Saturday, July 21, 2018

Love Held Captive by Shelley Shepard Gray

Love Held Captive (Lone Star Hero #3)Love Held Captive by Shelley Shepard Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: I requested a copy from Netgally a long time ago.
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Book Description:  After the War Between the States, a Confederate officer longs to heal the heart of a beautiful woman—but first he’ll have to right the wrongs that were done to her.

Major Ethan Kelly has never been able to absolve himself of the guilt he feels for raiding a woman’s home shortly before he was taken prisoner during the Civil War. He is struggling to get through each day until he once again crosses paths with Lizbeth Barclay—the very woman he is trying to forget.

Life after the war is not much different for former Captain Devin Monroe until he meets Julianne VanFleet. He knows she is the woman he’s been waiting for, but he struggles to come to terms with the sacrifices she made to survive the war.

When Ethan and Devin discover that their former colonel, Adam Bushnell, is responsible for both Lizbeth’s and Julianne’s pain, they call on their former fellow soldiers to hunt him down. As the men band together to earn the trust of the women they love, Lizbeth and Julianne seek the justice they deserve in a country longing to heal.
 

My thoughtsLove Held Captive is a book driven by emotion. The four main characters have all been hurt by the Civil war. All have demons and are survivors. Their lives have been altered by the things they had to do, or had done to them.

This book focuses on forgiveness. The pain that some of the characters feel was caused by one wicked man. I do not consider him one of the main characters, but his actions drive this book. Each of the characters must come to terms with what he did to them or the one's they love. They must survive and prevail.

There is a quote from the book that really struck and appealed to me. "Someone recently told me writers and poets make wars seem glorious but only fools think that way."

I enjoyed this book. I loved the romance, it was sweet and tender. The healing and forgiveness are exemplary. It does mention rape, indiscretions, and violence. This is the third book in a series, but only the second I have read. I think that a reader could pick up this one without reading the first and follow along well.



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Shelley Shepard GrayAbout the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)  I live in southern Ohio with my husband, two teenagers, and two dogs. My days are filled with busy activities like most any other mom and housewife. But I also love to write books.

Each morning, after my kids go off to school, I sit at my desk, look out my window, and dream of other places. The hours fly by as I make up people and places and drink way too much coffee.

Writing for Avon Inspire has truly been a dream come true. Being able to spend my days in my make-believe world of the Brenneman Bed and Breakfast is a true blessing. I have enjoyed getting to know more about the Amish culture and tapping into my faith as I show each character’s progression toward a personal relationship with our Lord.

Before becoming a full time writer, I taught elementary school in Texas, Arizona, and Colorado. A job transfer to Ohio led my husband to encourage me to finally give writing a try. After all, I had notebooks full of made up stories.

I’ll never forget that first book I typed in our unfinished basement. It was exciting to make up a story, but also very scary. I was also so embarrassed, sure someone would come out of the woodwork and point out that I wasn’t a ‘real’ writer. But I persevered, and sold my third manuscript.

Things have changed a bit. Now I have a real office of my own. (think old guest bedroom!) My walls are painted pink, and more than a couple of book covers decorate my walls. But my days are still the same. I wake up, dream about other people, and do my best to type out stories.


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"The Secret of the Sacred Scarab" by Fiona Ingram is part of the Great Summer Reads tour!




I am a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, I was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked my new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with my mother and two young nephews. We had a great time and I thought I’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, I had changed careers. I have now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in my MG adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! I also teach online novel writing for aspiring authors and I find that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds me enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. I love doing research for my book series. I love animals and have written two animal rescue stories. I have two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.





In this exciting Middle Grade adventure set in Egypt, a 5000-year-old mystery comes to life. A scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out!





Author Interview:

1.     What is your favorite book that is not yours?
That’s such a hard question that I can’t answer it. I have a number of favourites in a variety of genres. I keep rereading them. That worries me a bit… I am busy rereading an old favourite by Michael Crichton, titled Prey.
2.     Do you write in multiple genres? Which genre is your favorite to write?
I have a lot of fun writing Regency romances (historical) under a pseudonym, Arabella Sheraton. Arabella is not just a pseudonym; she has emerged as her own personality (also a bit worrying) and is a very prolific writer (8 books!) – more so than ordinary old me. She has had umpteen interviews and I am obliged to do all her marketing. Arabella’s books are a lot of fun – romantic romps, lots of witty repartee and many extraordinary capers that heroes and heroines of yesteryear are involved with.
3.     When did you write your first book and how young were you?
Apart from writing nonsense poetry for family members and short stories when I was a kid, my first real book was The Secret of the Sacred Scarab and how I wish I had started it years earlier ... but my nephews wouldn’t have been born and they wouldn’t have been there to inspire me.
4.     If you could meet any author, past or present, who would it be and why?
Terry Pratchett, the author of The Discworld series. I have read them all, many times, and his creativity never ceases to inspire and amaze me. Plus, his subtle dry wit is also hilarious. He was a great observer of human behavior. I was devastated when he passed away. The world has lost a great writer.
5.     How long does it take you to write a book, and what was your fastest book to write?
My first book/s (including Arabella’s) took a couple of years. Now I am better at organizing my research and writing so a Middle Grade adventure takes about 18 months, with research and editing etc., and a Regency romance takes about 8 months. My fastest MG book was my most recent one The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. My fastest Regency romance was Married at Midnight.
6.     What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime?

I like to enjoy the sunshine, the good weather, the feeling of being relaxed, sitting on the patio with something cold and delicious to drink, and a book, of course!






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Friday, July 20, 2018

Veins of Gold by Charlie N. Holmbeg (Blog tour with a giveaway)


Veins of GoldVeins of Gold by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction



Book Description:  Desperate to save her siblings from poverty, a young woman discovers magic fueled by gold . . . and a love for the man who wields it. 

Abandoned by their father for the gold rush, Gentry and her siblings labor to survive alone in the inhospitable west. When bizarre natural disasters begin wreaking havoc on the land, Gentry discovers a world of magic. Desperate for help, she accepts aid from a mysterious stranger.

Winn not only sees the magic, but controls its hunger by feeding it gold—the very thing Gentry’s father left to acquire. But the earth’s unrest only grows worse, and Gentry’s fear leads her to a terrible choice: marry a wealthy man she does not love, or trust in Winn’s unpredictable power to save her family.
 



My thoughts: I am impressed. Charlie N. Holmberg has combined genres and created a wonderful book. This book contains some historical elements mixed with magic. She seamlessly brought them together to create a story that had a great feel to it.

One part that I particularly appreciated is that she made the earth a living entity. When you take away from part of the earth, balance needs to be restored in order to keep harmony. She also brought to life creatures that we normally dismiss. Even the locust has thoughts and can act. To me that was really cool, I loved it.

My favorite part was actually Gentry. She is a resilient young woman who had to grow up and take on responsibilities that she should have to worry about at a young age. I can't imagine living in a remote region during the pioneer times trying to feed and clothe a younger brother and sister with little to no resources. She is resilient. She was willing to give up the things that are important to her in order to take care of her family. She had friends who tried to help her see that it is OK to ask for help. We all need each other and that is why we are placed here, to help others in times of need.

The romance is sweet. Winn was the perfect romantic interest for her. He helped her see the beauty of the earth and all he asked is that she trust him. That is a hard one for someone who thinks that she has to do everything herself.

This is a great book for teens on up. It is clean and magical. I felt that there was a little bit of a sad tone to the book, but it all works out in the end.



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Charlie N. HolmbergAbout the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)  Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. Her fantasy Paper Magician series, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, and her novel The Fifth Doll won the 2018 Whitney for Speculative Fiction. She is a board member for Deep Magic Ezine and currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at www.charlienholmberg.com.


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July 16th: Book Geek Reviews



"Beyond" by Catina Haverlock & Angela Larkin looks like a Great Summer Read!



Catina worked her way through college as a TV reporter and a dating game show host. She's a sucker for Young Adult romance stories (both real and make-believe). She has a panache for match-making and loves that many of her "set-ups" have resulted in marriages. 

After spending most of her adult life in Las Vegas, Catina traded in tumbleweeds for earthquakes and now lives with her husband and four children near San Diego, California. If she's not home, chances are you can find her at the beach, Disneyland or In-N-Out Burger.

Angela Larkin writes clean teen romance and is a big fan of kissing (in life and in books). She's been a gold miner, a pool cleaner, a mannequin dresser, and a teacher. She's lived a true romance: meeting her husband in a case of mistaken identity. They recently moved with their four children from the sparkling city of Las Vegas to the shade of the North Carolina Pines. Chances are, she's reading past bedtime.






"Dangerous. Wrong.
She could be so close to finding out who I really am, and I don't want to think about how badly that could damage her. If I have any conscience, I'll turn and run. But I can't let her go."

Presley Hale has no idea the guy she just told off in the school parking lot died in a drowning accident four months ago. Why would she? It's not like she knows she can see the dead. Stunned by Presley's sixth sense, Landon Blackwood rethinks his planned departure and begins tracking her to find answers to their mysterious connection.

When their complicated relationship turns dangerous, they learn that tampering with the boundaries of death comes with consequences. Can Landon save Presley from the insidious spirits who have marked her for death, or was their love doomed from the beginning?



The next book in this Series is available this September!





Author Interview:

Catina:
1.     What is your favorite book that is not yours?
a.     Where She Went by Gayle Foreman
2.     Do you write in multiple genres? Which genre is your favorite to write?
a.     Yes, YA Romance and Middle Grade Fiction - I'm having a really good time with my current Middle Grade Work in Progress
3.     How young were you when you started writing?
a.     I wrote  news stories for television and print to pay my way through college, but didn't start writing a novel until I was in my early thirties
4.     If you could meet any author, past or present, who would it be and why?
a.     I'd have to meet Laura Ingles Wilder! Can you imagine the stories she'd have to tell?
5.     How long does it take you to write a book, and what was your fastest book to write?
a.     The first novel took way too long, only because I wasn't sure if it would ever become a reality and didn't push myself hard enough. After securing a publishing deal and being offered the sequel, my writing sped up tremendously! The fist one took years, the sequel took months.
6.     What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime?

a.     Hands down, spend time with my four kids, preferably reading to them trying new recipes or lounging at the beach!

Angela Larkin

1.     What is your favorite book that is not yours?
a.     I've re-read Dairy Queen by Katherine Gilbert Murdock 4 times! So funny and romantic!
2.     Do you write in multiple genres?
a.     Which genre is your favorite to write? Thus far I've only written contemporary YA romance, but would love to take a stab at New Adult and Historical.
3.     How young were you when you started writing?
a.     My first revenge story was called "How Matt Got Fat". I wrote it about my first grade classmate who snubbed my romantic overtures.
4.     If you could meet any author, past or present, who would it be and why?
a.      John Steinbeck was the first author to BLOW ME AWAY.
5.     How long does it take you to write a book, and what was your fastest book to write?
a.     I've only written one book without my co-author and the first draft took four months.
6.     What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime?

a.     I love to work on my fear of sharks to the point I can go in the ocean above my knees and actually float! If I can't conquer the fear that day, I love to ride beach cruisers on the boardwalk.





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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Looking for a "Great Summer Read" ~ try "Relics of the Divine" by Stephen R Watts




Stephen R. Watts was born and raised at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains in Northern Utah, where he developed a love for stories at a very young age. Having spent his adolescence creating alternate worlds where he could escape the hardships of mental illness, Stephen wanted nothing more than to grow up and write his own epic tales capable of entertaining readers in ways that reminds them of their untold worth. Stephen’s debut novel was a fourteen-year labor of love, and when he isn’t studying story craft he can be found traveling the world or spending quality time with his family in Salt Lake City.






When sixteen-year-old Harius is chosen to guard a mystic key and sword, he’s sure there’s been some mistake. Protecting the divine relics requires the celestial flame, a power that only mystic warriors can wield. And while Harius is training to become such a warrior, he’s lacked the faith needed to access the flame ever since his mother’s tragic death.

Despite his doubts, Harius accepts the calling at a time when evil forces threaten to destabilize his world. As the son of his nation’s most controversial leader, Harius soon becomes a delegate to a foreign land filled with technological marvels capable of saving his ancient race of winged men. Acquiring the necessary tech won’t be easy, though, as the king of this land won’t share it unless Harius uses the celestial flame to rescue the royal family from a foe out to conquer the realm.

With so much resting on his fragile faith, Harius fears he will ultimately fail. Yet, amid all the danger he will learn that the relics he guards hold the secret to not only restoring his faith, but to revealing his untold destiny.




Author Interview:

1)     What is your favorite book that is not yours?

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. The author’s narrative style and unique point of view of one of history’s most savage wars provided a fascinating look at human existence, reminding me as the reader that it’s not where you come from, but who you are as an individual that defines the quality of your character.

2)     Do you write in multiple genres? Which genre is your favorite to write?

Since the only books I’ve written so far have been for an epic fantasy series, I will have to say that this is my favorite genre to write. I do love science fiction, though, and wish to one day try my had at writing a sci-fi trilogy I’ve been playing around with for a while now.

3)     How young were you when you started writing?

I would say that I first tried my hand at writing novels when I was in middle school, though I’ve never finished any of those books. As far as creating stories, though, I can recall imagining a slew of epic tales as far back as the second grade.

4)     If you could meet any author, past or present, who would it be and why?

Of all my favorite authors, I would say I would want to meet Charles Dickens above all others. His novels, such as “A Christmas Carol,” are rich with symbolism that speaks about humanity in ways that transcends the time period in which it was written—and that is something I’ve aspired to achieve in my own writing.

5)     How long does it take you to write a book, and what was your fastest book to write?

As far as rough drafts  go, the fastest I’ve ever written a book was a month. It was during an advanced fiction writing course I took in college, in which the professor had me and my peers simply write the book without editing it. The manuscript I churned out for that course turned out to be my debut novel, which took six years and many revisions to get it ready for press. (Don’t ask me how many revisions it took, for I stopped counting after fifteen.)

6)     What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime?


Road trips/travel. I love visiting new places I’ve never been before, and when I can afford it I will take entire weeks out of my schedule to go on a trip that not only feeds my need for adventure, but also provides me with experiences that help me improve my stories.





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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Matchmakers Match by Brittany Larsen ~ Blog Tour with a giveaway!


The Matchmaker's Match by Brittany LarsenThe Matchmaker's Match by Brittany Larsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Description Eliza Woodhouse has everything a girl could want: a delightful little beachside flower shop, a loving family, and the best friend a girl could ask for. And while she suffers a chronic lack of romance in her own life, the bohemian beauty is a self-proclaimed matchmaker extraordinaire, as evidenced by her recent successes. Having found a fiancĂ© for her sister and a boyfriend for her best friend, she is now taking her lovelorn new employee under her wing. Yes, life is working out quite nicely for Eliza. Until Parker Knightley walks back into her life.

After three years in Hong Kong, Parker is in town for his brother's upcoming wedding to Eliza's sister. They've all known each other their whole lives, and Eliza will never be anything but Little Liza Belle to her handsome childhood tormenter. So the fact that their siblings are getting married simply puts Parker one step closer to becoming the big brother he and Eliza have always joked about him being. But the more time they spend together, the more confused Eliza's feelings become. Because she has come to the shocking realization that the role of brother is the last role she wants Parker to play in her life.



My thoughts: This is a cute book. It is set in the modern day, but it is a retelling of Jane Austen's "Emma". The characters are successful with good intentions, but things do not always turn out the way expected.

Eliza Woodhouse is a self proclaimed match-maker. Because she has had two successes, she thinks that she knows how to find someone the perfect match. Her intentions are good, but things don't work out the way she thinks they will. The characters are fun. I enjoyed Eliza, her best friend, the girl she is helping out, and Parker.

I liked the pacing of the book. Nothing feels rushed, it feels like a natural progression of events. The humor is great, and the setting is also well done. There really isn't anything that I didn't like/enjoy about this book.

If you enjoy a re-telling, or just want to read a good romance, you should pick this one up. It is a clean story with some kissing.


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Brittany Larsen
About the Author: (Taken from Amazon) Brittany Larsen may be an Idaho girl living in California, but at heart she is English. She loves all things Jane Austen and counts the time she and her husband viewed the couch where Emily Bronte died as one of their most romantic moments ever. Sadly, he has no recollection of it. When not reading nineteenth century English literature or writing her own romances, Brittany loves spending time with her three incredible daughters, Emma, Tess, and Jane, and her amazingly supportive husband, Shawn.

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