Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Our Family Christmas by Christine Gardiner (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

Product Details

Our Family  Christmas by Christie Gardiner
Genre: Inspirational Christmas
Source: Received from Publisher 
Page Count: 189
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Description:  Draw closer to the Savior as you set aside a few minutes each day to celebrate the season with your family using this inspiring, fun-filled countdown to Christmas as your guide. From Christmas songs to holiday stories to activities for old and young alike, this compilation of Christ-centered ideas is designed with one goal in mind: to bring families closer together and closer to Christ this holiday season. Whether you're taking a quick moment to connect or are engaging in a longer opportunity to create memories, the stories, recipes, activities, and music on these pages are just the beginning of faith-affirming togetherness for families of all ages and stages during the Christmas season.

My thoughts:  This is a book that starts December 1st and runs through December 25th.  The goal is to read an uplifting story, write in your journal, have meaningful family time to lead us to loo to the Savior.

As I was reading through the first chapter I was reminded of the traditions that I started with my children when they were small.  I would wrap up books that dealt with Christmas, or inspiring and uplifting picture books and place them in a basket.  My children would pick one book from the basket each night before going to bed and we would read the story.  My favorite book (the one that always makes me cry) would be in special wrapping paper and would be saved for Christmas Eve.  That book is "The Littlest Angel".

This book follows the same concept, but works for families with a little older children.  Instead of a picture book, there is a story every day.  This can become a family activity to read and discuss, or if someone wanted to seek personal inspirational time, this would work for that as well.  There is a recipe, journal prompts, and a song in each chapter.

This book is beautifully bound and illustrated.  I can see this becoming a family treasure.  I'm thinking it may be a great gift for my newlywed daughter.  I think it would be perfect for anyone at any stage in life.

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About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)
Christie Gardiner
Christie has enjoyed participating in speaking engagements across the country where she loves reminding groups of women that with God, they are not alone and are enough. Christie's heartfelt and quick-witted writing was first enjoyed in blog form on behalf of the Utah Jazz and Illume Gallery of Fine Art. Her performing career has spanned three decades in theater, television, film, commercials, podcasting and voiceover work. She is a longtime faculty member at the Utah Conservatory of Performing Arts where she inspires young people to increase their self-esteem through participation in the arts. She enjoys serving in her church's youth program. In her spare time you will find Christie with her husband and children, in nature or in the yoga studio teaching a class. She makes her home in Utah and occasionally, the Oregon coast.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson

The Pursuit of Lady Harriett (Tanglewood #3)The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: I received and eBook copy for review.
Genre: Regency Romance

Book Description When wills clash and hearts collide, who will reign victorious? 

Termed an Incomparable during her first London season, Lady Harriett Cavendish is beautiful, spirited, and confident, capturing the attention of a great many suitors. Unfortunately, they all failed to capture her attention, and she concluded the season as unattached as she’d begun it. 

Only weeks prior to her second season, Harriett encounters Lieutenant Christopher Jamison while visiting Tanglewood Manor. Recently returned from war, the lieutenant is everything that Harriett's previous suitors were not. He’s arrogant, ungentlemanly, irritating, and challenges her at every opportunity. When he goes too far, Harriett decides that it’s time to turn the tables on him. But as she sets out to put the lieutenant in his place once and for all, she discovers there is more to him than meets the eye, and when it comes to matters of the heart, she has no control whatsoever.

My thoughts: It's not often that a book begins with the female MC having mud splashed all over her when a man on a horse doesn't notice her on the side of the road. It was really rude. Then to find him at Tanglewood, the same place she is staying, it becomes intolerable. Christopher Jamison is annoying, rude, insensitive, etc. Of course, it is of no notice that he is handsome and has a brilliant laugh.

This is a fun book to pick up and set aside your worries and cares. It is full of humor, embarassment, and challenging wits. I love it when a book contains banter and a couple who are evenly matched. Of course, it begins as a challenge. Harriett wants to prove that she is better at something than Christopher, he seems to beat her at everything. She is stubborn and refuses to give up or in. It leads to great moments, like tree climbing.

The book has a great ending, proving that Christopher is really a gentlemanly catch. The book contains some mild kissing.

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About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  A USA Today bestselling author of clean romance, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Visit her  WEBPAGE.

Rachael Anderson

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Christmas Grace blog Tour + giveaway!

Christmas GraceChristmas Grace by Jennifer Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher to review.
Genre: Regency Christmas Novellas

Book Description:  Let Nothing You Dismay by Jennifer Moore, After their childhood friendship blossomed into love, one young couple's whirlwind romance ended in bitter disappointment. Now, years later, can a long-overdue Christmas gift heal two wounded hearts?

Christmas at Canterwood by Krista Lynn Jensen A charming new governess is determined to create a magical Christmas for her young charges. What follows is a season of warmth, laughter, and even the promise of an unanticipated love.

Winter Angel by Anita Stansfield For generations, one small London bakery has carried on the sweet tradition of delivering bread to the impoverished. When the lovely baker meets a down-on-his luck stranger, her kindness will open the door to a bright friendship—and an astonishing discovery.

Christmas Grace by Chalon Linton After suffering a heartbreaking loss, one woman returns home to honor the family tradition of staging a Christmas celebration for the surrounding village. But when a severe snowstorm hinders her plans, help—and hope—find her in the most unexpected of ways.

My thoughts: There are times when I need stories that satisfy, but are quick to read. This book fits the bill. It is made up of four short stories that are well written and fun to read.

I like that I was looking at a small snippet in the characters life. The stories are all told during the Christmas season. This is the perfect book to snuggle up in a blanket to read, or give to a friend for the holidays.

It's clean! The perfect gift for my mom or mother-in-law. ;)

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Mind Games by Stephanie Black

Mind Games by Stephanie BlackMind Games by Stephanie Black
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received from publisher to review.
Genre: Suspense

Book Description:  Psychologist Natalie Marsh’s dream is now reality: her mental health services clinic has opened and is housed in an elegant, newly renovated nineteenth-century building. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with the clinic’s presence, including Heather Osbourne, a troubled young woman who wholly objects to the occupation of the building. Heather has spent years wandering the halls of the abandoned structure, convinced she’s communing with her ancestor’s ghost. When Natalie thwarts Heather’s attempt to leap from a window, the shaken psychologist soon realizes Heather’s failed jump is merely one piece of a disturbing puzzle. Greed and deceit are weaving a web around Natalie, and someone will stop at nothing—not even murder—to get what they want. Stretched to her breaking point, Natalie struggles to learn the truth, but only one thing is clear: nothing is as it seems.

My thoughts: It took me a while to find the time to sit down and read this book. I started it once, set it aside, and then started it at a later date.

At first, I was a little confused, trying to sort out the different characters. The reader is quickly introduced to about 90% of them in the first few pages. The book opens at a party celebrating the opening of new building. One of the offices is a mental health clinic. There are some who are opposed to it being in the building. They don't want to interact with people who are not mentally healthy. It seemed like a lot of information was presented in a short period of time.

Fortunately, my confusion didn't last long and I was able to dig into the story. I am very glad that I did. The book is definitely about "mind games". The question is who is controlling the games? There are many suspects who have a motive. There are two murders, one is known from the start who did it, but there is a second murder that is tied to the first. Stephanie Black does an amazing job at casting doubt on the characters, but not letting the reader know until the very end who the villain is.

If it wasn't for the start, this would have been a 5 star book for me. I enjoyed it! There is non-graphic violence, and mild kissing.

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Stephanie BlackAbout the Author: (Taken from Deseret Book)  STEPHANIE BLACK has loved books since she was old enough to grab the pages, and has enjoyed creating make-believe adventures since she and her sisters were inventing long Barbie games filled with intrigue and danger or running around pretending to be detectives. She is a three-time Whitney Award winner for Best Mystery/Suspense, most recently for Cold as Ice (2010). Stephanie was born in Utah and has lived in various places, including Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and Limerick, Ireland. She currently lives in northern California and enjoys spending time with her husband Brian and their five children. She is a fan of chocolate, cheesecake, and her husband’s homemade bread.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Summer Holiday Victorian Collection

Summer Holiday by Nancy Campbell AllenSummer Holiday by Nancy Campbell Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Victorian Romance Anthology

Book Description Three brand new Victorian Romance novellas by Nancy Campbell Allen, Sarah M. Eden, and Annette Lyon.

BREAKFAST AT SOMMERPOOL’S by Nancy Campbell Allen:
As Tessa Baker competes for the supervisor promotion at Sommerpool Department and Mercantile, she’s faced with a ridiculous list of tasks to complete in order to “win” the job. Tessa would love to be the first female supervisor ever to work at the Sommerpool, but her competitor is cheating at every turn. Discouraged, Tessa agrees to let David Bellini, a family friend and Italian Conte who is new in town, help her. When she discovers that he’s the new owner of Sommerpool’s, but wants to evaluate the employees unobserved, Tessa has mixed feelings. She soon realizes that she’s falling for David, but what chance does a working-class woman like her have with an Italian Conte?

Carina Herrick says goodbye to the man she hopes to marry, knowing their separation will be temporary. Grant Ambrose is off to follow his dream and become established in business so that he can provide for Carina and a life together. He promises to write; she promises to return his letters. Yet, only a few months pass and already their letters become shorter and fewer. Finally, Carina is forced to give up on Grant if only to protect her breaking heart. Her parents are dead set against her becoming a spinster and insist she accept the proposal of the odious Mr. Baskon. With no hope of another marriage proposal, Carina is forced to make a difficult decision, one that can lead her either to happiness or misery. 

Every summer Sarah travels to Ivy House in London as one of the household servants to the Millington family. This summer, she’s particularly looking forward to seeing Jacob, a servant who lives at Ivy House year-round. They’ve been exchanging letters since the previous summer when their friendship deepened. But when Sarah arrives at Ivy House, Jacob seems more reserved around her and less forthcoming. Has she put greater meaning in their budding relationship than she should? When Sarah discovers that Jacob has a dark secret and wants her to give up her dreams in exchange for helping him, she’s not sure if she’s willing to make the sacrifice.

My thoughts: This is a great addition to the Timeless Romance Books. This collection takes place during the Victorian Era, you get the older English traditions with the addition of trains and some more modern conveniences.

I loved that the book didn't just deal with the gentry. There were servants falling in love and looking to the future of a life together! That makes me happy. The issue of illegitimacy and the stain of reputation were part of the story. I find it interesting to look into the ideology and traditions that our ancestors lived with.

I enjoyed reading about the progress of women being taken seriously in the workplace. Women are resourceful and should never be overlooked or taken for granted. Tessa proves that point aptly. It was wonderful to have characters from a previous story, From Cairo, With Love, in this one! You do not have to read the previous story to love and appreciate this one.

The final story is from one of my all time writers, Sarah M Eden. Once again, she uses humor and a great story to captivate her reader. The concerns of the working class and the strict society of the gentry are present in this story.

Basically, there is something for every romance lover in this collection. I take every opportunity that I can when a new book comes out to read it. They are worth it!

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

All That Makes Life Bright by Josi Kilpack (Blog Tour)

All That Makes Life Bright: The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe

When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet's sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.

Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed-being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman's life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband's heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.

Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.

Can their love endure, especially after "I do"? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?

My thoughts: I am a fan of taking characters in history an writing a novel around the events of their lives.  It adds depth and interest into the lives of people I have heard of in passing.  I would never imagined that I would read and like a book about Harriet Beecher Stowe.  I am not a fan of the biography format, so I appreciate the talents of author's who do read them and make translate them into a novel form.

I have not finished this novel at the time of posting, so I will rate the book when I am finished.  I will say that it is well written and interesting.  I will be finishing and posting a full review at a later date.  I am still in catch up mode from my daughter's wedding.  I hope  to be back to my "normal" self  soon. (She was engaged for two months before the wedding that took place on October 6th.  I let many things go in order to get her ready for her big day and am working to get my life, home, and review schedule back in order.)

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Josi S. KilpackAbout the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)  I wrote my first book while on bed rest with my third child in 1998 and haven't stopped. My most recent books have been Historical Romance through the Proper Romance line with Shadow Mountain Publishing.

I currently live in Willard, Utah with my husband, and children.

Visit her WEBSITE!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Safe House by Traci Hunter Abramson (Blog Tour with a giveaway)

Safe HouseSafe House by Traci Hunter Abramson
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Genre: Suspense
Source: Received from publisher to review.

Book  Description:  The guardians, the shadowy heroes of the top-secret program designed to protect members of the most elite government organizations, are being hunted down one by one. There is a single explanation: a traitor must be embedded somewhere in their midst. But if they themselves are the target, who will protect them?

CIA operative Renee Niezen has heard tales of the guardians, though she's never really believed in their existence—until she is approached by Charlotte, an old friend who desperately needs her help to stop the systematic destruction of the guardian program. Renee accepts the plea for assistance, but not everyone is thrilled to have her on the team. Kade—one of the last guardians standing—is unimpressed with Renee's qualifications and turns instead to the legendary Saint Squad for help. But when Renee is caught in the crosshairs, Kade must set aside his antagonism for the woman in order to protect her. Their grudging alliance soon develops into much more—but before the pair can examine their feelings, their investigation takes a dramatic twist. With lives on the line, Renee and Kade must use their spy training at every turn as they draw dangerously close to the shocking truth.

My thoughts:   Traci Hunter Abramson knows how to write a great book!  I loved that this book combined characters from different agencies featured in past books.  I really need to read all of the Saint Squad books.

This book is full of action and suspense.  I love how Traci is able to give you enough information to keep your interest, but withholds enough to keep you invested.  She releases the information just a little at a time and keeps you guessing until the very end.

The characters are great, the setting is great, the story is great.  (Can I overuse the word "great"?)  This is a "great" book to pick up.  (I am giggling in my chair because of  my horrible grammar right now.)  Seriously, if this is a genre you enjoy, get a copy, you'll be glad you did.  This book can be read alone, even though it contains characters from previous series.

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Traci Hunter AbramsonAbout the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children's teenage years. She has gone on to write more than twenty bestselling novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists and three-time Whitney Award winner. When she’s not writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and five children, preferably on a nice quiet beach somewhere. She also enjoys sports, travel, writing, and coaching high school swimming.

Visit her WEBSITE.
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The US Constitution was designed to protect: peace, posterity, and freedom. Get to know the Constitution!

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How well do you know the constitution?  If you are like me, you know the basics but not every right, freedom, and liberty we have as Americans.

 I have read books about the constitution and was amazed at how the Government is not using the constitution correctly.  We need to educate the citizens. There is so many things to learn and to understand.

 I will be reading the constitution this week, my daughter was married on Friday and I am a little behind on reading great literature (like the Constitution).  FreedomFactor.org has a goal to distribute 100 million constitutions to unite us as a people.  This is a cause that I support.

Visit FreedomFactor.org to learn more.  Read the constitution, it is provided at no charge.  Get behind the project and share it with friends, family, people you pass on the street, basically everyone!

Here is a statement from the Website:


In an increasingly divisive and high-tension political climate, our mission is to unite Americans on the 3 things the US Constitution was designed to protect: peace, prosperity, and freedom. Our goal is to distribute 100 million Pocket Constitutions, will you join us?

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Monday, October 2, 2017

For Love or Honor by Sarah M. Eden ~ Blog tour review with giveaway.

For Love or Honor by Sarah M. EdenFor Love or Honor by Sarah M. Eden
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received from publisher to review.
Genre: Clean Regency Romance

Book Description:  From the moment they met, Marjie’s heart has belonged to handsome Captain Stanley Jonquil, younger brother of the Earl of Lampton. But six long months ago, when Stanley’s sense of honor required that he do as he had sworn and return to the Continent to fight in defense of King and country, neither Stanley nor Marjie could have dreamed what the cost of his service would be. It has been ages since Stanley last wrote, and Marjie and the Jonquil family are plagued by his unknown fate—until the day he unexpectedly reappears. Marjie’s joy, however, is quickly shadowed by confusion—the aloof, battle-worn soldier before her is not the man he once was. In the wake of Stanley’s blatant disinterest in renewing their acquaintance, Marjie’s devastation turns to determination as she vows to help him find peace. But his scars run far deeper than anyone realizes. Despite his feelings for her, Stanley believes Marjie deserves a man whose hands are not stained with the violence of battlefields and whose mind and heart are not haunted by the horrors he has seen. Honor requires Stanley to return once more to the life he has grown to despise, one he knows will destroy him in the end, even as his heart beckons him to stay with Marjie, the only woman he could ever love, and the promise, at last, of redemption.

My thoughts: The toll of war is harsh. Death and destruction happen to the body and mind. Stanley Jonquil is one of the many soldiers who suffer after the battle is over.

I love reading Sarah M. Eden's regency books. She brings the book, characters, and setting to life for me. I can picture them in my head, hear their voices, and understand their circumstances. She has a way of drawing me in and empathizing with them. In this book the realities of a broken soldier suffering from PTSD became real for me. Stanley would rather push all that he loves away from him than have them realize how much he has and continues to suffer. The one that he longs for, Marjie, is the one he pushes away the hardest.

I love the theme of the book. Love is not perfect. You do not need to be whole in body or mind to be worthy of love.  I loved spending time with the Jonquil family again.  This book is part of series, but can be read on it's own.

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Sarah M EdenAbout Sarah M Eden: (Taken from her WEBPAGE Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today Bestselling author of witty and charming historical romances, including AML's "2013 Novel of the Year" and Foreword Review’s 2013 “IndieFab Book of the Year” gold medal winner for Best Romance, Longing for Home, as well as 2014 Whitney Award winner for "Best Romance" and "Best Novel of the Year," Longing for Home: Hope Springs. Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a Bachelor's degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah lives with her husband, kids, and mischievous dog in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain she has never attempted to ski. 

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