Saturday, May 27, 2017

Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd, #1)Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source; Received review copy from Netgalley
Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Book Description:  Miss Permilia Griswold, the wallflower behind "The Quill" gossip column, knows everything that goes on in the ballrooms of New York. When she overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Asher Rutherford, she's determined to warn him. Away from society's spotlight, Asher and Permilia discover there's more going on behind the scenes than they anticipated.

My thoughts: For Permilia Griswold, being a wallflower is not a bad thing. She stays on the fringes of society. She shows efforts to be a lady to her stepmother and she gets the information she needs to write her society column for the newspaper. It is usually a safe position to be in, until she overhears the plotting of a murder.

I love the books of Jen Turano that I have read. I know that I will have a strong heroin who gets herself into precarious situations. The book will be well paced and fun to read. This book fit all of the descriptions above. I loved Permilia and her unconventional friends. There are aspects that remind me of the Cinderella story. I guess any story that has a mean step-mother, spoiled step-sister, and a missing slipper.... You can't forget the handsome gentleman in the equation.

The book is set in wealthy New York City. Permilia is a champion for the underprivileged woman who knows how to shoot a gun. She is not afraid to charge to the rescue when needed or find unique ways to get out of a room. There are many moments that make you laugh.

This book is clean, with mild violence and mild kissing.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

J. Golden Kimball: The Remarkable Man Behind the Colorful Stories (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

J. Golden Kimball: The Remarkable Man Behind the Colorful Stories

J Golden Kimball: The Remarkable Man Behind the Colorful Stories by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon
Source: Received from Publisher To Review
Genre: Inspirational/Religion

Book Description:  He is J. Golden Kimball, and when he is gone, there will never be another. He was the original product, and when Providence had finished him, the pattern was lost and never found again.
LDS Church history is comprised of the accounts of multitudes of men and women who set the groundwork for the Church. And while there are plenty of ordinary individuals woven into that patchwork of history, there are also a handful of unique individuals who enliven the past and provide inspiration for the future. Known as the “swearing Apostle,” J. Golden Kimball is just such a character, one whose legacy of colorful language is surpassed only by his fierce loyalty to the gospel.
In J. Golden Kimball: The Remarkable Man Behind the Colorful Stories, readers are invited to come to better know this legendary man made famous by his unique humor and powerful testimony. From a chronicle of Kimball’s youthful adventures to the legacy he forged in his more than forty years as a General Authority, gear up for a rollicking ride through the life of one of the liveliest servants of the Lord.

My Thoughts: J Golden Kimball was a well known and beloved Apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He lived when the church was new and facing persecution.  Growing up I head the stories of his colorful language.  To me, that is what he was, a man who was a little rough around the (language) edges.

I was impressed with the sources and notations in this book.  That may seem a strange thing to say, but to me it shows that the author researched the life of J Golden Kimball.   I often look at the names and faces of people from history and don't wonder about them.  I don't think that they too had problems, hopes, dreams, and fears.  I would say that I get caught up in my own life and don't seek inspiration from the people from the past.

I hate to admit, that I have not finished this book (again).  Probably because I am caught up in the stress of life. (Three more days until I have the summer off,  I am counting down.)  This is a great book to finish. (Yes, a full review will appear in the near future.)  There is much to learn about and from this great man.

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Lake Town by Jane Redd

Lake Town by Jane ReddLake Town by Jane Redd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from eBooks for Review
Genre: Dystopian

Book Description:  Jezebel James is on the run after her true abilities are discovered by the Legislature, and the only one who can protect her is Sol. In order to survive, Sol sends her into an underground hideout where she quickly discovers all that she thought was true in her dying world is false. Jez reunites with Rueben and his band of insurgents, and together they escape to Lake Town, only to find that the entire island is preparing to invade the City.

But Sol has been left behind and forced to join the ranks of the Faction, who are working against the Legislature from within. As Jez works with the insurgents and their plan to destroy the City, she learns that attacking the City might save thousands of lives, but it will destroy Sol, the man she knows she can’t live without.

My thoughts: This picked up right where Solstice left off. It took a bit for me to remember the details from the book and pick up on this one. (One of the hazards of reading a series right when it comes out.)

It didn't take me long to get right back into the dystopian world that Jane Redd has created. I remembered how much I liked the characters and the story. In this series, it has rained for 40 years and most of Earth is covered in water. There are a few places where there is land for the people to live. The government has control and represses the emotions of the people in order to remain in control.

The book is full of action, a little bit of romance, and a lot of strategizing. I love books where a few people rise up and make a difference. If you love dystopian, you should give this series a try. I would strongly suggest that you start with "Solstice" first.

The book contains violence.

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(It's 99 cents on B&N Nook, check price to see if price still applies before purchase.)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Shatter" blog Tour ~ by Nikki Trionfo


Shatter by Nikki Tionfo

Source: Received ebook from publisher to review
Genre: YA Mystery

Book Description:  When a mysterious explosion kills her sister, Salem Jefferson becomes convinced the death was no accident—it was a conspiracy. But no one else at her high school believes her, and all she has so far is one clue. She knows Carrie hired a gang member to protect orchard workers. Problem is, Salem doesn't know who.

To find out, Salem pursues the gang-bangers who rule her town, especially classmate Cordero. As her distrust of Cordero heats up, so do the number of suspects in Carrie's death. Teachers and school officers are orchard owners. They have every reason to stop farm workers from demanding higher wages. With Carrie's killers still out there, Salem's not sure who she can trust. Meanwhile, the people who live on orchards and the people who pick them are drawing lines in the sand.

The only way for Salem to learn the truth is to slip behind those enemy lines.

The only way to survive is to find a way back out.

Shatter is the grand prize winner of the LDStorymakers First Chapter Contest that author Jolene Perry calls "a stunning debut that’ll keep you turning pages ’til the end."

My thoughts:  I hate it when I have to admit that I have not finished a book when I have a blog tour review scheduled.  At this time I am about 50% finished.

This is a fascinating book.  Salem wants to find out what happened to her sister.  She knows that her death was not an accident.  She gets out of her comfort zone and puts herself in situations to uncover the truth.  In the process she comes in contact with many dangerous people.  I think when I was her age, 16, I would have hid myself under my covers and tried to pretend that bad people were a figment of my imagination!

I am intrigued by a process she is undergoing for a class and how it correlates to her investigation.  She is studying the assassination of John Kennedy.  They are debating the probability of it being a conspiracy.  She is learning the different techniques that gangs, mobs, and foreign countries use to take out an enemy.  I am anxious to find out how it relates to the murder of her sister.

So far I don't have any concerns on content, other than the violence.  There are a few murders and she is present during a gang related shooting.  I  will leave a full review on Goodreads and Amazon when I have completed the book.

So far I am leaning to a 4 star rating.

Online purchase links:

Nikki TrionfoAbout the Author:  Nikki is a published short-story author and serve as the social coordinator of the LDStorymakers conference and chair of Storymakers Tribe. Shatter won the grand prize for all categories in the LDStorymakers’ First Chapter Contest and first place in the League of Utah Writers’ YA manuscript category. Nikki works in online marketing and, as a start to building a readership-platform, hosts a writing webinar channel with over a thousand views on YouTube under the name Fifty First Chapters.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wrong For You by Jenny Proctor (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

Wrong For You by Jenny Proctor Wrong For You by Jenny Proctor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from the Publisher to Review
Genre: LDS Contemporary Romance

Book Description:  Lane Bishop is a hardworking, intelligent, young woman. With her recent move to Chapel Hill, she is determined to leave behind the drama and effort of keeping up with the dating scene. Even so, Lane somehow manages to get dragged out by a gaggle of girls to go watch boys play soccer. Just watching is not Lane’s forte, so she joins in the fun and leads her team to victory.

Rather than feeling intimidated by the vivacious beauty on the opposing team, Jamie Hamilton is intrigued. Risking his “untouchable” dating status, he decides to pursue Lane—with a little help from his older brother Simon. With Simon’s behind-the- scenes assistance, Jamie proves irresistible, even to a disillusioned dater like Lane. But as she gets to know both brothers, Lane can’t help but wonder—beneath the grand gestures and romantic words, is she falling for the wrong guy?

My thoughts: This is a refreshing addition to the LDS Romance Genre. Lane is a vivacious young woman who has a lot to look forward to professionally. She is smart, athletic, with a great personality. She is a whole package for a lucky young man. In this case, it becomes a choice between two brothers.

From the beginning you learn through playing soccer and text between the brothers just how much they mean to each other. Relationships are tough enough, but when you have brothers interested in the same girl, it adds a layer of hurt feelings and knowing that a good guy is not going to be the winner.

There are some aspects of the book that I could really relate to, and they are at the beginning. I wasn't a fan of YSA Wards, I hate sushi, and I am allergic to walnuts. Now you have to read it to find out what the heck I am referring to. :) One thing that struck me in the book was the mention of prejudice in our society. Lane is bi-racial. She is Puerto Rican and African American. It is painful to be reminded that not everyone is looks at the person instead of just the color.

This is a cute romance that has LDS characters. It is a story that I feel can be appreciated by anyone who enjoys a book with different perspectives.

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Jenny ProctorAbout the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)   Jenny Proctor was born in the mountains of Western North Carolina, a place she still resides and considers the loveliest on earth. She hikes to spend time with her family, runs because her love for food requires it, and writes because it keeps her calm in an otherwise crazy world. She believes that life in the south has a certain flair to it--and works to capture that flair in her novels.
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Monday, May 15, 2017

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

The Silent Songbird by Melanie DickersonThe Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source:  Netgalley (For Review)
Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Book Description:  Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.

Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.

To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.

Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn't even a servant.

Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England's monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?

My thoughts: This book is full of excellent reading material! Romance, political intrigue, nobility posing as peasants, evil villain, a damsel who is not in distress, and men of honor and integrity.

The Silent Songbird is set during medieval times. That is a plus for me, that time period has always been fascinating to me. Maybe because I grew up with a mother who loved the Arthurian Legend. Put in a castle, feuding land holders, knights, and chivalry - I am hooked.

This book's MC is Eva. She is an illegitimate cousin to King Richard. She is to be used as a political pawn when she is betrothed to a cruel man. She is the damsel not in distress because she takes charge of her future. She leaves the castle, she becomes a servant. The book follows her life as a servant and the consequences to her running away from a betrothal.

I enjoyed the characters. The villains were not over the top, but believable. The book has some violence and kissing.

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Melanie Dickerson
About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing's Best award, and her book, The Healer's Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Left Hanging by Cindy Dorminy

Left HangingLeft Hanging by Cindy Dorminy
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received eBook from Red Adept publishing to review
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Description:  As a nurse and single mom, Darla Battle hides her loneliness behind a smile. But when she discovers that the new cute doctor everyone is talking about is her daughter’s father, she knows she needs to keep her distance from the man who abandoned her and their child, Stella.

When Theo Edwards returns to Nashville to finish his medical training, he never expects to run into Darla, a girl he spent one night with seven years ago. For reasons he can’t fathom, her attitude toward him is frosty, but he still hopes to ignite the spark they once felt.

Once Darla realizes Theo doesn’t know he’s Stella’s father, she has no idea how to tell him the truth. And the longer she waits, the more difficult it becomes. When the situation spins out of control, can the two come together for the sake of their daughter? Or is forgiveness out of reach?

My thoughts: This was a book that was full of emotions. It is a romance that tackles some very real"ish" points of life. Darla is a single mother who has an amazing daughter. She has worked hard to give her daughter every opportunity and all the love she can give. The one thing she hasn't been able to give her is her father.

That is the part where it becomes complicated. What should have been the start of a beautiful relationship turns into a one night stand when there an emergency that pulls the two apart. It really was a tragic part of the story, if the two had shared their real names from the beginning they would have been a family seven years earlier.

Theo's ex-girlfriend is a huge cause for drama. Some people just can't/won't let go. How Theo handles the situation isn't a huge point for him, but I could see his justification and frustration. You just have to read it to find out how it goes, because, well, i'ts complicated.

There are moments that are so sweet and lovely that I wanted for it to be roses and chocolate moments for them. But the two lack communication skills. Really, I just wanted to throw something at them, because they were messing everything up. Honesty is always good in relationships.d

I loved the medical situations in the book.  I found them fascinating.  Theo is a pediatrician, who happens to be diabetic.  Darla is a nurse.  There is also several other medical emergencies described.  It was great and believable.

The book has fade to black moments. The kissing is pretty intense and you know of what happened between the two of them, more as a memory of their past. It has some language. I would recommend this book to older (not young teens) romance readers.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sense and Second Chances by Brittany Larsen + Tour Giveaway

Sense and Second Chances by Brittany LarsenSense and Second Chances by Brittany Larsen
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received from publisher to review.
Genre: Modern Day LDS retelling of classic.

Book Description:  Emily Carter is on the fast track to success when the unthinkable happens: a tragic accident claims the lives of her parents. Now Emily must set aside her dreams and raise her two younger siblings, Annie and Bryce. Emily and Annie are sisters, but that doesn’t mean they are anything alike. Whereas Emily reacts to the tragedy with her characteristic stoic calm, passionate Annie spirals into depression. Just when things seem like they can’t get any more difficult, Emily’s older half-brother and his fiancĂ©e arrive not to help, but to claim the family home he’s inherited from their parents. Without a place to call their own, Emily must take action—and fast.

When an exciting employment opportunity arises in Utah, the displaced Carters decide to build a new life in a new home. But it soon becomes clear that their future prospects will go far beyond professional, as each sister is faced with an unexpected romance. Yet love is never simple, and in matters of the heart, one sister must proceed with caution while the other needs to take a leap of faith . . .

My thoughts: Modern retelling of classic books have become one of my favorite genres. In this case, the book is a spin from Sense and Sensibility.

I couldn't help but love the cast of characters. Emily Carter is the sensible older sister left to take care of a younger brother and sister after the the tragic death of her parents. She put her goals and career on hold to fill the needs of her family. Annie is the younger sister with a floundering acting career suffering from severe depression, and there is an adorable younger brother.

The unexpected happened when an older half-brother decided to get married and take over his family home. They are uprooted and forced to find a new place to live. Fortunately, their father left them a ranch that needs a lot of work. It was fun to see the family step out of their comfort zone and lean and grow together.

The romance is sweet, but it does follow the original with the younger sister making some unwise choices and falling for the wrong guy. I loved that it followed the general plot of the original, but had it's own character.

A part that I particularly loved was the distinction between Judaism and Mormonism. This book has deep religious themes. It is written from an LDS (Mormon) perspective.

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Brittany Larsen
About the Author: (Taken from Amazon)  Brittany Larsen may be an Idaho girl living in California, but at heart she is English. She loves all things Jane Austen and counts the time she and her husband viewed the couch where Emily Bronte died as one of their most romantic moments ever. Sadly, he has no recollection of it. When not reading nineteenth century English literature or writing her own romances, Brittany loves spending time with her three incredible daughters, Emma, Tess, and Jane, and her amazingly supportive husband, Shawn.

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