Tuesday, August 30, 2016

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Undercover Target by Frank Holdaway


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Matt Knight left his career as a spy to marry the woman of his dreams, he thought he was in for a life of domestic bliss. But after adopting a baby girl and her teenage brother from China, he finds that being a father comes with its own set of challenges—problems for which his work as an antiterrorism agent did nothing to prepare him. Or so he thought. When a Scout campout with his teenage son takes a terrifying turn, Matt realizes his past and present have just collided, with devastating consequences.

Deep in the rugged mountains of Utah, a band of mercenaries lies in wait. The target: Matt Knight. Their orders come from a dangerous enemy from the former agent's past, one who is bent on destroying everything Matt holds dear. While struggling to protect his son and the other Scouts, Matt is horrified to learn the full extent of the plan: his wife and baby have been taken too. Now the agent-turned-family-man must draw on his years of combat training in an explosive battle to save those he loves—or die trying.

REVIEW

I'm impressed with both the quality of the writing and the plotting in Undercover Target.  Frank Holdaway pulls the read into the story right away as the reader meets Matt and Hope through the eyes of Peng, a young Chinese orphan who is spying on them as they adopt his little sister, Jin.  He does not expect them to take him too, but they do.  But Peng has his own set of baggage that creates barriers between him and his new family.  On top of that but Matt is about to discover that his past as an anti-terrorism agent is about to come back to bite him.  I was pulled into the story immediately, despite not having read the first book Undercover Saint. It was clear I had missed Matt and Hope's romance, but that didn't really slow me down in enjoying this book.  It was awesome to read about Matt's friends and colleagues as well.  Holdaway has written an action-packed, but rather thoughtful look at foreign adoption as well as the dangers of undercover work. 

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR SCHEDULE

*Aug. 29th:
http://mybookaday.blogspot.com/
http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/
http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/
*Aug. 30th:
http://ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com/
http://www.kindleandme.com/
*Aug. 31st:
http://bonnieharris.blogspot.com/
http://www.wishfulendings.com/
*Sept. 1st:
http://katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com/
http://empowermoms.net/

*Sept. 2nd:
http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ http://www.littlelightdesigncollective.com/category/all/entertainment/books/ http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/


Thursday, August 25, 2016

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: The Beautiful Balance by Michelle Wilson


ABOUT THE BOOK

Whether in your family, your ward, or your community, you've observed them: those noble individuals who are strong, patient, and stalwart in the face of adversity. When times are tough, how do they manage the challenging shift from victim to victor? Chances are they have figured out the balance of control—what they have charge of and what is in the Lord's hands.
Trying to manage the ups and downs of life can feel overwhelming, but fortunately we're not alone on this journey. With inspiring doctrinal insights and a healthy dose of humor, author Michelle Wilson inspires readers to let go of fear and find peace, even in the midst of lost jobs, health challenges, or everyday chaos at home. In a world that seems so tempestuous, The Beautiful Balance is a sweet reminder of exactly what we can control—ourselves—and what God controls—all the rest.

REVIEW

I enjoy reading inspirational books like this one by Michelle Wilson.  Somehow in the busyness of each day, it's easy to forget to seek balance.  I get too busy feeling guilty over one thing or another.  I fret over the next thing that needs to be done or that I didn't get done.  The Beautiful Balance takes a look at these thoughts and feelings as the author shares some of her own struggles and the stories of others who have struggled as well with finding balance and accepting the fact that there is much in each of our lives that we can't control.  But Wilson also points out something I've been thinking a lot about recently and that is accountability: stepping up and being responsible for our own actions and thoughts and choices.  By doing this and then turning the rest over to God, it's possible to find peace and beauty in our lives.  If you as a reader are looking for a book to help you find peace, to inspire you to focus on the things you can do something about, or a book to comfort you with stories of others like you, look no further.  This book fits that description to a tee.

GIVEAWAY


a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR SCHEDULE

*Aug. 26thhttp://sweetlymadejustforyou.com/blog/http://heidi-reads.blogspot.com/http://melsshelves.blogspot.com/http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 18, 2016

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: The Moses Chronicles #3: Exodus by H.B. Moore


ABOUT THE BOOK

Let my people go ...

A plea has been made in behalf of the children of Israel. Now comes the epic climax years in the making—the final showdown between two of the most powerful men in history—one fueled by pride, the other guided by the world of God. Moses has received an extraordinary call from the Lord: he is to lead the exodus of the Hebrew people out of Egypt, ending generations of bondage. And he must return to the land of his birth to boldly petition a man he does not want to challenge ... or lose to: Ramses—pharaoh of Egypt. Ramses, harboring years of feeling betrayed by his best friend, is determined to stop Moses no matter the cost. He will not yield, even as a dark veil of plaques and pestilence descends over the land of Egypt.

What follows is a powerful chronicle of the struggles of the children of Israel as they traverse uncharted territory, both physically and spiritually. Amid the horrific catastrophes devastating their land and through the dramatic evens that follow, the Hebrews must face their fears and their faltering faith. For even in the darkest of times, there are manifestations of the Lord's constant care to inspire their hope for a bright future.

REVIEW

The story of Moses is one of the most powerful in the Bible as well as the Pearl of Great Price.  I admire Heather's willingness to attempt to tell that story in novelized form.  A fictionalized version of Moses' story makes sense because the scriptures leave some rather significant gaps.  I also appreciated the author's taking the time to explain some of the changes she made to the timeline in order to move the story along.  When I read historical fiction, it's always nice to know what's been changed for the sake of the story.  Still, Moore has created a compelling, powerful story of a man who was called to do what the world would say was impossible.  Challenging one of the most powerful men of the time, Moses calls on Pharoah to let the Hebrew slaves go free.  Unsurprisingly, Pharoah refuses, but the Lord isn't taking no for an answer.  But Moses refuses to go away or give up and under the Lord's direction continues to obey.  I felt like H.B. Moore did a fabulous job of creating a picture of what Moses' life may have been like and just what it took for him to follow the Lord.  A great conclusion to the trilogy, but definitely not an end to Moses story, as the trilogy focuses on the exit of the Hebrews from Egypt, thus, the years in the wilderness are not covered.

GIVEAWAY

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TOUR SCHEDULE



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

COZY MYSTERY: Read to Death by Terrie Farley Moran


ABOUT THE BOOK

The national bestselling author of Caught Read-Handed revisits Fort Myers Beach, Florida, where the proprietors of a local bookstore café occasionally take a stab at solving murder...

At their seaside Read ‘Em and Eat bookstore café, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield offer fresh scones, great books, and excellent detective work…

With their book club season wrapping up with The Florida Life of Thomas Edison, Sassy and Bridgy decide to take their group on a day trip to the beautiful Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Hiring driver Oscar Frieland, who’s known for his colorful stories and love of the café’s Robert Frost fruit tartlets, the bibliophiles set off for a day of sunshine and history.

After a lovely excursion, the club returns to the café for lunch and a book discussion, but the group falls silent after Oscar is found dead in his van. The sheriff’s deputies have some questions of their own for the group, and if the ladies don’t find some answers soon, the next book they read might be from a prison library.

REVIEW

One of the things I like best about cozy mysteries are the entertaining characters and their unique characteristics.  In this Read ´em and Eat series, Sassy and Bridgy are the two main characters who run a bookstore/cafe together.  In this third book in the series, just after returning from a field trip with a book club, Bridgy discovers the driver dead in his car with a pair of scissors in his ear.  Unfortunately for Bridgy, being first on the scene makes her the prime suspect, which means that Sassy is on the case.  Despite Lieutenant Frank Anthony and Deputy Ryan telling her to stay out of it, Sassy can´t bring herself to do so with her friend´s freedom on the line.  Once again, I enjoyed relaxing with the characters for a time as they run the cafe, the book clubs, and welcome their mothers for a visit.  The interactions between Bridgy´s mother and Aunt Ophie were certainly entertaining as well as Sassy´s mother Sage and her talk of ¨auras¨.  Another fun read with just enough tension between Lieutenant Anthony and Sassy to add just a brief touch of romance (although I am sure that Sassy would deny it).  I do hope something more happens between those two.  I look forward to reading future volumes in the series.

Monday, August 8, 2016

A STEAMPUNK PROPER ROMANCE: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border.

Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Could Miles himself be to blame for the deaths?

Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

REVIEW

While I am not normally a big fan of werewolves and vampires, when I heard about this book I was intrigued.  And I was not at all disappointed.  In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think my favorite parts were with Lucy and Miles as they got to know each other, but I also found the steampunk fantasy world that Allen created rather interesting.  Lucy is my favorite kind of heroine, courageous and intelligence, more than willing to do what it takes to help those she loves.  Which is of course why she ends up at Blackwell Manor in the first place.  She arrives to help her cousin who is not feeling well and has recently married the heir to Blackwell Manor.  But things turn out to be much more complicated than she expected, especially when she meets the lord of the manor who is called the ¨Beast of Blackwell Manor¨.

What Lucy does not expect however is the appearance of Miles´ sister as a ghost who clearly has an agenda that involves Lucy.  Attacks by a vampire on herself as well as the secrets that Miles himself is keeping and Lucy wonders if she is in over her head.  But as she starts to care for Miles and the man she sees beneath the gruff exterior, she is determined to find answers and solutions to the many problems she is encountering.

I enjoyed reading about the changes that Lucy brings to Miles rather dark world full of fears and burdens and sorrows.  Lucy is not the kind to back down when faced with challenges which turns out to be a good thing.  And I have to admit that I love the cover of the book, it beautifully depicts the characters and their personalities as well as the mechanical aspects of the story.  I can easily recommend this book to those who enjoy a steampunk book with vampires, werewolves, and automotons all playing an important role in the story.  The twists and turns make this an entertaining, unique version of Beauty and the Beast.

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: I Can Forgive with God compiled by Ganel-Lyn Condie


ABOUT THE BOOK

Are unresolved feelings of anger, resentment, and guilt keeping you from living your best life? It's time to let go of the pain and make the life-changing decision to forgive. A stirring new work from bestselling author Ganel-Lyn Condie, I Can Forgive with God features the personal accounts of an incredible group of women who have harnessed the power of forgiveness after enduring the furnace of affliction. from divorce and death to addiction and abuse, these sisters' experiences are linked by one common truth: the power of absolution is available to all through hard work and faithful reliance on our loving Heavenly Father.

The women spotlighted in these stories have come face-to-face with devastating tragedies and trials, ultimately learning to forgive those who have hurt them—including themselves. With the help of this book, you too can find strength in the Lord—the giver of grace—to see your mistakes and others' through the lens of forgiveness.

REVIEW

Forgiveness is a topic that applies to us all.  I know that I've had plenty of times in my own life where I needed to forgive or be forgiven.  Books like this remind me that I'm not alone in that need.  The stories in this book are all true stories although the names for some of them have been withheld to protect privacy which is understandable once you read them.  The ladies who are sharing their stories are revealing some very personal information here about heartache and healing.  The stories cover the following topics:

  • Moments of Truth
  • Marriage
  • Parenthood
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Looking Past the Past
I'll admit right out that I found these stories both touching and compelling.  I even found myself with tears in my eyes at times.  While I haven't experienced anything quite like these women, I have experienced pain of my own and the healing that they talk about can come to any who seek it through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Some of the wounds mentioned here weren't overcome or healed in a day.  In fact most of the experiences shared took years to overcome.  And some pain may take a lifetime to heal.  But as these ladies point out, it is possible through faith in the healing power and love of Jesus Christ.


GIVEAWAY

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TOUR SCHEDULE

*August 11thhttp://empowermoms.net/


Monday, August 1, 2016

LDS BOOK REVIEW: A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose by Dieter F. Uchtdorf


ABOUT THE BOOK

When eleven-year-old Eva is sent to stay with her great-aunt Rose for the summer, she can think of a thousand reasons why she does not want to be there. But as the summer progresses, she discovers that Great-Aunt Rose had learned some things about life that have made her the happiest person Eva has ever known.

The story of Eva's discovery is contained in President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's insightful parable originally delivered at the October 2015 general women's session of general conference. With charming full-color illustrations by fine artist Salvador Alvarez (the creator of Joy in the Journey, the pioneer-girl painting referred to by President Uchtdorf), this modern-day parable will teach and uplift women of all ages and life situations.

REVIEW

While this talk can be found for free on the lds.org website, Deseret Book has done a beautiful job turning the story into a beautiful gift book.  The inclusion of the painting that is mentioned in the story is a particularly nice touch.  The rest of the illustrations in the book are by the same artist as the painting (see cover) and are beautifully done.  The illustrations and decorations make this a truly gorgeous book.  But of course the story told within is what makes the book so powerful.  This is a book that I will read over and over again as I remind myself of the multiple meanings contained in President Uchtdorf's beautiful parable.

Eva is sent to visit her Great-Aunt Rose while her mother recovers from surgery.  Eva is not excited to go and worries a great deal about her mother.  Once things with her mother settle down a bit, Eva starts to notice things about her Great-Aunt Rose that puzzle her a bit.  Gospel principles are shared between Eva and Rose once Eva works up the nerve to ask her the questions that have puzzled her.

This is a wonderful gift book for those who enjoy a more permanent reminder of the wonderful things this parable has to share.


 
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