Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review: Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden

Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden

Book Description:

The life of an impoverished schoolteacher is not one Evangeline Blake would have chosen for herself. Torn from her home and her beloved sister and sent to work in the gritty factory town of Smeatley, Evangeline must prove herself to her grandfather, a man who values self-reliance above all else, before he will grant her access to her inheritance. Raised to be a lady of refinement, she hasn't any of the skills necessary to manage on her own nor does she have the first idea how to be a teacher. But failure means never being with her sister again.

Alone and overwhelmed, she turns to the one person in town who seems to know how she feels—Dermot McCormick, an Irish brick mason who is as far from home and as out of place as she is. Despite the difference in their classes and backgrounds, Evangeline and Dermot's tentative friendship deepens and grows. Her determination and compassion slowly earn her the faith and confidence of the skeptical residents of Smeatley, who become like the family she has lost.

But when a secret from her past comes to light, Evangeline faces an impossible choice: seize the opportunity to reclaim her former life and rejoin her sister or fight for the new life she has struggled to build for herself—a life that includes Dermot.

Ashes on the Moor is the inspiring love story of one Victorian woman's courage to fight against all odds, and the man whose quiet strength gives her the confidence to keep trying.

Rorie's Review:

Sarah Eden has a talent for making her characters come to life. Ashes on the Moor is no different. Right from the beginning, I was drawn into the story. This was one of those books that I really didn't want to put down, and had to force myself to stop reading each night so I could go to bed and not be a complete mombie in the morning.

Evangeline suffers one heartache after another, and it seems the blows just keep on coming. She is thrown into a world that she knows nothing about and is left to fend for herself. We get to see some of her fire then, when she doesn't give up and does her best to learn how to survive in this strange new world. I enjoyed seeing her true self come out when she was teaching the children.

Dermot is an interesting character. I think the description "quarrelsome ol' dog" fits him first. But as he gets to know Evangeline better, he lets his guard down and we get to see what he's really like.

I enjoyed watching all of the relationships in the story progress. Each character brought something to the story and I feel like we got to know them all just as well as we would have if we were living there with them. This is definitely a book that will be read again.

Andrea's Review:

I love Sarah M. Eden's books. They do not disappoint, and even when she strays from her typical genre, they're still enjoyable. One of my favorite aspects to Eden's books is that you can always count on her to write good, clean fiction. That, and she's so good at developing her characters. There is so much emotion, and you really feel like to you get know them.

Ashes on the Moor is a great story. The pace wasn't extremely fast, but I did read it quickly (and I bumped a few other books down in my to-read stack when it came because . . . Sarah M. Eden).

I can't imagine the pain Evangeline went through losing most of her family, and then being torn from the one immediate family member that she had left. Her aunt and uncle were awful, and being thrust into being a teacher when she'd never worked before would have been so shocking. I really loved how she dove right in and did her best to make everything work.

Dermot was a great character as well. He was prickly at first, but he had a lot of depth and goodness once we got to know him.

I'm looking forward to reading this again, and would definitely recommend it.

Tarah's Review:

I was super excited about this book because of the author. I love her books! But I was also worried about starting this book because it wasn't her typical regency novels, and well, I just devour those. I shouldn't have worried. Eden did it again. I was hooked from the first page until the last. As a matter of fact, as soon as I finished it I had to fight myself to not pick it up and start reading it again.

Dermot is the best. I loved his attitude (although it confused me why he was taking everything so personally when he first meets Evangeline...she was trying to be nice). I loved seeing his love for those he cares about. I loved his accent (in my head anyway). I loved his softening and his character.

I loved the children in this story, and the families you get to know just a little bit. I understood their hesitations and their gumption. It was fun to get to know each of them.

Evangeline is wonderful. Even though she is ill prepared for what life now had to offer her, she figures out a way to make things work. We could all probably take a lesson from her with that attitude.  I love how she sticks up for what she believes.

I will definitely read this one again and tell all my book reading friends about it. Ashes on the Moor
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: March 2018
ISBN: 1629724025
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Friday, March 9, 2018

Blog Tour: Beneath the Bellemont Sky by Ranee S. Clark

Reviews * Giveaway
Beneath the Bellemont Sky by Ranee S. Clark

Book Description:

As WWII draws to a close, war widow Vera Larsen Trumbell knows all too well the sacrifices of those left on the home front. Working on her family’s farm has sustained Vera and her young children, but she now yearns for a sense of normalcy. The end of the war has been bittersweet for the Larsen clan, as they and the members of their small Wyoming town continue to pick up the pieces of their former lives.

Navigating the complexities of a postwar world, Vera and her family face the changing ideals swirling around them. From rising controversy surrounding women’s presence in the workplace to the town’s cold reception of the newest member of the family—a beautiful French freedom fighter—the American dream of days gone by has been thrown off balance. Even Vera’s own life is set spinning when, despite her better judgment, she feels a growing attraction for the brooding and mysterious local schoolteacher. As the Larsen family and their neighbors tread on thorny territory, will the people of this small town find the strength to embrace an unfamiliar and extraordinary future?

Andrea's Review:

I've read several contemporary novels by Ranee S. Clark, and was excited to read her historical novel, Beneath the Bellemont Sky. It is an enjoyable story about people adjusting to life after WWII in a rural Wyoming town.

The story follows the Larsen family, and switches back and forth between their grown children. Most of the characters are quite likable, although with such a short novel and so many main characters, I didn’t feel like I got to know them very well.

It was somewhat of a slow read, but my interest was held. I especially liked the hope and happiness that came to one of the characters that was deeply burdened by his part in the war.

Rorie's Review:

This book is almost 3 separate stories in one. There isn't one main character - instead, we read the story about 3 different couples and how they got together, or how they worked out problems, etc. Even so, this story flowed well and it all worked out. I do wish that there was more with Josette though. She wasn't really mentioned any more once her story was resolved.

I would classify this as a WWII book, but not in the traditional sense, since the war is over. Instead, this book is about the aftermath, and how people are putting their lives back together, and finding a new normal.

I'll be honest, I really didn't like Sam very much. His overbearing "You will do what I say!" attitude with Eleanor just didn't sit well with me at all. I really enjoyed getting to know Vera and Dominick better, and loved how patient and understanding Vera was with his post-war issues.

This book is not a quick read - it does move kind of slow sometimes - but I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to others.
Title: Beneath the Bellemont Sky
Author: Ranee S. Clark
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: March 2018
ISBN: 1524402788
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Monday, March 5, 2018

Review: A Peculiar Courtship by Laura Beers

A Peculiar Courtship by Laura Beers

Book Description:

Lord Jonathon Beckett's mission is simple: retrieve Lady Hannah and place her under the protection of the Crown. But he isn't prepared for the havoc she inflicts on his world, making him question whether his duty as an agent of the Crown should always come before his heart.

Lady Hannah's father has uncovered evidence exposing a French traitor to the Crown. Willing to do anything to silence him, the traitor's primary target has become Lady Hannah. Keeping her safe means locking her away from Society, but she refuses to stand idly by, letting others put their lives on the line to protect her. Instead, she will stop at nothing to learn to defend herself, even at the risk of losing Lord Jonathon's protection, or his affections.

With a sinister scheme in play to collapse the English government from within, Lord Jonathon must protect Lady Hannah from the French spies intending to use her as a pawn in their game of treachery. But can he protect her from herself?

Andrea's Review:

I enjoyed the first book in The Beckett Files series and was excited for the opportunity to read A Peculiar Courtship. I'm not sure why, but I was somewhat hesitant to start this book when it came. Maybe the cover didn't call to me. Anyway, whatever the reason, when I did start I was drawn in by Hannah's situation. There were some exciting and suspenseful times.

The first part of the book was fairly intense with Hannah's rescue. Then there was a lull for quite awhile that mostly focused on Hannah and Jonathon falling for each other and then miscommunicating so that they didn't know where each other stood (this happened more than once). It took me quite awhile to get through this portion of the story, but things picked up again near the end as the evidence was found to incriminate and catch the bad guy.

There's a handful of swearing throughout the book (which is always a turn off for me) that didn't fit the time period. I think that was perhaps my hangup with the book. It didn't consistently feel like a Regency romance. Some aspects or mannerisms just felt too modern.

In addition to the profanity, there is passionate kissing and violence.

Tarah's Review:

This book is a quick read that matches well with the first book in the series. That being said, it can be read as a stand alone book since everything important is explained again. I do enjoy that this author creates strong female characters.

Here's one of my hang-ups with this book. Killing someone is treated like it's nothing, even though that was the big problem in the first book (worry for Eliza's soul after she killed a whole lot of people).  But their solution to every problem is "Just let me kill so and so." Then they decide that that isn't the best idea for one reason or another...mostly that they need more information from the person, which they can't give if they are dead. However, they always always always end up killing them. Then it's like "Oops, didn't mean to do that. Oh well."

Another hang-up is that I feel like Hannah's and Jonathon's relationship is more lustly than love. They don't understand one another, but they are attracted to each other and that seems to be good enough reason to get married.

I read it quickly, and my attention was kept the entire time, I was just bothered by the attitudes of the characters to really recommend this book.

Rorie's Review:

For some reason, I was thinking that this story was a continuation of Eliza and Benedict, so I felt so lost for the first few chapters while I tried to place Hannah in Eliza's place. But once I figured out this story was about different people, it went a lot smoother.

Jonathan was not my favorite person. In fact, he was kind of a clueless jerk. Very sweet to Hannah one minute, and the next, completely overbearing. Forbidding her to do things that she clearly wanted to do, then acting all bewildered that she didn't just sit back and let him take care of her. It took me a long (very long) while to warm up to Jonathan at all.

Hannah was enjoyable to get to know. I like how she made up her mind to learn something new and kept at it so she could protect herself instead of waiting for someone to do it for her.

This book reads more like a contemporary novel rather than a Regency, so if you like traditional Regency stories, you won't get that with this book.

Title: A Peculiar Courtship
Author: Laura Beers
Publisher: Phase Publishing
Published: December 2017
ISBN: 1943048479
Source: We received copies from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase: Amazon

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Blog Tour: Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

Book Description:

Greta loves her job as assistant librarian. She loves her best friend, Will, the high school civics teacher and debate coach. She even loves her mother despite her obvious disappointment that Greta is still single.

Then she meets Mac in the poetry section of the library, and she is smitten. Mac is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and showers her with affection, poetic text messages, and free hot chocolate at the local café where he works. The only problem is that he seems to be a different person in his texts than in his face-to-face conversation.

When the Franklin Library is threatened with closure, Greta leaps into action. She arranges for a "battle of the bands" book jam, hosts a book signing by a famous author, and finally, stages a protest that raises more than a few eyebrows.

Through it all, she slowly realizes that it is Will, not Mac, who she turns to for support and encouragement. Mac has the looks; Will has the heart. How can she choose between them?
Check Me Out is a contemporary romance--with just a hint of Cyrano de Bergerac--that reminds us that it is what's on the inside that matters most.

Rorie's Review:

First off, I love libraries. I always have. I have so many fond memories of going to our little library when I was a kid, checking out huge piles of books to devour, looking through the old-fashioned card catalog to find as many books on a particular topic that I could. This book brought all those nostalgic feelings back in full force. I've heard a statistic that after graduating college, 42% of the people never read another book again. That number is staggering and so very sad to me. I can't imagine not reading. I can't imagine not going to the library


Anyway...I loved this story. All of the characters really came to life for me, and I had to force myself to put the book down each night so I could get to bed at a decent hour. I can't imagine living somewhere where the library is in danger of getting shut down. How can you live without a library? I could completely understand Greta's passion and fire when it came to her job.

I love the author's witty, humorous style of writing. She had me laughing out loud more than once. I really enjoyed Greta and Will's relationship. I also got a kick out of Marigold.

Aside from writing a great story, it was pretty awesome to find out that the author is a teacher at the high school I went to.  (Well, not exactly. The one I went to has been torn down.)

Andrea's Review:

I really enjoy the books in the Proper Romance line, and I was excited when I heard about this contemporary addition by Becca Wilhite. What's not to love about a quirky book lover who is passionate about saving her library (and don't forget the inclusion of her perfect man).

Check Me Out has a great cover (isn't it catchy?), and an intriguing premise. I think it was well-written, although a bit long, and I loved Will. He's not your typical romantic lead, but he is a wonderful person. He's such a good friend-so giving and thoughtful.

It was too bad Will was overshadowed by Greta's selfishness. It makes some sense seeing as this is Greta's story, but I struggled that she wasn't more likable. She was really shallow, and also a bit blind and clueless for the bulk of the story. She was a taker. She was helpful to the library patrons and her co-workers, and was passionate about keeping the library open, but her relationship with Will seemed very one sided. And that made me hurt for Will and dislike Greta.

That said, Greta does have her eyes opened and becomes a better person by the end of the story.

This is a story that stayed with me. I wanted to like it more than I did (and would have had Greta's transformation happened earlier so I could spend more time with the improved Greta), but it's one that I kept thinking about long after I finished reading. I suppose it caused some self reflection, and made me want to make sure I'm not like Greta, especially with those closest to me.

I liked the supporting characters, enjoyed the Tweets, and was amused by the t-shirt pickup lines.

Tarah's Review:

This is a difficult review for me to write. As soon as I finished this book I texted my sisters and said, "I don't know how I felt about this book." It's still holding true days later. I wanted to love this book. I wanted to devour it and happily lend it out to all my book-reading friends. I wanted to tell them how great it was. But honestly, I can't.  The premise of the book it great, and boy did it bring back some nostalgic feelings, and it made me think about my own library now. I live in a super small town and two of the towns near me have library built in old buildings. Part of me really feels for Greta when losing the old library comes up. These are awesome buildings, but they certainly aren't made for life today. So part of me is torn between saving the history, or making the library a more relevant place for the community. So anyway, that part of the book I loved. Greta's tweets about the library were entertaining and her passion for saving it was admirable.

And then there is the rest of the story. Honestly, poor Will. I really wish he would have ended up with someone else at the end of the story. He gives and gives and gives, and is never on the receiving end. He cares so much and gets nothing in return. And you know, part of that bothers me too. When it all comes out, he doesn't even want to try for a relationship, he just wants to remain friends. That saddens me. I want him to have a happy ending, and I just don't feel like he gets one.

I just don't think that the over-weight issue was handled well in this book. The premise was all set up for a great story, and the cover is delightful, but the shallowness of the main character just kind of made the story fall flat for me. I wasn't rooting for her, and I was rooting for him to find someone else, so I guess this was not a winner for me.

Title: Check Me Out
Author: Becca Wilhite
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: February 2018
ISBN: 1629723274
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Book Blast: With This Click I Thee Wed by Bonnie R. Paulson

With this Click, I Thee Wed by Bonnie R. Paulson  

Book Description:

"Uh, oh, what did I do?"

A lonely divorcee…

A rancher who can lose everything…

One website that matches them for marriage…

They have to learn about the importance of decisions and family or lose their one shot at love.

Stuck in a town where everyone knows her and her ex-husband, Rachel is distinctly aware of who chose his side – everyone – and who chose her side – no one. Even her hairstylist won’t schedule her.

But when she finds herself alone with a bottle of chianti and the internet, Rachel stumbles upon The survey is easy and clicking “I Do” seems to be the magic button she’s been searching for.

Before she can snap out of her decision, she finds herself packed and flying across the country to meet her new husband.

Would her new life be better or worse than the hell she left behind?   



First, there is no cliffhanger!! That is important to me so I am assuming it is important to others as well. This is a very unusual story. it starts off with the heroine being recently divorced from her dirt bag, cheating, lying ex-husband. She has moved back home since she has nothing to show for the years of marriage - he got everything and she is depressed. She moved back in with the two people who should love her and support her no matter what. That is not the case. I have never seen two more hateful and unloving parents as these two. They belittle and do everything in their power to let her know she is nothing more than an embarrassment and a disappointment. It is very easy to hate these two.

I will start by saying that I have not read a book by Bonnie R. Paulson that I did NOT like. I love the way she writes and I love the things she writes about. I find that when I read her books that I get pulled into them and can't stop until I reach the ending.

Being afraid that happiness is something not for either of them, yet finding it. In the most delightful way makes this a fun read.


I closed my eyes at the fourth or fifth round of premature fireworks booming outside. My neighbors had an overzealous streak that showed its ugliness during celebratory times. The fireworks would be gone and they’d start on homemade balloon bombs to blow in the street next. There weren’t strong enough earplugs for that.

“Well, it looks like it’s just you and me.” I tilted my wine glass back and drained the rest of my red Chianti. The movies that I had picked out lost their luster when it was just me, all alone.

Time was now counted in glasses, or maybe bottles? I’d lost count. I'd been sipping on it pretty steadily for the remainder of the night. The new year was almost there. I had only a few more minutes left to go.

Nothing had changed.

What was I doing? Why was I just sitting there eating or drinking my life away? I hadn't meant to be where I was. I didn’t want to live in my parents’ house. I didn't want to live in the same small town where people liked my ex-husband more than they liked me.

A voice over a black screen with pink text reading said, “Why are you sitting there watching TV and drinking wine?”

What? I glanced at my nearly empty glass and blinked blearily at the TV.

The voice continued. “Put down your loneliness and rediscover your purpose. Stop messing around; take the next step. Be with someone who isn't afraid of commitment.” A picture of happily smiling couples began to zoom across the screen, like a badly designed collage. “Get matched with your ideal spouse.” Another shot of the logo with a nice white text beneath it said, all candidates are verified. Find your forever.

About the Author:

Real people, real loss, real love.

USA Today Bestselling author, Bonnie focuses on the emotional thrill of the romance, the discovery of self and the dynamic forces at play to both pull and push love growth.

With 6 children and her own eternal romance at home, Bonnie lives her own dream every day. She's spoiled with blessings and wants to share the joy of ever-after possibilities with others.

Whether it's a happy-ever-after or a happy-for-now, the emotions will leave you story drunk for days, if not years.

Feel good romances with sweet twists. Or is it Sweet romances with bold twists? You decide.

You'll be able to say where you were when you closed the book. Surviving all things real and coming out better on the other side.

Some of her favorite authors are Robyn Carr, Pamela Kelley, and Christine Kingsley!


$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 3/18/18

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

Monday, February 26, 2018

Spotlight: LDS Film Festival

Now in its 17th year, the LDS Film Festival opens this week at the SCERA Theater in Orem, and is open to the public. With an amazing line up of feature and short film categories, music videos, animated short films, and industry panels this year will be one you won't want to miss. Meet many actors, producers, directors, and other industry professionals all week. The festival schedule can be viewed at

A few events to be sure you don't miss include:

Monday, February 26th ~ Festival Kickoff
7:00 PM / Not Cinderella's Type ($5.00 tickets)
Movie Trailer:

7:45 PM / We Love You Sally Carmichael (FREE) 

Tuesday, February 27th ~ OPENING NIGHT
7:00 PM ($8.00 tickets)

“The Other Side of Heaven” Opening Celebration: The dramatic retelling of emeritus LDS General Authority Seventy Elder John Groberg’s mission to Tonga became an unlikely hit after its release in late 2001. It was also one of Anne Hathaway’s first feature films. Tongan dancers and singers will be performing and a special announcement will be made by movie director, Mitch Davis.


Thursday, March 1st ~ Premiere
7:00 PM ($8.00 dollar tickets)

"Ruling of the Heart" -- a film about a judge who gets trapped in a cafe during a snowstorm, where he is confronted by two people he made judgments against. 

Friday, March 2nd ~ CLOSING NIGHT Premiere
7:30 PM ($8.00 dollar tickets)
“Trek” -- One of the more buzzed-about LDS films recently, “Trek” has its premiere at the LDS Film Festival. The comedy examines the Mormon tradition of youth handcart treks through the eyes of an LDS teen named Tom. But like all Mormon youth treks, it’s not all fun and games, and the group’s faith gets tested.


Book Review: A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White

A Song Unheard (Shadows Over England, #2) 
 Book Description:

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which make her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is in meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

Book Review:

I fell in love with the first book in this series, A Name Unknown, and so I jumped at the chance to read this second novel. Does anyone else get anxious about a book that you really want to read, but hesitate to start it because what it...what if it just wasn't as good as the first one, and thereby ruins the first one. Ahh, the pressure! So I will admit that it took a little longer than normal for me to pick this up and start it. Oh, but once I did....the magic is still there. I say magic because it take a special book to make you feel like you've hardly gotten into the story and when you look down you realize you are 300 pages into it, and nothing had dragged on, I'm not anxious to "get to the point". It all flows and happens in a magical way that draws you into the story.

I will admit that Lukas, while a great character and well written and all that jazz, just wasn't my favorite male lead ever. I enjoyed Peter in the first novel much more. I guess there is just something about an underdog for me.

Oh, but Margot and the general, and Barclay, and all the supporting characters...they were the cream on top of this story. Sometimes when a story breaks away for a supporting characters view point I get frustrated and want to get back to the 'real' story. Honestly, I loved the other characters, and I fell in deep with their story. It was just as important to me as Willa's and Lukas'.

Would I read this again? Yes! Am I looking forward to Barclay's story? Oh yeah. He's pretty awesome. Can this be read as a stand alone novel? I'm not sure if you'd appreciate 'the family' as much if you didn't have Rosie and Peter's story first. But probably. You'd seriously be missing out though. Seriously, even the audio version of  A Name Unknown rocks, and I'm super picky with my narrators. The wrong narrator can kill a story faster than anything. Getting back to the point, you should read this. It's well worth your time.

A Song Unheard (Shadows Over England, #2)
Title: A Song Unheard
Author: Roseanna M. White
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: January 2018
ISBN: 0764219278
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.