Thursday, June 27, 2013

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On Tour with Play with Me and Ryan Hunter by Piper Shelly

YA Romance
Date Published: Dec 2012 

Ryan Hunter's parties are legend.

And tonight she's going to be there.

Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she's a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she's just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she's prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.

Play with me

YA Romance
Date Published: April 2013

Ryan Hunter kissed more girls than he cares to remember. But the only one he ever wanted is in love with his best friend.

Watching Liza Matthews’ obsession with Tony Mitchell is a torture Ryan conceals from everyone. Until after a five-week soccer camp, where Tony gets involved with someone else, things suddenly take a different turn. Ryan knows if he doesn’t make a move now and grab his chance, he might never get another.

Asked by Tony to distract Liza, Ryan is only too happy. He subtly seduces her first into his soccer team and later on to his party. He does all in his power to make her see that he’s not just an insufferable playboy but a guy who really cares about her. Some one-on-one soccer training, a passionate kiss— things seem to be going the way he wants. Except Ryan didn’t reckon on his best friend showing up at the worst possible moment and destroying everything…

Ryan Hunter

Here are two books you can easily read in one day.  I'm willing to bet if you like these sort of books, as soon as you finish the first one you will be so single minded in reading the next one you will forget children and small animals.  Eating and sleeping will be become unnecessary and work?!  Ha, don't make me laugh.  There is no work when reading these books.

Honestly though, these are short reads, novellas really.  They are essentially the same story told from two different points of view.  The first book, Play With Me, is told from Liza's point of view.  The second book, Ryan Hunter is told from Ryan's point of view.  (bet you couldn't guess that by the title.)

I thought it was brilliant to work the story this way.  I love when we get to glimpse inside the head of more than one character.  Especially when the characters are well developed with strong voices of their own.  The girl/boy POV was entertaining.  Piper Shelly really captured the differences between the opposite sexes.  There's just something about reliving a smokin' scene in a whole new way.  :)

Having said that, I was a bit disturbed by the language.  There was so much of it.  I just hate seeing the F word in YA.  Well, I hate seeing it anywhere, but especially in books that kids might be reading.  I just think there are smarter ways to write expressions and feelings.  Way too much language for me.  Just a person preference and one I realize is not shared by everyone.

There is also a lot of sexual innuendo and sexual talk.  I realize that YA covers a broad age range but this is not a book I would put into the hands of my 15 year old daughter.  I would say this is more an upper YA novel.  18+  There is underage drinking facilitated by parents and other adults, which, I might add, is against the law.  Yes.  Very against the law.

These books are witty, engaging and very hard to put down.  My thanks to the author and  RABT for allowing me to be a part of this tour.

Enjoy the following excerpt from Ryan Hunter:

She nodded, and it was clear that the little distance we’d run so far had troubled her a lot more than me. She sounded like a pair of bellows. As soon as we reached the beach, Liza slumped to the sand as though she had no life left in her any more.

That was not part of the plan. I stood over her, hands on my hips, and gazed at her reddened face. “What are you doing?”


I liked how she made me chuckle with such simple things. “No, you’re not. Get up, we’re not done.”

“I am,” she protested. “But don’t mind me. You just go on. I’m sure in a few hours someone will come and scrape me off the pavement.” She waved a dismissive hand. “Dig me out of the sand. Whatever.”

Laughing about her antics, I squatted down and started to untie her shoes for what was to come next. We weren’t done yet.

“Hey, what the heck—” She pulled her leg away. “You don’t steal from a dying person.”

I surrendered, lifting my hands, palms up. “Fine, then take them off yourself.”

“What?” Her mouth sagged open as she propped on her elbows in the sand and looked at me with wide eyes. “Why?” Then her gaze moved to the sea and her lips spread in a hopeful grin. “We’re going to take a swim now to cool off after the training?”

“Nope,” I said, though she put a very beguiling thought in my head right then. I could be swayed to some fooling around in the water with her. But then this would be too much of a temptation. Kisses came along with such nonsense. And I had sworn to myself that I wouldn’t do that until she knew the truth about Mitchell. After a longing glance at the sea, I faced her again and said with a firm voice that wouldn’t get me into trouble, “The little run was only warm-up. The training begins here.”

All color disappeared from her face. “You can’t be serious.”

“What are you willing to bet on it?”

She grimaced and sighed, but I’d figured out by now, my word counted to her, and she slipped her shoes off to hide them with mine by the rocks. I wondered if it was just the captain she saw in me, or if she wanted to make a good impression because she saw me, the nice guy, and therefore stuck with me.

Only a few minutes later, she made clear I wasn’t a nice guy to her as she shot me a look filled with loathing. “Do your parents know about this sadistic side of yours?”

I remembered the first time that I had run on the beach for training. Her calves probably hurt like mad. But she had to get through this. We wanted to turn her into a kick-ass soccer player. I tugged gently at her high ponytail. “What can I say? You bring out my best side.”

“Ah, great. I feel so special now.” Liza shoved my shoulder, and I laughed as I struggled to steady myself with my feet sinking into the soft sand. “How far are we going?” she demanded.

“I never ran this route before, but I guess it’s about a half-mile. You know the houses at Misty Beach?”

“Your parents own a house down there?”

“Yep.” It was a nice little thing compared to the mansion we lived in, and I really liked to come out here after training on weekends and study or read on the wrap-around veranda. My dad had set up a porch swing for Rachel and me when we were kids, and it was the perfect place to relax and enjoy a warm summer day.
We still had a bit of a way in front of us, and when Misty Beach came into view, I thought Liza wouldn’t endure another step. She licked her lips, and her lungs made a weird, gasping sound. “I swear I’m going to drink up the ocean,” she cried.

“Chin up, Matthews. We’re almost there.” I grabbed her upper arm when she stumbled and didn’t let her stop just yet, dragging her along with me the last few meters. As I led her up to our bungalow, her face lit up, seriously proud of herself. And I was, too.

About the Author, Piper Shelly:
Wow, this is always the hardest part for me to write…don’t know why. You would think talking about my life should be easier.

I was born and raised in Austria. Half my life I spent in Vienna, but I didn’t like the city. I much prefer the beautiful countryside, with its many meadows and the breathtaking Alps. That’s why I moved to Upper Austria right after graduation. There are trees now in front of my window instead of just another ugly gray building, and I love to be woken by the cacophony of birds every morning.

At seventeen, I met the love of my life, but it took another four years until we finally got together. It was the best decision I could have made. I’m now married to this man, and I count myself lucky for someone like him. Even I will admit it can be hard at times to live with me. I’m moody and tend to lapse into my fantasy world at any given minute—well in my defense, I’m a writer. :-)

We have a ten-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and WIP. Yeah, that’s just me. I built my world around my passion, and I like it that way.

So, you see, I’m leading a pretty normal life.

Of course it will all change the day my book follows the act of Harry Potter, and I’ll become richer than the Queen. I swear I’ll never again clean my windows myself then. Yeah, one day, LOL…




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cover Reveal: My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White

After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

Excerpt 1

Janessa folded her arms and looked at me for so long I started to squirm. “What?”
“I wish you’d look at yourself. You’re ruining your life with this stupid obsession.”
“I’m not obsessed.” I stood up quickly, nearly tipping my chair over. I rinsed my plate and put it in the dishwasher. I could feel Janessa’s eyes on me the entire time, but I refused to look at her. “And just because I’m not interested in this guy doesn’t mean my life is ruined.”
“Let me guess. Was he blond?”
“Knock it off.”
“Too short?”
“He wasn’t short. I’ve got to go.” I left the kitchen with Janessa on my heels.
“Was he too cheerful?”
“Oh brother. I’m not having this conversation with you.”
Janessa grabbed my arm and turned me toward her. “Yes, you are.”
“I’m going to be late for work.”
“Then we’d better talk fast.”
“I don’t have anything to say,” I said.
“Then I’ll talk. You listen. You have to start giving these guys a chance.”
I folded my arms tightly. “I give them a chance.”
“You give them one date, two at the most. But you’re not really giving them a chance because your mind’s already made up before you even go out.”
I was getting annoyed. “I don’t have time for this conversation again.” Janessa was practically reciting word for word what she’d said after my last date. And the one before that.
“Lizzie. If you don’t want to have the same conversation, do something different. Shake things up a little.” She smiled and did a little shimmy. I refused to smile no matter how silly she looked.
“How do you suggest I do that?”
“If this guy… What’s his name?”
“If Chad calls you back, go out with him again.”
“I don’t see the point.”
“Did you get a serial killer vibe from him?”
“No, I got a nice-guy-that-doesn’t-deserve-to-be-led-on vibe from him.”
“Nice guys are good. So you’ll say yes, right?”
“If I’m not interested, it wouldn’t be fair to say yes.”
“Oh knock off the baloney. You haven’t been fair to a guy since high school. You’re just afraid if you get to know a guy, you might like him. And wouldn’t that be awful? Was Chad funny?”
“Yes, he was funny.”
I sighed. “I don’t know if I’d call him handsome, but he was cute.”
“Cute is good. Especially if he was funny. So go out with him again.”
“You act like it’s all up to me.” I walked to the closet and collected my purse. Like a tiger leaping on her prey, Janessa pounced at the bowl on the entry table and grabbed my car keys. “This isn’t funny, Janessa. I’m going to be late for work.”
“Then let’s make a deal. You agree to go out with him ten times before you toss him aside and I’ll give you your keys.”
“Ten times? No way.”
“That’ll give you time to get to know him.”
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
“I’m serious, Lizzie. Ten is a good number. In that amount of time, you can make a real decision. Instead of one based on a stupid movie.”
Now Janessa was skipping through a minefield. “It’s not a stupid movie and I’ve got to go.”
“It’s the stupidest movie in the world if it ruins your life.”
“Nothing’s ruining my life and I’m going to be late. Give me my keys and we’ll talk about this later.” A little tussle ensued as I tried to rescue my keys from her clutches. I almost had them when she darted to the bathroom and shut the door hard and fast, locking it behind her. “This is real mature.”
“I don’t care about mature. You’re my best friend, Lizzie.  I love you and I’m trying to save you from yourself.”
I banged on the door. “Give me the keys. Now.” My voice had become shrieky.
“I’ll give you the keys as soon as you promise you’ll go out with him ten times.”
“I doubt he’ll ask me out again.”
“Why? Were you a jerk?”
“Are you sure?”
I hesitated, knowing I hadn’t been very good company. “I’m pretty sure.”
“If he doesn’t ask you out, you have to ask him.”
“No way am I asking out a guy ten times. No way!”
“You just have to ask him out once. If he doesn’t return the favor you can move on. But you have to be nice to him and give him a reason to want to ask you out again.”
“This is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had.”
“Listen Liz, I’m doing this for you. Give a guy a chance before you give him the old heave-ho.”
I leaned my head on the door. “Just give me the keys. Please.” Now I was whining.
“You’re the one keeping yourself from your keys. And probably true love.”
I looked at my watch. Now I’d have to risk a speeding ticket or get to work five minutes late. I wasn’t sure which was worse—a ticket from a police officer or a tongue-lashing from Delia.
“Fine. I’ll go out with him again if he asks me.”
“If he doesn’t ask me, I’ll ask him?”
“Right. And how many times will you go out with him?”
“Way too many,” I said under my breath.
“I can’t hear you.”
“Ten times. If he asks me.”
The door cracked open. “And you’ll be nice to him?”
“Whatever you say. Now give me the keys.”
Janessa emerged from the bathroom and triumphantly dropped my keys into my outstretched hand.
“You’re an idiot,” I said.
“An idiot that loves you and wants you to be happy,” she said. She turned and headed down the hall. “Someday you’ll thank me,” she sang.
“If I don’t kill you first.” I slammed the door behind me.

Excerpt 2

It was a busy Monday morning. I was looking out at the line of waiting customers when he walked in. I gasped, shut my thumb in my cash drawer, and then tried not to cry while Mr. Sandoval from a hearing aid store asked me if I was okay.

When I finished Mr. Sandoval’s transaction, I looked at him again. He was taller than anyone in the room. Of course. His hair was dark and a little disheveled. It was hard to see from where I was, but his eyes looked like they were blue. And best of all, he didn’t smile. He looked gorgeously unpleasant and impatient. He looked around the room and his eyes met mine. Still he didn’t smile. My heart was racing. He looked perfect.

I did my best to time it so I’d be his teller. I went a little too fast with one customer and accidentally shorted her a twenty dollar bill. I tried to concentrate as I corrected the transaction. I slowed way down on the next customer, but just when I thought I was finished and would be able to help him next, my customer asked me to break a ten into change. He walked up to Courtney’s window while I counted out nickels and dimes. Furious, I stomped my foot. Not too loudly but enough to release a little of my frustration.

I listened closely as Courtney helped him to see if I could learn anything, but he hardly spoke. He gave a terse nod when Courtney thanked him for coming in and turned on his heel and left. He had excellent posture and a nice, confident stride.

I finished with my customer, and then before anyone else could step forward, I picked up the phone and dialed Courtney’s extension. She glanced at her phone’s display and looked over at me curiously.
“Who was that?” I whispered when she picked up the receiver.

“Elizabeth, look how many customers there are.”

“I know. Just tell me who that was.” I watched as Courtney picked up her last transaction slip.

“His name is Matt Dawson.”

“Is he married?”

“I have no idea,” Courtney said.

“Was he wearing a ring?”

“I didn’t look. What’s going on, Lizzie?”

“I just need to know about him.”

“Well, I don’t know anything about him and Delia’s watching us. I’ve gotta go.”

Matt Dawson. Matt. Matthew. Like Matthew Macfadyen. Dawson. It was pretty close to Darcy. The only way it could be better is if his name was Fitzwilliam but I’d never met a Fitzwilliam in my life.

Matt Dawson.

This had to be a sign.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark

Who has not read about—or experienced—with a sinking feeling the fear that someone else out there may be using your credit cards, accessing your bank account, even stealing your identity.

In I ll Walk Alone, Alexandra “Zan” Moreland, a gifted, beautiful interior designer on the threshold of a successful Manhattan career, is terrified to discover that somebody is not only using her credit cards and manipulating her financial accounts to bankrupt her and destroy her reputation, but may also be impersonating her in a scheme that may involve the much more brutal crimes of kidnapping and murder. Zan is already haunted by the disappearance of her own son, Matthew, kidnapped in broad daylight two years ago in Central Park—a tragedy that has left her torn between hope and despair.

Now, on what would be Matthew’s fifth birthday, photos surface that seem to show Zan kidnapping her own child, followed by a chain of events that suggests somebody—but who? Zan asks herself desperately, and why?—has stolen her identity.

Hounded by the press, under investigation by the police, attacked by both her angry ex-husband and a vindictive business rival, Zan, wracked by fear and pain and sustained only by her belief, which nobody else shares, that Matthew is still alive, sets out to discover who is behind this cruel hoax.

What she does not realize is that with every step she takes toward the truth, she is putting herself— and those she loves most—in mortal danger from the person who has ingeniously plotted out her destruction.

Even Zan’s supporters, who include Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner and amateur detective, and Father Aiden O’Brien, who thinks that Zan may have confessed to him a secret he cannot reveal, believe she may have kidnapped little Matthew. Zan herself begins to doubt her own sanity, until, in the kind of fast-paced explosive ending that is Mary Higgins Clark’s trademark, the pieces of the puzzle fall into place with an unexpected and shocking revelation.

I have to admit that I hardly ever read Mystery's.  I never read thrillers or horror.  I'm just a big, big chicken.  Honest.  I don't watch scary movies or even really intense ones.  But, I can also tell you that I rarely have nightmares and I'm not afraid to shower.  I like it that way.

Mary Higgins Clark is probably the one exception to my mystery rule because she doesn't scare me.  I honestly love the way she writes her stories.  I know it's the same format every time but I like it.  I like how she plays the characters out.  It is easy reading and doesn't require a lot of thinking.  It's a good pool or beach read, you know?

This book takes identity theft to a whole new level.  It's more than just identity theft and honestly, it was a bit heartbreaking.  How would it be to have everyone believing you guilty of something horrific when you are innocent?  Even your friends?  Awful.  That's how.

I couldn't read these kind of books one right after another, but one a year is a good time for me.  I enjoyed this book.  It was a pleasant diversion from my usual reads.

Content:  mild swearing

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Enchanted Skeen by Vonnie Winslow Crist

The Enchanted Skean – Book I of The Chronicles of Lifthrasir is a 430-page, Young Adult fantasy novel filled with action, adventure, and magic. 14-year old Beck Conleth is living a quiet life in the seaside town of Queen's Weather when his grandmother sends him on a journey to Ulfwood to retrieve his father's bones and a family skean (dagger). After reaching Ulfwood, Beck discovers the skean is magical, and that it answers only to him. Soon the enchanted skean and its owner attract the attention of dark mages, goblins, and worse. Helped on his journey home by Wisewomen, warriors, shape-changers, and the other good folk of Lifthrasir, Beck faces death, danger, and the theft of his skean.

Accompanied by his best friend, Beck stows away on a ship, takes back his skean, befriends a dragon, and escapes with a troop of retrievers of stolen items. After reaching a dock in West Arnora, the company heads for the fortress of Ravens Haunt. As Beck and his companions face a hideous Skullsoul and an army of ogerhunches, he realizes there is a developing confrontation between good and evil, and he and his enchanted skean have a role to play.
I'm happy to be reviewing The Enchanted Skeen here on my blog today. If you are a fan of fantasy novels, you may just want to check this one out.

I know the book is slated as YA but it really felt more along the middle grade lines a lot of the time. That wasn't a bad thing, I just feel like it may hold more appeal to the younger crowd.

I really liked Beck. He's a good boy, well mannered, loyal and smart. He's everything you look for in a male hero lead. Beck is young though and still learning a lot about the world he lives in. What I loved most about this book was how Beck made friends all along his adventure. Because he was polite and respectful of people, places and animals, he won people over. He made good allies that helped him along the road of his journeys.

This book had adventure, mystical creatures, enchantment, and evil lurking around every corner. It was a true representation of good vs evil and a very enjoyable read. My thanks to the author, Vonnie for allowing me to read and review her book. You can find The Enchanted Skeen <here>.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Unbounded Series: The Change and The Cure by Teyla Branton

There are only two ways to kill Unbounded, and fire isn’t one of them—as law school dropout Erin Radkey learns the hard way. By fluke of a recessive gene, she has become Unbounded, a nearly immortal being with paranormal abilities.

Erin’s Change separates her from her loved ones and alters everything she believes to be true. A week earlier she was considering a marriage proposal; now she contemplates the best way to stay alive. Caught in a battle between two Unbounded groups, she is also hunted by a secret mortal society sworn to eradicate the Unbounded gene. Worse, a new identification software could mean death for all Unbounded—or enslavement for the entire mortal world.

As Erin plunges into this dangerous new life, she must carve out her own place in the madness, protect her mortal family, and decide which group she should join. Her powerful attraction to Ritter Langton, whose family was massacred by opposing Unbounded two hundred and forty years ago, complicates her choices. There are no second chances. Death, life, or love—Unbounded always play for keeps.

Non-stop action, terrifying consequences, and powerful romance make this an exciting addition to the world of urban fantasy.

Erin Radkey remembers all too well what life was like as a mortal—and it’s not something she wants to repeat, though there were a lot fewer people trying to kill her before her Change made her one of the Unbounded.

Over the centuries the long-lived Unbounded have divided into two groups, the Emporium who craves money and power and will do anything to achieve its ends, including experimenting on its own people, and the Renegades who protect unsuspecting humanity.

Now the Renegades are close to discovering a cure that will save many lives, and the mortal husband of Erin’s closest friend is first in line. But cures cut into Emporium profits, and their agents will stop at nothing to destroy the research and assassinate anyone who gets in their way.

Erin’s new abilities are tested as she and fellow Renegades fight against the Emporium in a struggle that soon becomes all too personal and where lines of loyalty are blurred by relationships of the past. Everything is at risk, including the lives of her friends—and the love of Ritter Langton, the Renegade Unbounded who both infuriates and excites her.

From the busy streets of Portland to the jungles of Mexico, The Cure is a page-turning urban fantasy that will keep you guessing until the end.

Okay, so here is a new book series that I picked up this last week.  The first book, The Change was free on Amazon a few weeks ago so I picked that up then but I didn't get to read it until this last week.  Needless to say when I finished it, I was right back over at Amazon looking for the next book.  Lucky me, the second book was out too.  :)  I love instant gratification.  It should never be underrated.  :)

The first book, The Change, started out a bit slowly for me.  It took awhile for me to become invested and "all in" but it did happen.  The pace picked up and honestly it hardly ever let up.  As I got to know the characters, I grew to like them.  Well, or not like them, depending on who the character was.  The first book had good character development and setting descriptions so I could easily picture the book playing out in my head.

Like I said, I was glad to be able to read right into the next book in this series.  Not having to wait was awesome.  

There is good tension between Erin and Ritter but I didn't feel like it ever progressed farther than attraction.  I didn't see the "love" developing based on the interactions they had.  Hope for love maybe.  The attraction and tension were palpable and real though as they were in the first book.

There was violence in both books, but especially in the second book.  It was a bit bloody.  The Unbounded get hurt a lot but lucky for them they heal quickly and can get right back in the game.  And get hurt again.  And again.  And again.

In the first book there is, I think, one instance of mild swearing.  What bugged me was the progression of that in the next book where I encountered the B word within the first few pages.  I felt like it was unnecessary and out of character with the rest of the writing.  Aside from those couple of instances there was nothing more.  

As far as writing goes, I enjoyed these books a lot.  I would say that this author has greatly improved her writing here from the other books she has written.  She is using a pen name for this series so I know her from other books written primarily in the LDS fiction genre.  These books are so much better than those and aside from my gripe about the two random swear words, I loved reading these books.

I would describe these books as fast paced and engaging.  I was caught up in the world of the Unbounded and I really liked it there.  I'm looking forward to the next book and will definitely be picking it up.

You can find The Change and The Cure at Amazon.  (titles are linked)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

I love my dad.  He's always been so good to me.  He has worked hard his whole life to be the best provider and supporter.  I'm grateful for him and I'm grateful to be his daughter.  Happy Father's Day, Dad!  And a happy father's day to all the father's out there.  

And a Happy Father's Day to my husband, the father of our children.  I couldn't ask for a better partner and friend.  He is a great example of hard work and dedication to the kids.  He loves me and my kids know it.  What could be better than that?!  Nothing, really.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Change of Plans by Donna Weaver

When twenty-five-year-old Lyn sets off on her cruise vacation, all she wants is to forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. What she plans is a diversion uncomplicated by romance. What she gets is Braedon, an intriguing young surgeon. He's everything her fiancé wasn't, and against the backdrop of the ship's make-believe world, her emotions come alive.

Unaware of the sensitive waters he navigates, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship—on the very anniversary Lyn came on the cruise to forget. Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs off in a panic.

But it's hard to get away from someone when you're stuck on the same ship. Things are bad enough when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise's snorkeling excursions. Then paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped, and Lyn's fear of a fairy tale turns grim.

This review just goes to show you what a good blog tour can do.  I saw this book all over the blogs for a blog tour and I read lots of great reviews for it so I decided to buy it.  I was a little ahead in my review reading and decided to take a few days to read some books that were in my "feel good zone".  This is one I decided to read because I always head to clean romance when I want to escape.

Ummm Hummm.  There was some good tension and build up.  Good romance.  I love how the story unfolded and became a true love story.  It's a typical romance in a lot of ways- girl meets boy, girl has baggage and runs away from boy, boy is patient, some unseen thing pops up to make things tough, girl realizes she loves boy and they work things out.  But, in addition to being a typical romance this has lots more to offer after we get to the realization and work things out part.  :)  I'm not going to give anything away.  You should just read it.  But maybe you shouldn't read this book while on a cruise ship. . .

This book was exactly what I was looking for.  A romantic escape.  I was all in and read through this book quickly.  Yipee for a great read this week!  

You can find this book at Amazon.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Get Caught Giving: The Summer of a Million Gifts! Enter to win a $50 Deseret Book Gift Card!

Deseret Book Kicks-off a Summer of a Million Gifts
Prizes include an 8-day cruise, a missionary wardrobe, a wedding reception, and daily gifts

Deseret Book is looking to give back this summer with its Summer of a Million Gifts. The store’s customers can anticipate random daily in-store gifts and an opportunity to win one of three grand prizes.

In June, one lucky customer will win an 8-day Caribbean Cruise with Alex Boye, British-born LDS singer and songwriter, courtesy of Morris Murdock Travel. In July, another will win a missionary wardrobe courtesy of Mr. Mac. And in August, one couple will win a wedding reception courtesy of Temple Square Hospitality.

The giving will take place online and in person at every store throughout the summer months. Each day on Deseret Book’s official Facebook page and in Deseret Book stores, an associate will give a gift to at least one customer a free pass to Lagoon theme park, double Platinum points, a free book at check-out, an act of service, or some other free prize.

More information about the Summer of a Million Gifts can be found online at, on Facebook at, or in any of Deseret Book’s retail locations.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Battlefield of the Heart by E.A. West

Battlefield of the Heart by EA West
Contemporary Inspirational Romance
Length: 285 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-62135-144-3

What started out as a bit of research for a sociology paper quickly turns into much more than Cindy ever expected. But can she survive Danny’s PTSD long enough to form a relationship with him?

Cindy Waymire, a college senior in search for a topic for an upcoming sociology paper, finds more than a topic when she meets Army veteran and college freshman Danny Flynn outside the student union. An undeniable attraction to this troubled veteran leads her on a difficult and winding path that brings her to a crossroads — get into a relationship with a man who has serious mental health problems or turn her back on one of the best men she’s ever met.

Can Cindy set her fears aside and follow her heart, or will the ghosts haunting Danny’s mind end their relationship before it begins?

Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy Astraea Press?  They sure do put out a lot of good, clean fiction.  Secular, Inspirational, they've got it all.  I'm happy to be a part of their review system and be able to share lots of good, clean books with you.  :)

This book was interesting to me because it shed some must needed light on a serious mental health problem that many people do not understand.  PTSD is a very real thing for so many people.  I personally do not have much experience dealing with this so for me, this book was enlightening and made me think about the very difficult path people with PTSD face.

Of course, along with this, I would be simply ungrateful if I didn't send a huge shout out to the men and women of our country's armed forces.  You have my most sincere thanks and respect for what you do to protect and represent our country.  I am living the life I do because of you.  Thank you for the sacrifices you make for me.

This is a inspirational or Christian romance.  I would say as far as these kind of books go, it was on the more mild side and not too preachy.

I thought this was a good book.  Cindy and Danny have an interesting beginning to their relationship.  It was a good attention grabber.

Cindy is a good sort of gal.  So patient and empathetic.  She is smart and does her research on PTSD so she knows more about what Danny is dealing with.  I like her.  Plain and simple.

For me, the last third of the book started to drag.  It got a little too bogged down in the mental and physical drama and it was hard to push through.  I got to the point where I just wanted to be at the end already.  That's not to say that overall I didn't enjoy the book because I really did.  It just got to be a bit long and overdone to me.

My thanks to the author for writing a book that must have required a lot of research and emotional understanding.  It seemed very real to me.  And, as usual, my thanks to Astraea Press for allowing me to be a part of the reviews for this book.

You can buy Battlefield of the Heart at Amazon.

About the Author:
E.A. West, author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she discovered the wonders of sharing her stories with others through writing. She picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn't laid it down yet. Her love of writing encompasses not only the romance genre but also a variety fiction and non-fiction styles.

Born and raised in Indiana, she still resides there today with her family and a small zoo of pets that includes the typical dogs and cats, and the more unusual African water frogs and a ribbon snake. Her interests are as varied as her critters. She has been known to carry on conversations about everything from politics and current events to gardening and theology. When she's not writing, you can usually find her working on her latest knitting or crochet project.

Monday, June 10, 2013

On Tour with Above Rubies by Jacyln M. Hawkes + a Giveaway!

above rubies

His chivalry was strangling her. He thought he was helping her—and in truth, he was. She was in desperate straits. But as honorable as he was, he was also breaking her heart. Her attraction was drowning him. When World Champion rodeo cowboy Rossen Rockland and his friends rescue a young runaway who has been abused by her foster father and take her home to his parents’ ranch, he expects her to turn out to be a pain in the neck. And sometimes she is. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that she has way more than her allotment of troubles—and far more than her share of gifts. Lovely, talented, and ravingly brilliant, Kit Star is too young, unbelievably humble, and oh, so loveable. Knowing that she needs his protection and time to grow into her potential, Rossen also figures out that what she really is, is a pain in the heart. Watch for more of the Rockland Ranch Series!

I was really looking forward to reading this book. I read the first book in this series, Peace River, not too long ago and really enjoyed it. Being able to follow Rossen's story was just too good to pass up. This is an LDS fiction book so there are references to the LDS faith.

In the afterwords of this book by the author, she explains how her mother thought this book was too forward.  It made me laugh because it was seriously the last couple pages of the book before we even got a kiss!  I ended the book wishing there were more kisses in there, more smoldering, and then I read what her mother thought.  It was just funny to me.  To each their own with romance books though, I guess.  I do appreciate how clean and above board Jaclyn keeps her books.  There was for sure a frustrating build up of emotions between the two main characters.  

In the book, Rossen is called a bonehead more than once.  I'd have to agree.  I could think of so many ways to accomplish what both he and Kit wanted and still have the romance.  But, alas, it wasn't to be and instead I got to be just as frustrated as Kit the whole way through the book.  Rossen is a straight arrow for sure.  No hint of bad boy in that man.  He is kind and caring and definitely puts the welfare of others before his own.  #overboardknightinshiningarmour 

As a reader I always appreciate when my feelings become involved because I know I'm invested in the story.  I felt that in this book because I wanted the best for Kit and I wanted that happily ever after to happen for her.  My frustrations were high.  See?  Invested.  :)  I'm looking forward to more by this author and more in this series.  


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.

  Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 6/26/13
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above rubies tour
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Friday, June 7, 2013

Mail Order Man by Heather Gray: Review, Interview and Giveaway!

Mail Order Man by Heather Gray
Historical Romance
Length: 230 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-62135-148-1

Blurb: Some people get a mail order bride. She got a mail order man.

A well-meaning friend places an ad to find a mail order husband for Sarah, the proprietress of Larkspur’s stage and mail office. Sarah, who is generally quiet and reserved, doesn’t know about the ad and has no idea what to do with all the people that are showing up in her community. Before long, the town is overrun with men and mail alike. Sarah is trying to avoid some men who have accosted her on the street when she stumbles into Samuel. Through long days spent together at the stage office, some very adventurous pots of coffee and a shared faith, the two become friends. Sarah knows that Samuel is hiding something from her, something important, but that doesn’t stop her heart from leaping wildly into love. Lacking the confidence to trust her heart, Sarah wars with herself over the feelings she can no longer deny. When some of the men who have come to town show their true intentions, a shootout follows. Sarah finally gets answers to many of the questions circling through her mind. One question remains, though.

Where will her mail order man go when the dust settles?

This is an awesome loaded post for you all today.  Not only was I able to read and review Mail Order Man but I get to share an interview AND a giveaway as well.  My thanks to Heather for the interview.  I love getting to know authors better.  And another big thanks to Astraea Press for providing for the giveaway.  They are an awesome publisher.  

Mail Order Man is slated as a historical romance but I would add that this is an inspirational (Christian) historical romance.  There was a lot of Christian elements in this book.  I wasn't aware of that going into it so I just wanted to put that out there.  

I love a strong male lead, all man and western-ish.  That's what Samuel is.  A true gentleman.  His interest and romance with Sarah is slow moving, gentle and sweet.  What is a good western without at least one good shoot out?  

One of the things I loved about the setting of this book was the small town's sense of community.  They all pull together to take care of business and each other.  That's what it's all about.

This is really a "feel good book".  There isn't anything intense or shocking.  Just a safe, easy read for a lazy summer day.

The following is an interview with author Heather.  It was my pleasure getting to know her better.  I hope you will enjoy it too.

Hi Heather!  Welcome to my blog.  J  Thanks for taking the time to do an interview with me today.  I love getting the chance to know authors better and I love being able to share it with my blog reading friends.

What made you decide to write books?  Was it something you’ve always wanted to do?
I discovered a love of writing a hundred and some years ago, all the way back in the fourth grade.  Then I grew up, and life got busy.  Not only did life get busy, but somewhere along the way I developed a fear of rejection.  So I never did much with my writing.  Then in 2011 my daughter became ill.  We lost her in 2012.  The week following her memorial service, a friend asked me what I was going to do with myself.  Mind you, I still have a husband and son whom I dearly love, but losing a child is…the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life.  I'd not had to think about what to do for a very long time because my life had been so full and wonderful.  Suddenly there was a hole, and doing nothing was out of the question, because idleness led to thinking and thinking led to sadness and sadness led to…you get the idea.  So I decided to write.  I know it's a dismal way to get there, but I realized that nothing could possibly hurt as much as I already hurt from losing my daughter, certainly not the rejection of something I'd written.  As it turns out, my manuscript did not get rejected, and I began a whirlwind journey for which I've been so grateful.  Life is sadness and happiness, hurt and joy, woven together.  None of us is exempt from pain.  During a time in my life that has truly been shaped by loss and heartache, I was given the gift of something to celebrate.  It can't possibly take away from or minimize the sorrow and grief, but it has been good to have something so wonderfully positive occurring in the midst of something so terribly sad.

Are you a structured writer?  Specific time of day, specific place?
Structure?  Absolutely!  (Not!)
I write whenever I can.  I need a certain amount of silence to concentrate, and I live with two very talkative males, so…sometimes the best writing takes place after everyone else has gone to bed and it's just me, the dog and the two fish.  (The fish, especially, are good about not interrupting me.)  Otherwise, seriously, anytime I have silence, I write.  If the men in my life decide it's time to mow the lawn, I boot up the laptop.  If they make a quick run to the post office, I am glued to my keyboard.  If they decide they want to go to the bookstore (which can literally take hours), I do a quick happy dance and then start typing away.  That's about as structured as I get.

What sort of research do you do for your books?  Is research a “love” part of your writing process or a “not so love” part?
I enjoy researching different time periods, whether it's the clothes, social structure, politics, employment opportunities or the language used.  The problem I run into is that I then want to take everything I've learned and dump it into my writing, but in truth, only a fraction of what I research actually makes it into the book.  Otherwise it would sound like a textbook rather than a novel.  One of my favorite parts of research is language.  As I'm typing along, I will write things that sound very modern in a book that is historical, so then I have to go back and look at the etymology of the word.  I read through dictionary and idiom word banks all to answer this one question:  Was this word in use in this way at that time?  I know to most people that probably sounds boring, but it's something I find wholly fascinating.

I’m a girl who loves a good romance and I really love them clean.  I know Astraea Press, your publisher, promotes clean fiction.  Is this something that is important to you?  Why?
I write inspirational fiction which, by definition, ought to be clean.  When I began looking for a publisher, I found several that have inspirational lines but that also publish erotica or other types of fiction with which I wasn't comfortable.  I wanted a publisher of whom I would not be embarrassed.  How would it make me (or my readers) feel if I had to say, "Go to my publisher's website, but be careful what you click on…"  When I came across Astraea Press and read their guidelines for clean fiction, I felt like I'd struck gold, and I haven't looked back since!

What was your favorite part to write in Mail Order Man?
You have to promise not to laugh at me.  The epilogue was my favorite part to write.  I liked knowing how Samuel and Sarah were going to turn out as a couple, how they would be together when no one was watching.  Getting to know each other can sometimes be awkward and uncomfortable, and it did my heart good to bring them to a point where they were past all of that and were simply happy and relaxed and together

What book have you read lately that you’ve loved?  (aside from your own, of course)
Between writing, working on edits, and trying to get the hang of marketing, I haven't had much time to read lately.  I plan to remedy that soon, believe me!  In the past couple months, though, I can think of two books that really stood out to me as good reads:  Rescued By That New Guy In Town by J.L. Salter and A Lot Like a Lady by Kay Springsteen and Kim Bowman.  While I don't exclusively read Astraea titles, I do need to tell you (full disclosure, etc.) that both of these titles are put out by my publisher.

Do you have any other books/projects in the works?
I am almost giddy.  Three more books and a short story are currently under contract with Astraea Press!  I have learned more than I can put into words (which is a little crazy, since words are what I do) during the writing and editing of this first book.  Each of the next books (as well as my readers!) are the beneficiaries of that experience.  The possibilities are endless!  The other books coming out later this year are: Just Dessert, the second book in the Ladies of Larkspur series; Ten Million Reasons, a humorous contemporary romance; His Saving Grace, a regency romance; and Late For The Ball?, a Young Adult short story that I hope will be thoroughly enjoyed by young, old and in-between.

You can find out more about Heather and her books at the follow sites:
Website     Blog
Facebook     Twitter

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