Thursday, April 30, 2015

CLEAN ROMANCE: The Art of Falling by Julie Jarnigin





ABOUT THE BOOK

Heather Tornsten needs a man…a celebrity, more specifically, for a fundraising gala for the Dallas art museum, where she works. And what better headliner than bull rider Wyatt Lawrence? Although why people idolize grown men who make their living falling off animals, she’ll never understand.

When his mom was diagnosed with cancer, Wyatt determined to focus on doing what she wants—like visiting some art museum. But when his mom teams up with Heather Tornsten to get him involved in a fundraiser, he knows he’s been set up. The more involved he gets with the pretty events coordinator, the more he realizes falling off a bull is far safer. Because falling for Heather–who has made it clear that she won’t risk her heart on any man who courts danger–might break a whole lot more than his bones.

REVIEW

The Art of Falling is a short novella that I enjoyed a whole lot.  I loved the characters, especially Heather, Wyatt, and Lorraine, Wyatt's mother.  Lorraine's matchmaking efforts are amusing and well-intentioned much to Heather and Wyatt's chagrin.  While Wyatt and Heather like each other right off the bat, they have some pretty big differences to overcome.  Wyatt's job as a bull rider scares Heather more than she can say after she's already lost her daredevil brother to a risky hobby.  She's not sure she can cope with it all.  But with faith and courage, she and Wyatt find hope to face the future despite the challenges and their differences.  I really enjoyed this sweet romance.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

CLEAN ROMANCE: Secondhand Cowboy by Lacy Williams


ABOUT THE BOOK


Iris Tatum hasn’t seen her high school sweetheart Callum Stewart since he left years ago without a single word. Then she witnesses an horrific hit-and-run accident, and comes face to face with her past–and Cal’s triplets. A volunteer paramedic, Iris can’t walk away. No matter how much she wants to.

Bull rider Callum Stewart was run out of town at age twenty and vowed never to return. Only one thing could bring him back: building a future for his sons. Now, thanks to the accident that left him with a broken leg—he needs help to care for his boys. He has no choice but to accept Iris’s grudging help.

As they rediscover a friendship–and the sparks that never faded between them–Callum’s secrets are brought back with a vengeance. How can they keep the past from destroying their future?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lacy Williams is a wife and mom from Oklahoma. She loves dogs, reading, hiking, and watching movies.

Her debut novel won ACFW’s prestigious Genesis award before being published. She promises readers happily-ever-afters guaranteed.

Lacy combines her love of dogs with her passion for literacy by volunteering with her therapy dog Mr. Bingley in a local Kids Reading to Dogs program.

Lacy loves to hear from readers at lacyjwilliams@gmail.com . You can find more original fiction (short stories) and giveaways at her website and can be found on social media at www.facebook.com/lacywilliamsbooks and www.twitter.com/lacy_williams .


REVIEW

I really enjoyed this book.  Read it in two sittings as a matter of fact.  I confess to having a soft spot in my heart for books with young children in them and the three in this book are adorable.  A handful, but adorable nonetheless.  From the first chapter I was pulled into the lives of Callum and Iris who've found a way to make the best of their lives despite some real heartache in their lives.  It was clear from the beginning that feelings remained between the two, but some secrets stood in the way.  But when Iris's dad does his best to drive Callum away a second time, Iris has to decide what she's willing to do for love.  I enjoyed the scenes with Callum, Iris, and the boys interacting especially well.  Secondhand Cowboy is a sweet, Christian romance about forgiveness and love and coming home.
 

Friday, April 17, 2015

LDS BOOK REVIEW: The Continuous Atonement for Teens by Brad Wilcox


ABOUT THE BOOK

Brad Wilcox's The Continuous Atonement is a landmark work that helps to clarify what the Atonement is—and what it isn't. It corrects misperceptions and offers hope to those who struggle again and again.

This teen adaptation will help teenagers better understand and apply the Atonement in their lives and help them teach the nuances of the Atonement to others, whether on a mission, at home, or with friends. As they better understand and apply the Atonement, its transforming power will have a lasting effect in their lives.

Each chapter opens with a teen-appropriate question and includes subheadings to clarify content, new stories relevant to teens, and a Prepare to Teach section to help readers internalize and share what they're learning. This shorter edition will be printed in paperback, perfect for teens to carry with them through their busy days.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BRAD WILCOX has lived in Ethiopia, Chile, and New Zealand; he and his family now make their home amid the Rocky Mountains. Brad taught sixth grade before obtaining his PhD in education from the University of Wyoming. His contributions as an author and teacher have been honored by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and his work has appeared in Guideposts magazine and Reader's Digest. He once served as a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America and has addressed thousands of youth and adults across the United State, Europe, Australia, and Japan. He and his wife, Debi, are the parents of four children.

REVIEW

What a wonderful book!  While the book is specifically aimed at teens (there is a longer version for adults), there is much here that is appropriate for adults as well.  The author's purpose is to provide comfort for those who want so much to be good and yet fail time and time again.  The focus here is on the Savior's Atonement and what it really means in terms of repentance and forgiveness and receiving the daily strength we need to face our challenges and temptations.  The author emphasizes the CONTINUOUS nature of the atonement, how it's power never fails and never wains.  At the end of each chapter, Brother Wilcox shares ideas for teaching these doctrines and ideas to others around us, a great idea for teens who love to talk to their friends about everything.  A great book to help teens understand the importance of not giving up and relying on Jesus Christ to help us repent and change for the better.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

LDS BOOK REVIEW: What Makes Us Sisters by Bonnie L. Oscarson


ABOUT THE BOOK

"Sisters take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other, and are there for each other through thick and thin," observes Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president.

In this delightful and inspiring book, Sister Oscarson encourages all women to look beyond differences in age, culture, and circumstance in order to better nurture and serve one another. She explains that all women—young or old, married or single, working in an office or running a home—have unique talents and gifts to share. Focusing on the boundless blessings that Latter-day Saint women enjoy, Sister Oscarson urges women throughout the Church to live and inspire others in ways that realize their greatest potential.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BONNIE L. OSCARSON was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended Brigham Young University as a young adult and returned thirty-five years later to complete a bachelor's degree. She married Paul Oscarson in 1969 and served with his as he presided over a mission and later a temple, both in Sweden. Sister Oscarson was sustained as the general president of the Young Women in April 2013. She and her husband are the parents of seven and grandparents of twenty-seven.
REVIEW

Sometimes in life it's easy to see only the differences between us as women.  After all we have different talents, different backgrounds, and different experiences.  Sister Oscarson, in this gift book, highlights however the value that comes from associating with and supporting each other despite our differences.  She shares a story about a young girl helping her mother serve a sister with multiple sclerosis and the impact it made on all involved.  Mary and Elizabeth from the Bible nurtured each other despite their difference in age.  As sisters we need each other, and I for one am grateful for the reminder for as she states, "There is no age barrier when it comes to Christlike service."

What Makes Us Sisters

Thursday, April 9, 2015

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Miss Burton Unmasks a Prince by Jennifer Moore


ABOUT THE BOOK

Southern belle Meg Burton is her parents' last hope of avoiding financial ruin, and a distant cousin's kind gesture seems an ideal solution: He will sponsor Meg for a London Season. The pursuit of a wealthy husband was not exactly how the bookish young woman had envisioned her first trip abroad—after all, what does a girl from Charleston, south Carolina, know about being a lady? Amidst the stunning gowns and extravagant balls of the ton, Meg feels like an imposter. Thankfully, she has one friend who knows her true self—Carlo, a handsome stable hand. Despite their difference in station, love blossoms between the unlikely pair, and Meg is sure of one thing: She wants nothing to do with the insufferable European aristocracy.

Prince Rodrigo de Talavera has lost everything to Napoleon. Jaded by war, he has become bitter and miserable—until he meets Meg, an American woman whose eccentric schemes and passion for life remind him what it is to laugh and to love. If only she knew him for himself and not as Carlo the stable hand. With the shadow of deception looming over their happy acquaintance and the dangers of war drawing ever more near, can Meg and Rodrigo find the courage to put aside their pretenses and discover if they can be loved as they truly are?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world, which includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that are anything but romantic. Jennifer has a BA in linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family.

REVIEW

Another great historical romance from one of my favorite authors, Miss Burton Unmasks a Prince, once again combines great characters with a fun plot.  Although Meg has come to Britain to find a husband so save her family from financial ruin, she is not at all happy about it.  She doesn't like having to 'mask' her real self in order to fit in properly.  So when she meets 'Carlo' she's thrilled to be liked for herself.  Unknown to her however is the fact that the prince himself, that she has judged without meeting, is masquerading as Carlo.  He too is tired of being seen only as a title and chased by every single woman he meets. Meg is refreshingly different and she helps Rodrigo start to discover that despite his worries about his country and his parents he can still find joy in the simple things.

I loved Meg and Rodrigo right from the beginning.  Moore does a great job of pulling the reader in right from the beginning.  The theme of following one's heart, learning to find moments of happiness during times of sorrow, and the power of getting past assumptions and society's labels are all beautifully interwoven into this story.  It was also interesting to get a look at the war from a different perspective.  The author's Lady Emma's Campaign looks at the war from a more peasant, right in the face perspective.  It was interesting to note the challenges that war brings to all involved no matter where they fit in the mix.

I also appreciated the fact that despite falling in love Meg and Rodrigo's problems don't all get solved.  Rodrigo still doesn't know what his future will be, with his country at war and in shambles.  This book provides an intimate look at not only the romance of too individual's but the time period in which they live. Plus there is plenty of humor, more than enough to balance out the serious parts of the book.  Another winner from Jennifer Moore!


GIVEAWAY

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A PROPER ROMANCE REVIEW: A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack


ABOUT THE BOOK

Amber Marie Sterlington, the Rage of the Season in Regency-era London, has her pick of men, and she knows what she wants most in a husband: a title and a fortune. Why would she ever marry for something as fickle as love? And why would she ever look twice at Thomas Richards, a third son of a country lord?

But when Amber's social standing is threatened, the character of her future husband becomes far more important than his position. After a public humiliation, she find herself exiled to Yorkshire. alone except for her maid, Amber is faced with a future she never expected in a circumstance far below what she has known all her life. Humbled and lonely, Amber begins to wonder if isolation is for the best. Who could ever love her now?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JOSI S. KILPACK published her first novel in 2000. Her seventh novel, Sheep's Clothing, won the 2007 Whitney Award for Mystery/Suspense—several others have been finalists in subsequent years. She was also the Best of State winner for fiction in Utah 2012. She has written twenty-two novels, including the twelve-volume Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah. For more information about Josi, you can visit her website at www.josiskilpack.com.

REVIEW

I love Shadow Mountain's A Proper Romance line of clean romance novels.  All of them have been wonderful and A Heart Revealed is no different. What I especially liked about this one is the depth that the characters develop and the nature of the challenges that Thomas and Amber face.  I've read many regency novels (clean ones anyway) and I love the genre (I'm not sure why because I wouldn't want to have lived then), but I haven't read any quite like this one.

Thomas I liked from the beginning, he's a decent man in search of a wife at his mother's bidding.  But after trading part of his inheritance for land, he's invested his future in hard work. Amber on the other hand is very unlikeable for the first part of the book because she's so self-centered. Sadly for her everything changes when she is struck by a strange malady that leads to great humiliation.  It was interesting to watch Amber face the changes that came her way especially since she basically has to do it on her own because her own family rejects her.  The contrast between her way of life at the beginning of the story and later is acute, but it teachers her a lot of things that she had never noticed before, including the value of love in marriage.

One of the things that I found intriguing about this story was the realistic details that the author includes about the period both upper and lower class.  The strength of this story lies in the character development, especially Amber's as she faces a life that she had never imagined would be her's. The story is very believable and full of heart as Thomas and Amber grow to know each other and adapt to their changing circumstances.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

GENTRI Music Video! This is Wonderful! Check it out!

DARE!  
A Music Video by Gentri

The song featured is titled “Dare” and shares the inspirational mandate to dare to dream. We had the enormous privilege to work with a young girl named Alissa Sizemore and her family on this project. Her story is truly inspiring.

About 10 months ago Alissa was involved in an accident with a delivery truck. The truck backed over her leg, and the leg had to be amputated from just below knee down. She and her sisters are dancers, and good ones to boot. Alissa and her family were unsure if she’d ever be able to dance again, let alone in such a short amount of time.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

CLEAN ROMANCE REVIEW: Summer Campaign by Carla Kelly


ABOUT THE BOOK

Miss Onyx Hamilton is about to make what everyone agrees is a perfect marriage—until handsome Major Jack Beresford comes galloping into her life. But with his fortune and connections, Onyx knows he’d never ask for her hand, would he? New and longtime fans alike will relish this delightful romance from Carla Kelly. Charming, sweet, and full of fun, it’s simply impossible to stop reading.

REVIEW

Another great romance from one of my favorite authors.  Onyx and Jack are such great characters, fully human flaws and all but delightfully resilient.  The banter between them was my favorite part.  Onyx and Jack meet when she is confronted by soldiers turned highwaymen.  Jack stops to help and gets shot.  Onyx nurses him at a nearby farmhouse until he is well enough to travel.  The interactions between them are sometimes funny and sometimes very touching.  Onyx has lost her beloved twin brother to the war and Jack is able to fill in some of the blanks.  But Jack himself suffers from PTSD and Onyx tries to help him.

Onyx heads off to marry the obnoxious Reverend Littletree but when Jack asks for her help nursing his dying brother she can't help but respond.  But Jack is determined to win her for his wife, thus the 'summer campaign' begins.  Carly Kelly knows how to write stories that are appealing with delightful characters and touching stories.  Another book for my favorites shelf.

Friday, April 3, 2015

LDS BOOK REVIEW: Practicing for Heaven by Brad Wilcox


ABOUT THE BOOK

David hates practicing piano. He's frustrated by how hard it is and all the mistakes he makes. With his mom's help, he comes to understand how that's all part of the learning process. She also uses the moment to help David comprehend more about the Atonement: Christ has paid the price so that we can learn and improve. We aren't earning our way to heaven—we're practicing for it, and Christ is willing to help us every step of the way.

Practicing for Heaven also includes teachings tips for parents who wish to teach children of all ages about the Savior's Atonement and grace.

Practicing for Heaven: The Parable of the Piano LessonsABOUT THE AUTHORS

BRAD WILCOX has lived in Ethiopia, Chile, and New Zealand; he and his family now make their home amid the Rocky Mountains. Brad taught sixth grade before obtaining his PhD in education from the University of Wyoming. His contributions as an author and teacher have been honored by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and his work has appeared in Guideposts magazine and Reader's Digest. He once served as a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America and has addressed thousands of youth and adults across the United State, Europe, Australia, and Japan. He and his wife, Debi, are the parents of four children.

WENDEE WILCOX ROSBOROUGH graduated from BYU with a BS in Home and Family Living. She once served on the planning committee for BYU Women's Conference and has also spoken there with her father, Brad Wilcox. She lives with her husband and two boys in Provo, Utah, and loves to read, write, travel, and play the piano when her sons allow her a few spare moments.

Practicing for Heaven: The Parable of the Piano Lessons
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

BRIAN CALL studied illustration at Ricks College and BYU. His illustrations have graced the Ensign and Friend magazines, as well as the children's books Illustrated Book of Mormon Stories and Illustrated Bible Stories for Latter-day Saints. Brian currently teaches in the art department at BYU-Idaho. He lives in Ammon, Idaho, with his wife and six children. Brian's children play the piano beautifully, but he never could put down his paper and pencils long enough to practice.

REVIEW

Practicing for Heaven is a beautiful book with a powerful message.  I especially related to the piano analogy because I used to play myself and I was also a reluctant practitioner.  I love how the mother sits down with her son and explains to him the importance of not giving up when things get hard or when it seems that all one does is make mistakes.  Not only is the text beautifully written and perfect for sharing with children, but the illustrations are gorgeous and wonderfully highlights the text. The story points out the importance of teaching children about the atonement and how the power of the atonement provides strength to overcome our sins and weaknesses.  I loved the idea of 'practicing for heaven'. Because Jesus died for us he has the right to ask something of us and that he does it to help us become like him so we can be ready to live in heaven.  I find this a wonderful way to help children understand an important doctrine.  The authors give additional information at the end of the book about ways to help teach children about the atonement including additional resources.  A beautiful book all around!
 
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