Sunday, February 1, 2015

Valentine's Day Book Blitz Count Down ~ "A Change of Plans" by Donna K Weaver (Day 1)

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DAY 1:
A Change of Plans 
by Donna K Weaver

When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old Colorado high school teacher wants is to forget that her dead fiancĂ© was a cheating scumbag. What she plans is a vacation diversion; what fate provides is Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship’s make-believe world and its temporary friendships, her emotions come alive.

However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he navigates, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship—on the very anniversary Lyn came on the cruise to forget. But Lyn’s painful memories are too powerful, and she runs off in a panic.

Things are bad enough when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise’s snorkeling excursions in American Samoa. However, paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped. Lyn’s fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.

I reviewed this book on June 3, 2013.  

Check out my review Here!

(FYI- I gave it 5 stars)

Read an Excerpt

About the Author:  A wife, mother, grandmother, Harry Potter geek, Army veteran, and karate black belt. Author of the Safe Harbors series and Second Chances 101, Book 5 in the Ripple Effect series.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

The Azra's Pith Series for Middle Grade Readers

The Return of General Drake (Azra's Pith, Book 2)The Return of General Drake by Elizabeth Parkinson Bellows
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Source: Received from the Author to Review
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Book Description: When Alexander arrived in Verhonia, something went terribly wrong. A dark spell delivered from the mountains of Acadia sent him on a dangerous journey in the middle of the night. As he marched into the mountains the great city of Verhonia was ambushed and burned to the ground by Roman’s army of vicious giant murks. 
With a battle looming over the realm, General Drake was asked to come back to Azra’s Pith. He swore he would never return; but after discovering his son was under a spell and in the grips of a dark sorcerer he had no choice.
Things take a wild turn in the mountains; with runaways, hungry wolves and a mysterious, young empyrean wizard thrown into the adventure. A tight race against time and evil was in full swing. With faith and a little magic they just might come out on top.

My thoughts: It has been a while since I read the first book. The details of the land and story are vague in my memory.

I think it would be helpful to read the books right after the other to appreciate the story more.

This book takes place in a parallel world. Alexander is the King's grandson and as such he is a valuable person in the war between good and evil. As this story begins he is put under a spell to leave home and find his way to Imperius.

This book is about his father trying to rescue him, a war, and finding good friends. It moves at a quick pace and the writing style is easy for children to follow along.  I can't say that it was my favorite series for Middle Grade, but it is full of imagination and would be a book that many Middle Grade readers will enjoy.

View all my reviews The Butterfly Curse (Azra's Pith, Book 3)The Butterfly Curse by Elizabeth Parkinson Bellows
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Source: Received from the Author to Review
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Book Description:  Several years have passed since the battle in the mountains. Azra's Pith was peaceful and Alexander was in love, but something still didn't seem right. Alexander wondered what had become of Imperius. The dark sorcerer was out there somewhere. Did it still have powers? Was it hunting Alexander? He looked over his shoulder day and night until he realized his worries were consuming him. He made a promise to let go of his fears. 

For Alexander timing has always had a sense of irony. On a beautiful, worry-free day, an adventure with the river pirates brings him face to face with Imperius again. The dark sorcerer vanished, taking Sarah, Alexander's love. To find her he will have to travel through the depths of evil and face Imperius once and for all. About to lose the love of his life the same way he lost his mother, Alexander's only hope is a leap of faith and the Butterfly Curse.

My thoughts: This is the third and final installment to the Azra's Pith series.

Alexander and his friends have enjoyed several years of quiet. Alexander knew that Imperius was waiting to make a move. He knew that Sarah was still in danger. He wasn't sure how much power Imperius possessed or when he would strike.

A pleasant outing turns dangerous when Imperius kidnaps Sarah. This gives Alexander the determination to track down Imperius and save Sarah, the girl he loves.

This book has adventure and is written at a very quick pace that will hold a middle grade readers attention. In this installment Alexander is a teen, so a little older than the target reader. There is also a few mild kisses.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book Review ~ "Beyond All Dreams" by Elizabeth Camden

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source; Received from Publisher to Review
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Book Description:  Sweeping and Romantic Historical Drama from an Award-Winning Author 
Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. She is thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, but her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.
Luke Callahan was one of the nation's most powerful congressmen until his promising career became shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship.
Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglement with a member of Congress.
From the gilded halls of the Capitol, where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for themselves?

My thoughts: Anna O'Brien has her dream job. She works in the Library of Congress and is taking part in moving from the "old" library to the "new". The book is set in the late 1890's in Washington D.C. Anna is single and finds fulfillment in her life. She has regrets and hopes, but her biggest desire is to find out what happened to the ship The Culpeper. The ship her father lost his life on 15 years ago.

I liked that Anna is removed from her comfort zone when the dashing Congressman, Luke Callahan, whirls into her life. His energy and inquisitiveness pull her along in his wake. He has the right spark to help her break free from some of her inhibitions and so she can excel.

The book has a underlying mystery. Anna searches to uncover discrepancies in a report about the Culpeper. Her research is putting her in danger. There are secrets that are best left uncovered. I really enjoyed how she is determined to put the truth in the history books. Part of her drive is to find out what happened to her fathers. Her intentions are honorable, in spite of the opposition surrounding her.

The romance is a little volatile in nature. Anna and Luke are opposites in many ways. Rather than it being an insurmountable obstacle, their differences actually compliment each other. They just need to realize how good they are together and to open their minds and hearts and begin to trust.

I really enjoyed this story. There is a strong Christian theme in the book. It is a clean romance.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book Blast ~ "Rough Edges" by Kimberly Krey + giveaway

Rough EdgesRough Edges by Kimberly Krey Divorced mother, Allie Emerson, never imagined she’d be raising two teenage girls on her own. Between parenting and paying the bills, she hasn’t even thought about meeting a man. That changes once she hears local carpenter, Braden Fox, is in need of a secretary. Back in high school, Allie had done all she could to deny the sparks burning between her and Braden; perhaps now they could explore the possibilities. Braden has heard all about what Terrance did to Allie and the girls, has been planning to stop by and see how she’s getting along, but Allie beats him to it by showing up at his shop in search of a job. Her single visit reignites the old flame Braden used to torch for her; trouble is, old feelings of resentment return as well. Allie did choose Terrance over him, after all. And as much as Braden wants Allie in his life, he’s not sure he can open his heart again. With this second chance at romance, will the bumps in their relationship be too much to get over, or will this carpenter learn to smooth out the past?

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Read an Excerpt:

Their eyes met once more, and a shot of heat flooded his chest like a liquid bolt of lightening, forcing his pulse to rush. “I’ve missed you,” he blurted. 

Her eyes widened in response, and Braden wondered if he’d been too bold. He’d hardly meant to speak it. It’d been more of a thought. A longing, really.

 At last she nodded. “Yeah,” she said, her voice soft and low. “I … I’ve been wondering about you too. How you’ve been over the years. I kept asking Terrance who you were dating. If you were close to marrying anyone…” Her words drifted off for a breath, but then she spoke up again. “You admitted that you’d turned down our offers to come to dinner and catch up.” She studied him for a moment, a challenge presented in her gaze. “All those years. Why didn’t you just come?” 

“You know why.” He’d nearly spoken over her, but he couldn’t help it. 

“No, Braden, I don’t.”

 He nodded adamantly, taking a step back and folding his arms. “Think about it, Allie.” ... 

“I have thought about it –” 

“Not nearly enough, apparently,” he snapped. 

“I’ve thought about it all these years. It hurt my feelings. I thought we were friends.” ... 

Braden bit back his words and broke into a pace. 

“Braden,” she said, “I wanted you to stay a part of our lives. You were the best influence Terrance had and you just stopped being his friend? Why would you do that?” 

Braden froze in place. “I was a better friend to him than you’ll ever know.” Or possibly the worst, he realized. He strode back, his gaze set on her. “And I didn’t want to be your friend, Allie. I wanted more than that and you know it.”

 Her face fell flat. Her lips parted. But no words came. She cleared her throat, casting her eyes to the floor. 

“Yeah,” he said. “Don’t pretend that you don’t know. I made it clear. And as soon as I did you started setting me up with every friend you had. Including Kayla.” 

“That’s not…” Her face flushed red. Her lips tightened. “That’s not how it went, Braden.” The silence that followed was painful. The tension wedged in each passing second pressed at Braden’s last nerve.

 “Well,” he said, “this has been a nice trip down memory lane, but if you don’t mind I’ve got to get back to work. Come on out when you’re ready.” He turned away from her in one quick jerk and walked out of the kitchen, one long stride after the next.


  Praise for Rough Edges "Kimberly Krey never fails to truly amaze and captivate my heart ... She has done it yet again with this heart stopping journey of a second chance at a once in a lifetime love." ~Amber @ Wonderings of One Person "An utterly charming romance!" ~Jamie Brook Thompson   

Kimberly Krey  Author Kimberly Krey Writing Romance That's Clean Without Losing the Steam! I'm a reader of good, clean romance, a lover of family time and Diet Coke, and the ultimate hater of laundry. I'm not patient enough to enjoy yoga, or tall enough to be great at basketball, but I do love to run - anywhere but on a treadmill. I love the sound of a rainstorm when I have no place to go, the feel of Soft Lips chap Stick on my lips, and the first peek of blue water as we round the mountains toward our favorite getaway in Bear Lake.

50_Amazon_Paypal    $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/18/15 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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review ~ "Gravediggers" by Cindy M. Hogan

Gravediggers by Cindy M. Hogan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: YA Mystery/Suspense

Book Description:  Seventeen-year-old Billy thinks his father’s murder will never be solved — until he stumbles across an old ammo box while digging a grave in his small-town Tennessee cemetery.

What he finds leads him to question everything he knows, and his search for answers will uncover more than he bargained for: lies, secrets, and conspiracies — and behind them all, a dangerous truth.

My thoughts: Billy is seventeen and has unanswered questions from his father's death 10 year earlier. His goal is to become an FBI agent and solve the case, bringing justice for his father.

When he finds a ammo box full of jewels and cash while digging a grave his timetable to solve the case transforms. While investigating the case, he uncovers clues that put him in pursuit of the killer. He is joined by his best friend, Henry, and Henry's cousin visiting for the summer.

I enjoyed reading about the process of uncovering clues and eliminating useless information. Billy, Henry, and Amanda make a great team. For Billy's part, it doesn't hurt that Amanda is attractive and fun to be with. She's smart and helps turn the investigation in the right direction.

Billy learns about letting go of the past and what it truly means to love and forgive. He has faced countless trials because of his father's death. They have made him a stronger person, he now faces his biggest challenge.

The emotions that he goes through can be a little tough to read. His grief and longing for his father are understandable and relate-able. A strong part in the story for me is that he is a good kids. He is likable.

This book contains some violence at the end. I would caution readers who are sensitive to other's emotions in reading this book. Billy has an unchecked sense of vengeance at the end that is tough to read.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review ~ "The Skeleton in My Closet Wears a Wedding Dress" by Sally Johnson

The Skeleton in My Closet Wears a Wedding Dress by Sally Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received electronic copy from the Publisher
Genre: LDS Romantic Comedy

Book Description:  Beautiful, young Sophia Davis is confident that her decision to marry Travis will lead her to eternal bliss—but when her new husband abruptly files for divorce, she is completely blindsided. With the whole world falling apart, what’s a nineteen-year-old divorcĂ©e to do? The answer for Sophia is simple: she picks up the pieces of her shattered heart and returns to BYU. Hoping for a clean slate, she embarks on her freshman year—again. But this time, Sophia has a skeleton in her closet, and she’ll go to any length to protect her secret. As she reluctantly navigates a world populated by newly returned missionaries, sweet Suzie Homemakers, and serious students, she finds herself turning more and more to her home teacher Luke. As their friendship blossoms, will Sophia allow herself to trust again in the hope of a true happy ending?

My thoughts: This was a fun romantic comedy for me to read. The main character, Sophia, is struggling with depression and self-worth. Her whirl-wind romance and marriage of four months ended in divorce and she is trying to figure out what happened and slowly move on with her life.

The roommates and neighboring apartment of men are wonderful characters to help Sophia pull out of her rut. In their own unique way they provide fun, laughter, or a kick in the pants to help motivate her.

The time frame for this book takes place between Fall to Spring Semester's at BYU. There is a lot of talk of religion and LDS specific values.

In the end this book provided a feeling of hope and the joy of moving away from a bad period in life and putting it behind you.

Book Review ~ "Contact" by Laurisa White Reyes

ContactContact by Laurisa White Reyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Genre:YA Paranormal

Book Description:  It takes only half a second…

…Like those commercials where a crash test dummy rockets forward at high speed and slams into a wall.
…In that instant, every thought in Emma Lynn Walsh’s head collides with mine—every thought, memory, hope, disappointment and dream.
…I open my eyes to see Dr. Walsh peering at me, a puzzled expression on her face.

“Let—go—of—me,” I order though clenched teeth.

Mira wants to die. She’s attempted suicide twice already, and failed. Every time she comes in contact with another person, skin to skin, that person’s psyche uploads into hers. While her psychologist considers this a gift, for Mira, it’s a curse from which she cannot escape.

To make matters worse, Mira’s father is being investigated in the deaths of several volunteer test subjects of a miracle drug. Shortly after Mira’s mother starts asking questions, she ends up in a coma. Although her father claims it was an accident, thanks to her “condition” Mira knows the truth…but proving it just might get her killed!

My thoughts; When the book opens, Mira has just attempted her second suicide attempt. It doesn't take long for the reader to discover that she has an ability which affects her mental health. When she has skin to skin contact with another person she can read their life history. It is a burden that is difficult for a 16 year old girl.

Her ability leads her down a path of mystery and danger. I don't feel like I can expound on that too much because I don't want to give away any part of the explosive conclusion.

There are some great secondary characters. Laurisa White Reyes does a great job at keeping the reader close to discovering the truth, but far enough away that it is a surprise. She has many false paths that Mira starts down, only to discover there is another path. Eventually the truth comes out and leads to an exciting and dangerous conclusion.

This book definitely caught my attention. This is the first book of the author's that I have read and it won't be the last.

This book is also part of Goodreads Giveaways until 2/9/15

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Novella Review ~ "An August Bride" by Debra Clopton

An August Bride (A Year of Weddings, #9)An August Bride by Debra Clopton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley (received to review)
Genre: Clean Christian Romance

Book Description:  A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.

Kelsey vowed never to love a cowboy again. But then she meets Brent.
After a cowboy broke her heart, Kelsey Wilcox traded in her boots for flip-flops and a bistro on the beautiful sandy beach of Corpus Christi. Two years later, still not believing in happy endings, she is about to endure a weekend of torture at her cousin's beach wedding. Not only will she be forced to watch yet another wedding, but her great-aunt and her two best friends---aptly nicknamed 'the matchmaking posse of Mule Hollow'---are coming to the wedding, and Kelsey is sure to be on their radar.

Brent Corbin has had his share of bad luck with women and isn't looking for love or looking forward to the weekend of wedding festivities as a groomsman for his friend. When he sees a commotion on the beach and what appears to be a mermaid in distress, he doesn't hesitate to dive to the rescue. His attention is instantly captured by the woman he's saved and it turns out they're part of the same wedding party. But the instant Kelsey spots his soaking wet boots she wants no part of him.

Thrown together through the weekend and with the meddlesome encouragement from the matchmakers, Brent is determined to pursue Kelsey and change her mind about cowboys. Sparks fly at this August wedding as Kelsey and Brent dance a rocky Texas two-step toward a beach wedding of their own.

My thoughts: I thought that this book was very sweet and cute.

Kelsey is afraid to enter into a relationship. Her heart was broken by a cowboy when she was left at the alter. While I could see her taking time off from relationships, I didn't think that she should lump all cowboys into the same category. Not every cowboy leaves broken hearts behind him.

Brent was a fun character. He is immediately taken by Kelsey. He wants her to see him as an individual.

The setting was romantic. Kelsey's cousin was married on the beach. Romance was in the air, Kelsey just tried to hide from it.

This book takes place in just a few weeks. While Kelsey was reluctant, Brent was persistent. I really enjoyed the different ways he thought up to get her to give him a chance.

This is a cute and fun novella that is a clean romance.

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