Thursday, October 31, 2013

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: A Bargained-for Bride by Marcia Lynn McClure

bargained tour

a bargained
A BARGAINED-FOR BRIDE
by Marcia Lynn McClure (Novella)

ABOUT THE BOOK

 “You’re the sweetest girl in Mourning Dove Creek, you know?” Jack mumbled as he paused in kissing Jilly a moment.

Jilly smiled. “And you’re the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek, you know,” she flirted in return.

 Jack smiled. “I do know,” he said.

Jilly giggled. Jack Taylor was so predictable—and a little conceited. He really did think he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove—and he was, for the most part. Secretly, however, if Jilly ever allowed herself to be completely honest about it (which she tried to avoid), there was one other man in Mourning Dove who always crossed her mind when the subject of the handsomest man in town arose. Yet there was no lingering on thinking of that man—no sirree! Not for a moment! Not for any reason—ever. And so Jilly just kept telling Jack that he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek. Besides, it was almost true—being that the other man lived outside of town and not right in town the way Jack did


marciaABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.” Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.

Social Media Website Social Media Blog Social Media Facebook Social Media Twitter Social Media Goodreads

REVIEW

As always, McClure writes an entertaining and romantic story. Jill and Boone are likable characters with plenty of old-fashioned charm. I appreciate how gentlemanly Boone is as he interacts with Jill. I also liked the watching their relationship develop over time. In so many relationships its a case of instant love, which is true here to a small extent, except it starts as a crush when the two are quite young. While this is not a book with great depth, there is more than enough here to provide an hour or so of pure enjoyment. With plenty of kissing. ;)



BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 11/12/13

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.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BLOG TOUR: Room Recipes by Tonya Olsen

room recipes blog header

17397491ABOUT THE BOOK

From exciting entryways to DIY dining rooms, professional interior designer Tonya Olsen has just the right recipes to make every room in your home a showstopper. Room Recipes: A Creative and Stylish Guide to Interior Design is the ultimate resource for homeowners looking to spice things up or decorate a space from scratch. Inside this guide you’ll find:
  • eye-catching examples of beautiful, budget-friendly designs
  • step-by-step instructions to recreate even the most elaborate rooms
  • palettes that break each room into individual patterns, colors, and textures
Create a kitchen or whip up a washroom with these no-fail design formulas and transform your house into your dream home, one room at a time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tonya Olsen has always had a passion for designing charming, budget-friendly rooms and projects. She loves to combine traditional interior design principles with personal, do-it-yourself flair. Tonya shares ownership of LIV Showroom, a full-service interior design firm and retail showroom, and holds a master’s degree in interior design. She is also the lead interior designer for Utah homebuilder, Rainey Homes. Tonya has over 20 years of professional design experience, bargain shopping fortitude, and do-it-yourself gumption. She spends her spare time gleaning inspiration from interior design books, magazines, blogs, and websites. Tonya and her husband have three boys and live in their recently renovated home in Bountiful, Utah.


REVIEW

I'll be the first to admit that I am not the most able person when in comes to decorating.  In fact, I'm pretty bad at it, so when I heard about this book I was interested in looking at the recommendations and see if there way anything that could help me.  And it turns out there is a lot here that is very helpful. There are specific designs that can be added to or adjusted as you see fit.  The instructions are straightforward and helpful.  The book is divided into sections by room, so you can see a variety of ideas for each room.Lots of great ideas here that can be used for specific projects or simply as inspiration. I liked that a lot of them can be done cheaply and as DIY projects.  A fun book for those who would like some help decorating their house.  


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Shedding Light on the Dark Side by Stephen J. Stirling


Shedding Light on the Dark Side blog tour


17676403ABOUT THE BOOK

It is time to rip the mask from the master of deceit.

Using the scriptures and modern revelation, Stephen Stirling defines who Satan is and what his role is on this earth. In a way that is engaging and perfect for youth to understand, he evaluates:

• What the scriptures say that Satan is and does
• Where Satan gets his power and why it influences us
• How to be better soldiers in the war Satan is waging on this world

We can overcome this deceiving yet unavoidably real being with the light of truth. The Prince of Peace holds the power to defeat the Prince of Darkness. The only question is where you will stand in this eternal battle of good and evil. Shedding Light on the Dark Side will help you understand the Adversary and his tactics so you can fearlessly stand on the Lord’s side.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephen J. Stirling was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in the Southeast LA semi-ghetto of Huntington Park. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Brigham Young University in 1976, and then spent the next several years wandering America in search of adventure as a professional vagrant. Interspersed through his college career and days on the road, he served a mission in Chile and taught for 5 years as an early morning seminary teacher in various ports of call.

Stopping in Chicago, he entered the profession of advertising, a field in which he ultimately held many positions with companies from the Mid West to the Pacific Coast. He eventually settled in Orange County, California, where he established Stirling Communications and spent 15 years as a freelance copywriter, scriptwriter, and video producer. In 1994 he was hired by the Church Educational System and relocated with his family to the Phoenix Valley in Arizona, where he has fulfilled a lifelong dream of teaching released-time seminary for the past 19 years.

He and his wife, Diane, were married in 1981. They have five adult children, two horses, several chickens, and a farm in Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Missouri—where they plan to retire someday.

REVIEW

Stirling presents the reader with a fascinating look into the nature of Satan, primarily for the purpose of helping readers develop a better understanding of how he works, so that he and his associates and their evilness can be avoided.  He uses scriptures and quotes from prophets and apostles to illustrate the points he wishes to make.  These people had/have direct knowledge of things, generally from personal experience as well as revelation.  I think the most important point that the author makes is the importance of learning to distinguish the voice of the Holy Spirit from the voices of unholy spirits.  Satan has power, more than most of us truly understand, but as the author reminds us, God is always more powerful. I really enjoyed this book and the reminders about keeping ourselves worthy to have the gift of the Holy Ghost to help us discern truth from error and Holy Spirit from unholy spirit.  Highly recommended, especially for youth to whom this is directed, but useful for all.


Monday, October 28, 2013

LDS BOOK REVIEW: Written on Our Hearts by Emily Freeman


ABOUT THE BOOK


If you have ever found the Old Testament intimidating, you're not alone. The less-familiar history, themes, and language, coupled with the length of the book, make it a difficult read for many. But author Emily Freeman loves the Old Testament, and as she shares some of the wonderful things she has learned in her study of this book of scripture, you will find yourself coming to love it too.

Written on Our Hearts is not a commentary or an intensive doctrinal study. Instead, Emily writes about the stories of the Old Testament, stories of trusting and overcoming and enduring and believing. Within these stories are all kinds of applications for the challenges we face today.

"There will come a moment in your life," the author says, "when you or someone you love will struggle with a challenge so great you will wonder how you will make it through. In that moment you will long to better understand the Savior's role as the Deliverer, and to do that you must go to the book of scripture that describes that role the best—the Old Testament."

Discover the delivering power of the Lord yourself in the pages of this book—and experience the scriptures in a new, more personal way!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Freeman took her first creative writing class in high school and has loved writing ever since. She finds great joy in studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Her deep love of the scriptures comes from a desire to find their application in everyday life. She is the author of several books, including The Ten Virgins; 21 Days Closer to Christ; and The Promise of Enough. There is nothing Emily enjoys more for breakfast than a bowl of vanilla ice cream, raspberries, and chocolate chips. Other favorites include parades, vacations, firework displays, and going for a long walk with a good friend. Emily and her husband, Greg, live in Lehi, Utah, with their four children, whom she adores.

REVIEW

What a beautiful book!  Not only is the design gorgeous (I mean look at that cover!) but the writing is just as good. Keep in mind that this is not a doctrinal discussion.  This book provides the author's person thoughts and feelings about some of the stories in the Old Testament. Freeman shares her thoughts on Abraham and Isaac, Rebekah, David, as well as some of the lesser known people from the Old Testament.  I appreciated her focus on the stories because those are the parts of the Old Testament that I love the most.  I often get bogged down in the doctrine, but there is so much to learn from the experiences of others. I highly recommend this book to those who sometimes feel as I do, that the Old Testament is often hard to understand and frustrating to read.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Carla Kelly's Christmas Collection by Carla Kelly

Carla Kelly Christmas blog tour

12953006ABOUT THE BOOK

Come explore Regency London with Carla Kelly! This collection features four stories that will warm your heart with Christmas cheer:

The Christmas Ornament: When the father of his now-deceased best friend hints that he should consider his daughter as a potential wife, Lord James Crandall isn’t sure he can get past the fact that he used to tease her mercilessly when she was just a girl. But once he finds out how brilliant her mind is, he’s not sure he can get past the fact that she’s a woman. Add in the fact that her charms have garnered the attentions of other gentlemen, Lord Crandall is in for quite the roller coaster Christmas.

Make a Joyful Noise: Widower Marquis Peter Chard is grateful for his two children, but not so grateful when his mother gives him the chore of recruiting people for the parish Christmas choir competition. When recently widowed and pregnant Rosie Wheatherby turns up with the voice of an angel and the looks to match, Lord Chard isn’t about to let her get away from the choir . . . or his family.

An Object of Charity: Stuck on land while his ship is being repaired, Captain Michael Lynch is approached by his late first mate’s niece and nephew. Learning they are destitute, he decides to take them home with him for the holidays, returning for the first time in 22 years ago. As he spends more time with them and unburdens his heart to the young woman, she replaces his hurt with love in time for a very special Christmas.

The Three Kings: After her brother is shot by the French in Spain, Lady Sarah Comstock is forced to travel across the war-torn countryside with a Spanish Colonel. As Christmas quickly approaches, Sarah learns about the Three Kings giving gifts to the Christ child and finds a gift of her own that she can share—her heart.

Filled with romance and a touch of humor, these stories are sure to find a place in your heart and remind you that Christmas is a time for love.

Carla KellyABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America. She is also a recipient of a Whitney Award for Borrowed Light and My Loving Vigil Keeping.

REVIEW

I truly enjoy Carla Kelly's romances. Her characters are fun and make me smile or roll my eyes at their antics and I never feel like they are formulaic in any way.  I have to admit that I do have a special affection for the Regency era, which is strange since I really would not have wanted to live then, but there you are.  These stories are shorter than I normally like but plenty enjoyable just the same.  I am not normally a huge fan of short stories because they lack the depth that longer stories possess, but I did quite enjoy these.  And the variety is remarkable.  Everything from sailors, to soldiers, to scholars, and farmers are met in these stories, but above everything is love despite weaknesses and mistakes, love conquers all. And I love those kind of stories.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Peace, Be Still by David S. Baxter

Peace Be Still blog tour

18123147ABOUT THE BOOK

“No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.”
(Hymns, “Master, the Tempest is Raging,” no. 105.)

Our modern world is full of fast-paced stress and jam-packed schedules. Both trials and blessings happen to us so quickly that there is rarely a moment of peace. It is easy to be overwhelmed and lost.

In Peace, Be Still, Elder David S. Baxter of the Seventy describes ways for us to find peace in our crazy world by turning to our Lord, Jesus Christ. He speaks of principles to learn, habits to gain, and places to go to find peace in our daily lives and at home. This inspiring book will help us through the tempests in our lives and lead us to a greater sense of personal peace by encouraging and instructing us to follow Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Baxter was born in Stirling, Scotland, and became a General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2006. He previously worked in senior leadership roles in the telecommunications industry and on the boards of various UK Government agencies, and he holds a BSc degree in economics. In his Church service he has been a bishop, a stake president, a member of a mission presidency, and an Area Seventy. He has served in Church area presidencies in Europe and the Pacific. He and his wife, Dianne, are the parents of four children and nine grandchildren. He is the author of A Perfect Brightness of Hope.

REVIEW

A sweet book about finding peace in a busy and confusing world.  I especially appreciated the emphasis on receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost can provide direction, revelation, comfort, and peace when sought worthily. A good book for me to read since I get so easily stressed by the business of life. Elder Baxter talks about things that remove peace from our lives and where and how we can find it again.  He talks about death, repentance and forgiveness, places to find peace (like the temple), changing perspectives and attitudes, and enjoying the love of Christ. A great book for those like me who need to be reminded that peace can be found amidst the challenges and difficulties that surround us. Highly recommended.

Monday, October 21, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Mile 21 by Sarah Dunster




17970949ABOUT THE BOOK

“You have to be here. I can’t be on the premises without an owner or tenant present. Wouldn’t want to be accused of walking off with anything.” He looks around the kitchen. “Not that there’s anything here to tempt me.”

“You’re a jerk.”

Bob glances down at the photo again. “Will your husband be back soon?”

“He died a year ago. So, no.”

I gain immense satisfaction in seeing his cheeks darken a bit.

Abish Miller is a mess. But you might be too if you were a twenty-one-year-old widow with a dysfunctional family, an overpowering boss, and a torturous return to the singles’ scene. Training for the marathon she and her husband never got to run is about the only time she can forget about her problems.

But life won’t leave her alone. It throws Bob Hartley, a recently divorced young father, into her living room and then her ward. And when her irritation turns into attraction, she’s sure that it must be some sort of cosmic joke, especially when it seems he loathes her! Feeling like she just keeps hitting the wall, Abish must learn to push past her fears or she’ll never achieve her personal best.

Defined by sharp wit and an authentic voice, Mile 21 shows the despair of giving up on hope—and the joy of choosing it again.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Dunster is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. Her poems have appeared in Dialogue: Journal of Mormon Thought, Sunstone Magazine, andSegullah Magazine. She is a contributor to LDS arts blog A Motley Vision. Her first novel, “Lightning Tree,” was released in April of 2012. Her fiction has been described as fresh, character-driven, and outside the box of LDS literature. Sarah Dunster enjoys writing almost as much as she enjoys spending time with her seven children, age eleven and younger.

REVIEW

Mile 21 provides a heart-wrenching look at the challenges of being widowed or divorced.  After losing her husband and her baby, Abish finds herself adrift. Sure, she's attending school and going to church but where is it leading, and what's the point of it all? The author dives into some interesting issues here and the heartache that life can bring.  LDS doctrines involving eternal marriage and death and divorce are explored.  But above all the story is about finding hope and love in dark times and struggling through the challenges of life, especially the problems we often create for ourselves.  I have to admit that this book made me cry at a couple of points because of the emotion the author creates through her words.  To me that is the sign of a well-written, characterized, and plotted book, when I feel such a connection to the characters that I cry when they do. So I can definitely recommend this one if your ready for a heart-felt look at life and love.

A re-imagined Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman!

Michele Gorman’s Christmas Carol is coming down the chimney on October 24th!



One winter wedding, two happy couples, three ex-boyfriends... And a very uncomfortable weekend.
Carol hates Christmas. Being recently dumped, she’s not crazy about weddings either. So her sister Marley’s nuptials, over the Christmas weekend, are making her positively Scrooge-like.
When she arrives for the weekend at the stately home in rural Scotland to find her three ex-boyfriends in attendance, Carol has no choice but to face her ghosts to discover what really happened in those relationships, learning a lot about herself in the process. As the snow falls outside and the fire crackles in the hearth, might one of the wedding guests become the harbinger of Christmases to come?
Available globally in paperback and eBook.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

LDS BOOK REVIEW: Consider the Blessings by Thomas S. Monson


ABOUT THE BOOK

If you ask people what they love most about President Thomas S. Monson’s teaching style, chances are they’ll say something about the personal experiences he relates. The accounts President Monson shares are always true, taken from his own life or the real lives of other people. Those warm, memorable accounts have truly become a hallmark of his messages.

Who can forget the woman who saved one of the two sticks of gum Elder Monson passed out to youth in postwar Germany? Or the neighbor who returned a box of baseballs to young Tommy as a thank-you for his kindness to her? Or the father who declined to attend a “Mormon” meeting with his family but had his heart softened by a message he heard on a radio that was actually broken?

In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of his call as an Apostle, Consider the Blessings presents fifty of the true accounts President Thomas S. Monson has shared over the years. With beautiful photographs and heart-touching content, this is a book to treasure with the whole family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

President Thomas S. Monson was set apart as the sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 2008. He had previously served for twenty-two years in the First Presidency of the Church, after having been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since October1963. Five years after his call to the Twelve, he was given a special assignment for the work of the Church in Europe, requiring many visits with members behind the Iron Curtain. He was instrumental in the construction of the Freiberg Germany Temple and in advancing the Lord’s work in other eastern European countries that were part of the communist bloc. He also served as chairman of the Scriptures Publication Committee and supervised the process that resulted in the new editions of the scriptures. His ministry has been characterized by his compassion for the needs of individuals and his gift for one-on-one service. President Monson and his wife, Frances, are the parents of three children, grandparents of eight, and great-grandparents of eight.

REVIEW

A beautifully designed book with gorgeous photographs and tender stories that touch the heart, Consider the Blessings is a book that I can heartily recommend.  The author is a man who well knows the meaning of the words 'love thy neighbor as thyself' and that shines through in the stories he tells.  Some of the stories involve him and some of them don't but they all relate to gospel principles.  There are stories of love, humility, forgiveness, kindness, and service as well as stories of Heavenly Father's love for his children expressed so often through the actions of others.  Truly a book that will lift your spirits and provide inspiration for those exhausting days where you just want to give up.


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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Getting Things Off My Chest by Melanie Young

getting things off my chest_blog header2

17920021ABOUT THE BOOK

“I debated back and forth whether to have [my new implants] exchanged for softer silicone gels[…]

‘The problem is that I forgot what real breasts feel like…’ I complained to Dr. Disa, who I decided was also part therapist when it comes to breast reconstruction issues. He said he had a patient who was unhappy with her silicone gels… [and] that… he would introduce us so that we could talk about the pros and cons of our respective breast implants.

…And that is how I ended up topless in a bathroom at Memorial Sloan- Kettering feeling another woman’s breasts in the middle of the afternoon.”

Charge head-on into the battle with breast cancer, armed with humor, determination, and these outstanding survivor’s tips on how to stay sane, focused, and in charge in the face of a breast cancer diagnosis. Complete with checklists geared toward streamlining your new life, Getting Things Off My Chest helps you eliminate stress and boost your spirits with active preparation and positive thinking. Don’t let your cancer control you; empower yourself and ease the transition with this all-inclusive guide.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A self-described “Nooga-Yorker,” Melanie Young was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She graduated from Sophie Newcomb College (Tulane University) in New Orleans and currently divides her time between the Hudson Valley and New York City with her husband, David, a wine and spirits writer. She is involved in several philanthropic causes including SHARE and Les Dames d’Escoffier and is founder of The Connected Table®, Inc., wine and food marketing and communications. Follow her @mightymelanie andwww.GettingThingsOffMyChest.com and www.theconnectedtable.com.

REVIEW

Cancer. Not a word that anyone wants to hear. Unfortunately all to many people do hear it.  According to the authors information 1 in 8 women will hear the words, 'breast cancer' at some point in their lives. What an overwhelming thing that must be. I have not had cancer, so I can only try to empathize with those who have.  Staying proactive and focused can help in facing such a difficult challenge.  Young presents information that is important to know and can be very helpful for those dealing with the many ramifications of the disease. Ramifications that go far beyond the disease itself.  Things like keeping good records, deciding who to communicate with and how often, financial issues and health insurance all come into play when dealing with cancer.

The author than goes on to discuss the treatment of the disease, rebuilding your health after treatment, the mental and emotional needs of the patient as well as caregiver and other important information.  Through it all the author focuses on the importance of not letting cancer take over your life, of finding ways to keep positive and keep enjoying life as much as possible. I can see this book being of great benefit to those who have breast cancer or know someone who does, there is much of help here and it seems to me that it would be comforting coming from someone who has been there and done that.  The author does share some of her own experiences as well as comments from others who have been there as well.  There is also an extensive list at the back of places to go to for support and more information.


Monday, October 14, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Mormon Origami by Todd Huisken


MORMON ORIGAMI

ABOUT THE BOOK

There are more things to make from Sunday meeting programs than airplanes and fortune tellers; now your kids can fold CTR shields, pioneer handcarts, or the Salt Lake Temple!

Mormon Origami provides 25 simple to intermediate origami designs from the Book of Mormon and Church history. These designs can be used by teachers and parents as lesson handouts or activities to help children be reverent. This unique skill will entertain and help illustrate principles as you include these gospel-oriented designs in your lessons, activities, and everyday fun!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd Huisken is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the Counseling Manager at LDS Family Services in Fountain Valley, CA. He attended Brigham Young University and The University of San Diego and has a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Todd has served as the Assistant Director of Disaster Mental Health Services for the Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross. He has worked with victims from the San Diego Fires, Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, and he spent two weeks in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. He was an early morning seminary teacher for six years. He is the author of The Dating Directory and the founder of Process and Content, a graduate program newsletter at the University of San Diego. The most important thing about Todd is that he has been married to his beautiful wife for 21 years and they have three daughters and a son and they try to make Disneyland their second home.


REVIEW

This is a fun activity book perfect for use on Sundays or for Family Home Evenings. Origami is quite popular with kids and can certainly be enjoyed by teenagers and adults.  The book contains designs from the Book of Mormon, Church history and Latter-day temples.  There are three skill levels available.  Level 1 is more than challenging enough for beginners, these designs usually only have a couple pages of instructions, whereas the more complex designs have more.  I appreciated the basics covered in the introduction since I'm fairly new to origami.  I tried the Tree of Life and the Sword of Laban and managed to complete them both. They even looked like what they were supposed to. An enjoyable book for families who enjoy doing activities together.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Choir of Angels by Michele Mirabile

Choir of Angels blog tour

17970940ABOUT THE BOOK

He was so ready for this moment he could barely breathe. If he won, he knew he’d be the best Joseph the pageant had ever seen.

Riley loves Christmas, and this year, he wants something special: the chance to play Joseph in his school pageant. Sam, the neighborhood bully and a talented singer, wants the part too and is crushed when Riley lands the role. Riley doesn’t care—until he learns the secret Sam has been keeping from everyone. Now Riley has a choice to make, one that will change his view on Christmas forever.

Told from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy, this charming tale reminds us that being like Christ is the most important celebration of Christmas.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michele Mirabile enjoys a stunning view of Mount Timpanogos from her home in Utah County, where she lives with her devoted husband and their two spoiled cats. Besides juggling words and delving into her imagination, she loves meeting new people and visiting exotic ports. Her marriage and her beautiful daughter are the greatest accomplishments of her life.

A veteran of the United States Army, Michele has authored travel articles, short stories, and three books that include Your Mother Wears Combat Boots: Humorous, Harrowing, and Heartwarming Stories of Military Women; Dark Side of the Moon; and Choir of Angels.

REVIEW

I'll admit right off that I love sappy Christmas stories. In fact, I collect them. :) I never get tired of them.  I pretty much expected this to be a typical sweet Christmas story and I was right, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the story nonetheless.  At a short 25 pages the story moves quickly letting the reader into the heart of Riley, a disabled boy who wants more than anything to be Joseph in the upcoming school pageant.  (I did wonder how many schools can actually get away with sponsoring a Christian Christmas pageant though. Unfortunately, I'm sure most public schools couldn't do that in the current political climate.)  Riley is especially eager to beat out Sam, the local bully for the part.  Sam and his goons beat up on and make fun of Riley almost every day.  When Riley gets the part he is thrilled, but after a fight with Sam, he doesn't feel quite so good. He feels even worse when his mother shares some sad news with him.  As he prepares to be Joseph in the pageant, he must decide what he wants to do about Sam. I think the thing I liked the most about this story is how hard Riley tries to do the right thing. I loved the idea of finding joy in beautiful music and a great story despite their struggles. A sweet story to add to my collection of Christmas favorites, Choir of Angels is a keeper.

Monday, October 7, 2013

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Blog This! by Cami Checketts

BLOG THIS
by Cami Checketts
Birch River Publishing, 2013
Adult Romantic Suspense
Review copy provided by author in return for honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Will protecting children throughout the world cost Natasha her own family?

Devastated by the loss of her brother, Natasha Senecot works to expose the dangers of Matthew Chrysler’s violent video games, succeeding in bankrupting and humiliating him.
Chrysler retaliates and sends a hit man after her. Natasha is forced to fake her own death to protect her children, but after witnessing another tragedy, Natasha won’t hide any longer.
In a race against time, can Natasha expose Matthew Chrysler before his assassin murders her family and shatters her world?

Praise for Blog This

From the very first chapter, Blog This grabs your gut and your heart with surprising action and touching moments. Cami Checketts blends suspense, humor, and good clean romance into a story that will stick with you.

Daniel Coleman, Author of Gifts and Consequences

Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Have read all of Cami’s books but Blog This is on the top of my list. Read it twice and enjoyed it just as much the second time. Just when you think you know what is going to happen you’re led into a different direction. Had a hard time putting the book down and was anxious to see how it was going to end.

Elsa Akinason



Blog This will be $2.99 during the blog tour - September 30th - October 16th. Click here to purchase or read the first few chapters.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.
Please refer to her website – http://www.camichecketts.com for more information about her books. 

REVIEW

Coming soon! Haven't quite finished the book yet.

GIVEAWAY

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Friday, October 4, 2013

New website just for missionaries and their families!

MissionHome.com provides new resources for missionaries and their families
Where you serve is not as important as how you serve.

Salt Lake City, UT (September 17, 2013) – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints currently operates over 400 missions with more than 75,000 missionaries serving throughout the world. When the missionary age change was announced in the October 2012 general conference, a new wave of prospective missionaries began preparing for the moment they would receive their call.

After receiving the call, missionaries and families often begin their search for specific information on that mission. 
Until now, there has not been a centralized site to learn about the culture and people of each mission area.  On October 1st, 2013 Deseret Book Company will launch an online missionary website, MissionHome.com. MissionHome.com focuses on each phase of missionary service—prepare, serve and return. It includes helpful hints to prospective missionaries including tips for how to pack efficiently and how to prepare to leave as well as inspiring and authentic experiences from former missionaries.  A complete mission directory, created by missionaries who themselves have served in that area, provides information about local customs, food, transportation, safety, and many other insights.

“We saw a way that we could provide a gathering place for missionaries and the families of missionaries to become acquainted with the area where they would be serving as well as provide other unique resources,” said Laurel Christensen Day of Deseret Book Company, “and MissionHome.com was born.”

MissionHome.com is easy to use and provides a library of information for prospective and returning missionaries as well as help to families of those currently serving (a section for senior couples will be coming soon). Familiar LDS authors as well as recently returned missionaries and past mission presidents will be regular contributors to the site. 

In addition to great free content and resources, families will be able to send care packages directly to their missionaries with guaranteed delivery from Deseret Book. Service is available to most missions.

For more information on Mission Home, visit www.missionhome.com.


About Deseret Book
Deseret Book is committed to support the mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by providing scriptures, books, music, and other quality products that strengthen individuals, families, and our society. For more information go to www.deseretbook.com.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY: Stranded by Dani Pettrey

stranded

stranded
STRANDED

Alaskan Courage #3
by Dani Pettrey
Bethany House, 2013
Review Copy provided by publisher in return for honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

When her friend vanishes from a cruise ship, reporter Darcy St. James isn't satisfied with their explanation that she simply left her job of her own accord. Something isn't lining up, and Darcy believes the only way to find the truth is to put herself in Abby's position. Within days, Darcy learns her friend wasn't the only person to disappear mysteriously. Last summer, a woman vanished under almost identical circumstances. Gage McKenna has taken a summer-long stint leading adventure excursions for the passengers of various cruise lines that dock for a few days of sightseeing. He's surprised to find Darcy working aboard one of the ships, investigating a troubling report. Something sinister is going on and the deeper they dig the more Gage fears they've only discovered the tip of the iceberg.


daniABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.


REVIEW

I've been so busy that I haven't had time to finish this yet. But I will hopefully have a review up this weekend.

TOUR GIVEAWAY

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 10/10/13

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 and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FIRST WILD CARD TOUR: Ruth Mother of Kinds by Diana Wallis Taylor

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Whitaker House (October 1, 2013)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 Recently named “Writer of the Year” by the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild, Diana Wallis Taylor has been writing since the age of 12 when she sold her first poem to a church newspaper. A former school teacher, popular women’s speaker and award-winning author, she’s best known for her biblical novels that focus on women such as Martha, Mary Magdalene, Claudia Wife of Pontius Pilate, and Journey to the Well. She’s also published several contemporary novels, a collection of poetry, and contributed to a wide variety of publications.  Diana lives in San Diego with her husband, Frank. Among them, they have six grown children and ten grandchildren.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The story of Ruth has captivated Christian believers for centuries, not least of all because she is one of only two women with books of the Bible named after them. Now, Diana Wallis Taylor animates this cherished part of the Old Testament, with its unforgettable cast of characters. She describes Ruth’s elation as a young bride— and her grief at finding herself a widow far before her time. Readers will witness the unspeakable relief of Naomi upon hearing her daughter-in-law’s promise never to leave her. And celebrate with Boaz when, after years as a widower, he discovers love again, with a woman he first found gleaning in his field. The story of this remarkable woman to whom Jesus Christ traced His lineage comes to life in the pages of this dramatic and unique retelling.




Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (October 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603749039
ISBN-13: 978-1603749039
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches


REVIEW

The story of Ruth has long been one of my favorites from the Old Testament. Her faith and love in the face of severe trials is an inspiration to me. So when I heard about this book I was eager to read it.  And the book did not disappoint.  A story full of faith and love, I really enjoyed this one.  The author has told the story beautifully. I fell in love with sweet Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi.  And Boaz proves to be all that the scriptures say he was. There is of course a lot we don't know about Ruth's story, but I found this telling quite believable.  Highly recommended.

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Ruth sat with her brother, Joash, on a small rug in the neighbors’ courtyard, listening fearfully as the adults discussed what to do with them. Ruth wanted her mama. Why would they not let her see her? Was she still sick? Her papa had tended her for several days and told them not to disturb her. No one baked any bread for their breakfast.

She scrunched up her small face, her lower lip trembling. Yesterday, her mama would not wake up, and her papa began weeping and acting strangely. He struggled to stand up, and perspiration ran down his face. She remembered his words, spoken like he was out of breath. “Joash, you must help me. Take Ruth and go to the house of Naaman. Tell him I need his help. Stay there until I call for you.”

Joash grabbed her hand and almost pulled her to the neighbors’ house. She had been holding her mother’s shawl, and she wrapped it around herself that night as they slept in the neighbors’ courtyard. She could hardly breathe for the fear that seemed to rise up from her chest. Why would the neighbors not let them go home? Had Papa not called for them?

Everyone looked at them with sad eyes and whispered to one another. She clutched her mother’s shawl and turned to her brother.

“Why will they not let us go home?”

“I don’t know. Something is wrong.” He looked at a woman standing nearby. “We want to see our mama and papa.”

The woman answered quietly, “Children, your mama and papa are dead. You cannot see them…ever again.”

Ruth heard the word “dead.” A bird fell in their small courtyard one day, and her papa said it was dead. It lay on the dirt, unmoving, its eyes closed. She could not imagine her mama and papa like that bird. She turned to her brother again.

“Mama and Papa are dead?”

Joash nodded, tears rolling down his cheeks. He put an arm around her, and they clung to each other.

Naaman’s wife spoke up. “I have fed them for two days, but I cannot continue to care for them.”

“Do they have family elsewhere?” said another neighbor woman. “I have children of my own to feed.”

Naaman murmured, “Phineas has family near the Plains of Moab, outside Beth-Jeshimoth. He told me before he died.”

“What family? His parents? Are they still alive?”

There was silence. Then, “How would the children get there? They can’t go alone; the boy is only six, the girl almost four. Who would take them?”

“That is something to consider. It is a two days’ journey.”

Teary-eyed, Ruth turned to her brother and whispered, “Where do they want to take us?”

He straightened his shoulders and tried to sound very strong. “I don’t know, but do not be afraid, Sister. I will care for you.”

A couple entered the small courtyard and hurried up to the group that had been talking. The woman spoke. “We just heard about the parents. The mother, Timna, was my friend. Do you know what is to be done with the children?”

Someone said, “Naaman told us they have grandparents, outside Beth-Jeshimoth, but we don’t know how to get them there. They cannot travel alone.”

The man nodded, then said, “I will take them. My wife, Mary, will go with me.”

“But, Gershon, can you leave your shop for that long? It will take at least two days or more, just one way.”

“Ha’Shem will watch over my shop. It is the right thing to do. If they have family, that is where the children should go. I will prepare my cart and donkey.”

The first woman spoke. “May the Almighty bless you for your kindness, Gershon, and your wife also. It is a good thing you do. I will gather food for your journey. The other women in the neighborhood will help.”

Ruth listened to the women click their tongues and murmur among themselves.

“Those poor children were alone in the house with their sick parents for days before Phineas sent them to Naaman and his wife.”

“My husband wondered why Phineas had not come to work in three days.”

“The Lord only knows the last time they had eaten.”

“Both of the children are so thin.”

One of the other men spoke up. “What if you get there and find that the children’s grandparents are dead?”

“We will just have to trust the Almighty to guide us; we will pray that they live and that these orphaned children will be welcomed.”

Joash clutched Ruth’s hand tighter. “See? We will go to Abba’s family. They will take us there.”

Ruth, too frightened to speak again, could only nod, dried tears still on her cheeks.

Early the next morning, they were fed some lentil soup and fresh bread, and then Gershon and Mary took their hands and led them home, telling them they would now gather a few things to take with them. Mary clicked her tongue and sighed as she and her husband looked around the small house. “There is little of value here,” Gershon said. “The girl seems determined to hold on to her mother’s shawl.”

Mary glanced at Ruth. “It is a comfort to her. We must not take the bedding, because of their sickness. I will bring bedding from our house. Oh, Gershon, they were so poor. How did they live?”

“Evidently he made just enough to survive.”

Ruth, with her mother’s shawl still wrapped around her shoulders, clutched a doll made of rags that her mother had sewn for her. She looked around. There was no sign of her mama or papa anywhere. She watched her brother slip a small leather box out of a cupboard when the man and his wife were not looking. He put a finger to his lips and hid the box in his clothes.

When the cart was loaded, Ruth climbed in after Joash and settled in as the journey began. Never having ventured beyond her street, she looked about, wide-eyed, as they passed through the town.

“What is our town called?” Joash asked.

“It is Medeba,” the man answered.

His wife turned around in her seat at the front of the cart. “Have you not been in the town before?”

Joash shook his head.

“It is large. Your father made many fine bricks to build houses with.”

Ruth looked up at her. “I miss my mama.”

Mary sighed. “I know, child. Your mama and papa were so sick from the fever. They just didn’t get better, like so many others. But soon you will be with your grandparents.”

“Will they let us stay with them?” Joash asked.

There was a pause, and Mary looked at her husband. “Oh, of course. I’m sure they will be glad to see you.” She turned around again. “Have you ever met them?”

Ruth looked at her brother, and both children shook their heads.

They spent the night with some other families that were traveling. Gershon said something about it being safer to stay with a group.

Mary made sure Ruth and Joash were settled for the night and then lay down next to her husband. The two adults whispered to themselves, probably thinking that Ruth was asleep. She kept her eyes closed and listened in.

“Oh, Gershon, I pray that the grandparents are still there. What will we do if they are not?”

“We must trust the Almighty, Mary. I feel we are doing the right thing.”

“Then we will do our best, and know the outcome soon.”

“Timna was never well, from what I understand.”

Mary murmured, “If the parents of Phineas had a farm, why did he leave? Would he not work the farm with his father?”

“A disagreement of some kind. I don’t think the parents approved of the marriage. Medeba is a larger town. He probably thought he had a better chance of finding work there.”

She sighed. “Then the grandparents may not even know about the children?”

“It’s likely they don’t. Let us get some rest. We have many miles to cover tomorrow.”

Ruth yawned. What did it all mean? She was so tired. It was too much for her to understand. Moving closer to Joash, she settled down and, despite missing her parents, allowed sleep to draw her into its embrace.
 
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