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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Review: Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering by M.L. Foreman

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81VxjBCnF7L.jpg 
Book Description:


The long-awaited final volume of the Adventures Wanted series. Whalen Vankin is the worlds greatest wizard, and he has only ever personally trained two other wizards. One is Alexander Taylor, a young man who has earned a reputation as a brave adventurer, a warrior, and man of honor. The other is Jabez, Vankin's nephew and a man whose choices have led him down a different, darker path.
Dark magic has covered Westland, and evil is stirring. Whalen and Alex must journey together into the heart of danger, confronting a sea serpent, battling their way through a goblin army, and facing down more than one dragon. Alex must find the legendary Axe of Sundering the one weapon that offers a chance to defeat Jabez and protect the land from the dark wizards plans. But finding it will be an adventure of its own as the only pathway to the Axe leads through the underground tunnels and secret passages of Castle Conmar.
But Jabez has one final weapon at his disposal: the powerful Orion Stone, which could spell the end to Whalen and Alex both.


Rorie's Review:


I didn't realize this was the 5th book in a series until my son pointed it out to me. He has the first book, and enjoyed it, but he didn't want to read this one until he's had a chance to read the other three books. 

I have to agree with him. Some books work well as stand-alone novels, but this one did not. There were a lot of things that were mentioned that I know would have made much more sense if I had read the first 4 books. Maybe that's why I felt like there wasn't a whole lot of depth to these characters and really, the whole story line. 

While this book just wasn't for me, I think my oldest two kids would really get into this series. We just need to get the middle three books now so they can read them all. :)


Tarah's Review:

I'm going to agree with Rorie on this one. Starting on the fifth book of this series was probably not the best idea I've ever had. It certainly was an entertaining book, but because we didn't know a lot about the characters they all seemed to be missing something. A lot of things weren't explained either. I'm assuming Alex's O'Gash was like his dragon personality or something, but no explanation was given in this book and I was left to my own devises to figure something out.

It's a beautiful cover though, no? In fact all of the covers in this series are great looking, so kudos to the design team there.

I'm interested in the other books of the series, but will probably only read them if they fall into my lap. I do think my kids would like them though. I'm hesitant to let them read this one first, just because it's the last book, but I think they would enjoy it.


https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81VxjBCnF7L.jpgTitle: Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering
Author: M.L. Forman
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 1609079345
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 


Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Review: An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

 An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, #4)
Book Description:

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?


Book Review:

I will admit that after Hunter's last book I was hesitant to pick this one up, but the first couple books and novella were just so good that I decided to give it a try. Starting with the cover, I don't really love it, but I do appreciate that it matches the rest of the series.

I really enjoyed Griffith in the other novels (although they can all be read by themselves in any order), so it was fun to see what made him, him. I enjoyed how the story started when he was just a boy at school. It was fun to see Ryland as a boy as well. My favorite thing about Griffith is how he tries to pick his wife. It definitely isn't something that is seen often, and I thought it was refreshing.

My favorite part with Isabella is when she is walking with Griffith and she starts smelling the trees. I found a lot of humor in that :) It was also fun for me to see the old characters make appearances and relate to each other. I am a sucker for family series, and this family is just a great family.

It's not the best book in the series, but I really enjoyed reading it, and I will read it again. If you are looking for a clean, light, easy, entertaining read, this will do the trick.


An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, #4)
Title: An Inconvenient Beauty
Author: Kristi Ann Hunter
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: September 2017
ISBN:   0764218271
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Blog Tour: Topaz Reign by Teresa Richards

Topaz Reign by Teresa Richards

Book Description:

Fairy tales are simply tales, told and re-told, but changed over time.

It has been four months since Maggie learned the dark truth behind the tale of the Princess and the Pea and freed Princess Lindy from the cursed Emerald. Lindy is now back in the past where she belongs, queen of her tiny Scandinavian country, and Maggie is a fully reformed ex-stalker.

Except … she can’t stop doing internet searches on Lindy and her country.

One morning, Maggie wakes to find history turned on its head. Apparently, you can’t destroy a centuries-old curse without consequence. In order to prevent the changes in history from wiping out the present, Maggie resurrects her stalking gene and learns that fairy tales don’t stay dead for long.

Or at all.

Back in 1623, Lindy is juggling a threat to her family, a handsome new guard she’s not supposed to have feelings for, and a cursed Topaz with ties to the tale of Thumbelina. When past and present collide, Lindy and Maggie are brought together again, and another of Andersen’s tales turns from twisted fiction to chilling fact.


Purchase: Amazon | Kindle

Tour Giveaway:


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Author Interview:

What inspired you to write Topaz Reign?

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it really started with a dream. I’d recently finished writing a different book I was really excited about, but was more women's fiction than young adult. Then one morning I woke up from one of those dreams that make perfect sense while you’re in them but fall to pieces when you wake up. It involved having to rescue a friend from certain death by getting a marble-like stone out from under her bed--I know, super random and weird. But it changed my direction.

I realized that the stone thread from that dream would make a really cool YA twist on the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. I love reading fairy tale retellings, and the idea of twisting one up that hadn’t been done before was so exciting. Immediately, the story spun to life inside my head, and I stopped thinking about that first book and started working on this one. Even once Emerald Bound was finished, I felt there was still so much more I wanted to see the characters do, and so many more places I could take it, that I knew I wanted to do another. Hence, Topaz Reign.

Is there a message in Topaz Reign that you want readers to come away with?

I really didn’t write this book with the intent to deliver a message, but I hope readers come away with a new appreciation for family. I also hope readers will realize that it’s possible to be strong even when you lose your support network and the odds are stacked against you, but it’s also okay to accept help when it’s offered. 

Who is your favorite character in your book, and why?

I love both of my leading ladies—Maggie and Lindy. But this book was about Lindy coming into her own, while Emerald Bound was more about Maggie. I love the person that Lindy became through Topaz Reign. She handled herself with dignity and poise even in the toughest of circumstances, and I admire her for that.

What are your hopes/goals as an author, and what other projects do you have in mind?

I write because I love it, but writing something you know you’ll be able to share with other people makes it that much better. I love talking with teens about writing (and, really, all things life) and I hope to inspire them to chase their dreams in a way I didn’t have the courage to do when I was their age. I signed with a literary agent about a year ago, with the goal of bringing my stories to a wider audience. We have a book currently on submission with editors, a YA contemporary suspense, and another YA contemporary that I’m working on. I don’t want to say too much about either project, but the first features a piano playing lottery winner, and the second involves roller-skating gymnasts. How’s that for vague?

Do you have any unusual habits while you write?

Well, right now I’m sitting in the back seat of my car, in a deserted parking lot, writing on my laptop while I wait for the library to open. Does that count as unusual? I have five kids between the ages of six and sixteen, so I have to make use of every moment I can. I often find myself writing in the car as I wait for somebody’s class/lesson/school activity/club to end, or waiting outside the library before it opens because I had to take one of my kids to school or to a doctor appointment before school and it would be a waste of time to go home. There are fewer distractions in the car (actually, like none—it’s not comfortable enough to lay down for a nap, and there’s no tv or internet or dishes or laundry) and I’m often able to focus better.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love music. I play the piano when I need a mental break (it’s better than a therapist, I’d say) and I’ve always got a song stuck in my head (which I sing out loud in all sorts of places I shouldn’t, like the grocery store and the movie theater). I also enjoy watching movies and spending time with my family and friends. And reading, of course. Always reading.

What is your favorite book, and why?

Oh, man, that’s like asking me to pick my favorite child. There are so many books I love, and for different reasons. The Book Thief is at the top of my list, just because it’s so surprisingly different in the way that it’s written. And, of course, the story is amazing. I also love a little book called Ella Minnow Pea for being so clever. And then there’s the Cinder series and the Splintered series, both fairy tale retellings that I adore. And there are so many others. So, yeah, I’m sorry but I can’t pick just one. Books are the best!

Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, October 3--Katie's Clean Book Selection
Thursday, October 5--Singing Librarian Books
Thursday, October 5--Cindy's Treasury of Good Tales--review

Friday, October 6--Blooming With Books
Saturday, October 7--Cindy's Treasury of Good Tales--Guest post, Interview with the Topaz Reign Characters
Saturday, October 7--By Robin King
Sunday, October 8--Head Over Books
Monday, October 9--Why not? Because I said so!
Tuesday, October 10--EmmyMom 
Tuesday, October 10--Five Take Flight
Wednesday, October 11--Kindle And Me 
Wednesday, October 11--Getting Your Read On
Thursday, October 12--My Book A Day
Friday, October 13--Brookie Cowles
Saturday, October 14--LDS Women's Book Reviews 
Saturday, October 14--Literary Time Out 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Book Blast: Game Changer by Charissa Stastny

 
Game Changer by Charissa Stastny 

Book Description:

Meridee Mansford wants nothing to do with the popular crowd. She’s comfortable being invisible. But that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about the hunky football player who visits the campus ice cream shop where she works. Still, she’s smart enough to know he’d never notice a girl like her, and she’d never want him even if he did. Too much unwelcome attention. 

Parker Harrington basks in the glory that’s been his since the game-changing passes he caught that pushed his team into the national spotlight. Sticky Fingers is his media moniker now, and the cheerleaders who used to ignore him when he sat the bench have become his most devoted fans. But when he accidentally crashes into a quiet coed and covers her in orange chicken, it throws off his offensive game. 

As fate, ice cream, and orange chicken throw the opposites together, will Parker continue keeping company with women he knows are only using him for his fame, or will he change up the game and risk his heart on a genuine girl who despises the attention he craves? 

 

Praise for the Book:

“A fun and flirty new adult romance. It’s a sweet indulgence that keeps you turning pages. The start to what is sure to be a great new series. – Jennifer Peel, author of Pianos and Promises series  

“Opposites attract when the overlooked sweet girl lands herself the popular football star in this quasi-Cinderella story. It’s the perfect read to keep you up way past your bedtime...”Taylor Dean, author of Chasing Fireflies



Excerpt:

Twiddling my fingers, I waited for Ken to make up his mind. I hoped he’d order without looking up so he didn’t recognize me. Not that he would. But just in case, I kept my chin tucked as I stared at the counter.

“Um, let’s see.” His head stayed bowed. “I’ll have a triple waffle cone with a scoop of caramel cashew and…” He paused and scratched his head as though solving a physics problem. “…a scoop of huckleberry ripple, and, umm…I guess I’ll try a scoop of that…”

When he paused, I peeked up to see if he pointed at a flavor. Instead, I found him staring at me.

“Y-you,” he sputtered.

I cringed and wished a hole could open up in the floor and swallow me.

“You’re the girl I crashed into in the CUB yesterday, aren’t you?”

My cheeks burned and my throat felt like sandpaper. “W-what was the last flavor you wanted?” He hadn’t finished ordering.

“Oh, uh, yeah. Um…” His gaze dropped, but shot right back up to stare at me again.

“What’s your last flavor?” I determined to keep him on task.

His brows furrowed. “I guess I’ll have the licorice since it’s new.”

I shuddered, and attempted to ignore the infuriatingly sexy man gaping at me as though I had horns sprouting from my head. The tightening in my chest and labored breathing proved I tried in vain.

    

About the Author:

 Charissa Stastny is an avid reader, happy writer, wasp-hater, iris-lover, and food connoisseur (especially sushi and chocolate, but not together). She was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She is married to her high school sweetheart and has four children that make her smile and laugh all the time. She called Idaho her home for years, but has recently moved to Utah, where she was thrilled to discover dozens of flavors of hot chocolate to keep her happy in the winter. The cherry one might be her favorite (this week). She is the author of five books and ‘imagine-eer’ of many more.


  amazon or paypal 
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway:

Ends 11/5/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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.

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Blog Tour: Safe House by Traci Hunter Abramson

Reviews * Giveaway
Safe House by Traci Hunter Abramson

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.


Rorie's Review:

This was a two-day story. I was a little grumbly when I first started reading it, because at the time, I only had the pdf version, and I'm old-fashioned and only like to read actual (hard copy) books. However, it didn't take me long at all to get sucked into the plot and I could almost forget I was using a tablet (but I was very happy to switch over to the hard copy when it came today.)

I'm not sure how many of Traci's other books I've read, but I definitely want to check out the Saint Squad series. I really liked all of those characters in this story and would like to get to know them better. This is the second book in the Guardian series, and while I think it works relatively well as a stand-alone, it would be helpful to read Failsafe first.

I don't feel like things were completely wrapped up in a pretty little package at the end, and I'm sure that's just setting the stage for another book in this series. That's a good thing though, because there's a lot more to be told with Ace, Kade and all the others that played a part with the Guardians.
 
Andrea's Review:

Traci Hunter Abramson's books have been a bit hit-and-miss for me, but I was intrigued by the book description for Safe House, so I thought I'd give it a try. And, I'm glad I did. It was an enjoyable read, with a good amount of action and a clean romance.

I liked the mix of the Guardians and the Saint Squad. Other than the names (calling the members Ghost or the Saint Squad 😬) I really liked the interaction between the groups.

The book mentioned a burn phone several times, and that threw me. I've only heard it referred to as a burner phone.

At least one big thing was left undone, I assume to leave this open to a sequel. But the most pressing things were resolved. I liked the romance aspect, and even though the strong feelings came on quickly, it was written in a way that felt realistic.

This was a fast, clean and enjoyable read, and I’d read more about the Guardians.

Tarah's Review:
 
 I've always been a fan of Traci Hunter Abramson and I was really glad when she started just writing clean fiction. Don't get me wrong, I love the Saint Squad series, the Undercurrents Series, and the Royal Series, but I always appreciate it when an author who wrote LDS fiction branches out to non-LDS fiction, but still keeps it clean. I think I was a little surprised to see the cross-over of the Saint Squad series and Guardian Series in this book. I mean, it made me want to go back and reread some books, but I was surprised. 
 
Even though I've read the other book in this series, I would consider this a stand alone. I can't remember much about Failsafe and I didn't really feel lost while reading this one. I wonder how I would feel if I didn't know so much about the Saint Squad though. That might make it a little harder to understand.
 
It was a quick, entertaining read for me, and while I liked the characters and the action I did feel that the romance was way to quick. I mean, I liked it, but it didn't quite seem to be based on anything more than physical attraction. 
 
It's a keeper for my bookshelf though. I'll reread it and pass it along to my friends. I'm interested to see what she does for the rest of the series. 

Tour Schedule:

*Oct. 9th: http://bonnieharris.blogspot.com/

*Oct. 10th: http://empowermoms.net/, http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/, http://melsshelves.blogspot.com/

*Oct. 11th: http://mybookaday.blogspot.com/, http://www.wishfulendings.com/, http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/, http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com/

*Oct. 12th: https://ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com/, http://katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com/, http://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/, http://minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/

*Oct. 13th: http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/, http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/, http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com/, http://www.kindleandme.com/, http://brooklynberrydesigns.com/

Tour Giveaway:

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Title: Safe House
Author: Traci Hunter Abramson
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: October 2017
ISBN: 1524402753
Source: We received a copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book



Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: All That Makes Life Bright by Josi S. Kilpack

Dual Review
All That Makes Life Bright
The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe
 by Josi S. Kilpack

Book Description:

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?


Andrea's Review:

I wasn’t sure how much I’d get into this book just because the other similar books in this series were interesting but not my favorite. However, All that Makes Life Bright was really enjoyable for me. I’m not sure if it was because it was about a woman and I could relate better than the books about male historical figures, or if it was something else entirely.

Kilpack had me crying several times during this book. I couldn’t help but think that if this were set in modern times Harriet and Calvin would have divorced. It was touching that they focused on their marriage covenant when times got tough instead of just throwing in the towel.

It was a bit of a slow read for me, but not in a bad way. It was just real. I haven’t made it through all of the chapter notes at the end of the book yet, but I do appreciate that the author included those so we can separate fact from fiction.

One line stood out to me when Harriet’s father told her perfection is a sin. I’ve definitely never thought that before. Interesting.

Rorie's Review:

When I start historical novels, I'm never sure what I'll be getting in to. There's always the worry that the story will be dry and history-bookish. Thankfully, this one was not like that at all. I was drawn into Harriet and Calvin's life right away. You could tell that they really loved each other, but their temperaments were so extremely different. 

The first year of marriage can be tough as you learn to live with someone who was brought up differently than you were, but then throw in your husband going overseas for 8 months with you being a few months pregnant, and life gets a whole lot more complicated.

There is no doubt in my mind that Harriet was very self-centered...as was Calvin. Since they didn't have more than a few short months together before having children, they never really learned how to be a couple. 

Even with all the conflict throughout much of the book, this story has a great message of learning how to stay true to yourself while changing enough to learn how to live with your spouse as equal companions. 

With these books, I always enjoy the timeline at the end. It's interesting to me to see what happened with these people and their families before and after the story took place.

Title: All That Makes Life Bright: The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: September 2017
ISBN: 162972341X
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Review: A Dangerous Engagment by Melanie Dickerson

 A Dangerous Engagement (The Regency Spies of London, #3)
Book Description:

Just as merchant’s daughter Felicity Mayson is spurned once again because of her meager dowry, she receives an unexpected invitation to Lady Blackstone’s country home. Being introduced to the wealthy Oliver Ratley is an admitted delight, as is his rather heedless yet inviting proposal of marriage. Only when another of Lady Blackstone’s handsome guests catches Felicity’s attention does she realize that nothing is what it seems at Doverton Hall.

Government agent Philip McDowell is infiltrating a group of cutthroat revolutionaries led by none other than Lady Blackstone and Ratley. Their devious plot is to overthrow the monarchy, and their unwitting pawn is Felicity. Now Philip needs Felicity’s help in discovering the rebels’ secrets—by asking her to maintain cover as Ratley’s innocent bride-to-be.

Philip is duty bound. Felicity is game. Together they’re risking their lives—and gambling their hearts—to undo a traitorous conspiracy before their dangerous masquerade is exposed.


Book Review:

Hmm...honestly my overwhelming feeling about this book is one of disappointment.  I really enjoyed a Spy's Devotion (the first in the series) and I haven't read the second one, but I was excited for this one. The cover is really pretty. Something just seemed really off in this book. Maybe it was because I don't remember A Spy's Devotion being YA. Not to say that YA wouldn't enjoy it, but the writing seemed to be a little more mature. This writing seemed very juvenile. And maybe that was because Felicity was supposed to be portrayed as young and inexperienced. Whatever it was it was annoying to me the whole book.

I had a hard time with the characters as well. Felicity was just annoying, Philip wasn't developed (he could have been a great character, but he wasn't), the Aunt and Oliver were over the top and their relationship was just weird. The revolutionist weren't a coherent group and I had a hard time believing that they would succeed in their fight. The escapes were overly simplistic and then you had to wonder since they were so simplistic why didn't they happen a lot earlier. Plus the ending was rushed and not well thought out.

Dickerson is a clean entertaining author, but I'd skip this one and read some of her other stuff.


A Dangerous Engagement (The Regency Spies of London, #3) 
Title: A Dangerous Engagement
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Waterfall Press
Published: September 2017
ASIN: 
B06Y59J2SZ 
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.