Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Giveaway Hop 2013!

Happy, Happy Summer and sunshine!  It's time for another great giveaway hop.  :)

I'm giving away a book (it must be a book.  no gift cards) of your choice, $12 or less from Amazon if you are US and The Book Depository if you are INT (as long as they ship to you for free).  Summer reading is the best and there are so many great books out there.  I've got some great books to review in August and I'm super excited.

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy Hopping and Good luck!

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Motive for Murder by Marlene Bateman: Book Spotlight

Meet Erica Coleman—a gifted and quirky private investigator with an OCD-like passion for neatness and symmetry, a penchant for cooking, (ten terrific recipes are included), and a weakness for chocolate.
Erica imagined that her trip to Florida would be a slice of heaven—a chance to get away from it all and catch up with her best friend, Wendy. But one day into her vacation, all hope of fun in the sun is dashed when she stumbles, literally, over a dead man on Wendy’s driveway. With police closing in on her friend as their main suspect, Erica must find the real killer before Wendy ends up behind bars.
With Erica’s skill, solving the mystery should be a piece of cake but then a second homicide-attempt hits close to home and generates a whole new list of suspects. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, a murderer is on the prowl, and no one is above suspicion.
As the plot thickens, it appears Erica may have bitten off more than she can chew, but she forges on, sifting through mounting evidence until she hones in on the killer who has a surprising motive for murder. With a dash of romance and some surprising twists, this thrilling mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

Praise from Traci Abramson and Betsy Brannon Green
Motive for Murder is fresh, captivating, and cleverly written. The colorful cast of characters will enthrall readers as they try to navigate the clever twists and turns of this captivating mystery. Intriguing, memorable characters, and a skillfully written mystery make Motive for Murder Marlene Bateman's finest work yet—a must read!  Traci Abramson
With a fresh, crisp writing style, Marlene Bateman introduces readers to a fascinating cast of characters and skillfully unravels an intricate plot full of twists and surprises!  I loved Motive for Murder and you will too!  Betsy Brannon Green
            “As she drove back to Wendy’s house, the headlights cleaved the darkness and shone through the rain, which was falling harder now. Erica parked across the street and was nearly to Wendy’s door when she stopped suddenly, catching herself as she nearly fell over something.
It was the still figure of a man lying face down on the driveway. He was strangely unmoving. The light from the porch illuminated a puddle alongside him, which was growing bigger by the second. A chill shivered down Erica’s spine as she noticed that the puddle was streaked by dark red threads that ran and merged with rivulets of rain.”

Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they are the parents of seven children. 
Her hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading.  Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, and Brigham’s Boys. Marlene also wrote the best-selling novel, Light on Fire Island.

A busy writer, Marlene is set to have three books published this year. Gaze Into Heaven, a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences in early church history, was published earlier this year. Next is Motive for Murder, the first in a mystery series featuring the quirky Erica Coleman. In July, Heroes of Faith, a collection of stories about people who risked their life for the gospel, will be released by Cedar Fort Inc. 
For all my blog followers, a disclaimer:  I haven't actually read this book.  This is just an informational spotlight.  I think I might have to pick it up though.  It looks good, right?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

King of Bad by Kai Strand: Book Blast and $100 Gift Card Giveaway!

King of Bad
King of Bad Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA. He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?  
Author Kai Stand When the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fire and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died, the end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for younger children Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults.
  BookBlast Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 8/15/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 29, 2013

On Tour with Rising Sun, Falling Star by Vickie Hall

    Rising Sun
Different eyes and skin Mock me from the mirror’s light Enemy am I. Dec 7, 1941 Today my life changed forever . . . I am no longer considered American, but by shear heritage I am now the hated enemy . . . The lives of Kenji and Aiko Onishi and their American-born children are about to unravel when the United States is thrust into war with Japan. Confronted by insurmountable prejudice and fear, the family is ripped from their California home without just cause by the American government and sent to an assembly center “for their own protection.” Forced to live in deplorable circumstances, every aspect of their lives regulated and controlled, the Onishi’s freedoms are stripped from their grasp as they struggle to survive behind barbed wire. It isn’t long before the mind-numbing confinement and feelings of helplessness begin to pit the family against one another. When sent to a relocation camp in the center of the Utah desert, they’re beset by ever increasing emotional and physical challenges, and Aiko is faced with her greatest yet: to mend the broken spirits of her family, or risk losing them forever. Based on true and tragic events that transpired during World War II, Rising Sun, Falling Star is a heart-rending story of one family’s struggle to survive uncalculated loss and emotional destruction.

I've been looking forward to reading this book since I signed on for the blog tour. One of my favorite genres is historical fiction. Before reading this book I didn't really know much about the injustice done to the Japanese Americans during WWII other than it happened and it was awful. This book was everything I was hoping it would be.  I not only gained a better knowledge of the events but I developed an emotional connection to this event in history.  I would really love to do some further reading and research on this.

I thought the author did an excellent job of giving a real and vivid story without it becoming too overwhelming and bogged down.

The book follows the Onishi family who loves in California near San Francisco.  After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the backlash extended to the Japanese Americans living here in the United States.  Honestly, it's just heart wrenching to read of the horrible injustices the Japanese Americans endured at the hands of their own country.  So, so sad.

I loved how I was able to see the story from each member of the Onishi family.  Each had a different voice, a different way of thinking and feeling about the struggle they endured.  It was so easy to empathize with them.  I could easily envision them and their surroundings.  One of the most touching parts to me was when the family literally burned everything that came from Japan ~letters, flags, clothing, and anything that even remotely looked Japanese.  They didn't want to give the government any reason to doubt their loyalty to America.  Family heirlooms, memories, everything.  Gone.  That part really resonated with me.  

The whole story was engaging and interesting and I feel like I came away a better person for reading it.
Content:  This book had no swearing or sex.  At one point a girl is attacked by some unsavory men but the situation is interrupted before anything happens.  There are some violent moments but nothing too offensive or descriptive.

Enjoy the following excerpt from Rising Sun, Falling Star:
“Mama, what’s wrong?”

“Come with me,” she ordered. “Hurry.”

Meri pulled hard against her mother’s tightened grasp. “Mama, what’s happened? Where are we going?”

“You see,” she said, breathless with her quickened steps. She made a beeline to the telephone pole by the post office. Meri followed, a look of dread splashed across her face as they came to a stop in front of the sign. “Tell me what say,” she said, pointing.

Meri cradled her books in her arm and stared up at the sign. She began to read and her eyes widened. “Mama,” she gasped, “we’re being evacuated!”

Aiko’s stone-like face never flinched as she absorbed the news. “What else it say?”

Meri spun toward her mother. “Where are they sending us? What’s going to happen to us?”

Aiko lifted her chin toward the sign. “Read more.”

Meri blinked back tears and turned to face the sign. “A responsible member of the family must report tomorrow to the Civil Control Station for further instructions between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.”

Aiko motioned to Meri’s books. “Write down what it say.”


Aiko touched her daughter’s arm. “We be fine,” she said, adding a soft smile. “Write down.”

Meri’s hands were shaking as she took out a pencil and opened her notebook. She wrote down all of the instructions posted on the sign in careful detail. When she had finished, she looked at her mother with beseeching eyes. “Oh, Mama . . . this is horrible. It’s not fair!” Meri exclaimed, coming alongside her mother. “It’s just not fair!”

Aiko could see the desperation in her daughter’s expression and brushed Meri’s cheek with the back of her fingers. “Meri, fallen blossom cannot return to branch. We pick up pieces and wait for new blossom.”

Author Vickie is a native of Utah, but growing up, lived in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Nebraska. When she’s not writing, she’s composing music, or shopping with her sister. She loves animals of all kinds and camping with her family. Her favorite pastime is watching old movies on TCM, and unashamedly has a crush on Cary Grant.
    Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 8/11/13
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rising sun tour

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Slow Burning Fire by J.F. Jenkins

A Slow Burning Fire by JF Jenkins
Inspirational Romance
Length: 111 Pages
ISBN: 9781621351559

Ever since super star, Arial Oakley, could remember, she's been in love with her hunky co-star Bryce Valentine. The only problem: Bryce has been in a relationship with another ac-tress for quite some time. Not wanting to be “the other woman”, Arial never pursued any of her feelings for him despite how well they connected.

When Bryce suddenly becomes single, both of their worlds are flipped upside down. To help him nurse his aching heart, Arial invites him back home to her family farm for some much needed peace and quiet from the paparazzi.

What neither of them expects is to fall in love: with the calm, with the country, with each other. But how much of it is real, and how much of it is a means to escape a broken heart?

I felt like this book title really fit this book.  The romance in this book was really slow developing.  It starts out as friends and basically stays there through the whole book even though both main characters realize they have feelings for each other.

I appreciated that Arial kept her attraction to Bryce in check because he was in a relationship.  She wasn't out to steal him away but instead contented herself with being his friend.  When Bryce's relationship fails, he doesn't jump right into a relationship with Arial.  He takes his time and enjoys the friendship that they share.  Friendship is a great base to any relationship.

I did feel that for most of the book I was just waiting.  Waiting for something to happen.  We get a lot of farm life and chores.  I felt as though the story sort of dragged on through the middle.  The characters felt a bit younger to me than what they were said to be, especially Bryce.  Arial's behavior in the end after Bryce finally confesses his feelings really baffled me.  It seemed completely out of character for her and very childish.  It was weird and I didn't completely buy into it.

But, having said all that, I did enjoy this book.  It was sweet and clean, easy reading.  I polished it off pretty fast, diverted from my mom duties, in escape mode.  :)

As always, my thanks to Astraea Press for allowing me to read and review for them.

You can find A Slow Burning Fire at Amazon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Perfecting Kate by Tamara Leigh

Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 20th 2007 by Multnomah Books (first published 2007)
ISBN 1590529278 (ISBN13: 9781590529270)

Kate’s Creed: Thou shalt embrace singledom and be unbelievably, inconceivably happy.


Kate Meadows is a successful San Francisco artist looking for a nice, solid Christian man. So when not one, but two handsome bachelors enter her orbit in rapid succession, her head is spinning just a bit. Michael Palmier is a hunky and famous makeup artist who actually seems to be flirting with her–rather than her physically flawless housemate, Maia. Trouble is, he keeps handing her business cards from various beauty professionals and plastic surgeons. Is he trying to stamp out every last bit of self-esteem she has?

Then there’s Dr. Clive Alexander, good-looking enough to be mistaken for Brad Pitt, who sends Kate’s pulse skittering every time he comes near. Too bad he’s only interested in her work–and doesn’t think she’s much to look at. It’s enough to send a girl running for her paint-splattered, relaxed-fit jeans and swearing off men altogether! But after undergoing a makeover from Michael’s staff, Kate can’t be oblivious to the admiring glances men throw her way. Maybe she should try contacts…consider some fancy dental work…and you know, that mole really could stand to go. The question now is, what kind of work will Kate do on herself…and who exactly is she trying to please?

I really enjoyed the overall message of this book.  Kate is successful at doing something she loves.  She is well grounded and mostly happy until people keep telling her she is not skinny enough or pretty enough or well groomed enough.  How hard would that be?  One thing leads to another and soon Kate finds herself going out of her way to change things about herself for other people.  

I think most women can relate to many of the self esteem issues that Kate has.  I know I can.  I can't imagine how difficult it would be to have people pointing out all my flaws all the time.  Ouch.  I was able to connect with Kate and empathize with her struggles.

Kate is a witty and fun character.  Her humor and internal dialogues kept me interested and lightened the mood considerably when it threatened to become overbearing.  Kate felt like someone I would hang out with in real life.

This is a Christian Fiction book so there is a lot of talk about God.  It is the whole basis of the book.  Kate is struggling to please others and loses her focus on ultimately pleasing God first.  I loved how Clive always tells Kate that it isn't bad to change things you may not like about yourself as long as you are doing it for the right reasons and not just to please other people.

Overall a good book.  I sure don't like the cover at all but I'm glad that I didn't judge the book based on the cover.  :)  

You can find out more about this book and it's author at the following places:
Author Website
More Info
Read Chapter One
Author Bio

You can purchase this book at Amazon.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I, Spy by Jordan McCollum

Publisher: Durham Crest Books
Length: 312 pages
Publication date: 5 June 2013 
Genre: Romantic suspense
Formats: trade paperback, Kindle (.mobi), ePub, PDF
ISBN (trade paperback): 978-1-940096-00-1
Price: $15.95 (paperback), $6.99 eBook

Canada is probably the last place you'd expect to find an American spy. But even idyllic Ottawa has its deadly secrets--and so does CIA operative Talia Reynolds. She can climb through ventilation shafts, blend in at the occasional diplomatic function, even scale buildings (small ones). But there's one thing she can’t do: tell her aerospace engineer boyfriend Danny about her Top Secret occupation.

It worked for a year, keeping Danny in the dark, keeping him away from danger, keeping her secrets. And then Talia finally catches a hot case: Fyodor Timofeyev. Russian. Aerospace executive. Possible spy?

She can make this work, too--until Danny needs her at the same time her country does. And when Fyodor targets Danny? Suddenly her schedule isn't the only thing suffering. Now to save her country and her secrets, Talia must sacrifice the man she loves.

Ooh, ooh, I really liked this book!  :)

This book is told in the first person and it really felt like my best girlfriend was just telling me a fantastic story.  It was personal and witty and it just felt real.

Talia is tough but she has a big heart.  She tries really hard to take care of the people that are important to her.  Her job as a CIA operative is dangerous and requires her complete attention but it is also a secret she can't share with her boyfriend which of course, leads to just a few bumps in the road of love.

Poor Danny in the dark.  Poor Talia that has to keep him there.  She literally fights to the bitter end to keep him safely away from the truth.  Really.  That poor Danny.  He sure is left to conjure up some awful things with his limited knowledge.

I was hooked on this book from the very beginning.  It moved along at a great pace and my interest and attention never waned.  I loved the action and intrigue.  It was just so fun and I'm excited to read more by Jordan McCollum.

I do believe that this book is classified as Romantic Suspense.  The main characters are both LDS but there isn't anything preachy found in this book at all.  The main character mentions a few LDS specific rules (like no drinking alcohol) but nothing more.  It is a clean read though which was very happy for me.

You can find out more about I, Spy here:

You can purchase I, Spy at Amazon.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Millionaire Plan by Kay Harborne

The Millionaire Plan by Kay Harborne
Contemporary Romance
Length: 179 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-62135-150-4

Amber Wynters is on a mission to find a millionaire to marry – and fast. Her parents are nearly bankrupt and forced to sell the family home, a beautiful Tudor house that had been in the family for generations. And it’s all thanks to Amber’s ex-fiancé Rod persuading them to invest in his dodgy shares. So armed with a ‘How to Hook a Millionaire’ Book and a ten point plan, she sets off to hook herself a rich husband. Then she meets the drop-down gorgeous Jed Curtess. The attraction between them is sizzling but Jed is only a hired hand on one of the millionaire’s yachts. Can Amber ignore her heart and follow her plan?

First, my thanks to Astraea Press for the chance to read The Millionaire Plan by Kay Harborne.  Astraea Press puts out so many good, clean romances and I love that.

This book was so very British with a gorgeous American hero.  Amber is out to hook a millionaire but it's not like she is a gold digger.  No, her motives are purely noble.  She just has to save her parents from financial ruin.  So what if that ropes her to a loveless marriage for the rest of her life.  Amber isn't a socialite and she is really out of her depth in the glamorous world of the rich but still she is determined to follow through with her plans.

Jed can see that Amber isn't like the other women out to snag a rich man.  She just seems to sweet and naive.  He knows she is going to get eaten alive out there.  Amber recruits Jed's help since he knows so much about the rich world and she doesn't.  Spending time together plus attraction means, without a doubt, something is going to happen.  And it does.  :)

The attraction between Jed and Amber is really sizzling.  The tension and attraction builds through the story and it's great.  It kept me reading and interested.  I knew what was happening, there weren't any grand surprises but that totally didn't matter.  I was after a clean romance that I didn't have to think too overly hard about.  I wanted a getaway and I got one.  Yeah!

You can pick The Millionaire Plan up at Amazon for just $2.99

Friday, July 12, 2013

Save the Date by Susan Hatler

(Better Date than Never series, Book #4)

Kristen knows men hide things. Case in point, her last boyfriend turned out to be married. Just like anyone else, Kristen is devastated. However, since Kristen evaluates people for a living, her ex’s duplicity has her searching for a new career as well as swearing off men.

Touring history museums with her sexy friend Ethan doesn’t count, because he has a girlfriend, and has only shown friendly interest in Kristen. He even helps with her career counseling tasks. Although Kristen has a secret crush on Ethan, spending time with him is safe. Until she discovers he’s actually single. Gasp. And now he’s flirting with her, too.

Suddenly, Ethan is way too dangerous. Not to mention tempting. Sure, he seems like sixty shades of perfect, but how’s a girl with bad judgment supposed to detect what skeletons he has in his closet?

So, our family was at a family reunion over the 4th of July and we were camping.  It was fun and exhausting.  When I finally got home and unpacked I decided to hop on the computer while I waited for my turn in the shower.  I had dreams of getting clean and then curling up in my bed with a book until I zonked from exhaustion.  Then, best surprise EVER when I check my email I found Susan's book waiting for me.  SQUEE!  

Unfortunately, I had to wait until the next day to delve into Save the Date because I guess I was more exhausted then I realized.  By the time I made it to bed, there was nothing left and I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.  :)

Save the Date tells Kristen's story.  She has been in the background of other books and Kristin is known for her counselor type good advice.  Her girlfriends depend on her level headed advice to get them through their bumps on the relationship road.  But then Kristen finds out her boyfriend is actually married and the devastation the follows makes her doubt her abilities to be a counselor.  How can she advise other people when she can't even get it right herself?

Kristin really does a nosedive.  She goes completely commando with her job and her friendships and things get a little out of whack.

I loved getting to know Ethan better.  We meet him in another book on a date that didn't quite work out.  This was a much hotter version of Ethan.  Sizzle.  He really takes care of Kristen and is so gentle with her feelings.  I loved that.

Reading one of these novellas by Susan is almost like instant gratification.  Because I can read through them in about an hour, I feel that instant gratification of a romantic story with that happily ever after ending I crave.  When I'm in the mood for a quick romance with tension and sizzle, Susan's books are perfect.  Loved the book, love the series.

I'm always so excited when Susan finishes a new book.  It's like Christmas.  With chocolate and a pretty red bow.  :)

Thanks Susan, for letting me read and review your book.  You make me happy.

Content:  There is sizzle and tension and kissing but no sex.

Save the Date can be found at Amazon for $1.99!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What Not to Say When You're Running Away by Rachel John + a GIVEAWAY! Wa-Hoo!

Sara is a second year student at a tiny junior college in Thatcher Arizona. The summer was a disaster, and all she wants is to be back with her close-knit roommates and blend into the background. She doesn’t want to get married. She doesn’t even want to date again for awhile. Little does she know that the small glitch in her plan will come in the form of Matt Constanello, the persistent guy living across the street who just might make her change her mind.

Today I have a special review for all my LDS fiction loving friends.  :)  What Not to Say When You're Running Away is a fun book about a group of college kids trying to make their way though the challenges of dating and friendship while balancing work and classes.

Sara is the main character in this book and boy does that girl have some issues.  Luckily she has a good and patient group of friends who help her navigate through her insecurities and hermit type tendencies.  Sara makes some pretty dumb choices and hurts people but luckily she eventually learns from her mistakes and tries to do better.

Poor Matt has the patience of a saint.  Seriously.  I'm not sure how many guys out there would put up with all he did but it really can't be that many.

I loved the whole college vibe going on this book.  It felt authentic and real.  The mish mash of feelings and changing relationships were spot on for the college crowd.  This book is set in Arizona, mostly Thatcher and since we spent over 5 years living in Arizona it felt a bit like coming home to me.  I miss the Monsoons and Diamondback games.   And you just can't beat an Arizona winter.

This was a good book.  It kept me interested, if not a bit frustrated with Sara.  It was squeeky clean and overall just an easy reading book.  It's what I like to call brain candy as it doesn't require anything from you, it's just a good diversion.

You can find What Not to Say When You're Running Away here:

It is also available at smashbooks.

And in print at

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Swept Up by the Sea by Tracy and Laura Hickman

Determined to seek his fortune, Percival Taylor leaves behind his sleepy hometown and sets out to become a legendary pirate—only no one at the roguish seaport of Blackshore will allow him anywhere near a ship!

Percival must find other means to win the heart of the beautiful Tuppence Magrathia-Paddock, who has mistaken him for a pirate rogue out of one of her romantic tales. She is entirely willing to swoon into his arms if he can prove his buccaneer soul—and she is willing to arrange her own kidnapping to prove it.

Percival eventually finds himself captain of a broken-down ship, complete with a crew of pirates who make their living selling fake treasure maps, a jilted fiancee, a reclusive Master Shipwright, and an old professor with a secret that could kill them all. It’s Pirates of Penzance meets Princess Bride as this motley group of characters sets sail for treasure and romance.

Swept Up by the Sea is a tale full of different characters each trying to accomplish their own goals, coming together by happenstance and needing each other to see things through to the end.

It really took me awhile to get into this book.  At first I didn't think I would make it.  There was nothing compelling, pushing me to want more.  I'm glad I stuck with it though because probably a little better than a third of the way through I finally became interested and wanted to read more.  It just took awhile to get there.

I would call this a book for all ages.  It is innocent enough to be read aloud to younger children and will certainly entertain the younger set in the YA age range.  There is a lot of silly humor and Percival is about as naive as they come.  The book description compares this story to Princess Bride.  Having just watched that movie again recently, I would say not so much.  That's sort of a big claim to live up to.  But, this was a good story.

What I enjoyed more than anything were the stories within the story.  The shipwright and the professor's back stories were my favorite parts of the book.  It's what pulled me into the book, I think.

I enjoyed the end of the story- it had a satisfying ending for all.  And, as I mentioned before, it is clean.  I'm a girl that really appreciates a good, clean read.  This is a book I will hand over to my daughter.  She loves fantasy and romance.

My thanks to Shadow Mountain for allowing me to read and review for them.  They are a great publisher turning out some fantastic books.  I'm happy to be a part of promoting them.

You can find Swept Up by the Sea at Amazon.  (linked)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dragonwitch Blog Tour loaded with Goodies! Review, Interview and Giveaway!

Dragonwitch (Tales of Goldstone Wood #5)

Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 1, 2013 by Bethany House Publishers

Submissive to her father’s will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves–Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.

But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta’s tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice…and for the one person who can wield it.

Dragonwitch is, I confess, the first book in this series that I have read.  <hangs her head in shame>  That is perhaps why I was a wee tad bit confused in the beginning and why I felt like the beginning part of this book just dragged.  I had to work to push through until I found the rhythm of the book and started to put things together.  Once I got to that point though, I was totally in.

I love how this book weaves two stories together.  There are bits of a past story intermingled with a present day story.  As each story progresses, they eventually become one.  It's awesome.  I really liked it.

The underlying messages in the book were so good too.  Each character seemed to have a journey both of self discovery and of knowledge.  They all played a part in something bigger and even though they didn't believe in themselves one hundred percent, they kept moving forward- facing their fears and trusting in their instincts.  It made for a very gratifying ending.

This fantasy book was good.  I'm happy to say that I've picked up a couple other books in this series and I hope to read those and even get my kids started on them.  My kids love fantasy books and I think these will be a hit in our house.  This book had no swearing or sexual content but there was some intense and violent scenes.  I'm hoping the other books follow the same pattern.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, and STARFLOWER, with DRAGONWITCH due to release in 2013. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.

For this blog tour, each blogger was given the chance to write up several questions for Anne.  My questions were sort of random~ I go from book questions to a kitty question.  That's because Anne rescues cats and has lots of experience with them.  :)  The last question is about vacations because I like to hear where people want to travel.  I hope you enjoy the fun.  Every stop on this blog tour has interview questions with Anne so check them out too!  (There is a list of blogs at the end of this post.)

1. What sort of research do you do for your books?  Is research a love part of the process for you?
The research is always very random for a fantasy novel. I often research interesting details from lots of different cultures and time periods in order to lend a sense of authenticity to my own world. I do enjoy the research, but not as much as the storytelling itself!

2. If you had to give your books a movie rating what would it be?
I would say PG-13. They are very clean stories, no sexual innuendo, so safe for the kids! But there are some very dark and frightening moments in all of them.

3. We rescued a wild kitten my girls found that was starving.  It was a vicious little thing even as young and small as it was.  Are they born with that feral instinct?  That kitten seemed way too young to have learned that behavior.   What do you do with the wild cats you rescue?
Kittens pick up their mother’s behavior from the very earliest days. If mom is friendly and loves humans, the kittens will too. If mom is feral, kittens will mirror that even within the first few weeks.

All of my feral kittens have been completely vicious when I first caught them. But they all have the domestic nature inside, and patience and love will bring it out. I have never yet failed to transform my feral rescues from snarling mini-tigers into loving lap-babies! Some of them take longer than others . . . one little girl took me a good six months, while several of them tamed within a day.

The trick that usually works best is to isolate the wild kitten in a small space where it cannot get away from you. Then, you have to become its only source of food. Don’t feed it unless you are there. I use Gerber chicken-flavor baby food on the tip of my finger so that my kittens directly associate me with comfort. Once they start taking the food from my finger, it’s only a matter of time before they are all mine! They’ll do anything for baby food! After they start taking the food from me, I’ll put them in my lap and hold them there while they eat, talking softly to them all the while and petting them with long strokes down the back and on the face, mimicking how a mother’s tongue would feel.

With this technique, I have succeeded even with kittens that were considered too old to tame! And I have found that the rehabilitated ferals make the best and most devoted pets. They appreciate the love so much more!

4. What is your dream vacation?

I would love to travel to Sri Lanka, my husband’s homeland. How much fun it would be to explore his childhood haunts, to research that country’s fantastic history . . . and, of course, to enjoy the fantastic curries!

Tour-wide Giveaway - 

July 1 - 26
USA, Canada & UK - Print Copy of the entire series to date!
See Rafflecopter for giveaway details.

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Pull up a chair and a cup of tea... we've invited Anne Elisabeth to every blog on the tour!


1 – Book Release!
5 – JL Mbewe

-          Christy’s Cozy Corner
9 – BookwormLisa

14 – Mommasez…
15 – Dee’sReads
-          Kelly P’s Blog
19 – Grand Finale Blast!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Guardians by Heather Frost: Review and Giveaway!

A vision of Kate's death causes Patrick to intensify his duties as Guardian. The Demon Lord is especially relentless now that Kate is the only Seer to ever escape his grasp. When Patrick discovers that Kate is the key to defeating their greatest enemy, he must choose between sacrificing the girl he loves or letting the Demon Lord win. You won't be able to put this final installment in the Seers trilogy down.

Oh, so much to say, so little typing space...

I've been waiting, waiting, waiting to read this book.  The last book so cruelly left me hanging that it's been a long stretch of longing for this book.  Thank goodness that it got here a bit earlier than expected.  Happy, happy day.

Guardians is the third and final book in the Seers Trilogy.  The first book is Seers, and the  second book is Demons.  (title is linked to my review)  This is probably one of my favorite book series.  I am compelled when I read it.  Do you know what I mean?  I'm invested and I have to keep reading.  I love the characters.

Another big selling point for me is that this series is clean.  My daughter has read this whole series and LOVES them.  We are big fans of Heather Frost.  

I was reading and reviewing a few books when I actually got my hands on this book so I had to wait.  It was torture.  I felt like a kid at Christmas with the countdown.  One week until I can read this book.  Six days until I can read this book.  Five days until I can read this book...  (you get the idea)  It was so exciting when I finally settled in to read this book.

Like I said before, the last book, Demons, left me in such a desperate place.  I was so impatient when I started reading this book~  impatient to get to the point of resolution and knowing.  I had to keep telling myself to calm down and enjoy the ride.  The first part of the book just dragged for me.  Not because it was poor writing or anything but just because I was so impatient to get to the climax and the end.  Impatience while reading a book is never good.  :)

The ending was emotional and so good.  Thank goodness I got the HEA I was longing for.  It's always bitter sweet to get to the end of a good book series.  I'm sad to say goodbye to this series and these characters but I'm also glad to finally get some resolution and a good dose of the happily ever after that I always crave.  This will be a series that I will revisit.  (my daughter already has!)

My thanks to author Heather Frost for keeping me on her list.  :)  And also my thanks to Cedar Fort for allowing me to read and review for them.

Guardians comes out July 9th.  Here is a link to buy at Amazon.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

A 4th of July Book Review: An American Love Story by C.S. Moore

An American Love Story by CS Moore
Contemporary Romance
Length: 99 Pages
ISBN: 9781621351603

Tessa is visiting her hometown for the first time since her breakup almost nine months ago. Even though it’s just a short visit for the Fourth of July weekend, it kills her to be there. She and Phillip had made so many memories, both good and bad there—but her loving family is so worried, she has to go back.

Heartbreak and regret make each day worse than the last, but still she refuses to take back her ex. In fact she has sworn off men all together…until she gets roped into a blind date with a soldier. She doesn’t want to go, but even she can’t say no to going out with a soldier on the Fourth of July.

The last thing she expected was the tall, dark, and handsome man that showed up to take her out. Garrett awakens a long dormant part of her as soon as she lays eyes on him, but can he heal her shattered heart?

I figured this was the perfect book review for the 4th of July.  (my favorite holiday, btw)  What could be better than a book where the beginnings of love happen on the 4th of July with a dreamy soldier?  Hum, let me think....  Not much.  :)  Oh, and there are fireworks.  (wink, wink)

You will feel for Tessa and the difficult position she is in~ rough break up, small town, lots of memories.  She even runs across her ex's mother in the grocery store!  Yikers!  Who deserves love more than a broken heart?

This is a super-dee-duper short story that will take you an hour or less to read straight through.  So go grab an ice cold drink (I'm grabbing lemonade) and settle in for an hour of love.

Content:  Clean  (yeah!)

C.S. Moore grew up in a small town and always had her nose in a book. She was raised by a detective, which didn’t leave much room for normal teenage shenanigans! So she had to read about them instead. She found her love of writing while performing stand-up comedy, and humor is something readers will find in everything she writes. Ever the hopeless romantic, she met her husband — and 30 days later, they were engaged! They now have two beautiful children and live on five lovely acres.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

Love, love, love this time of year.  It's my favorite.  Summer, 4th of July, watermelon, lemonade, no school, warm weather, baseball and reading.  

I read a book this year, The Rent Collector, which really left an impact on me.  It's one of my favorite reads this year.  It talks about a people denied the freedom to read.  Can you imagine?  Not being able to read?  It made me so, so grateful for the freedoms I have that include the freedom to read and learn.  So, my thanks to the men and women serving in our countries armed forces to protect those freedoms now and to those who so valiantly gave in times before.  My utmost gratitude to you.

I will be giving you the freedom to pick a book of your choice, $12 or less, from Amazon if you are US or The Book Depository if you are INT (and if they ship to your country for free).  

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Rising Sun, Falling Star $50 Book Blast

  Rising Sun
Rising Sun, Falling Star Different eyes and skin Mock me from the mirror’s light Enemy am I. Dec 7, 1941 Today my life changed forever . . . I am no longer considered American, but by shear heritage I am now the hated enemy . . . The lives of Kenji and Aiko Onishi and their American-born children are about to unravel when the United States is thrust into war with Japan. Confronted by insurmountable prejudice and fear, the family is ripped from their California home without just cause by the American government and sent to an assembly center “for their own protection.” Forced to live in deplorable circumstances, every aspect of their lives regulated and controlled, the Onishi’s freedoms are stripped from their grasp as they struggle to survive behind barbed wire. It isn’t long before the mind-numbing confinement and feelings of helplessness begin to pit the family against one another. When sent to a relocation camp in the center of the Utah desert, they’re beset by ever increasing emotional and physical challenges, and Aiko is faced with her greatest yet: to mend the broken spirits of her family, or risk losing them forever. Based on true and tragic events that transpired during World War II, Rising Sun, Falling Star is a heart-rending story of one family’s struggle to survive uncalculated loss and emotional destruction.
rising sun tour
Author Vickie Hall Vickie is a native of Utah, but growing up, lived in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Nebraska. When she’s not writing, she’s composing music, or shopping with her sister. She loves animals of all kinds and camping with her family. Her favorite pastime is watching old movies on TCM, and unashamedly has a crush on Cary Grant.
    BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 8/2/13
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