Thursday, March 28, 2013

BOOK BLAST and GIVEAWAY: Fire and Ash by Anne Patrick

Fire and Ash by Anne Patrick

Fire and Ash is the story of female fire investigator Sadie McGregor.  When she was a child, Sadie lost her family in a horrific fire that still haunts her.  She's now been called in to investigate a fatality fire in her hometown of Emerald Point, Missouri. What Sadie and the handsome new police chief discover will not only affect those close to them, but will rock the entire community.





Reviews and Awards

"This is a beautiful, yet hard-hitting story, fluently written, presenting characters you fall in love with." 
~ Reviewed by Fennel at LASR

"A Top Pick! Another Fantastic Novel!!!! Anne Patrick's novel, "Fire and Ash" is a well-written novel that flows wonderfully. A fantastic read!" 
~ Night Owl Reviews

"A wonderful read, this book had me laughing and crying. True to life characters and vivid descriptions, along with comedy and heart stopping moments, make this a page turner you'll want to read again." 
~ Happily Ever After Reviews

"As a forensics show enthusiast, I found that Anne Patrick, in her book, Fire and Ash, goes into great, minute detail of the fire investigation, that puts you on the scent of a perpetrator.  Her unique ability to incorporate multiple plots to throw you off course makes the pages fly by to connect the dots."  
~ Onedesertrose's Christian Book Reviews Blog

"As a retired fire investigator I have to say kudos to Ms Patrick on her research. I normally don’t read romantic suspense, but this book sounded intriguing so I couldn't resist. I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED
~Review from 'Fireboy' at Christianbook.com

Received Four Stars from Romantic Times Book Reviews!

LASR BEST BOOK of 2010 Nominee!

'Best Inspirational' 2010 at The Romance Reviews!

#1 Bestselling Suspense eBook, and #1 Bestselling Romance eBook at Christianbook.com!

Amazon Top 100 Bestseller in Christian Fiction!


Author Anne Patrick

Anne Patrick is the author of more than a dozen novels of Romance, Mayhem & Faith, including the award winning and bestselling WOUNDED HEROES SERIES, FIRE AND ASH, and TIES THAT BIND. When she isn't working on her next novel she enjoys spending time with family and friends, and traveling to foreign countries to experience new cultures and adventures. Born and raised in Oklahoma, she now makes her home in Kansas. 




She loves to hear from her readers!



Book Blast Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/10/13

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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Parenting with Spiritual Power by Julie K. Nelson


ABOUT THE BOOK

"I wish children came with an instruction manual!"

How many times have we heard this lament by a frustrated or overwhelmed parent? Perhaps we have said these words ourselves.  There are "how-to" manuals for practically anything: installing a new faucet, building a remote control car, baking an apple pie, refinishing an antique chair, or assembling a bicycle.  Is there a formula or a perfect manual for raising children? Yes! The scriptures.

In Parenting With Spiritual Power, Julie Nelson examines the lives of mothers and fathers in the scriptures (the best instruction manual) and the parenting principles we can learn from them.  Discover powerful parenting examples from Adam and Eve, Moses, the brother of Jared, and Captain Moroni, along with suggestions for personal application in this essential book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie K. Nelson is a wife and mother of five children, raising them in Illinois and now Utah. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree from Utah State University in marriage, family and human development. Her scholarly research and creative writing have been published in journals and anthologies, and she has won numerous state and national awards for her writing. Julie has enjoyed teaching children in public and private schools and currently teaches at Utah Valley University.  To learn more about the author, visit Julie’s website here: nelsonjuliek.com.




REVIEW

First off I will admit that I am not a parent.  But I am a teacher and the principles that Julie Nelson highlights in this book apply just as much to me as to any parent.  The importance of focusing on the positive rather than the negative, giving warnings, offering doctrine to help children make better choices, and nourishing and encouraging them rather than trying to force them are all very important when working with people, not just with children.  I loved the way she used the scriptures (the LDS scriptures include the King James version of the Bible, The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price) and stories from the scriptures to highlight the points she was trying to make.  She also uses quotes from former and current leaders of the church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormon/LDS church) to highlight especially important points.

The chapter on developing and exercising faith in both the child and the Lord's growth process I found especially comforting.  When it comes to children, results are not always immediate, it can take months or years to see the fruit of one's labors, but one must never give up and continue to exercise patience, long-suffering, and diligence. The author points out that when a child is born there is a great deal of potential there, but the parent doesn't know yet what that potential might be or the best way to bring it to fruition, the parent and child must learn and grow together.

For those who are parents or who work with children on a regular basis this book provides many principles and reminders about what is most important to remember and practice.  I can highly recommend this book to those who are frustrated or confused or exhausted.  The book is not only inspiring but a powerful reminder of just how much our Heavenly Father loves us and our children.



GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher I have one copy of the book to give away.
One print copy of Parenting with Spiritual Power.
US/Canada only
Ends 4/10/2013

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Friday, March 22, 2013

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: 40 Days with the Savior by Connie E. Sokol

Tour Schedule

40 Days with the Savior 
by Connie E. Sokol

Do you desire a more Christ-centered Easter?

You’ll experience a more fulfilling Easter season with this collection of inspirational thoughts on trying to become more like the Savior. For forty days, enjoy a daily scripture and personal insight on a character trait of Jesus Christ. Learn more of who He was and what He taught.

As you read these daily devotionals, you’ll feel a joyful connection to the character of Jesus Christ, understand how much He is involved in your life, and discover how knowing Him better makes your life better, too.

Purchase

~Connie donates 100% of the profits from her books to charity~

Praise

"Connie Sokol, the queen of simple yet effective, has done it again. What a great resource for quick, daily things that we can do to draw closer to the Savior. This easily fits into our busy lives, reminding us of what matters most."
~Peggy Urry, President-elect, American Night Writers Association

“I LOVED this book! Connie brings these scriptures home with real, everyday moments. I can savor these bite-size gems throughout my busy day with little ones. The teachings are powerful, and her added insights brought them home for me in a new way."
~Amy Chandler, Founder My Story Matters

“Connie Sokol’s new book, “40 Days with the Savior”, is just the little push I needed to feel the Savior’s presence in my daily life. Using personal stories, scriptural accounts, and meaningful insights, she helps readers draws closer to Jesus Christ and become a more Christ-centered person. I loved her daily nuggets of wisdom, with titles like, “He Did the Right Thing” and “He Gently Corrects”, to prompt a change of behavior. My Easter will be more meaningful this year!”
~Jodi Marie Robinson, Author of “Women of Virtue” and “A Royal Guardian”

“Connie Sokol has thoughtfully shared fresh insights to well know scriptural phrases. The simple meditations in 40 Days with the Savior are enlightening and empowering. This is an easy way to draw closer to Jesus Christ throughout the Easter season and during the rest of the year. After reading this book I feel my burdens are lighter.”
~Margaret Turley, Author of Save the Child, Administrator Writers Unite to Fight Cancer

Author Connie Sokol

Connie Sokol is a mother of seven, and a sought after national and local speaker. She is a monthly contributor on KSL TV’s “Studio 5” and regular blogger for KSL’s "Motherhood Matters" blog. She is a former TV and radio host for Bonneville Communications, and columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine. Mrs. Sokol is the author of several books including the award-nominated romance Caribbean Crossroads, Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, Life is Too Short for One Hair Color Series, and Motherhood Matters as well as talk CDs and podcasts. Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats.


REVIEW

A collection of short devotionals intended to help the reader think about Jesus Christ and how he lived is life, with the ultimate purpose being to improve one's own life.  I found these devotionals quite thought-provoking and yet short enough not to be overwhelming.  Each devotional focuses on one aspect of Christ's character or life.  Each devotional is scripturally-based. Some examples include:
  • He Prepared Spiritually for the Day
  • He Didn't Seek Others' Approval
  • He Shunned Adulation
  • He Submitted
I found this book to be refreshingly simple and yet full of basic fundamental truths.  I highly recommend it to those looking for some spiritual nourishment.
Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card
Ends 3/31/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. 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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

BLOG TOUR: The Power of Starting Something Stupid by Richie Norton


ABOUT THE BOOK

"Perfect book for these uncertain times."
—Steve Forbes, Chariman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media

"Richie Norton has written a book about courage. The courage to do work that matters and to do it with your heart and your soul. Go make something happen."
—Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception

What if the smartest people in the world understand something that the rest of us don’t? (They do.) What if they know that in order to achieve success, they will sometimes have to do things that others may initially perceive as stupid? The fact of the matter is that the smartest people in the world don’t run from stupid, they lean into it (in a smart way).

In The Power of Starting Something Stupid, Richie Norton redefines stupid as we know it, demonstrating that life-changing ideas are often tragically mislabeled “stupid.” What if the key to success, creativity, and fulfillment in your life lies in the potential of those “stupid” ideas? This deeply inspiring book will teach you

-How to crush fear, make dreams happen, and live without regret.

-How to overcome obstacles such as lack of time, lack of education, or lack of money.

-The 5 actions of the New Smart to achieve authentic success. No more excuses.

Learn how to start something stupid—the smartest thing you can do.

Drawing on years of research, including hundreds of face-to-face interviews and some of the world’s greatest success stories past and present, Richie shows you how stupid is the New Smart—the common denominator for success, creativity, and innovation in business and life.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Richie was named one of Hawaii’s Top Forty Under 40 “best and brightest young businesspersons” by Pacific Business News at age 29. He is a ChangeAid award winner for outstanding accomplishment in international development, international relations, humanitarian aid and academic achievement. He is also a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Richie is the CEO of Global Consulting Circle, a boutique international business development consultancy. He is the author of the upcoming book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid (Shadow Mountain Publishing), as well as the popular eBook and audio book, Resumes Are Dead and What to Do About It (Shadow Mountain Publishing).


He is a sought after speaker and consultant for the corporate growth and personal development industries. Richie has shared the stage with bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen M.R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust and Kevin Rollins, former CEO of Dell Computers.





WEBSITE
BLOG
FACEBOOK
TWITTER

LINKEDIN

PURCHASE BOOK

Amazon
Deseret Book
Barnes & Noble

REVIEW

I am a fan of inspirational nonfiction, which this book definitely is. My problem is following through on what I learn.  I did appreciate thoroughly the ideas that Norton so clearly articulates.  The idea that 'stupid is the New Smart.'  He points out that many of the things we, as a society, take for granted today were considered, 'stupid' when they were first proposed.  Things such as the telephone, the automobile, satellites, landing on the moon were all scoffed at by many influential people before becoming a reality.  Yet do to the convictions and determination of certain individuals those things have become a big part of modern society.

Of course, acting on a dream or course of action that others consider stupid requires a certain kind of mindset.  And 'stupid is the New Smart' is not the same thing as unhealthy stupidity where the risk is rarely if ever worth the price.  Unhealthy stupidity needs to be avoided while ideas that are considered stupid but really aren't should be pursued.  That doesn't mean that it is an easy process however, because it most certainly is not.  Pursuing something that those around you consider stupid takes courage and a firm belief that the possibilities of success are worth the risk.

I especially liked the idea that Norton expresses in a relatively simple statement: Live to Start, Start to Live.  I think what he means is that we will never know where an idea might take us if we don't give it a shot. That does not mean however that we should rush into things.  One does need to make sure that there is a good possibility of success and that the idea really is the New Smart.  It reminds me of the statement: You reap what you sow.  I believe he is trying to say that you can't reap anything if you never sow anything.  And it is in trying new things and following our dreams that we really start living.  If we wait for life to come to us, we will be waiting a long time for something that may never happen.

A thought-provoking and inspiring read, I can recommend this book with ease. While especially appropriate for business owners there is much here that is appropriate for anyone with a dream.

    

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY: Beyond the Valley by Rita Gerlach

Review copy provided by publisher for blog tour.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Sarah Carr's husband Jamie drowns, her young life is shattered and takes a turn that she never expected. Pregnant and now widowed, she reaches out to Jamie's family for help, but they are unwilling. Instead they devise a plan to have her kidnapped and taken to the Colonies to live a life of servitude. Sarah's new life in the Colonies finds her surrounded by a family's whirlwind of secrets, while she hopes the young doctor she loves with will bring her freedom.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Rita Gerlach writes inspirational historical fiction with a romantic bent, with unique settings in both America and England. She lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland. Her latest book is Beyond the Valley.
  



FACEBOOK

EXERPT

Lem Locke’s house stood on a green plain of ground above the rugged cliffs of Hell’s Mouth in St. Ives Bay. Far below, the sea thundered against sheer cliffs. Gulls screeched and flew in circles against the sky. Gray peppered stones made the old dwelling cold, the windows dark and uninviting. The door, also gray due to weathering and a lack of paint had a wrought iron handle and a rope knocker that dangled from a rusty hook, the end a ball of jute. Sarah could not help but wonder if the dreary house reflected the people within it.

Drawing in a deep breath, she trudged up the path and approached the door. She hoped Mary would see her from the window and rush out to greet her. But it wasn’t until she raised the knocker and let it fall that her sister-in-law appeared. The same height as Sarah, Mary stood beneath the lintel slim as a reed. She looked older since Sarah had last seen her. Her hair, partially tucked up beneath a white cap, hung straight around her ears and temples. Her mouth, lined by a hard life, looked drawn with worry.

A look of surprise sprung over Mary’s face. “Sarah? What are you doing here?” She looked down the road. “Where is my brother?”

“Hello, Mary. May I come inside? I must speak with you.”

Mary stepped back and waved her in. “Oh, please tell me he did not leave you and you have come to us for help. I will be very put out if he did.”

A lump swelled in Sarah’s throat. “Yes, he has left me. But not in the way you think.”


PURCHASE

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

REVIEW

An emotional story about love and devotion, but also pain and loss and forgiveness, I found some of scenes in this book almost bled off the page. I did love Sarah as a character though and her courage and faith.  She continued to live the best she knew how despite some of the awful things that happened to her.  I especially appreciated her loyalty to Alex even when giving in to others demands would have made her life seemingly easier.  I confess that the topic of indentured servants/slavery is one that really bothers me and I have a hard time reading about it sometimes.  I appreciated how sensitively the author handled this aspect of the story, showing how wrong it was without getting into the often brutal nature of it.  Alex was a great character as well, kind and determined to find Sarah after she was sold.  Sarah and Alex certainly deserved each other.  I recommend this book to those who enjoy a good Christian love story that involves betrayal, forgiveness, and devotion.

Check out the rest of the tour here!

 

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher for providing a print copy to give away.
Open to U.S./Canada only.
Fill out form.
Winner will have 48 hours to respond to notifying email.
Void where prohibited.
Must be 13+ to enter.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Baked Alaska by Josi S. Kilpack

Tour Schedule


Baked Alaska by Josi S. Kilpack

An Alaskan cruise is the setting for amateur detective Sadie Hoffmillers latest adventure. Sadie plans to spend time relaxing with her two grown children, Breanna and Shawn, and her boyfriend, Pete, while enjoying the luxury and cuisine of an elegant cruise ship and helping to plan her daughters upcoming wedding. But even as the crew prepares to leave port, Sadie has suspicions about the voyage ahead and the relationship between her normally easygoing son and a mysterious female passenger he obviously knows but refuses to discuss. When the woman is discovered unconscious during the second night at sea, Sadies apprehension escalates. Over the last few years, Sadie has developed an extreme dislike for secrets and it would seem her son is keeping one from her. *Includes eight new mouthwatering recipes, tested and approved by the official bakers of Sadies Virtual Test Kitchen.

REVIEW

Whoa, did this book pull me in quickly!  I haven't read any of the other books in the series but I definitely will be after reading this one.  I liked Sadie right from the get go.  She's plucky and determined and very, very curious. I can't say I blame her, the world is an interesting place.  While she does have a tendency to poke her nose into places it doesn't really belong, her intentions are good.  And in this case I don't blame her for being concerned since it's her son that is the one keeping secrets.  I liked her kids too, Breanna and Shawn as well as her almost retired boyfriend, Pete.  I liked the believable feel to the story, how it all seemed to just flow.  And I loved the setting. I would love to go on an Alaskan cruise myself so it was fun to read about one.  Once I got into the story, I had a really hard time putting it down. I came to care about the characters quickly and wanted to know what was going to happen to them.  Josi Kilpack provides readers with a great mystery with delightful characters and a great setting. Highly recommended.
 
Praise for Baked Alaska
Josi Kilpack has done it again. You would think that all these events that occur in Sadie's life wouldn't be natural, but Josi Kilpack has a way of making you believe that it just "happens" and it is normal. I have grown to love Sadie's character, even if she is a busybody, you can't help but cheer for her as she attempts to solve a mystery or crime. One of my favorite series. :)
~Goodreads Reviewer Lacey McNeill


Author Josi S. Kilpack

Josi S. Kilpack grew up hating to read until she was thirteen and her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began her first novel in 1998 and hasn’t stopped since. Her seventh novel, Sheep’s Clothing, won the 2007 Whitney Award for Mystery/Suspense, and Lemon Tart, her ninth novel, was a 2009 Whitney Award Finalist. Josi was the Best in State winner in literature for 2012 and currently has two books (Banana Split and Tres Leches Cupcakes) as finalists in the 2012 Whitney awards.

Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her family.


Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/20/13

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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Confessions of a Cereal Mother by Rachel McClellan


ABOUT THE BOOK

In this humorous memoir you’ll discover several mind-saving rules, which include:

- Don’t throw your pregnancy test away before the full three minutes is up.

- Unless there is a rush on the grocery store pending a zombie-virus outbreak, never take your kids shopping.

- If your toddler is going to chew on a Band-Aid, hope it’s one found inside the community swimming pools chlorinated pool and not one found in their locker room.

- Never throw up in a cookie sheet.

- Things can always get worse. You could discover your child playing with a used tampon applicator. It’s not a whistle, sweetie.

- And most importantly, the moment one of your children is seriously ill, forget about everything else. You have the greatest honor in the world – being a Mom
.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (written by the author)

I love ranch dressing, the homemade kind. It makes everything taste better. Coming in a close second are Mayo and real butter. Second, I want to buy Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and turn it into a sauce factory using the items I mentioned above. And I’d keep the Oompa-Loompas. I can tell by looking at them that they like the sauces as much as I do. Third, I would bring to life some of my favorite literature characters, such as Odd Thomas, Dr. Jekyll (Hyde can come too), Frankenstein, Elizabeth Bennett, and Sherlock Holmes (because someone’s sure to die in this crowd), to break bread and dip the pieces into my Oompa-Loompa sauces.

A few other random things you may or may not want to know: I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, aka Mormon. I love to run. I love music just as much, dark, moody stuff. I love my TV shows, dark, moody stuff. I currently live in the New England area and am obsessed with its forests and cemeteries. I am married and have four young children. They are just as strange as I am, but they love the sauces, so we get along. I like sports. I especially love to play volleyball and racquetball. One day I’d like to get back into theater. And run for President. Of the world. But above all…I love to write.


To find out more on Confessions of a Cereal Mother and author Rachel McClellan, visit: www.rachelmcclellan.com.

Confessions of a Cereal Mother: True Stories to Let Every Mother Know She's Not Alone in the CrazinessREVIEW

Can I just say: HILARIOUS! I will never look at motherhood the same way again.  After reading this book I have a much greater appreciation for my own mother who raised five children.  And it NEVER ends, the problems just get bigger.  In my opinions, there is no greater or more difficult job on the planet than motherhood. Raising children takes more stamina, patience, creativity, and love than any other job in existence.  McClellan does an excellent job of showing both the incredible challenges of motherhood, along with the amazing benefits of a job that is 24-7 and never ending.  Her stories are funny and sympathy-inducing. I seriously had to hold my tummy after laughing through some of her stories.  Working with children myself, I am now more grateful than ever that at the end of the day I get to send them home to their families. ;)  All I can say is thank goodness for the loving, nuturing mothers of the world! Highly recommended.



 

BLOG TOUR: Payne & Misery by Catherine Leggitt

PAYNE & MISERY
A Christine Sterling Mystery #1
by Catherine Leggitt
Westbow Press, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4497-0419-3
Christian Mystery
Print copy received from author in return for an honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

All that sparks is not gold for Christine Sterling. The luster of her shiny "Golden Years" dream fades when Christine's newly retired husband, Jesse, succumbs to an exciting new hobby requiring long weekends away. Add to this dilemma Christine's dubious "gift" of observation, a super-sized helping of free time, and a double dose of imagination. Sprinkle with peculiar circumstances lurking in the neighborhood and what do you get? Not the glittering paradise of togetherness Jesse promised. You get trouble. Big trouble. Christine has already developed a bad reputation for conjuring wild tales to explain ordinary occurrences. Who is likely to take her seriously when she discovers a bruised and neglected neighbor named Lila Payne? Try as she might, she cannot interest anyone in Lila's dire need for immediate rescue. Something about crying wolf once too often.

But when Lila and Christine's beloved Border collie Molly both disappear the same night, Christine dives headfirst into a dark pool swirling with muddy secrets and misery. Her best friend throws her a lifesaver of prayer and she begins to sense God at work in the situation. But even with God's help, can they save Lila and Molly before it's too late?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Leggitt is the author of the cozy mystery novels, "Payne & Misery," The "Dunn Deal,"and "Parrish the Thought." She is also an inspirational speaker presently residing in northern California. During her first career--after raising children and before caring for her aging parents--Catherine worked as an elementary school teacher, where she developed her flair for playacting and storytelling. Struggling with retirement, Catherine needed a distraction. She found it at her keyboard.

In addition to writing and speaking, Catherine is the mother of three brilliant children who have collectively produced six incredible grandchildren. An avid Bible student, she sings in the church choir. Catherine is passionate about reading.

"Payne & Misery," a Christine Sterling Mystery, won second place at the Orange County Christian Writer's Conference in 2010. "Parrish the Thought" made the quarter finals in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest before Ellechor published the the trilogy starting in 2011. The remaining books, "The Dunn Deal" and "Parrish the Thought," were published in 2012.

REVIEW


I quite enjoyed this book. With likeable characters, an interesting, believable plot and a beautiful setting, Payne & Misery, provides an entertaining and compassionate read.  I think the thing I liked the most was the characters. Christine, with her penchant for snooping and observation, is a fun main character with plenty of strengths and weaknesses.  When she believes something is wrong, she wants to do something about it.  With her husband gone on a regular basis pursuing his own hobbies, she feels dissatisfied and lonely at home by herself, so when she notices strange things going on next door, she investigates and discovers the lonely and mysterious Lila. However, no one else really wants to get involved until Lila disappears the same night Christine's dog, Molly does.  Christine must face the challenge of fighting for what she believes in even when others tell her she is imagining things.  At the same time she faces relationship challenges with her husband and her own slowing awakening belief in God.  I recommend this book for those who appreciate a good mystery with a strong dose of ordinary life and loveable characters.

 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Poison Me by Cami Checketts

Blog Tour Schedule
e-book provided by author for blog tour in return for honest review
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Poison Me by Cami Checketts
  
Jake Merrill was raised by his grandmother, Ruby, and her hilarious friends. After a suspicious death at the retirement home where Ruby lives, she enlists Jake and Chanel, the beautiful activities director, to help her find the killer.

But secrets Ruby has kept for decades threaten her family and the man she’s always loved but could never have. Chanel’s unstable ex-boyfriend, a presumably dead relative, and vicious criminals add to the confusion. Time is running out as Jake, Chanel, and Ruby desperately search for clues to solve the murders and fight to save those they love.


REVIEW

I'm not sure how she does it, but Cami Checketts always manages to pull me into her stories from the first page.  While her stories are more focused on action and don't include the kind of detail that I normally prefer, I still find myself falling in love with her characters and laughing and crying with them.  Her characters are so vivid with their flaws and heartaches and loves and strengths.  This story is no different. Ruby is priceless with her stubborn streak, but complete and utter loyalty to those she loves.  She is determined to find out her murdered her friend, but at the same time must deal with secrets from the past, a grieving grandson who won't forgive himself, and a handsome neighbor who she harbors a grudge against.  Jake and Chanel also won me over quickly, both good people with troubles from the past who find themselves falling in love almost despite themselves. A delightful and amusing, yet action-packed romantic suspense with some great kissing scenes this is a fun book for those who enjoy a great story.
 

Praise for Poison Me

Poison Me made me laugh out loud and thoroughly enjoy myself. I wish I had a friend like Ruby! Snappy dialogue, romance, and a strong sense of family made this book well worth reading.

Rachel Ann Nunes, bestselling author of Line of Fire and Before I Say Goodbye




Author Cami Checketts

Cami is a part-time author, part-time exercise consultant, part-time housekeeper, full-time wife, and overtime mother of four adorable boys. Sleep and relaxation are fond memories. She's never been happier.
A portion of the proceeds from Cami's books will be donated to The Child & Family Support Center. For more information on this worthy cause, please go to www.cachecfsc.org

Book Blog
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INTERVIEW

What is the 'story behind the story?'
 
My parents used to manage a retirement home and told me that they had four deaths at the facility in one week. I was shocked and asked what the police had said. They both said the police thought the people were old. It made me mad that the people were treated with contempt (I knew a lot of these people and they were amazing and fun) and it got me wondering: what if someone was killing these sweet people. Hmmm.
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and what would you do there?
 
Anywhere in the Caribbean. I just want to be warm and spend time in the water.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
Falling in love with the characters and telling their stories.
What is something that most people don't know about you?
 
I’m very boring. People think because my characters are funny I must have a good sense of humor. I don’t (just ask my children). I’m one of those people who thinks of a hilarious response twenty minutes later, at which time I’ll usually say my response and everyone will wonder what in the world I’m talking about. So, okay, not boring, just socially awkward!
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
 
Anything active with my family: swimming, biking, hiking, running, dancing.

Blog Tour Giveaway
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Friday, March 8, 2013

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Gaze into Heaven: Near-Death Experiences in Early Church History by Marlene Bateman Sullivan


ABOUT THE BOOK




Gaze Into Heaven is a carefully compiled collection of more than 50 near-death experiences that occurred during the early years of the Church. These documented accounts give fascinating glimpses into the Spirit World by those who have actually been there. Besides being filled with stories of insight and inspiration, Gaze Into Heaven has pertinent quotes from latter-day Prophets and other leaders, scriptures, and perceptive commentary. After reading this book, you will never think of life—or death—in the same way.

Most of us have wondered exactly what will happen when we die. What does the Spirit World look like? Will we see departed family members and friends? What do people do there? Do spirits there know what is happening on earth? What did people who had near-death experiences learn from their visit? All of these questions and many more are answered in Gaze Into Heaven. There have been many books written about modern day near-death experiences, but Gaze Into Heaven is the first to focus solely on those that took place in early church history.

Joseph Smith said; “All men know that they must die . . . it is important that we should understand the reasons . . . of life and of death, and the designs and purposes of God in our coming into the world . . . and our departure hence. . . It is a subject we ought to study more than any other. . . Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that was ever written on the subject.” Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Period I, vol. 6, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9 October, 1843), 50.

The Doctrine and Covenants also counsels us to learn more. We are to study “of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass.” (D&C 88:79).

Studying near-death experiences can bless us with a better understanding of this life and increase our knowledge of the life to come. By reading about those who actually entered the spirit world and saw conditions there, we can benefit from the insights they gained and use that information to reevaluate our lives and use our time on earth productively.

With this book, Marlene Bateman Sullivan has done a valuable service for Latter-day Saint readers. Previous life-after-death studies published brief extracts from numerous sources and combined them to define spirit-world events and conditions. Returning to those sources, she has compiled many of their complete accounts, which add additional insights that will be enjoyed by many. Well done!
—Duane S. Crowther, author of Life Everlasting—
A Definitive Study of Life After Death


ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her website)

First, I will tell you that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I started writing stories in elementary school and was blessed with a teacher in junior high school that encouraged me, so I kept on writing. My dream of writing was put aside for a time when I married and had children, although I did continue to write magazine and newspaper articles.

As my children got older, I opened a floral shop at my home to fulfill my need for money and creativity. After nine years and a health scare, I sold the shop to pursue my dream of writing full time.

My first book was Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, which was soon followed by Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, Volume Two. Both books are compilations of true stories about people in early Church history who risked their life in defense of the gospel. These are stirring, true experiences that will touch your heart and give you a new, up-close and personal look at Church History. I love all of these stories—they are so inspiring and faith-promoting. All of these experiences have been carefully researched and are fully documented.

My next three books are also compilations of true stories in early Church History, and are about angelic experiences. The first book in this series is called, And There Were Angels Among Them. As I started researching for this book, I found thousands of stories about angelic visitations and knew I had to narrow them down somehow. I decided to select only those experiences when a person either saw or heard an angel.

The second book in this series is called Visits From Beyond the Veil and the third is, By the Ministering of Angels. Researching and writing these books was a marvelous experience. It made me realize how much Heavenly Father truly loves us and that He is very aware of us and our lives.

People often ask me where I found all these stories. I did most of my research at the LDS Church Archives and the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. I also did a lot of research at the libraries at BYU and also at the library at Utah State University. In addition, I researched materials at the University of Utah and other public libraries. Most of the experiences in these books were gleaned from personal histories, letters, and various records and documents, along with newspapers and magazines such as the Elder’s Journal, Times and Seasons, The Millennial Star, Young Woman’s Journal, and many others.

My most recent non-fiction book is called Brigham’s Boys. It tells the story of sixteen men who worked closely with Brigham Young and helped him bring the Saints across the plains and colonize the Great Basin area. The men who worked alongside Brigham were amazingly devout and hard working. They were always willing to serve, no matter how difficult the challenge.


Writing Fiction
For my next book, I tried my hand at writing fiction and wrote Light on Fire Island. I was very pleased when became a best-seller. Light on Fire Island is set in 1921, on Fire Island, New York. I suppose it’s the researcher in me that made me decide to have the settings for this and all subsequent novels totally accurate. To do research on the setting for this book, my husband and I traveled to Fire Island, which is just south of Long Island. I snapped lots of pictures, talked with people at the lighthouse, and took many notes. I also corresponded with the people who are in charge of the Fire Island Lighthouse and they graciously answered my many questions. All of the details about the setting are accurate, from the number of steps in the lighthouse, to street names, to the names of plants and trees.

My Background


To give you some background on my life, I grew up in Sandy, Utah. My father raised gladiolus and mink, so I’m a bit of a country girl at heart. My mother was a florist. Since I dropped out of college to get married and have children, (eventually having seven), it had always been one of my goals to go back to school and graduate. I started at Utah State with five children, and had to quit when we moved to North Salt Lake. Many years later, when my children were older, I was able to return again—this time at the University of Utah, where I finally graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English.


Why I Write

I work very hard on my writing, for many reasons. First of all, it is simply what I do. I can’t imagine not writing. With my non-fiction, I want to inspire people and build their faith and testimonies. With my novels, I want people who ready my books to be entertained, because that is one of the primary jobs of an author. However, as an LDS author, I also feel a great responsible to write clean, uplifting novels that carry good, underlying messages, which will enlighten and inspire and help people cope with real-life dilemmas.

REVIEW

What a fascinating topic! I really found this book interesting. Death is always an interesting topic and beliefs and ideas about life after death have been debated for millenia. This book presents the beliefs and some of the experiences of the LDS Church (The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints) or Mormons. I liked how the author shared scriptures and quotes from leaders of the church about church doctrine regarding life after death. The stories themselves are varied and thought-provoking. Each person had a unique experience clearly specified for them. There is enough here to provide much to think about and wonder about. Still, there is much we don't know about life after death, but thanks to books like this one, we can have a tiny peek at what the future holds for us and the ones we love. Highly recommended for those interested in life after death and Mormon beliefs on the subject.


PURCHASE





May also be purchased at physical bookstore locations, such as Deseret Book, Seagull Book and other stores that sell LDS books.



GIVEAWAY

1 Print copy of Gaze into Heaven
Open U.S./Canada only.
Fill out form, please.

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