Saturday, August 15, 2015

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Legally and Lawfully Yours by Anita Stansfield


ABOUT THE BOOK

Following the revelation of her fiancĂ©’s philandering ways, high-powered New York attorney Shannon Turney’s wedding is off. At a time like this, the last thing she can handle is family drama. But when she learns how far her brother’s and sister-in-law’s lives have spiraled out of control, the only thought in her mind is the safety of her young niece and nephew. After Shannon is granted custody, she and the children are eager to run long and far from their problems.

The end of the road is Sugar City, a place as delightful as its name implies. In the tiny town, Shannon gets much more of a change than she bargained for. Welcomed with open arms by the townspeople, including the handsome local veterinarian, Shannon and the children slowly begin to heal. But when their idyllic existence is threatened by the return of the children’s mother, Shannon has no choice but to return to the courtroom she left behind. She has one last legal battle to fight, and the outcome may mean losing everything she loves.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anita Stansfield began writing at the age of sixteen, and her first novel was published sixteen years later. Her novels range from historical to contemporary and cover a wide gamut of social and emotional issues that explore the human experience through memorable characters and unpredictable plots. She has received many awards, including a special award for pioneering new ground in LDS fiction, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Whitney Academy for LDS Literature. Anita is the mother of five, and has two adorable grandsons. Her husband, Vince, is her greatest hero.

REVIEW

Anita Stansfield is well known in the LDS book market for her often poignant romance novels.  Having read many of her previous works I was looking forward to reading Legally and Lawfully Yours but a bit wary as well.  I've found some of her previous books incredibly draining to read just because of the sometimes difficult issues that she writes about.  In this one though I found it remarkably upbeat and positive with not nearly as much heartache and angst as many of Stansfield's other books.  In fact I found myself cheering for Shannon as she breaks away from a life she finds stiffling to step forward and rescue her niece and nephew from some very difficult circumstances.  With hope in her heart Shannon set out to find a new life for herself and the children.  It was interesting to read about her efforts and the new experiences she opens herself up to by being courageous.  The love story is very sweet and believable with Shannon unsure of herself.  Shannon herself comes from a foster background necessitated by her parents abuse and neglect.  So while some big issues are presented here the focus is on how the characters overcome the obstacles and find that there are still plenty of good, kind people in the world. Not that there isn't tension, just not as much as some of Stansfield's previous novels. I truly enjoyed reading this one.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

BLOG TOUR with GIVEAWAY: Portrait of Lies by Clair M. Poulson


ABOUT THE BOOK

It was a robbery gone bad, or so they said. For Detective Trey Shotwell, the murder of his mother, a prominent artist, was the catalyst for setting aside his own artistic aspirations to pursue a career in law enforcement—despite the opposition of his father, also a famous painter. When he agrees to attend an art auction featuring his father’s work, the cruise ship locale provides the relaxation Trey needs. And when he meets stunning fellow passenger Aariah Stanton, the undeniable chemistry they share is an unexpected bonus.

But the tranquil voyage quickly turns into a nightmare at sea. The Shotwell paintings have disappeared, and amidst the chaotic hunt for the thief, a murderer is free to roam the halls of the ship. Aariah finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and miraculously escapes the murderer—for now. But another victim is not so lucky . . .

The crime is eerily reminiscent of the death of Trey’s mother so many years before. But this time, the young detective has the resources he needs to track the killer. As the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, they paint the chilling picture of a sinister plot years in the making. In a manhunt that takes him from the high seas of the Pacific to the wilderness of Australia, Trey will stop at nothing to solve the crime and protect the woman he loves.


REVIEW

Poulson has provided another interesting murder mystery involving cruise ships, fabulous paintings, and obsession.  I confess I enjoy murder mysteries, not because of the violence, but the way the mystery is solved.  In this one, Detective Inspector Trey Shotwell is ten years past the murder of his mother but he has never forgotten what happened and is still determined to find out who killed her.  The sudden reappearance of an altered version of one of his mother's last paintings that was stolen during her murder changes everything.  But additional violence and another theft complicate things as does the appearance of a pretty young American frightened of the men in the room next to her.  Once again Poulson demonstrates his law enforcement experience as he shepherds us through the story.  

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

LDS BOOK REVIEW: Maybe Today by David Butler and Emily Belle Freeman


ABOUT THE BOOK

Maybe today the sun came up just like it always does, and you rolled out of bed just like you always do, and you knew it was going to be one of those days. But maybe today could be different. What does your soul need? What do you long for? This path that you are on, where is it taking you? How do you fill your unscheduled moments? Is your heart content? Perhaps you feel as if you are missing something. If you want life to satisfy your soul, you have to start living the soul-satisfying life.

Maybe Today describes five holy patterns that, when lived daily, will lead to the soul-satisfying life.
Tilt Your Soul
Let Down Your Bucket
Seek a Compassionate Detour
Take Off Your Shoes
Be All In 


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

EMILY BELLE FREEMAN is a coach's wife, a mother to four children and a few others who have found refuge in her home, author of several bestselling books, and sought-after inspirational speaker. Her days are spent watching over teenagers, her flock of pampered chickens, and a rabbit that she adores. 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. For a few minutes every day Emily forgets about the laundry, leaves the dishes in the sink, and writes. She coauthors a blog that is a stopping place for hearts seeking all that is good: www.multiplygoodness.com

DAVID BUTLER is by day a high school religious educator sharing his love for the scriptures and his belief that there is a power for good innate in every human soul. By night he is a fort builder, waffle maker, sports coach, and storyteller for his five favorite little people, also known as his children. Somewhere in between he is a motivational speaker and writer. Some of his musings and challenges can be found on the blog www.multiplygoodness.com. He and his wife, Jenny, live with their family amid the snowcapped peaks of the Mountain West, but they often dream of a beach house on a sunny shore somewhere.

REVIEW

Sometimes life feels routine with me feeling like I'm just barely making through each day.  Maybe Today addresses that feeling by sharing five ways that life can become more 'soul-satisfying'.  None of these ideas are new, but sometimes it helps to be reminded of the things in life that are most important. I enjoyed the stories and comparisons that the authors make in the book.  For example, Tilt Your Soul refers to flight and how planes and birds tilt their wings in order to take off and fly.  That tilting is compared to tilting one's soul upwards toward's God and His Son, Jesus Christ, through prayer.  The other topics covered are scripture study (Let Down Your Bucket--living water), service (Seek a Compassionate Detour), gratitude (Take Off Your Shoes), and commitment (Be All In).  This is a beautiful gift book that reminds the reader that setting one's priorities can lead one from the ordinary and routine to a soul-satisfying life.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Eleanor and the Iron King by Julie Daines


Eleanor and the Iron King

ABOUT THE BOOK

Eleanor de Lacy has been bartered: her hand in marriage in exchange for a truce with her father’s sworn enemy. Now the headstrong beauty must leave her ancestral home and the man she secretly loves to become the wife of the infamous Welsh King Brach Goch. Tales of this cruel leader paint a chilling picture of a ruthless warrior—all Eleanor knows for certain is that he is the villain responsible for the vicious attacks on her people and the death of her beloved brother. Though she must marry against her will, she vows Brach Goch will never possess her heart.

Her arrival at the inhospitable castle Bryn Du confirms her worst fears—a ghost walks the halls of the castle, and Eleanor receives an ominous warning from the uneasy spirit: Brach is not to be trusted. Though resigned to a life of misery, Eleanor soon realizes all is not as it seems, for Brach is not the monster she dreaded but is a handsome and charming man whose gentle ways soon undermine his bride’s resolve to lock her heart. Clinging desperately to her pride, Eleanor finds herself trapped in a web of murder and deceit. And as the lines between good and evil become blurred, Eleanor must decide for herself who is to be trusted—and loved.

REVIEW

I'll say straight out that I loved this book.  The characters, the setting, the plot, all of it I really enjoyed.  Eleanor presents an interesting combination of spirit and duty as she strives to accept her father's demand that she marry the Welsh king, Brac Goch.  But from the first she is determined to hate him and everything she's been told he's done.  But she slowly starts to realize that what she's been told doesn't really match up with the man he seems to be, but the what she has always accepted as the truth wars with what her own eyes and heart tell her.  Plus, there seems to be some spirit floating around that keeps warning her not to trust Brac.  Who can she trust?  What is the truth?  Eleanor has quite the set of experiences in front of her adjusting to what amounts to a foreign country, language, and environment with seemingly no way out.

The secondary characters were great also, I couldn't help but fall in love with Hawis, Anise, and Lady Margaret, as well as Owain.  The twists and turns were fascinating as Eleanor gradually sorts out the truth from the lies.  A powerful tale about the value of truth and real love, not to mention loyalty and courage. As soon as I started reading the book I felt like I was there watching Eleanor and Brac sort through the challenges standing in their way.  But the book never felt like a copy of the romance story lines that are so common, it felt wholly original and creative and I loved it.

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