Saturday, December 31, 2011

Enduring Light Winner!

Congrats to Alysia who won a copy of Enduring Light by Carla Kelly.  I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Cold River by Liz Adair

From Goodreads:  Mandy Steenburg thinks her doctorate in education has prepared her to run any school district - until she tangles with the moonshine-making, coon-dog-owning denizens of a tiny district in Pacific Northwest timber country. She's determined to make a difference, but the local populace still looks to the former superintendent for leadership. When Mandy lands in the middle of an old feud and someone keeps trying to kill her, instinct tells her to run. And though she has to literally swim through perilous waters, she finds a reason to stay and chance the odds.

I'm so happy to be a part of Tristi Pinkston's blog tour for Cold River.  I always find some great books through blog tours.

I thought Mandy was a very likable character.  She is greeted with lots of hostility and misunderstanding yet manages to keep her chin up.  Her determination to change what she views as sub-standard is met with open opposition.  Small, tight knit communities are like that.  (I should know, I live in one!)  Changes are slow in coming and most people don't like them.  Mandy goes around offending people as she tries to make changes.  She earns herself a few enemies but she also begins to earn herself some friends.

One thing I did love is how Mandy appeared so human to us.  She wanted to give up.  She wanted to just pack it up and leave.  Death threats are scary and who needs that?!  In the end though she picks herself up and keeps trying.  That is admirable.  That is real life.  Bad things happen, people don't like us, but we pick ourselves up and keep going.

Overall, a very enjoyable read by Liz Adair.  This book said "romantic suspense", I think.  I didn't find it very romantic, but I would probably classify it as a "cozy suspense".  It was well written, easy reading.  It had some light suspense, but nothing over the top that kept me awake at night.  

You can find the author, Liz Adair at
You can purchase Cold River at Amazon here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On Tour with Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan

From Goodreads:  I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.

In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end.

Wow, this was a fun, fast paced read for sure.  I pretty much had it devoured in one 24 hour period.  By the end I was so caught up in the story I was all tense and worked up.  I suddenly realized it and laughed at myself.  I really shouldn't read late at night like that.  :)

I can't say that I was surprised at anything, I had everyone pegged from the get go but it was still a great read.  I enjoyed Llona's journey from "blend in and go unnoticed" to "I'm going to take you down".  It's amazing how loving and caring for others can empower you and make you stronger.

I wanted a bit more romance, a bit earlier, but I'll take what I can get.  There was one scene that was a bit disturbing that involved a death.  I didn't like how that was laid out for me so graphically.  

I'll be looking forward to the next book because I was sure left hanging, wanting more at the end!

If you want to find out more about Fractured Light or it's author, here are some links that will take you there!
Author Blog:
Author Website:
Author Facebook:
Book Poster page:

My thanks to Cedar Fort for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour.  You can find a calender with all the blogs taking part in the tour here.  See what others are saying!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Must Read Monday #10

Fans of Fiction
If you haven't checked this fun out yet, you really should.  Fans of Fiction have started something with Must Read Monday that is unique and challenging.  

The goal of the Must Read Monday is to find share your love of great books with others in the hopes that they'll add a new title to their To Be Read list. 

Your job is to create intrigue for other hoppers. What makes your book so swoon-worthy? What do you absolutely have to mention so they'll read it?

On your post, you'll make an acrostic puzzle (think of it as an overview/book blurb type of thing).

For specific ways to build your puzzle, click here, but pretty much any style of acrostic is welcome.

When you leave comments on other posts, be sure to mention whether you're adding that book to your TBR pile, and what part convinced you to do so.

It's all about powers of persuasion, people:) You might have to think a little, but channel that inner-creative goddess (or god).

This week's category: Best rainy day read (you could think snowy day read, if you prefer!)

I can totally get into this week's category because that's life for us right now. Snowy days! My favorite kind of book to curl up with on a wintery, cold day is a book with some love in it. Marcia Lynn McClure is one of my favorite romance writers because boy, can she write a kissing scene like nobody else. Her books are clean (meaning no sex) which is something I, personally, appreciate. Today I have chosen my favorite book by this author.

Kissing Swaggart Moretti
Is at the top of Poppy Amore's
Secret life to-do list.
She has harbored a crush,
In truth, since her freshman year of high school.
Now working with Swaggart at the 
Good Ol' Days Family Restaurant

Cements Poppy's attraction and desire.
Oh, but that man is HOT!
Unrequited love
Secrets of the heart
Is it too late or can a girl still hope?
Next order up...
Swaggart Moretti! YUM!
So, there you have it.  My favorite kind of book for escape on a cold, snowy day.  Oh, and just for the record, this is not about cousins that kiss.  That would be just wrong.  You have to read the book to understand the title.  Just trust me on this.  :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

On Tour: Enduring Light with Author Interview and Giveaway!

From Goodreads:  She leaned toward him and rested her elbows on the brass rail at the foot of her bed. “All right, cowboy, just when did you fall in love with me? I’m definitely curious now.” He regarded her in the moonlight. “I knew I was a no-hoping goner when I caught that ridiculous hat of yours on the platform at Gun Barrel.”

Julia sucked in her breath. She tried to be severe. “Mr. Otto, nobody falls in love that fast!”

“I did,” he said simply, as he left her room.

Julia Darling is finally able to marry Paul Otto for eternity. But it’s a harsh world for a rancher in turn-of-the-century Wyoming, especially a Mormon rancher. When alienation and threats begin, Julia must prove she’s her husband’s equal in strength and endurance as she learns to let go of scars on the outside and inside.

Bestselling author Carla Kelly has woven a new story of a determined rancher, his wife, and how they discover the depths of love.

I'm so happy to be a part of this blog tour for Carla Kelly and book, Enduring Light.  My thanks to Cedar Fort for providing a copy for review and a copy to give away.  If you want to check out all the blogs participating in the tour you can find them here.

I had the opportunity to ask author Carla Kelly a few questions.  She was so kind to humor me.  After reading Enduring Light I was full of questions!

One of the things I love the most in this book is the genuine and open physical attraction and desire between Paul and Julia. You've done it tastefully and cleanly. You don't find a lot of books that can do that. Can you tell us a bit about writing such a relationship?

It wasn't hard to write because I was constantly reminding myself how much these two know and respect each other. With that respect comes circumspection, I think, at least in writing. Any writer worth her salt will tell you that a sensuous ankle, well-described, is far more potent than a page or two of burning burning graphic sex. Far more. I also reminded myself that the sexiest guy alive is the guy who washes dishes (Paul does), and changes diapers (Paul will). Also, by the beginning of the 20th century, sex was starting to come out of the Victorian closet, so to speak. People have always enjoyed sex (I've read some sizzling Civil War and Indian Wars letters), but they were reticent to talk about it. By 1909-1911, people were coming more to resemble us. That's why I'm finding it a fun era to write about.
Let me add that I enjoyed the challenge of writing a book about a newly married couple - making it sexy without being prurient. I think I succeeded. We'll see what the readers say.

In this book, Julia Darling is recovering from injuries in a fire. She lost her hair in fire and it's now growing back in curly! Have you known someone that this happened to? 

Well, when I was a little girl, I chopped off my hair and it came back in curly. Don't know why. My hair is pretty straight now, except that the ends still have a nice curl. I was thinking of that. (And also, things can happen in Romancelandia, eh?) The fun thing about this book is we see the characters with some of their flaws - Julia is definitely vain (she frets over her hair, and later, the fact that she can't button her skirts). Paul is proud, and he goes through some humbling experiences.

I knew a girl in college who had her hair burned off when her brothers tried to play a prank and it went bad.  Her hair grew back in curly!  :)

You include recipes in the back of your book for many desserts and dinners mentioned in your book. Are you a cooking extraordinaire like Julia?

I'm a good cook, but hardly a dedicated, great one like Julia. Maybe it's wishful thinking. I based much of the research for that on a wonderful history book called Perfection Salad, about the domestic science movement. Fannie Farmer was a major player in that movement, with her exact measurements, etc. I have a facsimile edition of Miss Farmer's famous 1896 cookbook which is fun to just read through.

In more than one part of the book, my stomach was literally churning over the details of the roundup dinners. Have you actually eaten and/or prepared Rocky Mountain Oysters or Sonofagun Stew? (Ew, yucky, yucky, yucky!)

Nope. I know enough about cowboy cooking, though, to know I never want to eat "The Gentleman from Odessa." SOB stew took its name from whatever state it was cooked in. I'm a Texan by experience (lived there a while, visit when I can), so it's Gentleman from Odessa for me. In Wyoming's case, it would have been called "The Gentleman from Cheyenne."

Thanks, Carla for sharing your time with me.  It's always fun to get to know authors better and make things a bit more personal.

Thank you, Aimee. We'll do this again.

I really enjoyed reading Enduring Light. Cedar Fort has generously offered a copy of Enduring Light to one lucky reader! This giveaway is open to everyone. If you are INT, you will receive an ebook copy, if you are US you have the choice between an ebook or a print copy. To enter, leave me a comment along with your name and email address so I can contact you if you win. Giveaway ends December 30th, 2011.

And here are lots of fun links to click on. They will connect you with the author, the book and the publisher!

Author Blog
Author Facebook:
Book Poster page:
Publisher Blog
Publisher Facebook
Publisher Twitter!/cedarfortbooks
Publisher GoodReads

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review: Slayers by CJ Hill

From Goodreads:  Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

Woo hoo!  Yeah.  Now that's what I'm talking about.  Happy, happy, happy.

I figured when I read about this book, knowing who the author is, that I would enjoy this book.  But even with that I was pleasantly surprised!  This was a good bit of book and I really, really liked it!  My daughter actually got to the book first as I had to finish up another book I was reading.  She handed it back to me the next day and said, "this was a really good book, mom.  We should buy this book.  When is the next one coming out?"  (I requested this book from the library.)  If I was an author, that would be one of the greatest compliments.  I totally back her up on those statements.  It was a really good book.

I loved the whole idea of the book, the dragons, the descendants from ancient knights, the super abilities passed down.  It was so fun.  The story pulls you in from the moment you begin reading.  I polished it off in a day because I just couldn't put it down.  (sorry, family)  I liked that I had some resolution at the end of the book, but there was enough left open that you really want the next book soon.

I loved how these kids are cool on their own, but when they work together, they are amazing.  One alone could never defeat a dragon, but all of them working together, covering each other's backs, can accomplish great things.  

Visualization is big for me.  I like to be able to see the whole book in my mind like a movie.  I'm telling you that this was a good movie for me.  :)  This book was what I would term "family friendly".  I have no qualms handing it over to my kids or anyone for that matter.  Which earns another big thumbs up from me.  I love that.

You gotta check out this book.  I hope you love it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review: The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…

I've been wanting to read this book for awhile.  I saw some positive reviews for it and the cover is so pretty!  I finally got my chance and well, here I am!  :)

First off, I love when a book captures you from the very beginning and makes you want more the whole way through.  That's how this book was for me.  I was anxious to keep reading and bummed when I couldn't.

I have a soft spot for settings in England.  It's the place of my people.  My grandparents were born, raised and married there before coming to America.  I wish they were still here to ask them if they ever heard Faerie stories.  I don't remember them telling me any.

This seemed to me to be a fresh take on a genre that is getting overloaded.  I enjoyed Tiki's character.  She has compassion and love for her "family".  Her loyalty to them is admirable.  And of course, I love Rieker.  A handsome protector with a haunted past.  Um hum, serve him up on a platter.

Overall, a very enjoyable read.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

There was quite a bit of mild swearing with the English amplifier "bloody" attached to it.  (bloodly hell)  You get the idea.  Which honestly made me a bit sad because this is a book my daughter would LOVE but I'm not setting it in her hands because of the language.  Sad, sad, sad.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop!

Coming December 2nd-6th
I love the title of this hop!  I am a book lover for sure and I love sharing a good book.  Which is exactly what I'm going to do for this giveaway.  I recently read The Magi by Kevin M. Turner.  I was impressed with his book and honestly, with him.  I really want to share his book with as many people as will listen to me.  :)  When I approached Kevin with a giveaway request, he was all in.  And I mean, ALL in.  'Tis the season!  So, we will be giving  10  20   EVERYONE e-books of Kevin's book, The Magi.  All you need to do to receive the book is leave a meaningful comment about Kevin's book along with your email address.  That's it!  (woot!  yeah!  Happy dancing...)    

Thirteen-year-old Elijah Hawk has been on the move ever since the night his family was murdered.  His unique sense of instinct saved his life on that horrible night, but he has the feeling that since then, he is being followed.  Suddenly, during a rather awful stay at a northern boarding school, Elijah stumbles upon a secret world.  The world of the Magi. 

He learns that the Magi are a simple people with a very complex power which they agree to let him train with as long as he promises to use it only to protect others.  But when a powerful group of men storm the Magi city and demand that Elijah be handed over, who will protect him?

Honestly, this book was a pleasure to read from beginning to end.  It starts off with a bang and keeps right on moving.  Here are some of the things I loved about this book.

I really liked Elijah.  He seems to be a typical teenager, still growing, still developing.  The moments when I sensed Elijah's insecurities were the moments when I felt most connected to him.  I felt like Elijah was a kind kid, easy to get along with, which was refreshing.

I really enjoyed the growing relationships between Elijah and his new friends and family and the sense of loyalty that came with that.  The book was good to focus on the collective being stronger than the single and that was demonstrated several times when people worked together to accomplish something big.

This was a quote I found funny.  Maybe as a mom who cleans bathrooms, I can relate.  It goes, "no matter how well he cleaned those bathrooms, he never wanted to be known as the toilet master."

But, my favorite quote was this.  "The soul is the fingerprint of the Creator.  Once a soul connects to another soul, they unite and become one.  So if your soul is able to access the soul of an element, you can control that element the same way you would control your own body."  Cool stuff.

You can tell that the author, Kevin Turner, is a teacher.  I felt like some of the best moments were those when Elijah was being instructed by his mentor.  It sounded very teacher-ish in the best of ways.  Kevin tells on his blog how The Magi came to be.  Frustrated by kids who didn't want to read or who couldn't find books they wanted to read, Kevin set out to find out what those kids were looking for in a book.  Eventually, from those ideas came the plot to The Magi.  Kevin says, "For almost half a year I worked on constructing a plot that eventually became The Magi, making sure I stuck to the requests of my students.  I may have initially written it for my students, but if it's good enough, I hope to be able to contribute something fun for kids, teens, and adults everywhere."  

I would say to Kevin, thank you.  And mission accomplished.  I think The Magi is a fantastic book filled with exactly the kinds of things kids (and adults) love to read about.  I love that this book is family friendly.  And I love that Kevin is the kind of teacher who cares and wants to make a difference.  I'm looking forward to the next book!

You can find out more about Kevin here on his blog.
Follow The Magi series on Twitter here or Facebook here.
You can buy The Magi on Amazon or Smashwords.

Happy Hopping!