Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fireweed by Terry Montague {Spotlight, Character Casting, and Giveaway}



https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zCPoMf5pILE/VcH_Ai9utAI/AAAAAAAAEfo/hzS0Eht8Q1Q/s320/51El%252BGpAIJL__SX331_BO1%252C204%252C203%252C200_.jpgLisel Spann has dreamed only of wonderful things in her future. Living with her father, sister, and brother in a cramped apartment in Berlin, the small family shares what seems to be an unbreakable spirit of love and security. However, with the rise of the Nazi party and approaching dark clouds of war, any kind of future grows increasingly uncertain. Knowing little of hate and destruction, Lisel is ill prepared as the storms of battle erupt in full fury and loved ones are taken from her as her beautiful city is reduced to rubble.

With fear and despair rising within, it is through her quiet, compassionate father that Lisel discovers faith and hope. Now, in a desperate journey to find her sister, Lisel and her neighbor flee Berlin and the advancing Russians for Frankfurt, a city under the protection of the Allies. But their flight to safety is filled with pain, hunger, and terror. However, with spiritual lessons and blessings from her father, the support of departed loved ones, and her tried but undying faith in a loving Heavenly Father, perhaps Lisel can emerge like the fireweed—rising strong and beautiful from scorched earth —transforming bitterness and despair into a charity that never faileth.

Pre-Order Link:


When I was about three, my mom said, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think she was expecting me to say, “A mommy, like you.”  Instead, I popped off with, “I want to be a writer.” I can still remember her face.  She said, “Well, don’t you think you need to learn to read first?” I didn’t think so.

Terry Bohle Montague is a BYU graduate and a free-lance writer, having written for television, radio, newspaper, and magazines including The Ensign and Meridian Magazine.  She has also been published as the author of book length historical non-fiction and fiction. 
Her non-fiction work includes the book, Mine Angels Round About, the story of the LDS West German Mission evacuation of 1939 which occurred only days before the Nazi invasion of Poland.  
Her LDS fiction, Fireweed, is loosely based on her interviews with the evacuated West German missionaries and their families. 
Terry studied with Dwight Swain and Jack Bickham, as well as David Farland. Her writing awards include those from LDS Storymakers, Idaho Writers’ League, and Romance Writers of America.

Social Media Links -  
http://www.goodrea ds.com/author/show/13861974.Terry_Montague


Fireweed Characters’ Descriptions

Marta Spann (Lisel’s 18-year old sister):  Even though Marta was only two years older than Lisel, Marta was always the grown-up, sensible, predictable one.  She wore her soft brown hair in the same short, smooth style every day.  She got up at the same time every morning and went through the same tedious, daily chores of classes at the Red Cross nursing school then shopping and housework.  She never complained. She never went to movies, preferring to sit at home, reading her textbooks or
listening to music on the radio with the mending in her lap. When she became angry or upset, her warm, brown eyes narrowed, but she rarely allowed herself to pronounce an angry word.

Lisel Spann (Our 16-year old main character): In contrast, Lisel, her red hair braided in long strands that hung on either side of her gamine face, her red-brown eyes that flashed her every emotion. She frequently lost her patience, her temper, and her heart. Lisel said everything she felt and often made a fool of herself. Her busy imagination took her out of the confusing, contradictory atmosphere of Nazi Germany to glittering, glamorous Hollywood where she danced in a sleek, pink gown trimmed with a feather boa on the arm of Fred Astaire. She sang too loudly in church just because she liked the music, but her singing made the branch president cover his smile with his hand, the music director scowl, and the red come up in her Papa’s neck. She often shocked her father and provoked her sister. Everyone said she was that way because she was sixteen, a school girl. They said she would grow out
of it. But Lisel hoped she would not. It would be like growing out of herself. Of growing out of her life. She describes herself as “A scarecrow of a girl, with a nose like a pig’s and hair the color of carrots. Boys will think I belong on a farm.”

Papa: Joseph Spann carried himself with the vigor and briskness instilled by years of military services – his back straight, shoulders squared, every movement precise. Lisel could hear the quick snap of his footsteps on the cobbled street. Papa insisted on wearing his one, good remaining suit, the gray jacket buttoned across the matching vest, the tiny clip with decorations from the Great War on his lapel, the knotted tie, the creased trousers, now a little baggy at the knees, his worm but frequently blocked hat. He smoothed his gray mustache and adjusted his wire-rimmed glasses.

Frau Heideman: (Apartment neighbor): She was an overbearing demanding woman whose unstylish and soft appearance sometimes fooled people into believing they were dealing with someone of
half her determination and slyness. Her voice was shrill and she had a tendency to pry and question. Lisel did not like Frau Heidemann but she tolerated her for Kurt’s sake and was civil for Papa’s.

Kurt Heideman:  (Frau Heidemann’s son and Lisel’s sometime friend and later, a romantic interest): Kurt was a handsome young man with a lopsided grin. Tall, a little thin, maybe, but broad-shouldered. His eyes were a bright, clear blue under heavy brows, his lips firm, and his jaw straight and decisive. But his high, thin nose had an odd crook in it, like it had been broken once and never set. He sang off-key but often performed a nimble two-step down the rows of vegetables in the
apartment’s community garden.

Grete Spengler: (Lisel’s 16-year old best friend): She is fair haired and blue-eyed as an Aryan girl is expected to have. “No man is interested in me and I do not understand. I am the correct Nordic type and my blood is pure. I have the interests of the Reich at heart and my hips are wide enough to bear many children. I have a racially desirable body and a man ought to regard me racially desirable. But no regards me at all when I am with you (Lisel).”


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Monday, October 5, 2015

Lord Fenton's Folly by Josi S. Kilpack {Review and Giveaway}

Lord Fenton's Folly (1) 

Lord Fenton's FollyLord Fenton's Folly by Josi Kilpack

Lord Fenton is a gambler, a dandy, and a flirt-and he must marry or else he will be disinherited, stripped of his wealth and his position. He chooses Alice Stanbridge for two simple reasons: he once knew her as a young girl, and she is the least objectionable option available to him. However, Alice has harbored feelings for Fenton since their first meeting ten years ago, and she believes his proposal is real. When she discovers it is not, she is embarrassed and hurt. However, a match with the most-eligible bachelor in London would secure not only her future but that of her family as well. Determined to protect herself from making a fool of herself a second time, Alice matches Lord Fenton wit for wit and insult for insult as they move toward a marriage of convenience that is anything but a happy union. Only when faced with family secrets that have shaped Fenton's life does he let down his guard enough to find room in his heart for Alice.

My Review
5 out of 5 Stars

This story fit my mood exactly. I love a good, proper romance, especially one filled with anticipation and little subtle hints of romance--those moments kept me reading and left me wanting more.

Lord Fenton (Charles) and Alice had met when they were a lot younger and the encounter always left Alice a bit in awe of Fenton. He's an eligible man, but he's a silly dandy and when he's forced to settle down and make a match, Alice is the one he chooses--and not for the reasons that she hopes for.

Alice is a spunky young woman and is determined not to let Fenton hurt her. They are both very strog personalities and I love the witty banter they had between them. I can't imagine living in a time when loveless marriages are the norm. I've always thought it's possible for two people to make a marriage work, when both are determined and have that common goal, and this story showed that it's not as easy to do as I believed. The journey this couple takes is necessary to get to where they ended up, with a lot of misunderstandings and hardships along the way. Sometimes growth means thinking outside of your own needs and wants and all growth is hard to go through.

The secrets that are revealed are tough to deal with and I enjoyed the way the characters came together. I especially loved Fenton's mother. What an example of selflessness and charity! The lessons taught are priceless. I loved the setting and was able to visualize it. I recommend this for clean Regency romance lovers.

Content: mild romance; nothing else of note. Clean!
*I received  a copy in exchange for an honest review*


Fenton groaned and put his saucer back on the tray, making an instantaneous decision that eased his mind quite a lot. To look at every woman he met as a potential wife was irritating, and after only two weeks he was quite tired of it. Perhaps the solution was to orchestrate a match that would not lay all aspects of matrimony at his feet all at once. Perhaps treating it as a business arrangement would help it to be exactly that, thereby freeing him from all the discomfiting realities he was not yet prepared to face. "I leave for Fentonview on Tuesday and shan't be back for a week. Courting is such a boring prospect, and you yourself said that to become infatuated with anyone might become a complication." He paused, considered one last time what he was going to say next, and decided he felt as good about it as could be expected. "You like Alice Stanbridge and feel she would make a good wife for me?"

Lady Chariton looked confused and perhaps a bit concerned. "I do, but-"

"Then that is good enough for me," Fenton said, rising to his feet and smiling broadly at his mother, who stared back at him in surprise. "I do find her appealing and what's more she is not a silly little thing without a practical thought in her head."

His mother's eyes widened and her eyebrows rose upon her forehead. Fenton struck a pose of consternation, with his thumb and forefinger on his chin as he looked toward the window a moment, then nodded crisply and turned back to his mother who still looked shocked by his pronouncement.

"Yes, I think that Alice Stanbridge is exactly what I should like in a wife, and so I shall see to it before I leave for Hampshire-I see no reason to wait until Michaelmas and might as well get it over with." He leaned in and kissed his mother's hand. "Thank you for your help, Mama. I shall let you know how she responds to my proposal."
Josi add to goodreads  

Author Josi Kilpack

Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Sheep's Clothing won the Whitney award for Mystery/Suspense in 207 and Wedding Cake, book twelve in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series won in 2014. Josi was also the Best of State winner in Fiction for 2012. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband, children and super-cute - but not very friendly - cat.

$25 Blog Tour giveaway

$25 Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon eGift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/29/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com eGift Card 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.

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Review: My Home Can Be a Holy Place (Children's Book) by Kristen M. Oaks

My Home Can Be A Holy Place by Kristen M. Oaks, Illustrated by Dan Burr
Published September 7th 2015 by Deseret Book
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


Our homes can become holy places that prepare children to grow up in the Lord (D&C 109:15). This children's picture book tells the story of Lily, a young girl who is helping to make her home a holy place by the things she does each day. The engaging illustrations by LDS artist Dan Burr depict Lily's family in various settings that show how children can contribute to the spiritual environment in their home as they say their prayers, work together, read the scriptures, eat dinner as a family, make good decisions, observe the Sabbath day, participate in family home evening, share the gospel, and learn to love one another. Parents will find additional helps and resources to reinforce these concepts on the author s website. These resources are designed specifically to complement the themes presented in the book. 

My Review:

I love the way this book shows various, simple settings in the life of young Lily's family. The artwork is beautiful, realistic, and descriptive, engaging an imagination. I read this with my nine year old daughter and she related really well to what was being said and the combination of the words and pictures brought these important concepts down to her level.

I love how each page talks about one way to bring the Spirit into our homes and most pages had either a scripture or quote by a General Authority at the bottom to support it.

This is specific to an LDS audience, but anyone can appreciate the different ways to bring a family closer together and make the home a haven of peace.

Buy Links:


About the Author: 

Kristen McMain Oaks has spent much of her life teaching. She earned a bachelor's degree in English, a master's degree in special education (both from the University of Utah), and a doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction from Brigham Young University. She was a former educational consultant in the publishing industry, instructing teachers and supervisors both nationally and internationally. She was also a Visiting Assistant Professor at BYU and served a full-time mission to Japan. After marrying Elder Dallin H. Oaks, she taught and trained auxiliaries in the Philippines for two years while he served as Area President. She currently serves on the board of trustees of the Deseret International Foundation and the Primary Children's Hospital and recently authored the book, A Single Voice. In addition to her love of teaching, she loves being a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and her husband reside in Utah. 

About the Illustrator:

DAN BURR, an award-winning illustrator, earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Utah State University and a master's degree in illustration from Syracuse University. He and his wife, Patti, are the parents of two children and live in Tetonia, Idaho. Dan has illustrated many children's books, including The Miracle of the Wooden Shoes, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, The Mansion, and The Christmas Train.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Review: How to Catch a Prince (Royal Wedding #3) by Rachel Hauck

How to Catch a Prince (Royal Wedding Series) by Rachel Hauck
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by Zondervan
Source: I received a copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


Prince Stephen came to America to escape responsibility. But what he found complicates his life more than ever.

Corina Del Rey is happy with her life in Melbourne, Florida. She spends her days engrossed in her career as a journalist and has her sights set on climbing the corporate ladder if for no other reason, to distract herself from her dissolving family. But when she is confronted with the past she fought so hard to put behind her, she struggles to make sense of her future.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom has moved on since the tragic death of his buddies in Afghanistan. A star professional rugby player, he has no intention of looking over his shoulder at what could ve been.

But when a notice arrives in the mail requiring his and his wife s appearance before the courts to dissolve their marriage, he must deal with the questions rumbling around in his heart. He thought his marriage had been annulled long ago, but his memories of Corina Del Rey remain close. Does he still love her? Can he even find her? Above all, can he tell her the truth about that fateful night in Afghanistan seven years ago? If he does, he might really lose her forever."

My Review:

This is my favorite of the series! Corina is well-known and has money of her own, yet she's a force to be reckoned with. I love how determined she is to make her own way in life and not just fall back on her family's money. Her twin brother was killed in combat and died a hero, in mysterious circumstances and now she's ready to come out of mourning and move on with her life, despite the hardships of her past. Corina is feisty, yet sweet; fun, yet serious; courageous, yet gentle; and so good at keeping secrets. I adored her from the beginning.

On a whim, years earlier, Corina secretly married Prince Stephen. Both thought the marriage was dissolved, but it wasn't. Stephen is determined to annul it, but that just might not be in the plans. Stephen is very stubborn, which was aggravating, and refuses to listen to his heart. He has good reasons to build walls around himself, but he doesn't stand a chance with Corina around. As frustrating as he is, I really liked him and the way he is so down-to-earth. He's such an ordinary guy at heart and ultimately wants what's for the best.

I love a good, clean romance and this one didn't disappoint. There is a mixture of good sparks and bad, yet it all worked in a way that was very appealing. In other words, on the surface, it's a love-hate relationship with deeper feelings buried. I also loved the subtle humor.

There are many moments of self-realization, as well as clarity where religion is concerned. I love the growth that occurs. I believe that we all have many things to learn and to improve upon and I love it when characters go through events that change them. There is also a dash of fantasy that was a fun and unexpected element.

Content: mild romance (kissing, very vague talk of being married); mild violence (descriptions of war, not graphic); moderate religious elements (as mentioned above); no language. Clean!

Buy Links:

About the Author: 

Rachel HauckRITA finalist and award winning author Rachel Hauck writes from sunny central Florida.

With strong southern stories, she infuses faith and real life into the lives of her fictional characters.

Rachel loves to encourage new writers and is the book therapist for My Book Therapy and writing community founded by
Susan May Warren.

Rachel graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Journalism. She's and avid OSU football fan.

Visit her web site to find out more and click on the icons to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: Princess Ever After (Royal Wedding #2) by Rachel Hauck

Princess Ever After (Royal Wedding Series) by Rachel Hauck
360 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Zondervan
Source: I received a copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Regina Beswick never dreamed of faraway places. She’s happy with her life as a classic car mechanic and owner of a restoration shop.

But an unexpected visitor and the discovery of a fairytale, drawn by her great-grandma, causes Regina to wonder if she might be destined for something more.

Tanner Burkhardt, Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg, must convince the strong-willed Southerner, Miss Beswick, that she is his country’s long-lost princess. Failure could destroy his reputation and change his nation forever.

As Regina and Tanner face the challenges before them, neither are prepared for love to invade their hearts and change every thing they believe about themselves.

However, when a royal opponent nearly destroys Regina’s future, she must lean into God and trust He has sovereignly brought her to her true and final destiny.

My Review:

I thought this story was basically the same formula as Once Upon a Prince--an ordinary girl becomes a princess, but the twist on this one is that it happens in a different way. I knew I was going to get Christian themes, but a fun, clean story and I wasn't disappointed.

Tanner is sent to America to find the long-lost princess and at first, I couldn't decide if he was going to be stuffy or rebellious. His personality almost seemed stuffy, but he had that long, flowing blonde hair... I really grew to like him and found him to a streak of both in him, but he's very endearing.

Reg/Reggie/Regina is such a fun character! She's a little bit tomboy, as she loves to get her hands dirty and restore old cars, but she can girl it up when needed. She's fiery, sweet, and really down-to-earth. She's got what it takes to run a country, but it means leaving the life and family she knows behind and it's going to take a lot of convincing to do so.

As always, I love the romance and the moments where the sparks fly and I wanted a little more with this one. It is very sweet and I love the way they compliment each other and support one another in their difficult choices.

Content: mild, clean romance; moderate Christian elements and themes (talking to and about God). Clean!

Buy Links:

About the Author: 

Rachel HauckRITA finalist and award winning author Rachel Hauck writes from sunny central Florida.

With strong southern stories, she infuses faith and real life into the lives of her fictional characters.

Rachel loves to encourage new writers and is the book therapist for My Book Therapy and writing community founded by
Susan May Warren.

Rachel graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Journalism. She's and avid OSU football fan.

Visit her web site to find out more and click on the icons to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Played for a Fool by Stephanie Black {Review and Giveaway}

Played for a Fool Played for a Fool by Stephanie Black
336 pages
Published September 5th 2015 by Covenant Communications
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


Three years ago, the small town of Britteridge was rocked by the senseless murder of Gail Ludlum. Now the people most affected by the tragedy have returned to the place where it all began, and the scene is set for the perfect revenge . . .

Megan O’Connor’s life was shattered when she was unwittingly drawn into a kidnapping plot that ultimately led to the murder of an innocent woman. Though the road to redemption has been long, she’s finally found happiness with her recent engagement to a wonderful man, a pillar of the community. But amid the chaos of wedding planning, the return of Gail Ludlum’s son to Britteridge sets in motion a disturbing sequence of events. Soon Megan finds herself the victim of a series of cruel deceptions that indicate one thing: her past mistakes have not been forgiven or forgotten. As the mischief escalates to dangerous levels, it becomes clear that someone is determined to avenge Gail’s death. And he won’t rest until he’s taken a life for a life.

My Review:

The first book, Fool Me Twice, introduces the reader to the storyline. Played for a Fool picks up a few years later. I read the previous book about seven years ago and remembered bits and pieces, but it took me awhile to refresh my memory. If possible, I would suggest reading Fool Me Twice first, so that the setting, situation, and characters are fresh in mind. Once I got my bearings, I was completely engrossed in this story.

Megan's twin sister is in prison and Megan is moving on with her life, now engaged to a great guy, Trevor. Megan begins receiving hate mail and having minor crimes committed against her, all in a way that tries to prove she's crazy and a bad person. I can't imagine living in that kind of suspense, always looking over my shoulder, but Megan manages well and takes it all in stride--for a time. She's a very likable character and tries hard to provide for and support herself.

I like Trevor and his family and when events start happening, my heart went out to Megan for their lack of initial trust, but really...it started to become difficult to know whom to trust and whom not to. I do love a good, clean romance, but romance took the back burner in this story. I still really loved it!

The interesting twist with this story is that the reader knows who the bad guy is, but the main characters don't. Although the reader knows, it's still quite suspenseful because the motive is missing--why the revenge? Why the dangerous mischief? I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to find the answers and to see the story play out. I only wish I would've brushed up on Book 1 first.

Content: no language; mild violence (non-graphic); very mild romance; mild religious elements (two or three very brief mentions of religious things pertaining to the LDS faith). Clean!

Buy Links:


About the Author:

Stephanie BlackSTEPHANIE BLACK has loved books since she was old enough to grab the pages, and has enjoyed creating make-believe adventures since she and her sisters were inventing long Barbie games filled with intrigue and danger or running around pretending to be detectives. She is a three-time Whitney Award winner for Best Mystery/Suspense, most recently for Cold as Ice (2010). Stephanie was born in Utah and has lived in various places, including Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and Limerick, Ireland. She currently lives in northern California and enjoys spending time with her husband Brian and their five children. She is a fan of chocolate, cheesecake, and her husband’s homemade bread.


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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review: The Cokeville Miracle DVD with Giveaway

The Cokeville Miracle

On May 16, 1986, in the small, ranching community of Cokeville, Wyoming, David and Doris Young took an elementary school hostage for several hours before detonating a bomb inside a classroom that held every teacher and student in the school. In the wake of the madness, Ron Hartley, whose children were inside the classroom, must fight his skepticism and unbelief as he hears eyewitness accounts from the students about miraculous, heavenly intervention during the crisis. When tragedy strikes ... what do you see?

Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 94 minutes
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

My Review: 

What a touching story of faith and miracles. I was in 5th grade when this event occurred and I remember a little about it. I remember being scared about this incident as a child, but now as a mother? I just can't imagine the terror these children and their families felt. It was inspiring to watch the events unfold and see some of the details that I wasn't aware of. It truly is miraculous that things didn't end up differently.

I enjoyed the way the movie follows a man who is struggling with his faith. When he sees these events and witnesses many children's accounts of what happened, he can't deny that a greater power was at work, yet he still doubts. I love the messages of forgiveness, love, and the power of prayer. This man's journey is very real and also very encouraging. The Cokeville Miracle is a great story for anyone of any faith/religion.


One DVD copy of The Cokeville Miracle to a US resident only.
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