Friday, April 29, 2016

"Whispers of the Past" by Lena Roach

Whispers of the PastWhispers of the Past by Lena Roach
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Source: Received from Publisher to Review
Genre: Christian Romance

Book Description:  On her last night at as owner and manager of her family’s antique business, a stranger arrives at Tessa’s doorstep with an impossible dream: find and replace a one-of-a-kind chair. Having lost more in his life than just a chair, Brian convinces Tessa to procure and restore the furnishing for his stately family home. With conflicting feelings of attraction for Brian and an embarrassment for her uncle’s dishonesty, Tessa tries to begin her life anew. But the main women in Brian’s life, his beautiful business partner Simone and his sister Darrie don’t want the complication that Tessa brings. They want the family home sold, not restored and will stop at nothing to get their way. Can Tessa do the impossible? Find and replace these antique pieces as well as show Brian that Christians really are good people and find a little love along the way?

My thoughts: I loved the story behind this book. Tessa is an antiques dealer who's good name has been compromised because of the dishonesty of her Uncle. She has just lost her family business when a stranger knocks on her door looking for help in locating a particular antique chair. Brian becomes her hero when he saves her from an accident and gives her a job.

Yes, the two are instantly attracted to each other, but they do not act on it immediately. This story takes place over a period of time. The story is mostly Tessa's. Her life at Brian's mansion searching for antiques is described. The relationships that she creates, both good and bad, are related.

This book has a strong religious core. Tessa is a devout Christian. Brian has lost his faith due to tragedy. Tessa worries about him quite a bit and prays for him. The fundamental faith of Christian's is the heart of this book. I love reading about people with strong convictions.

The book fell flat somewhere for me. I didn't connect with the characters and I would have liked to know more about the process Brian went through. His feelings were experienced through Tessa's viewpoint. Their relationship is a key point of the book, I felt that it could have been explored and explained more. There were parts that left me a little confused.

Overall this is a good book. I enjoyed it. I would have liked a little more character and relationship development. This is a clean book.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Solstice" by Jane Redd

Solstice by Jane Redd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received eBook to Review
Genre: YA Dystopian

Book Description: Four ways to get Banished from the last surviving city on earth are: 1. Cut out your emotion tracker, 2. Join a religious cult, 3. Create a rebellion against the Legislature, 4. Fall in love.

Jezebel James does all four.

Jez is on the fast-track to becoming a brilliant scientist, with one goal—to save her city from total extinction. Her caretakers have entrusted her with a secret plan to stop the rain from flooding the rest of the earth and start civilization anew. But the more Jez learns about the price of a fresh beginning, the more she realizes that carrying out the plan will lead to few survivors, and among the dead will be those she cares about the most.

My thoughts: Wait? No, no, no! It ended?

I stayed up anxiously swiping my tablet from one page to the next. It was midnight. I was invested, I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen. I swiped for the next page and found out that the book was over and I had to wait for the next one. I realized that I should have put the book down an hour earlier and saved the ending for the morning!

"Solstice" is a dystopian book. The world is covered in water. The rains have not stopped for decades. The people have all moved to high ground and the Government controls where people live, their job, education, reproduction, relationships, emotions, etc. Jezebel is a 16 year old student who is not controlled by the chip that is in all of the citizens. The chip controls emotions. Jezebel learned from an early age to reign in her emotions so that she will not be punished and controlled.

Jez is in a world of secrecy. She has hid her true self for many years and is unsure of who she can trust. There are two young men who are key to some of her decisions. Even when the book ended, I am not sure that either of them are completely trustworthy. The author has done a wonderful job at keeping the reader guessing. There are many possibilities in the direction that she can take the plot. I am anxiously awaiting the next pages! I want to know what happens to Jez and her friends.

This is a clean YA book that has kissing and non-graphic violence.

You can purchase a copy at:

About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  Writing under Jane Redd, Heather B. Moore is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than a dozen historical novels set in ancient Arabia and Mesoamerica. She attended the Cairo American College in Egypt and the Anglican International School in Jerusalem and received her Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University. She writes historical thrillers under the pen name H.B. Moore, and romance and women's fiction under the name Heather B. Moore. It can be confusing, so her kids just call her Mom.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Spotlight ~ "Change of Heart" by Jennifer Moore + tour giveaway

Change of Heart 
  Change of Heart by Jennifer Moore This summer, Nathaniel Cavanaugh vacations in Lobster Cove to spend quality time with his kids after his estranged wife’s tragic death. Successful and well-connected, he is on the fast-track to the highest legal positions in the country, but his family life suffers. After an accident throws Val nearly into his lap and costs her a job opportunity, Nathaniel surprises himself by overlooking her outlandish appearance and lack of qualifications to offer her a job as his nanny for the summer. Valdosta McKinley wishes for an internship at a Paris Art Institute to use her newly acquired art-history skills. She knows Nathaniel could never develop feelings for a girl from a trailer in a rural West Virginia holler—a lesson she learned the hard way years earlier. Will pursuit of their professional goals require Nathaniel and Val to give up the dream of being a family?


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READ an Excerpt:

The crashing of waves soothed him and let him relax as he enjoyed the warm drink. His eyes drifted shut.

    “Mr. Cavanaugh?”

With a start, he opened his eyes. “I really think you should call me Nathaniel.” He was starting to get drowsy.

        “Sir, that would be completely inappropriate, not when I’m working for you.”

    “That’s true, but sometimes you don’t seem like an employee.”

Val raised her eyes and their gazes met. “I don’t act very professional, do I?”

    “That’s not what I meant. Sometimes, you seem more like a friend.” Nathaniel could tell that his guard was down. Why did talking to someone at night free people of their inhibitions? He needed to be careful not to say anything he’d regret.

Val picked at her nails. “I need to thank you again for coming to get me. It’s the second time you’ve rescued me. I’m not doing very well in the whole ‘being an independent woman’ department, am I?”

    “That’s what friends do.” He closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the chair. Moments later, he sleepily registered Val had moved the blanket to cover him and took the empty mug from his hand, but he was too tired to do more than mutter,     “Thanks.”

    “Good night, Nathaniel.” 


JenniferAuthor Jennifer Moore Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world that includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that is anything but romantic. She suffers from an unhealthy addiction to 18th and 19th century military history and literature. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family, but most of the time wishes she was on board a frigate during the Age of Sail.

$25 Blog Tour giveawayBlog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 5/1/16 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

Blog Tour Schedule
April 18th
  I Am A Reader - Spotlight Julie Coulter Bellon - Review Literary Time Out - Review Cuzinlogic - Spotlight Literary Chanteuse - Spotlight Susan Heim on Writing - Spotlight

 April 19th
Getting Your Read On - Review Tifferz and her Sisterz - Review Heidi Reads... - Spotlight Why Not? Because I Said So! - Spotlight beck valley books - Spotlight Coffee Books & Art - Spotlight

  April 20th
My Book a Day - Review Reading List - Review Katie's Clean Book Collection - Review Bunny's Review - Spotlight LeahSay's Views - Spotlight

 April 21st
Wishful Endings - Review Simple Wyrdings - Review Kindle and Me - Spotlight My Creatively Random Life - Spotlight Queen Of All She Reads - Spotlight

 April 22nd
Books Are Sanity!!! - Review Bookworm Lisa - Spotlight Hearts & Scribbles - Spotlight Mel's Shelves - Spotlight BookHounds - Spotlight

 April 26th
Singing Librarian Books - Review Rockin' Book Reviews - Spotlight Min Reads and Reviews - Spotlight Rebecca Belliston - Spotlight Diana's Book Reviews - Spotlight

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"Royal Brides" by Traci Hunter Abramson + Tour Giveaway

Royal BridesRoyal Brides by Traci Hunter Abramson
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received from Publisher to Review
Genre: LDS Suspense/Romance

Book Description:  In this eagerly anticipated companion novel to Royal Target and Royal Secrets, readers are invited back to the shimmering Mediterranean paradise of Meridia, where two royal weddings in a year are more than stressful—they’re deadly . . .

Lovely Meridian native Noelle Saldera yearns for adventure, but as the daughter of palace servants, working at Prince Stefano’s royal wedding may be as exciting as her life will get. But her options change drastically when she finds herself in the unlikely position of diffusing a bomb at the ceremony and being enlisted as the newest member of Meridian Intelligence—another wedding is in the works, and there can be no more close calls when Prince Stefano’s brother, Garrett, walks down the aisle. 

The bombing attempt at the first royal wedding leaves few clues as to the assailant’s identity. Desperate for answers, Meridian officials enlist CIA agent Jeremy Rogers to prevent a repeat occurrence at the upcoming nuptials. The beauty of the plan: the bride is Jeremy’s sister, so his cover is foolproof. What no one could anticipate is the instant connection between Jeremy and Noelle. Now, with their hearts on the line, the pair must work together to stop a seemingly unstoppable enemy before time runs out.

My thoughts: This is the third book featuring the Royals of Meridian. This is also the first book I have read in the series. I have purchased the kindle edition of Royal Target, but have not had the opportunity to read it yet. While I understood what was happening in this story, it would have been better for me to read the other books.

 This book was full of suspense. Jeremy Rogers has been called to work on the attempted bombing of Prince Stefano's wedding. The attempt was thwarted by an alert by-stander. She becomes a central figure in spying on the staff to stop another attempt at Prince Garrett's wedding. At the beginning neither of them know that the other is working on the case, they know that they have chemistry together.

This book has some twists that kept me guessing. I really wanted to know who the bad guys are. I also enjoyed the way that Noelle and Jeremy got to know each other. There is an undeniable connection between them.

Traci Hunter Abramson does a wonderful job in the action/suspense genre. I have many of her books on my to-read list and I look forward to taking the time to do it.

This book has violence and kissing.  It is also written with characters who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  It has religious references but that was not one of the main points of the story.

Purchase links:

About the Author: (Taken from Deseret Book)  Originally from Arizona, TRACI HUNTER ABRAMSON spent much of her childhood exploring the little town of Pinewood. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. Since leaving the CIA, Traci has written multiple novels, including the Undercurrents trilogy, Royal Target, and the Saint Squad series. When she's not writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and their four children. She also enjoys cooking, although she prefers an electric stove to the wood-burning variety.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection Tour ~ "Sleeping Beauty" (review + giveaway)

Sleeping Beauty by Jenni James
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Faerie Tale Re-telling

Book Description:  The sleeping girl has no idea she is asleep. 

After Aleyna witnessed the cruel deaths of her family, she was put to sleep by Ezralon the unicorn. He has been keeping her safe, hidden in the forest, until her true prince could come and rescue her. 

While Aleyna is protected in the forest, her spirit walks the halls of her ruined, deserted castle in a dream-like existence, believing everything is still perfect. However, she is halted in this state—almost as if time were frozen—until the prince awakens her. 

Prince Darién of Lybrooke Court loves a challenge as much as the next man, but believes it will be a fool’s errand to rescue a ghost who is already dead! He’s convinced no one could have survived sleeping thirty years, so what is the point of rescuing a girl who is quite content to haunt on her own?

Of course, if Darién wasn’t so afraid of ghouls, this whole thing could be much easier to fathom... 

My thoughts: I enjoy fairy-tale re-tellings.  This book is obviously based on the Sleeping Beauty story.  It shares with the original a slumbering Princess (or in this case a Queen), a valiant handsome Prince, and an evil sorceress, and the spell broken by loves kiss.  That is where I found the similarities to end.

This story has a unicorn who saves the Queen from the control of the sorceress.  This book has ghosts who take care of the Queen while her mind is free from the troubles and pain of her Kingdom being brought to ruin by violence.  The Prince comes to the rescue, not because he wanted to, but because he is dared by his friends to visit the haunted castle.

The book is well written and has a great pace.  I found myself enjoying the unique spin on my favorite fairy-tale.  This collection has been on my list of books that I wanted to read, and I am happy with my first venture into Jenni James' rendition of the classics.

Books in this series:

More to come:

13. Return to Netherland
14.Captain Hook
15. Princess Red
16. Princess with the Golden Touch
17. Princess and the Pea
18. Rose Red
19. Thumbelina
20. The Ugly Princess 
21. Diamonds and Toads

22. The Ice Queen 
23. The Forgotten Princess 
24. King Thrushbeard 
25. The Swan Princess 
26. The Goose Girl 
27. The Light Princesses 
28. Princess Nightingale 
29. The Princess Who Never Laughed 
30. The Disenchanted Queen

Jenni James is the busy mother of ten kids (7 hers, 3 her hubby's) and has over twenty-five published book babies. She's an award-winning, best-selling author, who works full-time from home and dreams about magical things and then writes about what she dreams.

Some of her works include The Jane Austen Diaries (Pride & Popularity, Emmalee, Persuaded...), The Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection (Cinderella, Snow White, Rumplestiltskin, Beauty and the Beast...), the Andy & Annie series for children, Revitalizing Jane: Drowning, My Paranormal Life, Not Cinderella's Type, and the Austen in Love Series.

When she isn't writing up a storm, she is chasing her kids around their new cottage and farm in the tops of the southwestern mountains, entertaining friends at home, or kissing her amazingly hunky hubby. Her life is full of laughter, crazy, and sunshine.


QUEEN ALEYNA’S EYES FLUTTERED open and she smiled at the sunlight which streamed through her bedroom curtains. Another beautifully perfect day. She stretched and wiggled her toes under the navy-blue crushed velvet duvet and slipped out of the golden sheets to pad across the floor to her window.
The world beneath her castle tower was bathed in a sea of greens and yellows and glorious multicolored blossoming bushes and trees. Her village was nestled among rolling hills and streams and winding cobblestone paths that jutted out all around the lower portion of the mountain, where her castle was happily situated, and spread to the valley below. Many homesteads and farms and fields of bounteous crops covered the great landscape as far as the eye could see.
Indeed, Aleyna’s kingdom was one of the most sought-after and desired realms in all the world. She could not believe her good fortune in having such a prosperous and superior land. Her subjects were also known to be quite magnificent in their own way as well, and to reward them for their kindness and diligence, she guaranteed they were treated above those under the care of the other monarchies and rulers around.
Her people were given several holidays each year, and multiple gifts of food, household supplies, adornments, and even many frivolous items would find their way into their homes from their dear queen. How she loved them. How she loved her land, her people, her life.
It was undeniably faultless.
An enchanted kingdom to be loved by all.
Aleyna sighed in contentment as she rested her head against the smoothly plastered stone wall and looked out the windowpane. The birds chattered and chirped and flew in delightful winging dances in the sky as they popped in and out of wispy clouds. Here was joy. Here was life at its best, and she could never imagine desiring anything more.
And yet, if one could step back and see the tragedy behind her contentment, one would know that all she witnessed below her, all she imagined above, all her hopes and dreams were were just that—dreams.
An illusion.
Queen Aleyna’s life was so desperately heartrending, so tragically sorrowful, that one needed to enchant the beautiful queen and all those surrounding her, all her dear subjects, into a state of never-ending bliss.
She had to sleep through this horror to allow her to heal from the pain, to be kept from all those memories that would threaten to own her—she had to be kept in such a state until one who was worthy could come along and teach her, hold her, comfort her, release the spell surrounding her contentment, and more importantly, kiss her awake to the true being that was hers.
Until one such worthy man came into her life and bravely fought those demons who sought to destroy her, Queen Aleyna’s existence was perpetually on hold.
And she was forever trapped within a state of no progression, wrapped in a bubble of peace, almost like a ghost, and eternally asleep to the harsh realities awaiting her. Ignorant to all but what she knew and could remember, she would be forever known as the Sleeping Queen…


PRINCE DARIÉN LAUGHED AS he dodged another wayward thrust of the king’s sword. At this rate, he and Michael, the king of Alemade, would be at it all night. He hooted as his friend lunged forward again, and as Darién quickly sidestepped the attack, he could not help but taunt, “Is this the greatest you’ve got within you? How can you hope to defend yourself, let alone a whole kingdom?”
The king grunted and swung his sword, missing the prince by a good six inches. “Perhaps if you held still long enough, I could show you how good my maneuvers are!”
Darién chuckled and took a step back, his foot slipping slightly on the wet grass of the castle lawn, before deftly lifting his sword and blocking two more wild attempts from Michael. “Admit defeat, old man, and I may let you live to see another day.” It was the same thing he said to the king each week as they practiced, and true to form, his friend was quick to respond in kind.
If you were not such a coward and could fight like a real man, I would blacken your lights instantly.”
Ah, yes, but we are not using fisticuffs, now are we? In fact, we are—”
And another thing! I am not an old man.” The king huffed as he haphazardly sliced his blade through the air. “I—” he stepped forward, “—am only—” steel smacked against steel, “—five years older than you.” Michael wiped his brow. “And the last time I checked, you were twenty-four years old.”
Yes, but twenty-four is still much younger than you!” Darién took two steps forward, arching his blade in the air and popping Michael’s sword right out of his hand. It flew gracefully, allowing the handle to be caught up by the prince, signifying the game was at an end.
Michael was drenched in sweat, while Darién looked as though he had merely taken a leisurely stroll upon the grounds. “One of these days, I am going to learn your secret,” said the king after he wiped his mouth on his shirtsleeve.
My secret?” Darién walked over to the bush where they had hung their royal coats twenty minutes earlier. “And what secret is this?” He raised a brow as he handed Michael’s bright green coat back to him.
The king shook the garment and waved off the servant who had run up to help, slipping his arms into the sleeves. “Your ability to look so dashed cool and unaffected—so debonair—whilst in the midst of dueling, no less.”
Darién winked as he put on his coat of navy with silver trimmings. “I must practice these things in the looking glass at home for such an occasion as this. Who is to know whether a stunning female will come by and catch us looking a spectacle.” When the king grunted, he continued, “You have Cassandra, and she is by far everything on this good earth that is praiseworthy indeed. With such a woman at your side and as your queen, you do not have to practice like I do.”
Michael raised his eyes heavenward as he straightened the coat over his tan-colored breeches. “If I believed half the nonsense you sputtered out, I’d be a very foolish man,” he said before walking to the bush, collecting his sword, and sliding it within its sheath.
Darién laughed as he buttoned his coat. “You’d be a very foolish old man.”
I’d watch your crowing if I were you.” The king smirked and turned around. “Remember, boy, I know what truly does put you out of countenance—what you are most afraid of in all the world. So do not keep spouting your old jokes, for I guarantee I can make you squirm and sweat just like the rest of us.”
The prince snorted and walked over to his sword. He tilted his head to the side and grinned as he slid the blade in its scabbard. “There is nothing I’m afraid of on this globe. Nothing at all—so whatever you have against me, remember it is merely a child’s imaginings.”
Oh-ho! First I am too old, and now I am a child who imagines?”
That is not what I meant, and you know it.” Darién’s gaze settled on his friend. They were almost brothers—had been raised like brothers—and there was no one he trusted more. The redheaded king was handsome, extremely so, and had a beautiful blonde queen at his side to prove it. They’d begun to have a score of adorable little redheads and blondes of their own, and with the birth of the last one—a little girl all fiery curls and giggles—Darién founding himself longing to settle down as well. If only he could find a woman half as agreeable as Cassandra.
But this sort of thinking would get him nowhere. He cleared his throat and explained, “Whatever you believe me to fear is most likely something you conjured up back when we were boys. So if in reality, I am afraid of it—which I highly doubt—then it was something that I’ve long past put behind me.”
The king smiled and patted him on the back. “I’m not discussing spiders or girls here. I’m talking about something much more terrifying. In fact, I know you would change color at this moment if I were to speak of it, so lifeless and cold would you become.”
Darién pulled away, laughing, and began to head back toward the castle. “There is nothing you could say that would frighten me. Nothing.” He glanced back and waited for his friend to catch up to him. “Though, I am very curious what you believe you have got against me. Indeed, this may be the most intriguing thing I’ve come upon all morning.”
Should I tell you, then?” asked the king as he stepped in stride with the prince.
Oh, most definitely. You look too sure of yourself; I must take that smirk off your face. So out with it, man—do your best! I dare you to find something that would startle me.”
Michael’s grin grew. Truly, Darién was too easy to bait sometimes. He may be the better swordsman, but his own pride got in the way of rational thinking. Hesitating only a moment or two, he went ahead and satisfied his young friend. It was time the man realized he was not invincible. “Ghosts, Darién. You have and will always be decidedly against the visitations of anything of the spiritual, ghouly, phantom, or specter realm—the realm of the dead.”
The king watched Darién’s face pale as his feet stalled. “No matter how old you or I become, that night of our first haunting will forever ring through my memories. And you, boy, would be a fool to deny such aversions.” His voice grew low and sinister just to guarantee the prince squirmed. “To deny it only warrants their return even more…”

April 18--Beauty & the Beast--Singing Librarian Books
 April 19--Sleeping Beauty--Bookworm Lisa
 April 20--Rumplestiltskin--26 Countless Possibilities
 April 21--Cinderella--Reading Is My SuperPower
 April 22--Hansel & Gretel--Katie's Clean Book Collection 
 April 23--Jack & the Beanstalk--Wishful Endings
 April 25--Snow White--Katie's Clean Book Collection 
 April 26--The Frog Prince--Smiling Book Reviews
 April 27--The Twelve Dancing Princesses--Mel's Shelves
 April 28--Rapunzel--Reading Is My SuperPower
 April 29--The Little Mermaid--Wishful Endings
 April 30--Peter Pan--Singing Librarian Books

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Timeless Messages for Women ~ "LIfe is Too Short" and "Motherhood Matters" by Connie Sokol+ tour giveaway!

This is a blog tour that I am excited to participate in. Both books were read by me previously and the messages in them will always be helpful.  As many women out there, I am stressed by parenting and the expectations that I feel are placed upon me.  Connie Sokol has a gift at bringing the issues back down to Earth.  She reminds us that we do not need to be perfect!  Wow!  How many times do we feel lacking because we are not perfect and can't do everything?  She takes moments in her life and relates them in a humorous and understanding way that illustrate that we can make it through this life and be OK, maybe not perfect, but find joy in our journey.

I am re-posting my reviews of the books below.

Motherhood Matters: Joyful Reminders of the Divinity, Reality, and Rewards of MotherhoodMotherhood Matters: Joyful Reminders of the Divinity, Reality, and Rewards of Motherhood by Connie E. Sokol
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Connie Sokol has done it again. She has written an inspirational book that has lifted my spirits. In the title it states, "Joyful Reminders". The book is full of experiences with motherhood and our role as mothers that help look at the joy, instead of feeling the guilt.

I love that Connie is able to encompass the role of motherhood and help me see that I'm really doing ok. The feelings of anguish, frustration, confusion, and joy are all part of the process and normal to parents everywhere.

One chapter struck a particular chord with me, it's about loving your children in spite of them. It is a hard thing, but so vital to the growth and development of a child. I have found through my own experience that nothing soothes a struggling child more than words of love.

This is a short book. It may be short, but it is packed with words to lift the struggling mother.

The Life is Too Short CollectionThe Life is Too Short Collection by Connie E. Sokol
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't read many self help books, mainly because I have determined that life is too short for boredom. Connie does not bore me, in fact I find myself enjoying every word she puts on the page.

Her writing style is quick and full of whit. She brings the challenges faced by women into practical and doable situations. She helps me to determine what is important, and mostly that I am important. Being a wife and a mother is hard. She uses her life situations to illustrate that point, and show joy and humor in motherhood.

About the Author:  Connie Sokol is a mother of seven, a national and local presenter, and a regular speaker at Education Week. She is a contributor on KSL TV’s top-rated afternoon show “Studio 5” and is a regular blogger for KSL’s “Motherhood Matters.” She is a former columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine, and former TV and radio host. Mrs. Sokol is the author of  the Life is Too Short for One Hair Color Trilogy, Create a Powerful Life Plan, Motherhood Matters, and the award-nominated romance, Caribbean Crossroads.  Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats.

Visit her Website

Stop by the Blogs participating in this tour!

April 18Lisa is a Bookworm
April 19Laural Walker

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Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund

Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from publisher to review
Genre: Historical Romance

Book Description:  Tessa Taylor arrives in 1870s Upper Peninsula, Michigan, planning to serve as a new teacher to the town. Much to her dismay, however, she immediately learns that there was a mistake, that the town had requested a male teacher. Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since they won't be able to locate a new teacher before then, and Tessa can't help but say she is in his debt. Little does she know that Percival will indeed keep track of all that she owes him. 

Determined to become indispensable, Tessa throws herself into teaching, and soon the children of the widowed lighthouse keeper have decided she's the right match for their grieving father. Their uncle and assistant light keeper, Alex Bjorklund, has his own feelings for Tessa. As the two brothers begin competing for her hand, Tessa increasingly feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.

My thoughts: Tessa Taylor ventures on a new start for her life when she travels to Michigan to be the new school teacher. Michigan is the frontier in 1871 and life is difficult for the small mining community. It takes commitment and fortitude to live in the harsh conditions and Tessa proves to herself that she can weather adversity and thrive.

The book is a romance. Tessa has two suitors. Tessa knows that having a relationship will be the end of her teaching career and is determined that she will not give into them, no matter how handsome they may be.

I enjoyed Jody Hedlunds writing. I learned new things about living in a mining town and how hard it was for the people it was to live through the winter when there wasn't a way to ship in new supplies. She brought to life the harsh realities of frostbite, deep snow (without snow plows), sickness, and child labor. The villain in this book is abusing his power and controls by fear. Hedlund also bought to light the power of love, friendship, integrity, and forgiveness.

This book is part of a series but can be read and appreciated as a stand-alone book. The book contains some violence and kissing.

About the Author: (taken from Goodreads)  Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances including books for adults and youth. She currently makes her home in central Michigan with her husband and their five busy children.

As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she's not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.

She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee. 

Visit her Webpage.

Friday, April 15, 2016

"First Light" by MIchele Paige Holmes + tour Giveaway

First Light (Forever After Series, #1)First Light by Michele Paige Holmes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received eBook to review
Genre: Fairy-Tale

Book Description:  Seventeen-year-old Adrielle doesn’t believe in magic; she merely possesses it, though no one has ever mentioned that her unusual gifts—exceptional speed, a flair for fire, and an intimate knowledge of flora—aren’t things she was born with. When Adrielle starts a fire that burns down the family home, she must deal with both her grief and her siblings’ hurtful rejection. 

While journeying to far away Tallinyne, in search of her older, estranged sister—the only relative who might take her in—Adrielle is separated from her escort when the carriage is beset by thieves. Alone, she is thrust into a dangerous and unfamiliar world where she encounters fairies and gypsies, a wild boar, a drunk cook, and an evil queen whose curse is sweeping death across the land. Adrielle also finds love, falling hard for a kind, funny, handsome—and completely unavailable prince.

From the glowing pearls tucked beneath her mattress and keeping her awake at night, to Queen Nadamaris’s curse that seems to thwart Adrielle’s every effort, Adrielle struggles to navigate a world of magic she never imagined, where people she knows and loves are not always what they appear to be. With the glowing pearls—and her fondest desire—within her grasp, she is forced to make a choice no girl should ever have to—satisfying her own heart or saving the kingdom.

My thoughts: I give few 5 star ratings. The main criteria for a five star is that I don't want to put the book down. I have to be absorbed in the story so that every thing else is secondary to reading.

This is a fairy-tale that is a spin off from Sleeping Beauty. It also has some of my favorite stories woven in. Adrielle is a farmer's daughter. She knows what it is like to be hungry and has compassion for those she meets. Even when she is amongst thieves, she sees aspects of them that are good. She grew up with a respect for learning and hard work. As the youngest of 11 children, she knows what it is to feel left behind and left out.

This book has fairies, magical gifts, friendship, fire-breathing dragons, curses, gypsies, an evil Queen, Princesses, and Princes. There is a little something for everyone who loves to read fairy-tales.

I loved how Michele Paige Holmes was able to keep the story familiar, but add new things to it.  She did a wonderful job at descriptions and moving the story.

The book is clean but does have a little violence. There is a battle between the hero's and the evil Queen. She is a ruthless villain. The book also contains kissing. I feel that this book is a good fit for all ages.

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About the Author:  Michele Paige Holmes spent her childhood and youth in Arizona and northern California, often curled up with a good book instead of out enjoying the sunshine. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education and found it an excellent major in which to indulge her love of children's literature.

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