Friday, July 3, 2015

On Tour with The Sheik's Ruby by Jennifer Moore + Excerpt and $25 Giveaway


Shelby wants to break away from the mold of her small town and make a name for herself in the big-city journalism world. While skiing, she meets mysterious stranger Hakim who is actually the prince of the Middle Eastern kingdom of Khali-dar. When his enemies learn of Hakim’s connection to an American girl, they target Shelby. Fleeing to the safety of Khali-dar, Shelby falls deeper in love not only with the prince, but with his country. As she struggles to survive terrorist attacks, withstand the Sheik’s prejudice, and find her place in a world she doesn’t understand, she must choose which life she is willing to sacrifice—the comfortable one she has worked so hard to create, or the one with the man she loves.

Can I tell you a secret?  Last month my daughter went to a teen writer's conference and Jennifer Moore was there.  Parents aren't allowed at the conference until the very end but since it was just a bit too far to go home, I was around the area reading my books.  I was like a little fangirl (not stalker, fangirl), watching the authors mill around for classes and such.  I saw Jennifer Moore and did a little internal squeal.  I wanted to call out, "I'm reading your book right now.  I really like it!"  Ha.  But I didn't.  Because that would have been weird, right?

I love to read Jennifer Moore's books.  She writes great romances with engaging characters.  Her books are clean but with a few sparks.  This book was fantastic.  I loved the shifting scenes- from the slopes in Colorado to the farm, to Middle East.  Each place had such a different feel and I could picture the places and people so easily in my head.  It was like a movie!

Shelby has such spunk.  Her energy and intelligence make her a well rounded and fun character.  Hakim is swoony.  So generous and kind.  Loved him.

I read this book cover to cover in pretty much one sitting.  (because, as I said, I had that sort of time in between fangirl-ing).  It was a fantastic diversion and I was happily content in the end.  Enjoy the following excerpt!

Excerpt “Does your father know you’re asking me?” Hakim gazed over her shoulder and took a deep breath. “He knows.” “But he doesn’t want me to come, right?” “I will bring a companion of my choice tomorrow.” He locked his gaze onto Shelby’s and leaned toward her. “You are my choice. Will you please come?” The Sheik apparently doesn’t buy into the whole “guests are gifts from Allah” idea. “Of course, I would love to come.” She smiled, but knew it didn’t appear convincing. She hated feeling like she was the source of their discord. “You are nervous. Please do not feel uncomfortable.” “I’m worried I’ll say or do something stupid.” She winced. “I’m not exactly a refined debutante who knows how to act in formal situations. I don’t want to embarrass you, Hakim.” “I do not want you to be a refined debutante. I have spent enough time with those people to know they are not what I want.”Hakim maneuvered his horse until he faced Shelby and their legs were nearly touching. He leaned closer, his gaze earnest. “What I want is you, Shelby Jo.” He cupped her cheek in his hand. Shelby felt her heart flutter and her nerve endings tingle as she lost herself in the deep brown pools of his eyes. His thumb stroked her skin, leaving a trail of heat in its wake. He slid his hand into her hair and drew her closer, his lips covering hers. When she drew away, Shelby inhaled deeply and grinned. “Hearing you put it that way, how could I possibly refuse?”

  add to goodreads 

Author Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world that includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that is anything but romantic. She suffers from an unhealthy addiction to 18th and 19th century military history and literature. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family, but most of the time wishes she was on board a frigate during the Age of Sail.

  Also by Jennifer Moore: Becoming Lady Lockwood (2014 Whitney Award Winner), Lady Emma's Campaign & Miss Burton Unmasks a Prince.  


  Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/17/15 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
The Sheik's Ruby

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Calm After the Storm by Mya O'Malley

The storm of the century raged through the northeast, causing destruction and despair, millions were left without power and hope. Weeks later, countless people were still devastated by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, Emma Riley among them.

Determined she didn’t need the help of a man, Emma was convinced that she could brave the aftermath of the storm on her own. That is, until Jake came into her life.

After having suffered heartbreak and embarrassment, Jake Mack, a utility foreman, volunteered to travel north from small town, Georgia to assist with the aftermath of the storm. Jake was decidedly done with women. But he didn’t count on meeting Emma or falling in love so quickly. Can he trust this woman or will his past get in the way and ruin the relationship with the one woman he truly loves?

 * GoodreadsAmazon *

I was immediately drawn into this book simply based on the setting and the events happening.  Emma and Jake meet because of a powerful hurricane that has left behind devastation.  Emma survived it and Jake is there to help people rebuild what was lost.

Emma and Jake meet and it's basically attraction at first sight.  They delve right into a physical relationship (sex but behind closed doors) without the friendship and trust any relationship needs to be strong.  I think this led to the crazy back and forth game that drove me nuts in this book.  One chapter they are together.  The next chapter they are not.  Then they are.  Then they are not.  It was so back and forth I wanted pull my hair out.  

Jake definitely has a lot of drama in his life.  A LOT of drama.  Emma gets sucked into the drama by default.  This book for me was more plot driven than character driven.  While there were many "things" going on, I lacked the emotional pull to the characters.  I just couldn't connect with them.  But, I did like the basic plot and Jake's devotion to his daughter.  I just wish there had been less of the back and forth game between he and Emma.

Content:  Sex behind closed doors between an unmarried couple.  Drug and Alcohol abuse, child abuse, mild violence and fighting.

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan’s Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the little girl entrusted to her care after her mother’s death. Charlotte promised Lily’s mother she’d keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When the teacher he’s after produces documentation that shows she’s the little girl’s legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he’s been led to believe. Is Miss Atherton villain or victim? She acts more like a loving mother than an abductress, and the children in her care clearly adore her. Should Stone break his perfect record?

Then a new danger threatens, and Charlotte is forced to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone becomes determined to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he’s ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte’s heart.

I love reading Karen Witemeyer's books.  I know just what to expect when I pick one up.  It always feels like sitting down with an old friend.  And isn't the cover cute?  I love it.

This was such a fun story.  I loved the interactions and spark between Stone and Charlotte.  Stone would surely like you to believe that he is as tough and unyielding as his name may suggest, but really he is kind and he definitely has a weakness for the teacher, Miss Atherton.  He had his work cut out for him gaining Charlotte's trust.

Charlotte is firm but so kind.  I loved her tact and her ability to think quickly in surprising and tough situations.  The children under her care bring life and credibility to the book.  It was a great setup.  Charlotte has some fierce determination when it comes to her children and as a mother I could completely relate to that.

I was interested and entertained by this book the whole way through.  It was classic Karen Witemeyer and I loved it.  I'm so glad I got to read and review it.  My thanks to the publisher, Bethany House, for allowing and providing for it.

Content:  Squeaky clean.  Christian Fiction.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Gift of Lies by Norma T. Rudolph

The locals call the place Jake’s Hell after Summer McCalister’s crazy uncle Jake who claims to have seen impossible things there. It’s a badlands of rugged rock cliffs and sharp pinnacles that no sane person would attempt to enter. The Atomalians call it Daneye, a secret alien city of unequaled beauty, masked behind illusion. Atomalians believe that natives of Earth must never know about them and their powers of the mind or it will destroy the Atomalians’ peaceful lives. When Summer is drawn out of bed and pulled to Jake’s Hell by an urge she can’t control, she fears she’s crazier than her uncle. But when the young Ahtomalian, Bentri, steps out of thin air, she knows she’s either crazy—or dead. Taking her to his unbelievably beautiful city doesn’t erase the fact that he’s keeping her hostage in a room with no door and no way out. Bentri’s world is suddenly and completely devastated by the appearance of the native Earth girl. If she’s discovered within the city, law decrees she be destroyed. As Bentri is bonded with her, that means he would also die. Their only chance might be to escape—but can Bentri survive in her world?

 * Goodreads Amazon *

This book is a young adult sci-fi, fantasy/paranormal kind of mix.  I would say it would probably please the younger end of the YA spectrum better, maybe even middle grade readers.  The story here is very simply written.  It had more telling and less feeling but it was a good story with a lot of imagination.  I can imagine a 12 or 13 year old (boy or girl) reading this and enjoying it.

As for me, I felt it lacked the tension and emotional build up that I like to see in books. I could easily picture the places and scenes described which was a fantastic thing, but I just wasn't feeling it. There were points that I did some skimming and was still able to keep up with what was happening.  The "history" read from the scrolls went on for pages and it was hard to read. It felt like the author needed to explain a whole bunch of things and needed a way to do that in one fail swoop.  It read just like a history lesson.  

Bentri probably had the most character development.  He has always been taught that "natives" are lesser beings with little intelligence and he treats Summer accordingly.  Actually, he treats her abominably.  Gradually he realizes that "natives" are intelligent and gifted.  His prejudice's diminish and he becomes kinder.  There is a good lesson in that.  What we think we know may not always be correct- especially regarding people.  The more time we spend knowing and trying to understand others, the better off we will be.  Prejudices are never good, and rarely correct.

This book is clean- no swearing or sexual content, which I always greatly appreciate.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Eyes Unveiled by Crystal Walton

Twenty-one-year-old Emma Matthews lost the song in her heart the same night she lost her dad. With an unfulfilled promise and an ultimatum shadowing her junior year of college, maybe it’s better that way. You can’t hurt if you can’t feel.

But when the reflection she sees in musician Riley Preston’s eyes borders dangerously close to the one she’s spent the last five years searching for, Emma discovers her walls can’t guard her heart from its fiercest desire. Terrified of what she’s experiencing, and even more afraid of what she might lose, Emma grapples for the courage to hold on to one dream without abandoning the promise of another.

Contemporary Inspirational Romance novel Eyes Unveiled lets you relive those heartfelt moments when you don’t know how you’d survive a day without your best friend, when you’re trying to figure out who you are and what you’re supposed to do with your life, and when falling in love changes everything.

 * GoodreadsAmazon *

If you are looking for a book that is emotionally driven, this is your book.  I went through a whole array of emotions while reading this book.  This is a story about self-discovery, friendships and love.

I loved the immediate interest and attraction Emma had when she saw and heard Riley sing.  He spoke to her soul and I loved that.  Riley and Emma share a connection through music but they develop a friendship that expands beyond just music.

Emma was an easy character to relate to.  She seemed very human although maybe just a titch naive.  She doesn't ever expect the worst of people.  Emma has good friends and a good relationship with her brother.  I liked that support system for Emma.  It was good to see Emma grow and strengthen throughout the book.  Her struggles made her stronger.

There is a huge love triangle in this book and love triangles aren't my favorite, but I know they do happen in life and I can accept that.  The resolution of the triangle in this book seemed a bit unrealistic to me though.  

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  It was clean (no swearing or sexual content) and I'm always grateful for that.  I hear the next book in the series is coming out in July so I'll be looking forward to that.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate . . . or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.

 * GoodreadsAmazon *

At first I wasn't sure if I liked this cover, but the more I look at it the more I actually like it.  It is a great representation of what lies inside.  There is nothing generic about this book cover.

I have been a fan of Jessica Day George for a long time.  My girls have loved her books.  I am still a fan of Jessica, but this book actually didn't do it for me.  There were parts of it I really liked but overall I just didn't fall in love.

Let me tell you about the things I did like about this book.  The two main characters are cousins.  They were distinct personalities and I could see obvious growth in them throughout the book.  Dacia and Lou have a close connection and I really enjoyed them.  Lou more than Dacia, if I'm calling out a favorite.

I also liked the set up with the different shape-shifters-  The Claw, The Wing and The Smoke.  They are all parts of the same family who protect the Draculas.  It was cool and combined with the Romanian setting it felt textured and meaty.  It is obvious that the author did her research and homework to make this book feel as authentic as possible.

Somehow the execution of this book was lacking a bit for me.  I felt as though I was trudging through some scenes.  It felt heavy and long.  I have read so many YA paranormal books with shape-shifters and this one just fell short of some of the best ones I've read.  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Get to Me (Men of Honor Series #2) by Lara Van Hulzen

Aimee can identify a killer.

Dane can keep her safe.

But is he willing to face his past to do it?

When Aimee Jansenn stumbles upon a drug deal gone bad she comes face to face with a killer. As the only witness to a crime, she falls into a deadly situation and is in need of police protection.

Dane Scott has sworn off women. Until a fireball named Aimee enters his world. Telling himself they’re just friends, he vows to protect her. Can his heart follow suit or will she change his mind about love for good?

 * GoodreadsAmazon *

Okay, first a confession.  I read "Remember Me", the first book in this series, and I loved it and I saw that this second book was out and I wanted to read it really badly.  I also wanted to be able to officially review it because, well, I love finding a new author whose books I love and I love sharing that.  So, I emailed the author and asked (or maybe begged- I'm not sure which) if I could review this book for her.  She said YES!  :)

I first met Dane in "Remember Me".  I just knew I wanted his story and I knew it would be good.  It sure was.  He is yummy.  And Aimee?  What kind of a super cool name and spelling is that?!  Yeah, I'm a bit biased.  But, alas, the main character Aimee, is really nothing like me, so I guess I can only claim a connection to her awesome name.

The chemistry between Dane and Aimee is palpable.  It had me silently (or maybe not always silently) begging for those those charged moments and physical connections.  Lara does an excellent job managing the lightning.

Here's what you get with this book: a clean romance with sparks, a bit of suspense and a little faith thrown in for good measure.  I was pulled into this book from the very beginning and I didn't want to put this book down.  The settings change from San Diego to the Lake Tahoe area- both places that I am familiar with and love.  

So yeah, I really liked this book.  I'm so happy Lara Van Hulzen let me read and review this book for her.  I cannot wait to see what she does next!  Hopefully she is madly working at it right now.  ;)

There may have been a couple instances of mild swearing.  (sometimes I forget I'm reviewing and the mental notes disappear)