Thursday, October 31, 2013

Upir and the Monster Gang by Sharron and Raymond Thornton- The PERFECT Halloween Book


Coming from a long line of highly respected vampires, Upir knew that going to Neewollah, the Monster Mausoleum, would help him live up to his family’s reputation, but he never anticipated the terrifying turn his stay there would take. Upon entering, Upir befriends several strange creatures and their nights soon become treacherous when they have to dodge flying skulls whose hollow eye sockets shimmer with bright blue lights, avoid huge plants with tongue-like tentacles that devour young monsters, and run from a mad scientist who loves to use the monster students in his experiments. Most of all, they try to stay away from Muriel, an ill-tempered, nasty gorgon girl with slithering snakes for hair. She is the leader of three cantankerous monsters that follow her every command. Her group is bent on destroying Upir and his gang.

Without warning the young monsters find themselves entangled in a plot to destroy the Monster race. Will they escape the clutches of this horrifying villain and alert the Monster world, or will they become his loyal soldiers?

Happy Halloween!!  This is the perfect book to review for Halloween today.  I really wanted to have a fun book to share with you that was in the spirit of Halloween.  I hope you will check it out and love it as much as I do!

This is a 60 page illustrated novel.  I would put the target reading group as middle grade although it was a fun read for me and I suspect this would be an awesome book to read aloud with younger children.  There are so many fun and scary characters!

As much as I love the story in this book, it is the illustrations that really captured my interest and my appreciation.  Seriously, I love the pictures.  What a fun way to make this story come to life.  They are amazing.  As soon as I started reading this book I knew that my husband would love all these pictures too.  I started to show him the first few and he wanted to see them all.  He loves the artist's style.  I do too.  :)  My favorite picture was the one of the classroom.  We get a bird's eye view, looking down and it is such a fun picture with so much personality.  I wish I could share pictures of the book with you but I can't.  What I can do is send you over to the book website though.  There are some fun links there where you can see many of the illustrations, meet the characters and other fun things. This book has not been released yet but I sure hope the author/illustrator are able to make that happen soon!

Here is the book trailer!



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cinderskella by Amie and Bethanie Borst + Giveaway!


Cindy is just a normal eleven and three-quarter year-old. At least until she wakes up one night and finds out she’s dead. Well, she isn't technically dead—she just doesn't have any hair . . . or a nose . . . or skin. Yep—all bones, no body.

Human by day and skeleton by night, Cindy is definitely cursed. And because her mother recently died, Cindy has no one to turn to except a father who’s now scared of her and an evil stepmother who makes her do the housecleaning with a toothbrush. To make matters worse, the Spring Fling dance is approaching, and Ethan, the cutest boy in sixth grade, doesn’t seem to know Cindy exists. Of course, Cindy doesn’t think letting Ethan find out she’s part skeleton is the best way to introduce herself.

While facing such perils as pickled pig’s feet, a wacky fortune teller, and a few quick trips to the Underworld, Cindy’s determined to break the curse—even for a single night.

You can purchase Cinderskella at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Add it to your to-read shelf on Goodreads!

Today I'm so excited to share Cinderskella with you.  It's the perfect book to review today in honor of Halloween tomorrow.  I do need to tell you (full disclosure and all that) that Amie is a friend of mine.  I've been following her quest as an author for a while now and I'm so happy and excited that she has finally made it to the big leagues!  A published book is no small feat.  But, my review is in all honesty because I would never lie about a book just for my friend.  :)

Cinderskella is a middle grade book.  The writing is so right on the target group.  I have a middle school aged child and she is going to love this book.  (she had to wait for me to read it first!)  This book would be fun to read aloud to younger kids too.  

Here is the main thing I love about this book:  It is fun.  Fun, fun, fun.  It is light hearted and full of witty humor.  One of my favorite things in this book were the TIME OUT's.  :)  Those were just little side notes that Cindy would interject into the book.  As with most awesome middle grade books there is also illustrations.  The illustrations in this book really help create mental pictures, adding to the fun and creativity.  The characters in this book just come alive.

Amie and her daughter wrote this book together which kind of makes this book unique and well, kinda cool.  How fun to have a mother/daughter collaboration.  I think at some future date I'm going to have to interview these girls and find out more about that process.  (like maybe January...yes, okay, it's already scheduled...)

My thanks to Amie and Bethany for allowing me to read and post a review for their new book.  My congratulations as well.

To my blog readers, check this book out.  Especially if you have a child to share it with!  Happy Halloween and Happy Reading!


Amie Borst still believes in unicorns, uses glitter whenever possible and accessorizes in pink. She enjoys eating chocolate while writing and keeps a well-stocked stash hidden away from her family. A native New Yorker she currently resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, three children and a cute dog named Lily. She wishes she had a hot-pink elevator with carnival lights to travel the world. But for now, her minivan will have to do.

Bethanie Borst is a spunky 13-year-old who is an avid archer with Olympic dreams, enjoys the outdoors, loves reading and is quick to make lasting friendships. When she is not writing, she swings on a star.

You can follow Amie and Bethanie on facebook at www.facebook.com/AmieAndBethanieBorst

You can find Amie at her blog www.amieborst.com, twitter, www.twitter.com/AmieBorst and pinterest www.pinterest.com/AmieBorst
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arbitrate $50 Book Blast

arbitrate
It's one year later. And everything has changed.
Remember The Second Chance Institute (SCI). Earth’s benevolent non-profit by day, Thera’s totalitarian regime by night. They’ve stepped up their game on Earth and on Thera—infiltrating political parties, preying on the downtrodden, and planning offensive maneuvers. The SCI’s abuse of their charter leads to Arbiter oversight and bitter consequences.
Remember Kira Donovan. Broken, burdened, and evading those who wish her harm, Kira enlists the Arbiters’ help when forced to return to the clutches of the SCI and her angry, estranged love.
Remember Blake Sundry. Exiled, determined, and packing an agenda, Blake seeks assistance on Earth and Thera to use his newfound knowledge to bring down the SCI.
Remember Ethan Darcton. Overworked, emotional, and holding a grudge, Ethan hunts down his stolen property, but finds himself in awkward territory, stuck between the Arbiters and the SCI.
Full of action, competing agendas, romantic entanglements, humor, twists and turns, arbitrate is Megan Thomason’s third installment in the award-winningdaynight series after daynight and clean slate complex (a daynight story).
 
Praise for arbitrate: "There are a lot of books I finish and feel happy, this one I finished and my head is swirling, in a totally awesome way! Not only does it have a great story with characters that you like (and some you just hate as they are the enemy) but the book also gets you thinking, thinking about the implication of effects of different actions and courses in life. This story has action, fighting, plots and plans, romance, love triangles, family, betrayal - has it all." --Emily Barton, Emmy Mom One Day at a Time blog, 5 stars "You have hit this one out of the park." --ARC Reviewer "For the record, I LOVED Kira's choice!! And the whole thing just blew me away! Very, very well done!! Now when can I get my hands on generate?! Can't wait " --ARC Reviewer "Read my ARC of Arbitrate and consider my mind blown! I started it the minute it was sent and couldn't put it down." --ARC Reviewer
add to goodreads
  daynight new 
  Meet The Second Chance Institute (SCI): Earth's benevolent non-profit by day, Thera's totalitarian regime by night. Their motto: Because Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Life(TM). Reality: the SCI subjects Second Chancers to strict controls and politically motivated science experiments like Cleaving--forced lifetime union between two people who have sex. Punishment for disobeying SCI edicts? Immediate Exile or death.
Meet Kira Donovan. Fiercely loyal, overly optimistic, and ensnared by the promise of a full-ride college scholarship, Kira signs the SCI Recruit contract to escape memories of a tragedy that left her boyfriend and friends dead.
Meet Blake Sundry. Bitter about being raised in Exile and his mother's death, Blake's been trained to infiltrate and destroy the SCI. Current barrier to success? His Recruit partner--Miss Goody Two Shoes Kira Donovan.
Meet Ethan Darcton. Born with a defective heart and resulting inferiority complex, Ethan's forced to do his SCI elite family's bidding. Cleave-worthy Kira Donovan catches his eye, but the presiding powers give defect-free Blake Sundry first dibs. Full of competing agendas, romantic entanglements, humor, twists and turns, daynight is an award-winning, bestselling novel and first in thedaynight series.  
arbitrate freebie
Download a FREE copy of daynight
October 29th, 30th & 31st
  Praise for daynight: 2012 Book of the Year Award Finalist-Young Adult Fiction, ForeWord Reviews "Sure to win over YA readers looking for a dangerous, dystopian adventure story" —Kirkus Reviews "Gripping young adult dystopian novel; compelling conflicts; high stakes; powerful narrative; surprises keep coming; strong writing; page-turner; engaging characters; Readers will be hungry for the sequels.”—BlueInk Review (starred review) "Thomason's description of Thera's totalitarianism will make fans of Brave New World shiver... SCI, her fantasy corporation, has disturbing parallels to actual companies and regimes that claim to do good while harming people... The author deftly appeals to both romance-loving teens as well as those intrigued by young adults fighting the establishment.”—ForeWord Clarion Review, 4 stars     

Excerpt: “I’m angry at all of them. Every SCI leader. In fact Joshua gave me a list of those who are Earth-side. It makes for a great to-do list.” They all deserve to pay. I’m done talking. It’s time for some action. One thousand one. One thousand two. One thousand three. That’s all it takes to even out my breathing and steady my hand. I shift the crosshairs on my target ever so slightly—from his heart to his hand—and pull the trigger. My father would be proud that all his training paid off. Oh, who am I kidding? He’d find something to criticize about my work here. Sad that even though he’s gone I can hear him saying, “If you’d hit a little to the left you’d have taken out a higher concentration of nerves.” arbitrate tour
  megan
 Bestselling, award-winning author Megan Thomason lives in paradise aka San Diego, CA with her husband and five children. A former software manager, Megan vastly prefers writing twisted tales to business, product, and marketing plans. When she isn't typing away on her laptop, she's reading books on her phone--over 600 in the last year--or attending to the needs of her family. Megan's fluent in sarcasm, could potentially benefit from a 12-step program for road rage, struggles with a Hot Tamales addiction, loves world travel & fast cars and hates paperwork & being an insomniac.  
 
  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/18/13 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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Bargained For Bride by Marcia Lynn McClure + a $25 Giveaway!


a bargained
A Bargained-For Bride by Marcia Lynn McClure (Novella) Excerpt “You’re the sweetest girl in Mourning Dove Creek, you know?” Jack mumbled as he paused in kissing Jilly a moment. Jilly smiled. “And you’re the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek, you know,” she flirted in return. Jack smiled. “I do know,” he said. Jilly giggled. Jack Taylor was so predictable—and a little conceited. He really did think he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove—and he was, for the most part. Secretly, however, if Jilly ever allowed herself to be completely honest about it (which she tried to avoid), there was one other man in Mourning Dove who always crossed her mind when the subject of the handsomest man in town arose. Yet there was no lingering on thinking of that man—no sirree! Not for a moment! Not for any reason—ever. And so Jilly just kept telling Jack that he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek. Besides, it was almost true—being that the other man lived outside of town and not right in town the way Jack did

Marcia is, hands down, a fabulous romance writer.  She has the ability to bring swooning kisses to any plot, any character.  When I read Marcia's books, I am transported to another place and I feel, well, happy.  Sweet romance that doesn't lose the fun of the chase and the kisses that make it worth it.

Another reason I love MLM books is that the men are always MEN.  They are strong and loyal and of course, handsome.  They don't pussyfoot around.  Ever.  No whining and no excuses.

I loved both Boone and Jilly.  They are both fantastic characters.  They have both been orphaned but Jilly has been raised by her grandparents.  This gives them something in common.  Boone is independent and the first to jump in to help the community with whatever hardship is before them.  He is a rescuer and a protector.  He plays his part well. Jilly is strong and sweet.  She is a perfect match for Boone and I love how their story plays out.

There isn't as much kissing in this book so depending on who you are you may or may not love that fact.  :)  

I really loved this sweet novella.  It was fun and romantic.

Content:  mild swearing   

  marcia
Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.” Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.
Social Media Website Social Media Blog Social Media Facebook Social Media Twitter Social Media Goodreads
Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/12/13 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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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bargained tour

On Tour with Just Ella: Review and $25 Giveaway


Just Ella 
  Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen Book Summary: A Proper Romance
Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined. I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me. I write clean romance. Why? Because that’s what I love to read, but over the years I’ve discovered it’s quite a challenge to find good clean romance. I believe it’s a genre that many people are looking for and too few authors are writing. My first novel, Just Ella, took me many years to write because I wanted it to be more than just a cutesy love story. I wanted it to have depth, to feel genuine. Hopefully I succeeded, but you’ll have to be the judge.

I have already posted a review for this book but I couldn't help but sign up for this blog tour as well.  I love, love, love this book and it never hurts to spread the word (and spread it again) about books we love.  :)

You can check out my full review HERE.  But I will be posting most of it again right here.

This was a book I picked up because I heard some awesome things about it from people I trust with book recommendations. I got a little ahead in my review reading and jumped right into this book because I was so excited. I picked it up for free because of my Amazon Prime membership which was SO happy! Although, this is a book I'd actually like to have on my shelves forever.


Clean romance is one of my very favorite genres. This book is so well written it felt just perfect. Honest. I loved it from beginning to end. Ariella is intelligent and sweet. She longs for adventure and distraction from her royal obligations. Ella longs for friends and those personal connections that a royal life separates her from. When she meets Gavin in the gardens, she is filled with excitement. Their friendship grows and Ella finds herself longing for more of the life she simply cannot have.


One of my favorite things about Ella is her determination to protect Gavin. She is willing to sacrifice her happiness for his well being and safety and even his happiness. The next thing I love about Ella is her determination to be friendly with the servants and staff of the castle and also to become part of her community. She pushes against the binding constraints to form relationships with people, to let them know she cares. It really endeared Ella to me.


This is a book I can 100% recommend to anyone. It is clean and sweet and just an all around fantastic, romantic read. My teenage daughter loved this book too.

Book Blast/Blog Tour Special
Grab your copy of Just Ella for just $4.99!

  annette
Author Annette K. Larsen I was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff Arizona and St. Louis Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended college at Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children. I have Charlotte Bronte to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to sacrifice what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but it the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.  

    Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/5/13   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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Just Ella Tour

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tinseltown by Stephanie Taylor

Tinseltown by Stephanie Taylor
Contemporary Romance
Length: 189 Pages
ISBN: 9781621351801

Lights, Camera...Sparks!

A-list actress Deb Atkins hasn’t allowed her glamorous lifestyle to go to her head. She owes this to her wonderful family, who keeps her grounded. So, for Deb, not just any man will do, especially if he’s part of the Hollywood elite. Most actors have one thing on their mind, and happily ever after isn’t it.

Until she meets Zach Sparks, her new co-star.

Zach Sparks is famous not just for his acting skills, but his quick wit and good looks. One glance at Deb, and he's smitten. After a drunken night at a Vegas premiere after-party, one thing leads to another. The result: marriage.

Deb is appalled by her actions. So much so, she and Zach can't get along on the set. Their director demands they spend Christmas holidays together to work out their differences or they're both fired. Driven by selfish motivations, they don't expect to fall in love over Christmas or for their marriage to turn into a real one. But can their tenuous relationship withstand a bigger test than either of them ever imagined?

Boy there are sparks all over the place in this book and not just because the character's last name is Sparks.  Believe me, it's tension and sparks all over the place.

The story line was good.  I like the marriage (I wouldn't call it so accidental) and the struggle both characters face in deciding to either work it out or trash it.  I'm not so sure that each were driven by selfish motivations, maybe just Deb.  Zach seemed to want the marriage and love from Deb from the very beginning even though he had to pretend not to for fear of having Deb freak out.

I enjoyed Zach's character a whole lot more than I did Deb's.  She was seriously not very nice to Zach for a whole lot of the book.  That guy seriously had his work cut out for him in trying to prove himself to her.  She just never believed him, no matter what he did.  It was sad.

That said, this book was definitely pushing my comfort level in the clean romance zone.   While there was no described sex scene, there was an awful lot of sexual talk, sexual innuendo, and even sex without description.  This is probably the first Astraea Press book that has pushed the boundaries for me.  I'm not sure I would label this book as "clean" but it did have some great tension, witty moments and a great happily ever after.  :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cosmetic Heart by Kathy Bosman: Review and GIVEAWAY!

Cosmetic Heart by Kathy Bosman
Contemporary Romance
Length: 201 Pages
ISBN: 9781621351917

Lisa works for a top South African magazine as the make-up artist, but writes articles on the quiet. When the chief editor, Daniel, asks for her help in posing as his ex-fiancĂ©e to save face with his family, Lisa agrees, hoping to obtain a promotion in return. She doesn’t expect to fall for the handsome editor nor to fit in with his family who love her unconditionally. But Lisa has more secrets, and she doesn’t believe in love and family. After Daniel finds out her secrets, will his forgiveness and determination be enough to cut through all the layers Lisa has put over her heart?

This is another easy reading, you don't have to think to hard, romantic, Astraea Press novel.  I enjoyed the South African setting which is a change from most books I read.

Honestly my favorite character in this book was Daniel.  He started out looking for some help to save face with his family and ended up realizing what he really wanted out of life and relationships.  His emotional journey from surface to deeper was believable and real.  He was a great character and I loved his family.  

And then there was Lisa.  While I thought she was nice and kind, I really didn't get her decisions in regards to Daniel.  I was annoyed by her, especially in the latter part of the book.  Daniel is seriously a saint.  His "speech" at the end of the book melted my heart.

My thanks to Astraea Press for allowing me to read and review for them.  They have also generously offered to provide an e-book copy of this book for one lucky reader.  Enter below!

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Healing Creek: A Love Story by Jaclyn M. Hawkes

Were they opposites? Or soul mates?

Finding she had a perpetually unfaithful husband had been hard to cope with as a newly wed and newly certified marriage counselor. Still, that wasn’t as hard as finding her husband had a newborn daughter with a teenager—effectively ending both her marriage, and the career Monet McLaughlin had spent seven years building. That’ll leave a mark.

It’s why she absolutely knows not to trust the hunky male model who shows up two years later at her therapy horse stable to do a photo shoot for romance novel covers. Certainly no one who looks like that, and makes a living being that intimate with that many women, has a shred of moral integrity—do they?

They both know they are far too opposite for even a casual relationship, so then what the heck is going on here?

Cynics can heal—if they’re brave enough.

Hummmm, the first line of the blurb above has me humming.  Can't you be opposites AND soul mates?  I sure hope so because my husband is my polar opposite on most things.  :)  Opposites attract and all that.

It's true that Monet has taken some brutal blows.  She is moving forward though and finding peace in the good work she is doing with children and horses.  The hunky model that shows up at her stable has Monet humming too.  Even though she doesn't like to admit it.

First impressions can be so off base.  That's how it is in this book between the main characters.  Neither one from their first impressions has any idea what life has dealt the other.  As they try to push aside the growing attraction (but don't really succeed) they begin to discover more about each other that changes the way they think and behave.  

There were moments when I really wanted to strangle Monet but honestly, her struggle with Nick's intimate photo shoots would leave me a bit wary too.  So, I completely got where she was coming from but there was some other incidents that I thought she needed a good spanking.  :)  She was often mean and judgmental, not asking Nick about her concerns but assuming she knew.  She could sure dish it out to poor Nick but she didn't always walk the walk herself.  Nick was patient, always trying to prove himself and change for Monet.  Poor guy.

I enjoyed the journey of healing and attraction in this book.  It was a grand diversion on a rainy, cold day that found me trying to keep warm, curled up on the couch.  Clean romances are my favorite and this was definitely one for the clean romance list!

There are some Christian themes in this book.  Monet shares some of her Christian beliefs and talks about morals and believing she is a daughter of God.  I thought I would mention that in case you cared one way or another.

You can purchase Healing Creek at Amazon in print or e-book.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Review of Mile 21 by Sarah Dunster

The singles ward is the last place Abish wants to be. But after the unexpected death of her husband (and after being kicked out of her mom’s place), she has to move into single-student housing to finish up her schooling. Maybe training for a marathon and winning the heart of the handsome executive secretary are exactly what Abish needs to get a personal best.

There is no doubt that Abish has been through a great deal.  Being a newlywed and losing your husband would be so hard.  Abish has another heartache as well that adds to her overwhelming sense of loss.  (you'll have to read to find that one out)  Obviously Abish is facing huge obstacles to overcome.  Not unlike so many of us at different times and places in our lives.

Here's the thing though.  To me, Abish was just mean.  Does heartache and loss give someone the right to treat everyone around them like crap?  Don't get me wrong, I know heartache.  I know plenty of other people who know similar heartache to Abish.  But they never got mean.  Yes, everyone is different and deals with loss differently.  Yes, Abish had a rough time of it but her own actions led to more hardship than she ever needed to have. She got kicked out of her apartment because she failed to live up to her end of the bargain. She was rude and mean.  She used people.  

For most of the book I didn't like Abish and that is hard as a reader.  I want to connect with the characters and I did feel empathy for her situation but unfortunately, her negative thoughts and actions overpowered that most of the time.  Abish doesn't want to be judged but she judges harshly herself.  And did I mention that she is mean?  She is.

Abish does start to redeem herself and thank goodness for the people in her life that don't give up on her and just let her wallow forever in her misery and meanness.  I think almost everyone around Abish demonstrates patience, kindness and forgiveness in excess.  Abish learns some important lessons as she emerges from her misery and begins to pay attention to others again.  Abish realizes that she has treated other poorly.  She starts to realize she isn't alone in the hard things she faces in life.  She begins to serve others and interact. She seeks out reconciliation.  There is a lot of emotion in this book.  Not so much romance as the journey of one emotionally messed up girl.

I was happy to find the book ended on a positive note.  I needed that.  I don't think I ever totally liked Abish but she did redeem herself and the story ended with good feelings and a sense of overcoming and triumph.  

This is an LDS fiction book.  There are doctrinal topics mentioned that many not familiar with the LDS faith might have a hard time understanding.  

You can purchase Mile 21 at Amazon.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Light In Dark Places $50 Book Blast

  light in dark
In December, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. As law enforcement tried to piece together what had happened to Susan, her husband, Josh Powell, became the only person of interest in the case. For Jennifer Graves, Josh’s sister, the nightmare started long before Susan’s disappearance. From her experiences growing up in the Powell family to the terrifying moment when she first started to believe her brother was a killer, she relied on her faith to stay strong. She devoted herself to the safety of Susan’s boys, Charlie and Braden, whom she hoped to be able to raise as her own. When the boys were murdered by their father in February, 2012, Jennifer was more than devastated, but she had to believe there was a reason for it all—including the deaths of her beloved nephews. In A Light In Dark Places, Jennifer shares her struggles and her triumphs. In coming to terms with such tragedy she finally was able to embrace the truth that we all have the power to choose our own path—and there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem.

Praise for A Light in Dark Places:
I just finished reading "A Light in Dark Places" By Jennifer Graves and Emily Gray Clawson. I was impressed with how well written the book was. The descriptions are such that I felt I was part of the story. I was grateful that the message was one of hope and peace in tragedy. The book does tell the tale of Susan Powell, her boys and their demise but doesn't dwell on it. It was nice to see inside the life experiences of someone so close to them and to see things from Jennifer's perspective rather than what you see on the media. I highly recommend this book. It doesn't disappoint! – T. Hyde

I love true accounts of people overcoming challenges and helping others with the lessons learned from them. This story of Jennifer's experiences throughout her abusive childhood, and later the disappearance of Susan and the murder of her two sweet nephews is just that. She shares how she felt God's hand in her life, guiding her to make better choices than the rest of her family did. Though the book had so many sad details, it ended with hope, courage and love. ~D. Raymond I had followed the story of Susan Powell very closely so I wasn't sure if the book was going to tell me something I didn't already know...but it sure did. Jennifer was very brave in writing this book and all she had done in support for Susan. I highly recommend the book it sheds a light on the whole situation that helps make things more clear. ~ Carolyn

This was a very informative read. I lived in Utah at the time of Susan's disappearance and followed the news every day. This book answered many questions that the news did not. Although it was very sad and I already knew the outcome it was a good read. I admire Jennifer for her part in the whole story and I am glad she had the fortitude to write this book to honor her sister in law. ~Katie O.

To finally read about details that were never shared brought closure for me about this insidious crime. While the book was an easy read, the message shared about breaking the cycle of abusive relationships is invaluable. It truly does take someone removing themselves from their abusive family's presence to stop the cycle. Praises to the author for sharing her perspectives. ~Arlene  

  add to goodreads   JenandEmAuthorphoto1

Jennifer Graves is the mother of 5 beautiful children, 2 girls and 3 boys. She and her husband have been happily married for 19 years and together have been active in their community and church. Jennifer is the sister of Josh Powell who killed his 2 sons, Charlie and Braden, as well as himself in February of 2012, and is also believed to have killed his wife, Susan Cox Powell, in December of 2009. She is the recipient of the 2013 ChainBreaker of the year Award, given for breaking the chain of abuse and violence in her family. She enjoys homeschooling their children and mentoring in classes for the commonwealth school they attend. She also loves reading, playing card and board games, and learning new things. Most of all she loves to spend time with her husband and children. They currently reside in West Jordan, UT.
♦ ♦ ♦
Emily Clawson is an author, a mother and a mentor. She traditionally writes inspirational fiction. This book has been a life changing experience for her and she is grateful to have been a part of telling this story. She resides in Taylorsville with her husband and four children where they run their leadership mentoring programs for youth.
 
light in dark tour

 
  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/15/13 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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Bargain by Christine S. Feldman

Tomboy Shannon Mahoney has always been a lot more comfortable with power tools than high heels or lipstick, and she wishes she could reinvent herself and finally tell her perfect boss, Drew Kingston, she has had a crush on him since high school. But she is just as tongue-tied and awkward around him now as she ever was, and long-familiar patterns are hard things from which to break free…

Ladies’ man Michael is a former bad boy looking for redemption. He is desperate to atone for past mistakes that he made with his family, but younger brother Drew has cut him out of his life and refuses to even speak to him. Which means Michael needs help getting to Drew.

And so he approaches Shannon with a proposition: If she will get Drew to agree to hear him out, Michael will mentor Shannon in how to win his brother’s heart. Suspicious of Michael’s motives, Shannon initially enters into the bargain just to make sure Michael isn’t actually in town to cause trouble for Drew, but the two unlikely allies are surprised to discover they enjoy each other’s company far more than either expected.

Shannon starts to realize that maybe love isn’t about reinventing yourself after all. It’s about finding your perfect match.


I love reading clean romance books.  I just can't help it.  It's the classic boy meets girl, the struggle, the toe curling kisses and of course, the resolution.  When I want escape, diversion, and dreamy romance, this is genre is where I go.

The Bargain is down to earth with real characters doing real things.  Shannon is endearing.  You can relate to the whole "back in the day" high school scene with her.  The way she gets all tongue tied and shy around her long time crush (who she now works for!) and the way she stands up to Michael like a bull dog brings out all the sides of her personality.  I love how she is so insecure but tries so hard to overcome that.  The battle at the car while Shannon internally debates with herself about going into the clothing shop is classic.  I loved that part.  Especially from Michael's point of view.  Second favorite part?  The wowza first kiss, of course.  :)

This book was easy, fun reading.  It had an excellent flow with great dialogue.  The characters were likable and easy to relate to.  It was the perfect book to cozy up with on the couch as the weather turns cold outside.  I love happily ever after endings.  :)

Content:  mild swearing, some sexual innuendo and references

Enjoy the following excerpt from The Bargain!

“So, ten years…That would take it all the way back to high school, wouldn’t it?”
She nodded, still very deliberately working on getting just the right amount of ketchup on her fry so she wouldn’t have to look at him.
“Wait—were you and Drew in the same graduating class?”
“Yeah.”
“Then that would mean…so you and I were actually in school together?”
“For a year, yes.”
He gave her a very thorough once-over as if trying to place her. “You and I—we never hooked up in high school, did we?”
Shannon’s mouth fell open. “No, we certainly did not!”
“So is that why you were really so mad at me the other day?”
“What?” she sputtered hotly. “You are unbelievable!”
“Oh, so we did hook up.”
“You—“
A slow grin spread across his face, and she realized he was playing with her.
Taking a deep breath, she bit back a name she had been about to call him. “You get a perverse pleasure out of yanking my chain, don’t you?”
“Kind of, yes.”
“Aren’t you afraid I might back out of the deal?”
“No, I think you realize it’s in Drew’s best interest. Besides,” he added with a knowing gleam in his eye, “I think you get a perverse pleasure out of putting me back in my place, so we’re developing a great little symbiotic relationship here. Don’t you agree?”
“What? Oh, I’m sorry. I’m still recovering from the shock of hearing such big words come out of your mouth.”
Michael started to laugh, and Shannon felt a kind of rush go through her…

And now, meet the author, Christine Feldman:

Christine S. Feldman writes both novels and feature-length screenplays, and, to her great delight, she has placed in screenwriting competitions on both coasts—and has even won a couple of them.  In 2012 one of her screenplays was featured as a staged reading in New York City at the Gotham Screen International Film Festival (http://www.gsiff.com/content/staged-screenplay-reading-1), and later that same year she signed her first publishing contract for her debut novel, Coming Home, with her second one, The Bargain, out this summer.  When she is not writing, she is teaching kindergarten, puttering around in her garden, ballroom dancing with her husband, or doing research for her next project.  Please visit her at her website http://christinesfeldman.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChristineSFeldman.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Beneath by H.B. Moore

Chalice Stratford's hands won’t stop shaking, and not only is she required to give up her medical practice, but she’s forced to enter the witness protection program since the serial killer who brutally scarred her is still at large. Working in a museum in Bordeaux, France, the last thing she expects is to be abducted in a museum theft gone wrong. Omar Zagouri, the man behind the heist, is not who she expects, and Chalice soon learns he might be the one man who can put her demons to rest.

This is a super, super short story~ about 25 pages.  It took me a handful of minutes to read but boy was it good!  I loved the book Finding Sheba and this novella is a perfect companion to it.

Even though this book is so short, it isn't short on great characters and fast paced suspense.  Chalice is an intriguing character.  I find myself wanting to know a lot more about her and her back story.  More than I got in this teaser.

Of course, Omar is Omar.  If you have read Finding Sheba, you know about Omar.  He is sort of like a modern day Robin Hood.  He has a big heart and some great internal instincts.  I love his sense of loyalty to justice and right.

This book is set before Finding Sheba but Chalice and her story doesn't come into play at all in that book.  (I don't think.  I can't remember it if it does!)  Perhaps it will be a part of the next book?  I really, really hope so.  I'm loving this series!  Short stories and all!

This is only .99 cents on Amazon.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Carla Kelly's Christmas Collection: Review and Giveaway

Come explore Regency London with Carla Kelly! This collection features four stories that will warm your heart with Christmas cheer: "The Christmas Ornament," "Make a Joyful Noise," "An Object of Charity," and "The Three Kings." Filled with romance and a touch of humor, these stories are sure to find a place in your heart and remind you that Christmas is a time for love.

I am a Carla Kelly fan.  It's true.   In this book, you will find several short stories with a Regency setting.  I loved them all.  They were perfect little romantic stories that can be read straight through or one at a time if you are the kind of person that likes to draw things out to make them last.  (Kind of like sucking on a piece of candy verses chomping them right away.  Guess what kind of candy eater I am?!  Chomper.)

I'll admit, I didn't take time to savor these.  I read one story after another, almost straight through.  They were so sweet.    I just couldn't help myself.  The characters, the settings, and the Christmas feel all make these short stories feel so good.  I think my favorites were "The Three Kings" and "An Object of Charity".  I think what I love about collections of short romance stories is that I get multiple happily ever after endings.  What's not to love about that?!

This would be the perfect holiday gift idea for Regency romance lovers.  Or clean romance lovers.  Or it would be the perfect way to give yourself a little indulgence.  (think of your cozy reading place, with your favorite cold weather beverage...)

You can purchase Carla Kelly's Christmas Collection at Amazon in print or ebook.  You also have the chance to win an ebook copy of this book, thanks to the awesomeness of Cedar Fort.  :)

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

More Than Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram

Jamie Baker, the only girl in the world with superpowers, has now accepted who she is and learned to control her power. Not to mention she has the best boyfriend on the planet. Life is finally looking good. But the day she witnesses an accident and decides not to save the guy out of fear of being exposed, she realizes that simply being Jamie Baker isn't enough.

After seeing Jamie so wrecked with guilt, the ever-helpful Ryan Miller decides it's time to make all of his fantasies about turning his girlfriend into an honest-to-goodness superhero become a reality.

Of course, coming up with a decent Super Name and fending off all of Ryan's attempts to get her into spandex aren't the only problems Jamie faces. The more her alter ego starts to make headlines, the harder it becomes for Jamie to hide her extracurricular activities from her best friend, the government, radical scientists, and the mysterious new guy who is determined to steal her from her boyfriend.

Oh no, Kelly Oram.  You did NOT just do that to me.  Really?!  You totally did.  That's so MEAN.  Cruel even.  Mean, mean mean.

It all started off so nicely.  And then...it got better.  I was totally into it.  Ready to take on the world with Jamie.  I'm so there.  And then you had to go and do THAT.  Whatever.  Let's just hope and pray that you are well on your way to finishing the next book because that ending was just MEAN!

Is that my review?  Yes.  It totally is.  (to say more would be to give things away and I'm not that kind of girl.)

Content:  steamy kissing, implied but not described sex, mild swearing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Surviving Scotland by Kristin Vayden

Surviving Scotland by Kristin Vayden
Historical Romance
Length: 198 Pages
ISBN: 9781621351795

Ioan is handsome... until he opens his mouth. How can someone so masculine and striking be so irritating? Yet part of her knows that if his sarcastic and teasing temper changed, she will lose her heart.

Elle is untouchable. His quick-witted barbs keep her at arm's length. She can never know the truth. But like a moth drawn to the flame he can’t resist her. Indeed he already burned.

When the Jacobites attack Carnasserie castle, the Black Watch come to assist. Surviving Scotland isn’t for the faint of heart…

How can a girl resist a handsome man with a Scottish brogue?!  Even reading it makes me swoony.  (yeah, I know, not a real word...)  I loved the historical setting of this book.  The castle, the people and did I mention the Scottish brogue?  :)

The banter and sarcastic wit between Ioan and Elle is fun.  You can feel the sparks flying between them.  The time travel element made this book interesting.  I'd sure love to know more about it.  Maybe from the parents story?  I felt like I needed more back story to understand the why's and how's of the time travel stuff.  Why it all got started and such.

The kissing in this book is yummy and full of passion.  I'm so glad I didn't have to wait to the end of the book for them to get together and start kissing!  :)  

I read through this book in one day easily.  It kept me engaged and interested the whole time.  I'm such a sucker for sarcastic wit.

One of my peeves?  The cover.  Did a girl in Scotland in that time period really wear that?  Hum, I don't think so.  That ruined the cover for me.  Sad.

Content:  Steamy kissing and a fade away bedroom scene on a couple's wedding night.  There are some details that are just over that "clean" line for me.

My thanks to Astraea Press for sending this title over for review.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!


It's October and time for the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!  For this hop I am giving a book (or ebook) of your choice, $12 or less from Amazon if you are US or Book Depository if you are INT.  It must be an actual book.  No gift cards or other items.  

Just enter through the rafflecopter below.  Thanks for stopping by!  Enjoy this MASSIVE hop!

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Consider the Blessings: True Stories of Our Heavenly Father's Love by Thomas S. Monson


Size: 8x8
Pages: 160
Year Published: 2013

If you ask people what they love most about President Thomas S. Monson’s teaching style, chances are they’ll say something about the personal experiences he relates. The accounts President Monson shares are always true, taken from his own life or the real lives of other people. Those warm, memorable accounts have truly become a hallmark of his messages.

Who can forget the woman who saved one of the two sticks of gum Elder Monson passed out to youth in postwar Germany? Or the neighbor who returned a box of baseballs to young Tommy as a thank-you for his kindness to her? Or the father who declined to attend a “Mormon” meeting with his family but had his heart softened by a message he heard on a radio that was actually broken?

In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of his call as an Apostle, Consider the Blessings presents fifty of the true accounts President Thomas S. Monson has shared over the years. With beautiful photographs and heart-touching content, this is a book to treasure with the whole family.

I have to say that I honestly love this book.  I read through the whole thing in two sittings.  It has beautiful pictures to go along with the wonderful stories shared by President Monson.  Most of these stories were ones I have heard before but there were a few that were new to me.  I could hear his voice as I read them.  President Monson has this way of talking that makes his voice and stories uniquely his.

As stated in the book summary, one of the things I love best about President Monson's teachings are his personal stories.  They are heart felt and endearing.  My kids always remember the stories from conference when he speaks.  To have a compilation of stories that he has shared in my home is wonderful.  I really love this book.  It makes me feel good and reminds me of how important it is to be kind and serve and help the people around me.  Kindness and love DO matter.

This is such a treasure of a book.  The holidays will be here before you know it and this book would be a perfect gift for so many people.  I know it's on my list.  

You can find it for purchase at Amazon and Deseret Book.

About the Author

President Thomas S. Monson was set apart as the sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 2008. He had previously served for twenty-two years in the First Presidency of the Church, after having been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since October1963. Five years after his call to the Twelve, he was given a special assignment for the work of the Church in Europe, requiring many visits with members behind the Iron Curtain. He was instrumental in the construction of the Freiberg Germany Temple and in advancing the Lord’s work in other eastern European countries that were part of the communist bloc. He also served as chairman of the Scriptures Publication Committee and supervised the process that resulted in the new editions of the scriptures. His ministry has been characterized by his compassion for the needs of individuals and his gift for one-on-one service. President Monson and his wife, Frances, are the parents of three children, grandparents of eight, and great-grandparents of eight.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Bargained for Bride $50 Book Blast


a bargained
A Bargained-For Bride by Marcia Lynn McClure (Novella)
Excerpt: “You’re the sweetest girl in Mourning Dove Creek, you know?” Jack mumbled as he paused in kissing Jilly a moment. Jilly smiled. “And you’re the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek, you know,” she flirted in return. Jack smiled. “I do know,” he said. Jilly giggled. Jack Taylor was so predictable—and a little conceited. He really did think he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove—and he was, for the most part. Secretly, however, if Jilly ever allowed herself to be completely honest about it (which she tried to avoid), there was one other man in Mourning Dove who always crossed her mind when the subject of the handsomest man in town arose. Yet there was no lingering on thinking of that man—no sirree! Not for a moment! Not for any reason—ever. And so Jilly just kept telling Jack that he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek. Besides, it was almost true—being that the other man lived outside of town and not right in town the way Jack did

  marcia
Author Marcia Lynn McClure Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.” Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.  
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BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/8/13 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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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bargained tour