Friday, November 28, 2014

My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

I picked this book up on NetGalley because who doesn't love a holiday inspired anthology by various author- some that you know and love well??  

I will first say that I didn't read all the stories.  There were some that contained swearing and other things in the content that I am not comfortable reading so I skipped them.  The ones I did read were cute though.  I loved that they all had a holiday/winter theme to them.  It's perfect for this time of the year.  Twelve authors, twelve stories = pages and pages of happy reading!

Here are the books I did read:
Midnights (Rainbow Rowell)
Polaris is Where You'll Find Me (Jenny Han)
It's A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown (Stephanie Perkins)
Welcome to Christmas, CA (Kiersten White)
Star of Bethlehem (Ally Carter)
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer (Laini Taylor)

The books I did read were all relatively clean, some had mild swearing.

The cover is so cute.  Characters from all the stories are represented, skating on the ice.  Very cute idea.  I love it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lady Emma's Campaign by Jennifer Moore

She would follow him through peace and war.

London, 1811

The London Season is ushered in with a thrilling flurry of invitations, gowns, and parties. But despite her status as belle of the ball, lovely socialite Emma Drake simply cannot fathom becoming entangled with any gentleman of her acquaintance. For in truth, since childhood her heart has belonged to Captain Sidney Fletcher, a man of the sea—and her brother’s best friend. Emma knows that Sidney’s directive to free the Spanish city of Cadiz from French occupation will be dangerous, but when word arrives of his capture, she is frantic. Determined to aid her brother in Sidney’s rescue, she hides aboard his ship and sets a course to Spain. But the realities of war are a far cry from the drawing rooms of London, and Emma finds the man she loves a mere shadow of his former self. When a series of events leaves them trapped together behind enemy lines, Emma and Sidney must embark on a journey fraught with danger—from a bloody hunt for Spanish treasure to the battlefields of war-torn Spain, new threats lurk around every turn. As their flight becomes increasingly perilous, Sidney and Emma must trust each other with their lives—but can they trust the other with their heart?

Jennifer Moore is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.  Her first book, Becoming Lady Lockwood, was fantastic and I knew she was an author I wanted to read again.  

We meet Lady Emma and Sidney Fletcher in the first book of this series, Becoming Lady Lockwood.  While they are not the main characters, we get a sense of who they are.  I'm so glad they got the starring roles in this book.  When the book begins, Emma is a girl on the cusp of womanhood.  Sydney loves Emma as he would love a sister.  But Emma loves Sydney as a woman loves a man.  She is just waiting for the day when she steps out into society as a woman so Sydney can take notice.

Emma begins this book fairly naive.  She makes choices led by her heart and finds herself in some serious trouble.  Her lack of worldly experience allows her room for growth though.  The inner strength she has shines through when she needs it the most.  Sydney helps bring out that strength in Emma but it is her gentleness that pulls Sydney through the tortured spots in his soul.  I love that together they are the thing the other needs the most.

This is a clean romance.  Just a really good, clean romance.  The romance develops slowly and it just feels natural.  The book is set in the middle of a war so things get bloody and difficult but provide the exact things this book needs for the characters.  I loved it.  Love, love, love.

I read this book through Deseret Bookshelf.  It magically appeared there for me to review and I'm so glad.  This book was one of my favorites.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom by June McCrary Jacobs + Win a copy of this book!

When her student, six-year-old Mary Noel, survives a car accident over Thanksgiving break, Amber and her new friend, Paul, are determined to cheer her up during the holidays. But Mary Noel’s most painful injury is the loss of her dog. The more withdrawn Mary Noel becomes, the more Amber and Paul need a miracle—a miracle that requires the entire community’s help.


The two best adjectives I can think of to describe this novel are sweet and gentle.  It will remind you of all the best things about Christmastime.

This is a story of faith and service- about a caring community who pull together to help a family in need.  Amber is kind hearted and caring.  When she meets Paul, they come together for a common goal and find that their hearts are coming together as well.  The romance is sweet but not really the main focus.

If you are looking for an inspirational short story to fill you with all things Christmas this is a book you will love.  I really enjoyed it.  It had peace and good will oozing from the pages.  This is a Christian based book and there is talk of God and faith.  It's perfectly clean and just right for a cozy winter night.

My thanks to the author and publisher for allowing me to read and review this sweet story.  The publisher, Cedar Fort, has provided an ebook copy of this book for a giveaway.  Thank you Cedar Fort!  Find the details for entering below.

June McCrary Jacobs spent twenty years as a primary grade educator after graduating from California State University, Hayward, with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a multiple-subject teaching credential. Along with writing fiction, June is a freelance designer of sewing, quilting and crafting projects. “A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom” is June's debut novel, though not her first published work. Since 2007 June's original sewing, quilting and stitchery projects and articles have been published in national and international magazines including Stitch, Sew News, Sewing World, Simply Handmade, Sew Hip, Sewing Savvy, Crafts 'n Things and Create & Decorate. Two of her sewing designs for children will appear in the upcoming “101 One-Yard Little Wonders” book published by Storey Publishing. A Californian since age six, June currently resides in the San Joaquin Valley. Learn more about June's writing endeavors and view some of her original sewing projects by visiting her website at

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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Berlin Candy Bomber by Gail S. Halvorsen

The Berlin Candy Bomber is a love story-how two sticks of gum and one man's kindness to the children of a vanquished enemy grew into an epic of goodwill spanning the globe-touching the hearts of millions in both Germany and America.

In June 1948, Russia laid siege to Berlin, cutting off the flow of food and supplies over highways into the city. More than two million people faced economic collapse and starvation. The Americans, English, and French began a massive airlift to bring sustenance to the city and to thwart the Russian siege.

Gail Halvorsen was one of hundreds of U.S. pilots involved in the airlift. While in Berlin, he met a group of children standing by the airport watching the incoming planes. Though they hadn't asked for candy, he was impressed to share with them the two sticks of gum he had in his possession. Seeing how thrilled they were by this gesture, he promised to drop more candy to them the next time he flew to the area.

True to his word, as he flew in the next day, he wiggled the wings of his plane to identify himself, then dropped several small bundles of candy using parachutes crafted from handkerchiefs to slow their fall. Local newspapers picked up the story. Suddenly, letters addressed to "Uncle Wiggly Wings" began to arrive as the children requested candy drops in other areas of the city.

Enthusiasm spread to America, and candy contributions came from all across the country. Within weeks candy manufacturers began donating candy by the boxcar.

In May 1949, the highway blockade ended, and the airlift ended in September. But the story of Uncle Wiggly Wings and the candy-filled parachutes lives on-a symbol of human charity.

Sometimes you read books to escape from reality and go someplace far, far away.  Sometimes you read books to learn something new.  Sometimes you read books to be inspired.  This book gave me all the previous mentioned things plus more.
I love reading stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary things.  These things come about because people like Gail Halvorsen choose kindness when a situation is placed before them.  Gail's kindness led to more kindness.  People saw his kindness and wanted to be a part of it.  From there it ballooned into something grand that involved people all over the world.  All because one man extended a kindness one day to a few children who desperately needed some kindness and care.  I love that.
Gail Halvorsen has roots right where I live today.  It was fun to read of his early years in Bear River Valley.  I could imagine him flying right over my house as he trained to be a pilot.  My kids attend the same high school he attended.  It's a small world after all.
I learned more about the events and details leading up to Gail Halvorsen's part in the war efforts and about his life.  I loved all the pictures in the book.  They really helped give me a sense of how things were.  There were lots of pictures!  This book is a great reminder to me that kindness matters.  You never know when a kind act can change the life of someone else.  Kindness is contagious.  People respond to kindness.  Kindness matters.  A lot.
I am grateful for people like Gail Halvorsen.  I'm grateful for their examples that inspire me to be better and do better.  I pay honor Uncle Wiggly Wings and I thank him for telling his story.  I loved it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

From the Ashes by Julie Coulter Bellon

**This novella is a continuation of Colby and Sophia's story from Ashes Ashes (Hostage Negotiation Team #2)**

As a suspect in Senator DeMarco's murder, Sophia Naziri worked hard to bring the true killer to justice and prove her innocence. But she pays a high personal price trying to clear her name when she's held hostage and nearly killed---and Sophia can't put it behind her just yet.

Matters get even more complicated when classified information regarding the murder is leaked. Sophia is besieged by the press and trapped even further by the memories that won't let her move on. In order to escape the situation, Sophia heads to a secluded cabin with Detective Colby Black so they can lay low and figure out who the leak is. But can Sophia find the peace she craves? Or will the circumstances that brought her and Colby together now drive them apart?

I'm always excited to read books by authors I love.  This little bonus piece is a novella that comes after "Ashes, Ashes", book two in the Hostage Negotiation Team series.  You really need to read that book before you pick up this novella or you will be hopelessly lost.  But if you haven't yet read this series by Julie Bellon, you really, really should.  It is a fantastic romantic suspense series.  The tension never lets up.  It's one of my favorites.

As for this novella, I loved it.  It wasn't so intense in the suspense department but it gave me that P.S., the happily ever after kind of note at the end.  More detail of how things go after the main intense drama and action.  It was the after effects.  What happens when Sophia and Colby come home?  It isn't all sunshine and lollipops but there is for sure some sweetness in there.  :)  This is a super quick read and I hope Julie does more of these for the other books!  So fun.

My thanks to Julie for letting me read and review for her.  I love being a part of her SWAT team!  What could be better than reading and reviewing for one of your favorite authors?  Not much!  Reading is happy.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sam's Christmas Wish by George D. Durrant, Illustrated by Dan Burr

Sam Edwards isn't looking forward to Christmas, at least not this year. Since losing his job six months before, he hasn't had any luck in finding a new one. He isn't sure how he can give his family a merry Christmas, and the last thing he wants is charity from his neighbors. But when he falls asleep in his living room with his shotgun across his lap just to make sure no one attempts to visit him he wakes up to find his front porch laden with Christmas goodies. But when he tries to find out who left the presents, the freshly fallen snow reveals no footprints.

Years later, Sam's wife has passed away and his children are grown. Old and sick, Sam remembers the kindness of the anonymous stranger from long ago and wishes for an opportunity to bless another's life. So on Christmas Eve, when he sees his neighbor's house on fire, he hopes that he can be the means for another anonymous miracle. Sam's Christmas Wish is a story of love, service, and sacrifice.

I love Christmas picture books.  I love books with a touching message.  This Christmas book is one of my new favorites.  The illustrations are beautiful- so life like and rich.  I absolutely loved them.

I have quite a collection of Christmas books.  Every year I wrap them up and put them in a basket for the month of December.  Then, every night we open a book and read it at dinner.  This is a tradition I love because all of these books bring the spirit of Christmas into my home.  Peace, love and joy.  This book will be a beautiful addition to my collection.  It's about giving and receiving.  It's about love and generosity.  It's about miracles brought through service and sacrifice.  This book brought out emotions in me.  In the beginning I was a bit upset at a father who would deny his children Christmas because of his pride.  But that father learns a valuable lesson and all his life seeks to return the Christmas miracle his family experienced to someone else.  It was so touching.

I love, love, love this book!  My thanks to Shadow Mountain for allowing me to read and review this title for them.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter

She daydreams of whipping up sauces and souffles in her own restaurant. His heart is set on helping foster children. Both dreams are at stake. So are their hearts.

With grand plans to open her own bed & breakfast in Chapel Springs, PJ McKinley can't afford the most crucial part: the brick and mortar. But when the owner of a local historic home announces a contest and promises her property to the worthiest candidate, PJ makes a fervent wish and tosses her name into the hat.

Cole Evans is cool, confident, and successful, but he'll never forget his roots. He's thankful for how far he's come and knows his life could have turned out drastically different. If he can win the stately old mansion, he'll turn it into a home for children aging out of the foster system.

When the eccentric house owner narrows the entries down to only two applicants, she extends the contest, giving PJ and Cole one year to prove which one of them can make the best use of her beloved home. As the pair competes in close proximity, something deeper than rivalry sparks between PJ and Cole. And in this battle, they're likely to lose their hearts.

Whenever I see a new book by Denise Hunter coming out, I grab it on NetGalley if I can.  I love reading anything by her.  If you are looking for inspirational, clean romance then you should read this book.  Or any books in this Chapel Springs series, really.  I've enjoyed them all.

PJ and Cole have a very interesting first meeting.  You will love PJ from the very first few moments of this book.  Cole may take you a few chapters longer but you will love him too.  He is determined to do the right thing all the time.   As Cole's story unfolds, it will break your heart.  Both PJ and Cole are determined and have worthy dreams and goals.  The sparks fly between them from the start and we all know where sparks lead, right?  

If only that stalker-ish ex boyfriend would go away.  If only PJ and Cole could forgive themselves.  If only.

This book was easy to read and a great diversion.  I loved the time I spent with PJ and Cole.  I was sad when it was over because I really wanted more!  

Look for this title to be released December 9th.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Painting Kisses by Melanie Jacobson

Lia Carswell is good at what she does, even if it isn't as glamorous as her old artist life in Manhattan. The popular waitress works hard in a small Salt Lake City diner, with the goal of easing her sister's financial strain. And with her witty personality and good looks, she's something of an enigma to the male customers who vie for her attention. Ever the professional, Lia keeps her distance, with one exception. Aidan is a breakfast regular, and his gentle, clever teasing draws Lia's attention and builds an easy rapport between them, though Lia would never let their relationship get serious, especially since he's not the only one trying to catch her eye. Her handsome neighbor Griff has been hinting that he wants more than a neighborly relationship.

Then her old New York artist life comes knocking, and an offer is made for a series of commissioned paintings. Lia knows it would ensure financial security for her family, but she doesn't know if she wants that life anymore. When she undertakes one final project, she reawakens her heart and soul. And as she finds herself falling in love and needing an outlet more and more, she realizes her paintings might be her saving grace.

I am a Melanie Jacobson fan.  I admit it.  I am.  I love her books and I love her style of writing.  She knows how to write a clean romance with humor and wit.  Her books suck me in and I never want to put them down.  This book was no exception.  I've been wanting to read this book since I first saw it.  Yay for the day when it popped up in my Deseret Bookshelf to read and review!  I love book gifts sent to me through Deseret Bookshelf!!

Lia is such a likable character.  I just love her.  I love how she devotes so much to her niece and her sister.  Lia's interactions with Aidan will make you smile.  Well, it made me smile anyway.  :)  I love how Lia returns to a love of painting.  The whole process and how it is described make me feel like I was missing out on something grand.  

Aidan and Lia are two imperfect people who definitely don't really understand each other until they break down the walls and listen to each other- which made me want to strangle them both at one time or another, but the tension and the build up are both parts of what make this book really good.  I really loved it.

This was a fantastic diversion for me.  I love picking up a book, getting sucked in and not wanting to put it down.  Entertaining, romantic reads are my favorite.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Forget Me Not by Stacey Nash + Review, Excerpt, Trailers and a Giveaway!

    Forget Me Not
Forget Me Not Anamae is drawn into a world which shatters everything she knew to be true. Since her mother vanished nine years ago, Anamae and her father have shared a quiet life. But when Anamae discovers a brooch identical to her mother's favorite pendant, she unknowingly invites a slew of trouble into their world. They're not just jewellery, they're part of a highly developed technology capable of cloaking the human form. Triggering the jewellery's power attracts the attention of a secret society determined to confiscate the device - and silence everyone who is aware of its existence. Anamae knows too much, and now she's Enemy Number One. She's forced to leave her father behind when she's taken in by a group determined to keep her safe. Here Anamae searches for answers about this hidden world. With her father kidnapped and her own life on the line, Anamae must decide if saving her dad is worth risking her new friends' lives. No matter what she does, somebody is going to get hurt.

Forget Me Not image

This is a jam packed post today!  Pictures, blurbs, review, trailers, excerpts and a giveaway!  It's like Christmas morning here on my blog!  :)

So, I read Forget Me Not which is the first book in this series.  The second book, Remember Me has been released but since I hadn't read the first book I needed to start there.

I really enjoy these types of books.  There is action and danger along with a slowly building romance and some good friendships.  This book had all the elements that make up a good story.  I was pulled in quickly and there I stayed.

Anamae is an interesting character.  One of the things I liked about her was her weakness.  She is thrown into a world that she knows nothing about.  She isn't a fighter and her heart leads her to do some rash things.  She has inner strength but she doesn't come across all tough and assertive.  I actually really liked that because I see growth and building strenth as Anamae's knowledge and experience expand.

My only complaint about this book is the swearing.  I'm just not a fan of swearing.  It doesn't in any way enhance this book.  

Enjoy the following excerpt as well as all the goodies to follow!

Easing the door closed, I climb out of the attic and head to the bathroom to clean my dust-covered hands. Water rushes from the spout and splashes against the sides as the basin fills. A reflection of me staresback at me from the mirror, my dirty hand clutching my aching chest. Today everything feels so raw, open, and fresh like it only just happened. She should still be here.
Rubbing my hands clean, I delve into my pocket for the jewelry. Bringing it to my collar, I pin the brooch into my blouse. The hard edges prick my skin. My thumb brushes over the smooth, round sides of the pendant and when I pull it over my head, the chain catches on my hair. After I twist it through the tangle so it finally falls cool against my skin, it nestles in the hollow of my throat. I pick it up between my fingers and with reverent slow strokes, rub my thumb over the shiny yellow center—the pendant Mom never took off.
A shiver shoots up my spine and out through my limbs like an electric current, zapping every cell, everyfiber, every part of my being. Walking on graves, that’s what Mom would have said. Maybe it’s an omen abouther.
I plant my palms on either side of the full basin and peer into the still water, taking a moment to collect my thoughts. The water reflects only the cream ceiling. That can’t be right. I do a double take.
My chest tightens. I hold my hand up, but I can’t see it—not my arm, not my chewed fingernails, not my leather watch on my wrist. Where am I? Mouth gaping, I look into the mirror again, but I see nothing.
Not even my face.
I dip my finger into the warm, reflection-free water. Circles ripple in ever growing rings, but there’s no image. My gaze flits to the mirror, but I see only the open door. I have no reflection.
My stomach flutters like a thousand butterflies are trying to escape it. I slap my palm onto my chest, and I can still feel me. I must be here. When I slide the pendant over my head, my reflection blinks onto the mirror. Huh? Pulling it back on, my hand brushes the cool metal. The ripple goes through me again. I look into themirror, and once more my reflection’s gone.
I grab my hairbrush from the drawer and wave it around in the air, but its image isn’t cast in the mirroreither. It has to be magic, but that’s only in fairytales. Will’s not going to believe this, not in a million years. I pull the pendant over my head and my reflection returns. No way. It can’t be, but it is. I’m almost certain it’smaking me invisible, but how?
I put it on—invisible. Take it off—visible.
It doesn’t make any sense. How can something like this—like those video games Will plays—even exist? It must be a magical artifact or some kind of prank. My shoulders shake with a chuckle while I stare atmyself in the mirror. This is unreal. I bet he’s gone right back to working on his car. He’ll love this. Ha! Now let’s see who found the weirdest treasure. I slide it back on and wipe my damp hands on my jeans. Watch out Will, I’m going to sneak up and scare the life right out of you.

Remember Me 
  Remember Me An exciting new adventure from Stacey Nash, set in the world of The Collective. When all is lost, she must remember... Anamae Gilbert managed to thwart The Collective and rescue her father, even though his mind is now a shell. Determined to stop Councilor Manvyke hurting her family again, she's training to become an active resistance member and falling hard for resistance fighter Jax Belfry. But things never sail along smoothly - Manvyke wants retribution and Anamae's name is high on his list. After a blow to the head, she awakes in an unfamiliar location unable to remember the last few weeks. She can't believe the fascinating new technology she's seeing. She's the new kid at school, and although weapons training comes with ease, something feels off. Why does the other new kid's smile make her heart ache? And why does her gut tell her to run?  

Remember Me Image

  Stacey Nash
Author Stacey Nash Stacey Nash writes adventure filled stories for Young Adults in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. She loves to read and write books that have a lot of adventure, a good dose of danger, a smattering of romance, and KISSING! Hailing from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, she loves nothing more than immersing herself in the beauty and culture of the local area.

  Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/30/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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 and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway
Forget Me Not and Remember Me
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Deceived by Kathi Oram Peterson + $25 and Book Giveaway!

A storm rages outside the unassuming Los Angeles house, while within, something sinister lurks. A murderer stalks his victim, unaware of a witness to the horrific crime: awakened from a deep, drug-induced slumber, Tara Kelly hears voices in the next room. Struggling to focus through her sleep medication, the young woman helplessly observes her aunt's murder. Now she's a loose end the killer cannot ignore . . .

A family friend helps Tara as she does the only thing she can: disappear. Fleeing to the security of a remote Idaho ranch, Tara finds herself under the guard of handsome rancher Joseph White Eagle. Her unwitting protector takes his role seriously, going as far as claiming that Tara is his fiancée. But even as their relationship deepens, Joseph struggles to see past Tara's similarities to his late wife. When a series of accidents threatens Tara's life, it becomes clear that her attempt to out run danger has been in vain. The killer will stop at nothing to find her, and Joseph will do anything to protect her even if it means unraveling secrets that will have devastating consequences for them both.

I was super excited to sign on for this blog tour with Covenant Communications.  Kathi Oram Peterson is one of my favorite LDS fiction writers.  She really knows how to capture light suspense and romance together in the perfect way for me.  I am a bit of a chicken so light suspense is about all I can handle!

This book kept me interested and engaged from beginning to end.  I enjoyed the mixture of Native American and Irish customs thrown in that added a bit of extra flavor.  The plot is nothing new or mind blowing but a good story is a good story.  The characters were developed and felt real to me.  I loved the ranch setting and a handsome cowboy is always a great perk.  :)  Joseph is a protector and I loved that most about him.

Another thing that I love is that this book is clean.  No swearing or sexual situations.  I knew that going into this because I've read this author before and because it is LDS fiction.  This book does talk about God and has religious elements to it.

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Christmas Desserts: Sweets of the Season by Laura Powell

Sweeten up your holidays with Christmas Desserts! With this delicious collection of 20 seasonal recipes, you’ll enjoy treats like Gingerbread Cheesecake Squares, Chewy Popcorn Balls, Eggnog Cookies, and more! Not only does this affordable, full-color pamphlet make the perfect gift for neighbors, coworkers, and friends, but these festively flavored recipes will soon become family favorites.

What is it about the holidays that makes us want to cook and bake?  I'm usually not a girl who loves to cook and bake but I sure love when other people do!  Especially during the holidays.    Lucky for me, I have a daughter that loves to bake- especially treats.  This booklet is perfect because it inspired her to make all kinds of things.  Most of them haven't actually come about quite yet but they will as the holidays draw nearer.

The pictures in this booklet will make your mouth water.  There are 20 different recipes and one of them is bound to hit your sweet spot.  Fudge, muffins, cookies, cupcakes, popcorn balls, crepes and cake.  Ummmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about them all!

My daughter make the Decadent Peppermint Brownie Dessert for us and it was a sweet treat!  It looked so pretty too.  This is an awesome recipe collection to have, and the perfect gift for a friend or neighbor for Christmas.

My thanks to Cedar Fort for allowing me to have and review this yummy book for them!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cover Reveal from Kimberly Krey!

I'm thrilled to present the cover to my upcoming novel, Rough Edges. A companion to the Sweet Montana Bride Series, this sweet story provides a closer look at Allie Emerson. Some of you might know her from novels Reese's Cowboy Kiss and Jade's Cowboy Crush. From one story to the next, we see this adorable character go from supportive wife of a selfish man, to a recently divorced woman raising two girls on her own. With Terrance out of her life for good, it's time for Allie to finally get her happy ending. And what better place to start than Fox's Custom Woodwork, where Braden Fox acts as both owner and carpenter. Oh, and did I happen to mention that he's Terrance's old best friend?

Now for the cover to what will be the forth part to the Sweet Montana Bride series.

Since most of us skip the paperback and go right for the ebook, the back covers are often left unseen. For that reason, I thought I'd include the backside as well, along with the spine. I love this one because it includes a rare and beautiful glimpse into Braden's wood shop, a place I have come to love through discovering more about these characters and their past.

And in case you can't read it from the pic, here's the book blurb:

Divorced mother, Allie Emerson, never imagined she’d be raising two teenage girls on her own. Between parenting and paying the bills, she hasn’t even thought about meeting a man. That changes once she hears local carpenter, Braden Fox, is in need of a secretary. Back in high school, Allie had done all she could to deny the sparks burning between her and Braden; perhaps now they could explore the possibilities.

Braden has heard all about what Terrance did to Allie and the girls, has been planning to stop by and see how she’s getting along, but Allie beats him to it by showing up at his shop in search of a job. Her single visit reignites the old flame Braden used to torch for her; trouble is, old feelings of resentment return as well. Allie did choose Terrance over him, after all. And as much as Braden wants Allie in his life, he’s not sure he can open his heart again.

With this second chance at romance, will the bumps in their relationship be too much to get over, or will this carpenter learn to smooth out the past?

Rough Edges will be available on Amazon soon. For updates, sign up for my email list by clicking here. Also receive updates on my FB author page here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Amazing Hairstyles from Easy to Elegant by Becky Porter

Tired of bad hair days? Popular hairstyle blogger Becky Porter teaches you the basics of braids, buns, and twists, and helps you combine them to create amazing hairstyles for any occasion. Go from drab to fab at any age with the easy, step-by-step tutorials in this essential guide.

I think it's important to note first that I am not a very talented hair stylest.  I have two girls and really, I have only mastered the very basics.  I have always wanted to try some fancier things though and this book gave me just the nudge and help that I needed.

I love the easy to understand instructions and the pictures too.  When I am learning to do things, it's so much easier for me to have a book or actual written instructions in front of me.  With this book, I don't have to pause or stop a video and I don't have to take my computer or tablet into the bathroom.  I like that my girls can read me these instructions as I go too.

My oldest daughter even tried some of the fancier braids herself and she did an awesome job!

This book is awesome.  I'm so glad to have it in my house.  I think it's a book that will be used over and over.  I'm envisioning some fancy styles for junior prom right now!  

This would also be a fun gift for any girl along with some bobby pins and other hair tools this book recommends.  I actually think I'm going to do this for my nieces!

You can purchase this book at Amazon and Cedar Fort.

My thanks to Cedar Fort for sending me this book for review.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Enter to Win a Free Book of Your Choice in the Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop!

I have so much to be grateful for.  So, so much.  But today I'm going to narrow it down to blog related gratitude.  

I'm so grateful I can read.  Reading is a huge part of my life and every day is a new adventure with a book in my hand.  Words hold such power- both spoken and written.

I am also grateful to be able to read and review books.  I'm grateful for authors who write and publishers who share.  :)  This blog is a fantastic outlet for me to share one of the things I love most- books!

I'm grateful for my blog followers which is why I'm having this giveaway.  It's a way to say thank you.  THANK YOU!!

This giveaway today is for a book of YOUR CHOICE, $12 or less from Amazon if you are US and The Book Depository if you are INT.  This is for an actual book, not a giftcard or anything else.  You also have the option of choosing an ebook if you prefer.  Thanks for stopping by and happy hopping!

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Becoming Beauty by Sarah Boucher

Claws. Long, filthy, and dangerously sharp.

They’re the first thing Bella sees after what has easily been the worst day of her life. Careful not to alert her captor to her conscious state, she glances past the matted fur-covered arms and expanse of chest to the face. If something surrounded by tangled black rattails can be called a face.

Perhaps if Bella were the quintessential Beauty—gorgeous, kindhearted, and self-sacrificing—she might have a fighting chance in transforming this monster into a man. But she’s never been the toad-kissing kind. Obsessed with landing a wealthy nobleman and escaping her humdrum life, she will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Which is precisely what landed her here, at the mercy of the Beast.

In this imaginative retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Bella's strong sense of entitlement stresses her family's meager finances and as punishment she's sent into the Beast’s service. As Bella improves circumstances in her new life, she also finds herself changing for the better. Bella must choose whether to follow the path she’s always dreamed of—or risk it all for something even greater.

If you love fairy tale retellings then you might be very interested in this book.  This has a very unique take on Beauty and the Beast.  I kept looking for little things to remind me of the Disney version of this story and sometimes I found them, in a general sort of way, but mostly I did not.

Bella is a manipulative and selfish girl.  That’s really the long and short of it.  Certain circumstances bring her to “the beast” although between him and Bella the term “beast” is really up for grabs.  A sort of transformation takes place over time and really because of small kindnesses.  I love transformations for the better.  There is something so satisfying in that.  In this book we see many people transform in some way or another.

Bella ends up with a necklace.  It has a stone hanging from it and Bella realizes that she can see and feel memories through it.  She dreams things that are someone else’s memories.  It is both freaky and cool and it offers Bella many insights as to her situation.

This story had a love triangle within a love triangle.  I’m not really a big fan of love triangles so having a double one going on was a bit overwhelming.

One idea I really loved from this book was no matter what happens to us- grief, hurt, anger, physical ailments or whatever- we cannot allow the beast to take over.  Don’t let the crappy things in life remove your humanity and compassion for other people.  Yeah, that’s a good message for the day.  J

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

On Tour with Christmas, Actually from Harlequin Heartwarming + a $25 and book giveaway!

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

Christmas, Actually
Christmas, Actually
by Anna Adams, Anna J. Stewart, & Melinda Curtis
Clean Contemporary Romance
Paperback & Ebook, 202 pages
November 1st 2014 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Discover the magic of Christmas Town, Maine!

Three lonely strangers come to Christmas Town, Maine, and find love with three Banning siblings in the town that celebrates the holidays by decorating its square with lights and ribbons and a holiday pageant on Christmas Eve. Tradition has it that a kiss beneath the mistletoe that night means marriage for the couple in the new year.

The Christmas Gift by Anna Adams:
Jack Banning promised to support the mother of his unborn child… But she doesn't need money, she only needs him.

The Christmas Wish by Anna J. Stewart:
Callie Banning's student has declared war on Christmas, so it's up to her to help the little girl—and her widowed father—believe again.

The Christmas Date by Melinda Curtis:
Gina Vernay is about to meet her online mystery date…and she's in for the surprise of a lifetime!

I was super excited to read this three book collection from Harlequin Heartwarming.  If you follow my blog, you know I'm a fan of the Heartwarming line because they are always squeaky clean romances.  I know exactly what I'm going to get.

These books are about the three siblings of the Banning family.  They live in Christmas Town and there is no better place for Christmas celebrations than in Christmas town!  Each story is happening simultaneously but you only see it from one person's perspective at a time.

Yeah, I really loved my time in Christmas Town with the Banning family.  Each story was unique and romantic.  I loved all the characters.  They were real and identifiable.  It is the perfect book to curl up with as the days get colder and we get closer to Christmas.

About the Authors

Photo 34
Anna Adams wrote her first romance in wet sand. The Atlantic Ocean washed it away, but Anna kept going. Her stories are of love, like the proverbial stone in a lake, making ripples that spread and contract and involve. From Iceland to Hawaii, and points in between, Anna and her own hero share with children and family and friends who’ve become family. All this living and loving gives Anna plenty of fodder for stories of love set in real life. Come along and live them with her!

Anna J. Stewart can't remember a time she didn't have a book in her hand or a story in her head and credits her mother never saying no to a book for turning her into a writer. Anna lives in Northern California with an overly attentive cat named Snickers and is happiest when setting her heroes and heroines on their road to happily ever after amidst family, fun and laughter.

Melinda Curtis
Melinda Curtis grew up on an isolated sheep ranch, where mountain lions had been seen and yet she roamed unaccompanied. Being a rather optimistic, clueless of danger, sort she took to playing "what if" games that led her to become an author. She spends days trying to figure out new ways to say "He made her heart pound." That might sound boring, but the challenge keeps her mentally ahead of her 3 kids and college sweetheart husband.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

- Gift Card Prize Pack: $20 Amazon gift card and ebook of Christmas, Actually (open internationally)
- US Prize Pack: Paperback of Christmas, Actually and three Christmas ornaments (US only)
- 3 ebooks of Christmas, Actually (open internationally)
Ends November 30th

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Peace & Goodwill by Lee Strauss + Boxset and Giftcard Giveaway

Peace & Goodwill is set in The Minstrel Series world, but can be read alone.

Belle gets the best Christmas present ever, a man in uniform! Ian is a soldier home on leave. Neither of them have any idea how good it will feel to fall in love or how hard it will be to say good-bye. Anna is spending the holidays alone again with only her faithful dog Angel to keep her company. She can’t afford to pay the rent and her landlord is threatening to kick her out. At least she’s finished with her chemo treatments. She can be thankful for that. Plus, there’s Rhys, the handsome visitor with kind eyes. One fateful, cold and snowy night a chance encounter changes everything. Love is lost. Love is found. Life will never be the same.

I love the Minstrel series.  This one is just a novella so it's a lot shorter than the other books in the series and it's also set at Christmas making it the perfect quick read for the holiday season.

This book goes back and forth between Belle and Anna.  Belle has a happy, new love Christmas going on while Anna is struggling to stay alive.  This story is happy and heartbreaking all at the same time.

I was surprised at the ending and how the characters came together.  It wasn't what I was expecting at all.  I actually went back at one point to make sure I hadn't missed something because I was sure I had something wrong.  But nope.  The book ends on a happy note but it was so sad too.  It pulled on my heartstrings.  

As I said before, I love the Mistrel Series.  I'm so happy I was able to be a part of reading and reviewing this one.  It's a great addition to the series.  The author is giving away an original Christmas song with every pre-order of this book so take advantage of that for sure!  Once you've pre-ordered, just head over HERE and fill out the form to get your free song.

* Goodreads * Amazon

Lee Strauss writes romantic mixed genres set in the past, present and future for YA and adult readers. She also writes light and fun stuff as Elle Strauss. She divides her time between BC, Canada and Dresden, Germany, and enjoys drinking coffee and eating chocolate in both places. Find out more at

Twitter: @elle_strauss
YouTube channel

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