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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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sweets and Treats with Six Sisters' Stuff

Sweets & Treats with Six Sisters' Stuff

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

ISBN13: 9781629720791

Paperback: 167 pages

Everybody’s favorite sisters are back, and this time they brought the dessert!


In SWEETS & TREATS Camille, Kristen, Elyse, Steph, Lauren, and Kendra show you how to up your dessert game with an array of scrump­tious, fun, and simple-to-make goodies that will make your taste buds sing. In classic Six Sis­ters’ style, all these recipes are inventive but designed with your busy life in mind—no crazy ingredients or fancy techniques required!

After growing up in a close-knit family in Utah, the sisters scattered across the country when they went off to college, got married, and had kids. To keep in touch, they started the Six Sis­ters’ Stuff blog, which (much to their surprise!) attracted a massive following. Today, SixSis­ is an Internet sensation filled with recipes, meal planners, DIY projects, and more!

At the core of the Six Sisters’ brand are home-grown values: a devotion to family, love, and togetherness. And delicious, lovingly prepared food, of course!
SWEETS & TREATS is a treasure trove of ideas for the fun parent. Whether it’s for a special occasion or a festive after school snack, kids will be dazzled by Homemade Twix Bars, Circus Animal Truffles, Samoa Cupcakes, or Churro Chex Mix! Rock the school bake sales with spins on the classics —from Reese’s Brownies to Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies. And the recipes are so easy that kids can even bake along!

For party time, after dinner, or even just some well-deserved self-indulgence , SWEETS & TREATS is filled to the brim with cakes, pies, and other swoon-worthy delights like Brownie Caramel Cheesecake, Mini Pumpkin Pies, Berries and Cream Trifle, or perfect raspberry sorbet. This book features classic recipes derived from the Six Sisters’ family heritage (like their Fresh Peach Pie!) alongside innovative creations (Peanut Butter Brownie Buckeye Cupcakes, any­one?), that will give you options for easy entertaining.

Also included are these magnificent delights:
Hot Fudge Sundae Ice Cream Cake
Microwave Caramels
Frozen Grasshopper Cookie Pie
Rocky Road Fudge
Brownie Caramel Cheesecake

Every recipe is accompanied by a colorful photo and there are lots of whimsical sidebars throughout the book that offer great family activities, tricks for parties, crafts, and even ideas for cute, easy date nights. The Sisters know first-hand what it’s like to juggle a hectic life, and they’ve designed everything so that you can concentrate on putting a smile on your family’s faces.
The proof is in the pudding (and also the cakes, brownies, and cookies! With the Six Sisters you can put dessert first!

My Review

Flipping through this book was an absolute treat. I love how the pages are designed.  I appreciate that the ingredients are in bold font and the huge picture on the pages are enough to make your mouth water.  Like other Six Sisters' book, I enjoy the glimpses and stories behind some of the recipes and there are some darling crafts too.  I'm excited to dive in and try some of these recipes!  This will be a perfect Christmas gift for the baker on your list. 

Purchase Links

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Rare Nativity by Sam Beeson -- Blog Tour

A Rare Nativity: An Unexpected  Twist to the 12 Days of Christmas

Author: Sam Beeson
Images: Nina & Terral Cochran

ISBN13: 9781629720623

Hardcover: 32 pages

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

Goodreads Summary

We’ve all heard the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and we’ve all seen the traditional Christmas crèche. Now, author Sam Beeson and photographers Nina and Terral Cochran combine these two classic Christmas icons to create A Rare Nativity.

Upon reading the first lines of the book, it’s clear the narrator holds a bitter grudge as he sends his enemy crude and discarded gifts:

On the first night of Christmas I gave my enemy 
a briar from a tanglewood tree. 
On the second night of Christmas I gave my enemy 
two rotten eggs.

Night after night the “gifts” pile up—shards of glass, rusty nails, gnarled twigs, and more. What the narrator’s enemy decides to do with each of these odious gifts is nothing less than a Christmas miracle. The photographic creation of the rare nativity at the end of the book is both a work of art and a wonder to behold.

Forgiveness is something we all need to give and receive, and A Rare Nativity opens our eyes to the act of forgiveness and the true meaning of Christmas. It’s a universal message to be shared with readers of all ages. Christmas is a season for giving. Make it a forgiving season.

My Review

It's hard to put into words how I feel about this book.  It is so beautiful.  The story will stay with you long after you finish, as it will me.  The narrative gives his enemy bits of trash for 12 days, and he was quite pleased with what he did.  What got to to me the most was the message from his enemy, "Forgive Me".  Oh, it made me teary.  What the enemy does with the trash it truly beautiful, a lovely lesson for all. 

Author Links


Purchase Links

Amazon / Indiebound

Friday, November 20, 2015

Caretaker by Josi Russell


Author: Josi Russell

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Published: Sept. 2015

ISBN13: 9780989125383

Paperback: 325 pages

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

Goodreads Summary

Fifty years in space—alone.

Ethan Bryant was supposed to fall asleep on a ship leaving Earth and wake up fifty years later with his family on the planet Minea. Instead, after the ship’s caretaker—the lone human in charge of monitoring the ship’s vital systems—suddenly died, the ship’s computer locked Ethan out of his stasis chamber and gave him the job. That was five years ago. Five years of checking to make sure everything runs smoothly on a ship Ethan knows almost nothing about.

Who wouldn’t dread the years ahead? Who wouldn’t long for their once-bright future now stolen away?

Ethan is resigned to his fate, until the ship suddenly wakes up another passenger: a beautiful engineer who, along with Ethan, soon discovers a horrible secret—a navigation room hidden from even the ship’s computer. The ship is not bound for Minea—but to somewhere far more dangerous.

With the ship nearing its sinister destination, Ethan soon learns he is the only one who holds the key to saving all 4,000 passengers from a highly-advanced, hostile alien race.

My Review

I met the author at an Authorpalooza and was intrigued by this book.  The cover is very striking and eye-catching.  The story is absolutely fascinating and I loved Ethan.  The events that lead to him being the Caretaker were page-turning and exciting, but most of those whys and hows to him being caretaker, we don't find out about until later (which I liked).  I enjoyed how the author worked in the back story of Ethan and his family and especially how he learned a mysterious language.  I don't want to give away the plot at all, but there are many twists to the story that really added to the plot and changed his life on the ship.  Which actually turns out to be more of an upheaval than a change.

4 out of 5 stars.  Great book with fantastic characters and an enjoyable plot.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

Author Links

Publisher / Goodreads / Website / Twitter

Purchase Links 

Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fatal Exchange by Cindy Hogan

Fatal Exchange

Author: Cindy M. Hogan

Published: Sept. 2015

Publisher: O'neal Publishing

ISBN13: 9780985131883

Paperback: 250 pages

FTC FYI: Received a MOBI copy in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

For 19-year-old Christy Hadden, it’s life as usual as a spy, only this time in Paris, France. Her mission: retrieve a flash drive containing evidence that a high public official is working to destroy Paris. Pretty standard, until someone steals the drive from her. Forced to abandon her position protecting the informant, she goes after the thief, but returns empty handed—only to find her informant dead.

Christy's failure taints her reputation at Division and the director has lost all faith in her. But Christy isn't one to slink into the shadows. Alone and disgraced, she decides to track down the drive and solve the murder, not only to redeem herself as a spy, but to give meaning to her informant’s sacrifice, and perhaps even save Paris.

Suspenseful, with the right amount of romance, and awash with action, Fatal Exchange will send you on a thrill ride that will be hard to forget.

My Review

This book is a non-stop ride of action and suspense with tons of thrills.  I read this in about a 24 hour period and could not wait to see what would happen next and how Christy was going to fix what happened on her failed mission.  Cindy has a talent in how she writes this series (and all of her books:)  At times I didn't know who to trust, especially when it came to Division.  Christy has a talent of thinking on her feet and with her heart, and sometimes that gets her in more trouble, as she tries to figure out her next move.  There was a surprise return character that had me guessing the whole time. I loved it when Jeremy came back, he and Christy have a fantastic chemistry.  The ending was an enjoyable surprise and I can't wait to see where Cindy will take that in the next book.

5 out of 5 stars.  Cindy's "Christy" books can standalone, but I think the story and characters will be appreciated more if read in order.  

Author Links

Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mothman's Curse by Christine Hayes

Mothman's Curse

Author: Christine Hayes

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan

Published: June 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-027-5

Hardcover: 320 pages

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

Goodreads Summary

When Josie and her brothers uncover a haunted camera, the Mothman legend becomes a terrifying reality that threatens their entire town in this spooky and action-filled novel. Josie may live in the most haunted town in America, but the only strange thing she ever sees is the parade of oddball customers that comes through her family’s auction house each week. But when she and her brothers discover a Polaroid camera that prints pictures of the ghost of local recluse John Goodrich, they are drawn into a mystery dating back over a hundred years. A desperate spirit, cursed jewelry, natural disasters, and the horrible specter of Mothman all weave in and out of the puzzle that Josie must solve to break the curse and save her own life. 

My Review

Another sensational middle grade book!  The story was intriguing, very fun and spooky at times.  I loved Josie, Fox, and cute little Mason.  Aunt Barb was also great.  I loved how ambitious and smart the main characters were.  Josie and Fox both were fantastic.  Their love and concern for their family and especially each other, was very enduring and what drove them to figure out their problem(s).  I don't want to spoil what happens, but it is big and not only involves them, but thousands.  I loved the background of the auction house, and how Fox would peddle leftover items as "haunted".  The Mothman legend was eerie and how John Goodrich was involved also made for a great story. 

5 out of 5 stars.  I can't wait for more from this author.  

Author Links

Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Facebook

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Miracle Maker - DVD

"The Miracle Maker is coming!" Everyone in the tiny town is excited when they hear the news that the renowned man of wonders is coming to their village. But the humble traveller who appears isn't what anyone expected. They were looking forward to someone magnificent who would change their lives. It seems this man can barely take care of himself, let alone fulfill the dreams of others. But miracles can come in all shapes and sizes—and sometimes from unexpected places. 


My Review

I really enjoyed this lovely movie.  It is a perfect film to watch with the whole family.  I thought the characters were great and were perfect for their roles.  I enjoyed seeing Brian Krause especially, I was a huge CHARMED fan! :)  The youngest daughter of the shopkeeper won my heart right away.  I loved the plot of the story and how many townspeople were in need of a miracle.  I loved how the miracles came in creative ways.  My favorite was the shopkeeper's.  Well, I had many favorites.  The gossiping old ladies were funny, the preacher and Lily were great too, as well as the preacher's mother.  I loved her miracle too.  The film is a perfect way to get in the spirit of giving.

I received a link from the distributor to watch the movie from home.

Purchase Links

Amazon / Seagull Book 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Chasing Midnight by Courtney King Walker -- Blitz/Review

Chasing Midnight by Courtney King Walker
I'm THRILLED to be participating in Courtney King Walker's CHASING MIDNIGHT book blitz! Check out the book below, and be sure to enter the amazing giveaway.

Chasing Midnight by Courtney King Walker

Chasing Midnight by Courtney King Walker Publication Date: January 12, 2016 Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing
  1. The biggest, fanciest house on Sea View Drive.
  2. Nike Flyknits.
  3. A ski-jump nose.
  4. My own car. A new BMW.
  5. Be a total pro at the piano.
  6. James Odera to like me. Be James Odera’s girlfriend.
  7. Get Spencer’s lungs fixed.
Mackenzie Love dreams of being a “lucky one”—someone who has the perfect life. Someone who doesn’t have to worry about money, a sick brother, or her high school status. So when a mysterious visitor offers to make all her wishes come true, Mackenzie jumps at the chance. But the royal lifestyle may cost more than Mackenzie is willing to pay in this modern twist on the classic Cinderella story. Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review

I was lucky enough to get an eARC of this book!  I am a huge fan of Courtney's books and a sucker for a fairytale retelling.  Courtney does a fantastic job with this story.  Mackenzie is an instantly likable character.  Her humor and charm are catching.  Oh, the funny lines that go through her head.  As much as I enjoyed Mackenzie's character, Cale stole the show for me, though.  He was a doll and so genuine.  I loved it when he was around.  

Mackenzie dreams of being a "lucky one", living on the top of Sea View drive, having the perfect "ski jump" nose, and wants her brother Spencer to be well.  Be careful what you wish for.  Mackenzie's wishes are granted, but at what cost.  Is being a lucky one all it's cracked up to be? I loved the whole book, but I appreciated Mackenzie's realization at the end, and her journey to being her own form of a lucky one.  

4 out of 5 stars. (I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.) 

Suddenly, my ears buzz and go blank, blocking the noise around me, almost like my head has been plunged underwater. 
Cale looks at me sideways. I shake my head, trying to knock the silence free.
“Is this what you wish for?” a voice booms in my head deep and smoky, every syllable alive like the air has been awakened from a deep sleep. 
I turn around, knowing that distinctive voice, that spicy aroma. “You,” I say, staring straight into eyes the color of midnight, feeling myself already simmering in the scent of roasted hazelnuts. Bird Lady. Her Mohawk hair is as majestic as before, maybe even more like a jay’s tuft now. With a long, black dress that bleeds into cobalt blue at her feet, she blends into the crowd like she’s always been part of it. My eyes go straight to her bare neck, where her dark skin glimmers gold under the strobe lights above.
Is she here to reclaim her lost charm? 
Before I have a chance to confess the whereabouts of her necklace, however, the room freezes with everyone in it—everyone except for Bird Lady and me. 
I scan left then right, wondering if we are the only two aware that the room has been placed on pause. Cale still holds his drink to his lips, a grin stuck on his face. Fritz is mid-action, in the middle of wiping off the counter, his fingers clamped around a cloth. The music has even stopped, along with the hum of voices and the clanking of silver on china. I wait for an explanation, wait for the world to start up again . . . for music to ignite from the grand piano tucked into the corner beneath the winding staircase, or for the murmur of conversations to begin again. 
But everything seems stuck. 
The glass cone buzzes in my hands, the only thing here that seems real. My mind is blank; for some reason I can’t think of anything except the Bird Lady. I close my eyes, waiting for a cue . . . for something to click in my mind and tell me what to do next, other than remain here in a sea of paralyzed limbs. 
When I open my eyes again, Bird Lady is still staring at me. 
“What’s happening?” I ask her, my voice carrying across the room to the other side then bouncing off the wall and back at me. 
“Look,” she says, pointing at the crowd. “You’ll see in a minute.” 
I spin around and scan the faces, looking for something. She steps backward, as if giving me space. The glass cone slips from my hand and hits the counter as the piercing sound of glass bouncing off stone fills the room. I’m about to demand some kind of explanation, but my words die on my tongue the instant I recognize, even from this distance, the profile of a girl standing in the center of the crowd, at the center of attention. 
The girl . . . is me. 
A prettier version of me, but still, me. 
I rush past Bird Lady toward the crowd, but halt at the sound of her voice. 
“Don’t get too close,” she warns. “It’s only a glimpse. She will vanish if you push it.” 
“A glimpse . . . ,” I repeat, wondering how I am seeing what I’m seeing. 
Seeing me 
Yet there I am—wedged in between James and Brecke, a pink bubbly in my hand and what looks like a laugh ready to burst from my mouth.  
My nose is different—small and ski-jump perfect, my long, dark hair smoother and stick-straight, still resting slightly above my elbows like it is now. I’m wearing a black halter dress, the taffeta skirt reaching all the way to my toes, my shoulders bare. The whole group is there beside me and I am at the center, the look in my eyes one of belonging, of being adored. 
Of being a lucky one. 
“Is this what you want?” Bird Lady says again, her voice everywhere, somewhere in the air, floating around me. 
My breath is gone, my body is immobile, but my mind still spins. “I don’t know,” I answer, acutely aware of the sour feeling still twisting my stomach after my encounter with James and the lucky ones. 
“You have to know. Some time or other.” Bird Lady glides even closer to me until her cinnamon scent starts to burn my eyes. “What will you give?” she asks.  
“What?” I ask, confused, tears from my burning eyes blurring my vision. 
“Nothing is free, my dear. What’s your offer?” 
“I . . . I don’t know,” I say, my mind stuck in this fog. My eyes losing focus. My gaze falling back on the other me—the girl in the middle of the crowd—the girl who has everything. 
“It’s your choice. You have until midnight to start the clock." 
“What clock?” “The necklace. Make your offer and put the charm around your neck, child. When you awake, it will have begun.”

Chasing Midnight by Courtney King Walker
“Be careful what you wish for. . . . A modern Cinderella story that will charm its way into your heart and make you second-guess the grass you think is greener.” — Jennifer Murgia, author of Forest of Whispers

On Sale!

Looking for a romantic read? Grab Courtney King Walker's debut young adult novel, ON THE FRINGEfor just 0.99 cents! It's a YA ghost story, where your first embrace could be your last…
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About the Author

Courtney King Walker grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area building rocket ships and rafts out of cardboard, hoping to make it the moon or at least Niagara Falls. But a trip across the border to Tijuana was as exciting as it ever got, so she decided writing about adventure was the next best thing. She now lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and four children, and still dreams of flying to the moon. She is the author of the young adult novel, ON THE FRINGE, and middle grade novel MOLLY PEPPER AND THE NIGHT TRAIN. Her next YA novel, CHASING MIDNIGHT, will be published January 12, 2016 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media.


Winner will receive a signed physical copy of CHASING MIDNIGHT and $10 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble!
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My Home Can Be a Holy Place/Girls Who Choose God -- Reviews

My Home Can Be a Holy Place

Author: Kristen M. Oaks
Illustrated by: Dan Burr

Publisher: Deseret Book

Published: Sept. 2015

ISBN13: 9781629720999

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

Goodreads Summary

Our homes can become holy places that prepare children to grow up in the Lord (D&C 109:15). This children s picture book tells the story of Lily, a young girl who is helping to make her home a holy place by the things she does each day. The engaging illustrations by LDS artist Dan Burr depict Lily s family in various settings that show how children can contribute to the spiritual environment in their home as they say their prayers, work together, read the scriptures, eat dinner as a family, make good decisions, observe the Sabbath day, participate in family home evening, share the gospel, and learn to love one another. Parents will find additional helps and resources to reinforce these concepts on the author s website. These resources are designed specifically to complement the themes presented in the book. 

My Review

I loved this book.  It is absolutely beautiful.  It follows Lily through many different church ordinances and church related activities.  From Family Home Evening, blessings, family prayer, temple worship, to eating dinner as a family.  The illustrations are lovely and perfectly depict the scene.  Some of the pages have scriptures or quotes.  I especially loved the top of each page that says a simple phrase for each page.   

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Deseret Book / Website: Home Can Be a Holy Place

Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Strong Women from the Book of Mormon

Authors: McArthur Krishna, Bethany Brady Spalding
Illustrator: Kathleen Peterson

Publisher: Deseret Book

Published: Oct. 2015

ISBN13: 9781629721019

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

Goodreads Summary

Shining light on strong women from the Book of Mormon, this groundbreaking book shares well-known stories alongside others that may be less familiar. Come to better know and love Sariah, the heroic daughters from the land Zeniff, Nephi's wife, the maidservant spy, and other women from the Book of Mormon who chose God with all their might. These faith-filled women defended their families, protected their husbands, and risked their lives for others—providing powerful role models for us all.

With stunning illustrations, ten compelling narratives, and thought-provoking family discussion questions, this volume will give you a new perspective on the Book of Mormon. Reading and reflecting on these brave women's stories, girls and boys will learn that they too can be strong and choose God.

My Review

I loved the first book in this series, Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Courageous Women from the Bible.  I loved the idea of stories of strong women who love and choose to serve God.  This book was especially wonderful as it is stories from the Book of Mormon.  From Sariah, to the mothers of the stripling warriors.  The illustrations are beautiful and perfectly describe the story from the Book of Mormon it is telling.  As with the first book, I love the questions at the end of each story and appreciate the scriptures references given too.  

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Deseret Book

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Cokeville Miracle -- DVD release

On May 9, 1986, in the small, ranching community of Cokeville, Wyoming, David and Doris Young took an elementary school hostage for several hours before detonating a bomb inside a classroom that held every teacher and student in the school. In the wake of the madness, Ron Hartley, whose children were inside the classroom, must fight his skepticism and unbelief as he hears eyewitness accounts from the students about miraculous, heavenly intervention during the crisis. When tragedy strikes . . . what do you see? Rated PG-13. 


My Review

This movie was amazing.  I thought the story of this event was depicted wonderfully in this film.  I watched it with my sister and we both were mesmerized the entire time.  I especially loved the investigation of the miracle from Ron Hartley.  Those stories had me in tears and how Ron found his peace and faith was inspiring.  As much as I loved it, I probably won't have my youngest daughter (11) watch it for awhile, the scenes with David and Doris were intense and probably would be too much for her.  This movie is a faith building experience that will strengthen testimonies.  I appreciated the update on the children, teachers and Ron's family at the end of the movie.

I received a DVD copy from the distributor for an honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Deseret Book / Seagull Book