Friday, January 31, 2014

FiRsT CrUsHeS- With Guest Kimberly Krey and an awesome book Giveaway!

We all know what it’s like to have a school-aged crush. To be so aware of someone as they move about the room that you can barely focus. Or remember busying yourself in the hall when they walked by so you were doing anything but staring at them and acting all stalk-ish like? Yeah. And we weren’t sure whether they liked us back or not and we weren’t sure if we’d ever know because having our friend ask their friend was (an option – I’m not gonna lie) but scary. So we put that part off and pine after them in silence (except all the times we gush about it to our friends, of course) and we’re just left with this giant ache in the center of our chest. Something that feels quite literally like we’re being crushed.

Well… we thought it would be fun, Aimee and I, to talk about our FIRST CRUSHES! And not just our first crushes in real life. But our first crushes in movies and TV too. But this here goes both ways, because we want to hear about YOURS too! It’s what that little comment box is for.

Here we go. I’ll start:

My first crush was a kid named Cory Vandenburg. I was in the first grade. I have a distinct memory of chasing this blond-haired boy fiercely about the grassy playground. Did I catch him, you ask? Of course. I’m a very fast runner. Always have been, to poor little Cory’s dismay. What did I do with him once he was caught? He-he. I tackled him to the ground, held back his hands, had a friend steady his head for me, and then I kissed him on the forehead. And on both, rosy-from-trying-to-outrun-me cheeks.
Sorry if this is frightening to any young children out there.
So uh, onto Aimee’s first crush story…

Okay, well, my first crush was Bill Norlander and it’s funny because I was also in the first grade.  Bill must have been some sort of first grader stud because all the girls wanted to sit by him during reading time and during films.  Including me.  Once he even held my hand.  We used to play a game on the playground called King of the Mountain.  I only played when Bill was playing because if I knocked him off the half buried tire, he had to give me a kiss on the cheek. And that, my friends, was worth playing for!

I have a list of TV crushes that dates all the way back to… well… a long time ago. To simplify things, I’ll just, ya know, list them off. Like so:

Zack from Saved by the Bell – blond, preppy, need I say more?
Ricky Schroder from Silver Spoons – blond, adorable. Loved.
Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties – good looking, cocky beyond reason, and hilarious. This crush lasted the longest for me. I have always just loved Michael J. Fox.

  


Seriously?  If those date back to a long time ago, then I am ancient.  Haha  Here are mine:

Bo Duke from the Dukes of Hazzard.  Every Friday night in 4th grade.  I was even a member of their fan club!
Kirk Cameron- he was plastered on my bedroom wall in Jr. High and I watched him faithfully every week on TV.

 


Oh… My… Goodness! How did I forget about Bo? I was quite in love with him too! Now, onto movie crushes. I know I had tons but I’ll keep the list short and sweet:

Karate Kid – yep. Loved.
The Coreys. You know, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman. Was crazy about both.
Ferris Bueller? Yes, please. Big Crush.

I loved the Karate Kid too.  He made a splash on my crush wall at one point. 
Luke Skywalkerfrom Star Wars- I think I have a thing for the good guys…
Captain America- okay, that might be a recent and up to date one, but it’s still a movie crush!!  




So there you have it. You know all our wildest secrets (not really), and now we want to know yours! (Really.) Who were you crushing on back in the day? Do we have overlap happening here, because that would be fun. As long as you remember one important thing: I saw him first…

Posting with Kimberly is filled with fun and awesomeness.  She is honestly the best.  I'm so glad she agreed to do this random post with me.  And, because of her awesomeness, she is also providing for 5 ebook copies of her latest book, Jade's Cowboy Crush (which I loved, see my review HERE).  Just enter below!

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cover Reveal: Sacrifice by Jennifer Quintenz

"Sacrifice" (Daughters of Lilith: Book 3) by Jennifer Quintenz
For fans of Braedyn Murphy, the wait is almost over. “Sacrifice,” the third book in the Daughters of Lilith series, will be released on January 31, 2014. "Sacrifice" (Daughters of Lilith: Book 3) 

 Just when Braedyn Murphy thought she understood the danger descending on Puerto Escondido, a new threat arrives. A cult devoted to Lilith has taken up residence in the little town, and when Cassie gets tangled up its intrigue, Braedyn realizes she might have to chose between protecting her friends and stopping Lilith from reclaiming this earth. With her duties to the Guard wearing on her, Braedyn turns to Lucas for solace. Together they wonder if now is the time to claim their one night together—knowing that one night is all they may ever have. Darker forces have their own plans for Braedyn and the Guard. Braedyn knew this fight could be brutal—but how much can one girl be asked to sacrifice in order to save the world?

 Check out the previous books in the series: Praise for "Thrall" (Daughters of Lilith: Book 1)
"Before you even start this review, put down anything you are doing and go read Thrall. It's AMAZING! BREATHTAKING! Engaging and smart, Thrall leaves you speechless!" - Savannah, Books With Bite

"The writing style is so smooth, yet gripping. Add some good characters, well-paced story and you have something that I like. No, not like. Love... No surprise that “Thrall” gets full five stars and the highest recommendations I can give." - Linda, The Fantasy Librarian

 "How do I even begin to put all the crazy, gushy, ramblings in my brain about this book onto paper?!? Where to even begin?....This book is a MUST read!" - Hooked In A Book review on Amazon

  Praise for “Incubus” (Daughters of Lilith: Book 2)
 "If you like gutsy fantasy of the urban variety this should definitely be on your 'must read' list. Don't let the YA label put you off either, like all the best YA fiction, this can be enjoyed by adults as well. I give it an unreserved 5 stars." - Tahlia, Awesome Indies, http://awesomeindies.net/2013/10/01/hard-book-put-review-incubus-jennifer-quintenz/

 "This is one of those books that I have been looking forward to since June of last year... I loved this book and I'm so happy I finally got to read it. I recommend the entire series for the fully developed characters, the impressive mythology, and the fight scenes. I am dreading waiting for the next book." - David, David-Reviews.com

"Great reading. LOVE IT. Jennifer Quintenz is a special writer who can be very riveting... Spent several sleepless nights in a crazy rush to see how it ends. Can't wait for the next books." - Terri, review on Amazon
About the author: Jennifer Quintenz is an award-winning film and television writer, author, and graphic novelist. She has written for Twentieth Television, Intrepid Pictures, and Archaia Studios Press. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son. JenniferQuintenz.com Jenn on Facebook Jenn on Twitter Jenn on Goodreads

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Love Letter Collection



Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Love Letter Collection. Readers will love this collection of six novellas—three contemporary and three historical—all with one thing in common: Romance.

In Maggie’s Song, a charming story by Karey White, Maggie Jensen is part of a trio of best friends with Lucas and Dan. Together, they own and run Wild Country Hiking Tours. When Lucas returns to the company after getting his college degree, Maggie realizes that the crush she had on him as a teenager has now blossomed into so much more. But Lucas still treats her as one of the guys, and Maggie worries that if she tells him her real feelings, their relationship will be damaged forever.

In Just Fly, Krista Lynne Jensen's captivating novella, Wren is faced with the devastating news of her grandfather's death. But when her mom finds a mysterious letter from a woman named Dot in Seattle, Wren decides to visit the woman herself to deliver the news in person. Wren learns of the bucket list Dot and Gramps had put together with the help of Dot's grandson, Seth, and Dot challenges Wren to take her grandfather's place in completing the list. Before the week of adventure is over, Seth has impressed Wren in more ways than one. But is that enough to overcome Wren's fear of losing those she loves?

How to Rewrite a Love Letter, an enthralling novella by Diane Darcy, high school teacher Julie Ashburn believes she’ll never live the “event” down in which she wrote her true feelings in a love letter to Principal Dane Parker, and he laughed out loud, mocking her. Now that her honors English students want to write love letters for the school fundraiser, Dane turns down the idea flat. Julie tries to convince him that it was her students’ idea and not any sort of payback. But when a student writes a fake love letter from the principal to Julie, everything gets even more mixed up, and both Julie and Dane are caught up in a series of misunderstandings that might be impossible to sort out.

In Sarah M. Eden’s delightful story, A Thousand Words, Shannon Ryan has been waiting half a year to be reunited with her fiance, Patrick, with only the letters between them keeping their relationship alive. He finally sends for her after securing a good job with the Sidney newspaper, and she can’t wait to be reunited with him, swept up in his arms and thoroughly kissed. And of course, married as soon as possible. But when she arrives at the train station, there is no Patrick waiting for her. Shannon must discover if the man she loves still has feelings for her.

Between the Lines is a sweet romance by Annette Lyon. Jane Martin is intelligent but extremely shy, especially around men. When the Aid and Cultural Society proposes a letter-writing program, Jane signs up, hoping she can find true friendship. The program doesn’t run as smoothly as expected, and unknown to Jane, one of the men in her city becomes her writing friend. Thomas Allred has always known shy and quiet Jane, but reading her letters written to his secret persona, opens his eyes to what an amazing woman she is. The only trouble is, Jane doesn’t know that the man who she is falling in love with through letters is also Thomas, the man who is falling in love with her in person.

In the enchanting novella, Blackberry Hollow, by Heather B. Moore, Lucy Quinn travels to England to inspect her inherited estate. Unfortunately, as a resident of New York and nearly engaged, Lucy needs put the house on the market. But first, she wants to learn more about her ancestors. What she doesn’t expect is Calvin Bevans, the man living next door. The two families have been divided by a misunderstanding decades old, and when Lucy discovers a set of love letters, she learns the truth. As Calvin helps her unravel the hidden secrets between the two families, Lucy finds that she has more reasons to stay in England than to return to New York. And Calvin is at the top of that list.

Just in time for Valentines Day and February- the month of love, comes this perfectly sweet collection of short stories that will bring that little bit of romance and love to your heart.

This Timeless Romance Anthology series is one of my very favorites.  I always look forward to a new set coming out.  The authors are amazing and I know I'm going to get just what my heart wants when I read them.

Each of these stories had something to do with love letters.  What a great idea!  Love letters are my favorite and I love how each of these authors took the same concept and made something so unique and fun.

Novellas are perfect if you just have a few minutes to read and you want a quick start to finish book.  I'll admit that I never read these books that way.  I just delve in and devour the whole lot of them, usually in one day.  I just can't help myself.  :)

These are all clean romances, but I have to point out that Just Fly had a few instances of mild swearing which surprised me because I can't remember that ever happening in these books before.  I wish it hadn't been there, but that's just a personal preference.

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Love Letter Collection just hit the shelves so please go check it out!  It would make an awesome Valentine's Day gift.

Amazon * B&N 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

I'll admit that I've been a bit obsessed with this series.  It is easily one of my favorites and I can't tell you how excited I was to read an advance copy of this book from the publisher.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Harper Collins.  And, today is release day for this book!  Yipee!!

It's so bittersweet to get to the end of a series.  One the one hand, I am happy to have a conclusion.  To know the end.  And on the other hand, I hate to say goodbye to this story and these characters.  I love them.

This last book was absolutely full of heart pounding emotion and action.  From beginning to end.  It's was so easy to get caught up in this story and not want to put it down.  I can visualize the characters and the settings.  It was a vivid movie in my head.

I love Perry and I love Aria.  I love them together and I love them separate.  Perry's loyalty and bravery are overwhelming.  He is capable and strong.  His love for Aria runs so deep and I loved that.  He listens to her and wants to make her happy.

Aria is the bridge between the Dwellers and the Outsiders and she is also the bridge between Roar and Perry.  Come to think of it, she is also the bridge of sorts between Sable and everyone else.  Aria carries quite a weight and she does it well.   She is equal parts strong and vulnerable.  It's so easy to like her.

I sure would like to see a big happily ever after ending for Roar.  Maybe I could get a whole new series dedicated just to him?  While still seeing Perry and Aria now and then?  Is that too much to ask?

I loved this book and I'm sad to see it end.  I hope Veronica Rossi is madly writing away at another great book for me to love.  :)

As far as content, there was one instance of mild swearing that I can remember.  It is implied that a couple is intimate but there are no details at all.  It does contain violence.

About the Author:
Veronica Rossi was born in Rio and now lives in northern California with her husband and two sons. She attended UCLA and studied fine art at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Having created vivid, sweeping oil paintings, Veronica has turned to writing fiction for teens. Enthusiastically embraced by readers, the Under the Never Sky trilogy has already sold into twenty-five countries and has been optioned for film by Warner Bros. You can visit Veronica online at www.veronicarossi.com.

You can find out more about this book HERE and HERE.

You can purchase Into the Still Blue at Amazon.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sun and Moon by Lee Strauss- Blog Tour, Giveaway and Music!


(Book One in the Minstrel Series)
Coming January 26th! If you’re a fan of the movie Inside, Llewyn Davis, ABC television’s Nashville or Colleen Hoover’s upcoming novel, "Maybe Someday", the Minstrel Series is for you! The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each are complete standalone stories with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!

Katja Stoltz is a risk-taking singer-songwriter hoping to make it in the indie music scene in Dresden, Germany. Micah Sturm's a brooding uptown banker on a quest. Driven to the streets, Katja is picked up by Micah - but he doesn't want what she thinks he does. There’s an undeniable attraction between them, a gravitational pull they both struggle to resist. Katja knows she mustn’t fall in love with this handsome enigma. There’s something dark lurking beneath the surface. He could be dangerous. And even if her life isn’t on the line, her heart most definitely is. *not erotica - no explicit sex or coarse language

This series is an exciting collaboration between Lee Strauss as an Indie Author and several very talented Indie Singer-Songwriters. Four original songs produced by Norm Strauss are featured in Sun & Moon and are performed by award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter Kim McMechan. MP3 links are included at the end. Check out the music video!



All the songs from the Minstrel Series can be found at Bandcamp. The Minstrel Series also has its own Facebook page. Go Like it to follow all the upcoming Minstrel Series news! Pre- orders now available at the pre-release price of 2.99! (Price goes up after launch) itunes | kobo | Barnes & Noble Amazon

I was really looking forward to reading Sun and Moon.  I think it's a cool idea- blending Indie music with books and giving me something fresh and new.  I really, really liked it.  It's like combining my favorite things. 

Katja and Micah's story is a good one.  I loved the pull between them.  Micah is an enigma and I found myself as confused and frustrated as Katja that I didn't know what was going on with him.  One of the things I like best in books is when characters grow up and change  for the better because of hard things that happen.  That happened in this book.  Both Micah and Katja have to let go of secrets and let each other in.

The path of love is never easy.  When you love someone, it's easy to get hurt because you are vulnerable.  It's the classic love story.  I think it's awesome that the author tells us right up front that there is no cliff hangers (THANK YOU) and always a HEA.  (THANK YOU AGAIN).  I think I can handle a series like that.

This was a good book with characters that I felt drawn to.  It left me feeling happy.  Oh, and I loved the setting too.  Germany is a beautiful place and I'd love to visit there one day.  This book made it sound magical.

As far as content, there is no sex or course language as mentioned above by the author.  There is talk about sex and the main character does start out the book with the intention of selling herself on the street for money.  It doesn't happen, but it is talked about.  There is drinking and some mentioned drug use.



About Lee Strauss: Lee Strauss writes romantic mixed genres set in the past, present and future for YA and adult readers. She also writes light and fun stuff as Elle Strauss. She divides her time between BC, Canada and Dresden, Germany, and enjoys drinking coffee and eating chocolate in both places. Find out more at www.ellestraussbooks.com.

Lee is giving away prizes to celebrate the upcoming launch of Sun & Moon
Enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card, MP3s of all four songs featured on Sun & Moon, and a 12 month calendar from Dresden, Germany featuring many of the settings found in Sun & Moon.
Dresden, Germany

Friday, January 24, 2014

Podium Finish by Beth Pond- Blog Tour, Review and $25 Giveaway


PodiumFinish 
  Podium Finish With six months until the Olympic Games, seventeen-year-old Harper's life is pretty much perfect. She's fighting for the starting spot on Team USA Women's Hockey, and for the first time ever, she has a crush on a guy who likes her back. She feels like the luckiest girl in the world, until she runs a risky play at practice and breaks her knee, thereby sentencing herself to six weeks in a cast and possibly ending her Olympic dream before it even starts. For seventeen-year-old Alex, being anything less than the best is unacceptable. That's why, after a miserable debut season at the senior level, the former junior national singles champion switches to ice dance. Her skating partner, Ace, is an "all skating all the time" type of guy, which would be fine, if he'd stop keeping secrets about the real reason he and his former partner broke up. Now is not the time for second thoughts, but how can Alex skate her best if she can’t trust her partner…or herself? As the pressure to make the Olympic team builds, the girls must rely on each other, because if there’s one thing they both know, it's that the only thing harder than skating to the top is staying there.

This book got me so excited for the Winter Olympic Games which are just around the corner!  One of my favorite parts of any Olympics are the athlete spotlights that they do so you can get to know the athletes.  The characters in this book felt like Olympian spotlights to me.  Well, a more extended version and a bit more personal, but still.

Harper and Alex are both competing for a spot in the Olympics.  They have both been training and working for this goal practically their whole lives- Harper in hockey and Alex in ice dancing.  They become friends when they room together for training and it's a friendship to last a lifetime.

This book was really like getting two stories in one.  The narration bounces back and forth between Harper and Alex so you get to know each girl separately and together as they interact with each other.  Each girl had a distinct voice and personality.

It was easy to picture the girls in their athlete settings because I've watch a lot of ice skating and hockey over the years.  The book flowed well.  There was nothing overly intense or surprising here but it was a fun book and I really enjoyed reading it.  It's what I would call a fluffy diversion.  :)

  Beth Pond author pic
Author Beth Pond Beth Pond graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Hendrix College in 2012. In 2013, she taught in South Africa for 9 months as part of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant. Pond is currently completing her coursework at the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing MFA program. Her debut novel, Podium Finish, was released from Astraea Press in November 2013. When she’s not writing, Pond enjoys martial arts (she’s a black belt) and serving as a volunteer coach for her brother’s special needs baseball team.  

Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/9/14 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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Podium Finish
Tour Schedule

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Love Spell by Stan Crowe plus a $25 Giveaway


Love spell updated
Love Spell Clint Christopherson’s love life is a running joke. When a crazed gypsy curses him with the best wish he could ever ask for, the punchline stops being funny. Now, even his barest touch drives girls mad for him. Desperate to reverse the curse, he turns to his last hope: an attractive private investigator who may be able to locate his missing gypsy. If only Clint knew who it was he just hired...

I was interested in reading this book because I had read and reviewed Crowe's first book, "The Cinderella Project" and really liked it.  It was his first book and it held promise.  This book, "Love Spell" was quite different from the first book. 

I think the main problem I had with the book was that I didn't really like Clint.  I really couldn't see his redeeming qualities.  He was a jerk most of the time.  He lacked social graces and every time he opened his mouth I wanted to smack him.  I have no idea, really, what Lindsay saw in him other than he was attractive.  The secondary characters were all so off the charts that it felt like everyone in the book was psychotic.  There was very little "normal" to be found.  That makes it hard to relate to as a reader.  I missed the connections to the characters- the deeper than surface feelings.

The book felt a little disjointed- the flow was off for me.

I did like the concept of the book though.  I thought the basic story line was good.  There were funny moments that made me smile.  The book was clean, which I always appreciate.  I loved the San Francisco setting- one of my favorite places to visit.  This book has a lot of potential and it was an okay read, it just fell a little bit short for me.  Three stars on Goodreads for me.

stan crowe
Author Stan Crowe Stan had a pretty normal, middle-class American youth. He was lucky enough to change that by convincing an exceptional woman to marry him in 2000, setting him on a much more fulfilling life course. Four years later, Brigham Young University awarded him with a Bachelors of Science in civil and environmental engineering. He then he spent several years designing homes, prescribing work for bridges, and even exploring the mortgage industry. In the midst of all this, he produced two science fiction anthologies in 2006 and 2007. In 2012, Breezy Reads Publishing picked up his romantic comedy The Cinderella Project. And thus he transformed himself from Captain Kirk into Don Juan. Stan lives with his wife, children (final count to be determined) and two cats in Utah.

Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/9/14 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 publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Love spell tour
Tour Schedule

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Journey by John A. Heldt

Seattle, 2010. When her entrepreneur husband dies in an accident, Michelle Preston Richardson, 48, finds herself childless and directionless. She yearns for the simpler days of her youth, before she followed her high school sweetheart down a road that led to limitless riches but little fulfillment, and jumps at a chance to reconnect with her past at a class reunion. But when Michelle returns to Unionville, Oregon, and joins three classmates on a spur-of-the-moment tour of an abandoned mansion, she gets more than she asked for. She enters a mysterious room and is thrown back to 1979.

Distraught and destitute, Michelle finds a job as a secretary at Unionville High, where she guides her spirited younger self, Shelly Preston, and childhood friends through their tumultuous senior year. Along the way, she meets widowed teacher Robert Land and finds the love and happiness she had always sought. But that happiness is threatened when history intervenes and Michelle must act quickly to save those she loves from deadly fates. Filled with humor and heartbreak, THE JOURNEY gives new meaning to friendship, courage, and commitment as it follows an unfulfilled soul through her second shot at life.

This is the second book I've read by author John Heldt.  The first book, The Mine, I read and reviewed not too long ago and I really enjoyed it.  (You can read that review HERE)  There is something about time travel books that makes them so interesting.  John has a gift for writing an easy reading book with characters that you come to love.

In this book Michelle travels back in time and finds herself as a high school senior.  I think the author did a great job of writing the same character from two different points of view, at two different ages.  It was pretty sweet.  Michelle tries to gently guide her younger self to make good choices, maybe better ones that she made the first time around, without influencing too much.  But whenever you mess with events in time, things will change.  Consequences happen.  Michelle was easy to like and connect to.  I liked her attitude toward people and life.  She wanted to be kind and help people.  She wanted to make the world a better place.

I read through The Journey quickly.  It was interesting and engaging.  The characters were real and I could relate to them.  There was a bit of bittersweet there at the end.  It took me a little by surprise but I can see that it had to be.  Time Travel.  It's a scary business.  I'm glad John was willing to share his book with me.

As far as content, there were a few instances of mild swearing.  There is some under-aged drinking mentioned and some sexual scenes where high school kids hook up in cars.  There is some talk about sex or having sex.  Nothing is described in detail.

You can find The Journey at Amazon.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Colony by Cami Checketts Blog Tour and a $25 dollar Giveaway!

 The Colony
The Colony by Cami Checketts To protect her sons from the mistakes of her past, Brinlee Trapper escapes to a secluded mountain home. But there are dangers lurking in the mountains she has never encountered. The little family is saved from injury by Jed, a mysterious hunter. Brinlee is drawn to him, but she worries about his involvement with a peaceful commune hidden deep in the mountains behind her property. Lance, Brinlee’s attentive neighbor, has his own troubled history. Between his obvious attraction to Brinlee and his developing love for her children, Brinlee finds it more than difficult to guard her heart against this tender intrusion. While Jed offers a life of excitement and freedom, Lance holds the key to the family Brinlee always wanted. When it comes time to choose, she learns that both men have secrets that could shatter her fledgling trust in men and the wrong decision could leave more than her heart exposed to danger. 

Ooh, ooh, I really liked this book!  Cami Checketts knows how to write a book with great characters, romance and excitement.

You can't help but like Brinlee.  She is trying to change her life and make better choices to help her sons have a better life.  Brinlee is a good mom but struggles to keep it all together on her own.  With no family support close, she is mostly juggling things by herself.  I say mostly because there is that hunk of a man, Lance who is handy and attentive and everything Brinlee wishes for in a man and a husband.  He loves her kids, cleans, cooks and shows up at all the right times.  What's not to love about that?!  Oh, the secrets.  Right.

Then Jed shows up.  He saves the day.  He's the hero.  Ugh, I hate to give too much away but can I just say "shivers up and down my spine"?  I guess you'll have to read it to find out why.

This book was engaging and I was caught up in it from the very beginning.  There are certain expectations I have when I pick up one of Cami's books and she did not disappoint with this one.  It was clean to top it all off and that is something this girl really appreciates!

Enjoy the following excerpt and don't forget to enter the giveaway below!

Lance sauntered back into the living room. “We said prayers, checked for bad guys in the closet, made up two stories, sang three songs about Jesus, and I think he’s finally asleep.” He sank onto the overstuffed chair. “How do you do it?”
Brinlee lifted one shoulder. “I’m an angel.”
His bronze cheek crinkled. “I have never doubted that.”
“Seriously, I have a lot of help from up above.” And she was serious; sometimes that help was the only thing that pulled her through.
Lance’s eyes softened. “I don’t doubt that either.” He stood and walked to her side. Brushing his fingers along her cheek, he said, “Do you know how impressive you are?”
Brinlee clutched a decorative pillow in her fingers. She slowly plucked at the fringe. “Too impressive for words, I’m sure.”
“Exactly.” Lance placed one hand on the couch cushion, the other next to her abdomen. She was pinned in. Her breath came fast and shallow. She watched as his head slowly descended. He was going to kiss her. Brinlee fought to breathe. She said a prayer for strength and guidance but was too caught in the moment to listen for an answer. Besides, it was just a kiss and she wanted nothing more than to feel his lips take command of hers. Brinlee arched up to meet him.

Lance’s mouth moved a fraction. He softly brushed her cheek with his lips and whispered against the side of her mouth, “The most impressive woman I know.”


Colony 299
Grab your copy for just $2.99!


Author Cami Checketts Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction. Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. Cami teaches strength training classes at her local rec and shares healthy living tips on her fitness blog: http://fitnessformom.blogspot.com. Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn’t snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.  
Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/6/14 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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Colony Tour

Thursday, January 16, 2014

License to Date by Susan Hatler

(Better Date than Never series, Book #6)

After discovering her fiancĂ© cheated on her, Kaitlin is focused on two things: remodeling her new home and avoiding men at all costs. But her friends insist she get back in the driver’s seat and date again. They strike a hard bargain and agree to paint her house if she goes on five dates.

Anxious to get the paint job started, Kaitlin schedules five dates in five days, but her plan falls to pieces when a sexy bartender at her venue-of-choice makes her swoon. Even though he observes each of the dates from afar, she can’t help but want him to come a little closer.

The last person she should fall for is a mysterious bartender with a sinful smile, but Paul makes her want to take risks again. Will the charming man with electric blue eyes break her heart or will he prove to her that a license to date is what makes life worth the drive?


How amazingly fun would it be to unexpectedly, out of nowhere, get an email saying that you had just been gifted a new book by one of your favorite (super cool and so sweet) authors?  Do you think you would smile?  Squee a little?  Do a happy dance?  Act as if you just won the lottery?  Hum. . .  I think that's exactly what I did yesterday.  Susan, you are so awesome.  I love being author/blogger friends with you.  You really are counted among my favorite.  :)  Thank you for the book and for allowing me to read and review for you.

So, the book.  How cute is that cover?  It fits the book perfectly.  It is flirty and fun and there is a story behind that dress.  ;)

This is a short story, I read it in an evening (at work, which made work the best night ever!).  This is part of the Better Date than Never series.  If you haven't had a chance to read any of these, you really should.  Especially if you love romance.  Susan knows how to write a romance.

I think this book is my favorite so far in the series.  It seems almost wrong to pick favorites, but there it is.  Paul is, . . . oh oi.  Mmmmm.  <sigh> (so yummy you only get noises and sigh's from me.  I think I fell in love with him from the beginning moment right along with Kaitlin (Even though she denied it.  I'm not.  I'm not denying it).  He's dreamy.  This book was like the perfect romantic escape complete with swoon worthy kisses and light mist and swelling music playing.  Oh, maybe some of that was just in my head.  haha.

Bottom line is that I really loved reading Kaitlin's story.  It was sweet and clean and romantic and I enjoyed the time I spent reading it.  

You can find License to Date at Amazon.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Witch Rising by Amber Argyle + Release Day for Witch Fall

A ship burns, sinking into the dark sea. There is only one survivor—a child hunted for the power of her song. Hidden away on an isolated island, Lilette buries her power deep, convinced it caused the deaths of those she loves.

But she can’t run from who she is. And when her secret is revealed, the only thing that can save her is her song. It’s time to rise up and become what she was always meant to be: the most powerful witch ever born.

This is a short book- I read through it super fast and I was actually a bit disappointed when it ended.  I'm ready to read Witch Fall which is being released today!

Witch Rising is a prequel to Witch Fall.  Witch Fall is the third book in this Witch Song series.

The author, Amber Argyle has a real gift for writing.  Her stories come alive off the pages and into my mind.  They are haunting and mystical.  Kind of like the cover of this book looks to me.  I really enjoyed this little snippet into Lilette's world- her beginning and her heartache.  In just a few short chapters I was once again sucked into the Witch world.  So, so good.

You can find Witch Rising HERE.

You can find Witch Fall HERE.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Warrior's Moon $50 Book Blast!

Warriors Moon
Warrior's Moon Medieval Historical Romance by Jaclyn M. Hawkes   Never in all the kingdom has there been a more brave and protective champion. Nor such a loyal and capable maiden. And they loved each other desperately. But is their love strong enough to withstand all their dark age holds—danger, feudalism, disease, and unfair oppression? Yes, they truly loved each other desperately. They loved their kingdom more.  

Praise for Warrior's Moon
"This book has adventure, memorable characters, and tons of action. There is even romance! I absolutely loved it!!!" ~Laura (Goodreads)

"I loved this book! Great characters, I love a strong female lead. I really enjoy all of Jaclyn Hawkes books, but I must say this in one of my favorites!" ~ KMon (Amazon)

Warriors Moon Tour

jaclyn

Author Jaclyn M. Hawkes

Jaclyn M. Hawkes grew up in Utah with 6 sisters, 4 brothers and any number of pets. (It was never boring!) She got a bachelor’s degree, had a career and traveled extensively before settling down to her life’s work of being the mother of four magnificent and sometimes challenging children. She loves shellfish, the out of doors, the youth and hearing her children laugh. She and her fine husband, their family, and their sometimes very large pets, now live in a mountain valley in northern Utah, where it smells like heaven and kids still move sprinkler pipe.

   

  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/10/14 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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Monday, January 13, 2014

Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat? by Michelle Wilson

• Why do clothing stores hang fun-house mirrors in their dressing rooms?

• The laundry doesn’t cry when it’s not folded, so why should I?

• Can I be confident even if an elevator calls me fat?

Michelle Wilson’s humorous yet poignant insights help women examine the limitations we place on ourselves out of insecurity and self-doubt. We have faith in God, but do we know that He has faith in us?

When we see ourselves with God’s eternal perspective, we can feel confident and whole—even in our imperfection. Just think what we might accomplish if we truly believe that we are more important than we know, stronger than we realize, and extraordinary in every way.

Sometimes you read a book that leaves a permanent mark on your brain and your soul.  This was that kind of book for me.  This is a non-fiction book, religious in nature, full of inspiration, good advice and the pep talk that can get you through life's challenges.  This book is geared mostly to the LDS audience, but I do believe that anyone of any faith would be better for reading this book.

This was the perfect book to start out the new year.  I'm not a resolution maker but I do believe in constantly trying to be better and do better.  I just loved this book.  I loved the messages, the delivery and I loved how it made me feel.  This should be mandatory reading for every LDS woman.

I'm going to try to point to a few things that especially stood out to me.  First is a quote that I actually sent to my son who is serving a mission in England right now.  It suited him so perfectly.  I know it applies to me as well.  It was my first big underlining moment in the book.  (yes, I did underline it.  With a green pen.)

"When we being to catch glimpses of who we really are, we can then begin to see the miracles that God can perform through us.  There are people who need to be loved, to be served, to be taught, to be mended, to be healed.  We are His hands here on earth, and our greatest joy is to be found when we are actively engaged in a good cause and furthering His work and purposes." (pg. 17)

The next part I really loved was in the chapter "I'm Right Here".  It talks about God having faith in us.  It says, "He has faith in me.  He knows I can overcome.  He expects nothing less, because He knows I can do it. . . If God tells me I can do it, then I must accept that.  God is perfect- He cannot lie.  Therefore, I must be able to do anything He asks me to do."

I loved the call to action.  We cannot be lukewarm, we must get up and do something, be something.  We must do it in the right way.

I feel like I'm giving you the whole book here but I honestly loved it.  I'm going to go back and read it more carefully- looking up scriptures and spending time pondering for my own enlightenment.  This book inspired me to change some things.  It inspired me to do better and to be better.  Thank you Michelle Wilson for sharing this with me. 

Michelle Wilson is a stay-at-home mom, blogger, speaker, and writer. Through serving a full-time mission, teaching seminary and Sunday School classes, and speaking at firesides and conferences, Michelle has developed a love of the gospel and its simplicity. She is a lover of God, family, laughter, and chocolate (pretty much in that order). Michelle lives with her husband, Jerey, and their three children in Washington State.

Come Alive by Mercy River (a music review) and a $25 Giveaway


Come Alive
On the heels of their hit album Higher, Mercy River is back with mesmerizing harmonies and upbeat vocal arrangements. Their new album features inspirational favorites and original songs that highlight the talents of this singing sisterhood. Sing It Out, Speak Life, How Deep the Father's Love For Us, Walk You Through the Night, Who I Am, Holy Ground, Restless Reason, For the World, Walking On Sunshine.

I love music.  Books and music have always been a central part of my life and who I am.  I'm a believer that music has power.  It can bring emotion and memories, inspire, energize, and even comfort.  I am always looking for music that makes me feel good and has a good energy to it.  This is a religious music CD.

There is no doubt that these ladies of Mercy River are talented.  The songs I liked the best were the songs with more harmony.  For some reason I had thought that their songs had more 3 part harmony but it's mostly more like one of them singing lead and the others doing a back up of sorts.  Which is totally fine, I just liked when they did more harmony.  :)

My favorite songs were Sing It Out, Who I Am and Holy Ground.  Sing It Out is upbeat and happy.  It got my fingers tapping (I was driving...).  Who I Am has a fantastic message for all women, young and old about who we really are- God's daughters with purpose and divinity.  Holy Ground has more of that harmony I was looking for.  The sound of that song just speaks to my soul.  It's the song I've listened to the most.

All these songs are lovely.  Some are upbeat and lively and some are slow and rich but all are good and uplifting with meaningful messages.  I enjoyed listening to it and I'm looking forward to making it a permanent part of my memory.  :)

About Mercy River With 13 children between them, it’s amazing that Whitney Permann, Brooke Stone, and Soni Muller have time for anything other than runny noses, sock hunts, and prying suckers off the van floor. But music has been a part of each of their lives since childhood, and is now a strong presence in their homes. The three friends met while singing in the Jenny Phillips Choir and there found a common love for tight harmonies and sharing the gospel through song. Over the past five years, Mercy River has traveled all over the United States and Canada as a highly sought after ensemble, performing for thousands of people while testifying of the Savior. Each member of the group brings several years of experience performing, writing, and directing hundreds of firesides and concerts—as well as recording on dozens of inspirational albums. Their self-titled debut album was released in May 2008. “Beautiful Dawn,” was released in March of 2010. Their third album, “Higher” was released with rave reviews in February 2012. Mercy River is back with mesmerizing harmonies and upbeat vocal arrangements in “Come Alive”.


Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 1/26/14 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 authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Tour Schedule

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Colony $50 Book Blast!

The Colony
The Colony by Cami Checketts To protect her sons from the mistakes of her past, Brinlee Trapper escapes to a secluded mountain home. But there are dangers lurking in the mountains she has never encountered. The little family is saved from injury by Jed, a mysterious hunter. Brinlee is drawn to him, but she worries about his involvement with a peaceful commune hidden deep in the mountains behind her property. Lance, Brinlee’s attentive neighbor, has his own troubled history. Between his obvious attraction to Brinlee and his developing love for her children, Brinlee finds it more than difficult to guard her heart against this tender intrusion. While Jed offers a life of excitement and freedom, Lance holds the key to the family Brinlee always wanted. When it comes time to choose, she learns that both men have secrets that could shatter her fledgling trust in men and the wrong decision could leave more than her heart exposed to danger.
 
Colony 299

Praise "Cami Checketts is a genius! She writes about topics that aren't widely discussed, in and out of books, and she does such a brilliant job of crafting these things into wonderful stories that touch your heart and remain with you for days afterwards." ~Myra, Reviewer, Pieces of Whimsy
Grab your copy for just $2.99!

Colony Tour

Download a FREE copy of The Broken Path by Cami Checketts!
From January 7th to 11th The Broken Path is available for FREE on Amazon.

broken path


Author Cami Checketts Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction. Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. Cami teaches strength training classes at her local rec and shares healthy living tips on her fitness blog: http://fitnessformom.blogspot.com. Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn’t snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.  
 
BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 1/31/14 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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Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Guardian: To Run With the Swift by Gerald Lund

From the bombed-out ruins of Munich, Germany, in the last days of World War II to a lavish present-day castle in Switzerland, this sequel to The Guardian (published in Fall 2013), weaves a vivid, heart-stopping tale of resilience, resolve, and revenge as Danni McAllister and her family discover the real reason they have been targeted by international terrorists. The astonishing secrets and unexpected powers of the pouch, dating back nearly two hundred years, take center stage in a plot filled with surprising twists and turns as Danni finds herself locked in an extraordinary battle of courage and fortitude that will determine the fate of her family and her role as the Keeper of the Pouch—or risk losing both forever.

I have seen this series sitting on the shelves at the bookstore but I haven't had a chance to read it until now.  This is the second book in this series and it is a big,thick book- 587 pages to be exact!  That's a lot of book, right?  The first book is just as big.  My thanks right up front to Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain for providing the books for this review.

If you have ever read anything by Gerald Lund, you know he knows his craft.  He's been writing for so many years, successfully.  His research is obvious and he can paint real vibrant mental pictures through his words.  This series is a bit different than anything he has ever done.  At least for me.

Lund takes his time weaving a story of intrigue and mystery with a bit of the magical.  This story moves slowly but allows you a chance to really get to know the characters and the history.  My favorite parts were the jumps back in time and history.  The back story, if you will.  

This book kind of reminded me of those old radio programs that used to come on in episodes each week.  (wait, I don't actually KNOW how those were but I've heard about them. haha)  This story would be exactly right for a family gathering around the radio on a Sunday night.  The author mentions how this started out as a bedtime story he used to tell his kids.  (lucky kids!)  I think it would be a fun book to read aloud as a family.

Danni is a fiesty girl.  She struggles with typical teenage insecurities and drama but generally comes off much older than she actually is.  Her family has been through a lot in this book (and the first book).  There are so many bad guys!    Danni is really quite resourceful and brave.  She is loyal to her family and friends.  She really wants to live up to expectations placed before her but she is human and young and she makes mistakes.  As a reader, I see real growth in Danni.  When she has those moments when she just gets it, I feel a sense of victory with her.

Overall this series has been a good one.  It's clean, family friendly reading.  It's not an action packed, in your face sort of read that propels you forward.  It's movement is more sedate- ebbing and flowing.  Still good, just a different style of good.

You can find The Guardian series at Amazon or Deseret Book.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Death's Academy by Michael Bast

Midnight Smith has a problem.  He's a hoodie.  Well, almost.  He has to go through Death's Academy so he can learn how to snuff out shorties (humans, like you and your friends) and outsmart those pesky halos.  Then he'll get his shroud and calling and become a full-fledged Grim Reaper.  But to get into Death's Academy, there's a real killer exam . . . and Midnight stinks at exams.

What he doesn't know is that the exam is the least of his worries.  When the hoodies and halos go on their yearly retreat, the time is ripe for an old enemy - the diabolical unicorns- to strike.  That leaves Midnight and his friends as the only ones to stop the attack- and this is something he just can't fail at.

If you are looking for a middle grade fantasy sort of book for boys and girls alike, this just might be your book.  The main character is a boy named Midnight and his best friend is a genius girl named Mal.  Everyone ought to have a best friend like Mal.  She invents way cool stuff and she does animal speak.  I really liked Mal.

I'm not so sure I'm the biggest fan of Midnight.  He breaks rules without remorse, he is disrespectful to his parents and other authority figures, he lies and he sneaks out of his house.  As a mother I'm not a fan of any of these things.  He pulls off a good thing in the end but I wonder at the lack of consequences for his continued bad behavior.  He is young though and I think he learns some valuable lessons by the end so it's not all bad.  I just prefer to see a main character (especially in books where young kids may be reading) have a bit more respect.

This book is filled with fun and adventure.  The secondary characters are engaging and the story flows well.  The few pictures throughout the book were fun and I liked how it enhanced my mental pictures.  I kind of wish there had been more of them.  :)

This is a clean book, well, mostly.  There is no swearing or sexual content but there is quite a bit of potty humor.  There are several references to the character swearing, but no actual words.  

You can find Death's Academy at Amazon.  This book will be officially released Jan. 14th.

See the book’s official trailer here.