Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Love Lessons by Christine S. Feldman

Self-assured Nadia Normandy knows everything there is to know about men and dating, which seems to be why little old Mrs. Beasley maneuvers her into taking unsuspecting and bookish accountant Benji Garner under her wing.  Her mission?  Shape him up for the opposite sex, preferably in time for New Year’s Eve.

A challenge?  Sure, but Nadia discovers that Benji’s got a charm all his own, and she finds herself avoiding her usual social scene in favor of time spent with him—all in the name of mentoring him, of course.

Except that after a while, it starts to feel less like mentoring and more like something else—which could present a problem, because just as Nadia begins to realize she didn’t know quite as much about men as she thought, other women are starting to notice her unlikely protégé.

Much like Nadia is beginning to notice him in a whole new way herself…

This review will be in perfect timing with New Years Eve today!  If you've got a couple of spare hours until the ball drops and a dollar, consider cozy-ing up with "Love Lessons".  This sweet novella is set right around New Years and will have you raising your glass in cheers.  :)

I am really loving this novella series by Christine Feldman.  This is the second book in the Heavenly Bites series and it is so cute.  Nadia is all confidence and focus and loves a challenge.  She is a fun, energetic character.  It was easy to like her.

The growing attraction and tension in this book is fantastic.  It all leads up to New Years Eve and believe me, you won't want to miss it.  :)  Humina, Humina.

This novella was sweet and clean.  Cheers to that!  :)

You can buy Love Lessons at Amazon.  (for just .99 cents!)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happiness is a Habit: Simple Daily Rituals that Increase Energy, Improve Energy, Improve Well Being, and Add Joy to Every Day by Michele Phillips

Renovate the rhythm of your life to create a healthier, happier you! Forget superficial fixes like fad diets or shopping sprees and instead learn how implementing simple daily habits like journaling, juicing, and unplugging electronics can improve your quality of life. The confidence, vitality, and joy that you deserve are just a habit away!

Every now and then I enjoy reading a non-fiction or self help sort of book.  This book sounded like a winner because who doesn't want to be happier?  Making happiness a habit?  Yeah, that sounds good to me.  A happier start to a new year.  I don't really make New Year's resolutions but I am a goal oriented girl and making a goal to achieve happier habits sounds perfect.

What I like about this book is that you know right up front that this will take time and work.  Habits are not formed over night.  The author even recommends that you pick one habit and do it for 90 days.  Just one at a time.  That way you are not overwhelmed and you give the new happy habit a chance to really become a part of who you are.  Happiness is a choice.  Some have to work harder at it than others, I think, but everyone benefits from having a happier person around.

I can really get behind a lot of these happy habit ideas.  Not all of them suit me and my exact situation, but a lot of them do.  Or, the ideas can be modified to work for me.  Many of them I'm already doing in some form or another.  It's really all about finding things that improve your quality of life and how you interact with others.

A few of my favorite habit ideas were "Give Smiles", "Go Outside", "Do Something Kind", "Make Time for Recovery and Refueling" and "Say Yes to Adventure and Leave Your Comfort Zone".

There is really plenty of advice to be had in this book.  Many habits seemed repetitive to me and I think could have been condensed into one but overall there are just a lot of good ideas here.  I enjoyed reading through this book.  I am going to be implementing many of these good habits over the next year.  I think I'll start with "Drink Water".  I do drink water but not nearly enough and I need to do better.  So there you have it.  My first happy habit.

You can find Happiness is a Habit at Amazon.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin

What if your devastating break-up became this summer's hit single? In this rock-and-roll retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, music can either bring you together or tear you apart.

At her dying mother's request, Claire dumps Jared, the only boy she's ever loved. Left with a broken family and a broken heart, Claire is furious when she discovers that her biggest regret became Jared's big break. While Jared is catapulted into rock-star status, another piece of Claire's heart crumbles every time his song plays on the radio.

The summer after her senior year, it's been months since the big break-up, and Claire is just trying to keep her head down and make it through a tense trip to the beach with her family. But when Jared shows up, and old feelings reignite, can Claire and Jared let go of the past? Or will they be stuck singing the same old refrain?

The blurb totally got my attention for reviewing this book.  I'm a sucker for modern re-tellings of my favorite old books- especially Jane Austen.  The other thing that really got me was the music aspect of this book.  I love books that involve music.

The music was definitely my favorite thing about this book.  I love how feelings, memories and situations all revolved around music.  I'm sure we all have songs that when we hear them take us right back to a certain moment.  There are songs that remind me of people and places and feelings I had.  I love music.  It is so powerful and can evoke such emotion.  The emotions, events and people in this book are all interwoven in music for Claire and Jared.  I loved that the most about this book.

Of course, misunderstanding is a key player in this book.  Claire breaks up with Jared to please her mother and regrets it every day.  Jared doesn't understand and uses his music to vent his feelings.  Misunderstanding leads to hurt.  I enjoyed Claire's maturing in the book.  She learns along the way and starts figuring out what Claire wants and how best to get go about getting it.  The moments I enjoyed the most were when Claire becomes emotionally vulnerable and puts herself out there to succeed or fail- knowing it could go either way but still trying.

The things that I didn't like about this book were the swearing (including the F word, multiple times), the underage drinking and drug use, and the casual references to sex.  There was no open sexual situations in this book, just talk about them happening (or not).  I'm just personally not a fan of these things in YA books.  This book would have been just as good (well, better in my opinion) if those things were kept out.

My thanks to Harlequin Teen for allowing me to read and review for them.  You can find this book at the Harlequin Teen website or at Amazon.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Jade's Cowboy Crush by Kimberly Krey

Single mother, Jade Miller, has just witnessed a murder. Now, set to testify against the cold-blooded killer, Jade must be placed under protection. While she is grateful to the kind folks who’ve offered to take in her and her son, Jade is surprised to find the man escorting them from L.A. to Montana is Gavin Emerson. A womanizing, far-too-attractive-for-his-own-good, rebel cowboy. Jade assures Gavin that she has sworn off men until her son is grown, but all too soon she finds herself fighting back feelings for the man who’s agreed to care for them.

Gavin wants nothing to do with ranch life. Not since the ugly fallout he had with his father over eight years ago. But when he agrees to come back, harboring Jade and her son for a time, Gavin falls in love with life on the land once again. Above that, he finds his heart has been captured by his lovely house guest, Jade Miller.

After reservations on both parts, the two are finally ready to open up and give their new-found love a try. Only they aren’t in the clear just yet, and as a dark and deadly threat falls upon them, Gavin finds that his bad-boy past may have led the danger right to their door.

Sigh.  I feel like such a sappy, happy girl right now.  :)  I have to give credit where it's due.  Kimberly Krey- I love you.  Thank you for writing the perfect romance to escape my from my laundry and cooking realities.  Seriously though, Kimberly is a writer with a gift for writing a clean romance with some sizzle.  I read her first book, Cassie's Cowboy Crave, when I signed on for a blog tour.  We were able to work together for a blog post for that and it was so much fun. (Click here to read that)  I have become her (maybe unhealthy and a bit stalker-ish) fan and I'm going to be waiting after every book for the next one to come out.  Kimberly is funny.  She always makes me smile.  I'm so happy promote her books- not just because I like her, but because I love these books.

Jade's Cowboy Crush is a fun book.  The banter between Jade and Gavin is good, the attraction is there and the tension build up is palpable.  Um, yummy.  :)  There are some steamin' kissin' scenes.  Oh yeah.  The thank you kiss by the pond?  sizzle.

I loved Jade's devotion to her son- to do anything to protect him.  As a mother I can relate to that.  Jade has always worked hard to support her family on her own.  She is strong but not so strong and independent that she felt unreal.  

Gavin is the best "brooding misunderstood" bad boy.  He's built up a wall of defense based on past hurts.  He's been in trouble and done things he shouldn't have.  He really doesn't want anything to do with Jade and her son at first but follows through with it for purely selfish reasons.  Best choice he ever made, I think.  :)

I loved the reconciliation, the sense of family, the forgiveness and the little bit of suspense thrown in there too.  It was love for me because it's really in my favorite genre pocket.  I love a fun, steamy but clean romance to snuggle into.  It was definitely in my happy zone. 

I have to thank Kimberly Krey for sending me a copy of this book for review.  It was like Christmas a few days early.  

Content:  a few instances of mild swearing and some steamy kissing.

Head over to Amazon and grab your copy of Jade's Cowboy Crush!

Monday, December 23, 2013

In Love and War by Carla Kelly

Beloved romance writer Carla Kelly shares a treasured collection of stories starring dashing war heroes and the sassy heroines who can't help but fall for them. From daring sea captains to genteel lords, there's a little something for every heart's fancy. Readers everywhere will adore these four regency romances---now available together for the first time in one can't-miss ebook!

I think I say this every single time, but I'm a Carla Kelly fan.  :)  It's true and I always feel compelled to say it.  I know that every single time I sit down with a book (or collections of short stories) by Carla Kelly, I'm going to enjoy myself.  This time was no different.

In this book there is a collection of four short stories.  Each one is unique and comes with that Carla Kelly stamp that I've come to appreciate.

I would have to say that the middle two stories were my favorites.  They were the ones that made this book great for me and ones I would go back to read again.  The first and last books were okay, just not my favorite.  They are all clean romances.  Yipee for that!

There are so many things to love about this book.  You can read it all the way through (like I did) for one great story after another, or you can read one here and there when you have the chance.  Carla Kelly knows how to write great characters in settings that I can picture in my head.  These stories made me feel good and left me smiling in the end.  What could be better than that?

You can buy "In Love and War" at Amazon for just $2.51.  That's an awesome deal!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

This is AWESOME! Romance Through the Ages- 7 Book Boxed Set! $25 Giveaway

Romance Through the Ages   
Coming February 1, 2014 Romance through the Ages brings you SEVEN NOVELS from 7 bestselling authors (including New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestsellers). Join us for a fabulous collection.

*7 Romance Novels, 7 Bestselling Authors, 1 Amazing Price*   99 cent Romance Boxed Set for a limited time only! 

Running Barefoot by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Amy Harmon!— Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings.  

Masquerade by Janette Rallison, who has sold more than 1 million books!— It's hard for a woman to keep up the masquerade when her boss is as handsome as Slade Jacobson and the job takes her to Hawaii with him. In between handling his whirlwind four-year-old daughter and dealing with a whole cast of Hollywood personalities, Clarissa has to keep a tight hold on her heart.  

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson, Amazon Bestseller!—Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town's charity event, Shelter’s Bachelorette, Taycee Emerson is in for the ride of her life. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers—not her—to decide which bachelors stay or go.  

Pride and Precipitation by Heather Horrocks, Amazon Bestseller!— Breezy Jones is crazy about the weather, rain or shine, which makes her job as the local television station’s meteorologist perfect. That’s before she meets the attractive new general manager, Noah Drake, who is determined to repackage everything—including Breezy’s down-home delivery.  

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White, Amazon Bestseller!— Lizzie falls hard for Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy character and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. When she meets two men, Chad—a science teacher, and Matt Dawson—who looks and acts like Mr. Darcy, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.  

She Owns the Knight by Diane Darcy, Amazon Bestseller!— Why does Gillian Corbett have to travel seven hundred years through time to find a decent guy?... Why can't Sir Kellen Marshall find a lady who is obedient, submissive... or at least not trying to kill him?  

Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore, Amazon Bestseller!— A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want? Except for maybe her life. When Eliza discovers that Jonathan Porter’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.  

Giveaway Details $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/1/14 Bloggers who put up a spotlight post about these books on their blog can enter to win an additional $25 gift card or paypal cash. See details in the Rafflecopter. Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 20, 2013

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (January 7, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545597587
ISBN-13: 978-0545597586

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

Ooh, this was a good one, guys.  I started reading and was immediately pulled in.  I love when books grab me from the very beginning and don't let go.  I was about 2 chapters in when we sat down for dinner.  My husband asked if it was a good book and I replied that it looked like I would be staying up late reading.  :)  That always means a great book is in hand.  

Alexa is a fantastic character.  Strong, loyal, brave.  She does what she has to in order to survive.  Her battle skills have earned her respect and a place on the prince's guard.  I just loved her.  Even though she was so strong and skilled, posing as a male, she never felt unreal to me.  Her thoughts give her away as also being compassionate and feminine too.

The story presses forward at all times.  The intrigue and danger give this book an edge- evil sorcerers and so many different sides that you aren't quite sure who is really against who. I am really not a fan of love triangles but this one didn't get over the top for me.  Alexa wasn't really wishy washy- she can't help it if two boys love her.  haha  I can see it might become more of a triangle in future books though.

I'm really looking forward to the next book!  This is a series I will be following for sure.  My thanks to Scholastic for allowing me to read this book and review for them.

Content:  a couple instances of mild swearing, a scene in a house (and references to that place) that keeps girls and forces them into pregnancy to build up the king's army.  Some violence.

This book won't be released until Jan. 7th- but you can pre-order!  :)  Here is the link to Amazon.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Accidental Marriage by Annette Haws

Publication Date: December 10, 2013
ISBN: 9781462113743
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing

Nina Rushforth was born with a silver spoon caught in her throat. She and her father have mapped out a future that includes a brilliant legal career, a marriage to an equally stellar attorney or Wall Street whiz kid, and eventually the production of three perfect children. A semester at St. Andrew's University in Scotland, was part of the plan, but falling in love with a handsome missionary was not.

Six months later, after Elliot returns from his mission and after a tumultuous courtship, Nina finds herself teaching at a junior high school, learning to keep house in a minuscule apartment, and living with a man who doesn't know any more about being married than she does. Intimacy, cooking, laundry, lesson plans, and a tug-of-war with a possessive mother-in-law prove to be more overwhelming than Nina can successfully manage. The newlyweds awaken to realize the head on the adjacent pillow belongs to a stranger.

This novel captures the heartbreak of young love caught in the turbulent social crosscurrents of the 70's, at a time when brave women struggled to find dignity and equality in the workplace, as well as peace at home.

I think what I enjoyed most about this book was the time period of the 70's that the book is set in.  It was such a turbulent time and I thought the author did a great job of capturing the social changes happening during that time.  

Nina and Elliot fall in love.  They get married.  They are young and idealistic as most of us are when we get married.  Then real life sets in and well, attraction can only take you so far.  There were many newly married instances in this book that I could relate to in some way or another.  There is always an adjustment period, some rough patches and compromise.  I think because Nina and Elliot were from such different backgrounds and had such different expectations, this made the hard things even harder.

The in-law's certainly didn't help the situation at all and actually pushed the relationship to the breaking point.  It was a good reminder of how judging others can hurt.  If Nina and Elliott had received support and love from parents I believe their journey would have been much different.

I felt for both Nina and Elliot at different times.  There was a lot of emotion throughout the book.  I guess my only real complaint (if you can really even call it that) was that the book seemed to go on and on.  It felt like the epic saga of Nina and Elliot.  There were just so many problems and issues that at times it felt like overload.  I did mostly enjoy the book though and like I said, the 70's setting was my favorite part of the book.

The characters in this book are LDS and there are religious things mentioned though nothing preachy that I can remember.

You can buy The Accidental Marriage at the following places:

About Annette: Annette Haws’s literary strengths are based upon her experiences in the classroom. She began her teaching career as a junior high teacher in Richmond, Utah and ended it teaching Sophomore English at Murray High School in Salt Lake City. However, her favorite assignment was a five year period at Logan High School teaching English, coaching debate and mock trial, and watching the antics of her own three children who were also students in the same school.

Her first novel, Waiting for the Light to Change, won Best of State in 2009, A Whitney Award for Best Fiction, and the Diamond Quill Award for Best Published Fiction in 2009 from the League of Utah Writers. In July of 2008, the Midwest Book Review selected it as a Top Pick for Community Library Fiction Collections.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Annette-Haws/449482665167812

Website: http://annettehaws.com/

Blog: http://annettehaws.com/?page_id=14

Book on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18275669-the-accidental-marriage

Annette on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1404936.Annette_Haws

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rebels by Scott and Judith Powell + $25 Giveaway

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

The premise of this book is really good.  When I read the blurb I knew I wanted to read this book and I guess I sort of had high hopes for it.  It has all the potential of being a fantastic book.  The whole idea.

After reading the book I can still say that the concept and the whole premise of this book is still very intriguing to me.  I told my family about the book because it really shows so much promise.

There are two main problems I have with this book though.  First is the lack of emotion.  I just didn't become emotionally involved.  The story is told so factually and the little emotions that were displayed were just not enough.  I never became invested emotionally.

The second problem I had is that John was supposed to be 15 years old.  He did not sound, act or talk like any 15 year old that I have ever known.  I think I got that John was mature beyond his years, and he was raised in a completely different kind of world but I didn't believe he was 15.  Not once.  

But, having said that, it was such an interesting idea.  I was, and still am, curious about the plot.  I want to become personally invested in this book.  It was a clean read- no swearing, no sexual situations, which I really appreciated.  I loved how John's parents taught him about the founding fathers of our nation.  They never forgot what this country was built on.  I wish we could all remember that today.  It really is a plot that I can really get behind.  I just needed more emotional connections and a more believable age for the main character.  I'm hoping I get it in the next book.  (which I will be reading)

Enjoy the following excerpt!

They circle me forever. Finally, David lunges at me trying to grab me while another comes from behind. I tuck my chin down so he is unable to put me in a choke hold while I raise my right leg and thrust it forward, as if to kick a door in, and plant it right into David’s gut. He is blown back, right onto the ground. Knowing there is a third assailant, I quickly grab the arm around my throat and jerk down like my father had taught me and slipped my head to my right through an opening that I had created and pulled him towards me. I proceed to knee him multiple times while using him as a shield between me and my other opponent.

Even with the gear stuff, I know I have caused enough damage to incapacitate this young soldier and prepare to engage his companion. I have angered them which is good. My dad always said if I can get someone to become emotional I have already won because they are not thinking with a clear mind. He rushes with no technique which allows me to grab the back of his head, controlling his movement, allowing me to put him into a front choke hold. He immediately taps out, knowing it will only be seconds before blackness overwhelms him.

Now it’s only David and me, and he is still very furious remembering how I’d humiliated him and more importantly, he believes that I have taken his rightful place, being the number one cadet.

 Scott and Judith Powell 
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.

    Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/29/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rebels copy
Tour Schedule

Monday, December 16, 2013

Set to Love by Jennifer Rae Gravely

Set to Love by Jennifer Rae Gravely
Contemporary Romance
Length: 284 Pages
ISBN: 9781621352129

The championship is her dearest desire, not love. Recently appointed girls’ volleyball coach at Keowee High School, Randi Sly spends the night with rival coach Blake Steele after getting sick from drinking too much wine. Rumors swirl as the two battle for the State crown.

This was an easy reading romance from Astraea Press.  Randi is a strong character, way into volleyball and has the MOST annoying father.  I have no idea how and why a strong, grown woman would allow herself to be treated like a 2 year old by her father.  That whole relationship and dynamic was almost ridiculous to me.  He tells her what to do, how to be a coach, what time to come home, who she can date and on and on.  He checks up on her to make sure she is doing what he wants her to do.  Really?  Randi just takes it.  Rarely stands up for herself.  Sneaks around trying to hide.  And adult woman?  It's just weird.

And what kind of girl goes for a guy who knowingly pursued a married woman?!  That's exactly what Blake has been doing and it isn't him who ended that relationship, it's the married woman.  I don't think I ever really got over that where Blake is concerned.  :(

I did like how Randi and Blake's relationship evolved.  I enjoyed their interactions and I especially like it when it was them working together against all the nay-sayers.  The relationship between Randi and her almost step sister was endearing.  Randi works hard at being a good coach.  Her reputation mattered and I'm glad she didn't just dismiss that.

While there aren't any sex scenes, sex is mentioned and there are definite sexual overtones.

You can purchase Set to Love at Amazon.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Discovering Sophie by Cindy Roland Anderson

Sophie Kendrick's father has gone missing in the jungles of Costa Rica. Desperate for answers to his whereabouts, she decides to search for him herself. She hires Jack Mathison to guide her through the jungle, but the two of them seem to be at odds from the moment they meet. Sophie finds Jack conceited, sarcastic, and worse, very good-looking. He is totally not her type, so how could she possibly be attracted to him? Likewise, Jack can't wait to be rid of Sophie and her optimistic outlook. Seriously, how could someone be that nice? Jack isn't looking for a relationship, and finds the electrifying chemistry between the two of them completely annoying. His job is to lead Sophie to a remote village deep inside the rainforest- her fathers last known location. Still, the jungle is a dangerous place and Jack does everything in his power to protect Sophie, but who will protect his heart?

This is a book I just had to add into my reviews- not because I was asked to, but just because I want to tell you about it.  :)

This is the second book I have read by this author and I have to tell you I think I've found a new clean romance author to add to my favorites list.  Her first book "Fair Catch" was so good.  I really enjoyed it.  Then, when browsing through my recommended kindle books, I saw this one and immediately bought it.  Self indulgence at it's best.  :)

I love the characters in this book.  Sophie is sweet.  And happy.  She just has one of those type of personalities.  You can't help but like her.  Jack is a little jaded, but he has a hard time keeping that up around Sophie.  The interactions between Sophie and Jack are really great.  The tension building is awesome and I loved it.  Zingy physical attraction and all that tension building up to the first kiss.  Swoon.  Sigh.  Love.

If you haven't read anything by Cindy Roland Anderson, you should.  Especially if you love a good, clean romance like I do.  :)

There is some talk about God but nothing preachy or denomination specific.

You can find "Discovering Sophie" at Amazon.

Friday, December 13, 2013

On Tour with Sparks the Matchmaker by Russell Elkins + a $25 Giveaway


Ollie just wants one thing. The girl. Things haven’t been going so well with Anne lately, though; their relationship has become a perpetual study date, and Ollie’s roommates are starting to worry about him. How to fix things? Why, with a marriage proposal, of course. Unfortunately for Ollie, his relationship with Anne has run out of gas. Life feels like it’s counting down to one. And that one is the only person in Ollie’s life he really cares about: Ollie. Perhaps, then, he should get over himself. But first he has to deal with Sparks, the irritating little Yankees fan who invades his life in order to “help” him. And while Keith, his best friend, is doing all he can to help, Ollie’s other friend Richie never fails to show up and threaten to ruin everything just by being himself. Never mind all the drama Sparks brings to the party by forcing Ollie to take a job actually helping people in need. Will Ollie meet the girl? Will it be in history class? On a road trip to Colorado? Can he get over Anne, or should he try to mend the relationship? Should he pursue the new girl Sparks is trying to set him up with? As the strings of the puppeteer tangle with the strings of the heart, only one person can sort out the mess Ollie has made. It seems that the harder he tries, the more Ollie messes things up. Is Sparks a cruel manipulator, or is he really going to help Ollie find his match?

I signed on for this tour for a couple reasons.  First, I do love clean romance and second, the author was male and the main character is male.  I don't read a lot of romance books with the whole male vibe going on and I was interested.

Ollie, the main character, is 100% male.  And, maybe on the bonehead side of the male species most of the time.  ha ha.  Ollie wants a girlfriend and when Sparks shows up and offers him just that, he just can't say no.  Well, he does say no a few times, but he doesn't really mean it.  He just gets annoyed at poor Sparks.

Sparks really can be annoying-so ambiguous and secretive- but I really liked him.  I loved learning bits and pieces about him along the way.  I really want to know more.

I enjoyed the journey Ollie takes as he gets into one predicament after another because of Sparks.  Ollie learns some real life lessons and best of all, starts thinking about someone other than himself.  Yea!

I found Sparks the Matchmaker to be refreshing.  I liked the whole male vibe thing and I think author Russell Elkins has a good thing going here.  I'm looking forward to reading his next book in this series.

Enjoy the following excerpt from Sparks the Matchmaker!

Ollie was in the process of packing some clean underwear into his bag when he heard Sparks’ voice from the doorway. “Joy still hasn't broken up with her boyfriend. I thought she would have done it by now.”

“What?” Ollie was stunned. “Are you serious?”

“Relax. She's a little harder to read than most people. I really thought she'd have dumped him by now.”

Ollie suspected Sparks was concealing something, but he couldn’t guess it. “That’s just great. I'm picking her up in a few minutes, man! And now I’ll have that looming over my head the whole weekend.”

“It's not a big deal. Seriously. Not a big deal.”

“It is to me. Are you trying to tell me that you guessed wrong on that? I mean, that’s something that seems pretty pivotal and important. You seemed so sure before,” Ollie said.

“Yeah, I was. She's just harder to read, that's all. Nothing's gonna change. Everything is still on track. The boyfriend won't come into play at all… for the weekend, anyway.”

“Huh, it sounds like it’s going to make everything awkward.”

“Oh, I get it. You’re under the impression that you were gonna hit it off this weekend. But you're not going to be doing any kissing or holding hands or gazing into each other's eyes in soft moonlight. You won't be doing anything but getting to know each other. You know, as friends will do?”

“What? Why didn't you tell me that earlier? Sparks, you keep leading me into situations like this, and you don’t tell me anything. You like to keep me in the dark as much as you possibly can.”

Sparks looked at Ollie like he was missing something really obvious. “Listen. I’m not responsible for the things you imagine. I give you information you wouldn’t otherwise have, and I give it to you on a need- to- know basis. You need to be able to act spontaneously in order for everything to come out right. Besides,” he pushed his hat back on his head, “I don't like to be wrong when I'm guessing stuff. I prefer to wait when I give answers… just in case things change.”

“I can’t tell you how reassuring that is.”

“You don't have to accept my help, you know. I could go help someone else.”

Ollie took a deep breath and then let it out as a rumble in his throat. “Ah. You’re probably right anyway.”

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  russell elkins
Author Russell Elkins Russell Elkins has become a leading expert on open adoption through first-hand experience that he now shares in Open Adoption, Open Heart. Russell regularly contributes to Adoption.com. He also writes his own blog at russellelkins.com to educate others in the struggles and beauties of open adoption. Russell has always been a family man at heart, looking forward to the day when he could be a husband and a father. It took him a little while, but eventually his eyes locked onto a beautiful blonde, and he has never looked away. Russell and Jammie were married in 2004. They had the same goals for their home and didn't want to wait too long before starting their family. However, filling their home quickly with children wasn't in the cards, and they found themselves weighing their options to overcome problems with infertility. Their lives changed dramatically the day they decided to adopt. Russell and Jammie have adopted two beautiful children, Ira and Hazel, and have embraced their role as parents through open adoption. Both are actively engaged in the adoption community by communicating through social media, taking part in discussion panels, and writing songs about adoption. Russell was born on Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1977. Along with his five siblings, he and his military family moved around a lot, living in eight different houses by the time he left for college at age 17. Although his family moved away from Fallon, Nevada, just a few months after he moved out, he still considers that little oasis in the desert to be his childhood hometown. Even after leaving home, Russell always stayed close to his family. He shared an apartment with each of his three brothers at different times during his college career. They formed a band together back in the 1990s and still perform on a regular basis under the name of the Invisible Swordsmen. After nearly a decade of college and changing his major a few times, Russell received his bachelor's degree in sociology from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He later graduated from Ameritech College where he learned the trade of being a dental lab technician. Russell now owns and operates Elkins Dental Lab located in Meridian, Idaho.

  Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 1/12/14
   a Rafflecopter giveaway   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Witch Rising: A Witch Fall Prequel- Happy Release Day!

Witch Rising

A Witch Fall Prequel

Release Day and Cover Blitz

It's only 99 pennies!

A ship burns, sinking into the depthless waves. There is only one survivor. A child hunted for the power of her song. Hidden away on an isolated island, Lilette buries the knowledge of her power deep, convinced it is the reason for the deaths of those she loves.

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

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pastels & Jingle Bells by Christine S. Feldman

Trish Ackerly never expected to cross paths with Ian Rafferty again, but when she spots the former bully of her childhood years through her bakery window, she thinks she may just have been given the best Christmas gift ever: the opportunity to finally give Ian the comeuppance he deserves.

But clearly she does not have a knack for this whole revenge thing, because before she can make good on her plans, Trish gets inadvertently drawn into Ian’s life in an unexpected way that lets her see just how different the man is from the boy he used to be. In fact, much to her astonishment, she actually starts to like the guy.

A lot.

Trouble is, Ian doesn’t know who she really is, and explaining it to him is going to be a little difficult now—which is bad news, because Trish is starting to realize that all she really wants for Christmas this year…is Ian.
Buy:  Amazon ~  Barnes and Noble

I have something sweet to share with you today!  If you are looking for a quick, fun holiday romance to read, this is your book.  It's squeeky clean and, well, it just made me happy.  :)

I'm so booked up for reviews this month- December is crazy, right?  Anyway, I just had to squeeze this one in before Christmas because it has Jingle Bells in the title and you just never know when you will want a book you can get through in one cold, winter night.

I love Trish.  She was tormented in school by Ian and now that she's all grown up- teeth fixed, hair styled, and feeling good about herself- she is ready to confront that bully from her past.  I love her confidence even though she is nervous, but what I really love is her soft heart and her desire to help someone who needs her.  

I loved this sweet, romantic novella.  It's the first in the "Heavenly Bites" series I can't wait to read the next one!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Best of 2013 Giveaway Hop!

I have a lot of favorite books on my list for this year.  It has been an awesome year for books, right?!  So, today I'm going to give you a choice between a couple different books that I have loved this year.  I am offering these books as ebooks only because that allows for international followers to enter as well.  I can do ebooks through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  So, check them out and enter below!  (pics are linked)  

Oh, and while you are here, enter to win the other awesome giveaways going on.  You can find them on the right sidebar.  :)

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Illuminating Gracie by Lisa C. Temple + a $25 Giveaway!

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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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Illuminating Gracie is a book with such an interesting premise.  An old lady who has lived a cold and bitter life is offered a chance to go back and influence her younger self to choose a different and better path.  It really makes you think, right?  What would you do if you had the chance?  How would changing one decision alter the course of your life?  It's an interesting concept for sure.

This is a story of coming of age and of redemption with an added paranormal twist.  Demons and angels in the age old story of good vs. evil.  Mysterious men, lots of secrets and one girl with a large low self esteem problem.  I always like when characters make some sort of emotional or mental journey and grow into something better than when they started the story.  Gracie does this with the help of people around her.  When she starts to believe that she is smart enough and pretty enough and strong enough, the story reaches the best place.  I enjoyed many of the secondary characters who added much to the overall feel of the book.

The book starts out very slow but does eventually pick up.  

I thought this was a good book, although not quite up to par with the likes of "The Hunger Games" or even "Twilight" as touted in the summary.  

There is a bit of profanity (God and Lord used as exclamations).
       “Yes, Grace?” he answered. His kind, caring blue eyes gazed into mine with transparent concern.
       “Where did Merc go?” I demanded. I had to know. This time, I had no intention of pretending I hadn’t heard the conversation. If my life was in jeopardy, I needed to know why and from whom.
       I’d always envied damsels in distress, thinking how wonderful their lot in life must be to have some strong knight to love them and fight all their battles for them. But in the cold light of reality, I realized I just wasn’t cut out for the part. I couldn’t just stand by helplessly watching others take risks for me while I sat in my ivory tower (or French Chateau) drinking tea and filing my fingernails completely oblivious to the peril.
       Locke hadn’t answered me, so I repeated the question more firmly. “Where did Merc go, Locke? I need to know where he is and I need to know what is going on.” I suddenly felt brave – strong – like Joan of Arc ready to take on whatever ominous enemy lay in wait for me. I wished I had a horse.
       And there it was again: the blank look, the deer-in-headlights, innocent-as-a-newborn-babe look Locke had perfected. “What are you talking about, Grace? Merc hasn’t been here. You must have hallucinated when you were passed out.” He was lying. I was sure of it. That is, until the strangest thing happened.
     lisa temple
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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    Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/31/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 9, 2013

Studio C: Season 1 & 2 on DVD now! + $25 giveaway!

  Studio C DVD  
Studio C is a hit sketch comedy series that the whole family can enjoy. Like the popular TV show Saturday Night Live, the cast performs original sketches that parody American culture and the hilariously awkward moments of everyday life; but with a refreshingly wholesome yet hilarious spin. With their huge fan-base and increasing popularity, Studio C aims to produce clean, family-oriented comedy for a national audience.
Purchase Amazon * Deseret Book

Studio C is a sketch comedy series and I'm telling you, it can be so funny.  Some of these sketches literally had me wiping tears from my eyes they were so funny.  What I love about these is that they are clean.  Yes, things can be completely clean and still make  you laugh.  Over and over.  With Studio C, you can sit down with your whole family and not have to worry.  So much of comedy and humor today is full of crass and rude things but not Studio C.  Yipee!

This DVD provided me with one of the best nights we had this week at my house.  My girls and I (ages 16 and 11) sat down to watch these.  We were together, we laughed and it was such a good time.  So much fun.  My husband was in and out but when he was in, he was laughing.  

I once wrote a paper in college about laughing.  Did you know that when you laugh, your body releases endorphins , which is the body's own morphine?  Laughing lessens pain and makes you feel good.  I really need to laugh more.  Laughter really is the best medicine.  

My daughter literally did the happy dance when I signed on for this tour.  She loves Studio C and has already watched most of these sketches.  This would make a great gift for so many people.  If you haven't seen anything by Studio C, there are some videos below so you can check them out.  

Here's to some good laughs!

Studio C
 Seasons 1 and 2 of the hilarious BYUtv sketch comedy series, Studio C, featuring Whitney, Mallory, Jason, Matt, and the rest of the cast pulling out all the stops with two full seasons of enough rip-roaring hilarity to make you spit milk out of your nose. Travel back to the moment it all began and watch some of the very first Studio C sketches, plus two never-before-seen features! Includes popular episodes featuring
  • Presidential Shoulder Angel
  • Facebook Friends Song
  • Flirting Academy
  • Captain Literally
  • The Center for People That YouTube Made Infamous
  • Candy Land Character Conference
  • Bollyside
  • Dana’s Dead
  • And many more!
Special Features
  • Exclusive Feature: “Just Jeremy Date”
  • Exclusive Sketch: “Substitute Miss Frizzle”
  • Season 2 Outtakes
Studio C is a hit sketch comedy series that the whole family can enjoy. Like the popular TV show Saturday Night Live, the cast performs original sketches that parody American culture and the hilariously awkward moments of everyday life; but with a refreshingly wholesome yet hilarious spin. With their huge fan-base and increasing popularity, Studio C aims to produce clean, family-oriented comedy for a national audience.  
Purchase Amazon * Deseret Book




  Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/31/13 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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