Friday, November 29, 2013

Viking Fire by Andrea R. Cooper

856 CE, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.

Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe—Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.

What do you get when you cross a Irishwoman and a Viking?  FIRE.  Yes, strong willed, determined, fire.  What a pairing!  

Kaireen is one tough chick.  She is all the hot tempered fire you would expect in a good Irish lass.  Push her and she will explode even if she is wrong.  She is also brave and loyal and good with a bow and arrow.  Don't get on her bad side.

Bram is smitten.  I'm not sure exactly why.  Perhaps he knows if he can catch Kaireen and get her to marry him, he will have some kind of super charged, feisty, strong children to continue his lines.  He is big and strong, a protector.  He promises his fidelity to Kaireen and nothing could be sexier than that.

This book is not for the faint of heart.  There are full of evil bad guys, bloody battles, witches and messy kitchens to clean.  (what?  messy kitchens take courage, I tell you.  Just ask Kaireen)  

And of course, this is a romance and not one I would label clean.  Well, it was mostly clean until the very, very end.  Yes, one bedroom scene, descriptive, between a married couple.  I would have to rip out the last couple pages and edit out with a sharpie a few less than classy phrases throughout the book in order for this book to stay on my shelves.  There was also a handful or two of mild swearing.

It's funny because we all have different ideas of clean.  The author and I exchanged a few words about the heat level of her book because I wanted to be very upfront about my preference for "clean" romances.  I really appreciated her explaining things to me the best she could.  Her publisher gave it a sensual rating, the lowest it can be for romance.  I know there are romances out there much more descriptive (although I don't know much about them because I don't read them) but for me, this was enough over the line that I cannot call it clean but I CAN call it a great diverting read because I really did enjoy it until the very end when I got squirmy.  :)  

You can find Viking Fire on Goodreads.

You can buy Viking Fire at Amazon.

About the Author
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn't until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.

What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).

Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.

She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.

Viking Fire is her second forthcoming novel with Crimson Romance and is a historical romance. Her debut novel, The Garnet Dagger, is a paranormal romance and is now available.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ruby's Secret by Heather B. Moore

Welcome to the Newport Ladies Book Club series:

At age sixty-two, life is finally beginning for newly widowed Ruby Crenshaw. Her son is grown and gone, and after long years spent as a loyal wife to her charming but unfaithful husband, she’s ready to live the life she’s always dreamed of. Her resolve is firm: she’ll never make the mistake of giving her heart to another man.

The first step in Ruby’s quest for a carefree lifestyle was to create the Newport Ladies Book Club, an unlikely gathering of women who have been her haven. Now she’s ready to take her newfound independence a step further—along with her friends from the local senior center, Ruby is jetting off to a much-needed Greece adventure. What she isn’t prepared for is Gabriel—the group’s tour guide—a native Greek and a true gentleman. His unquestionable charm is hard to resist. But resist she must—because no matter their growing attraction, Ruby is not about to fall for charming again!

If you aren't familiar with the Newport Ladies Book Club series, I'll give you a brief rundown on how it works. These books are about different ladies who meet together for a book club each month. Each book is about a different person but runs in a parallel time frame. You can read any book, in any order. You can read more about this series and how it works by clicking HERE.

I have read all but one of the books in this series so far. I'm hoping to get to "Shannon's Hope" soon. Especially after having read "Ruby's Secret". I really need to know what's going on with Shannon. This series is unique and I love the way we have all the characters to some degree in every book and you have this vague idea of who they are and that they are struggling but you don't really get their whole story until you read their book. I just love this concept. The authors do a fantastic job of keeping things cohesive and fluid.

Ruby's Secret was so good. I have loved Ruby from the very beginning of this series and I'm so glad she finally got her own book and her own story told. Ruby is generous and gracious to everyone she meets. She is so kind and I could feel this about her from the very first book I read. I love how this book really puts into perspective how people assumed that Ruby had everything great in her life. The ladies in her book club think she had an ideal marriage and because of her generous and kind personality assume that her life has been great. In reality though, Ruby struggled all her married life and was hurt so badly that she still hasn't gotten over it. It was a good reminder to me that even the most put together people have struggles and hard things to deal with. You can just never judge people by what you see.

Ruby has quite an emotional journey in this book. Her strength and courage really shine through. I love how you can just feel Ruby's heart changing when she meets Gabriel. Ruby is a woman made to love and take care of others. But, just like any other human, she needs love and care too. Gabriel is just the man for the job. I <heart> Ruby and Gabriel. Love them separate, love them together. I love the hope this book brought.

This book is squeeky clean.  :)

You can find Ruby's Secret at Amazon.

Heather B. Moore is the 2-time Best of State, 2-time Whitney Award & 2-time Golden Quill Award winning author of ten historical novels. Her historical fiction is published under H.B. Moore; her newest historical thrillers are Daughters of Jared, Esther the Queen, and the Omar Zagouri series: Finding Sheba and Beneath.

Heather writes women's fiction and romance under Heather B. Moore. She's the co-author of The Newport Ladies Book Club Series (with Josi S. Kilpack, Annette Lyon & Julie Wright)--her books are Athena and Ruby's Secret. Heather is also the author of the bestselling anthology collection A Timeless Romance Anthology, the Aliso Creek Novella series, the historical romance Heart of the Ocean, the non-fiction works Christ's Gifts to Women (co-authored with Angela Eschler), Women of the Book of Mormon, and the upcoming Divinity of Women (2014, co-authored with S. Kent Brown).

Visit her blog for writing and book signing updates:

Heather loves to hear from readers at: or if you're an aspiring writer, she also manages the editing company, Precision Editing Group:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Timeless Romance Anthology: European Collection

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: European Collection. Readers will love this collection of six historical romance novellas set in Europe, all with one thing in common: Romance.

In War of Hearts, Annette Lyon’s exciting novella, Anna, a journalist, is desperate to escape the magazine where Pete, her now-former boyfriend, also works. Heartbroken and still in love with him, Anna snags an assignment to cover the Winter War in Finland. She arrives at a snowy Finnish battlefront only to discover that Pete is already there—as her photographer. She’s determined to be professional about the situation until a battle breaks out in camp, putting her and Pete in harm’s way and putting their love to the test.

In G.G. Vandagriff’s enchanting novella, The Earl of Oaksey Takes a Wife, Melissa Burroughs is the new Countess of Oaksey. Her whirlwind romance and subsequent elopement was worth every divine moment, even if her parents did disapprove. When Melissa learns about her new husband’s apparently empty pockets, she wonders if the intimacy they’ve shared is only the ruse of a fortune-hunter. Melissa is devastated and determines to live a separate life from her new husband. But the Earl has other plans, which do not include staying away from his wife.

In Michele Paige Holmes’ charming story, Gift of Love, Ethan Mooreleigh knows he’ll never love another woman after the loss of his beloved wife. Yet he needs a male heir to inherit his vast fortune. Ethan’s best friend, Stuart, has an idea and retrieves his sister, Amelia, who has been living in a convent since the tragic death of her parents. Amelia only agrees to enter into the contract marriage because there’s a child involved, Ethan’s neglected three-year-old daughter. When Amelia meets Ethan for the first time at the altar, she realizes that the last thing she wants her marriage to be is loveless. But winning a man whose heart is still broken may be impossible.

A Lesson in Love, a delightful novella by Sarah M. Eden, captures the uncertainties of newlywed life. Lucy Stanthorpe arrives for the London Season, planning to attend every ball and musicale with her new husband, Reed, only to discover he has no intention of taking part in the social whirl. Spurred on by their family and friends, Lucy and Reed each formulate increasingly outlandish plans to teach the other a lesson in appreciation. Their battle of wills threatens to pull the young couple apart unless they can both soften their stubborn hearts.

In An Ocean Away, Heather B. Moore’s captivating story, Gina Graydon knows the last thing she’ll attract on her holiday in France is an eligible bachelor. Tall, outspoken, and with a weakness for laughing at the wrong moment, not to mention being much too occupied with reading gothic romances, Gina decides she’d rather live in her fictional world. Besides, the only man who pays attention to her at the resort hotel happens to be her father’s worst enemy. And that is far from romantic. Reading in a secluded garden, and dreaming about the perfect kiss, all keep Gina much too busy to consider Mr. Edmund Donaldson any sort of hero.

Nancy Campbell Allen’s entrancing novella, What Happens in Venice, follows Evangeline Stuart as she determines to enjoy her vacation in Venice—her first and likely her last since she lives under the strict confines of her step-father’s control. When she meets the mysterious and romantic Conte Bellini, who happens to be Italy’s most eligible bachelor, she decides he is all part of the dream of visiting Venice. It’s impossible for her to believe that his interest in her is anything more than kindness to a foreign visitor. But when he discovers the true betrayal of her step-father, Evangeline learns the Conte may be the one person with the power to restore her happiness.

I love these Timeless Romance Collections.  I have read every single one of them because they are always filled with short stories from authors that I love.  I know when I start reading these books I will find little bits of humor, intrigue and romantic happiness.  What could be better than that?!

At first I had thought that I would pick my favorite one and tell you about it, but I just cannot pick.  That's like picking a favorite child and it just cannot be done.  There is no such thing.  I loved all these different stories.  These are amazing and gifted writers that really know how to deliver romance in a clean and fulfilling way.

Reading this made me happy.  It was such a good diversion.  I wish every one of these stories could made into full length novels.  That is always the downside to short stories.  I'm never ready for them to end and I always want more.  :)

You can purchase "A Timeless Romance Anthology: European Collection" at Amazon. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Diamonds are a Teen's Best Friend by Allison Rushby + a Giveaway!

Nessa Joanne Mulholland, aka Marilyn Monroe's No. 1 teenage fan, is used to moving house. This time, however, she's relocating in movie-star style—crossing the Atlantic on board the Majestic, headed for Paris from New York City. And it really would be in movie-star style if it wasn't for the fact that she's bringing her cringe-fest professor dad along for the ride (Dad's specialization: human mating rituals—need Nessa say more?). Oh yeah, and sharing a cabin that's five decks below sea level and next to the engine room. Still, at least Holly Isles is on board. Yes, really, that Holly Isles—star of stage and screen. Suddenly, things are looking up. Looking a little Marilyn, in fact, because events are strangely mirroring Nessa's favorite movie of all time, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.


As Holly Isles, world-famous actress, confides in Nessa over mocktails.


As Nessa coaches Holly in the amazing "Nessa's Lesson's in Love"—the ultimate man-catching rules to finding true and lasting lurv.


Nessa fall for Holly's too-cute nephew, Marc. . . and

Cover your eyes!

As it all goes terribly, horribly, embarrassingly wrong.

There's no doubting it. This is going to be one pitchy crossing.

First, a confession.  I really don't know much about Marilyn Monroe.  I'm not even sure that I've seen one of her movies all the way through.  I know, I know.  It's a shame.  (hanging my head here)

Okay, now that confession time is over, I can say that even though I don't know Marilyn Monroe quite as well as Nessa, I really didn't feel like I was clueless throughout the book.  The author does a good job of explaining the Marilyn-isms.  But, I would say that if you've seen any Marilyn Monroe movies, you would probably be much more in tune with Nessa.

Nessa is a quirky thirteen year old girl who is just mad for Marilyn Monroe.  (did I surprise you with that sentence? ha)  I love when characters have some kind of quirk that endear them to you.  Nessa is smart and perhaps has a bit too much time on her hands.  Her dad is sort of a fade to the background guy.  Really involved in his work and maybe not so much with his daughter's coming and goings.  Nessa, in typical teenage fashion, wishes she were older and gets herself into a few mishaps trying to act that way.

This book is definitely geared to a much younger crowd- early teenager- which is nice because it seems there aren't a lot of books out there geared to the younger teenage crowd (under 15).  This book is full of mishaps and moments that made me smile.  It took me a little bit to get into the book but I found the characters to be amusing and there were several very memorable, stand out moments.

Diamonds are a Teen's Best Friend is only $.99 on Amazon now through December.  This is a great time to check out this book which is the first in the series.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rebels $50 Book Blast

Rebels The world is on fire. From the ashes like a phoenix rises a new America, one that will save it all. Under one condition; absolute and complete surrender. The world complies without question. Those who don’t are destroyed. It is in this world, John is born. His very name is treason. If the New America, now known to everyone as the State, knew what John was, they’d kill him, but instead they give him a gift.
amazon blog

  Praise for Rebels John has a lot of potential (especially for someone so young) in that he sees the flaws in this society. He wants to be like George Washington and knows a lot about the manner in which a government should be run... Highly recommended. ~Amazon Review

  Scott and Judith Powell 

  About the Authors Scott Powell was born in Burlington, Vermont, to a father who was a police officer and a mother who emigrated from South Korea. He received a degree in marketing from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, and a master's degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Scott served a two-year Spanish-speaking mission for his church. He is a mixed martial artist who continues to train with his father, a second-degree black belt in Tae kwon do and a kick boxer. Besides being married to Scott for over seventeen years, Judith Powell is a stay-at-home mom whose whole life has been full of stories. Being raised by an Irish storytelling father and a Native American mother, stories have filled her life and her head until they finally had no choice but to flow out through her fingertips.
Rebels copy

  Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/20/13 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 authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pedal Forward

Release: October 1st, 2013
Publisher: Cairn Publishing Denver LLC
ISBN: 978-0-9890935-0-7
Price: 11.99
Format: Paperback
Category: Self-Help/Personal Growth

These 10 lessons are rooted in a gruesome 75 MPH bike/car head-on collision along a country road outside of Wichita, Kansas. The injuries resulting from the accident were devastating: bones shattered, joints ripped apart, and blood spilt on the asphalt. With the heroic efforts of first responders, emergency room doctors, physical therapists, and after literally dozens of surgeries, I got back on my bike.

The lessons learned from this accident and related bike adventures provide a backdrop for a common-sense formula for positive, long-term life and business performance.

Told in an engaging storytelling style, these stories provide important reminders about what is critical in making life—both personal and business—a success.

I am a girl who reads a ton of fiction.  It's so nice to take a break from what I usually read and delve into a different genre.   Pedal Forward is labeled as a self-help/personal growth book.  I'm so glad I had the chance to read it.  

This book came into being because of a bike/car accident that left author Trey Hall fighting to live and heal.  He gained a lot of perspective and learned many life lessons from his struggles.  Here he shares his wisdom and insight with us.

What I love about this book is the way it put things in a straight forward, no nonsense kind of way.  Personal struggles are infused with lessons that kept my interest as a reader.  The ideas and lessons made me think.  There are so many practical lessons here that can be applied no matter where you are and what you are doing.  Here are a couple quotes from the book that I especially loved:

"If you don't get on your bike, if you don't knock and take action, if you don't ask for what you want, the door will never be opened and the answer can never be yes.  Always knock.  Always ask.  Always get on the bike and take the ride.  When you do, amazing things can happen."

"...we as human beings can do hard things.  Unfortunately, so many of us never learn that lesson because we stop short when a little discomfort gets in the way.  In stopping, we rob ourselves of glorious discovery.  We rob ourselves of getting stronger and building reserves to fortify us in the future when we need something to look back at and say, 'I have done hard things before; I can do hard things again.'"  (lesson 3)

See what I mean?  Great ideas, great lessons.  I walked away from this book feeling good, charged a bit and ready to take on the whole world.  Well, maybe not the whole world, but for sure ready to face the battle of another day.  Trey Hall doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk.  I'm better for having read his book.

You can buy Pedal Forward at Amazon.

About the Author
Trey Hall is a 26-year marketing veteran, having worked at such world-class organizations as PepsiCo, Boston Market, Quiznos, Smashburger, and TGI Friday’s.Trey has also helped the non-profit organizations, Millennium Promise (dedicated to ending extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa) and America’s Road Home (dedicated to ending family homelessness in the U.S.), build their consumer infrastructure.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Fantasy Christmas by Stephanie Fowers, Cindy Bennett and Sherry Gammon

Banished from the South Pole, Kara tries to carve out a new life among the elves of the North. It’s not easy with a secret to protect—a secret she's cursed with by the unusual circumstances of her heritage: half-elf, half-fairy. In the North, she’s assigned to work with Seb on a special project. He's the most gorgeous elf she’s ever seen - and the orneriest. 
As if being banished wasn’t punishment enough. 
Seb introduces her to Trystin, a fairy from the nearby fairy forest. Trystin discerns her secret right away and promises to teach her how to use the powers given to her by the very thing she’s fighting to keep hidden.

Check out Cindy C Bennett's web page for more information on her.

Nothing is simple for Aphrodite’s daughter, especially love. 
Scorned by society in regency England, Affry longs for romance. Upon encountering a dashing nobleman at her aunty's Christmas' ball, Affry gets caught in a lovely intrigue with disastrous results. Worse, she wins the interest of the gods. 

Now the furies of the underworld and Hades himself are after her. When all is fair in war,  Affry must use love as her weapon—but only for the one who’s stolen her heart. 

Check out Stephanie Fowers' web page for more information on her.

Loving Marigold by Sherry Gammon

Author of Unlovable, Unbelievable, Not So Easy and more)

Young Marigold Yarrow has a secret. She’s also in love with Jack Mahoney. In the middle of her ninth grade year, Jack's family up and moves to Port Fare, New York, leaving the small town of Sugar Maple, West Virginia - and Marigold - far behind.

Nine years later Jack and Marigold meet again. They join forces to weed out the shady Abbott boys. The unscrupulous brothers are illegally selling moonshine near her home on Sugar Maple Ridge. And they'll do anything to get Marigold to leave the ridge. Anything. This time it may be magic that tears Jack and Marigold apart.

Check out  Sherry Gammon's web page for more information on her.

I have enjoyed books from all three of these authors so I was super-dee-duper excited to sign on to be a part of this tour.  I had high expectations going into it because I know all these ladies can write fabulous stories.  I'm here to tell you that I was not disappointed in the least.  These three short stories were so fun.  They were romantic and light and happy with magical twist that gave them that little "oomph" towards something special.

These are three very different stories but each one was so good.  I loved them.  Of course, because they are short I found myself wanting more, more, more but that's only because I tend to be a bit greedy when I'm reading a good book.  I want it to go on forever.  :)

This is the perfect holiday book idea for yourself (wink, wink) or someone you know who enjoys a good, clean romance.  This book is best enjoyed while in cozy pajamas, curled up on the couch with a warm, fuzzy blanket and some chocolate (dark is my preference).  It can also be enjoyed in the car while waiting to pick kids up from school.  Or, it can be enjoyed when you should be making dinner.  (what?!? nobody starved.)  This book is guaranteed to put you in a holiday sort of mood and make you smile.  

Purchase A Fantasy Christmas-Click on links:
Barnes and Noble

A Fantasy Christmas blog


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Mine by John A Heldt

In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

I'm usually a sucker for time travel novels.  It's such a fun concept to fantasize about.  This book was all about time travel and I was sucked in to the story of Joel the -fly by the seat of his pants- guy.  Joel is adventurous, calm and collected.  He sure doesn't seem ruffled by much.  He has a gregarious nature that draws people to him.  I found him to be a believable character.

It was cool to travel back to the 1940's with Joel.  It was such a life changing point in time with war on the fringes.  I thought the worries of the draft and other social concerns of that era came through beautifully.  I could picture the outings and the clothing in my mind.  I love when that happens.

This book was easy reading.  It weaved a good story that I was interested in.  The characters were all well defined and had personality spilling over.  My one wish (and if you follow my blog you will be able to guess this) would be to take the swearing out.  Just not a fan of that.  But, I always acknowledge that I know this is a personal preference not shared by everyone.  I just have to say it because many people who follow my blog do want to know.  :)

I have to also say that the author, John, was so good to be very up front about the content in his book, which I really appreciate.  My thanks to him for allowing me to read and review his book and my congratulations on a book well done.

Content:  This book had about two handfuls of swearing- everything but the F word.  There is also behind the scenes sex but nothing descriptive.  You just know it happened.

John A. Heldt is a reference librarian and the author of THE MINE, THE JOURNEY, THE SHOW, and THE FIRE, the first four novels of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage time-travel series. The former award-winning sportswriter and newspaper editor has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, he is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at

Monday, November 18, 2013

Just Dessert by Heather Gray

Historical Inspy Romance
Length: 271 Pages
ISBN: 9781621352082

Dessert…the perfect remedy when nothing in life seems to be going right.
What do you do when you are the sole protector of four children, your brothers and sisters? When each day is haunted by disappointment, disillusionment and desperation? When you believe that everyone who ever loved you, including God, has abandoned you?
You bake a pie, of course.
What do you do when you find a woman whose heart is consumed by fear? Who does not know how to trust? Who scoffs at your faith and throws your kindness back in your face?
You eat a pie, of course.

To start off with, I think the cover makes this book seem A LOT sexier than it really is.  This book is a inspirational historical romance and it has quite a bit of inspirational in it.  I personally don't mind that, but you should be aware because the cover might put into my head a different kind of romance story.

This book had a slow, easy pace to it.  I enjoyed the story and the characters.  Mary is the glue that holds her family together.  She works so hard to maintain a home and take care of her siblings.  She is their protector and care giver.  Mary holds quite a bit of bitterness toward her community and her God.  She feels both abandoned her in her time of greatest need.  

Grady swoops in and saves the day.  But not in a superman kind of way.  He is gentle and unassuming.  He shows up and works.  He holds to his commitments.  He gains trust and helps to transform a family.  Grady is a man.

I love historical fiction and that's mostly what this is.  The romance is light and sweet.  The story made me want to eat pie.  Strawberry pie to be exact.  I wish I had a big slice of that sitting in front of me right now!  :)

You can buy Just Dessert at Amazon.

My thanks to Astraea Press for allowing me to read and review for them.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Movie Trailer: Noah with Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson

Synopsis: After visions of an apocalyptic deluge, Noah, the world’s only righteous man, is chosen to undertake a divine mission to build a massive ark to save his family and all of creation before the impending rains fall and the flood waters rise.

Cast: Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson

Director: Darren Aronofsky

I'd love to hear your thoughts after you watch this.  What do you think?  Does it look good?  I think I'm in.  Great cast, right?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Follow Me to Zion by Andrew D. Olsen and Jolene S. Allphin

Size: 8" x 10"
Pages: 272
Year Published: 2013

James G. Willie knew the trek would be arduous when he left Iowa City in July 1856, leading 500 handcart pioneers on a 1,300-mile journey across the plains.

But he could not have known that his people would run out of food while still hundreds of miles from Salt Lake City nor that the winter of 1856 would begin in the middle of October with prolonged, severe storms. Sixty-nine members of his company would die along the way. Yet from this tragedy emerged triumphant stories of personal endurance, courage, heroism, and unwavering faith.

Follow Me to Zion recounts 20 compelling stories of members of the Willie handcart company and their rescuers. Dozens of full-color images by artist Julie Rogers enrich this keepsake volume, which pays tribute to the men, women, and children who have become enduring witnesses of the power of faith and sacrifice.

Here you will find excerpts from their own accounts of the journey, learn what those faithful pioneers did after reaching the Salt Lake Valley, and read reflections on their lives by descendants.

The simple words “Follow Me to Zion,” cross-stitched onto small pieces of fabric kept in the journal of a handcart pioneer, are an invitation that still calls to us today.

The stories and paintings in this beautiful volume can inspire us to live true to our faith and reach out to help others do likewise.

This is a compilation of stories from Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains of America in hopes of reaching Salt Lake City, a place where religious persecution would become a distant memory.  It is a book of difficulty, death and tragedy but also one of courage, persistence and faith.

I have heard many of these stories before, it's a part of my personal history as well as a part of my religious history.  Whether or not you are LDS, these stories will touch your heart.  

While I have heard many of these stories before, I really enjoyed reading "the rest of the story".  The accounts of what these people did after they survived this ordeal, touched me.  Many went on to lead so called normal lives- in service to their families, their communities and their God.  They were hard working, loyal people.  

I wasn't able to read through this book in one or even two sittings.  This is a book that I had to take one story at a time.  But that is what I loved about it.  All of these stories are wrought with loss and heartache in some form or another.  Some I cannot even imagine. There is so much to be learned from history.  If nothing else, it has helped me to be more grateful for what I have.  Knowing there are people who gave everything for what they believed gives me hope and courage.  Press forward, even when things seem the most bleak.  Just keep going.

This book has all sorts of things to keep me interested.  The illustrations were beautiful.  There were photographs of the people to accompany the stories.  Pictures always help to bring stories to life.  There were pictures of things as well as people- shoes, homes, headstones, journal entries, places along the route, and so much more.  This is a fantastic book.  I'm so grateful to have it on the bookshelf in my home.  It is a beautiful addition to my library.

My thanks to Deseret Book for allowing me to read and review this book for them.  I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Christmas is fast approaching and this would be an excellent gift idea for many people.  I can think of a few in my family that would love this book!  You can buy this book Deseret Book or Amazon.

About the Authors

Andrew D. Olsen is an editor for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the author of The Price We Paid: The Extraordinary Story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers. Andrew and his wife, Linda, are the parents of 3 children.

Jolene Spendlove Allphin has a love for the 1856 pioneers and rescuers that continues to grow. She has published nearly 300 biographical sketches of them in Tell My Story, Too. Jolene and her husband, Michael, are the parents of 11 children.

Julie Boswell Rogers is an acclaimed artist who has won many awards. Her art has been featured in Church publications, visitors’ centers, and the Church History Museum. The book Emma, the Elect Lady contains many of her paintings of Joseph and Emma Smith. Julie and her husband, Russell, are the parents of 5 children.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop

I am so glad that we have a holiday set aside to be grateful.  I like to think that I'm a normally grateful person anyway, but it seems appropriate that we have a day to remember our blessings and list out all the things we have to be grateful for.  My list is so, so long.  I have so much to be grateful for every single day.  While life may not always be easy or go the way I want it to, I still have so much to be grateful for.  My family, my faith, my home, my job, my freedoms.  The miracle of technology, books, sunshine, chocolate, raspberry lemonade.  I saw a quote recently that said, "What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?"  It was a good reminder for me of how important it is to take them time each day to remember the things you are grateful for.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to blog about one of my favorite things- books.  It makes me happy.  Thanks for stopping by today.  :)

I am giving a book of your choice, $12 or less, from Amazon if you are US and The Book Depository if you are INT or ebook, if you prefer.  It must be an actual book, no gift cards.
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PAWN (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by Aimee Carter


For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

This was a book I just didn't want to put down.  It was so interesting and compelling.  And a little bit freaky too.  Yikers.

Society ranking.  It always has been, it always will be.  I don't think that will ever change. Pawn gives ranking a whole new meaning though.  Little twists keep coming in to play that kept me, as a reader, on my toes.  I liked that.  There are a lot of characters in this book but Aimee Carter does a great job of introducing them in a way that I never felt overwhelmed.  They are all very distinct and real in my head.  Maybe too real!

I really like Kitty.  She is strong and capable even though she thinks she isn't.  She is super smart but has a learning disability that is forever making her feel less than she truly is.  As Kitty learns through acting as Lila, she realizes that she has to do something for the people and the cause she believes in but she is caught in a scary and deadly game.  Very deadly.  The Hart family is twisted and will stop at nothing to keep power to themselves.

Content:  There is some talk of sex and a situation where a girl decides to sell herself as a prostitute to make money.  There is some graphic violence and mild swearing.

PAWN will be released on November 26th.  What an awful long wait it will be for the next book.  Which I will absolutely be reading.

You can pre-order this book at Amazon in print or e-book.

My thanks to Harlequin Teen for allowing me to read and review this book for them.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Illuminating Gracie $100 Book Blast!

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Illuminating Gracie by Lisa C. Temple As an old woman's lifeless body lies on a cold stone floor, her soul stands before an angel who offers her a miraculous opportunity: the chance to do it all again. But that is easier said than done. In order to change the path her life has taken, she must put aside years of self-loathing and pain, so she can help the young girl she once was become the woman she should have been. At 17 years old, Grace Bennett is a bitter young woman. Though blessed with a loving family, looks and brains to spare, she hides her light under a bushel, spending most of her time in the darkness of her mind with little more than sarcasm and self-pity to keep her company. But things are about to change for Grace. While delivering food for her family's bed and breakfast, she turns onto a desolate dirt road and drives straight into her destiny. It's on this isolated country lane that the damaged girl meets a strangely familiar old couple and two mysterious young men. Together the group fights the demons that surround Grace, and they teach her what it means to let her light shine. "Illuminating Gracie" is, at once, a metaphorical tale of the fight between good and evil and a spiritual saga of one girl's journey from darkness into the light. If you liked "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games," you will love the story of Gracie.  
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Excerpt: Because he was an angel, Lochedus carried the power of life and death in his touch. With the wave of his hand, he could calm an angry sea or rain down terrible destruction on the heads of the guilty. He could grant peace to the troubled and visit devastating disease on the deserving. But no matter how hard he tried he could not, that night, pull himself from the depression that threatened to tear him apart. It had taken the touch of a small boy to do what a mighty angel could not and the far- reaching fallout from the child’s selfless act would echo throughout eternity. Through the years, Lochedus had checked in on the boy, quietly keeping vigil – never speaking, only watching. Not one time did the boy acknowledge his existence or seem to see him again. Not even in his darkest hours did he call out for help. That is, until tonight. The boy, now an old man, didn’t beg for his own soul, but for the soul of another – the one he loved most in the world. And now, the angel would move Heaven and Earth – and Hell if he had to – to help the one to whom he owed so much.  
Praise for Illuminating Gracie: "A well-paced fantasy story of redemption and self-improvement." ~Kirkus Review (Sept. 1, 2013 Magazine) "Just the right amount of love story to the action packed plot line left this book a perfectly balanced read." ~Maryann (Amazon “Top 1000” Reviewers)
 "The story also contains little mysteries that keep you turning the pages, as gems of insight turn up along the way. It is a story of hope and redemption, and a beautiful request of each of us to let our light shine brightly." ~Kimberly Raadt Higgins (Amazon Review)
 "On a personal level, I can relate to Grace in so many ways. As I read, a lot of memories and feelings from my teenage and young adult years have come flooding back, some a little painful, others fun and exciting, even hopeful. Yet it also has me contemplating where I am today as a middle-aged adult; am I who I thought I would be, who I want to be?" ~N.J. Collar (Amazon Review)
 "The plot is masterfully drawn and keeps the reader guessing until the end. This book tells the story of the fight between good and evil in a young woman's life. It is brilliant in its use of humor and emotion to draw the reader into the characters." J. Pitts (Amazon and Goodreads)
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Author Lisa C. Temple On thirty-nine Senior scrolls, the Headmaster of author, Lisa C. Temple's, small, private school wrote "Good Luck and best wishes for a prosperous future!" On the fortieth and final scroll, which was Temple's, the Headmaster penned the words, "Lisa, I can't wait to see to what use you put your unusual talents!" Temple spent the next 30 years trying to assuage her former leader's curiosity - and her own. She sold BMWs in her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, and hillbillies (as a booking agent) in Nashville, Tennessee. In an effort to escape the enforced servitude of the Junior League, she even attended and was graduated from law school and passed the Alabama State Bar exam in 2002. Through it all, she battled problems and illnesses, many of her own making. But, it wasn't until her father - her hero - was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS), that Temple found her true calling - the "talent" that she finds joy in putting to use. "Illuminating Gracie," is loosely autobiographical and born from a desire to, if only, metaphorically right the wrongs of Temple's own past. It tells the story of a miserable old woman who is given the opportunity - by an angel - to go back in time and help the young girl she once was become the woman she should have been. "Illuminating Gracie," is the first book in a four-book series. The second book, "Instigating Gracie," is due for release in December 2013. Temple laughs when saying she has a loving and complicated husband she deserves, and a wonderful son and two loving stepchildren that she does not. She also shares her life with her beloved pets: Pomeranian, Phebe; Bordernese, Flash; and Tabby cat, MInx.  
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  BookBlast Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/13/13 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
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Light in Dark Places

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

I knew going into this book that it was going to be hard to read.  So emotional and such disturbing events.  I actually debated for quite awhile before committing to review this because I just wasn't sure I wanted to delve into this.  It's almost like an accident on the freeway or something where you don't want to see but you just can't look away.

I am really glad I read this book though.  I have such admiration for Jennifer Graves and what she is trying to accomplish by writing this book.  The things she has been through are so heart wrenching.  So, so sad.  But she is pushing forward.  She has found light in all the darkness that surrounded her and now she is trying to tell a story that could save others from the same fate.

Reading this book was hard.  It made me sad and it also made me angry.  Nobody should have to endure abuse in any form.  It takes bravery to tell this kind of story.  It's so personal and so devastating.  Jennifer Graves was raised in a twisted home full of darkness but she was able to break the cycle and rise above it.  Her beautiful family is a testament to her and her husband that cycles can be broken and one person can make a difference.  

Jennifer is speaking out for the voices that no longer can.  She is telling her story to help those who may be suffering similar things.  Her message is clear.  There is hope.  There is help.  Please get help before it's too late.  

I feel like I walk away from this book with a better understanding.  I walk away with a greater appreciation for the husband and family that I have, determined to never take that for granted.  I walk away with more compassion and empathy and hopefully knowledge that can help me if the day ever comes that I need it.

May God bless you, Jennifer Graves, and your family.  Thank you for sharing your message with me.  I won't forget.

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

Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/21/13 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.
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light in dark tour

Monday, November 11, 2013

Break It Up by E.M. Tippetts

Title: Break It Up
 Author: E.M. Tippetts
 Release date: November 12, 2013
 Age Group: New Adult
 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kyra Armijo is making a few changes in her life. One of them being, she's no longer going to give it up to every guy who looks at her twice. And she's putting her hopes and dreams for her future first. When the aspiring photojournalist gets the opportunity of a lifetime to tag along with international boy band sensation, Triple Cross, she can't pass up the chance.

The only problem is that she's in love with one band member, dodging the unwanted attention of another, and desperate to keep her turbulent past under wraps. Triple Cross have "nice guy" appeal, approved of by parents the world over, but have just let go their longtime manager, who controlled their clean image and media exposure with an iron fist. When Zach Wechsler, the object of Kyra's affection, begins to show interest, she has to be careful.

Surely one girl can't destroy a band that's been together for ten years... only what if she can? Kyra knows she's one bad decision away from ruining everything she's worked for, and taking the hottest act of her generation down with her.

Kyra has made a lot of mistakes.  She’s got a past she isn’t necessarily proud of.  Things are different now though.  She is trying so hard to be the person she really wants to be.  You have to admire a person who can sink so low in life and fight their way back up and out of it.  That sort of tenacity makes for a great character that you can relate to and root for.  Kyra is that kind of character.

This story had a great flow to it.  I enjoyed listening to Kyra’s inner turmoil whenever she was around Zach.  Hot guy from a famous boy band- sweet and a bit lost.  Just the kind of puppy you want to take home and love.  Kyra really wants to be his friend and be worthy of his love and attentions- if he’d ever give them to her.  But she knows that her past will catch up with her sometime and she dreads the day.  It’s funny how the past has a way of doing that.  Kyra rises to the occasion though.  When her past is thrown in her face in front of the entire world, she uses what she has learned to help other people.  I think that’s what mistakes are all about.  Owning up to them, becoming better and overcoming them and then using the knowledge and experience to help other people do the same.  It was a theme I could get behind as a reader.

I’ve read previous books by this author and really enjoyed them.  It was nice to have a different character within the same family to get to know without having to leave the others completely behind.

Content:  There is a lot of talk about a very sexually active past.  There is sexual thoughts and references to sexual things.  There is some teenage drinking and drugs.

About the Author
Emily Mah Tippetts writes romance as E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy as Emily Mah. She is a former attorney with degrees in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University and business law from UCLA, and currently lives in her lifelong home state of New Mexico with her family. For more information or to sign up for updates on future book releases, visit her website at

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