Thursday, January 17, 2019

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: The House of Stone & Ivy by Anita Stansfield


ABOUT THE BOOK

Orphaned as children, Hennie and Lottie share an unbreakable friendship. Together, they suffered the horrors of orphanages and the workhouse, and now grown, they continue to rely on each other. When Lottie approaches Hennie about a possible position at a manor house, Hennie is eager to work alongside her dear friend. However, to secure the positions as stable hands, they will have to undergo a bold act of deception: the women must disguise themselves as men.

Upon arriving at the manor, Hennie is stunned. Her new position is at Ivy Manor—the beautiful estate where her mother was employed long ago and where Hennie was raised until her mother's death. Hennie has wonderful memories of her friendship with the son of the house, Jack, and is shocked and dismayed to learn he has vanished. Living in disguise at the manor allows her to gradually uncover the truth of Jack's disappearance and eventually find him. Both Hennie and Jack are thrilled to be reunited, and their friendship is renewed. Soon, their relationship blossoms . . . and threatens their determination to remain concealed. With so much at stake, will they be prepared to risk everything for love?

REVIEW

Stansfield has written another compelling tale of love and friendship versus greed and manipulation.  Hennie is brought to Ivy Manor by her friend Lottie to work in the stables disguised as a man.  Hennie is stunned to be back at Ivy Manor, the place she grew up as a child before being sent to an orphanage after her mother died.  But she settles in and grows to like her life, despite the deception.  She's surprised to discover that the heir to the manor, her old friend Jack, has disappeared.  She wonders about him, but doesn't expect to ever see him again.  But life has a way of surprising one sometimes and she finds herself not only discovering Jack's location, but re-establishing her friendship with him.   But as their friendship grows into something stronger, they are left trying to find a way to be together in the face of the challenges that sent Jack running in the first place.  The tale is an intriguing one full of interesting twists and turns as Jack and Hennie face some pretty big obstacles.  I enjoyed this very much and recommend it to those who enjoy a well-told story of love and mystery.

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*Jan. 18th: http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/, https://thekeeledeal.com/


Thursday, January 10, 2019

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Saving Susannah Jones by Carolyn Twede Frank


ABOUT THE BOOK

In the still of a cool Colorado evening, the Circle J Ranch house burns to the ground, leaving Susannah Jones and her two brothers orphaned and homeless. Embittered by the tragedy, Susannah's older brother grows increasingly cruel, leading Susannah to make the difficult choice to leave the last of her family behind to forge a new life for herself. It is the kindness of Dr. Kate, the woman physician in town, as well as a chance meeting with a rugged homesteader that give Susannah the strength she needs to escape.

When Joseph Iverson encounters the harassed young woman on his land one day, he has no thought but to provide the assistance she so clearly needs. Overcoming his shyness, he takes Susannah under his wing and agrees to a marriage of convenience to liberate her from her brother. As the pair works side by side, their mutual admiration deepens. But their happy existence is threatened all soon by a series of "accidents" on the farm. With danger looming ever closer, Susannah and Joseph must discover who is bent on their destruction before the life and marriage they've built together goes up in flames.

REVIEW

After losing her father in a fire, Susannah Jones is left to deal with her brother, Stanley, who only wants her around because her father's will demands it.  But she's tired of dealing with Stanley's cruelty and attempts to escape.  When her first attempt fails, she flees into the wilderness and takes refuge on Joseph Iverson's farm.  His kindness is unexpected but appreciated.  When Joseph hires her as his housekeeper, Susannah hopes to be able to earn enough money to flee again, this time with her younger brother, Logan.  But Logan's appearance at the farm shortly after Stanley's catches her in a lie and Susannah decides that her best option is to make her fake marriage to Joseph real.  Just when things seem to be working out, someone starts sabotaging the farm.  And Susannah is left wondering if she's brought Joseph more trouble than she's worth.  Frank tells a compelling story of life, love, and struggle.  Susannah and Joseph are both sympathetic characters that I found easy to root for, and Logan is a delight.  This is an enjoyable read for those who enjoy hard-working pioneer stories with an element of intrigue thrown in the mix.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

NONFICTION REVIEW: Hero Dogs by WIlma Melville and Paul Lobo


ABOUT THE BOOK

Lola was a buckshot-riddled stay, lost on a Memphis highway. Cody was rejected from seven different homes. Ace had been sprayed with mace and left for dead on a train track. They were deemed unadoptable. Untrainable. Unsalvageable. These would become the same dogs America relied on when its worst disasters hit.

In 1995, Wilma Melville volunteered as a canine search-and-rescue (SAR) handler with her Black Labrador Murphy in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. At the time, there were only fifteen FEMA certified SAR dogs in the United States. Believing in the value of these remarkable animals to help save lives, Wilma knew many more were needed in the event of future major disasters. She made a vow to help 168 dogs receive search-and-rescue training in her lifetime—one for every Oklahoma City victim.

Wilma singlehandedly established the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) to meet this challenge. The first canine candidates—Ana, Dusty, and Harley—were a trio of golden retrievers with behavioral problems so severe the dogs were considered irredeemable and unadoptable. But with patience, discipline, and love applied during training, they proved to have the ability, agility, and stamina to graduate as SARs. Paired with a trio of firefighters, they were among the first responders searching the ruins of the World Trade Center following 9/11—setting the standard for the more than 168 of the SDF’s search-and-rescue dogs that followed.

Beautiful and heart-wrenching, Hero Dogs is the story of one woman’s dream brought to fruition by dedicated volunteers and firefighters—and the bonds they forged with the incredible rescued-turned-rescuer dogs to create one of America’s most vital resources in disaster response.

REVIEW

When Wilma Melville established the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation she had a goal.  She wanted to help train dogs for Urban Search and Rescue operations.  But she wanted to do it more effectively and efficiently than was currently being done.  At the time, most of the organizations currently doing such training weren't really interested in working with her as they thought they knew what they were doing, even though the results said otherwise.  Despite such opposition, Wilma was determined and with the help of a few volunteers and a talented dog trainer, she adopted her first three dogs, Ana, Dusty, and Harley.  In less than a year, these dogs that had been rejected became skilled search dogs with the help of their firefighter handlers.  They would go on to prove it after 9/11.  As the years went by other rescued dogs were trained and sent on missions.  The SDF (Search Dog Foundation) had found a formula that worked and despite the challenges that inevitably arose successfully trained over 200 dogs and handlers for USAR.  Lobo tells the tale through the eyes of Wilma based on many hours of interviews and interactions giving the story an immediacy that is quite compelling.  The stories of the dogs and their handlers are fascinating and amazing.  Reading about the searches said dogs and handlers conducted related to 9/11, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the Haitian earthquake was eye-opening.  It's amazing to me the sacrifices and immense effort these firefighters and dogs made and continue to make to find even one survivor.  The value found in these seemingly worthless dogs is a testament to Wilma's determination and willingness to look beyond the obvious.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

CHRISTMAS DVD BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY!



Christmas Break-In:

Today was supposed to be one of the best days ever for nine-year-old Izzy Rush. But now, on the last day of class before Christmas break, she has been left alone at school. To make matters worse, the biggest blizzard this town has ever seen is blowing and snowing full force. Which is why three bumbling crooks on the lam decide to take shelter in the seemingly empty school. When Izzy discovers that the criminals are holding her friend Ray, the school custodian, she decides it’s up to her to save the day. But what can a nine-year-old girl do? You’d be surprised!  

Christmas Break-In Trailer (downloadable)

Christmas Break-In Screener
Password: CBIKOAN


To purchase at Amazon go here.

Christmas Apron:
The children in Millie’s family can’t wait for Grandma to arrive with her special Christmas apron. According to tradition, each grandchild will write down the gift he or she wants most in the world, and then slip that wish into the apron’s pocket. Then, on Christmas morning, those wished-for gifts will be magically waiting under the tree. But then eleven-year-old Millie overhears her parents: the family can’t afford gifts for all the little ones. She pictures the disappointment on her siblings’ faces: nothing to open on Christmas morning. Is Millie willing to sacrifice her own whole-soul wish so that someone else’s can come true? Full of tender emotion and delightful surprise, this story reminds us of the miracles that unfold when we think of others before ourselves.

Christmas Apron Trailer  (downloadable)

Christmas Apron Screener

Password: SeagullApronCovenant
To purchase at Amazon go here.


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Thursday, December 13, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: From Ash and Stone by Julie Daines


ABOUT THE BOOK

Lady Margaret Grey of Hartfell wants for nothing. The daughter of a knight, she has a loving family, wealth, and even a secret romance with the blacksmith's son. But all that is torn from her one fateful night when her home is attacked and her family killed. She is left with nothing but bitterness, an unwavering mistrust of men, and a strange and mysterious curse that allows her to feel the thoughts of anyone who touches her.

Now, after six years away, Margaret is returning home for one reason: revenge. She hopes that by avenging her family's deaths, she will somehow be freed from her curse. But it won't be easy. the identities of the raiders are still unknown, she has little left to her name, and traveling alone in the Northumbrian hills during the border wars is dangerous. Matters are further complicated by handsome Angus Robson, a Scotsman whose charm threatens to distract her from her plans. But the raiders are closer than she knows, and Margaret soon realizes that what she believed to be a curse may be the key to finding those she seeks. One touch will reveal the truth.

REVIEW

Daines has presented the reader with an interesting sort of tale in this book.  While the majority of the book revolves around a young lady out for revenge for the murder of her family, the author adds just a touch of fantasy to the story that adds an intriguing layer of depth.  Margaret is full of anger and hate after having her family murdered and her life ripped away from her.  The addition of a curse that forces her to avoid touching people makes things more difficult.  She prefers not to be able to feel the thoughts of those around her, especially when a nasty headache inevitably results.  But in her quest to find those responsible for her families' deaths she discovers an unexpected benefit to her curse.  But falling in love with a Scotsman isn't in her plans and so she resists Angus Robson's charms, especially once she learns of his family troubles.  But will her search for revenge rob her of that which is of most worth in her life? Or will she find a way to be rid of her curse forever.  This story is certainly an intriguing one what with the curse that leads Margaret to understand others thoughts.  That would be challenging for sure.  Margaret and Angus make for interesting characters as they both wrestle with their feelings for each other at the same time they are trying to deal with their family problems and the obstacles standing between them. 

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*Dec. 14th: https://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/, http://heidi-reads.blogspot.com/, http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/, http://www.iamareader.com/


 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Wager for a Wife by Karen Tuft


ABOUT THE BOOK

William Barlow's life has been forever altered: his estranged father is dead, and William has inherited the title of Viscount Farleigh. Along with the title comes a neglected estate, an enormous amount of gambling debt, and one astounding acquisition that will turn William's world upside down . . .
It is her first London Season, and Lady Louisa Hargreaves could not be more pleased. She has attracted the attention of the Earl of Kerridge, and the two are on the cusp of an official betrothal.

That is, until she learns of a generations-old family debt: her grandfather gambled her hand in marriage and lost, and now Louisa must pay the price. She will marry not the earl but a man she just met, who has taken her freedom in one fell swoop. Even as she struggles to understand the handsome and aloof man she is to wed, Louisa is irresistibly drawn to him—and he to her. But she soon realizes he is harboring secrets, and as her wedding day approaches, she must discover what her future husband is hiding before she makes the gravest mistake of her life.

REVIEW

Karen Tuft has written another charming regency romance that has some depth to it. As a prequel to The Earl's Betrothal it was fun to read about previously known characters, Louisa and William.  As the author explains in her author's note, she just felt like the two characters deserved their own story, and I have to agree.  The romance between the two doesn't start off real well though, since William shows up just as Louisa is about to get engaged to someone else.  And Louisa isn't happy that her grandfather gambled away her hand in marriage.  There is attraction their as the two start to get to know each other, but Louisa is frustrated with William's aloofness.  As the day for their marriage approaches, neither one is sure they can go through with it.  A thoughtful story about the damage that one person's actions can do and the hope and love required to heal it.

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TOUR SCHEDULE

*Dec. 7th: https://brightlystreet.com/, https://www.wishfulendings.com/, http://www.kindleandme.com/, http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/, http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com/, http://fireandicereads.com/


 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Glorious Truths About Mary, Mother of Jesus by Susan Easton Black


ABOUT THE BOOK

Throughout the world, millions of devout followers of Christ look to the Virgin Mary as a sacred figure, a woman to be revered and worshiped. While Latter-day Saints do not worship this chosen vessel of the Lord, we do esteem Mary as one of the most influential people in history. Her faithfulness changed the course of the world, but even so, much detail of her life remains unknown to most. In Glorious Truths about Mary, Mother of Jesus, readers are invited to join distinguished LDS scholar Susan Easton Black on a journey of discovery spanning the life and legacy of this unparalleled faith-filled giant. Discover, through scriptural and historical sources, the compelling look at how Mary, mother of Jesus, has been characterized over the centuries and the true story and lasting influence she has had—this woman whose incomparable example continues to guide and inspire religious women today.

REVIEW

Coming soon!

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: The Truth about Miss Ashbourne by Joanna Barker

9781524407520

ABOUT THE BOOK

Governess Juliana Ashbourne has dreams reaching far beyond the confines of her current position, hoping to someday establish her own school for girls. When she inherits a fortune from her late grandfather, she is shocked to learn that “someday” may soon be within reach. However, there is one condition: she must spend a month at the estate of Havenfield—with the very family who disowned her mother. Intent on securing the money she needs to start her school, Juliana accepts the invitation, vowing to guard her heart against those who shunned her all her life.

But Havenfield is far from what she expects. She discovers a grandmother seeking forgiveness, a cold and disapproving aunt, and a painfully shy cousin. And then there is Mr. William Rowley. Though the heir to the estate is a merciless tease, Juliana finds in him a friend and confidant—and perhaps something more. As she struggles to make sense of her new place in the world, her stubborn independence clashes with a yearning to belong and the even more confusing desires of her heart.


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Thursday, November 8, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: The Gem Thief by Sian Ann Bessey


ABOUT THE BOOK

Gracie Miller is a small-town girl who has landed her dream job in New York City. As jewelry designer for one of the most prestigious jewelers in the world, she completed a particularly stunning piece, a custom setting for a large pink diamond. But when her billionaire client Mrs. Katsaros comes to repair a minor issue with the setting, Gracie is horrified to realize it is not the ring she created. Someone has forged her design, and the priceless diamond is gone.

Mrs. Katsaros has no desire to bring media attention to the jewelry heist, so she recruits her nephew, Quinn, and his FBI agent friend, Steve, to do some sleuthing off the record. When they discover that the missing ring is just one of many forgeries in the widow's collection, they look to Gracie for help. They need her to act the part of Quinn's fiancĂ©e. From the lights of New York to the shimmering islands of the Mediterranean, Gracie is swept into a thrilling hunt. But amid the search for the elusive thief, she and Quinn find themselves increasingly distracted by their growing feelings for each other. What neither realizes is how close the danger lies and how serious the vendetta is—because, apparently, it is worth killing for.

REVIEW

My life has been so crazy lately that I haven't had time to finish this book.  But I've enjoyed what I've read so far.  Bessey has a knack for creating sympathetic characters along with interesting plotlines.

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*Nov. 9th: http://www.iamareader.com/, https://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/, http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/, https://www.wishfulendings.com/, http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/


Monday, October 29, 2018

UPCOMING FILM SPOTLIGHT: THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN 2: FIRE OF FAITH


FILM SYNOPSIS: 
TOSOH2-1-Family Waving.jpgTHE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN 2: FIRE OF FAITH continues the epic true saga of Elder John H. Groberg's missionary adventures in Tonga as depicted in the eponymous Disney-distributed hit film of 2001. Whereas the original movie detailed Elder Groberg's first mission to Tonga in the 1950's as a 19 year-old bachelor, the sequel tells the inspiring true story of his return to Tonga in the 1960's with his wife and five young daughters to serve as President of the Tonga-Fiji Mission.
TOSOH2-4-4.jpg
 Shortly after arriving in Tonga, John's wife, Jean, becomes pregnant with their sixth child, a boy who is born with a serious illness that threatens to end his tiny young life. In fact, the boy is born too weak to be evacuated to another country with medical care sufficient to properly diagnose and treat him. 

TOSOH2-5-6.jpg With their child's life on the line, John and Jean face the ultimate trial of their faith only to find themselves enfolded in the love and prayers of thousands of Tongans of various religions who unite in a nationwide fast for the health of their little boy. Barriers of inter-religious strife are broken down as all unite in hopes of a miracle that will save the Groberg baby boy's life, as well as that of the son of a non-Mormon Tongan minister who has been beaten within inches of death for religious reasons.
Director's message:
When I made the first "Other Side of Heaven" movie 17 years ago, I never imagined it would spawn an Academy Award winning actor's career, nor that it would be distributed in DVD by Walt Disney Home Entertainment.  Neither did I imagine that, all these years later, it would spawn an ambitious sequel.

Like the original film, this new movie tells the true story of Elder John H. Groberg's missionary adventures in Tonga, only this time he is returning with his wife, Jean, and their five young daughters.  His second mission proves just as dramatic and transformative as his first, as does the second  film depicting that mission.  Thanks in advance for watching!
TRAILER
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