Thursday, December 31, 2015

He Delivered Even Me, He Will Deliver Even You by Misti Stevenson

He Delivered Even Me, He Will Deliver Even You

Author: Misti Stevenson

Published 2013

Paperback: 325 pages

ISBN: 9780989426800

FTC FYI: Received a paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Deseret Book Summary

Growing up, Misti thought she had a pretty normal childhood. Right up until the sixth grade. That's when she began to notice things. Like how she was constantly aware of every blink of her eyes. How any normal physical thing could become an enemy that her brain would replay over and over again. She tried talking to her parents about it, but family dysfunction and parental control issues wouldn't let them see her problem for what it was. So she did everything she could to hide it. It would take her many more years to attach a name to her tortuous condition — Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
But after many more years of struggling, praying, and counseling, Misti experienced the miracle she had been seeking — she was healed.
So she's done hiding. This is her story of suffering through — and eventually being healed of — OCD, anxiety, and depression through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is her story of how the Lord turned her deepest struggles into her greatest blessings.
"Misti's journey through the darkness and into the light is engrossing, filled with candid details of her pain, until her ultimate triumph over this awful affliction through her faith in Christ. Whether or not the reader suffers from OCD, Misti's heartfelt story will uplift and inspire to seek the Savior's grace in overcoming any personal trials." — Jennifer Griffith, author of Big in Japan

My Review

I struggled with the blame the author placed but I appreciated her realization throughout and was grateful for the help she received. Forgiveness and personal healing takes time. I thought it was very brave of the author to lay out her struggles and frustrations with her parents in a book but I loved what she says in the end, how the Spirit guided her to write this book. Misti also recognized how the Lord had answered her prayers in her life, and by writing her experience down, it helped her realize it even more. Misti also used her journal entries in the chapters. I appreciated how she also stated that Satan is also aware of our struggles, as the Lord is, and he tries to use them against us. Misti stresses that the difference is, Jesus is there to help us and guide us, not bring us down. We all have our own Mount Everest to climb and with the Savior's help, we can overcome all.

4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Links

Amazon / Deseret Book / Barnes and Noble

About the Author 

Misti Stevenson now enjoys her busy and joy-filled life in Kaysville with her husband, Jed, and five busy children. When not helping her kids with homework, tackling a mountain of laundry, or serving at church, she loves to do yoga, go jogging with her friends, and especially loves hiking in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with her family. Facing her OCD was difficult. Telling her family was almost impossible. Writing about it, the supreme act of faith. She has felt supported by the Savior each step of the way. Misti knows you or someone you love may be among those who are silently suffering in a seemingly insurmountable set of circumstances and loves spreading the Savior’s message of hope and deliverance through the message of her book.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Home and Away by Dean Hughes

Home and Away: A World War II Christmas Story

Author: Dean Hughes

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published: September 2015

ISBN13: 9781629720937

Hardcover: 176 pages
FTC FYI: Received a hardcover copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

A historical fiction novel told from the perspective of a son fighting on the battlefields of Europe during World War II and his mother, struggling with worry and uncertainty about her soldier son while she tries to keep a semblenance of a normal, happy Christmas holiday back on the home front. Norma Hayes has always tried to make Christmas special for her family, but 1944 will make that more difficult with money being tight and wartime rationing making everything hard to come by. Aware of his mother's hardships and the worry from having her eldest son at war, second son, Dennis, is determined to buy his mother a special gift this Christmas, a lavender blue dress he hopes will bring her comfort as a symbol of special times gone by and the hope of a brighter future with the family reunited at war's end. Meantime, on the long campaign to free Europe, her soldier son carrys on as best he can, the horrors of war taking its heavy toll on armies and civilians alike. On a battlefield far from home in Holland with his 101st Airborne battalion, he catches a familiar scent of lavender which briefly transports him back to the home front to the perfume scent his mother wore, giving him a short respite and reuniting the family once again if only in his imagination. This historical fiction novel is a nostalgic and tender story about the power of love, the reality of war, and the hope we all have that things will turn out all right.

My Review

I truly loved this story.  It is the perfect book for Christmastime.  The story is beautifully told.  Dennis was my favorite character.  I loved how he treated his mom, with so much respect and love.  It was touching how he wanted to get her the perfect gift and I loved how he was able to obtain it for her.  That part made me cry.  I enjoyed the point of view switches between Dennis and Glen.  The author does a great job showing the hardships of war, for all involved.  How hard it is for the soldiers and those left at home worrying.  Dennis's father, at times, really frustrated me, but I appreciated him more when I understood his side.  The scenes with Glen at war were written well, one particular scene that had the tears flowing.  I loved how the family was able to come together, as they are waiting to hear Glen's fate.  The time period was a character itself.  I really enjoy stories about World War II.  Dennis and Glen's mother, Norma, was a great character.  No matter how hard things were, she always remained positive.  She sacrificed so much for her family.

5 out of 5 stars.  Merry Christmas!

Author Links

Purchase Links

Monday, December 21, 2015

Van Gogh Gone by Robin M. King

Van Gogh Gone

Author: Robin M. King

Publisher: Walnut Springs

Published: November 15th, 2015

ISBN13: 978159992982

Paperback: 242 pages

FTC FYI: Received an ebook copy and paperback copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

“Espionage isn’t just her job, it’s a work of art.”

Seventeen-year-old Alexandra Stewart finally has a life worth remembering - a Spanish tutor who gives perfecto a new name, a roommate that could double as her sister, and a special role in a secret spy organization that exists in the basement of Brown University.

But when her colleague, Daly, returns from a recent trip to Moscow accompanied by a man she never thought she'd see again, Alex is ripped away from her life in Providence and sent across the globe in search of a stolen piece of art. In desperate need to find the Van Gogh painting, she will do anything to find it. Anything.

From Barcelona to Paris with only Daly at her side, the bonds of friendship are stretched as the duo uncover a truth neither one of them saw coming. Finding the painting could mean discovering a part of Alex she is ashamed could even exist, but without it, she could lose everything. The world around Alex threatens to corrupt the memories she holds most dear and the person she loves the most is at stake.

My Review

Van Gogh Gone starts right where Remembrant leaves off, and the action and suspense does not let up until the end.  I love Alex.  She is a fantastic and fascinating character.  As I read, I was thinking how cool it would be to have her memory, but as I got further in the book, I thought of what a burden it would be.  I loved how Robin showed the conflict and struggle Alex was experiencing.  I loved the realization she has about it at the end of the book though.  Alex has some hard decisions to make and I really enjoyed the end result.  Truth always wins.  I appreciated how the author used flashbacks, it didn't interfere with the pacing at all, and it was needed background information.  A character returns that has a secret, well secrets, and that part really added to the story too, but it also brings more trouble for Alex.  Alex also needed to make decisions about the men in her life, and I must say, I was happy with how that turned out as well.  I'm excited for the next book!

4 out of 5 stars.

Author Links

Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter

Purchase Links

AmazonDeseret Book 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Covenant Christmas Round Up -- Gift Spotlight

I have some gift ideas that will be sure to bring a smile to those on your list this year!  From books to movies, scroll down to find the perfect gift.  My daughters especially loved the songbook.  

All About Christmas- This hard cover book is stuffed with stories, songs, poems, Christmas history, joyful traditions, recipes, and activities. This delightful book celebrates all things Christmas - from the sacred story of the Nativity to the lore of Saint Nick. 

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Words of Christmas: Savoring the True Meaning of the Season One Word at a TimeThis beautifully designed book takes a closer look at twenty-five words, like hope, faith and joy, that we hear throughout the holidays. 

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Christus Marble 3 inch statue
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A Songbook for LDS Families
A Songbook for LDS Families highlights eighteen beloved and well-known songs, as well as twenty-eight newly penned Book of Mormon hymns composed by Janice Kapp Perry with text by Bonnie Hart Murray. 

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He Knows My Name (DVD)- Rebekah is fascinated by the man her neighbors call Jesus. Her mother is not so sure. One day she brings Jesus home - a simple act that will forever change their lives. 

No Ordinary Shepherd (DVD)- The young shepherd boy, has always treasured his father's tale of that starlit night filled with wonder of angelic heralds and a tiny Bethlehem stable sheltering the chosen Messiah. The young shepherd later encounters a miracle of his own. 

It's All About Christmas 

Words of Christmas-

Christus Marble 3 in. statue-

A Songbook for LDS Families
No Ordinary Shepherd (DVD)
He Knows My Name (DVD)

I received review copies from the distributor/publisher in exchange for an honest review. 


Friday, December 18, 2015

It's All About Christmas --Blog Tour/Giveaway

It's All About Christmas: A Collection of Stories, Carols, Recipes, Quotes, Trivia, History, and everything you need for a wonderful holiday

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Hardcover: 231 pages

ISBN13: 978160476248

FTC FYI: I received a hardcover copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

Like heirloom ornaments on a splendid tree, It’s All About Christmas will put you and your family in a festive frame of mind for a glorious holiday season. Stuff ed with stories, songs, poems, Christmas history, joyful traditions, recipes, and activities, this delightful book celebrates all things Christmas—from the sacred story of the Nativity to the lore of Saint Nick. Opening this book is like tearing the paper off a much–anticipated gift, offering new surprises with each turn of the page. Generously illustrated with scores of vibrant vintage images, It’s All About Christmas will remind you of Christmases past, help you appreciate Christmas present, and guide you to creating memories for the Christmases to come.

My Review

This book is an absolute treasure.  Every page is full of beauty.  I loved everything about it.  The recipes, stories, quotes, crafts, activities, songs, and I especially loved the pictures.  Each page is special and beautifully detailed.  This book will become a family heirloom in our house.  I loved the stories.  They are full of love and Christmas history.  My favorite quote is listed on the back cover from Gordon B. Hinckley:
Christmas means giving.  The Father gave His son, and the Son gave His life.  Without giving there is no true Christmas and without sacrifice there is no true worship.
Merry Christmas!

Purchase Links

Amazon / Deseret Book

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Keeping June by Shannen Crane Camp

Keeping June (June series #4)

Author: Shannen Crane Camp

Publisher: Sugar Coated Press

Expected publish date: Dec. 21th 2015

ISBN13: 9781514769652

FTC FYI: Received a PDF copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

June Laurie has spent the better part of her young adult years in the Hollywood world of fame, envy, and rumors, and has managed to come out of it mostly unscathed. Now that she’s finally followed her heart and married her true love, she knows she’s found the perfect end to her story. But at twenty-two years old, it turns out her story is only beginning — and marriage, it seems, is more of an opening act than a finale. When fans of June’s television show start spreading online rumors about her faithfulness to her new husband and fabricating an off-set romance between her and her costar, she learns that even marriage offers no immunity from the gossip that always seems to haunt her. With complications in her personal and professional lives threatening to topple them both, will June be able to hold to her beliefs and her newfound happiness, even as what she thought was her perfect ending transforms into the challenges of reality that lurk beyond the fairytale?

My Review

I have loved June for years and I was hesitant to read the last book in this series.  Not because I didn't think I wouldn't love it, it's because I knew I would love it and be sad when I turned the last page.  This last book for June wasn't all sunshine and roses.  She struggles with some real issues and I thought Shannen handled them perfectly.  June and Joseph get married and are quickly met with some challenges.  As June tries to adjust to life as a new wife while still being on her TV show, it brings up problems.  I don't want to give away what happens, but trust me, read with a box of Kleenex handy.  

Author Links

Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Facebook 

Purchase Links


Monday, December 14, 2015

The Secret Life of Daydreams by Lucinda Whitney -- Book Blast

The Secret Life of Daydreams by Lucinda Whitney
Six years after a painful divorce, Josh Conrad is happy traveling the world as a photographer. When he arrives in Portugal, he plans to complete the assignment as quickly as possible. What he doesn’t plan for is Sofia, the girl he baptized eleven years earlier on an LDS mission, and soon he’s making excuses to prolong his trip.Sofia Monteiro leads a structured life in Braga, Portugal, teaching high school by day and caring for her mother by night. After she reconnects with Josh through mutual friends, the memory of a failed relationship and her new graduate program are enough reasons to stay away from him.
As they collaborate on a project, Josh is wary of repeating his old mistakes and Sofia hesitates to spend time with an American who’s only passing through.
Can two people with wounded hearts bring themselves to trust their dreams to each other?
Sofia walked back to meet Josh and they strolled together past the deck at the reception center and the start of the trail. She unfolded the map and held it up between them.She pointed at the spots of interest. “This is the suggested route. The main road goes up the hill to the western fortification wall. At the acropolis, there’s another wide road that intersects in the opposite direction.”
She circled several areas. “These areas are the residential nucleus and along the way we can see the remains of the round dwellings and the more common rectangular ones.” There was more but she looked up to Josh. “Are you okay with following this route?”
“I’m here to follow you.” He swept his right arm in front of her. “Just lead the way.”
Sofia straightened and pocketed the map. Josh carried too much and she hesitated. “Wouldn’t it be easier for you to use the equipment if I carry the backpack?”
He paused for a moment and surveyed the area then chuckled. “Sneaky, aren’t you? I know what you’re trying to do here.”
Why did guys always think they had to do everything to prove their virility? Such a macho thing. She splayed her hands on her hips. “It’s the twenty first century. I can carry my share. Besides, this is more like a business outing, not a date. Which means you don’t have to carry stuff for me.” She extended her hand for the backpack.
“What if I believe in chivalry? You won’t give me a chance to practice it?”
“And what if I’m a feminist? You won’t respect my views?” She was pushing him now and enjoying the banter.
Josh eyed her and held quiet, the corner of his mouth twitching. Sofia wanted to laugh. He was probably trying to figure out how serious she was about feminism. After a few seconds, he set down the tripod and removed the backpack, but his eyes crinkled with a lack of seriousness belied by his actions.
Sofia took the backpack from him and put it on. It wasn’t even as heavy as she’d expected. “See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?” She started up the trail then turned back to Josh. “And you still have your man card intact,” she added with a smile.
Josh laughed. “Sassy, aren’t you?”
“Come on, we don’t have all day,” she pressed in a teasing tone.
Praise for the Book 
Lucinda Whitney’s The Secret Life of Daydreams whisks readers away to Braga, Portugal, a setting so vivid with color, texture, and life, they’ll want to book a flight and travel there themselves. Josh is the hero many of us dream of, and Sofia a heroine who holds out for all she deserves. Overall a delightful romance far from the ordinary in both distance and scope.” — Michele Paige Holmes
“The romance is fantastic and with enough tingle to make my heart flutter. The conflict between the characters is believable and I longed for them to work it out, even though it wouldn’t be easy.” — Laura D. Bastian
“The Secret Life of Daydreams is a story that explores the question “What if you got a second chance with the one that got away?” Readers will be rooting for Sofia and Josh to find a way to make their dreams come true despite the obstacles life puts in front of them.”– Sally Johnson
“This book was a delightful journey. I loved getting to know Josh and Sofia, cheering for them, growling at them, and sharing a happy sigh or two with them. The gorgeous setting of Portugal was an added bonus!”– Alison Woods
Pre-order The Secret Life of Daydreams for just 99 cents!
Author Lucinda Whitney
Lucinda Whitney was born and raised in Portugal, where she received a master’s degree from the University of Minho in Braga in Portuguese/English teaching. She’s a cancer survivor, and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Salt Lake Temple Square Visitors Center mission in Utah.She lives in northern Utah with her husband and four children. When she’s not reading and writing, she can be found with a pair of knitting needles in winter, or tending her herb garden in the summer. She also works part-time as a substitute teacher.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Harlequin Heartwarming New Year -- Spotlight

We're sharing about the New Year giveaway that is being hosted by four Harlequin Heartwarming authors with January releases. Leave them a comment at their site HERE and check out their message and giveaway below:

The New Year is coming... We'll be sad to see 2015 end, but look forward to seeing what 2016 will bring. We know one thing it will definitely bring, more Harlequin Heartwarming releases! We'd like to start the New Year off right by sharing our January releases with you and also giving away some copies along with an Amazon gift card. Find out all about these new stories, check out our upcoming Facebook party, and enter the giveaway below...

Under the Boardwalk by Amie Denman

Everyone's counting on him

With the sudden death of his father, Jack Hamilton finds himself running the family amusement park, Starlight Point. His first job? Balance the books, and that means raising the rent for vendors like baker Augusta Murphy.

Gus won't accept the new contract…not without a fight. She rallies the other vendors and sets out to negotiate with Jack. At least, she tries. How do you play hardball with a man who's charming and kind and still grieving? Gus needs to figure it out fast, because the closer she gets to Jack, the more she risks losing everything.


Find out more and connect with Amie on her website.

When Love Matters Most by Kate James

Keeping her safe at all costs

Could their backgrounds be any more different? Rick Vasquez, a K-9 unit sergeant with the San Diego Police Department, fled drug-related violence in Mexico as a boy. Madison Long, who recently became primary veterinarian to the SDPD's canines, is the privileged daughter of a judge. Rick has dedicated his life to curtailing cross-border drug trafficking and preventing other young boys from being drawn into the dark world of the cartels. But everything Rick and Madison value, and the growing love between them, is threatened by the dangers of Rick's job, and the risks he's determined to take…


Find out more and connect with Kate on her website.

A Boy to Remember by Cynthia Thomason

You can't live a lie forever

One magical summer—that was all it took for Alexis Foster to fall deeply in love with Daniel Chandler. And then she gave him up to keep Daniel from sacrificing his own dreams. But the passionate bond they shared is rekindled when Alex returns to her family's farm…with a powerful secret.

Ohio's youngest state senator, Daniel's star is on the rise. He's also discovering a kindred spirit in Alex's seventeen-year-old daughter. Alex has to tell him the truth even at the risk of his political future…even if it costs her the two people she loves most.


Find out more and connect with Cynthia on her website.

The Missing Twin by Pamela Tracy

The secret between them

Angela Taylor knew her sister was in trouble. For anyone but a twin, her instincts would seem crazy, and her actions crazier. Picking up and moving her and her daughter, Celia, to Scorpion Ridge, asking questions, put them all at risk. Even more risky was trusting Jake Farraday, the handsome ex-cop turned forest ranger. Years in witness protection had taught Angela to trust no one. Yet with Abigail missing, Jake was her only hope, and she found herself wanting to share more of her past with him. And more of her future. But did Jake have his own motives for helping Angela?


Find out more and connect with Pamela on her website.

You can also purchase all four together at HarlequinAmazon, and B&N, and from December 1st to January 4th, readers can Buy One, Get One 50% off all Harlequin series books at Books-A-Million stores across the US!

To win more prizes and chat with all four Heartwarming authors,
come join our Facebook Party on December 29th!
(Click on the image to go to the event page.)


Grand Prize Winner: $40 Amazon gift card and signed print copies of all four Heartwarming books
Second Place Winner: signed print copies of all four Heartwarming books
Four - Third Place Winners: signed print copy of one Heartwarming book
US/CAN only
Ends December 22nd

We hope you will enjoy some Heartwarming this coming year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Rump by Liesl Shurtliff


Author: Liesl Shurtliff

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Published: April 2013

ISBN13: 9780307977309

Hardcover: 272 pages

FTC FYI: Borrowed from my friend

Goodreads Summary

In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

My Review

What a fun book!  I love retellings.  I really enjoyed Rump's story and his quest to find his name. His journey leads him many places as he tries to find the truth about his family and why/how he can spin straw into gold.  I loved Red, she is Rump's only friend and she was quite the mystery herself.  One thing after another kept happening to poor Rump, but I felt the pacing was perfect, in that he didn't stay down for long.  This is a book of triumphing over evil and a great example of overcoming obstacles.  Liesl wrote her characters well.  The Miller especially, although downright evil, did not disappoint.  The trolls were an enjoyable surprise, I loved the aunts, Red and her grandma were great, and the pixies were so much fun.

5 out of 5 stars.  Rump is a story full of heart and humor.

Author Links

Goodreads / Website / Twitter

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pwned by Shannen Crane Camp


Author: Shannen Crane Camp

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Published: Originally 2013, new publish date Dec. 3. 2015

ISBN13: 9780996619370

Paperback: 185 pages

FTC FYI: Received a PDF copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

Reagan West has the perfect life. She’s gorgeous, she’s popular, and she’s at the tip-top of the high school food chain as co-captain of the cheerleading squad. She’s also best friends with the most evil girl in Albany, Tawny Perez, which means she’s never on the receiving end of Tawny’s wrath. 

The only trouble in Reagan’s perfect life comes from the constant threat of her fellow classmates discovering her dirty little secret—Reagan West is a closet gamer. 

What’s more, Reagan absolutely hates her role as the evil cheerleader. But, as any teenager knows, it’s better to suppress your own nerdy tendencies than to submit to a lifetime of being shoved into lockers. So, Reagan bravely soldiers on as a reluctant bully ... until a cute boy from her guild moves to her school and becomes Tawny’s next target. The good-looking newcomer threatens to reveal Reagan’s nerdy little secret and force her to come to terms with who she truly is. Now Reagan has to decide if she’s going to defend her fellow geeks, or if she’ll continue to be a total troll.

My Review

Pwned is a great book that brings out the inner-gamer in us all!  I loved getting to know and learn "gaming terminology".  Very fun!  I really liked Reagan and her journey to find who she really is.  Tawny was awful, sometimes a bit over the top for me (are girls really that evil?), but Shannen wrote her well.  I was pleasantly surprised with the sweet relationship between Reagan and her brother, Cannon.  I loved the scenes where they would interact, especially when they played Cannon's matching game. What a great kid.  I also liked that there was parental involvement too, and I appreciated some of the actions taken by Reagan's mom.  Actually there were lots of fun surprises in this book, one at the end, that I suspected, but when it was revealed, made complete sense.  I say this a lot, but the boy stole the show for me.  I loved Parker, he truly was a great guy and a great match for Reagan.  

4 out of 5 stars! 

Author Links

Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter

Purchase Links

Amazon Currently $.99 for the re-release and enter to win a Kindle Fire!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Heir to Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Heir to Edenbrooke

Author: Julianne Donaldson

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published: November 17th, 2015


Kindle: 53 pages

FTC FYI: I received a MOBI file from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

Philip Wyndham has never envied his older brother for being the heir to Edenbrooke. He would much rather carve out his own destiny than live under the constraints of that position. But when his older brother dies unexpectedly, Philip's life is turned upside down as duty requires him to give up the life he planned. Philip takes on his new role as the most sought-after bachelor in London with alternating reluctance, boredom, and resentment. But all that changes the night fate leads him to an inn, where he meets the incomparable Marianne Daventry.

My Review

I had been looking forward to reading this since I heard it was going to be released.  Julianne is an amazing author, and I was excited for even a small glimpse back to Edenbrooke.  I enjoyed getting to know the man that Phillip was before he met Marianne and what he had to put up with beforehand was frustrating.  I loved the scene at the ball, I was laughing to myself at the "mis-steps" of the young ladies.  I really appreciated seeing Marianne through his eyes, and the realization Phillip comes to when he first meets her was refreshing.  Very entertaining novelette by Julianne!

5 out of 5 stars.  

Author Links

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook  

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Deseret Book

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

A Night Divided

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: August 2015

ISBN13: 9780545682428

Hardcover: 317 pages

FTC FYI: I received a hardcover copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

From New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen comes a stunning thriller about a girl who must escape to freedom after the Berlin Wall divides her family between east and west.

With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family divided overnight. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can't help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.

But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?

My Review

My tears have finally cleared so I can write this review.  This book was probably one of the best, if not the best, book I've read all year.  I read it as fast as the pages would turn.  Every turn of the page brought a new struggle for Gerta and her family.  I couldn't imagine living life like they had to.  No one to trust, for fear of being arrested, and to be separated from your family would be heartbreaking. I can't summarize a thing for you because one sentence would give it away.  I can say this, I instantly cared for the characters and their efforts to not accept living their lives behind a wall.  Greta was amazing.  One of the strongest, most inspiring characters I've read.  Her strength was uplifting.  She was so brave.  I loved Fritz too.  He was just as strong as Gerta was.  A couple more characters, who I can't name, really shined at the end too.  At one part, I was screaming for joy!  Well, many parts, but honestly, while reading the last couple chapters, I was barely breathing thinking I was going to be heard by the Grenzers.

5 out of 5 stars.  This is the perfect book for any reader.  It truly made me appreciate the struggles the people of that time had to endure.

Author Links

Purchase Links

Monday, November 30, 2015

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Mark of the Thief

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Published: Feb. 2015

ISBN13: 9780545561549

Hardcover: 352 pages

FTC FYI: Received a hardcover copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic's newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire's most powerful and savage leaders.

My Review

Jennifer is the author of one of my all-time favorite series, The Ascendance Trilogy, so I knew I was going to love this new book/series from this talented author, and I did.  I loved the characters, the setting (Ancient Rome, so cool), the magic, and Nic especially.  His is a fascinating character, who just wants to makes things right, but has a stubborn streak in him too, and sometimes that gets him into trouble.  I enjoyed the twists and turns, and the non-stop action.  The ending especially was gut-wrenching.  Poor Nic is put through the ringer in many situations, all to try to protect and find his sister, Livia.  Everyone who "helps" Nic, though, has their own agenda and once you think you have it figured out, well... you'll have to read it for yourself.

5 out of 5 stars.  The next book, Rise of the Wolf, will be out at the end of January 2016.  I know I can always count on a solid, well-written book from Jennifer.  Jennifer also has another book out now, A Night Divided, that I will be reviewing soon.

Author Links

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook 

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving -- Grand Finale

On tour with Prism Book Tours.

Grand Finale for
A Heartwarming Thanksgiving

Harlequin released 13 FREE short stories by beloved Harlequin Heartwarming authors during November via their site. You can still read these short stories through December 31st. The sale for 30% off Heartwarming titles also continues through November 30th. Grab the ones you want now!

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving Facebook Party

Join us for a grand ending to this month of wonderful Harlequin Heartwarming short stories with a Facebook party! All thirteen authors are stopping by and giving away more books!! Come join us on Monday, November 30th, from 12 pm to 2 pm EST HERE. If you can't make it, feel free to stop by later and check out the party.

If you missed any of the extra guest posts or excerpts for stories you might have missed, go back and check them out...

11/2: Snow Day Baby by Amy Vastine

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Short Story Guest Post
. . . when Harlequin came to me about this Thanksgiving short, I had to give Scott the ending he deserved. SNOW DAY BABY was born.
Sheridan pulled her hair over one shoulder. She had been a pretty girl who turned into an absolutely beautiful woman. Pregnancy looked good on her. Her skin was flawless and those green eyes had always been capable of taking his breath away.

Singing Librarian Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
You always know youíre going to get an emotional-satisfying read with a guaranteed happy ever after. Another great thing about this line ñ you can share these books with your friends, your mother, your sister, your daughter and not be embarrassed to say youíve read them.

11/4: Wedding at Turkey Run by Liz Flaherty

Babs Book Bistro - Short Story Guest Post

. . . the Writerís Lot in Lifeówhich is nothing more than thinking ìwhat ifÖî every time you turn aroundótook over, resulting in Wedding at Turkey Run.

ìSorry.î Although she wasnít. Even taking into account the gorgeousness of his eyes, hair and smile, there was something about Zeke McNeil that set her teeth on edge.

Heidi Reads... - Heartwarming Guest Post
I was in Northwest Florida avoiding a terrible winter in the Midwest, but my heart was in the Northeast Kingdom. I made a discovery then, that not only were these books heartwarming to read, they were heartwarming to write, too.

11/6: Her Thanksgiving Soldier by Leigh Riker

Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima - Short Story Guest Post
From the start, Caleb seemed to need his own storyóand now he has it. I hope you enjoy reading ìHer Thanksgiving Soldier.î I loved writing it.

Mel's Shelves - Excerpt
She tried to focus on her list, but it seemed his image was imprinted on her mind. Sleepy eyes and tousled hair. He looked good enough toÖlove? Even after yesterday when sheíd cried in the car, and heíd kissed her, she wasnít going there.

Brooke Blogs - Heartwarming Guest Post
Whether each authorís stories are funny or sad or both, they all contain lots of emotion. Heartwarming gives me the chance to explore some deeper issues with fully-realized characters to love.

11/9: Mr. Right All Along by Jen Snow

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Short Story Guest Post
Ah well, she gets her happily ever after in this Heartwarming Thanksgiving short Mr. Right All Along. Of course, not without a few bumps in the road;) 

Love thy Shelf - Excerpt
Her eyes lit up and immediately he knew where her thoughts were heading. ìCooking isnít hard for you.î She grabbed his hands in her small soft ones, making his heart pick up speed. ìTeach me,î she said.

Min Reads and Reviews - Heartwarming Guest Post
Iíve made a lovely home at Harlequinís Heartwarming line. When my agent and I were looking for a place for my small town, contemporary, sweet series, it was the perfect fit.

11/11: Falling for the Cowboy by Sophia Sasson

Kindle and Me - Short Story Guest Post
I wrote this story because for me, thanksgiving is about home. Itís a holiday where we get together with our loved ones and are grateful we have each other.

Heíd grabbed a cowboy hat off a rack, placed it on his head, and gave her a broad smile, looking a lot like the star of a country western film.

Colorimetry - Heartwarming Guest Post
I read books because I want to feel; I want to laugh, cry, yell at no one in particular. I want the freedom to experience a range of emotions that arenít of my doing. Thatís also why I write for Harlequin Heartwarming. This is a line where the stories are driven by an emotional payoff; that moment when you clutch your heart and feel the words in your soul.

11/13: The Marriage Gift by Tara Taylor Quinn

Babs Book Bistro - Short Story Guest Post
The Marriage Gift is a lot shorter than any of my other work, but itís classic ttq. Emotionally compelling. A little dark. And ultimately joyful.

Shrugging, prosecuting attorney, Corrine Armstrong, pulled the offensive piece of material off the small, but nice wooden dinette sheíd purchased two months before but had yet to host a meal on. She used to host a lot of meals. All the time. She used to have a large, impressive dining room table, too.

Brooke Blogs - Heartwarming Guest Post
Iím thrilled to be spending time in this new Heartwarming world as well. Where my heart can spill forth freely! I hope you find the result a blessing in your life.

11/16: Heart of a Hero by Pamela Tracy

Writing Pearls - Short Story Guest Post
Heart of a Hero is Nathanís story. Imagine finding out your whole history is not the one you were supposed to have? That the parents who raised you werenít your parents and that the mother who gave birth to you never stopped loving, never stopped searching, never stopped praying.

Nathan nodded. He knew Agatha. Back when he was a cop in nearby Adobe Hills, Arizona, heíd occasionally called her needing information. She knew everyone.

Waiting For Wentworth - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love Harlequin Heartwarming. Within the pages of the books, I can go places Iíve never been, meet heroes and heroes having adventures, and always walk away knowing that Happily Ever After is the perfect ending.

11/18: Thankful for You by Karen Rock

Christian Chick's Thoughts - Short Story Guest Post
Iím absolutely thrilled with the second chance love story I wrote for a secondary character in another romance Iíd set in the Adirondacks, RAISING THE STAKES. In that book, two best friends co-own a diner. I wanted to give Maggie James, a woman who admires the gutsy gals she grew-up watching in black and white films with her grandmother, the happily-ever-after she deserved. 

Beams whined overhead and plunged. One careened into the opposite wall in a shower of sparks. Eric doggedly kept his focus. They would make it out. Alive.

Getting Your Read On - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love writing Heartwarming novels because they are deeply emotional and extremely romantic. As they are ìclean readsî the author has lots of page room to devote to developing the love between two compelling characters and their journey to find it.

11/20: Autumn at Jasper Lake by Carol Ross

I Am A Reader - Short Story Guest Post
I thought the story would be something light-hearted and not-too-serious with a hero returning or moving to Rankins to escape a difficult past. Heíd want to be left alone. I intended for the folks of Rankins to make my broody heroís alone-time impossible. . . . Some of that happens. But, as is usually the case when I start writing, my characters began to take on lives of their own. And they had other plans. Plans that surprised me.

Ryder could feel two sets of eyes on his back as he and Tag started toward the cabin. Something in him itched to turn around and see if he was right. What could it hurt to take one more glance at the lovely Jessie and her dog Fife? Cool it, Ryder, he told himself, women and dogs were both off limits.

Colorimetry - Heartwarming Guest Post
The emphasis on feelings like affection, respect, admiration and ìlikeî reflects the necessities (in my opinion) that make up a strong and lasting relationship. True love, in other words, is the hallmark of Heartwarming.

11/23: The Firefighterís Promise by Kate James

Mel's Shelves - Short Story Guest Post
[T]he precipitating event in The Firefighterís Promise is based on a very personal experience. . . . It was an interesting process for me to try to put myself inside my husbandís head while writing this story to understand what he must have been feeling and thinking.

     Amidst the scorching bursts of light, she saw him. Dark hair. Strong features. Blue eyes. There was a prick on her forearm and an odd taste in her mouth.
     She trusted those eyes and believed the voice that assured her heíd take care of her before everything went black.

Beck Valley Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
The Heartwarming series is for readers who enjoy well-written, deeply-nuanced stories that are clean and wholesome.

11/24: Wedding of His Dreams by Cari Lynn Webb

Bookworm Lisa - Short Story Guest Post
I had so much fun writing this story and watching Matt push Ruthie outside of her comfort zone. Of course Ruthie didn't budge easily from her by the book life, but Matt was more than up for the challenge. And Ruthie discovered the best happy-ever-after was the one she never planned for.

Kindle and Me - Excerpt
Matt squatted down and rubbed the golden coat of Lady, Steve and Becca's eight-month old Great Dane rescue puppy. But his focus remained on Ruthie as she circled around the tables toward him. He took in everything from her thick, loose braid that hung over her left shoulder to her scarf wilted against her belted jacket to her ease with the pony-sized dog that easily outweighed her by a good twenty-some pounds. 

Zerina Blossom's Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love strong emotional stories with characters defining what it means to be a part of a community, learning the value of family and discovering the power of their own happily-ever-afters. These are the types of stories I like to read and write.

11/25: The Sweetheart Tree by Rula Sinara

Reading Is My SuperPower - Short Story Guest Post
In my Harlequin Heartwarming Thanksgiving short story, The Sweetheart Tree, environmental activist Serena Myss doesnít only take a short walk in the woods when her family suffers a tragedyÖunable to cope with her emotions or loss, she leaves home for several years. In doing so, she leaves behind the very people who love her, including the man she once thought sheíd spend forever with. . .

Officer Austin Shale had slapped handcuffs on plenty of wristsómost of them hairyóbut never in his wildest dreams had he imagined locking them on the soft, slender wrists of Serena Myss. Well, maybe he had imagined it once or twice, but not with her shooting daggers at him with those piercing, hazel eyes of hers. She glared at the handcuffs heíd taken off his belt.

Writing Pearls - Heartwarming Guest Post
What I love about writing for Harlequin Heartwarming is that, although the stories in the line are fiction, theyíre so true to real life that the pain, struggles and loss so many experience are as much a part of the charactersí journeys as they are ours.

11/26: Married by Thanksgiving by Melinda Curtis

Heidi Reads... - Short Story Guest Post
I love marriage of convenience stories, but if you aren't writing historicals or paranormals, it's hard to come up with a plausible plot for one. When I was asked to write a short for Thanksgiving, a marriage of convenience idea came to mind: one NFL quarterback - Clinton Hadley - desperate to get out of jail and play Thanksgiving weekend.

She glanced up at Clinton. He looked like the poster boy for the NFL. Finely chiseled features, crisply cut black hair, dark brown eyes that could dissect a defense in less than ten seconds. He was known for his ability to adjust a play on the fly, to take risks, to think outside the box. What line had he crossed? 

Love, Laughter, Friendship - Heartwarming Guest Post
There is physical attraction between the hero and heroine (and kissing!), but the love between them is more likely built on the foundation of one soul recognizing another than one perfect body being attracted to another.

We hope you found something to warm your heart and help you get into the holiday spirit! Don't forget to enter the giveaways, if you haven't already...


Goodreads Giveaway

13 Harlequin Heartwarming Books
Enter on Goodreads HERE.

Pinterest Giveaway

Pin one or both of these images to spread the word and enter to win this adorably festive Thanksgiving Table Set:

Pinterest Prize includes: four reversible, quilted placemats, four matching napkins, hand-painted matching napkin rings, matching table runner, matching quilted hot pad/trivet, floral centerpiece in pot, and hand-crafted pilgrim pair.
- Enter via the Rafflecopter below
- Open to US/CAN only
- Ends December 4th

Tour Giveaway

Grand Prize: Harlequin Heartwarming Year Subscription (Provided by Harlequin and to US/CAN only)
$40 VISA card (US only)
13-Book Heartwarming Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, Back to McGuffy's, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Small Town Secrets, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, Wedding of His Dreams, After The Silence, and A Memory Away (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
8-Book Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, and After The Silence (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
Ends December 4th

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