Friday, July 29, 2016

The Crush Dilemma (Dear Aubrey, #1) by Susan Hatler


Teen geek, Poppy Pinkleton, is adding some spice to her senior year of high school: A year of psychological experiments that will 1) Earn her three units of college credit; 2) Give her an outlet to say what she wants, when she wants; and 3) Will NOT include her parents telling her to be the “bigger person.”

How, you ask? Poppy’s gotten the green light from Mrs. Peterson, the newspaper head, to write an online advice column for the school. She’s found the perfect name for her alter ego: Aubrey. It means someone who rules with “magical wisdom.” She’ll be in control of her online experiment, online identity, and divvy her wisdom to the masses while tracking the results for her mini-thesis.
Now, protected by a secret identity, she’s got the popular crowd clambering to know what she thinks about fashion, homework, and eek . . . even sex! And the best part is, her parents and best friends don’t know anything about it. Finally, she can let loose a wild side and speak her mind—right or wrong, without having to meet anyone’s expectations.

Soon, however, dishing out advice leads to more than Poppy can handle on her own and she must make a choice. Hide behind her alter ego or take the chance that everyone, including the new boy at school, will like her for everything she is.


Here goes Susan Hatler again- changing up her genre a bit and writing a fun YA book.  I love Susan's adult clean romance books.  They always make me swoon dreamily.  This book is written for a younger audience and isn't necessarily swoony but has so many things that teenagers in high school will be able to relate to easily.

Poppy.  Here's a girl that is focused on grades and college.  She isn't in the "it" crowd, but usually she doesn't mind that so much.  When Poppy has the great idea of writing an anonymous advice column for her school she feels on top of the world.  People are paying attention to what she says and putting her advice into practice.  But then things start getting a bit messy.  Poppy is caught up in the drama of relationships, secrets and heavy expectations.  Yeah, things get messy alright!

I liked Poppy.  She is book smart but not exactly always people smart.  Her advice column was a way for her to express what she thought because in her real life she wasn't nearly as courageous.  I loved watching Poppy grow in confidence as her secret life and thoughts started to mesh with her real life and she learned how to speak up.

This book was easy to settle in with and made me smile many times.  It also tugged a bit at my heartstrings.  This life can be so hard to navigate.  People can be mean.  It takes courage to stand up and let your voice be heard.  It takes courage to stand against the mean people and the bullies.  It is so important to surround yourself with good people and good friends and to be that for other people.  That's the message I took away from this book.  

Content:  Some talk of teenagers "hooking up" and cheating on each other, teenage drinking.  Nothing described in detail.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sophie's Path by Catherine Lanigan + $50 Giveaway


Sophie's Path


Sophie's Path
(Shores of Indian Lake #6)
Catherine Lanigan
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
July 1st 2016 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Her choice. His consequences.

Nurse Sophie Mattuchi has seen a lot of angry patients in the ER, but no one's ever rattled her like Jack Carter. He has no right to blame her for his friend's death. Sophie did everything she could. Didn't she? Yet his accusations sting, and that sets off all kinds of internal alarms. She's never cared this much about any man's opinion of her. But Jack is different. He stirs up feelings. Strong feelings. Guilt. Anger. Attraction. Curiosity. Sympathy. Sophie's definitely not interested in Jack, but even if she was, he'd never forgive her for the decision she made that night in the hospital. Would he?

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I'm happy to be a part of the blog tour for this new addition to the Shores of Indian Lake series by Catherine Lanigan.  Harlequin Heartwarming is one of my favorite publishing lines because I know I can trust that books from them are sweet and clean.

I think this is the third book I've read in this series now.  It has all the old characters popping in at some point or another which really gives this series a feeling of community.  You don't have to read the books in order to understand or enjoy each one, but as always, reading the stories of previous characters gives an added measure of knowing and a feeling of coming home.

This book moves at a very sedate pace.  Sometimes I felt it dragging a bit, but the story is a good one and worth sticking with.  If you love a gentle romance with slow build, you will love this book.

Sophie and Jack have a rocky start.  They meet in the ER after Jack has been involved in a car accident and one of his business colleges dies.  The man that hit them was high on drugs.  This leads to a lot of anger on Jack's part- especially when he finds out that Sophie has aligned herself with an outreach agency that tries to help addicts recover and prevent children from getting hooked.  It's quite a mess there for awhile!

Sophie and Jack are each on their own personal journey through some life changes.  And then, they are on another journey together.  It's bumpy no matter what path you are looking at.  Somehow the little dog connects several people together in a way only a cute little dog can, I guess.  :)  

The ending was sweet and it made my heart smile.

Content:  Clean, some talk and events involving drug abuse and suicide.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Other Books in the Series

 
  

Catherine Lanigan is the international bestselling and award-winning author of forty published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile, as well as over half a dozen anthologies, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living your Dream”, “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul”, and more. Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into dozens of languages including German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. Ms. Lanigan’s novels are also available in E-books on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, Apple Store, Mobi and Kobo. Several of her titles have been chosen for The Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs. Her Vietnam war-based novel, The Christmas Star, won the Gold Medal Award Top Pick from Romantic Times Magazine and has also won Book of the Year Romance Gold Award from ForeWord Magazine as well as Book of the Year Romance from Reader’s Preference.

Lanigan is the author of a trilogy of non- fiction books regarding angelic intervention in human life: Angel Watch, Divine Nudges and Angel Tales published by HCI and Cedar Fort.

Skyhorse published Lanigan’s “how-to” book on writing: Writing the Great American Romance Novel.

Lanigan was tasked by the NotMYkid Foundation to write a non-fiction book addressing teen addictions. Ms. Lanigan’s first Young Adult adventure novel, The Adventures of Lillie and Zane: The Golden Flute, was published by Cedar Fort.

Currently, she has published six novels in the Shores of Indian Lake series for Harlequin Heartwarming: Love Shadows, Heart’s Desire, A Fine Year for Love, Katia’s Promise and Fear of Falling. Sophie’s Path pubs July, 2016. She has recently contracted for three more in the series: Danger Zone, Wedding for Isabelle and A Bride for Mica.

As a cancer survivor, Ms. Lanigan is a frequent speaker at literary functions and book conventions as well as inspiring audiences with her real stories of angelic intervention from her Angel Tales series of books. She is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and abuse and was honored by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Washington, D.C. (THE EVOLVING WOMAN). She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including “Coast to Coast” and on television interview and talk show programs as well as blogs, podcasts and online radio interview programs.

Tour Schedule

July 18th: Launch
July 21st: Brooke Blogs
July 22nd: Hardcover Feedback
July 25th: EskieMama Reads
July 26th: deal sharing aunt
July 27th: Colorimetry
July 31st: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

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Ends August 5th

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Beyond the Narrows by M.R. Durbin + $25 and Book Giveaway



You’re never too old for an adventure!

After being the subject of an explosive assassination attempt, O’Reilly (Obie) Begay, a retired Navajo archaeologist, finds himself in the middle of the hunt for an ancient record—the personal journal of a Spanish Templar leading to a legendary treasure.

When Obie tracks down the journal, he enlists fellow retirees Peter, Bill, and Jack to assist him in following its clues. Facing gunfights and car chases, the treasure hunters locate a 500-year-old Mayan codex, the next clue on their adventure. Peter’s grandson, Charley, and Obie’s granddaughter, Mac, come along for the quest, but they may find themselves drawn to a different kind of treasure.

Constantly one tiny step ahead of their enemies as they scour the caves, cliffs, and canyons of Southern Utah, Obie’s team will have to rely on each other if they want to reach the treasure before their pursuers. But what will they do if not all in their numbers can be trusted?


I think the thing I loved most about this book was the setting of Southern Utah and it's beautiful red rocks and canyons.  I spent my earlier years growing up in this area- Hurricane, actually.  And that's Hurri-cun not Hurricane.  I laughed at that part in the book because that's exactly what we all used to say all the time.  I was little when I lived there but I hated when people said it wrong.  It made me mad.  Ha!

I also loved the reminder of the storms that caused flash flooding.  We had a "wash" behind our house and when the storms hit the mountains, we had flash flood waters that came in hard and fast.  The wash was a dangerous place and I was forbidden to play in it because you never knew when those waters were going to come.  It could be sunny at my house but raining in the mountains.  I was scared to death of the wash.  

So, yeah.  The setting brought back lots of memories for me.  I could easily imagine the places because I have been to them or places similar to them.  As for the story itself, it was okay.  It wasn't the best mystery/adventure/suspense book I've read, but it was okay.  None of it really engaged my feelings.

This book has an unusual group of main characters.  Three of them are older, retired men who are friends.  They each bring their own set of experiences and knowledge to the group.  Mac and Charley are younger and needed in the plot for their vitality and more youthful energy and abilities.  This book has a lot of treasure hunting and running from bad guys.  It's set up in the end for another book to follow.

Content:  Mild violence, LDS fiction (many conversations and references to things specific to the LDS religion).

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Winter's Heir (Fairy Queens #4) by Amber Argyle


A price must be paid.

Elice has left behind the ice and isolation of winter. Before her is the warmth and wonder of summer with all its color and life. Adar, the young man she saved from the sea, is by her side, and his touch sends tendrils of heat where before there was only cold.

But all is not as it seems. There are secrets hidden in the heart of summer. Secrets that could burn Elice to the ground and take the whole world with her. The decades-long war between the fairies of winter and summer has thrown off the balance of nature, leaving the world in its death throes.

Adar believes Elice can stop the destruction—if only she will listen to him. But like the fairies’ bargains, that trust comes with a cost. And the price Elice will pay will tear asunder the boundaries between dreams and family, loyalty and betrayal.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

I've been waiting to read this final installment of the Fairy Queens series.  The last book ended in the middle of the saga so this book was much needed to bring conclusion and resolution to my mind and heart.

The whole fairy queen saga is so intense.  Each book pulls you in and just refuses to let you go.  The world of the fairies is brutal, violent and beautiful all at the same time.  It has been quite the journey.

I think I loved this last book the best though.  It just fit in with my heart the best.  Love has it's triumph in many different ways, resolution came and everything was tied together from the other books.  It just felt good.  It was a hard journey to get there though which makes the resolution all the sweeter.

Amber Argyle is a gifted and talented writer.  She creates fantastic pictures in my head- of worlds, people and creatures.  I'm really looking forward to what she comes up with next.

Content:  violence

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Thirty-Three Going on Girlfriend (Spinster Series Book 2) by Becky Monson


Julia Dorning thought she would die a lonely spinster. That was until nine months ago, when her world was turned upside down. Now she’s got a dream career as a bakery owner, and a relationship with handsome Jared Moody—a life she never thought possible.

Just as she’s starting to feel comfortable in her new life, Julia is invited to battle it out on national television making cupcakes. An amazing opportunity, if she can muster up the confidence to do it, that is. Then, out of the blue, Jared goes and throws a rather large wrench in their relationship causing Julia to have to make some big decisions.With her two trusted confidants off in wedding la la land, Julia is on her own to figure everything out.

Left to her own devices, will Julia be able to work things out for herself? Or will she make a disaster of it all? Find out in Becky Monson’s sequel to Thirty-Two Going on Spinster!


I had the chance to meet Becky Monson at a book signing in May.  She was kind enough to give me a copy of this book to read and review.  I love meeting authors and having books signed by them.  It's awesome.

This is the second book in this series and is somewhat dependent on reading the first book.  I guess you could just jump in here with the second book but you would probably feel a bit lost.  If you haven't read the first book, now is an EXCELLENT time to pick it up because it's FREE on Amazon unlimited.  Just .99 to buy!  :)  (at least it is as of today, the day this post is sent out to the world)

Julia Dorning is guaranteed to make you smile.  Some of the things that go through her mind- and sometimes out her mouth- so funny.  This book is told in the first person so you really get to know Julia on a very intimate level.  Her head is a crazy place to be.

I loved the cupcake battle show.  I could easily picture it because I have watched that show on TV a couple times.  Seeing it from Julia's mind was fun.  There were moments I wanted to shake Julia and moments I just wanted to hug her.  That's what made her real.

This is a fun series and I'm looking forward to the next book!

Content:  Mild swearing, drinking alcohol

Friday, July 15, 2016

Not Quite Sheer Happiness $50 Book Blast

Not Quite Sheer Happiness 
Sienna Harris is back and appears to be on top of the world! Her company, Sheer Happiness Events, is booming, but personally she’s a mess. She never imagined that with amazing success would come tremendous pressure. Although her professional life seems in disarray at times, her relationship with the dashing Ace Eckelund is finally progressing. Friendships are tested and so is her relationship when—once again—the past collides with the present. Sienna begins to question everything in her life and wonders if she should throw out her desire for constant certainty and live life on the edge for once. But, will she be able to change the person she has always been for who she wants to become? Find out in this captivating third installment of The Event to Remember series.

  amazon get it

Praise for Not Quite Sheer Happiness I absolutely loved the book from start to finish and I was extremely gutted that it ended because of its sheer brilliance. Melissa Baldwin is a truly talented writer and I regret not finding her books sooner. Not Quite Sheer Happiness is a hug in a book. A feel good, relatable and loving story that will make you want more, because I definitely do. Amazing book, definitely sheer happiness. I laughed, I swooned, I shook my head, and I loved every moment. A great read! The plot moved at a good pace and at times I didn't want to stop reading. It was interesting to have a main character who has insecurities. I thought Melissa Baldwin wrote this in a way that everyone could possibly relate to in some degree.

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Excerpt “Sienna, are you able to go out for drinks with us?” Lisa asks. Interestingly enough, it appears that Craig and Lisa are becoming good friends now. Just then we hear the door, we all turn to see Ace standing in the doorway. I quickly look at Lisa and her reaction says it all. “Oh, I’m terribly sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt your meeting,” he apologizes. “Ace, is that you?” Lisa exclaims. Oh please, like she doesn’t know that’s him. She stands up and reaches up to give him a hug. Craig’s eyes get big and he looks toward me, probably waiting for me to react. I calmly take a deep breath. “Lisa,” he replies with a warm smile. “It’s very nice seeing you. Sienna told me that you two were working together.” She looks surprised. “It’s nice to see you. How many years has it been?” Ace puts his hand to his chin. “Many years. And congratulations on the job; Welsh and Taylor is a fantastic firm.” Lisa looks surprised. “How do you know them? They just started their practice.” “Oh, Ace knows everyone,” Craig interrupts. “He’s an international man of mystery.” I roll my eyes. “Craig, he’s not Austin Powers.” Everyone laughs. So far so good, it’s not completely awkward. “Oh, and congratulations on your engagement,” she says, pointing at me. His gorgeous smile widens and my heart speeds up a little. “Thank you. I’m very lucky.” He looks at me lovingly, which gives me chills. Lisa nods. Okay, this is going better than I thought it would. I guess I was reading too much into it. Craig motions for me to go to his office. We excuse ourselves, leaving Ace and Lisa talking about her firm. “What?” I ask as soon as we get in his office.
 “Everything seems to be going good. I told you that you were overreacting,” he says.
 “I know,” I agree. “I feel a little guilty about not having more trust in Ace. Am I a horrible person?”
 “I wouldn’t say you’re horrible,” he says unconvincingly. “I do think you acted like a jealous girlfriend, though, and that’s not very attractive. But I get it, a first love can be hard to beat.”
What is he talking about? Who said anything about a first love? “Craig, they dated but that doesn’t mean that they were each other’s first loves?” Or were they? I realize I don’t know much about the details other than Lisa was the one to end their relationship. My palms are starting to sweat. “We should probably get back in there,” I say quickly. I head back to our tiny conference room, which is actually just a small office with a table in it. I don’t want Ace to think that I’m bothered even though I am. When I walk back in, my heart sinks. Ace and Lisa are leaning in, looking at her phone, their heads closer together than before. It’s not that they’re doing anything wrong; they just look too . . . comfortable.

  Melissa B

Author Melissa Baldwin Melissa graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications; she has always had a love for writing. An avid journal keeper, she took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember . . . Or Forget. Since then, she has written and published three more novels, Wedding Haters, See You Soon Broadway and Not Quite Sheer Happiness. Melissa resides in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and young daughter. When she isn't writing, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy being a mother, wife, chauffeur, PTA President, and Fitness Trainer. When she has free time, she enjoys traveling, running, fitness, fashion, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.


Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/29/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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

Thursday, July 14, 2016

O'er The River Liffey (Power of the Matchmaker) by Heidi Ashworth

From the Power of the Matchmaker series:

Irish heiress Caroline Fulton knows this house party, ostensibly celebrating the victory of Waterloo, is really an audition: will she make a suitable wife? Her host, an English lord, has already won over her father, who’s determined to buy a title with Caroline’s dowry. She is far from taken with the baron, however, especially once she meets Niall Doherty, the impoverished, perceptive tutor to her host’s younger brothers. He shares her love of Irish fairy tales and seems to guard a troubled past…but neither quality will earn Caroline’s father’s approval.


Here is another book in the Power of the Matchmaker series.  I love this series because each book is so different as they are written by different authors but they carry a common thread that ties them all together.  Each book is meant to stand on it's own which is awesome because you can read these books in any order, at any time.  My only suggestion would be to read the prequel novella to understand the common thread of Miss Pearl, the matchmaker.

This book has a more sedate pace to it.  It is gentle and very proper in it's romance.  Caroline and Niall are both kind and intelligent characters.  It was easy to sit back and enjoy them.  Niall is a storyteller and his Irish fairy tales are woven throughout the book.

I enjoyed this book but it was pretty slow moving.  It wasn't something that captured my attention in a way that I felt compelled to press forward.  I missed the presence of Miss Pearl.  She appeared at the beginning of the book but wasn't really a part of the rest.  I missed her.

If you enjoy regency books, you should pick this one up.  It is well written and presents the time period perfectly.

Oh, and I love the cover.  :)

Content:  Clean
 
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.