Friday, July 29, 2016

Book Review: The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions by Tracey Hecht,204,203,200_.jpg 

Book Description: 

Join us for a flabbergastifying adventure under the stars! The Nocturnals features three unlikely friends: Dawn, a serious fox, Tobin, a sweet pangolin and Bismark, the loud mouthed, pint sized sugar glider. The stories all play out in their nighttime world with teamwork, friendship and humor in every adventure.

In The Mysterious Abductions, the animals form a brigade of the night after a random encounter with a blood-thirsty snake, and just in time because something is threatening their night realm. Animals are disappearing without a trace. Together with the help of a wombat, a band of coyotes and many others, Dawn, Tobin and Bismark journey to the depths of the earth in a wacky, high stakes game that will determine all of their survival.

Rorie's Review:

My 8-year-old son LOVED this book. He devoured it within a day or two and immediately asked me when we could get the second book. He also would tell anyone and everyone that they really needed to read this book, because it was just the best thing ever. I loved that it made him very curious about the main animals in this book - enough so that he had to look up just what a pangolin and a sugar glider even were. He even wrote a paper on pangolins in school.
Here is my son's review in his own words: "I liked how it can teach you and make you laugh. Because I never heard of a sugar glider, pangolin, and kiwi bird. I wish I knew what country they were in and what language they were speaking."

I too am wondering what country this book takes place in. I do that with every book that I read  - I like to have a map in my head of where the story is taking place. Definitely a cute book, and one that I highly recommend for kids.

Tarah's Review:

This was a cute fast read. While reading it to myself I just kept thinking how fun it would be to hear it read aloud. Bismark, the sugar glider, says lots of funny things, and the crocodiles names said fast and together form a word (look for that, it's clever). I could see this being read in classes and families and then talking about choices, and forgiveness. Cute story.
Kember's (age 11) Review:

I loved this  book! My favorite character was the sugar glider because he was small and funny. I think it is funny that Bismark likes Dawn. It was fun to know what a pangolin was. It's cool that they let off stink glands when they are nervous. I keep wondering what language they are speaking and what country they are in.  It was sad when the crocodile figured out that his family was taken by poachers, not coachers. He kept stealing animals for a game, because he thought it would impress the coachers and they would give his family back, but the three main characters were able to help him figure it out.  I would recommend this book to all the kids who can read.,204,203,200_.jpg 
 Title: The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions
Author: Tracey Hecht
Publisher: Fabled Films Press
Published: April 2016

ISBN: 1944020004
Source: We received copies in exchange for an honest review.  
Purchase: Amazon

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Book Tour: A Beauty Refined by Tracie Peterson plus Giveaway, and Facebook Party

A Beauty Refined (Sapphire Brides, #2)
Book Description: 

Phoebe Von Bergen is excited to accompany her father when he travels from Germany to purchase sapphires in Montana. Little does she know that her father's plans--for the gemstones and his daughter--are not what they seem. 

Ian Harper, a lapidary working in Helena, finds the young woman staying at the Broadwater Hotel more than a little intriguing. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie--a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.

Meeting Ian has changed everything. Phoebe is determined to stay in America, regardless of her father's plans. But she may not be prepared for the unexpected danger as the deception begins to unravel.

Book Review:

I don't know who designs Tracie's covers, but they are all very well done. This is definitely a book that I would pick up and be curious about, just because of the cover. And then I would read that it was book 2 of the Sapphire Brides Series (and assuming I hadn't read book 1) I would hesitate. However, you can read this with no problem if you haven't read the first one. The way they tie in to each other is the Sapphires. Characters (at least that I remember) don't overlap at all, so you won't be missing anything (other than a good first story).

While I enjoyed the story, and will probably even read it again, I was a little...disappointed in Ian's and Phoebe's relationship. Don't get me wrong, Ian is great, and Phoebe is a sweetheart, but they didn't seem to spend a whole lot of time with each other. Maybe it's implied and I just missed it, but I was saddened by it all the same. I also wanted (although, it really wasn't necessary) more info about what happens to the servants at the conclusion, but that's just because I like everything really tied up :)

It's a cute story that won't take you long to read.

*Join Tracie in celebrating the release of A Beauty Refined by entering to win her Precious Gems giveaway (details below) and by attending her author chat party on August 9!

beauty refined - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/9. The winner will be announced at A Beauty Refined Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tracie and fellow fans of historical fiction, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

beauty refined - enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 9th! 


A Beauty Refined (Sapphire Brides, #2) Title: A Beauty Refined
Author: Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: July 2016
ISBN: 0764213253
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Blog Tour: Trapped in East Germany by Carolyn Twede Frank

Review * Giveaway

Book Description:

It is the autumn of 1943, and Karin Graeber is keenly aware of the uneasy tide of change swirling around her. She is not alone—in wartime Berlin, it seems that everyone has been swept up in the frightening transformation of their city. No more than a child, Karin is far too young to understand the Nazi presence or the drone of air-raid sirens or the absence of her beloved Pappa, a soldier in the German army. But when a bomb destroys their home, Karin is forced to grow up far too soon as her family joins the tens of thousands displaced in the raids on the city. Relying on their faith as Latter-day Saints, Karin and her family begin a journey that will prove the indomitable strength of the human spirit.

What follows is the sweeping narrative of one young girl's journey through war and beyond—from her childlike observations of World War II in Germany to her changing view of the world as she grows up in a land divided by war. Now, driven by starvation and the perilous existence of refugees, Karin and her family must draw upon a deep reservoir of strength and faith to sustain them through the harrowing escape ahead . . .

Rorie's Review:

This book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I've read a few novels about World War II - some of them dealing with people who were trapped in East Germany, but this book really hit home to me, knowing that it is based on a true story. The book starts out with Karin and her family dealing with frequent bombing by the Allies. It shocked me to find out that they thought of the Allies as their enemies. I have never thought about what the innocent people of Germany felt when their country was being bombarded during the war. War is horrible. Necessary sometimes, but still horrible.

As the book continues, we learn more about the struggles that Karin and her family lived through. Extreme poverty, having to hide every night from Russian soldiers, never having enough food. I got choked up more than once reading this book. What amazed me though, is that through it all, Karin did her best to not get too discouraged, and to keep a smile on her face. The faith that this girl had - even at just 6 years old - warms my heart.

Tour Schedule:

Tour Giveaway:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Blog Tour: The Heir of Brownlie Manor by Anita Stansfield

Reviews * Giveaway

The Heir of Brownlie Manor by Anita Stansfield

Book Description:

After a medical discharge from his duties in the Napoleonic War, Thomas Quincy Fitzbatten has returned home. Disoriented, burdened by guilt for his wealth, and disillusioned with life's injustices, Thomas longs for a chance to make a difference in the world. But he keeps himself a mystery to those around him, and another motive for his charity gnaws at the back of his mind: to seek redemption from the traumatic demons of war. 

Then everything changes at the arrival of Ruth Dawson, the niece of Thomas's butler, a stunning woman with a secret of her own. Thomas graciously offers to assist Ruth in her predicament, but a surprise instinct prompts Thomas to handle the case a little more personally—through marriage. 

As their love blossoms, it appears that all will be well—until Thomas receives a mysterious letter from an old friend in trouble, compelling him to the rescue. But what will Thomas do when nothing is as it seems? And why can't Ruth shake the feeling that her destiny is intertwined with Thomas's in a way they could never have imagined?

Andrea's Review:

I really enjoy clean Regency Romance novels, so even though I didn't care for the last book I read by Anita Stansfield I couldn't help but agree to review The Heir of Brownlie Manor. The cover is simple, but excellent for this genre. It would definitely catch my attention at a book store or library.

I was quite intrigued by the beginning of the book. I loved the way Thomas' parents raised him, and how they treated their servants so well. The relationship was so unlike everyone else in their high society, but it was refreshing. Thomas' willingness to help his butler's niece, Ruth, was really unique, and then it went so much beyond the norm. Even though it didn't fit the mold, I was happy for the choice he made.

The middle of the story really dragged for me. It kept repeating over and over how Thomas and Ruth thought life was too good to be true. I'm not the most patient reader and I just wanted them to get on with whatever tragedy was surely coming.

When tragedy finally struck the story became quite the soap opera. While I usually enjoy characters and situations that don't fit the mold, everything that came about was over the top for me.

Rorie's Review:

I generally really enjoy Regency romances, so I was excited to get this book. Sadly, this one just didn't do it for me. I was never able to become emotionally involved with the characters in this book. Thomas and Ruth's relationship and growing romance just seemed to happen way too easy, and there didn't seem to be any depth to it.

I was hoping that once I got to the climax of the book that it would get more interesting, but even that part fell flat. Unfortunately, this book just was not for me.

Tour Schedule:

*July 15th

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 11, 2016

Book Blast: Rachel Laine by Jennifer Peel

Rachel Laine  

Rachel Laine (The Women of Merryton #3) by Jennifer Peel 

Book Description:

Rachel Whitney’s life changed forever when Drew, the son of her twin sister, Sydney, was placed in her arms—and there he stayed. At twenty-two, she had no idea what she was doing, but in that moment, she knew that raising Drew was what she was meant to do with her life. ​ Fiercely independent, Rachel makes her own way managing her family's insurance agency. Decidedly against introducing any men into her life, or Drew’s, she protects her heart against all romantic entanglements. But what she didn’t count on was a letter from her sister that leads a famous secret to her door eight years after her sister’s death. A secret with the same eyes as her son’s. ​ Desperate not to get the courts involved, Rachel allows Drew’s previously unknown father, Andrew Turner, into their lives, and to her surprise, little by little into her heart. But for Rachel, taking that step could open her family to a firestorm of media attention that not even Merryton can protect them from. Is love worth the risk? Or will Andrew's fame and ambition ruin their chances? 



I was deep in thought about the Andrew predicament when my phone went off. I shook my head and picked it up. It was a text from Andrew.

Tell Drew to watch the Spartans pitcher. He throws a good 4-seam fastball.

I relayed the message to Drew. He was already glued to the TV anyway.

“Hey, Mom, did you know that there are different ways to hold a baseball when you throw it?”

“No, I didn’t know that.”

“Yeah, Andrew told me.”

“So, you really like Andrew?”

He turned his attention away from the flat screen for a second. “He’s awesome.”

I sighed and got another text. Did Drew see that pitch?

“That’s the pitch Andrew was talking about,” Drew exclaimed.

Yep, I texted back.

He texted a few more times about different things Drew should pay attention to, like the way the pitcher had to look for those trying to steal the base, or how he always needed to be ready to catch or field the ball if it was hit.

Aren’t you supposed to be watching the game? I texted back after several messages.

I’m so talented that I can do both.

How does your head fit inside your hat?

I’m not wearing one tonight.

Good thing. Since we’re talking about my big head, watch for my interview with tonight’s commentators. It should play during one of the breaks.

Darn, it’s bed time. I guess we’ll miss it.

I saw your DVR. Put it to good use.

You’re so bossy.


I didn’t respond. He was really getting on my nerves. I thought since he was gone I wouldn’t have to deal with him, but he was like a fly buzzing around, annoying me. And every time I tried to swat him away, he only became more persistent.

Rachel Laine?

See what I mean?

Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think you’re beautiful when you’re annoyed.

I’ll record your dumb interview.

You’re the best. Tell Drew goodnight for me.  
 add to goodreads    

Praise for the Book:

"You nailed it!!! These books keep getting better and better each time! I looovvved it!"

"How is it possible that you just keep getting better? I swear this one is my favorite." "

I literally got lost in Merryton again. It is one of my favorite places to visit."  

About the Author:

Jennifer Peel headshotJennifer Peel is the mother of three amazing kiddos. Wife to her one and only for the past twenty-one years. Lover of late night talks, beach vacations, the mountains, pink bubble gum ice cream, tours of model homes, and southern living. She can frequently be found with her laptop on, fingers typing away, indulging in chocolate milk, and writing out the stories that are constantly swirling through her head.

Blast Giveaway:

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 7/28/16
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.
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Friday, July 1, 2016

Book Blast: Chasing Fireflies by Taylor Dean

Chasing Fireflies  
Chasing Fireflies by Taylor Dean

Book Description:

My sisters think I’m crazy.

But, I’ve never forgotten the mysterious woman from my childhood who told me Paul is the name of my one true love. 

She told me to search far and wide for him. 

I haven’t stopped looking ever since. 

When I stumble across an article about a successful American entrepreneur named Paul who lives and works in China, I’m intrigued. When the opportunity to teach English in China presents itself on the same day, I know it’s not a coincidence. 

It’s destiny.  

My sisters say I’m chasing a dream. 

Just like the fireflies we tried to catch on the warm summer evenings of our youth, the dream seems beyond my grasp. Will my quest for the elusive Paul always be just short of fulfillment?  

My sisters tell me it’s a fool’s errand. 

Until I remind them of the day we saw the Red Bird. 

The memory silences them. 

 The Red Bird Incident remains inarguable—and proves my search for Paul is not a silly fantasy. 

I will find Paul . . . I will. 

Praise for Chasing Fireflies: 

It was like Taylor Dean left a trail of chocolate chips leading to a plate of delicious cookies at the end. Yummy! I had to eat every single one and now I’m full and feasting on the satisfaction of a well written story. 
-Author Charissa Stastny 

Taylor Dean is such a creative and skilled author that she has the ability to make the unusual and the unthinkable seem real. 
-Lisa, Goodreads Reviewer 

As always I loose myself in Taylor’s books, experiencing rather than reading the story, from that first glance and butterflies in my belly, to the inevitable heartache, to the amazingly captivating events that lead us to the blissful happily ever after. 
-Mylissa's Reviews and Book Thoughts 

add to goodreads  

My sisters stare at me with wide eyes, perhaps shocked at my show of assertiveness. 

“Besides,” I continue, slowly looking them each in the eyes, “you know why I have to go. I know he’s there and I have to find him.” 

“Please tell me you are not going on about that Paul business again. Searching for him is ridiculous.” Sadie folds her arms across her chest as if sulking. “It’s a fool’s errand.” 

Saige avoids my eyes. “That’s crazy talk, Savannah. You won’t find him.” 

“Is it? Every single thing has come true and you know it. If I don’t find him, I will lose everything.” 

“Don’t overdramatize the situation. It’s just a coincidence,” Samantha spouts heatedly. “There’s no proof.” 

“Really? What about the Red Bird?” I ask. 

That silences them. Simultaneously, their eyes lower and they hunch down in their seats. 

They have nothing to say about the Red Bird. The Red Bird Incident remains to this day, inarguable. Admittedly, it still leaves me speechless too. I’ve often tried to explain it away as coincidence, to convince myself it couldn’t possibly be true. It’s no use. The Red Bird defies all reason and common sense. 

As their silence continues, I say, “It’s not crazy. It’s my future. Miss Pearl was right, you know she was. She told me I would receive tragic news and I did. She told me to watch out for the Red Bird and I did. She told me to search far and wide for Paul . . . and I need to do it.” 
 Red Bird  

About Author Taylor Dean:

taylor deanTaylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of clean romance in her line-up. 

Blast Giveaway Details:

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 7/21/16
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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