Friday, October 31, 2014

Little Dead Riding Hood by Amie and Bethanie Borst + Book Giveaway

You know things are going to suck when you’re the new kid. But when you’re the new kid and a vampire . . . well, it bites!

Unlike most kids, Scarlet Small’s problems go far beyond just trying to fit in. She would settle for a normal life, but being twelve years old for an entire century is a real pain in the neck. Plus, her appetite for security guards, house pets, and bloody toms (tomato juice) is out of control. So in order to keep their vampire-secret, her parents, Mort and Drac, resort to moving for the hundredth time, despite Scarlet being dead-set against it. Things couldn’t be worse at her new school, either. Not only does she have a strange skeleton-girl as a classmate, but a smelly werewolf is intent on revealing her secret. When she meets Granny—who fills her with cookies, goodies, and treats, and seems to understand her more than anyone—she’s sure things will be different. But with a fork-stabbing incident, a cherry pie massacre, and a town full of crazy people, Scarlet’s O-positive she’ll never live to see another undead day.

Happy Halloween everyone!  I've saved a very special and holiday appropriate review for today.  It is "Little Dead Riding Hood", part of the Scarily Ever Laughter series.  The first book, "Cinderskella", I reviewed a year ago today.  These books are Middle Grade books, with the main character being in 6th grade.

Scarlett Small is a vampire.  She is sarcastic and has more of the glass is half empty sort of attitude.  It's not easy being a vampire and the daughter of Drac and Mort!

There are several things I love about this book.  First, I love the illustrations throughout the whole story.  Pictures make everything more fun.  Two thumbs up for the illustrator!

Second, I love the continuous play on words.  You can get a sense of what I mean just from the blurb above.  It's that sort of creativity that makes this book so fun to read.

Third, it was so nice see Cindy from the previous book.  As a reader, I always like to know that previous characters I've gotten to know haven't gone away.  They are still around for me to enjoy.  :)  Here is what Scarlett says about Cindy.  "Somehow I thought I would really like this earthy-smelling girl.  Maybe because, for starters, I had no desire to eat her."  Yup, that's a good start alright!

Young readers will love this book and this series.  (Adults too) It's light and it's fun.  It hits on some common themes for middle graders (peer pressure, my parents don't know anything, making friends) and provides for a great, humorous distraction.

My thanks to Jolly Fish Press and the authors for allowing me to read and review this book for them.  It's been my pleasure.

AMIE BORST, a long-time writer and self-proclaimed graduate from ULE (University of Life Experience), is a native New Yorker, now residing in Northern Virginia. Originally, she aspired to be on Broadway, but her teen years were filled with too many "angsty" poems and short stories to let them fall to the wayside. She enjoys eating chocolate while writing and keeps a well-stocked stash hidden away from her family.

BETHANIE BORST is an all-rounder. She is a spunky 13-year-old who is an avid archer with Olympic dreams, enjoys the outdoors, loves reading, and is quick to make lasting friendships.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sealed with a Kiss (Inspy Kisses, #2) by Janet Tronstad, Margaret Daley, Camy Tang and Lacy Williams

A new anthology from some of your favorite inspirational authors--no reprints here! 
Enjoy this collection of love stories with a theme of "love letters". The SEALED WITH A KISS anthology includes: 
From USA TODAY and Publisher's Weekly Bestselling Author Janet Tronstad comes a new historical romance Mail-Order Sunshine Bride 
When mail-order bride, Eleanor O’Reilly, arrives in the Montana Territory the only one on the railway platform to greet her is a dangerous-looking man who claims to be the sheriff. Where is her intended husband? Janet Tronstad delights readers with another of her popular mail-order bride stories. 
From #1 Amazon Bestselling Author Margaret Daley comes a new romance suspense Deadly Intent   
Texas Ranger Sarah Osborn is sent to investigate the kidnapping of a prize stallion from the Shamrock Ranch, owned by Ian O’Leary, an ex-FBI agent and Sarah’s high school sweetheart. Someone from Ian’s past has a grudge against him and intends to make him suffer. Can Sarah help Ian find who wants him dead? 
From award-winning author Camy Tang comes a new romantic suspense Unshakeable Pursuit   
A mysterious young woman warns Dr. Geoffrey Whelan and nurse Maylin Kinley that they are in mortal danger, and then two Asian hit men attack them at the children’s clinic where they work. Geoffrey and Maylin run for their lives, determined to figure out who is after them and why. When they discover the threat is connected to a young teenager whose life they saved, they must race to stop the person who wants them dead—before everyone they care about is caught in the crossfire. 
From fan favorite Lacy Williams comes a new contemporary western romance With Love, Cowboy   
When the love of his life is injured in combat, Ryan Michaels promises himself he won't let any more time go by without declaring his love. Veteran Ashley Reynolds returns home a changed woman, but is she ready to see the truth about the cowboy she left behind? 

I have to say that I sure do love this growing trend of bundled ebooks, both full length and novella size, by various authors.  It gives variety at an awesome price and you get to  know authors that you maybe haven't read yet.  In this collection, you also get some different genres of romance.  The first is old west, followed by two that have more suspense.  The last is a contemporary western.  It's fun to have that change up.

This was a fantastic novella collection.  I loved settling in with these stories.  They were the perfect sweet, clean romance stories for me.  And, if I had to pull out a favorite, it was With Love, Cowboy.  I fell in love with Ryan.  Who wouldn't?!  That guy is perfection.

These novellas are the perfect bite size reads.  If you don't have much time or you just want a quick romantic fix, try these out, one at a time.  Or, if you are more like me, you can read them all, straight through.  Read = Devour  

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Match Maker (The Husband Maker #2) $75 Book Blast!

Match Maker Book Cover
The Match Maker by Karey White (The Husband Maker #2) (Summary contains spoilers if you have not yet read book #1 The Husband Maker) It’s been six months since Charlotte and Kyle broke up, and the Husband Maker strikes again. Kyle is officially engaged, while Charlotte is still nursing a broken heart. In an effort to get Charlotte out of her rut, she and her best friend decide it’s time for some good old-fashioned matchmaking. While Aleena arranges for Charlotte to meet up with a handsome Scottish tourist, Charlotte gets her two best friends together. But when sparks start to fly between Aleena and Angus, Charlotte is left feeling more alone that ever--at least until the charming Scotsman becomes more than just a safe, rebound guy and teaches her that maybe, just maybe, she can dare to open her heart again.

The Match Maker releases on November 1st
Order your copy Now!
Match Maker
Don't miss the Blog Tour hosted by I Am A Reader November 4th to 21st Tour Schedule

The Husband Maker new
The Husband Maker by Karey White Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she's dated since high school has gone on to marry the next girl they date. Not two or three girls down the road. The very next one. Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed? When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she's not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle's wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?

Karey White
Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

$75 Book Blast Giveaway $75 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/23/14 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 and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.    a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Silver Bells: A Timeless Romance Anthology

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells. Readers will love this collection of six historical romance novellas, all centered around the Christmas season.

In NY Times & USA Today’s bestselling author Lucinda Brant’s delightful novella, FAIRY CHRISTMAS, Kitty Aldershot is orphaned and forced to live on others’ charity. Offered a home under the generous roof of her relatives, the Earl of Salt Hendon and his countess, Kitty wants for nothing, not even the affections of Mr. Tom Allenby. But when Kitty stumbles across a letter written by Lady Caroline that reveals how Mr. Allenby would be ruined should he marry the likes of Kitty, she realizes she has been fooling herself all along. Kitty’s world crumbles around her as she recognizes she will forever be alone with no prospects at all.

Sarah M. Eden’s charming romance novella A CHRISTMAS PROMISE, Sean Kirkpatrick is trying to get to his new place of employment, Kilkenny Castle, in order to start as the new stablehand. His only requirement is to drive a team of high-spirited nags from Dublin to Kilkenny in a certain amount of time. Unfortunately he winds up in a muddy field, stuck, lost, and running out of time. He’s about to lose the job before he can prove himself capable of finishing his first assignment. When Maeve Butler arrives on the scene, Sean isn’t sure if she’s intent on rescuing him or bent on torturing him with her fiery wit and lovely dark eyes.

In Heather B. Moore’s enchanting novella, TWELVE MONTHS, Lucien Baxter’s best and most incorrigible friend, Will, dies unexpectedly, leaving behind his new bride and unborn child the week before Christmas. Will’s last request is that Lucien watches over Cora, not just as a benefactor, but as a husband. When Lucien does his duty and proposes to Cora, he’s turned down flat. But over the course of the next few days, Lucien discovers that marrying Cora wouldn’t be any sort of duty after all, but a matter of following his heart.

In Lu Ann Staheli’s sweet romance novella, A FEZZIWIG CHRISTMAS, Dick Wilkins and his best friend Ebenezer Scrooge have been looking forward to the annual Fezziwig Christmas dance for weeks. Ebenezer is practically engaged to Annabelle Fezziwig, and Dick hopes to start courting her younger sister, Pricilla. Once the dance starts, and Pricilla arrives, as pretty and charming as ever, Dick discovers that he’s not the only man vying for her attention. His best friend advises Dick that he has to win Pricilla’s heart, as well as her mother’s favor. Losing his heart has suddenly become very complicated.

A TASTE OF HOME, a captivating romance by Annette Lyon, we meet Claire Jennings, who’s on her way to spend Christmas with her family. As she rides the train with William Rhodes, who grew up across the street, memories of Christmases past flood her mind. He may be twenty-one now, but she can’t forget his torturous teasing from their school years. At the rail station, Claire discovers that her home is under quarantine because her little brother has measles. She's stuck in town, away from her family, on her favorite holiday. William stays behind with her, and as Christmas Day approaches and her homesickness deepens, she discovers that perhaps he has changed in more ways than one.

Becca Wilhite’s entrancing novella, MY MODERN GIRL, follows Margie, who lands her dream job as a clerk at Macy’s department store in New York City. Margie might be new in town, but she’s determined to succeed and prove to Henry that moving to the city was the right decision.

I have been reading a lot of books this week that are set around Christmas.  I'm feeling the need to bust out the Christmas music and put up a tree!  But it isn't quite time for that.  These books sure put me in the mood though.  And in the last book, My Modern Girl, Margie works at Macy's where they have the most amazing Christmas displays.  The book describes a set of ornaments that have heart shaped hangers.  I seriously need those.  My Christmas tree is heart themed and those ornaments would go perfectly!

These sweet, clean novellas are all set back in history and all revolve around Christmastime.  They are gentle and perfect for snuggling up in a cozy blanket on a cold winter day.  Well, that's what I did anyway.  I would have been happy to read these on a warm beach as well, but alas, that wasn't a choice for me.  :)

I love reading these collections and I always look forward to seeing a new set.  Authors in these books are among my favorites and sometimes I am introduced to an author new to me.  Each book is novella size which is perfect for a quick read.  They are sweet romances that leave me feeling happy.  Every single time.  I love them!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sweet & Clean Romance Collection + $25 Giveaway

Sweet and Clean Romance Collection 
Ok clean romance lovers these books are for you!! Trifecta Books is excited to announce their new line of short contemporary romance novels for e-book. The Sweet and Clean Romance Collection will melt your heart and sweep you off your feet. There are currently four books out with many more titles coming soon.

And Something Blue
And Something Blue by Paige Timothy (Main Street Merchants #1) Bridal consultant Laurie Fletcher spends her days helping others prepare for the most special day of their lives. Will true love ever come her way, or is she doomed to watch others get their happily ever after?

This was the first book in this collection that I read and it was a fantastic way to start things out. I really love the concept of writing about a group of people who all work along the same street (Main Street Merchants). Different lives, different businesses, but all connected in some small way. I loved the little map in the front telling me where are the businesses were located too. It really helped set the stage in my head.

Laurie is a fun character. She runs a bridal shop. Her first few encounters with Logan are less than stellar but some kind of magnetism keeps them both gravitating toward each other. This book had me wanting more from this author and this Main Street Merchant Series. My favorite quote from the book is, “Laurie felt her heart reach out and wrap around his to tie a knot she would never be able to loosen.”

For Love or Money
For Love And Money by Paige Timothy (Main Street Merchants #2) Cynical Morgan has just about decided that no one could possibly fall in love with her - all the good guys want perfect girls, and she's anything but perfect. But then along comes the guy who falls head-over-heels in love with her just as she is and helps her find the bright side of life again.

This is the second book in the Main Street Merchant series. There were a couple cross over scenes from the first book told from a different perspective. It was interesting to see the same scene through the eyes of a different character. We meet Morgan in the first book but only get a glimpse into who she really is.

Morgan and Rory are the best of friends. They work together too. Rory has to be the most patient man alive. I loved that they were friends first and knew each other well. This was such a fun book and it left me wanting more from this series. There are so many stories to tell!

  Hearts in Harmony
Hearts in Harmony by Raine Gillespie (Love Notes #1) Elahna Nezario gave up her musical dreams to help run the Queen of Hearts, her mother’s chocolate shop, after her sister’s sudden death. After an unfortunate run-in with Elahna’s childhood crush, owner of the Dolce Theater, not only do her dreams surge back to life, but so does her heart.

Hearts in Harmony is also in the Sweet and Clean Romance Collection but by a different author than the first two books I read. It is the start of a different series with characters separate from the first two books I’ve mentioned. I had a harder time with this book and it wasn’t one I really connected with, especially in the beginning. I’m not really sure why, but this book just fell a bit flat for me. This book was different than the others because it had a bit of mystery associated with it that unfolded as the story went on.

  Waltzing on Wheels
Waltzing on Wheels by Raine Gillespie (Love Notes #2) Meredith Aaron lost all hope for love after a car accident put her in a wheelchair. Who would want her, broken as she is? After her brother tells her to save a dance for him at his wedding, she decides to somehow learn how to dance on the only legs she has left—her wheels.

I enjoyed this book so much more than the first one by this author! We meet Meredith in the first book but this book is her time to shine. And shine she does. Meredith is a determined, feisty girl with such a positive attitude and a kind heart. I just couldn’t help but love her. The romance developed gently and was so endearing. I loved it.

 Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/20/14 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 and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hearts in Harmony and Something Blue
        Tour Schedule

Friday, October 24, 2014

Stars, Stockings and Shepherds by Shersta Chabot, Illustrated by Corey Egbert

Do you know the symbolism behind evergreens, sheep, or the color red? This adorably illustrated picture book teaches the meanings behind 24 Christmastime objects and is the perfect gift for any children, parents, or grandparents on your list. Make your family’s holiday season one to remember with this inspiring reminder of the gospel roots behind our treasured Christmas traditions.

I love all the symbolism that surrounds Christmas.  This book does such a great job of explaining the symbols in a way that children will understand.  The pictures are perfect- colorful and happy.  I'm having visions of curling up on the couch with a snuggy blanket and the little ones close, sharing a few precious minutes of quiet time to think of and remember Jesus Christ, whose birth and life we celebrate at Christmastime.

I loved this book.  I wish I would have had it when my kids were little!  I had a tradition when my kids were little of wrapping up all my children's Christmas books and putting them in a basket.  The kids unwrapped one book every day before Christmas and we read it together.  As my collection grew, we were able to start earlier and earlier in December.  It was a fun tradition and one I hope to start up again when I have grandchildren!  This will be a fantastic addition to my Christmas book collection.

Another thought I had was wrapping up each symbol from the book and letting the kids open it and read about the symbol for the day.  There is 24 in this book which would be the perfect countdown to Christmas.  If only my kids were younger!!  :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Mirror (Northwest Passage #5) by John Heldt

On September 11, 2020, Ginny and Katie Smith celebrate their nineteenth birthday at a country fair near Seattle. Ignoring the warnings of a fortune-teller, they enter a house of mirrors and exit in May 1964. Armed with the knowledge they need to return to their time, they try to make the most of what they believe will be a four-month vacation. But their sixties adventure becomes complicated when they meet a revered great-grandmother and fall in love with local boys. In THE MIRROR, the continuation of THE MINE and THE SHOW, the sisters find happiness and heartbreak as they confront unexpected challenges and gut-wrenching choices in the age of civil rights, the Beatles, and Vietnam.

This is the fifth book in this Northwest Passage series and now I think I've officially caught up.  I've been reading one every few months for the past year or so and I've enjoyed the journey.

All of these books deal with characters who travel back through time- some of the time travelers are even in the same family!  In this particular story twin sisters travel back through time to the 1960's.  As with all the books I've read by John Heldt, the events and attitudes of the time are accurately done and feel very authentic.  I really love feeling like I am in another time and place.

After finishing the last book, I was a little perturbed at the ending and I said so in my review.  The author told me that the ending in this book would probably be more to my liking and he was right.  I can't help it.  I'm a girl that likes happily ever after and all loose ends tied up nicely.

I don't think this was my favorite of the series, but that may be that in the beginning the books seemed new and fresh.  I do hope that Mr. Heldt continues his writing.  I would love to see a book outside of this time travel genre.  My continues thanks to him for allowing me to read and review his books.

Content:  Mild swearing, sex ouside of marriage. (Nothing descriptive but you know it happens.  Repeatedly. )  Both girls in the book are sexually active in the time they are in and were in the time they came from.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

HUGE GIVEAWAY!! Kindle Fire, Books and more!

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.
Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. TO ENTER:
  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB -- choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt) 2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson 3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White 4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt 5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf 6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured) 7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings 8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances) 9. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured) 10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards 11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.
Follow Kimberley:
About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at
Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

I loved this book!  You can read my review of this book HERE.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram + Awesome Book Giveaway!

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new step family, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancĂ©e—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

I feel like I have so much to say!  I'm going to have to think of clever ways to condense what I want to say so I don't type a novel here.  I will admit that I read this book the minute I got it.  MONTHS before my review was scheduled.  And then I didn't write my review right away so I just HAD to go back and read it again.  haha.  Poor me.

I think Kelly Oram is an exceptional writer.  She has a knack for writing.  Her books always suck me in from the very beginning and keep me there.  I have no desire to stray to another book when I have one of hers in my hand.  (That is like the ultimate praise from a book reviewer because I am usually reading 3-4 books at one time.)

One of the things I think Kelly does so masterfully is write characters.  Her characters are always living, breathing, and full of life.  I can hear them and see them in my head.  The dialogue flows so well and fits the characters perfectly.  Kelly really nails these characters.

Poor Ella.  Seriously, how much can one girl endure?  Her life is so sad- a nightmare, really, but her determination to take baby steps toward getting better brings out the cheerleader in me.  She lost her mother in an accident that leaves her so broken and weak.  Her physical issues lead to mental and emotional issues.  After a ridiculous amount of time in the hospital having surgeries, Ella is sent home with her estranged father to a family she doesn't even know.  Her step sisters are abusive and mean.  She suffers ill treatment from strangers, peers and even her family.  She is bullied.  It's crazy.  And for all those crazy issues going on (and that's only with Ella!), I am amazed to say that this book never felt overwhelming to me as a reader.  That takes talent.

The relationships in this book evolve.  Understanding and compromise come through effort.  That is why things don't feel overwhelming.  Because hope is thrown in there and as a reader, I could see improvement.  It was so well done.

Cinder is a much better person when he is focused on Ella and not himself.  I love how the relationship between Cinder and Ella started (obsession over a book series), how it developed (by email, phone and then meeting at Comic Con) and even how it ended.  The road gets a little bumpy at times but I got the ending I needed for Ella and it made me happy.

My only negative about this book was the swearing (lots of it) and the sexual innuendo.  If I could take out the swearing and sexual stuff, I would be so happy because then I could recommend this book to EVERYONE.  As it is, I have to add caution.  I think a sentence from the book might sum up the way I feel about a lot of this book.  "Cheesy porno talk".  Not always cheesy but a lot of porno talk, and I really don't love that.  The book would be just as good without it.  (Well, better to me.)

Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen—a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat named Mr. Darcy.

Author Links:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tried and True by Mary Connealy

Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister—and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk—they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”—but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

Mary Connealy knows how to write clean western romances.  I love reading her books.  

The characters in this book are so well done.  I felt like I knew them and everything played out just like a movie in my head.  The beginning chapter with the roof scene when on too long and I was really glad when things finally got moving but from there on out, it was the perfect distracting read.

I love Kylie.  It was so nice to read about a girl who really just wanted to be a girl- completely feminine with pretty dresses.  So many books today have tough girl characters who can take anyone down.  Don't get me wrong, because I do like that too, but it was just refreshing to read a book about a girl who isn't so concerned about how tough she is.  Kylie wants a home where she cooks and cleans and takes care of a family.  She doesn't want to do "man chores".  She wants to be taken care of by a big, strong man.  It was kind of funny sometimes but endearing too.  Because Kylie spent a lot of time posing as a boy in order to serve in the army during the civil war, she is desperate to put that behind her and look and act like a girl again.  Can you blame her?  

She finds the perfect man in Aaron because all he wants to do is protect and love Kylie.  He wants to do all the "man chores".  See what I mean?  Perfect for Kylie.  

This is what I would call inspirational fiction.  God is mentioned and sometimes talked about but not in an overbearing or overly religious way.  This book is squeaky clean- yay!  I'm looking forward to the next books in this series.  This book set up the stories for the sisters perfectly and now I'm anxious to get reading them!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Because of Love by Shauna V. Brown

For Christmas, all Phoebe Brown wants is to give her daughters new shoes to replace their heavy leather boots. But because they have very little money, her husband refuses to pay for them. Inspired by true events, this Christmas story shows how the power of love can change even the most begrudging heart.

What a sweet, sweet book!  This book touched my heart and made me feel things.  I love when books do that to me.  

Phoebe longs to give her daughters new shoes.  The girls are ridiculed and hurt by other children because they wear big, heavy boots everywhere.  All the time.  One of the worst feelings, I think, as a mother is to know your children are hurting.  When your children hurt, you hurt.  But, just like most mothers, Phoebe is resourceful and creative and she devises a plan to work and get new shoes for her girls.  It's touching and powerful.  As a mother and a daughter, I connected with the emotion in this book.  Love is a powerful tool that can change lives.

This sweet story is less than 100 pages.  It reads quickly and is the perfect little Christmas story.  This will definitely set your heart in the right place leading up to Christmas.

My thanks to Cedar Fort for allowing me to read and review for them.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wayward: The Prodigal Son

Wayward: The Prodigal Son (2014)

PG-13  -  Action | Drama | Romance

A dying father's last wish is to bring his rebellious son back home and into his loving and forgiving arms and reunite his family once again.

I had the opportunity to watch this movie as part of a prescreening for review.  This morning I was up early, before anyone else in the house and decided it was the perfect moment to pop in my earbuds and check Wayward out.  I should have brought a box of tissues along with me before I settled in.  Talk about a tear jerker.  I was crying a river before 8am.

This movie is based on the biblical story of The Prodigal Son.  It is a story I am familiar with and I was interested to see how this movie would go.  I would say that Wayward isn't overly religious or preachy although it does mention God several times and shows a character going to church and reading scripture.  It is based on a Bible story after all.  The movie was overwhelmingly about family and forgiveness and love.  As a parent, I was touched and moved.  There were so many emotions flowing through me.  To watch a child, or any loved one, make decisions that you know will hurt them is heartbreaking.  

What I loved throughout this whole movie was from beginning to end, the love that this father has for his son is constant and strong.  He always let his son know that he loved him.  His words were always to encourage and demonstrate that love.  "I will always support you."  "I will always love you."  "I will be here, waiting for you to come home."  His actions backed up his words.

I really enjoyed this movie, even if it did make me cry.  It was a good reminder to me that love is always the best answer.  Love and forgiveness.  We all need it and we all need to give it to others.

This movie is rated PG-13 for the dicey situations the main character finds himself in.  There is drinking, drugs, gambling, and references to prostitutes.

My thanks to Cedar Fort for allowing me to preview this film for them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

I love being a part of this giveaway hop.  It's the perfect time to gear up for the holiday season that lies ahead!  The seasons are changing at my house and this year I have three GINORMOUS pumpkins that I grew in my very own garden.  They are awesome.  I cannot wait to carve them for Halloween!

For this hop, I will be giving away one book of your choice, $12 or less, from Amazon if you are US and The Book Depository if you are INT and they ship to you free.  (it must be a book, no gift cards)

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Halloween!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Redemption by Heather Gray

Murder, mayhem, marriage, and a horse named Mutiny...

Minnie's impulsiveness has been getting her into trouble her whole life. She never expected it to land her on a suspect list for murder, though. With nothing left but a few trunks of possessions and her own defeat, Minnie leaves San Francisco behind and returns home. In an effort to protect her family and friends, she keeps them in the dark about the ongoing investigation and the possibility that danger may have followed her to Larkspur. When events force her to trust someone with her secrets, she turns to the sheriff and finds both a friend and an ally.

It may have been four years since he last saw Minnie, but how could he ever forget her? When Art finds her sneaking through a back alley in town, he knows something's wrong. The once vivacious Minnie is a mere shadow of her former self, all sparkle gone from her eyes. Art knows that time spent with her will be dangerous to his heart, but he can't turn Minnie away. Even if it means protecting her from her own impetuous decisions, he vows to keep her safe.

In her attempt to take responsibility for her own choices, Minnie shut out her friends, family, and God. An unsolved murder isn't all that's chasing Minnie, though. Will she find her way back to the heart of her faith before it's too late?

This isn't the first book that I've read by Heather Gray, but I certainly liked it better than the first one I read.  This book is categorized as a Historical Christian Fiction Romance.  That's a lot of categories, right?  While it is Christian fiction, it's very light on the Christian elements.  It has a very slow building romance that starts first as a friendship.

I think what I liked about this book was that there was the added element of suspense added in.  It gave me more to focus on and made the story more exciting.  

Minnie is impulsive and she is also quite determined.  Her impulsive nature has landed her in a bit of a mess but it is that determination that will help get her out of it.  Art is a classic western hero.  Strong and sure.  I like that Art is smart too.  He thinks things through and he isn't so cocky as to realize that he doesn't always know everything.  When others know more he is able to use their help which makes him better.

This was an overall enjoyable book.  It was light, easy reading that was perfect for a rainy day at home.  It was squeaky clean too.  Yay!  

This title is being published through Astraea Press.  My thanks to them for allowing me to read and review titles for them.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Less Than Nothing by R.E. Blake

Sage’s life as a teenage runaway in San Francisco is simple: Snatch a few hours of sleep on park benches and bus stops; dodge perverts, predators, and cops; and make enough as a street musician to eat. But her world flips upside down when she meets Derek – hot, tattooed, and charming, a singer from Seattle whose looks and talent take her breath away.

What begins as a reluctant partnership quickly develops into a cross-country race against time - and awakens a hunger in Sage that’s unfamiliar and exciting.

As they travel from coast to coast, Sage and Derek pursue their dream, only to discover that they can never run far enough to escape the demons from their pasts.

The first thing that drew my attention to this book was the musical aspect and the across country travel.  After reading the book, I'd have to say that those two things remain the most appealing.  It was easy to imagine Sage and Derek on the streets of SF, singing and it was easy to imagine them in New York doing the same thing on stage.  The whole road tripping with the truckers was fun.

The backstory for Sage and Derek unravels slowly and gently, bit by bit.  Sometimes I don't love that approach, but for this book it worked.  It gave some good insights on the homeless and circumstances that may have brought them there.  Especially for teenagers.  It kind of breaks my heart.

I felt like the romantic tension in the book fell a little bit flat.  I appreciate that there was no sex in the book but that isn't what I'm talking about.  It's that tension and build up.  Instead of increasing tension, there was a let down, especially in the last third of the book.  I just didn't believe Derek's reasoning for pulling away given his previous actions.

For me, there was too much swearing and profanity.  There was a lot of what I would term, "crass talk" and I'm just not a fan of that.  There is underage drinking and some violence including an attempted rape.

I picked this book up on NetGalley in exchange for a review.  My thanks to the publisher for allowing me to read and review for them.

You can find "Less Than Nothing" on Amazon.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Janitors: Strike of the Sweepers by Tyler Whitesides

The stakes have never been higher, and you've never seen squeegees do this before! It is a wild and slightly unsanitary ride as Spencer, Daisy, and the rebels find themselves chased by Mr Clean's new and terrifying breed of toxite—the Sweepers. Time is short. With the fable Manualis Custodem in hand, Spencer must figure out how to summon the founding witches if they ever hope to mop up and save education.

I am always excited to see a new Janitors book come out.  This is the fourth book in the series and it isn't over yet!   Tyler Whitesides writes with imagination and creativity.  Every book I say to myself, "how does he come up with this stuff?!"

These are middle grade books and some of the best I've ever come across.  If you have a reluctant reader, this might be a good series to perk their interest.  I actually think this series would be awesome read aloud.  If my kids were younger, this is the one I'd be reading them.

In this book, my favorite things were the squeegees that when rubbed on glass create a portal to get from one place to another.  I can think of a lot of people I would love to squeegee with!  To be able to travel home to see my parents with the swipe of a squeegee would be awesome!!  The other thing I loved was the Thingamajunk.  I think I want one of those.

My favorite quote is found on page 92.  "Because victory will come to those who fight for what is right.  It won't come without its fair share of pain and suffering.  No victory comes without sacrifice.  But it will come.  We just have to stay the course."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sophia by Paula Kremser

Small-town Sophia Spencer can’t believe her luck when an unexpected inheritance allows her to experience London’s social scene. But her happiness disappears when she is caught napping in a grumpy gentleman’s room—and forced into an engagement to protect her reputation! Personalities collide and love blooms in this stunning debut novel.

This book is one in the Pure Romance line from Cedar Fort.  Basically this means that they are squeaky clean and focus more on the romance of it all, which I LOVE.  

Sophia may be from a small country town, but she has been taught and educated in all the ways of a lady.  One thing Sophia does know is that her mother and father loved each other very much.  She is looking to have that same kind of love in her life.  When Sophia unexpectedly inherits money from her estranged grandmother she is thrown into London society with an aunt who may not have Sophia's best interest at heart.

I loved Sophia.  She is kind and eager to believe the best about people.  Some may call her naive, but I don't.  I call her kind, innocent and tender hearted.  The world needs more people like Sophia.  Sophia knows when to stand up for herself and she does a better job of it than she thinks.

This is a great regency romance with engaging characters.  The storyline may be predictable but I still enjoyed it so much.  I love a good, clean romance that leaves you feeling good in the end.  This title releases on Oct. 14th but you can pre-order it today!

From the author: After enduring a ball as a favor to his friends, Alex escapes to his room. What he doesn’t know is that a young lady has also sought refuge from the crowded ballroom. This is his first encounter with Sophia.
Alex pulled off his boots, then picked up his candle and looked around the room for where he had left his book. That was when he saw her. A young lady—either asleep or dead—was on his sofa! He almost dropped the candle, but quickly steadied it instead and rushed over. Her skin was warm, but it seemed as if she wasn’t breathing. He forced himself to be calm as he checked again and realized that she was breathing, just very slowly and deeply. He sat down hard on the floor and leaned his head back against the sofa. Then he took his own deep breath in an effort to calm his racing heart. She was alive, thank goodness! She was just sleeping.
How strange that a young lady was asleep in his room…his eyes widened and his heart began racing again. He needed to get her out of here. Now!
He quickly turned around and tried to gently speak to her and shake her shoulder. Several increasingly more frantic pleas of “Miss, you need to wake up!” produced no results. So he lifted her up to a sitting position, but still she wouldn’t regain consciousness. He sat down next to her and pulled her arm around his shoulder, ready to stand up, which would hopefully rouse her enough to walk, and that was when he heard a commotion from the hall and then a knock on his door. He barely had time to blurt out, “One moment, please!” before several matronly women barged in.