Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Shatter" blog Tour ~ by Nikki Trionfo




Shatter

Shatter by Nikki Tionfo

Source: Received ebook from publisher to review
Genre: YA Mystery


Book Description:  When a mysterious explosion kills her sister, Salem Jefferson becomes convinced the death was no accident—it was a conspiracy. But no one else at her high school believes her, and all she has so far is one clue. She knows Carrie hired a gang member to protect orchard workers. Problem is, Salem doesn't know who.

To find out, Salem pursues the gang-bangers who rule her town, especially classmate Cordero. As her distrust of Cordero heats up, so do the number of suspects in Carrie's death. Teachers and school officers are orchard owners. They have every reason to stop farm workers from demanding higher wages. With Carrie's killers still out there, Salem's not sure who she can trust. Meanwhile, the people who live on orchards and the people who pick them are drawing lines in the sand.

The only way for Salem to learn the truth is to slip behind those enemy lines.

The only way to survive is to find a way back out.

Shatter is the grand prize winner of the LDStorymakers First Chapter Contest that author Jolene Perry calls "a stunning debut that’ll keep you turning pages ’til the end."


My thoughts:  I hate it when I have to admit that I have not finished a book when I have a blog tour review scheduled.  At this time I am about 50% finished.

This is a fascinating book.  Salem wants to find out what happened to her sister.  She knows that her death was not an accident.  She gets out of her comfort zone and puts herself in situations to uncover the truth.  In the process she comes in contact with many dangerous people.  I think when I was her age, 16, I would have hid myself under my covers and tried to pretend that bad people were a figment of my imagination!

I am intrigued by a process she is undergoing for a class and how it correlates to her investigation.  She is studying the assassination of John Kennedy.  They are debating the probability of it being a conspiracy.  She is learning the different techniques that gangs, mobs, and foreign countries use to take out an enemy.  I am anxious to find out how it relates to the murder of her sister.

So far I don't have any concerns on content, other than the violence.  There are a few murders and she is present during a gang related shooting.  I  will leave a full review on Goodreads and Amazon when I have completed the book.

So far I am leaning to a 4 star rating.



Online purchase links:


Nikki TrionfoAbout the Author:  Nikki is a published short-story author and serve as the social coordinator of the LDStorymakers conference and chair of Storymakers Tribe. Shatter won the grand prize for all categories in the LDStorymakers’ First Chapter Contest and first place in the League of Utah Writers’ YA manuscript category. Nikki works in online marketing and, as a start to building a readership-platform, hosts a writing webinar channel with over a thousand views on YouTube under the name Fifty First Chapters.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wrong For You by Jenny Proctor (Blog Tour + Giveaway)




Wrong For You by Jenny Proctor Wrong For You by Jenny Proctor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from the Publisher to Review
Genre: LDS Contemporary Romance

Book Description:  Lane Bishop is a hardworking, intelligent, young woman. With her recent move to Chapel Hill, she is determined to leave behind the drama and effort of keeping up with the dating scene. Even so, Lane somehow manages to get dragged out by a gaggle of girls to go watch boys play soccer. Just watching is not Lane’s forte, so she joins in the fun and leads her team to victory.

Rather than feeling intimidated by the vivacious beauty on the opposing team, Jamie Hamilton is intrigued. Risking his “untouchable” dating status, he decides to pursue Lane—with a little help from his older brother Simon. With Simon’s behind-the- scenes assistance, Jamie proves irresistible, even to a disillusioned dater like Lane. But as she gets to know both brothers, Lane can’t help but wonder—beneath the grand gestures and romantic words, is she falling for the wrong guy?



My thoughts: This is a refreshing addition to the LDS Romance Genre. Lane is a vivacious young woman who has a lot to look forward to professionally. She is smart, athletic, with a great personality. She is a whole package for a lucky young man. In this case, it becomes a choice between two brothers.

From the beginning you learn through playing soccer and text between the brothers just how much they mean to each other. Relationships are tough enough, but when you have brothers interested in the same girl, it adds a layer of hurt feelings and knowing that a good guy is not going to be the winner.

There are some aspects of the book that I could really relate to, and they are at the beginning. I wasn't a fan of YSA Wards, I hate sushi, and I am allergic to walnuts. Now you have to read it to find out what the heck I am referring to. :) One thing that struck me in the book was the mention of prejudice in our society. Lane is bi-racial. She is Puerto Rican and African American. It is painful to be reminded that not everyone is looks at the person instead of just the color.

This is a cute romance that has LDS characters. It is a story that I feel can be appreciated by anyone who enjoys a book with different perspectives.



Online Purchase Links:



Jenny ProctorAbout the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)   Jenny Proctor was born in the mountains of Western North Carolina, a place she still resides and considers the loveliest on earth. She hikes to spend time with her family, runs because her love for food requires it, and writes because it keeps her calm in an otherwise crazy world. She believes that life in the south has a certain flair to it--and works to capture that flair in her novels.
Visit her WEBSITE!


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(Prize and notification will be coming from  Covenant Communications)


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Monday, May 15, 2017

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

The Silent Songbird by Melanie DickersonThe Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source:  Netgalley (For Review)
Genre: Historical Christian Romance



Book Description:  Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.

Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.

To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.

Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn't even a servant.

Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England's monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?



My thoughts: This book is full of excellent reading material! Romance, political intrigue, nobility posing as peasants, evil villain, a damsel who is not in distress, and men of honor and integrity.

The Silent Songbird is set during medieval times. That is a plus for me, that time period has always been fascinating to me. Maybe because I grew up with a mother who loved the Arthurian Legend. Put in a castle, feuding land holders, knights, and chivalry - I am hooked.

This book's MC is Eva. She is an illegitimate cousin to King Richard. She is to be used as a political pawn when she is betrothed to a cruel man. She is the damsel not in distress because she takes charge of her future. She leaves the castle, she becomes a servant. The book follows her life as a servant and the consequences to her running away from a betrothal.

I enjoyed the characters. The villains were not over the top, but believable. The book has some violence and kissing.



Online Purchase Links:


Melanie Dickerson
About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing's Best award, and her book, The Healer's Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.


Visit her WEBPAGE!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Left Hanging by Cindy Dorminy

Left HangingLeft Hanging by Cindy Dorminy
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received eBook from Red Adept publishing to review
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Description:  As a nurse and single mom, Darla Battle hides her loneliness behind a smile. But when she discovers that the new cute doctor everyone is talking about is her daughter’s father, she knows she needs to keep her distance from the man who abandoned her and their child, Stella.

When Theo Edwards returns to Nashville to finish his medical training, he never expects to run into Darla, a girl he spent one night with seven years ago. For reasons he can’t fathom, her attitude toward him is frosty, but he still hopes to ignite the spark they once felt.

Once Darla realizes Theo doesn’t know he’s Stella’s father, she has no idea how to tell him the truth. And the longer she waits, the more difficult it becomes. When the situation spins out of control, can the two come together for the sake of their daughter? Or is forgiveness out of reach?
 



My thoughts: This was a book that was full of emotions. It is a romance that tackles some very real"ish" points of life. Darla is a single mother who has an amazing daughter. She has worked hard to give her daughter every opportunity and all the love she can give. The one thing she hasn't been able to give her is her father.

That is the part where it becomes complicated. What should have been the start of a beautiful relationship turns into a one night stand when there an emergency that pulls the two apart. It really was a tragic part of the story, if the two had shared their real names from the beginning they would have been a family seven years earlier.

Theo's ex-girlfriend is a huge cause for drama. Some people just can't/won't let go. How Theo handles the situation isn't a huge point for him, but I could see his justification and frustration. You just have to read it to find out how it goes, because, well, i'ts complicated.

There are moments that are so sweet and lovely that I wanted for it to be roses and chocolate moments for them. But the two lack communication skills. Really, I just wanted to throw something at them, because they were messing everything up. Honesty is always good in relationships.d

I loved the medical situations in the book.  I found them fascinating.  Theo is a pediatrician, who happens to be diabetic.  Darla is a nurse.  There is also several other medical emergencies described.  It was great and believable.

The book has fade to black moments. The kissing is pretty intense and you know of what happened between the two of them, more as a memory of their past. It has some language. I would recommend this book to older (not young teens) romance readers.



Online Purhase Links:


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sense and Second Chances by Brittany Larsen + Tour Giveaway


Sense and Second Chances by Brittany LarsenSense and Second Chances by Brittany Larsen
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received from publisher to review.
Genre: Modern Day LDS retelling of classic.

Book Description:  Emily Carter is on the fast track to success when the unthinkable happens: a tragic accident claims the lives of her parents. Now Emily must set aside her dreams and raise her two younger siblings, Annie and Bryce. Emily and Annie are sisters, but that doesn’t mean they are anything alike. Whereas Emily reacts to the tragedy with her characteristic stoic calm, passionate Annie spirals into depression. Just when things seem like they can’t get any more difficult, Emily’s older half-brother and his fiancée arrive not to help, but to claim the family home he’s inherited from their parents. Without a place to call their own, Emily must take action—and fast.

When an exciting employment opportunity arises in Utah, the displaced Carters decide to build a new life in a new home. But it soon becomes clear that their future prospects will go far beyond professional, as each sister is faced with an unexpected romance. Yet love is never simple, and in matters of the heart, one sister must proceed with caution while the other needs to take a leap of faith . . .

My thoughts: Modern retelling of classic books have become one of my favorite genres. In this case, the book is a spin from Sense and Sensibility.

I couldn't help but love the cast of characters. Emily Carter is the sensible older sister left to take care of a younger brother and sister after the the tragic death of her parents. She put her goals and career on hold to fill the needs of her family. Annie is the younger sister with a floundering acting career suffering from severe depression, and there is an adorable younger brother.

The unexpected happened when an older half-brother decided to get married and take over his family home. They are uprooted and forced to find a new place to live. Fortunately, their father left them a ranch that needs a lot of work. It was fun to see the family step out of their comfort zone and lean and grow together.

The romance is sweet, but it does follow the original with the younger sister making some unwise choices and falling for the wrong guy. I loved that it followed the general plot of the original, but had it's own character.

A part that I particularly loved was the distinction between Judaism and Mormonism. This book has deep religious themes. It is written from an LDS (Mormon) perspective.



Online Purchase Links:


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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Friday, May 5, 2017

Possiblities: Partnering with God to Become Your Best Self by Kiersten Lortz + tour giveaway!


Possibilities: Partnering with God to Become Your Best SelfPossibilities by Kiersten Lortz
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from Publisher to Review
Genre: Self Help/ Inspirational


Book Description:  Do you feel stuck? Do you wish for a more joyful life than the one you’re leading? If the routine and pressures of life have you running on autopilot, it may be time to reevaluate your current course and remember that change begins within yourself—and it takes work! With refreshing insights, author Kiersten Lortz encourages you to stop waiting for things to get better and to expect the best out of life—not for yourself, but of yourself. Through inspired gospel teachings and personal experiences shared by women who have also felt stuck, you will be empowered to make the changes necessary to claim a more fulfilling and abundant life. Now is the time to transform yourself into a woman of industry and faith. By learning to eliminate negative influences, seek positivity, and create a life of productivity, you can find the strength to take action today.


My thoughts: I have to admit that I have felt "stuck" with my life for a long time.  I make goals and then do not follow through.  I want my life to be better, but I have not taken the steps necessary to make it better.  I don't think that I am alone in this cycle.

Kiersten Lortz felt inspired to write a book about making her life better.  She had been praying about becoming happy.  As usual, her answer wasn't given to her.  Instead she was prompted to search it out and write a book.  I am grateful for her promptings because she has shared her research with all of us, I definitely need the inspiration!

I was struck by her words in the first chapter.  It is under the header of the "List".
     "Get started by writing down your desires.  Divide your paper into four sections, and label them   Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, and Emotional.  Under each section list your desires for that area of your life.  See if you can include at least one to-be and one to-do in each category.  This will  enable you to become your best self by aligning what you are doing with the person you want to  become."
She then goes on to show a sample list and explain the importance of each category.  After this she made a statement that for me was one of those "light bulb" moments.  It brought it together.  The thing is that I know the principle, sometimes it take someone to word it one way, or share their insight that makes it finally sink in to my brain.
     "Once your list is compiled, you are ready for the final step --- making it happen.  This is the place  where most of us stay stuck, which is why the rest of this book is dedicated to taking action.  Why  do so many of us hesitate to move forward or allow defeat to come so easily?  The reasons are  endless--- guilt, laziness, low self-esteem, obligations, and on and on.  Guilt, in particular, is   always telling us we should be taking care of everyone else and leaving ourselves in the dust,  there to wallow until all the children are grown, the house and cars are paid off, and our husband's  career is winding down.  Only then, we say, it is 'our turn,'"

She also talks about the adversary putting up road blocks.  He doesn't want us to be happy.  He wants us to be miserable.  This is a book that I needed at this time in my life.

The book is written with LDS terms, but the message is universal.  I believe that it can be enjoyed by anyone.  The terms are defined, in case it may be confusing.



Online purchase links:

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Deseret Book 

To see Kiersten's story, visit her WEBPAGE.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Blog Hop for "Spring Wedding Collection" (With a giveaway)

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Genre: Christian, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Celebrate Lit Publishing
Publication date: May 3, 2017
Number of pages: 156

A Proxy Wedding

Carly James values loyalty and friendship above all, so when her best friend calls asking her to be a proxy bride, she says, ‘yes.’ How hard can it be to say ‘I do’ so that her best friend can be with the one she loves? Only, Carly never counted on the feelings that began to swirl around with the proxy groom.
Damien Nichols likes life lined up from A to Z, but when his best friend calls in a favor, disorder begins to reign. Instead of taking a quick flight to the proxy wedding, he must take a road trip with the proxy bride. Carly’s free-spirit attitude bumps heads with his meticulous approach to life. As Damien discovers the woman underneath the carefree façade, his emotions become involved.
Will love become real at A Proxy Wedding?
Hope Beyond Savannah
Lily Allman and Nikotemo (Nik) Lagatuo were the poster children for the term “opposites attract.” He was an evangelist and CEO for a non-profit from Samoa who grew up in a large loving family.  She was a blond bombshell with a funky style and no family to call her own. Two of the most unlikely people meet in the most unlikely of places, but God had a plan when He brought them together. They never let their differences deter them from the love they had for each other, but when Nik’s mother comes to the States for the wedding, the idea of wedded bliss is shaken.  Can prejudices be over looked, insecurities overcome, and hope for a better future be restored so that these two can have all that was promised?
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“You want me to do what?”
Carly James couldn’t believe her ears. She stared at her cellphone to ensure it wasn’t a prank call. One glance around her apartment told her Ashton Kutcher wouldn’t be jumping out to inform her she’d been pranked. Plus, the military phone number on the caller ID assured her it was her best friend, Brenda, calling.
“I want you to stand in for me at my wedding. You’ll be my proxy bride.”
“I’ve never even heard of such a thing.”
“It’s real simple. You say the vows as me and voilà, I’m married.”
Carly plopped down onto her oversized living room chair. Her head felt like she just jumped off a swing. “Why can’t you wait and plan a wedding like normal brides, Bren?”
“Because we both have orders that will only widen our separation. I’m headed to Alaska once this deployment’s done and Adam has orders to Japan.”
She bit her lip. That was a pretty far gap. Brenda had met Adam on a work trip to Las Vegas six months ago. Despite the fact they were only around each other for one month, it was enough for the two to bond and start a relationship. Now, they wanted to marry. She shook her head at the fastness of it all.
“So if I stand in for you,” she started cautiously. “The marriage will be legal and you can get your orders changed?”
“Exactly.”
Seems harmless enough. “Then only the bride has to have a proxy?”
Silence spanned the airwaves.
“Bren, are you still there?”
“Yes, I am. I, uh…the answer is no.”
“No?” Incredulity filled her voice. “What does that mean?”
“It means Adam should be having this same conversation with his best friend. We want both of you to stand in for us.”
Carly groaned. This had trouble written all over it.
“And I might as well tell you, it needs to happen in Montana.”
“What? Are you insane?”
“Carls,” Brenda whined, using her nickname. “Montana is the only state that does a double proxy wedding. We could have hired a service to take care of all the necessary paperwork, but that just seems so impersonal. We want it to be special even if we won’t be together when it happens.”
She squeezed her eyes shut. This was not happening. Had she rolled out of bed only to land in some alternate universe?

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Toni Shiloh

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Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.
She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the president of the Virginia Chapter.
You can find her on her website at http://tonishiloh.weebly.com/

Melissa Wardwell

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Melissa is married to her high school sweetheart and is a stay at home mom who homeschools their 3 children. When she isn't teaching or writing, you will find her on the back of a motorcycle or curled up on the couch, reading. Writing had never been in the plans for her life but now she can not imagine doing anything else. Her prayer is that each story blesses the reader in some way- whether it ministers to them or just gives them a break for the  chaotic moments in life . 
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