Thursday, January 29, 2015

EMBARK! by John Bytheway (An LDS Inspirational Talk on CD)

In this motivating talk related to the LDS 2015 youth theme, John Bytheway explains what it means to truly embark—to get fully on board in the service of God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. Using scriptures, powerful stories, and his characteristic humor, John explains that with the Savior’s help, we can remain on board and eventually stand blameless before God at the last day.

This is an LDS, religious based, inspirational talk geared toward teenagers.  I don't usually review things like this on my blog, but for this I made an exception.  Here's why:

First, I love listening to John Bytheway.  He is a gifted speaker and he brings energy and joy to his talks.  I always leave inspired to do better and be better.  John also knows how to bring humor at the right points and keep an audience engaged.

Second, I heard John Bytheway deliver this talk in a church gathering for youth just this last week.  I knew he was coming when I signed on for this blog tour and I knew I would want to share it.  His live talk varied a little from this recording but overall, it was the same.  Well, other than watching him live allowed me to see his visuals and watch his face as he spoke.  It was awesome.

I love popping these kinds of CD's in the car on longer car rides and trips or vacations.  I have a captive audience in the car.  haha.  Actually, my kids really love listening to these too.  It's become a tradition when we take a road trip.

I hope every LDS youth will be able to listen to this talk.  It will bring new light to the youth theme for the year.  It's fantastic.

John Bytheway served a mission to the Philippines and later graduated from Brigham Young University. A favorite speaker and teacher, John holds a master’s degree in religious education and is a part-time instructor at BYU. John is the author of many bestselling books, audio talks, and DVDs, including How Do I Know if I Know?; Of Pigs, Pearls, and Prodigals; When Times are Tough: 5 Scriptures That Will Help You Get through Almost Anything; and the 2014 youth theme talk on CD, Come Unto Christ. He and his wife, Kimberly, have six children

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Devon's Choice $50 Book Blast

devon's choice
Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer. Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?

Brandon looked over at her neutral expression. Whatever kind of relationship she had with Michael Turner didn’t seem to be making her happy. At that moment, all he wanted to do was to make her forget all about the jerk. As if sensing him watching her, Devon turned her head enough to make eye contact with him. The faint, milky glow from the streetlight showed enough of her features for him to see a soft blush warm her cheeks. Under her dark lashes, he watched her sea green eyes glint invitingly as her soft lips turned up at the corners. In that moment, his resolve to keep the date on a friendly level came crashing down.

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  Catherine Bennett
Author Catherine Bennett I grew up in Ohio where I currently live with my husband and our two rescue Labradors. Some of my favorite things include reading, shopping, pepperoni pizza, Hershey bars and hanging out with my two grown sons. I also love dogs; so going to the dog park is cheap entertainment for my husband and I! Growing up an only child, I had many imaginary friends. I believe this - and a love of books - fueled my desire to write. It was many years later that my dream of becoming a published author came true. I’m grateful to God for always keeping a story in my heart and hope you are blessed and entertained by my book.

Devon's Choice (1)

   $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/15/15 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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Timeless Romance Anthology: All Regency Collection

In THE WEDDING GIFT: A PRIDE AND PREJUDICE STORY, an enchanting novella by Anna Elliott, the story opens two weeks before Elizabeth Bennet’s wedding to Mr. Darcy. He has given her the perfect wedding gift, and now she must come up with one for him. But what do you give a man who has everything? Elizabeth soon discovers that the gift of love is more important than any one thing.

DREAM OF A GLORIOUS SEASON, a sweet novella by Sarah M. Eden, we meet Elizabeth Gillerford who envies her sister only one thing—that she’s been intended for Julian Broadwood since they were children. The trouble is that Elizabeth is hopelessly in love with Julian too. When Julian discovers that Elizabeth has been denied a Season because her older sister is yet unwed, he undertakes his own stealthy measures to introduce her to society, only to find himself falling in love with her himself.

In THE MENDER, a captivating story by Carla Kelly, Thankful Winnings takes a sea voyage with her cousin on the Ann Alexander, in a last adventure before she settles down to marry one of her beaus. Unexpectedly they come upon the aftermath of a fierce ship battle, and Thankful is commissioned to help in the place of an injured surgeon on one of the Royal Navy ships. Adam Farnsworth, surgeon, has been at sea for years. Tired of war, but devoted to his post, it takes a resourceful lady such as Thankful to give him the hope of love and help heal his own wounds, the ones that show and the ones that don’t.

In BEGIN AGAIN, a charming novella by Josi S. Kilpack, Regina Weathers gives up on marrying for love the day that Ross Martin walks out of her life. Now, fifteen years later, Ross shows up at a ball and thinks he can woo Regina. But she is set on her lonely path and stitched-up heart, no matter the excuse Ross gives for his years of silence and neglect. When Ross insists he wrote many letters during his military years, Regina discovers a secret long-since buried by her father, and the revelation might be enough to thaw the coldness of her heart.

In Annette Lyon’s endearing story, THE AFFAIR AT WILDEMOORE, Mrs. Ellen Stanhope escorts her three daughters to a ball. As her oldest flirts with a beau, Ellen is reminded of her courtship and early years of marriage with Anthony, before tragedy struck with the death of their infant son. The marriage has faded and dulled. Not until she sees Anthony dancing with a woman he courted years before does Ellen realize how much she misses him, still loves him, and yearns for him to yet feel the same way for her.

In the delightful novella, THE DUKE’S BROTHER, by Heather B. Moore, Mr. Gregory Clark is having an awful day, and it only gets worse when he’s ran over by … a woman. Mabel Russell reluctantly visits her sister in London for the Season, even though she’d rather stay in the country cataloging insects and aphids. When she runs into Gregory Clark, quite literally, she’s afraid to show any interest, especially since he’s a member of the dreaded ton. But getting to know Gregory becomes an unexpected delight.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

I think these Timeless Romance Anthologies are the best thing ever.  I love to see a new one pop up every few months.  I know exactly what I'm going to get- romance novellas, clean and full of happily ever after's.  Most of these novellas come from authors that I know and love and once in awhile I get to meet an author new to me.

Each book that comes out has a different "theme" to them.  Regency is one of my favorite genres for romance novels so I was excited to read this one.  I really enjoyed every single book in this collection.  They were all so good.  Each had it's own flavor and style.  Young love, older love, second chance at love- this collection has it all.  I loved it.

Ooh, and the next collection out is called California Dreamin' which makes this California girl VERY happy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

It's a Rough Edges Release Day Party! Review, Excerpt AND a Three Book Giveaway!!

Happy Birthday to you.  Happy Birthday to you.  Happy Birthday dear Rough Edges.  Happy Birthday to you!

It's a good day when I get to read a new book by Kimberly Krey.  Yeah, she's one of my favorites.  I'm not even going to try to contain my happy dancing.  When I'm in the mood for some good romance, Kimberly is my go-to gal.  And, honestly, I'm always in the mood for a good romance.  ;)  I'm so excited!

Rough Edges kicks off the beginning of a new series by Kimberly.  I like the second chances theme in this book.  I liked the older characters, the added situations of older kids and divorce in the mix and how Allie had to navigate those issues.   It was good stuff.  

Allie and Braden share some intense chemistry.  There are some steamy make out sessions (but nothing beyond that).  Let's just say that I never knew kissing in a wood shop could be so, um, steamy.  Sizzle, Crackle.   Kim's motto is "keeping it clean without losing the steam".  She really sticks to that motto.  This book does contain kissing and it is steamy but it never goes farther than that.  There is also a few instances of mild swearing.

I'm so happy to be posting along with Kimberly today.  Did I mention she is one of my favorite people?  Here's what she has to say about all this:

Allie Emerson gets her happy ending at last in my new release, Rough Edges, available now on Amazon.

Rough Edges starts off my newest series, Second Chances – a companion to the Sweet Montana Bride series. Featuring some of the characters you know and love, this series will give Allie, Logan, and a new character, Bree, (you'll meet her in Allie's story) a second chance at romance. If you haven't read the Sweet Montana Bride series, no worries. This series, as well as each book within, will stand alone just fine. Now for a bit about the book.

Divorced mother, Allie Emerson, never imagined she’d be raising two teenage girls on her own. Between parenting and paying the bills, she hasn’t even thought about meeting a man. That changes once she hears local carpenter, Braden Fox, is in need of a secretary. Back in high school, Allie had done all she could to deny the sparks burning between her and Braden; but would the chemistry still be there after all this time?

Braden has heard all about what Terrance did to Allie and the girls. He’s been planning to stop by and see how she’s getting along, but Allie beats him to it by showing up at his shop in search of a job. Her unexpected visit reignites the old flame Braden used to torch for her; trouble is, old feelings of resentment return as well. Allie did choose Terrance over him, after all. And as much as Braden wants Allie in his life, he’s not sure he can open his heart to her again.

With a second chance at romance, will the bumps in their relationship be too much to get over, or will this carpenter learn to smooth out the past?

  * Amazon * Goodreads *

Now for an excerpt from the book:

Their eyes met once more, and a shot of heat flooded his chest like a liquid bolt of lightening, forcing his pulse to rush. “I’ve missed you,” he blurted.
Her eyes widened in response, and Braden wondered if he’d been too bold. He’d hardly meant to speak it. It’d been more of a thought. A longing, really.
At last she nodded. “Yeah,” she said, her voice soft and low. “I … I’ve been wondering about you too. How you’ve been over the years. I kept asking Terrance who you were dating. If you were close to marrying anyone…” Her words drifted off for a breath, but then she spoke up again. “You admitted that you’d turned down our offers to come to dinner and catch up.” She studied him for a moment, a challenge presented in her gaze. “All those years. Why didn’t you just come?”
“You know why.” He’d nearly spoken over her, but he couldn’t help it.
“No, Braden, I don’t.”
He nodded adamantly, taking a step back and folding his arms. “Think about it, Allie.” ...
“I have thought about it –”
“Not nearly enough, apparently,” he snapped.
“I’ve thought about it all these years. It hurt my feelings. I thought we were friends.”
... Braden bit back his words and broke into a pace.
“Braden,” she said, “I wanted you to stay a part of our lives. You were the best influence Terrance had and you just stopped being his friend? Why would you do that?”
Braden froze in place. “I was a better friend to him than you’ll ever know.” Or possibly the worst, he realized. He strode back, his gaze set on her. “And I didn’t want to be your friend, Allie. I wanted more than that and you know it.”
Her face fell flat. Her lips parted. But no words came. She cleared her throat, casting her eyes to the floor. “Yeah,” he said. “Don’t pretend that you don’t know. I made it clear. And as soon as I did you started setting me up with every friend you had. Including Kayla.”
“That’s not…” Her face flushed red. Her lips tightened. “That’s not how it went, Braden.” The silence that followed was painful. The tension wedged in each passing second pressed at Braden’s last nerve.
“Well,” he said, “this has been a nice trip down memory lane, but if you don’t mind I’ve got to get back to work. Come on out when you’re ready.” He turned away from her in one quick jerk and walked out of the kitchen, one long stride after the next.

To celebrate the release of Rough Edges, I'm giving away THREE FREE paperbacks! After entering here, you may enter again by leaving a comment HERE Good luck, my friends!

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Betrayed by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen + a $25 and Book Giveaway!

1851: Niagara Falls, New York The evidence has been well hidden—the Thayers were confident that it was safe from the clutches of the ruthless Murphy Gang. But it has all been in vain. The lawless group is closing in on the family homestead, and seven-year-old Penny is given only one instruction: Run. After two long years eagerly anticipating her fiancĂ©’s return, twenty-year-old Julia Barrett is ready to make a fresh start with Adam Wolcott—even if it means putting her dream of traveling west with the Mormons on hold. But when Adam’s return is overshadowed by the unexpected arrival of a young orphan girl in desperate need of help, Julia is drawn into a dangerous mystery that will threaten all she holds dear. Charged with the protection of little Penny, Julia quickly finds herself relying on the help of Tom Harrison, an endearing young man who has long admired her from afar. Torn between two suitors, Julia soon uncovers a shocking trail of corruption and deceit—a discovery that pulls her inescapably into the race to locate telling evidence that Penny’s family gave their lives to protect . . .

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

Secrets.  Loads of secrets.  If I had to pick a theme for this book, that's what it would be.  Secrets.  Shhh.  Everyone is keeping them.  (now that "secrets" song is playing in my head)

Niagara is a beautiful setting for this book.  I love Niagara Falls.  It's a beautiful place and I'm glad I was able to more fully visualize it because I've been there.  

With every turn of the page, the plot and tension grows.  The secrets mount and like I said before, it seems like everyone is keeping some.  I loved the growing feeling of tension and suspense.  It was a tangible feeling with this book.  I liked the characters well enough although they weren't what was driving this particular book.  It was the plot.  There was a lot going on.  I was driven toward that ending.  Like a runaway truck.  Ha.  I couldn't put down if I wanted to.  Which I didn't.  I wanted to keep reading and at the end, I actually wanted more.  

This book is LDS fiction.  There are some religious mentions although nothing too preachy.  As per usual with LDS fiction books, there is no swearing or sexual situations.  This book is clean.  There is some violence.

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Betrayed Blog Tour Schedule: 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Eruption by Adrienne Quintana

Jace Vega has finally landed her dream job—working for Omnibus, an up-and-coming tech firm. But a mysterious message from her future self sets Jace and her old friend Corey racing to piece together clues before Omnibus destroys their future—and their past. This fast-paced thriller will keep you guessing till the very last page.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

Do you love time travel books?  Dr. Who kind of TV shows and movies?  If you do, you will probably really enjoy this book.  For me, time travel books are usually just confusing.  I have a really hard time keeping everything straight in my head.  I gave up watching Dr. Who but my husband and kids love it.  The one time travel movie I love is Somewhere in Time.  ha.  And even that one confused me to some degree.

So, yeah.  I was a bit confused in this book.  There is a lot of jumping around through memories (or are they memories?) or is it the future that hasn't happened (or has it?).  My brain just could not do it.  That's not anyone's problem buy my own because I actually think the concept of this book is great.  I liked the story and the characters.  I thought the pacing was good and the details kept me interested.  I didn't really understand the relationships between characters- that was mostly surface without a lot of detail because most of it happened in the future.  I think.  Uugh!!

Because I was just a wee tad bit confused the whole time, I always felt like I was missing something.  I was curious when the book started and I grew more and more confused in some areas while others things became more clear.  I can't say that by the end everything was all cleared up because I was left on a cliff that I didn't fully understand in the end too.  <sigh>  Maybe time travel is like calculus or trig to my brain.  It just doesn't compute.

Bottom line is that while I was confused by the time travel aspect, I was interested and I liked the story.  This book is clean (no sexual situations or swearing) which is always a plus in my opinion.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Keeping Kate by Lauren Winder Farnsworth

Orphan Kate Evans is determined to make a life for herself on a Utah ranch, taking care of a little girl named Addie. But when she meets her irritable employer, Kate is forced to confront the past she's been running from—and face a future she never dreamed possible. This latter-day twist on the classic Jane Eyre is a romantic and gripping read.

First of all, I'll start out by saying that this is an LDS based book.  It does contain religious elements and some things specific to the LDS religion.  

I am a huge Jane Eyre fan.  It's one of my favorite old classics.  It's what drew me to the re-telling of this book.  I didn't fall in love with this book.  I liked it- some parts more than others.  Some moments had me rolling my eyes and questioning the characters and their motivations and actions.  I feel like the development wasn't always there to convince me of what was happening.  There was a lot of drama that really felt like drama.

The cover is pretty, the setting was perfect.  As a reader I just fell in and out of the story because some things I just didn't buy into.  It wasn't believable to me and  I was a bit frustrated throughout.  But, there were moments that I really enjoyed as well.  It's sort of a mixed bag for me on this one.