Monday, November 25, 2013

Gratitude for the "Nows" of Life


This year has been full of many bumps, bruises, and twists and turns so far. I have found myself wallowing more than I should in the "What ifs" and "Somedays" of life. It is embarrassing how much time I've wasted regretting the past, and worrying about the future. But I am determined not to waste another moment of the "Nows" of this month.

While life will never be all sunny days, easy pitches, and soft landings, it does hand me lots of laughter and joy to balance the tears and frustration. Some of the greatest "Nows" of my life, thus far, have happened this year.

Every struggle of life is a reminder of the blessing of a wonderful, patient husband to weather the storms with.

Midnight giggles with a sister about to leave on her mission are the best kind.

Coaxing a dying car to live one more day makes every outing an adventure.

An acceptance letter to graduate school is especially sweet after a bitter rejection.

A baby's heartbeat is the best sound in the world.

Time to write and research is a precious, treasured commodity.

A book enjoyed under a warm blanket as the wind howls outside the shelter of a cozy apartment is the most wonderful story.

Words of comfort and encouragement during a time of despair are the sweetest words ever spoken.

Each day of life is a gift beyond compare.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of laughter, family, and gratitude!


What are you most thankful for this holiday season?








Monday, November 18, 2013

The Emerald Ring Review




The Emerald Ring (Cleopatra's Legacy)

Ordinary tween life turns upside down when Ancient Egypt intrudes on modern middle school life. Twelve year old Sara Guadalupe Bogus reads about adventures, but unexpectedly is drawn into one when a mystical emerald ring that once belonged to Cleopatra becomes stuck on her finger.
A series of burglaries spook Sara’s small Ohio hometown. Concluding that the root of all the crimes is the emerald ring, Sara realizes it’s up to her and her friends, Heidi and African exchange student Kainu, to save the town and protect Cleopatra’s legacy. Filled with magic, the ring thrusts Sara into a world filled with nightmares, allows her to shape shift into an Egyptian cat and battle assassins.


ISBN-13: 978-1462111336







My Review: 

This was a great new find to add to my tween fantasy books! White captures a twelve-year-old girl's voice perfectly with Sara. She is spunky, full of life, and looking for adventure. I enjoyed her frequent travel back to Ancient Egypt, and an interesting new perspective on the life of Cleopatra and her people.

Sara doesn't expect her desire to travel to distant lands to be fulfilled in her grandmother's attic. But when an old emerald ring transports her back to Cleopatra's Egypt, as a cat, she finds adventures can be a bit more dangerous than she thought. Sara's zest in chasing after the thief terrorizing her neighborhood, and her desire to help her new friend from Africa make her a likable character. I found myself holding my breath a few times with her narrow escapes and near misses. Tweens and their parents will enjoy this history and magic-filled tale of ancient cults and brave new heroes, and felines. 

Enjoy!


My name is Dorine White. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Humanities. I am a member of the SCBWI, ANWA, LDS Storymakers and the PNWA. I write middle grade and YA fantasy. My first book, The Emerald Ring, was published May 2013 by Cedar Fort Books.


Author Website- http://www.dorinewhite.com/
Blog- The Write Path- http://www.dorinewhite.blogspot.com/
Twitter @Dorinewhite- https://twitter.com/DorineWhite
Facebook Author Page- https://www.facebook.com/dorinewhite

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG-Writing for Victory

http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html



I once attended a writer's workshop that compared writing to running a marathon. The talented, and super fit, Ally Condie presented on how she approached writing with the same mentality she trained for marathons. You start by running a mile, or writing a few words, and then work you way up to completing a marathon, or a novel.

Her words are true, but I'd like to add an analogy of my own. Writing is also like hiking.

Sometimes we march right up the mountain without breaking a sweat.




Sometimes we plod up that mountain and reach the top winded.

 

Sometimes we can only manage a few steps at a time, and the peak seems to never get closer.
Until one day . . .



Look closely and you'll see me on the very top of that mountain peak.

It doesn't matter if we are the first to the peak, or not. What matters is putting one foot, or word, after the other, strengthening those writing muscles, and then finishing victorious.

Good luck to all NaNoers and non-NaNoers this month!



















Monday, November 4, 2013

A Light in Dark Places Blog Tour

light in dark tour


  A Light in Dark Places In December, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. As law enforcement tried to piece together what had happened to Susan, her husband, Josh Powell, became the only person of interest in the case. For Jennifer Graves, Josh’s sister, the nightmare started long before Susan’s disappearance. From her experiences growing up in the Powell family to the terrifying moment when she first started to believe her brother was a killer, she relied on her faith to stay strong. She devoted herself to the safety of Susan’s boys, Charlie and Braden, whom she hoped to be able to raise as her own. When the boys were murdered by their father in February, 2012, Jennifer was more than devastated, but she had to believe there was a reason for it all—including the deaths of her beloved nephews. In A Light In Dark Places, Jennifer shares her struggles and her triumphs. In coming to terms with such tragedy she finally was able to embrace the truth that we all have the power to choose our own path—and there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem.


Excerpt:
The phone rang at midnight on September 22, 2011. I shot up in bed, my heart pounding. Who would be calling at this hour? Unless—
I grabbed the phone. It was Chuck. Maybe this was it. “Hello?”
“Hi, sorry to call so late, but I thought you’d want to know. Your dad has been arrested.” Not Josh?
“My dad?” I’d always expected he would be arrested, but along with Josh, not instead of him. Kirk looked over at me with questioning eyes, and I waved at him to be patient.
“It was for voyeurism and child pornography. The boys have been removed from the home.”
My groggy brain fought to take it in. My stomach churned at the mention of the charges, but the other, glorious fact outshined that darkness.
“Kirk, the boys are out of that house!” I stage whispered. It was hard to keep my voice quiet, to not wake the kids.
Chuck went on to explain that the boys were in foster care until the court could sort things out. My mind was spinning. Were they frightened? Did they know what was happening? I ached for the fear and uncertainty they must be experiencing, yet I knew they were safe. That kind of emergency foster care meant that Josh wouldn’t even know where to find them. He couldn’t get to them now. And soon, they would be under their grandparents’ protective care.
I tried to listen as Chuck described what he knew of the arrest, but inside, I was jumping up and down for joy. Kirk took over the call and relayed bits of information back to me.
“They found stuff in your dad’s house—photos of girls. Chuck doesn’t know the details. The actual charges are unrelated to Susan’s disappearance.”
That was a disappointment. But I couldn’t let it keep me down for long. Surely, this would bring a break in the case. And regardless of what happened there, the boys were safe.
Chuck promised to keep us up to date with any developments, and we hung up. Sleep was elusive then. How could I sleep? It appeared that something real was going to happen after almost two years of waiting.
Over the next few days, we were on pins and needles, eager for any bit of new information. Though I usually avoided watching the news, I started combing through it, looking for details.
As the case unfolded, the child porn charges were dropped, and the focus became the voyeurism. My dad had allegedly been taking photos of his little next-door neighbors while they bathed and used the restroom—all through the blinds over his windows and theirs.
Every time I thought about that, my stomach would churn again. It was another stark reminder of how sick he was, how far he’d sunk.
Another detail came out then that stunned the world, though it didn’t surprise me a bit. There were hundreds of pictures found of Susan in my dad’s things. Many of them were of her in various states of undress, and they were obviously taken without her knowing. Others were close-ups of her buttocks, legs, or breasts. She was fully dressed in these pictures, and, again, it was clear she had no knowledge of his presence. It was physical evidence of his obsession with her.
How guilty this made him look! Of course, the investigators had been seeing the hints of this obsession for months. But now, the media got wind of it, and it started to bring up all sorts of questions. They were the same questions I’d asked myself from the beginning. How much of Susan’s disappearance was just Josh? What did my dad have to do with it? I didn’t know for sure, but that suspicion of his involvement had been there all along, and now others were asking the same questions.
In the meantime, all we could do was watch and wait to hear what was happening with the boys.
A couple days later as I was doing laundry, I caught myself humming happily. The sound was so foreign that it stopped me in my tracks. I put the laundry basket down and leaned against the wall. When was the last time I’d been happy enough to hum like that? I couldn’t even remember. Had it really been since before Susan’s disappearance? Suddenly, I realized what a burden had been lifted. Knowing the boys were out of that house had changed me. My shoulders were straighter. I was smiling. And humming. I closed my eyes and offered a silent prayer of gratitude.
“Thank you for getting the boys to safety.”
I picked up the laundry basket and carried it upstairs. I felt fifty pounds lighter.
It was amazing what hope could do.


Praise for A Light in Dark Places

I love true accounts of people overcoming challenges and helping others with the lessons learned from them. This story of Jennifer's experiences throughout her abusive childhood, and later the disappearance of Susan and the murder of her two sweet nephews is just that. She shares how she felt God's hand in her life, guiding her to make better choices than the rest of her family did. Though the book had so many sad details, it ended with hope, courage and love. ~D. Raymond

This was a very informative read. I lived in Utah at the time of Susan's disappearance and followed the news every day. This book answered many questions that the news did not. Although it was very sad and I already knew the outcome it was a good read. I admire Jennifer for her part in the whole story and I am glad she had the fortitude to write this book to honor her sister in law. ~Katie O.

To finally read about details that were never shared brought closure for me about this insidious crime. While the book was an easy read, the message shared about breaking the cycle of abusive relationships is invaluable. It truly does take someone removing themselves from their abusive family's presence to stop the cycle. Praises to the author for sharing her perspectives. ~Arlene   add to goodreads    
JenandEmAuthorphoto1Jennifer Graves is the mother of 5 beautiful children, 2 girls and 3 boys. She and her husband have been happily married for 19 years and together have been active in their community and church. Jennifer is the sister of Josh Powell who killed his 2 sons, Charlie and Braden, as well as himself in February of 2012, and is also believed to have killed his wife, Susan Cox Powell, in December of 2009. She is the recipient of the 2013 ChainBreaker of the year Award, given for breaking the chain of abuse and violence in her family. She enjoys homeschooling their children and mentoring in classes for the commonwealth school they attend. She also loves reading, playing card and board games, and learning new things. Most of all she loves to spend time with her husband and children. They currently reside in West Jordan, UT.
♦ ♦ ♦
Emily Clawson is an author, a mother and a mentor. She traditionally writes inspirational fiction. This book has been a life changing experience for her and she is grateful to have been a part of telling this story. She resides in Taylorsville with her husband and four children where they run their leadership mentoring programs for youth.

  Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/21/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

 





Have a terrifyingly tasty night!

What are fun plans do you have? Do they involve more trick, or treat?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Light in Dark Places Book Blast

light in dark

A Light in Dark Places In December, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. As law enforcement tried to piece together what had happened to Susan, her husband, Josh Powell, became the only person of interest in the case. For Jennifer Graves, Josh’s sister, the nightmare started long before Susan’s disappearance. From her experiences growing up in the Powell family to the terrifying moment when she first started to believe her brother was a killer, she relied on her faith to stay strong. She devoted herself to the safety of Susan’s boys, Charlie and Braden, whom she hoped to be able to raise as her own. When the boys were murdered by their father in February, 2012, Jennifer was more than devastated, but she had to believe there was a reason for it all—including the deaths of her beloved nephews. In A Light In Dark Places, Jennifer shares her struggles and her triumphs. In coming to terms with such tragedy she finally was able to embrace the truth that we all have the power to choose our own path—and there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem.


Praise for A Light in Dark Places

I just finished reading "A Light in Dark Places" By Jennifer Graves and Emily Gray Clawson. I was impressed with how well written the book was. The descriptions are such that I felt I was part of the story. I was grateful that the message was one of hope and peace in tragedy. The book does tell the tale of Susan Powell, her boys and their demise but doesn't dwell on it. It was nice to see inside the life experiences of someone so close to them and to see things from Jennifer's perspective rather than what you see on the media. I highly recommend this book. It doesn't disappoint! – T. Hyde

I love true accounts of people overcoming challenges and helping others with the lessons learned from them. This story of Jennifer's experiences throughout her abusive childhood, and later the disappearance of Susan and the murder of her two sweet nephews is just that. She shares how she felt God's hand in her life, guiding her to make better choices than the rest of her family did. Though the book had so many sad details, it ended with hope, courage and love. ~D. Raymond

I had followed the story of Susan Powell very closely so I wasn't sure if the book was going to tell me something I didn't already know...but it sure did. Jennifer was very brave in writing this book and all she had done in support for Susan. I highly recommend the book it sheds a light on the whole situation that helps make things more clear. ~ Carolyn

This was a very informative read. I lived in Utah at the time of Susan's disappearance and followed the news every day. This book answered many questions that the news did not. Although it was very sad and I already knew the outcome it was a good read. I admire Jennifer for her part in the whole story and I am glad she had the fortitude to write this book to honor her sister in law. ~Katie O.

To finally read about details that were never shared brought closure for me about this insidious crime. While the book was an easy read, the message shared about breaking the cycle of abusive relationships is invaluable. It truly does take someone removing themselves from their abusive family's presence to stop the cycle. Praises to the author for sharing her perspectives. ~Arlene
      
JenandEmAuthorphoto1Jennifer Graves is the mother of 5 beautiful children, 2 girls and 3 boys. She and her husband have been happily married for 19 years and together have been active in their community and church. Jennifer is the sister of Josh Powell who killed his 2 sons, Charlie and Braden, as well as himself in February of 2012, and is also believed to have killed his wife, Susan Cox Powell, in December of 2009. She is the recipient of the 2013 ChainBreaker of the year Award, given for breaking the chain of abuse and violence in her family. She enjoys homeschooling their children and mentoring in classes for the commonwealth school they attend. She also loves reading, playing card and board games, and learning new things. Most of all she loves to spend time with her husband and children. They currently reside in West Jordan, UT.


♦ ♦ ♦

Emily Clawson is an author, a mother and a mentor. She traditionally writes inspirational fiction. This book has been a life changing experience for her and she is grateful to have been a part of telling this story. She resides in Taylorsville with her husband and four children where they run their leadership mentoring programs for youth.
 

 
BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/15/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 21, 2013

Just Ella Book Review


A proper, clean Romance

Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she'd imagined.

"I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me."





My Review
5 out of 5 stars

This novel is a breath of fresh air in the YA romance market. Princess Ariella is a delightful, strong, complex character that draws you into the story. Her friendship, and budding romance, with the handsome gardener, Gavin, is realistic and sweet. The struggles they face show that love is not always an easy path to tread, but is worth every pain in the end.

Larsen gives her characters tough choices and makes them actually deal with the consequences of every decision, good and bad. I loved how it showed that life is not always easy, and doing the right thing is never the most comfortable choice to make. Ariella is spunky, but also very human. I like how she is constantly growing and striving to be better. Despite her family's faults she loves them, but in the end she has to learn to choose her own path in life. A great coming of age story!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Spring Cleaning in October

You ever feel like a juggler who can't keep any of the balls in the air?

That has become my life lately. I'm trying to see so many different balls at once, they all end up on the ground.

 So even though I know it is a bit late in the year, my life is definitely in need of some de-cluttering love. Not that I don't enjoy everything I have in my life right now. I've just realized that the constant exhaustion and stress is not necessary. And if I'm so busy picking up balls I don't get anything accomplished, I'm not at my most productive.

Ground rules for relearning to juggle:

1) God is important. Take time for Him and the day feels more manageable.

2) Health is important. Exercise is not a waste of time. Do it!

3) Family is going to be there long after the characters fade, but this moment won't. Cherish every beautiful moment with my loved ones.

4) Writing is a worthwhile dream. Don't worry about how much I do compared to others. Work on it a little everyday, and I will reach the finish line.

In order to get my life back on track, I know a lot of great things will have to take a backseat for awhile. I may not win any races anytime soon, but I'm excited to have time to spend on those things that are most important to me. Life will even out and things will trickle back into my life, but this time I hope to keep it at a more manageable pace. (This said with a sheepish grin because I know myself to well. But I will try not to overload myself. We'll see how it goes.)

Life is meant to be full of joy. Embrace it!
 



Have a week full of wonder and happiness!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

IWSG-Rekindling the flame







Wait. It's October already? When did that happen? *scratches head in wonder*

Sorry for the delayed post. The new month sneaked (Why is is sneaked? Snuck sounds so much better. English!) up on me, and I'm getting over a nasty cold. Fuzzy brain plus blogging, this should be fun if not coherent.

Ahem, anyhow, October is my favorite month. Fall is in the air, Halloween approaches, and I get to immerse myself into research for my latest NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project. What isn't to love?

I really need NaNoWriMo this year, and hope it rekindles the writing fire inside me. I'll admit, my desire to do so has dwindled to an ember over the past couple months. Questions and doubts plague me.

Will I ever make it?

I've been a beginner forever, and still have so much to learn!

Am I ever going to have a novel ready for publication?

Is writing just a waste of time and an excuse not to be a real grownup?

Nobody cares what I have to say, blah, blah, blah.

The list goes on and on. It is there every time I sit down to write a thought, a paragraph, anything. I finally gave up on writing regularly just to get the voice to ease up a little. Writing is not supposed to be connected to depression. It used to be a happy, freeing experience. When did it start mattering whether anyone else in the world cares that I'm a writer? When did the future of the book become more important than the journey?

Whenever it happened, I miss the joy of creating.

So that's my goal for the lovely month of October. I'm going to enjoy every second of the learning journey as I prepare to write my latest project. (Psst, it's a good one!) I'm not going to even try to picture the finished product. I'm not going to worry if it is ever read and adored by millions. Do I like it? Yes. Am I excited for the awesome story? Yes. Am I suddenly overly fascinated with ghosts and death statistics? Yes. Great! I'm on the right track.

I hope you all have a month full of writing and life adventures. Keep writing and dreaming!

Anyone else super excited for NaNoWriMo?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Rocky Road Review

 
rocky road

Rocky RoadRocky Road It was supposed to be a girls’ weekend in scenic St. George, Utah that would include shopping, trying out the local cuisine, and participating in a breast cancer fundraiser. The fact that one of the organizers of the fundraising event, a local doctor, disappeared two months ago was not supposed to be Sadie’s problem. In fact, she refuses to participate in the grassroots investigation her friend Caro, and Caro’s cousin, Tess, have put together prior to her arrival. But then she meets the ex-wife of the missing doctor. How could she not ask a few questions . . . that lead to a few more questions . . . that lead to a small town and yet even more questions. Before she knows it, Sadie is in the middle of yet another murder investigation and trying to piece together a convoluted trail of good intentions, hidden motivations, and philanthropy turned big business.



Amazon * Barnes & Noble

My Review:
5 out of 5 stars!

Rocky Road is a thrill ride of unexpected twists, revelations and mouth-watering adventure! Sadie's latest mystery is a little different from her previous escapades. For one, there isn't an actual body. Well, at least not at first. But when a local doctor goes missing, and Sadie and her friends uncover some disturbing clues, they can't help but follow the tantalizing trail. Sadie soon finds herself faced with many new dilemmas as things come to light that show there is more to this case than she originally guessed. Can she help the police fit together all the pieces before things spiral out of control?

I stayed up all night reading the stunning conclusion to Josi Kilpack's latest culinary mystery. Sadie is as spunky and delightfully human as always. It was great to get to know Caro a little more after their previous adventure. I wasn't thrilled about Tess's character, but at least she made good fudge. Despite some rather annoying, and shallow characters, I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent mystery. This novel is packed so full of shifts and turns, everything I guessed proved to be absolutely wrong by the end. The whodunit, motive and real crime left me stunned. I never saw it coming. So grab a plate of your favorite Rocky Road dessert and settle in for an amazing tale that will leave you guessing until the last page.

Enjoy!


 
Author Josi S. Kilpack Born and raised in Salt Lake City Utah, I met my husband in high-school--well, he wasn't my husband then, just the cute guy in weight training with the permed mullet--and we married in 1993. I wrote my first book while on bed rest with my third child and have gone on to publish 20 novels, the most recent being part of The Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series. I currently live in Willard, Utah with my husband, children, and cat.  
 








Culinary Mysteries by Josi Kilpack
culinary mysteries

  Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/6/13   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Janitors: Curse of the Broomstaff Review





Janitors, Book 3: Curse of the Broomstaff

A secret society of Janitors with wizard-like powers continue their battle, and now, the stakes are even higher. The Bureau of Educational Maintenance is after Alan Zumbro and this time they mean business, deadly business. Spencer, Daisy, and their little team of rebels must find the source of all magical Glop and destroy it before it can destroy the world as we know it. No small task with the BEM and their monster toxites at their heels. It s a wild and dangerous ride as they follow the trail of clues all the way to the hiding place of the mysterious aurans: guardians of a secret landfill. What they discover there will change the way Spencer sees himself, not to mention the fate of the rebels.





My Review:
 5 out of 5 stars

Warning: This is a very trashy book. If garbage speak, odorous language, or messiness offends you, read no further.

The best Janitors book yet! I loved all the trash references. Whitesides brilliant creations and uses of all thing janitorial continues to surprise and delight. Spencer and Daisy continue their adventures in the ongoing battle against the BEM forces that wish to destroy education as we know it. This time they are joined by a quirky garbologist (someone who reads trash), the warlock Walter, Spencer's recently rescued father, and an unexpected old friend. Together, they race to beat the BEM to the map to the Aurans' hidden landfill, and hopefully the source of all Glop. The book starts with a wild ride that doesn't end until the last page. Filled with betrayal, danger, giant Toxites, new magic, and trashy monsters this book is sure to keep you up way past your bedtime.

This series is kid approved as certified by an eleven-year-old boy. My brother gives it two thumbs up and has demanded I let him read the latest book as soon as my review is posted. I better dot my I's and cross my T's before he goes on the warpath.

Enjoy! 


About the Author

Tyler Whitesides worked as a janitor at an elementary school to put himself through college. He graduated from Utah State University with a degree in music. In addition to writing novels, Tyler is an avid composer and arranger of instrumental music. He and his wife, Connie, who teaches third grade, live in northern Utah.
 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Blackmoore Review





 Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read twist.


My Review:

5 out of 5 stars

I loved Edenbrooke, and am super excited to have a chance to review Blackmoore. This book proved even better than Donaldson's first. It is full of romance, creepy old manors, ghost stories and villains who would stop a young lady from achieving her dreams. 

Kate has been friends with Henry and Sylvia Delafield since they were all children. Every year she envied the time when they would disappear to the mysterious Blackmoore estate that rested between the wild moors and the ocean she desperately wished to see. Now, at long last, Kate has been granted the ability to visit. She thrills in the freedom she's sure to find at this place of haunted wings and secret passages. But her arrival soon shatters all her childhood illusions. The moors are ugly, Henry is prepared to propose to the lovely Miss St. Claire, and his mother is as awful as always. Kate soon realizes she has merely traded the cage of her mother and sister's shameful behavior and her father's derision for an equally stifling cage of broken friendships, bargains with the devil, and lost love. The only thing that keeps her from going mad is the seemingly impossible dream of fleeing to India with her beloved aunt. But how can she fly free when her heart is still tied to Blackmoore?

The love story between Henry and Kate is sweet and full of heartache, dangerous secrets and vindictive mothers who threaten to separate them forever. Their story is shown through present day interactions, and flashbacks to their shared childhood. Donaldson handled the flashbacks in a way that enhanced the story, and made the transitions smooth and seamless to avoid reader confusion. I personally don't mind flashbacks, and found the episodes offered great insight into Kate's and Henry's characters, and her refusal to get married. It also allowed the reader to experience key moments in the past, rather than just be told about them. Very well done, in my opinion. 

What I didn't like. I found Oliver's presence in the beginning very confusing. Kate claimed this young boy was her brother, but he seemed more like a servant. He slept in the kitchen and was raised by the cook. I wanted to know a bit more about Oliver and why he didn't live or interact with the rest of the family, except Kate. But that is just my curious nature being overactive again. Overall, a great love story about a girl who must learn to make her own happiness and freedom despite the cages others would attempt to construct around her. 

 About Julianne Donaldson
Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, visited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle. After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing about distant times and places. She lives in Utah with her husband and four children.








Special pricing for ebooks on Amazon.

Edenbrooke: $1.99
Blackmoore: $7.99

Monday, September 16, 2013

Free ebook



The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Renee Anderson

Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Taycee Emerson wants out. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it’s up to the viewers–not her–to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Coerced into participating, Taycee does what any self-preserving girl would do. She launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. Unfortunately, Luke’s an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she’s up to, it means revenge.

Grab a copy for FREE on Amazon!


PDF Season 2 Finale-"Fitness Challenge"

Oh my gosh, funniest video I've seen in a long time! I had horrible flashbacks of my attempts to do P90X workouts, tears and all, but minus the epic music. I loved the finish, and rooted for Nora and everyone else as they fought to face the challenge. Great finale to an awesome series!









Thanks for all those who support this great series, and clean, fun humor. You guys all deserve an awesome gift, and that's what you'll get. This weeks episode is sponsored by . . .drum roll please. . .

The Power of Starting Something Stupid by Richie Norton

Book Description
What if the smartest people in the world understand something that the rest of us don't? (They do.)
What if they know that in order to achieve success, they will sometimes have to do things that others may initially perceive as stupid? The fact of the matter is that the smartest people in the world don't run from stupid, they lean into it (in a smart way).
In The Power of Starting Something Stupid, Richie Norton redefines stupid as we know it, demonstrating that life-changing ideas are often tragically mislabeled stupid. What if the key to success, creativity, and fulfillment in your life lies in the potential of those stupid ideas?

It sounds like an awesome book. I'm all for doing bold, new things to reach my dreams.

No extreme challenge needed to enter to win. Just drop me a comment, including your email for easy winner notification, telling me about a time you did something others saw as stupid, but helped you grow. 

I'm off to enjoy some delicious chocolate and watch the hilarious video again.

Good luck!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Spy for a Spy Cover Reveal

 I loved I, Spy and Mr. Nice Spy! I'm so excited to announce the upcoming release of Jordan McCollum's newest spy novel, Spy for a Spy. Enjoy the awesome new cover below.

Spy for a Spy, the sequel to I, Spy, will be released November 12, 2013 (11-12-13!)
Already know you want to read it? Add Spy for a Spy on Goodreads.
Today, we’re especially excited to reveal the cover! But first, a little more about the book.

About the Book

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. And it was the last place CIA operative Talia Reynolds expected to run into fellow operative Brand Copley. AKA her new boss. AKA her ex-boyfriend.
Just the guy every woman wants to face in the middle of planning her wedding. Once again, Talia’s lying to the man she loves, but this time, to protect his heart.
After Brand takes over Talia’s latest case and steals her newest agent, he assigns her to spy on her old boss—who’s suddenly giving her every reason not to trust him. With only weeks until the big day, planning falls by the wayside as she goes into damage control mode. But when Talia discovers Brand’s real motives, fighting him is the only option, no matter what the personal and professional cost.

And now for the cover!

Advance praise

Spy for a Spy is the perfect followup to McCollum’s exciting debut, I, Spy. With more tension, more romance and higher stakes than ever, Talia’s story won’t let you go until you’ve come to the heart-stopping, surprising conclusion. Such a fun read!
Emily Gray Clawson, author of A Way Back to You

Jordan McCollum’s talent for first person present tense narrative puts the reader in the driver’s seat for heart-pounding action in Spy for a Spy. . . . Talia is back along with her fiancĂ© Danny, and many of the same great characters from I, Spy. We also meet a man from Talia’s past, a high ranking CIA operative with secrets that threaten the U.S. . . . This novel is a perfect blend of danger, intrigue, romance and even a little of the LDS religon. It is a great read the whole way through.
— Becki Clayson

Spy for a Spy is a story threaded with an unforgettable main character, high stakes espionage, and a case of wedding jitters that would try the patience of any groom. McCollum deftly keeps us on a tightrope of page-turning suspense balanced with witty romance that will not let you down. A great follow-up to I, Spy, and one you don't want to miss!

About the author


An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don’t want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most—she’s a mom.
Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.
Follow Jordan on Twitter, like Jordan on Facebook and add Spy for a Spy on Goodreads today!


Check out Jordan’s blog to find out how to get a sneak preview!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Indie Life-Sacrifice HER Cover Reveal




 Because being Indie doesn't have to mean going it alone.

This month I'm featuring a new Indie author whose debut novel will be out December of this year. A great big shout out to Sheena-kay Graham. You might recongnize her from her dedication to comments in the blog world. She is such a great support to fellow writers, and I'm excited to participate in her cover reveal.

Check it out.


Title: Sacrifice HER by Sheena-kay Graham
Goodreads: Sacrifice HER
 Release Date: December 2013

Summary: When a city is at stake is the life of one sixteen-year old girl worth risking thousands? Deidra Moore goes on the run after escaping from a group of human sacrifices for Bane: God of War. She doesn't believe he exists and sees uncertainty in the scorching desert as a better alternative. But Faux City isn't finished with her and their leader Lord Brinn is ordered by Bane - through one of his maiden worshipers- to bring her back or face dire consequences. In the desert Deidra meets a wanderer named Kane and as feelings spark can they find a safe place to lead a new life before Lord Brinn and his soldiers catch up with them? Yet the question remains. Does Bane really exist and if he does what will happen if either side succeeds or fails? Told in alternating perspectives of both the runaway servant girl and the blonde strong willed leader.

Author Bio: Sheena-kay Graham was never meant for a traditional job behind a desk. Her childhood career plans included becoming a ballerina, actress or someone who helped people. So naturally she decided to be a writer who writes from her bed. Yes, no desk for this Jamaican book lover. No matter if it’s reading, writing or using the computer....you get the gist. The love of the written word has always been with her leading to stories, novels, poetry and way too much fan fiction. This Christian woman can be found trolling Amazon online, in local book bookstores, watching movies on the big screen, or in her bed, or reading/writing/on the laptop...again in her bed. Mainly writes YA fiction and is ready to unleash her creativity to wow the masses.
Links

Cover Design: 
Image of woman with flowing hair (purchased): © Transfuchsian | Dreamstime.com
Cover Designer:  Langao @ http://fiverr.com/langao
And for a final bit of wow factor. Look at what I got for free without asking.

Check out more awesome posts here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

PDF-Basket Case

An awesome new video from Pretty Darn Funny features a little friendly competition between moms. Very funny, and so true how we judge ourselves compared to others.

Enjoy!




This weeks giveaway is the inspiring new CD from artist Hilary Weeks, Say Love! Leave a comment below to be entered to win.


Saylovehilaryweeks_detail

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

IWSG-Being a Writer



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

What writing means for me.




 Most days writing feels like this.































Some days feel like this.




Everyday I feel like this.




Monday, September 2, 2013

PDF Episode 3-"Budget Cuts"


Definitely my favorite of the episodes so far! Reminds me off my family growing up.

Enjoy!



Today I'm also featuring a giveaway offered by the people who sponsored Pretty Darn Funny, Deseret Book. Just leave a comment below with your email and the winner will be notified Friday.

 Rocky Road by Josi Kilpack

 About the Book
It was supposed to be a girls’ weekend in scenic St. George, Utah that would include shopping, trying out the local cuisine, and participating in a breast cancer fundraiser. The fact that one of the organizers of the fundraising event, a local doctor, disappeared two months ago was not supposed to be Sadie’s problem. In fact, she refuses to participate in the grassroots investigation her friend Caro, and Caro’s cousin, Tess, have put together prior to her arrival. But then she meets the ex-wife of the missing doctor. How could she not ask a few questions . . . that lead to a few more questions . . . that lead to a small town and yet even more questions. Before she knows it, Sadie is in the middle of yet another murder investigation and trying to piece together a convoluted trail of good intentions, hidden motivations, and philanthropy turned big business.

Monday, August 26, 2013

PDF Episode 2-Pinterest Insanity

This video totally sums up my feelings about Pinterest. I agree it is the evil invention of Martha Stewart and mother-in-laws to drive us all insane. Love it!

Enjoy!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Movie Cheating...the ultimate betrayal

Deseret Book is hosting the second season of Pretty Darn Farn, a series of short episodes that are, well, pretty darn funny.

 Episode One Movie Cheating

 My husband and I are big science fiction geeks. We laughed so hard at this episode and, sadly, got most of the jokes. I especially love the ad-lib at the end of the clip, since we are guilty of the same thing. Definitely worth a peek.

Footloose Parady

So funny! "Nobody puts mom in a corner. Watch these moms cut loose and show their kids what they can really do. I've never seen Footloose, so I'm sure some of the jokes were lost on me. I'm sure all you movie buffs will gets the references. And even if you haven't seen the movie, every mom out of there will appreciate this shout out. Enjoy!

Janitors Book Reviews

 The plural in the title is no accident. Today I'm featuring my reviews of the first two books in Tyler Whitesides's Janitor series.



 No one takes Spencer Zumbro seriously when he tried to warn his classmates about the mysterious things prowling the halls and classrooms of Welcher Elementary School. But when he sees Marv, the janitor, going after one of the creatures with a vacuum, he knows he's not the only one who can see them.

With the help of his new friends, Daisy, Spencer has to find out what the janitors know. The children's search uncovers the magic taking place behind the scenes of their seemingly ordinary school, where a battle is being waged for the minds of the students. Who can be trusted – and can Spencer and Daisy protect their school and possibly the world?






Tyler Whitesides breaks into the youth fantasy arena with a fresh, and original tale about the least likeliest of heroes. A neat-freak kid named Spencer teams up with Daisy, a gullible young classmate, and a group of rebel janitors to save kids' brains everywhere. Toxites feed off powerful, smart brainwaves with every breath. Thanks to a corrupt government agency these creatures are taking over schools everywhere. But Spencer and the janitors are out to make sure education survives.

I really enjoyed Janitors. The toxites were unique and creative creatures that had me intrigued from the first encounter. There abilities to inhale brainwaves, and exhale apathy, distraction, etc. were an interesting take on why children act the way they do in schools. At least now I know what always made me fall asleep during math class! Janitors provides a fast-paced adventure that kids will find difficult to put done. With evil villains, flying brooms, and an epic car chase in a rickety old van, what's not to love?

The only thing that bothered me were a couple rough point-of-view transitions. At a few spots I wasn't sure whose perspective I was supposed to be in. This happened very infrequently though, and didn't detract from the flow of the story to a significant degree. Overall, I would recommend Janitors for boys and girls around eight to twelve years of age.

Janitors ebook is currently FREE on Amazon.


Now, more than ever, Spencer, Daisy, and even Dez must fight to save schools everywhere. The Bureau of Educational Maintenance (BEM) is after Spencer, and the only place he is safe is within the walls of the New Forest Academy. Or so he thinks. In this fast-paced adventure, the kids must figure out where their loyalties lie and who they can trust as they fight to discover the true secret of the New Forest Academy and what it means to the future of education.











Secrets of New Forest Academy is even better than book one. Spencer and Daisy attend a week at the mysterious academy with a surprising lack of toxites roaming the halls. They think behind the walls of this learning-rich school they will be safe from the latest BEM threat. This tiny bubble of hope is popped when they meet the new janitor, Slick. Spencer and Daisy must race to save the minds of the children both inside and outside New Forest. But who is the enemy? And what does the mysterious stranger trapped in the glopified dumpster have to do with anything? They must find out before the BEM launches its most recent plan and Spencer and Daisy flunk out.

Whitesides delivers a second thrill ride in his latest book. The stakes are raised as the kids continue to learn more about the BEM, and their devious plans for the future of education. I really enjoyed the latest set of glopified object. I really need to get me one of those janitor carts. Daisy and Spencer's character show a lot of growth in this new adventure, especially Spencer. He comes to realize what being part of a team really means. With some new entertaining characters, new villains, and giant toxites on the rampage, he is going to need all the help he can get. Book Two in the Janitors series will not disappoint fans of the first book.

About the Author

Tyler Whitesides worked as a janitor at an elementary school to put himself through college. He graduated from Utah State University with a degree in music. In addition to writing novels, Tyler is an avid composer and arranger of instrumental music. He and his wife, Connie, who teaches third grade, live in northern Utah.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Finding Sheba Book Blast

Finding ShebaFinding Sheba by H.B. Moore An ancient legend is reborn . . . One that might prove the Bible false. For centuries, historians have theorized the Queen of Sheba as only a seductive legend, and scholars have debated over the legitimacy of King David or King Solomon. When undercover Israeli agent, Omar Zagouri, stumbles onto a tomb in Northern Jerusalem he unknowingly finds the final clue that threatens to overthrow government claim to the Holy Land, pits wealthy collectors against one another, and sends ruthless archaeologists scrambling to find the queen’s secret burial place. An assassination attempt on the Coptic Pope, His Holiness, Patriarch Stephanus II, is only the first in the chain of lethal crimes. Omar must find a way to prevent the greatest discovery of the century from becoming the most deadly.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase on Amazon

  finding sheba tour

Tour Schedule

heather mooreAuthor Heather B. Moore Heather B. Moore is the award-winning author of ten novels, two inspirational non-fiction books, and two anthologies, including The Newport Ladies Book Club Series, A Timeless Romance Anthology, and Christ’s Gifts to Women (co-authored by Angela Eschler). Her historical fiction is published under the pen name H.B. Moore. She is the two-time recipient of Best of State in Literary Fiction, two-time Whitney Award Winner, and two-time Golden Quill Winner for Best Novel. Her most recent historical novel under H.B. Moore is Daughters of Jared (2012 LUW Gold Award of Excellence & 2012 LUW Best Book Trailer).   Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/3/13 a Rafflecopter giveaway Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.