Friday, October 27, 2017

Blog Tour: Christmas Grace: A Regency Christmas Collection

Reviews * Giveaway

Christmas Grace: A Regency Christmas Collection

Book Description:

Let Nothing You Dismay by Jennifer Moore: After their childhood friendship blossomed into love, one young couple's whirlwind romance ended in bitter disappointment. Now, years later, can a long-overdue Christmas gift heal two wounded hearts?

Christmas at Canterwood by Krista Lynn Jensen: A charming new governess is determined to create a magical Christmas for her young charges. What follows is a season of warmth, laughter, and even the promise of an unanticipated love.

Winter Angel by Anita Stansfield: For generations, one small London bakery has carried on the sweet tradition of delivering bread to the impoverished. When the lovely baker meets a down-on-his luck stranger, her kindness will open the door to a bright friendship—and an astonishing discovery.

Christmas Grace by Chalon Linton: After suffering a heartbreaking loss, one woman returns home to honor the family tradition of staging a Christmas celebration for the surrounding village. But when a severe snowstorm hinders her plans, help—and hope—find her in the most unexpected of ways.

Andrea's Review:

If I had to describe this collection in one word, I'd call it sweet. The stories are all quite different, but when I finished each one my first thought was how sweet each story was. And, even more important than sweet stories, I also came away being inspired to look for and help those in need this Christmas.

Novellas can be tricky. Some are too rushed, and just don't feel complete, but I thought each of these authors did a good job of engaging me and making me care about the characters. It is a perfect collection for a quick romance with a Christmas setting.

I can see myself reading this again.

Tarah's Review:

To start with, it's a beautiful cover. However, it does seem a little dark to me. Anyone else? I think of Christmas as a bright and happy time, and the color scheme seems more suited for a suspense novel or something. It's not important, and has no bearing on the stories, it just seemed like a dark cover for Christmas stories.

The first two stories were my favorite. I think I even cried in the first one. I love that they were well written and didn't feel rushed like novellas can. The stories and the characters were, in both novellas, well done.

I struggled with the last two, especially the third. It just seemed too...perfect? for me. Some strange guy has been watching you on the street, and you help him in his time of need and you both fall for each other in a day. And your father is okay with it. I don't know. It just didn't sit well with me.

I liked the beginning of the last story, but by the end my interest in it just diminished. Which made me sad since it is so short. It had a lot of potential, but then it just...ended all wrapped up in a little bow. I don't know, it just wasn't as satisfying to me.

I can see myself rereading the first two stories again, especially during the holidays.

Rorie's Review:

I usually prefer to read full-length novels, because I enjoy getting lost in the story and really getting to know the main characters. Novellas are so short that you just don't get to do that with them. That being said, I did enjoy each of these stories. The first one, Let Nothing You Dismay was my favorite, even though it seemed to be the quickest story out of all of them. That was one that I could see being a full-length story, and I would definitely read it if it were.

Christmas at Canterwood was a bit slow-moving, and felt more like words on a page than a story to me. I found the main character in Winter Angel to be so kind and good-hearted, the type of person I hope to raise my children to be. I also enjoyed the storyline of Christmas Grace and would like to read that in a full-length story as well. (Are you seeing a pattern here? There's definitely a pattern.)

Even with the struggle I have reading novellas, this was an overall enjoyable book to read. I do like that you can easily finish one story in a very short time, so you're not left hanging for a day or so while you go attend to life's duties.

Tour Schedule:

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Title: Christmas Grace: A Regency Christmas Collection
Authors: Jennifer Moore, Krista Lynne Jensen, Anita Stansfield, and Chalon Linton
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 1524404403
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Book Blast: Return to Christmas Falls

Return to Christmas Falls
Seven Heartwarming Christmas Reads by Seven Fabulous Authors!!

Homecoming in Christmas Falls by Ciara Knight
Eight years after fleeing Christmas Falls because of a high school prank gone wrong, Ashley Brooks receives a mysterious letter from her mentor asking her to come home. She arrives to face all she left behind—her family, her friends, and the rich boy she’d loved who would never date the girl from the wrong side of town. Brent Donnelly, high school jock, brainiac, and dutiful son did everything right until the day Ashley returns to ChristmasFalls. With one look at the girl who got away he questions all his life choices, including following in his father’s footsteps in the family business. Faced with a potentially devastating decline of tourism in their hometown, Brent and Ashley must work together to save the magic of their town, but when Ashley discovers he still has feelings for her best friend she must finally face the real reason she left Christmas Falls—to try to heal her broken heart.


Honeymoon for One in Christmas Falls by Jennifer Peel

Is there room for two on this honeymoon for one? Piper Wyatt’s Christmas wish is to get promoted to manager at Blackstock Hotel and Resort. Not only does the promotion mean more money, but it means more time with her son and proof that she’s not such a disappointment after all. Jace Petersen, successful owner of a national chain of sporting goods stores, finds himself alone and miserable on what should have been his honeymoon. That is until he literally falls onto the lovely Piper Wyatt. He’s intrigued with this woman who can fix a car in high heels. Too bad for him, he makes a horrible first impression, and Piper’s not allowed to mingle with the guests. While Piper tries her best to steer clear of Jace during his stay, she can’t help but notice he’s not the man from their first meeting. But is he worth risking her promotion? Or is Jace right, Piper deserves more than she ever thought possible for herself? Find out in this charming Christmas tale about finding love in the most unexpected place, a honeymoon.


Once Again in Christmas Falls by Becky Monson

In one day, London Walsh finds out her ex is going to be her boss and that her parents are getting a divorce—and they want her to referee the situation. So when she’s offered the chance to spend the holidays in her old hometown of ChristmasFalls, far away from all the drama, she jumps on it. But the quaint town doesn’t feel quite like the home it once was. London shed the goth image that defined her in high school long ago, but no one recognizes the woman she's become. Except for Andy Broll, London’s childhood next door neighbor. He recognizes her immediately, which sends London’s heart fluttering as she starts to see Andy in a whole different light. But when her time in Christmas Falls doesn’t go as planned, will London face it head on? Or will she find a reason to run?


Rumor Has It in Christmas Falls by Melinda Curtis

As a political strategist at Dunlop Bennet & Associates, Lexi Townsend's career is going nowhere. She's a cubical dweller writing speeches for freshmen senators in DC. But if she can hitch her career wagon to a rising political star, she’ll be on her way to a corner office in no time. When she’s offered a plum holiday assignment–an ideal candidate with deep pockets, someone who could make the leap from local to national politics–she starts to dream about that corner office. Until she realizes her candidate is Kevin O’Malley, aka Kevin the Hottie, Kevin the Snob, Kevin the Liar, the same guy who shattered her high school reputation back home in Christmas Falls with a rumor. Assignment in hand, Lexi braces herself for the most difficult political race of her career--because this time it’s personal.

Forever Yours in Christmas Falls by Susan Hatler

Morgan Reed is excited to return to her hometown of Christmas Falls and open her beauty salon, but when she arrives to her rented business space she’s shocked to find it already occupied by Dallas Parker—her brother’s best friend, the guy she had a childhood crush on, and the one her mom blames for their family’s greatest tragedy. With their landlord out of the country and unreachable, Morgan and Dallas must open their businesses together. But, no worries, all small towns need a combo furniture store/beauty salon, right? Ugh. As they work together, Morgan tries to keep her emotional distance but time and off-the-charts chemistry soon turn a childhood friendship into a blossoming romance. Unfortunately, just when their relationship develops into something deeper, an unexpected crisis re-opens her family’s old wounds and the blame is on Dallas once again. Will Morgan’s sadness and fear pull them apart, or make her realize Dallas has always been her heart’s true safe harbor?


Love Notes in Christmas Falls by Beth Labonte

When Caitlin Cook left the small town of Christmas Falls, Tennessee to attend Harvard University, she left behind the burden of her parents’ slowly increasing hoard of antiques, a much younger brother, and Shane Mitchell—the boy who blindsided her with the news that he loved her on the night before she left. Shane Mitchell spent his high school years fascinated by Caitlin Cook. The quiet flute player with her nose always in a book, he wanted desperately to find out what made her tick. Eight years later, Caitlin returns to Christmas Falls—unemployed and newly single—after receiving a devastating letter from her beloved high school mentor. Caitlin is shocked to find her childhood home in disarray, and her little brother in desperate need of his sister. With Shane’s help—now a pillar of the community rather than the carefree teenager Caitlin once knew—she begins to rediscover her love for music, antiques, and possibly even Shane. When faced with the choice of rebuilding her life in Boston, or giving love a second chance in Christmas Falls, will Caitlin be able to decide on the true meaning of home?


Finding The Truth in Christmas Falls by Danielle Stewart
Olivia Mackey spent her whole life hearing how she was destined for bigger and better places than Christmas Falls, Tennessee. A regular on the beauty queen scene from a very young age, she learned from her stage mom, that appearances mean everything. Having spent the years after high school traveling the world and failing at the dream everyone told her she should have, she's back home and wondering what she's to do next. Nothing is where she left it. Friends have scattered, her mentor is ill, and Olivia is fumbling her way through a big life in a small town.

Tim Avondale and his young daughter showed up in Christmas Falls one evening looking for a fresh start. Buying the Sleepy Hound Bookstore seemed the perfect opportunity. Life had gone so wrong and now here in this quiet town he could keep anything bad from happening to his daughter again.

When the two cross paths Olivia and Tim find an instant connection. A tug toward each other they don't want to ignore. The problem is, in the process they are being tugged away from all the things they thought were important in their lives. He can't hide out from real life forever. She is more than just what people see on the surface. But when they're forced to decide will they choose to be better together or safer apart?
  amazon or paypal 
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 11/5/17 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. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review: A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden

A Dangerous Legacy (Empire State, #1)
Book Description:

Lucy is determined to keep working as a telegraph operator at a news agency, even though the arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith threatens her position. When she discovers Colin's shocking secret, she agrees to assist him if he helps her find her family's stolen inheritance--not realizing that the trail leads into a web of treachery, danger, and conspiracy.

Book Review:

Elizabeth Camden does it again. Her ability to write real characters with real emotions pulls you into a different world. Even if you don't agree or like to characters, you can't fault that they are very well portrayed.

I will say that I think the description of the book is a tad misleading. While technically everything is true, Colin doesn't really threaten her job, as he works for a different company (although the companies are rivals, they share a surprisingly good least that is what I read in the back of the book history stuff). He also discovers her secret first when she sort of bribes him (after getting mad at him for trying to bribe that was interesting) and they freely tell each other their secrets. And she doesn't really have anything to find regarding her families stolen inheritance. He does do some reporting work and investigative journalism to find information for her, so I'm assuming that's what that is referring too, but really, back of the book synopis, not great for this one.

Both Lucy and Colin are great, and while I didn't love their relationship while he was planning something else, I loved that she told him no (in essence) when circumstances changed. I actually really liked that he was kind of a jerk at that time. It all seemed very realistic to me.

Great time frame, amazing characters, and an interesting story line. All winners in my book. I will definitely keep reading more from this author!

A Dangerous Legacy (Empire State, #1)
Title: A Dangerous Legacy
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 0764218816
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Book spotlight: A is for Adam: An Alphabet Book of Bible Heroes by Heidi Poelman 

Book Description:

Bring your favorite scriptural heroes to life with this fun family ABC book! Discover the amazing men and women God inspired to do great things in His name, from A for Adam to Z for Zacharias. Colorful and entertaining, this book is the perfect way to teach alphabet letters and Bible lessons at the same time!

About the author and illustrator:

Heidi Poelman is the author of A is for Abinadi: An Alphabet Book of ScriptureHeroes, A Mother's Greatest Gift, The Two-Minute Marriage Project: Simple Secrets for Staying in Love, and the upcoming books I Can Love Like Jesus and A Is forAdam: An Alphabet Book of Scripture Heroes. Heidi received her degrees in communication from Brigham Young University (BA) and Wake ForestUniversity (MA). She lives in Utah with her husband and three children.

Maggie Coburn loves drawing and storytelling. She has her BA in anthropology from UC Santa Cruz (where she discovered the amazing art form that is scientific illustration), and her MFA in traditional illustration from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She lives with her husband and son in California.  

Tarah's Review:

I have a special place in my heart for children's books, and the colors and how bright and happy everything is in A is for Adam makes me very happy indeed.

A couple things I really liked about this book is first, the words. I thought the author did a great job of paraphrasing each person or quality. I also liked how there were qualities, like obedience, in there. Good lessons for my children. Very well written. I was pleased to see a page of review for letters A-L and what they stood for, and at the end a page of M-Z and what they stood for. I'm thinking of all kinds of activities I could do for that. I like how the inside page right when you open and close the book are colorful and have the alphabet on them instead of just a blank white page.

My 6 year old daughter didn't really love the silly illustrations, like on the Good Samaritan he got hit in the head with a golf ball while on the golf course. She just didn't understand why the funny things were in the pictures, and she struggled with that. While I love the colors and the pictures are well done, I do agree with her that some of them were just too silly. My 4 year old didn't have a problem with it though. Her favorite picture was Shadrac and him singing with sunglasses in the fire with his buddies.
Title: A is for Adam: An Alphabet Book of Bible Heroes
Author: Heidi Poelman
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 1462120245
Source: We will be receiving copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book

Monday, October 23, 2017

Book Review: Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

Blind Spot (Chesapeake Valor, #3)
Book Description:

FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life--but isn't sure exactly what he's chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that "the wrath is coming," Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She's sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there's anyone who can help him, it's Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can't deny, and she's pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell--and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming "wrath" that could cost thousands their lives.

Tarah's Review:

Okay, it took me a long time to even want to start this book. I enjoyed the other books in the series (especially the one right before this Still Life) but I read them so long ago I couldn't remember them, and well, I think the cover is ugly. Plus, when I started the story the prologue didn't pull me in and I put the book down for a week or so. However, once I got into the story and remembered the characters I was hooked.

I always liked Declan in the other books, so I was glad that he got his own story. I'm a little disappointed Griffith got a lot of time in this book though. I'm all for bringing in all the characters and even having the next books main characters have a showing (which they do in this book, and wow...super excited for the next book. Super excited!) but I hate having past characters play a big role, especially since the case he was working on wasn't exactly pertinent to this story. I guess she needed a way to get all the characters in the story sort of working together, but every time the point of view switched to Griffith I was slightly annoyed.

I would not suggest reading this if you haven't read the others in the series. The story might make sense, but having the whole story behind all the characters would be super helpful. Especially concerning Luke.

Speaking of Luke, cliff-hanger ending! Ahhh, the suspense is killing me. When is his book supposed to come out? Ya, really can't wait to finish this off with his story. I was totally taken in by this story and had a hard time putting it down to go to sleep.

Andrea's Review:

I didn’t realize this was a third book in a series when I started reading it. I recognized most of the characters from having read the first book a long time ago, but felt lost. And I was confused about why the author kept switching back and forth between two very unrelated cases. Apparently that was just a way for her to get all of her characters in one story. It would have been much more enjoyable to have two separate stories. I was also put off at times by dialogue that didn’t flow.

That said, when the focus was mostly on Declan and Tanner’s case, the story got pretty intense, and the intensity kept me reading.

Like the first book I read in this series, faith plays an important part for the main characters and there is time out for their prayers.

I was intrigued by the Luke angle, and that actually has me interested to read the next book (assuming it’s about him).

Blind Spot (Chesapeake Valor, #3) Title: Blind Spot
Author: Dani Pettrey
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 0764212966
Source: We received copies from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Book Review: Topaz Reign by Teresa Richards

Book Description:

Fairy tales are simply tales, told and re-told, but changed over time. It has been four months since Maggie learned the dark truth behind the tale of the Princess and the Pea and freed Princess Lindy from the cursed Emerald. Lindy is now back in the past where she belongs, queen of her tiny Scandinavian country, and Maggie is a fully reformed ex-stalker. Except … she can’t stop doing internet searches on Lindy and her country. One morning, Maggie wakes to find history turned on its head. Apparently, you can’t destroy a centuries-old curse without consequence. In order to prevent the changes in history from wiping out the present, Maggie resurrects her stalking gene and learns that fairy tales don’t stay dead for long. Or at all. Back in 1623, Lindy is juggling a threat to her family, a handsome new guard she’s not supposed to have feelings for, and a cursed Topaz with ties to the tale of Thumbelina. When past and present collide, Lindy and Maggie are brought together again, and another of Andersen’s tales turns from twisted fiction to chilling fact.

Rorie's Review:

I enjoyed Emerald Bound, but I really, really liked Topaz Reign. This story drew me in from the beginning and kept me entertained throughout. I enjoyed how each of the characters grew and developed in this story.

Lindy struggles to live life as the queen, and feels like she's messing everything up. She really misses Garon and wishes he was with her to offer her support. Maggie is trying to readjust to normal life with Garon at her side now, but she almost obsessively researches any information she can find about her friend in the past. When she notices that history has drastically changed, she and Garon know that something has gone wrong and they have to fix it.

I enjoyed how the author wove the future and the past together and how she eventually brought Garon, Lindy and Maggie back together. There are some unexpected twists and turns in this story - things I never would have guessed at - which is a good thing, because you never quite know what's going to happen next. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending of the story though. I need to process that a bit more to decide if I like how it ended or not.

Definitely a good, quick read that I will be adding to my bookshelf.

Tarah's Review:

Yes, this was a fun book to finish the series with. Right away I got pulled in, but I will say that I was a little disappointed when it kept changing points of view back to Maggie. I felt like she already had her story, and she could have still been in this story without the switches back and forth.

I would have liked more between Lindy and her love interest. There was a little bit, but then towards the end it was all summed up and I feel like I missed out on some great characters falling in love, and their story on how they got there.

The ending...hmm...not sure about the ending. I can't say much without it being a spoiler, but even though I had no problems with the time travel, magic diamonds, scifi stuff in general I did struggle with the end for Maggie. I know that doesn't make sense, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone who has yet to read it. And read it you should, because it's a fun, quick, YA read. Title: Topaz Reign
Author: Teresa Richards
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Published: September 2017
ISBN: 1773394339
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon Barnes & Noble

Friday, October 20, 2017

Blog Tour: 100 Favorite Verses From the Old Testament by Shauna Humphreys

Reviews * Giveaway
100 Favorite Verses From the Old Testament by Shauna Humphreys

Book Description:

Studying—and truly understanding—the Old Testament can feel like an insurmountable task. But in this wonderful compilation of 100 of the most beloved Old Testament verses, author Shauna Humphreys reminds readers that this sacred book of scripture is brimming with treasures of wisdom for those prepared to seek them. Presented with complementary spiritual insights, vibrant explanations, and personal applications, each verse will motivate readers to delve into these sacred and powerful teachings as never before. Whether used in personal study or incorporated into family discussions or Church lessons, this inspiring volume is sure to enlighten the mind and stir the heart.

Andrea's Review:

My attention was grabbed when I read the part of the book description for 100 Favorite Verses from the Old Testament that said "truly understanding the Old Testament". I read the Old Testament years ago as part of a seminary class, and several years after that I attempted it on my own. However, I was so put off by what I couldn't understand that I soon gave up.

When 100 Favorite Verses from the Old Testament arrived in my mailbox I was very surprised to find a 200 page book. Although I wasn't anticipating two pages per verse (I'm not sure how else you'd understand the verses without some good explanations-I just hadn't thought that part through), I was very impressed with the look of the book. It is a lovely, stitched leather (faux?) hardcover with debossed titles and silver gilded pages. It will fit very well next to your scriptures.

This isn't a one sitting kind of book. It's a study guide of sorts, or maybe something you'd use for family nights or devotionals. My goal is to read a chapter a day (so one verse and explanation per day), and it has been an enjoyable experience so far. The author gives some great insights, and there is definitely food for thought.

Rorie's Review:

First off, this book! It is so nice looking - almost elegant, really. Second, while I haven't finished the whole book yet, I am very pleased with the presentation so far. I really struggle with scripture study, especially in the Bible, because I have such a hard time understanding what a lot of the scriptures even mean. As a result, I have purchased several styles of scripture help books. Many of them I've ended up reselling or donating, because they just didn't give me the additional help that I need to gain some great scriptural insights. I think this one will be a keeper though. I really like how the author focuses on one scripture at a time and then spends two pages talking about it, linking other scriptures to it, and giving some great insights.

This is not a book that is best read in one sitting. This is something that I have added to my daily scripture time, and I read/study one verse a day, along with my other reading that I'm doing. This is a small enough book that you can take it with you and pull it out to read when you're waiting for carpool pickup, in line at a store, or at the doctor's office. I'm very happy to add this book to my collection.

Tour Schedule:

Tour Giveaway:

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Title: 100 Favorite Verses From the Old Testament
Author: Shauna Humphreys
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 1524403938
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: The Moonlight Meeting: The Nocturnals by Tracey Hecht

The Moonlight Meeting: The Nocturnals

Book Description:

In The Moonlight Meeting, Tobin, a sweet pangolin, Bismark, a loud-mouthed sugar glider, and Dawn, a serious fox, introduce their nighttime world to early readers. The story emphasizes friendship, sharing, and humor. Includes bonus animal glossary.

Rorie's Review:

I thought this was a really cute book. My kids all read it right after we got it in the mail. It was easy enough for my 6-year-olds to read, but still entertaining for my 9-year-old (who loves all things Nocturnal.) This is definitely a book that will be read over and over again. 
Here are reviews from two of my boys (I couldn't get one from the other 6-year-old.)

Micah - I liked how Bismarck acted. He acted funny. I like how Dawn came through the bushes. I also like how Tobin pooped out stinky stuff.

Braden - I like how the book was just like the first book in the beginning. I like how Bismark acted like he owns the woods. My favorite character is Dawn because she is so smart and can figure out problems faster then the others. Tobin is very protective about others and he cares about others. 

Tarah's Review:

How fun is this book?! Not only was I really excited when I got it, but my 6 year old was thrilled. She is just starting to read "chapter" books, and she thought she was the coolest thing ever to read this book just like her older siblings. They previously read the older version of the Nocturnals, and she knew all about it. In fact, it's a good thing I quickly read it before I handed it to her because I haven't seen it since. She plays games pretending to be the fox and my other kids think it's funny to talk in an accent like Bismark.

Do you have an early reader? Check this book out for them. It's super cute.

The Moonlight Meeting: The Nocturnals
 Title: The Moonlight Meeting: The Nocturnals
Author: Tracey Hecht
Publisher: Fabled Films Press
Published: September 2017
ISBN: 1944020152
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Review: Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering by M.L. Foreman 
Book Description:

The long-awaited final volume of the Adventures Wanted series. Whalen Vankin is the worlds greatest wizard, and he has only ever personally trained two other wizards. One is Alexander Taylor, a young man who has earned a reputation as a brave adventurer, a warrior, and man of honor. The other is Jabez, Vankin's nephew and a man whose choices have led him down a different, darker path.
Dark magic has covered Westland, and evil is stirring. Whalen and Alex must journey together into the heart of danger, confronting a sea serpent, battling their way through a goblin army, and facing down more than one dragon. Alex must find the legendary Axe of Sundering the one weapon that offers a chance to defeat Jabez and protect the land from the dark wizards plans. But finding it will be an adventure of its own as the only pathway to the Axe leads through the underground tunnels and secret passages of Castle Conmar.
But Jabez has one final weapon at his disposal: the powerful Orion Stone, which could spell the end to Whalen and Alex both.

Rorie's Review:

I didn't realize this was the 5th book in a series until my son pointed it out to me. He has the first book, and enjoyed it, but he didn't want to read this one until he's had a chance to read the other three books. 

I have to agree with him. Some books work well as stand-alone novels, but this one did not. There were a lot of things that were mentioned that I know would have made much more sense if I had read the first 4 books. Maybe that's why I felt like there wasn't a whole lot of depth to these characters and really, the whole story line. 

While this book just wasn't for me, I think my oldest two kids would really get into this series. We just need to get the middle three books now so they can read them all. :)

Tarah's Review:

I'm going to agree with Rorie on this one. Starting on the fifth book of this series was probably not the best idea I've ever had. It certainly was an entertaining book, but because we didn't know a lot about the characters they all seemed to be missing something. A lot of things weren't explained either. I'm assuming Alex's O'Gash was like his dragon personality or something, but no explanation was given in this book and I was left to my own devises to figure something out.

It's a beautiful cover though, no? In fact all of the covers in this series are great looking, so kudos to the design team there.

I'm interested in the other books of the series, but will probably only read them if they fall into my lap. I do think my kids would like them though. I'm hesitant to let them read this one first, just because it's the last book, but I think they would enjoy it. Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering
Author: M.L. Forman
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 1609079345
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Review: An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

 An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, #4)
Book Description:

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

Book Review:

I will admit that after Hunter's last book I was hesitant to pick this one up, but the first couple books and novella were just so good that I decided to give it a try. Starting with the cover, I don't really love it, but I do appreciate that it matches the rest of the series.

I really enjoyed Griffith in the other novels (although they can all be read by themselves in any order), so it was fun to see what made him, him. I enjoyed how the story started when he was just a boy at school. It was fun to see Ryland as a boy as well. My favorite thing about Griffith is how he tries to pick his wife. It definitely isn't something that is seen often, and I thought it was refreshing.

My favorite part with Isabella is when she is walking with Griffith and she starts smelling the trees. I found a lot of humor in that :) It was also fun for me to see the old characters make appearances and relate to each other. I am a sucker for family series, and this family is just a great family.

It's not the best book in the series, but I really enjoyed reading it, and I will read it again. If you are looking for a clean, light, easy, entertaining read, this will do the trick.

An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, #4)
Title: An Inconvenient Beauty
Author: Kristi Ann Hunter
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: September 2017
ISBN:   0764218271
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Blog Tour: Topaz Reign by Teresa Richards

Topaz Reign by Teresa Richards

Book Description:

Fairy tales are simply tales, told and re-told, but changed over time.

It has been four months since Maggie learned the dark truth behind the tale of the Princess and the Pea and freed Princess Lindy from the cursed Emerald. Lindy is now back in the past where she belongs, queen of her tiny Scandinavian country, and Maggie is a fully reformed ex-stalker.

Except … she can’t stop doing internet searches on Lindy and her country.

One morning, Maggie wakes to find history turned on its head. Apparently, you can’t destroy a centuries-old curse without consequence. In order to prevent the changes in history from wiping out the present, Maggie resurrects her stalking gene and learns that fairy tales don’t stay dead for long.

Or at all.

Back in 1623, Lindy is juggling a threat to her family, a handsome new guard she’s not supposed to have feelings for, and a cursed Topaz with ties to the tale of Thumbelina. When past and present collide, Lindy and Maggie are brought together again, and another of Andersen’s tales turns from twisted fiction to chilling fact.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle

Tour Giveaway:

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Author Interview:

What inspired you to write Topaz Reign?

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it really started with a dream. I’d recently finished writing a different book I was really excited about, but was more women's fiction than young adult. Then one morning I woke up from one of those dreams that make perfect sense while you’re in them but fall to pieces when you wake up. It involved having to rescue a friend from certain death by getting a marble-like stone out from under her bed--I know, super random and weird. But it changed my direction.

I realized that the stone thread from that dream would make a really cool YA twist on the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. I love reading fairy tale retellings, and the idea of twisting one up that hadn’t been done before was so exciting. Immediately, the story spun to life inside my head, and I stopped thinking about that first book and started working on this one. Even once Emerald Bound was finished, I felt there was still so much more I wanted to see the characters do, and so many more places I could take it, that I knew I wanted to do another. Hence, Topaz Reign.

Is there a message in Topaz Reign that you want readers to come away with?

I really didn’t write this book with the intent to deliver a message, but I hope readers come away with a new appreciation for family. I also hope readers will realize that it’s possible to be strong even when you lose your support network and the odds are stacked against you, but it’s also okay to accept help when it’s offered. 

Who is your favorite character in your book, and why?

I love both of my leading ladies—Maggie and Lindy. But this book was about Lindy coming into her own, while Emerald Bound was more about Maggie. I love the person that Lindy became through Topaz Reign. She handled herself with dignity and poise even in the toughest of circumstances, and I admire her for that.

What are your hopes/goals as an author, and what other projects do you have in mind?

I write because I love it, but writing something you know you’ll be able to share with other people makes it that much better. I love talking with teens about writing (and, really, all things life) and I hope to inspire them to chase their dreams in a way I didn’t have the courage to do when I was their age. I signed with a literary agent about a year ago, with the goal of bringing my stories to a wider audience. We have a book currently on submission with editors, a YA contemporary suspense, and another YA contemporary that I’m working on. I don’t want to say too much about either project, but the first features a piano playing lottery winner, and the second involves roller-skating gymnasts. How’s that for vague?

Do you have any unusual habits while you write?

Well, right now I’m sitting in the back seat of my car, in a deserted parking lot, writing on my laptop while I wait for the library to open. Does that count as unusual? I have five kids between the ages of six and sixteen, so I have to make use of every moment I can. I often find myself writing in the car as I wait for somebody’s class/lesson/school activity/club to end, or waiting outside the library before it opens because I had to take one of my kids to school or to a doctor appointment before school and it would be a waste of time to go home. There are fewer distractions in the car (actually, like none—it’s not comfortable enough to lay down for a nap, and there’s no tv or internet or dishes or laundry) and I’m often able to focus better.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love music. I play the piano when I need a mental break (it’s better than a therapist, I’d say) and I’ve always got a song stuck in my head (which I sing out loud in all sorts of places I shouldn’t, like the grocery store and the movie theater). I also enjoy watching movies and spending time with my family and friends. And reading, of course. Always reading.

What is your favorite book, and why?

Oh, man, that’s like asking me to pick my favorite child. There are so many books I love, and for different reasons. The Book Thief is at the top of my list, just because it’s so surprisingly different in the way that it’s written. And, of course, the story is amazing. I also love a little book called Ella Minnow Pea for being so clever. And then there’s the Cinder series and the Splintered series, both fairy tale retellings that I adore. And there are so many others. So, yeah, I’m sorry but I can’t pick just one. Books are the best!

Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, October 3--Katie's Clean Book Selection
Thursday, October 5--Singing Librarian Books
Thursday, October 5--Cindy's Treasury of Good Tales--review

Friday, October 6--Blooming With Books
Saturday, October 7--Cindy's Treasury of Good Tales--Guest post, Interview with the Topaz Reign Characters
Saturday, October 7--By Robin King
Sunday, October 8--Head Over Books
Monday, October 9--Why not? Because I said so!
Tuesday, October 10--EmmyMom 
Tuesday, October 10--Five Take Flight
Wednesday, October 11--Kindle And Me 
Wednesday, October 11--Getting Your Read On
Thursday, October 12--My Book A Day
Friday, October 13--Brookie Cowles
Saturday, October 14--LDS Women's Book Reviews 
Saturday, October 14--Literary Time Out 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Book Blast: Game Changer by Charissa Stastny

Game Changer by Charissa Stastny 

Book Description:

Meridee Mansford wants nothing to do with the popular crowd. She’s comfortable being invisible. But that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about the hunky football player who visits the campus ice cream shop where she works. Still, she’s smart enough to know he’d never notice a girl like her, and she’d never want him even if he did. Too much unwelcome attention. 

Parker Harrington basks in the glory that’s been his since the game-changing passes he caught that pushed his team into the national spotlight. Sticky Fingers is his media moniker now, and the cheerleaders who used to ignore him when he sat the bench have become his most devoted fans. But when he accidentally crashes into a quiet coed and covers her in orange chicken, it throws off his offensive game. 

As fate, ice cream, and orange chicken throw the opposites together, will Parker continue keeping company with women he knows are only using him for his fame, or will he change up the game and risk his heart on a genuine girl who despises the attention he craves? 


Praise for the Book:

“A fun and flirty new adult romance. It’s a sweet indulgence that keeps you turning pages. The start to what is sure to be a great new series. – Jennifer Peel, author of Pianos and Promises series  

“Opposites attract when the overlooked sweet girl lands herself the popular football star in this quasi-Cinderella story. It’s the perfect read to keep you up way past your bedtime...”Taylor Dean, author of Chasing Fireflies


Twiddling my fingers, I waited for Ken to make up his mind. I hoped he’d order without looking up so he didn’t recognize me. Not that he would. But just in case, I kept my chin tucked as I stared at the counter.

“Um, let’s see.” His head stayed bowed. “I’ll have a triple waffle cone with a scoop of caramel cashew and…” He paused and scratched his head as though solving a physics problem. “…a scoop of huckleberry ripple, and, umm…I guess I’ll try a scoop of that…”

When he paused, I peeked up to see if he pointed at a flavor. Instead, I found him staring at me.

“Y-you,” he sputtered.

I cringed and wished a hole could open up in the floor and swallow me.

“You’re the girl I crashed into in the CUB yesterday, aren’t you?”

My cheeks burned and my throat felt like sandpaper. “W-what was the last flavor you wanted?” He hadn’t finished ordering.

“Oh, uh, yeah. Um…” His gaze dropped, but shot right back up to stare at me again.

“What’s your last flavor?” I determined to keep him on task.

His brows furrowed. “I guess I’ll have the licorice since it’s new.”

I shuddered, and attempted to ignore the infuriatingly sexy man gaping at me as though I had horns sprouting from my head. The tightening in my chest and labored breathing proved I tried in vain.


About the Author:

 Charissa Stastny is an avid reader, happy writer, wasp-hater, iris-lover, and food connoisseur (especially sushi and chocolate, but not together). She was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She is married to her high school sweetheart and has four children that make her smile and laugh all the time. She called Idaho her home for years, but has recently moved to Utah, where she was thrilled to discover dozens of flavors of hot chocolate to keep her happy in the winter. The cherry one might be her favorite (this week). She is the author of five books and ‘imagine-eer’ of many more.

  amazon or paypal 
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway:

Ends 11/5/17 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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Blog Tour: Safe House by Traci Hunter Abramson

Reviews * Giveaway
Safe House by Traci Hunter Abramson

Book Description:

The guardians, the shadowy heroes of the top-secret program designed to protect members of the most elite government organizations, are being hunted down one by one. There is a single explanation: a traitor must be embedded somewhere in their midst. But if they themselves are the target, who will protect them?

CIA operative Renee Niezen has heard tales of the guardians, though she's never really believed in their existence—until she is approached by Charlotte, an old friend who desperately needs her help to stop the systematic destruction of the guardian program. Renee accepts the plea for assistance, but not everyone is thrilled to have her on the team. Kade—one of the last guardians standing—is unimpressed with Renee's qualifications and turns instead to the legendary Saint Squad for help. But when Renee is caught in the crosshairs, Kade must set aside his antagonism for the woman in order to protect her. Their grudging alliance soon develops into much more—but before the pair can examine their feelings, their investigation takes a dramatic twist. With lives on the line, Renee and Kade must use their spy training at every turn as they draw dangerously close to the shocking truth.

Rorie's Review:

This was a two-day story. I was a little grumbly when I first started reading it, because at the time, I only had the pdf version, and I'm old-fashioned and only like to read actual (hard copy) books. However, it didn't take me long at all to get sucked into the plot and I could almost forget I was using a tablet (but I was very happy to switch over to the hard copy when it came today.)

I'm not sure how many of Traci's other books I've read, but I definitely want to check out the Saint Squad series. I really liked all of those characters in this story and would like to get to know them better. This is the second book in the Guardian series, and while I think it works relatively well as a stand-alone, it would be helpful to read Failsafe first.

I don't feel like things were completely wrapped up in a pretty little package at the end, and I'm sure that's just setting the stage for another book in this series. That's a good thing though, because there's a lot more to be told with Ace, Kade and all the others that played a part with the Guardians.
Andrea's Review:

Traci Hunter Abramson's books have been a bit hit-and-miss for me, but I was intrigued by the book description for Safe House, so I thought I'd give it a try. And, I'm glad I did. It was an enjoyable read, with a good amount of action and a clean romance.

I liked the mix of the Guardians and the Saint Squad. Other than the names (calling the members Ghost or the Saint Squad 😬) I really liked the interaction between the groups.

The book mentioned a burn phone several times, and that threw me. I've only heard it referred to as a burner phone.

At least one big thing was left undone, I assume to leave this open to a sequel. But the most pressing things were resolved. I liked the romance aspect, and even though the strong feelings came on quickly, it was written in a way that felt realistic.

This was a fast, clean and enjoyable read, and I’d read more about the Guardians.

Tarah's Review:
 I've always been a fan of Traci Hunter Abramson and I was really glad when she started just writing clean fiction. Don't get me wrong, I love the Saint Squad series, the Undercurrents Series, and the Royal Series, but I always appreciate it when an author who wrote LDS fiction branches out to non-LDS fiction, but still keeps it clean. I think I was a little surprised to see the cross-over of the Saint Squad series and Guardian Series in this book. I mean, it made me want to go back and reread some books, but I was surprised. 
Even though I've read the other book in this series, I would consider this a stand alone. I can't remember much about Failsafe and I didn't really feel lost while reading this one. I wonder how I would feel if I didn't know so much about the Saint Squad though. That might make it a little harder to understand.
It was a quick, entertaining read for me, and while I liked the characters and the action I did feel that the romance was way to quick. I mean, I liked it, but it didn't quite seem to be based on anything more than physical attraction. 
It's a keeper for my bookshelf though. I'll reread it and pass it along to my friends. I'm interested to see what she does for the rest of the series. 

Tour Schedule:

*Oct. 9th:

*Oct. 10th:,,

*Oct. 11th:,,,

*Oct. 12th:,,,

*Oct. 13th:,,,,

Tour Giveaway:

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Title: Safe House
Author: Traci Hunter Abramson
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 1524402753
Source: We received a copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: All That Makes Life Bright by Josi S. Kilpack

Dual Review
All That Makes Life Bright
The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe
 by Josi S. Kilpack

Book Description:

When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet's sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.

Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed-being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman's life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband's heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.

Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.

Can their love endure, especially after "I do"? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?

Andrea's Review:

I wasn’t sure how much I’d get into this book just because the other similar books in this series were interesting but not my favorite. However, All that Makes Life Bright was really enjoyable for me. I’m not sure if it was because it was about a woman and I could relate better than the books about male historical figures, or if it was something else entirely.

Kilpack had me crying several times during this book. I couldn’t help but think that if this were set in modern times Harriet and Calvin would have divorced. It was touching that they focused on their marriage covenant when times got tough instead of just throwing in the towel.

It was a bit of a slow read for me, but not in a bad way. It was just real. I haven’t made it through all of the chapter notes at the end of the book yet, but I do appreciate that the author included those so we can separate fact from fiction.

One line stood out to me when Harriet’s father told her perfection is a sin. I’ve definitely never thought that before. Interesting.

Rorie's Review:

When I start historical novels, I'm never sure what I'll be getting in to. There's always the worry that the story will be dry and history-bookish. Thankfully, this one was not like that at all. I was drawn into Harriet and Calvin's life right away. You could tell that they really loved each other, but their temperaments were so extremely different. 

The first year of marriage can be tough as you learn to live with someone who was brought up differently than you were, but then throw in your husband going overseas for 8 months with you being a few months pregnant, and life gets a whole lot more complicated.

There is no doubt in my mind that Harriet was very was Calvin. Since they didn't have more than a few short months together before having children, they never really learned how to be a couple. 

Even with all the conflict throughout much of the book, this story has a great message of learning how to stay true to yourself while changing enough to learn how to live with your spouse as equal companions. 

With these books, I always enjoy the timeline at the end. It's interesting to me to see what happened with these people and their families before and after the story took place.

Title: All That Makes Life Bright: The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: September 2017
ISBN: 162972341X
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book