away and go to a hotel for the night?

“Voldemort?” a man’s voice said from behind her a split second before Claire backed into a male body blocking her retreat. Not only did Claire scream, but her body was suddenly possessed by an Olympic hurdler as she scampered across the living room and flung herself into Daniel’s arms on the couch.

“You found her!” a flagpole of a man from the doorway said as Claire latched onto Daniel, hiding her face against his shoulder. If she didn’t see the spider, maybe it would cease to exist.

“Found it?” Daniel scoffed. “That thing tried to duel me for my sandwich before I batted him off my kitchen table.”

Claire shuttered, only vaguely realizing that the shoulder she was hiding her face in was bare. I’ve never hugged a guy who was only wearing underwear before, she thought a moment before Daniel pulled her keys out of her hand and flung them at the ground to join his slippers and robe.

“Don’t chase it this way!” Daniel yelled at the other guy.

“Come on, Voldemort,” the spider guy cooed. “Let’s get you back into your habitat—Don’t run!

Wait, it was running? Claire didn’t want to see that, yet something compelled her to turn and look anyway. People always said that horrible things seemed to happen in slow motion, but Claire could have sworn the giant arachnid was coming at her in fast-forward mode. In a heartbeat, she had climbed up to ride piggyback on Daniel while he responded by flapping his hands in panic as if he could fan the thing away with a light breeze. Not only did the spider keep running, it was sprinting like an arachnid with a plan—heading straight for the couch. When Daniel backed away, Claire felt her back thump into the wall. Before he could move again, she pushed off his back to stand on the back of the couch, dropping her purse when it threatened her balance. On the way down, it ended up in Daniel’s hands and he wasted no time finding items inside and tossing them at the spider while its owner moved in to act like a human shield.

“No!” the tall guy cried as he tried to corral the beast. “Don’t throw things at her. You might hurt her.”

Just then, Claire’s favorite lip gloss bounced off the hairy spider, stunning it. That lip gloss was dead to her—not just the tube, the actual brand. She’d never be able to look at it the same again.
add to goodreads    

About the Author:

Some describe Sheralyn as a girl who's been around the block and worked at every shop. This isn't far from the truth. Writing is what she loves most, however. There's a magical power in stepping into new perspectives time and again, and seeing the world through different eyes. Few things increase empathy more than walking in another's shoes for 100,000 words or so. At least that seems to be the trend so far.
Some random things to know about Sheralyn: * She's a wanderer (geographically) * She can write a novel, but doesn't have the attention span for one page in a journal * She vehemently disagrees with Stephen King's stance that authors should not watch TV * She is pretty much incapable of sleeping before midnight

Blog Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/28/16
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Review: Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

Cold Shot (Chesapeake Valor, #1)
Book Description:

In college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world--and friendships--crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet--until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern--a young social justice lawyer missing since spring--and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he'll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he--and those he cares about--are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.

Tarah's Review:

I was really excited when I saw that Dani Pettrey was coming out with a new series. Sometimes I'm just in the mood for a good clean contemporary suspense novel. No disappointments here.  The thing I love about this series is the chance to get to know each of these characters.  I can't wait until Declan and Parker get their own books. I will say that I kind of wish each book was mostly about the main characters. Pettrey seems to do that in all her books. Griffin and Finley are great and I would have loved a book about them, with just enough of the minor characters to get me interested in reading the next book about them. And can I say I'm not loving Finley's name?  It's a fine name, don't get me wrong, but I kept thinking it was more of a boy's name than the leading lady's name.

This does cover some pretty heavy topics, so if genocide and rape (none of which is described in detail) leave a darker cloud over you, you may consider skipping this one. However, the message of forgiveness was poignant.

Andrea's Review:

I was pulled into this story right away by the mystery involved with the present-day body found by relic hunters at Gettysburg. The team that ends up working together to solve this case was great. Each member was intriguing, even though the focus is on Griffin and Finley. I didn't love the name Finley for the main female character, but otherwise I really liked her character. It was fascinating how she and the other team members used the small bits of evidence to discover the identity of the victim, and her killer.

In addition to solving the murder, the main characters' lives are threatened due to their involvement in the case. The side stories that involved the relationships among the team members also kept me entertained.

This is Christian fiction and is fairly heavy on prayers. I liked that the main characters' faith helped them overcome their trials, even though reading their detailed prayers felt a little intrusive. It was a clean story (no sex or profanity-there is violence). If the author comes out with more books that focus on the other team members, I'd definitely read them.

Cold Shot (Chesapeake Valor, #1)

Title: Cold Shot
Author: Dani Pettrey
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: February 2016
ISBN:  0764211978
Source: We received eCopies from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Blog Tour: Star Struck by Kathi Oram Peterson

Reviews * Giveaway
Star Struck by Kathi Oram Peterson

Book Description:

Mercedes Grant is known to the world as Stormy Ryan, action hero. Her movie-star status has led to some unpleasant interactions in the past, and even a few stalkers, but none has ever come close enough to her to seem dangerous—until now. When she receives a death threat on her personal cell phone, she is understandably shaken. Seizing the opportunity to take some time away from the limelight while the police investigate the phone call, Mercedes escapes to her remote cabin near Idaho’s Snake River. She knows it is the perfect place to lie low, but she doesn’t realize how low she’ll actually feel once she arrives. After days of suffering from a cold she just can’t shake, Mercedes visits the town physician, Luke Parker. The handsome doctor, a fan of the stunning celebrity, performs the necessary tests and is devastated at the unexpected diagnosis he must give her. Mercedes is sick—really sick. He knows she can handle crazy fans, but the news he has to give is another story. As Mercedes struggles to come to terms with her new future, she relies on Luke’s support. But neither imagines the disease is not the only danger Mercedes is facing—because just out of view, someone is watching her and is determined to make good on their threat.

Rorie's Review:

I thought this was a cute book. I really liked Luke's character. He was just genuinely kind and caring. I also really liked Winona, Luke's receptionist. She's such a spunky lady. :) I kept guessing throughout the entire book who the bad guy was and didn't figure it out until just before he was revealed.  It's maddeningly frustrating in a good way.

Mercedes comes across as pretty snobby at first, but thankfully, as she realizes that Luke is a genuinely good guy, she lets the brick wall she's built come down. I enjoyed the relationship that she built with Luke's daughter too.

All in all, this was a quick, fun read that kept you guessing. I do wish that the picture better matched Mercedes' description in the book though. It's not often that you read about people with really curly hair, so it would have been nice to see on the picture. :)

Tarah's Review:

This book was kind of hit and miss with me. I loved the premise. I enjoyed that while I guessed the bad guy, I also changed my mind a couple times so I didn't really know who the bad guy was. I enjoyed Luke's receptionist...she was totally great. Plus, the writing was solid. I guess I just didn't connect with the characters. They were written realistically and well, but they just didn't resonate with me. I didn't really like Mercedes. I mean, everything she did or said that I didn't like I could see why, given her background and job she did what she did, but that didn't mean I had to like it :) Same thing with Luke. He was great, and the choices he made make total sense, but I think it threw me that her got along/fell for Mercedes in the first place. I also wanted to smack his daughter upside the head, but that just tells me she was well written too :)

So to review quickly, the writing is entertaining and solid, the characters are developed, and while there are disturbing events taking place, I'm assuming you like to read suspense novels and the disturbing stuff would still be PG rated. Romance content is clean as well.

Andrea's Review:

This was a pretty good suspense novel. It was entertaining and it kept me guessing on who Mercedes' stalker was. When that finally came out, I was surprised (and saddened). Although I didn't feel much of a connection with the characters, the relationship the stalker had with Mercedes made everything he did all the more disturbing.

The romance of a big time movie star with a small town doctor didn't seem very realistic to me. It's those Cinderella type (commoner/royalty) relationships that tend to appeal to the masses, but in this case Mercedes' fundamental beliefs just seemed so different from Luke's for them to have enough interest to start a relationship. That and their feelings came on so quickly. But, you do hear about people falling for people who save them, so maybe it was realistic in that sense.

I liked the cover and would probably pick up the book in a bookstore or library to learn more. The cover model doesn't match Mercedes' description (wrong hair color), which totally bugged me, but if you're not a cover snob, it probably wouldn't bother you.

Tour Schedule
Feb. 12th

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Title: Star Struck
Author: Kathi Oram Peterson
Publisher: Covenant Communication
Published: February 2016
ISBN: 1680472429
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Review: A Spy's Devotion by Melanie Dickerson

A Spy's Devotion (The Regency Spies of London #1)
Book Description:

In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?
Book Review:

When I saw that Melanie Dickerson had a new book out I was extremely excited. Then I got a little nervous that she was trying a Regency novel. Why mess with a good thing, you know? But guess what? This was probably one of, if not the best novels she's written. I wasn't going to start reading it yet, I had to psych myself up to try something new, but I accidentally clicked on it and when I started reading it, it was hard to put down. I've liked her other books, but sometimes they were a little wordy and descriptive. Not so with this one.

Honestly, if I thought hard about it, and waited for some time to pass I'm sure if I could find things to nit pick about, but since I literally just finished reading it and am still riding the high that comes from reading a good book, I'm not willing to think deeply about everything. Right now I can tell you that I was highly entertained, and have already recommend it to my sister as a great book to check out and read.

If Regency christian fiction is your thing, definitely give this one a try.

Andrea's Review:

I'm a big fan of clean Regency romance novels and spy novels, so when Tarah told me about Melanie Dickerson's new book, A Spy's Devotion, I couldn't wait to read it.

I really like what Dickerson did with this story. There was a good amount of suspense and excitement, and the romance was quite enjoyable as well. Julia was so humble, and not an attention seeker (even though with her talents and beauty she was hard to overlook). All of these traits made her so likable, and Nicholas was perfect for her. He was drawn to goodness even though he had plenty of attention from women who would have been a better fit (according to society).

Not only were the main characters great, but the secondary characters really did a lot for the story as well. I was pulling for the good guys, and hoping the bad guys would get what they deserved. There were several instances where you see opposites in the story (ie. good familial relationships vs. bad familial relationships) and they really tugged at the heartstrings. The story felt realistic and had good pacing.

The Regency-spy combination was a great one! I would definitely recommend A Spy's Devotion.

A Spy's Devotion (The Regency Spies of London #1)

Title: A Spy's Devotion
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Waterfall Press
Published: February 2016
ISBN: 9781503950511
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Fall of Lord Drayson by Rachael Anderson

Coming soon from USA Today Bestselling Author Rachael Anderson

The Fall of Lord Drayson

Who is he really? A high and mighty Lord, or a lowly servant? When Colin Cavendish, the new earl of Drayson, informs Lucy Beresford that she and her mother have two months to vacate the house they've called home for the past two years, Lucy is fit to be tied.They have no money, no relations they can turn to for help, and nowhere to go. How dare the earl break the promise his father had made to the Beresfords without so much as a twinge of conscience? Mere hours later, Lucy discovers the earl unconscious and injured in the middle of the road. Grudgingly, she takes him into her home to tend to his wounds, but when he awakens with no recollection of who he is, Lucy seizes the opportunity to teach a much-needed lesson in humility. Pushing her own twinge of conscience aside, she informs the earl of Drayson that he is nothing more than a mere servant. Her servant, in fact. And thus begins the charming tale of a pompous lord and an impetuous young woman, caught together in a web so tangled that it begs the question: Will they ever get out?

The Fall of Lord Drayson
Coming late-summer 2016
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About the Author:

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

Cover Reveal Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Code or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/17/16
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: The Express Rider's Lady by Stacy Henrie

The Express Rider's Lady

Book Description:

Delsie Radford is going to make it to California, no matter the danger or difficulty. Her father may have kept her and her sister apart, but Delsie refuses to miss her sister's wedding—even with only eighteen days to get there. And she's found the perfect escort in Pony Express rider Myles Patton.

Myles can't believe it when a pretty socialite hires him to take her cross-country through rough terrain and dangerous territory. Surely she'll quit before they reach their destination—he's known girls like her before. But the longer they ride together, the more Myles notices Delsie's toughness and kindness beneath her polished exterior. And though they may be worlds apart…they might just be perfect for each other.

Book Review:

Sigh. I love a good historical romance, and I'll admit that I enjoy stories about the Pony Express (did you ever watch that show a looooong time ago? Good times, good times).  Unrelated, but if you read this book you should definitely read the note from the author at the end. It's really interesting and explains the time-line of things if you are a stickler for accuracy.

Can I admit that I'm still shocked every time I read a book by this publisher? I guess this line from Harlequin is clean and religious, but it still gets me :) And can I complain a little about the size of the book? I am getting used to the wider and higher books. My hand hurt from holding this :)

Does it seem like I'm nit-picking? I am, it's true. Really, I loved this book. The story was great, and moved along at a good clip (which is tricky since they are covering so many miles). The ending might have been a little hasty, but I would definitely read this again, and highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical romance. Hopefully you will love Delsie's grit, and Myles character just like I did.

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.
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Stacy Henrie has always had a love for history, fiction, and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a mother to three, Stacy loves to live out history through her fictional characters. In addition to author, she is also a reader, a road trip enthusiast, and a novice interior decorator.

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The Express Rider's Lady
Title: The Express Rider's Lady
Author: Stacy Henrie
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Historical
Published: February 2016
ISBN:  0373283482
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for a review. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Blog Tour: Not Always Happenstance by Rachael Anderson

Review * Giveaway

Not Always Happenstance by Rachael Anderson

Book Description:

Lani has lived in Hana, Hawaii for five years. She’s learned to surf, fish, dive, and manage her grandmother’s bed and breakfast. She’s also learned to take one day at a time the way it should be taken—relaxed and unrushed, savoring every moment. But, like a large wave on the brink of breaking, her life is about to crash out of control. A proposal of marriage, a conniving grandmother, a cryptic Asian woman, and a handsome guest, and suddenly everything calm begins to churn, everything clear becomes confused, and all that was normal segues into peculiar. As Lani struggles against the current to hold her ground, she realizes that she can either continue to fight and eventually lose, or take a take a leap of faith, hold her breath, and ride the wave wherever it takes her. 

***This book is part of the Power of the Matchmaker series that features one recurring character—the match maker—but it is a STAND-ALONE novel.*** 
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Andrea's Review:

Rachael Anderson is an excellent author, and her latest book, Not Always Happenstance, is a wonderful addition to any clean romance collection. And, even though it is a stand alone novel, it is also a great addition to the Power of the Matchmaker Series.

This was the perfect, take-me-away novel to read in the winter. The characters were a lot of fun, and the setting and culture of Hawaii added so much. If I had the money I'd take my family over there right now to get a break from the freezing temps and snow that doesn't seem to want to stop. But I digress. . .

Easton was a bit of a mystery for a lot of the story. I had to warm up to him, but he ended up being very likable.

I liked the twists and turns. It wasn't just a cut and dry romance of people meeting and falling in love. There were obstacles throughout the story and it made it seem more realistic.

Tarah's Review:

There is just something about Rachael Anderson's books that are always winners. Clean romance? Check. Real and believable characters? Check. Great secondary characters? Check. What more could you ask for?

I guess the only thing that had me scratching my head for a bit was the fact that Lani was in a relationship for nine years! Wow...I can't even fathom that. Oh, I'm sure it happens, so it probably isn't even atypical for most people. It was just weird to me :)

I loved how believable the romance was. Sure there was attraction to start with, but then it had to go through ups and downs and figure things out stages.

Considering I'm reading it for the second time, I'd highly recommend this as a great book if you like clean contemporary romance fiction.

About the Author:

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

Blog Tour $50 Giveaway:

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/29/16
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

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Not Always HappenstanceTitle: Not Always Happenstance
Author: Rachael Anderson
Publisher: HEA Publishing
Published: February 2016
ISBN: 1941363156
Source: I received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cover Reveal: Painting Rain by Annette K. Larsen

Painting Rain

Painting Rain by Annette K. Larsen

Book Description:

How do you heal your heart after tragedy leaves you broken? When the person you loved didn’t deserve it and they can’t earn your forgiveness because they’re already dead? How do you move on, and heal, and love?

If you’re Princess Lorraina, you paint. A year ago Lorraina watched Tobias die, and she still doesn't know how she's supposed to heal—or forgive. How can she when she’s still running away? In an attempt to reinvent herself, she steps outside her comfortable life as princess and seeks the tutelage of a master painter—a man who is not at all impressed by her pedigree, and demands not just talent, but emotional honesty. Struggling to learn what’s being taught, she finds herself drawn to someone who not only knows her secrets, but who she once considered far below her notice. Now she is compelled to seek him out despite knowing their relationship would be forbidden if discovered. Staying away from him doesn’t seem possible when discovering him may be the key to healing her heart and rediscovering herself.
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About Author Annette K. Larsen:

Annette LarsenI was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona and St. Louis, Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University, where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children. I have Charlotte Brontë to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally, a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.

Cover Reveal Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Code or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/22/16
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

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