Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Hurricane Coltrane by Taya Okerlund

Hurricane Coltrane by Taya Okerlund
Paperback, 250 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by WiDo Publishing (first published April 18th 2015)  
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Description: Merrill Hinton is a lightning rod in a town named for bad weather. He's an ace in math, but not smart enough to put together the pieces of his puzzling life, especially where finding his unknown father is concerned.

Musical genius Robbie Stubbs was born in nearby polygamist compound Colorado City. He has the chops to become another John Coltrane, but that will take running away from home, and into a firestorm of controversy--the kind his friend Merrill knows best.

Merrill sets Robbie onto a course that could rocket them both onto center stage, but being the focus of wide public attention will create serious issues. Robbie’s mother is not well, and the shock of her son breaking the family rules like this may put her over the edge.

And Merrill Hinton? His precarious future would become compromised in ways he doesn't yet realize. Review:  Merrill is an extremely smart high school student, but he doesn't do well socially. He doesn't know his dad, has a mom who is a big activist and helps rescue polygamous victims, and a sweet grandma who tells him how it is. He's trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to do with his life. A random meeting with Robbie, a boy from the nearby polygamist compound, changes Merrill's life. Robbie is a genius when it comes to music and will do almost anything to succeed, even giving up his family. 

Merrill and Robbie are so similar, yet so different. They come from different worlds, but they both show a lot of bravery and strength. I love Merrill's grandma--she is so accepting and loves those around her unconditionally. 

I love the unlikely friendship that forms when decisions are made and opportunities are taken to embark on this road to growing up. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how I feel after reading this. I was excited, nervous, and happy for these boys, yet my heart was wrenched in places and I felt emotionally drained. There were a few parts that I wish had been fleshed out just a little more, but overall, this was a great journey with well-written characters and a fantastic setting.

Content: mild language (a few mild words); mild religious elements (one boy is a Mormon and one is FLDS, but not much religion is discussed, aside from a few morals each has--definitely not preachy); very mild romance (very brief mention of an unwed mother, crushes); very mild violence (brief mention of abuse).

About the Author:
Taya OkerlundSome people think writers are born, not made. I don't belong to that school. I wasn't a born author, though I'm willing to concede there may be some who are. I think they are the minority though. As I say, I don't have the special birth rite to the land of creative inspiration, but I have been there. What a thrill that was.

When Hurricane Coltrane came to me, it moved in like the storm it was named for and opened up such a creative fury it was difficult to collect. It's been a lot of hard work since then and I've loved it!

I grew up all over the United States, and studied in East Asia, though my roots reach deep into the Southern Utah desert where most of my family members still live. I currently hale from the San Francisco Peninsula with my story-adoring husband and daughter who keep me busy and inspired.

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Tour Launch: The Truth About Hope by Kate James

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

We're launching the BOOK TOUR for
The Truth About Hope
By Kate James

Can Hope help her hometown that holds long grudges and possibly find love with her old high school sweetheart along the way? Come along on the tour to get to know a little more about

Tour Schedule:
April 24th - Launch
April 26th - Word Wranglers & Write & Rewrite
April 27th - Underneath the Covers
April 28th - Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima
April 29th - Zerina Blossom's Books
April 30th - I Am A Reader
May 1st - Katie's Clean Book Collection & Copyright1985
May 3rd - My Love for Reading Keeps Growing
May 4th - i blog 4 books & Rockin' Book Reviews
May 5th - The Written Adventure & Write from the Heart
May 6th - Deal Sharing Aunt & Bookworm Lisa
May 7th - Getting Your Read On
May 8th - Grand Finale

More About The Truth About Hope and Author Kate James

What is your motivation behind this book? Why did you want to write it?

My motivation behind all my books is to entertain readers with stories that they hopefully find engaging, unpredictable, and morally and emotionally satisfying.

The idea for this book arose partially from my respect for Hope?s real-life counterparts?people who care for, rehabilitate and locate forever homes for the animals that find their way into shelters.

What do you hope readers take with them when they read your book? 

I would like readers to feel good about the story?s conclusion, and believe that no matter what hardships we may face, we can overcome them with faith, perseverance and?of course?love!

Do you have a favorite scene? 

One of my favorite scenes is when Hope and Luke meet unexpectedly outside a pet food store after her return to her hometown of Canyon Creek.

Share something about you that is unique. 

I wanted to write from a relatively young age, but a family tragedy, school and career intervened. A few years ago, my ever-intuitive husband realized that writing was?or could be?something important to me, and he gifted me a personal laptop for my birthday. While outwardly appreciative, in my mind I was wondering why I needed another laptop, when I had a perfectly good one from work that was constantly with me. Clearly my husband knew better than me, because having a separate computer that I didn?t associate with my essentially 24/7 day job was pivotal. That gift ultimately resulted in my first publishing contract and, two years later, my decision to step down from a full-time CEO role (that I enjoyed and found rewarding) to pursue writing as a career. I owe a debt of gratitude to all my readers for enabling me to fulfil my dream of writing!

The Truth About Hope
by Kate James
Adult Contemporary Romance
May 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Who is Hope Wilson?

Is she the girl her former hometown thinks she is? Or the girl Luke Carter once loved?and maybe still does?

When Hope returns to Canyon Creek, Texas, to honor her
father?s last wishes, there?s only one person on her mind: her high school sweetheart, Luke. The boy she lied to when she had to leave Canyon Creek as a teen, finding it easier to hide what she really felt than deal with the grief of loss. Her father?s fortune could make a big difference to Canyon Creek?but Hope finds that the townspeople have a long memory about his misdeeds. With a plan to make amends on his behalf, Hope learns the truth about herself. And the truth about love.

Kate James 2.jpgKate James spent eight years of her childhood living in foreign countries as her professional parents travelled on business. She lived in four countries and spoke five languages before settling down in Canada again to attend university. After graduating with a degree in civil engineering, she held a variety of positions in the field of real estate development and operations, and ran three substantial organizations. While her writing during this period was mostly business related, including presentations and speeches she delivered both nationally and internationally, her passion is and always has been fiction.

Kate's business and personal experiences enable her to write fiction with a deep, often first-hand knowledge of what she is writing about. This approach makes Kate's stories richer and more vivid.

Kate?s goal is to entertain you with well-written, engaging stories, set in intriguing places and with strong, likeable characters. ?I hope my stories bring you pleasure and entertain you. Nothing pleases me more than receiving feedback from people who have chosen to spend their valuable leisure time with one of my books,? notes Kate.

Kate married her husband, Ken, in an elegant, ocean-front wedding on a tropical island. When they are not traveling, they split their time between their properties in southern and central Ontario in Canada.

Tour Giveaway

$30 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
5 Print Copies of The Truth About Hope (US/CAN Only)
1 ebook of The Truth About Hope (INT)
Ends May 15th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review: A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade with Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Order your copy of A Love Like Ours by May 17th to have part of your proceeds go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (more details on the Launch).
(Pin this image linking to the Tour Launch for an extra giveaway entry.)

A Love Like Ours (Porter Family #3)A Love Like Ours
(Porter Family #3)
by Becky Wade
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback, 368 Pages
May 5th 2015 by Bethany House Publishers

Deeply scarred from a day he wishes he could forget during his military service, Thoroughbred trainer Jake Porter has given up on love. He struggles against symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake's childhood best friend, returns to their hometown of Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake trusts her with his prized racehorse, Silver Leaf, then battles his hopes for his horse against his increasing fear for Lyndie's safety.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake's will, Lyndie's sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he's built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he'd thought he'd lost returns. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

My Review:
I love horses, but don't know a lot about them or about racing them. I was completely fascinated with that aspect of this story. Jake is a horse trainer, dealing with PTSD from his service with the Marines. Lyndie is a childhood friend who has returned and is eager to work for him as an exerciser. I found myself caught up in the world of racing and found myself cheering their horses on, especially Silver Leaf.

Mr. Tall, Dark, and Brooding...uh, I mean, Jake, is complex. His voice is full of despair and guilt. He struggles and feels broken, yet isn't willing to allow anyone to help him. On the other hand, Lyndie's voice reflects her personality well. She's bright, cheerful, and hopeful. I loved the contrasts and the way Lyndie forges her way into Jake's life. The author did a fantastic job of portraying their personalities through their words, thoughts, and actions.

I loved the side story of Lyndie's neighbor, Amber. Amber is fearless when it comes to dating, unlike Lyndie, and decides that the two of them will go on three dates in three months. Their experiences are humorous and fun.

Tackling a serious issue that many in our military face is no easy feat, but Ms. Wade does it well. The story isn't too heavy, as it's balanced with romance, fun, family, horses, and religion. I love reading about this Porter Family and can't wait for more!

Content: mild language; moderate violence (mainly flashbacks to war experiences); mild romance; moderate religious elements (Christian). Clean for an adult reader.


During her childhood in California, Becky Wade frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances for the general market, put her career on hold for many years to care for her kids, and eventually returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She?s delighted to be penning warm, wry, and heartwarming contemporary romances for the Christian market. She's the Carol Award and Inspirational Reader's Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, Undeniably Yours, and Meant to Be Mine.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.

Other Books by the Author
Tour Schedule:
April 20th - Launch
April 27th - Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Signed copy of A Love Like Ours (US Only)
1 Kindle ebook (gifted through Amazon) of A Love Like Ours (INT - if available in your area)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: Seaside Surprises by Stacy Claflin

Seaside Surprises: A Sweet Romance (The Seaside Hunters) by Stacy Claflin
Kindle Edition, 171 pages
Published March 15th 2015 
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Genre: Contemporary Clean Romance

Description: Tiffany Saunders is on the run. When she winds up stranded in a seaside town, she wants nothing more than to forget her horrific past and kept moving. But a chance meeting with a handsome local changes everything.

Jake Hunter has some deep emotional scars and is trying to cope with running the family business. The last thing he wants is a relationship—until a mysterious brunette walks into his store and complicates it all.

Tiffany prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong—in her rear view mirror. But dark secrets cannot stay hidden forever. Just as the walls around Tiffany’s heart start to come down, the past catches up with her. Will true love be able to conquer all?
My Review: Tiffany is escaping a terrible ex and what better way to forget her troubles than to end up stranded in a beautiful, touristy, seaside town. Kittle Falls sounds like a fantastic place to live, work, and find love. I enjoyed the descriptions of the things the locals liked to do--things the tourists didn't know about. I also loved the local characters and the way they all looked out for one another and seemed like one big family. I wouldn't mind taking a vacation there myself!

Tiffany is a beautiful woman, but lacks self confidence, due to her bad marriage. I was rooting for her to feel good about herself again and loved the way this town and the people who live there help her. She wasn't planning on staying long, but things happen for a reason. Tiffany has a great relationship with her grandpa and it was very endearing to read bits and pieces about that.

Jake has had a rough time of things lately. He's had a tragedy in his family and no one seems to be able to cope with it. I didn't like the way his parents treated him, but could understand why they did what they did. He's a great guy to put up with things, even if he does grumble about it. And when all is said and done, family matters and Jake really shows where his priorities are.

As I mentioned before, I really loved the setting and the characters. This is a perfect summer beach read, especially for readers who don't want all fluff. There is some suspense mingled in with a climatic ending and a tough topic is brought up and handled in a great way. This sounds like a fun series, with a book about each of Jake's brothers.

Content: one mild cuss word; mild violence (talk of abuse and a situation of violence); mild romance (kissing only). Clean! 

About the Author:
Stacy ClaflinI love writing, reading, and watching most anything. My favorite shows include Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead, Pretty Little Liars, and Once Upon a Time.

I've been writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember. As a kid, my story telling would get me into trouble when I would try to convince others that my stories were real.

When I'm not busy writing, I spend time with my family. I also educate my kids from home.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: The Gift of Lies by Norma T. Rudolph

The Gift of Lies by Norma T. Rudolph
Kindle Edition, 193 pages
Published February 23rd 2015 by Creative Prose Publishing 
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

Description: The locals call the place Jake’s Hell after Summer McCalister’s crazy uncle Jake who claims to have seen impossible things there. It’s a badlands of rugged rock cliffs and sharp pinnacles that no sane person would attempt to enter. The Atomalians call it Daneye, a secret alien city of unequaled beauty, masked behind illusion. Atomalians believe that natives of Earth must never know about them and their powers of the mind or it will destroy the Atomalians’ peaceful lives. When Summer is drawn out of bed and pulled to Jake’s Hell by an urge she can’t control, she fears she’s crazier than her uncle. But when the young Atomalian, Bentri, steps out of thin air, she knows she’s either crazy—or dead. Taking her to his unbelievably beautiful city doesn’t erase the fact that he’s keeping her hostage in a room with no door and no way out. Bentri’s world is suddenly and completely devastated by the appearance of the native Earth girl. If she’s discovered within the city, law decrees she be destroyed. As Bentri is bonded with her, that means he would also die. Their only chance might be to escape—but can Bentri survive in her world?
My Review: Teenage Summer is living with her "crazy" uncle and one night, she is drawn to the rugged area near his home by an uncontrollable force. What she discovers makes her think she's totally crazy and she can understand where her uncle gets his reputation from. She discovers a new world, Daneye, that isn't like anything she's ever seen before.

I enjoyed the way this world was built and described to the reader. It was done in a way that wasn't overwhelming or boring and is very creative. I liked the characters, but would love to know them even better. I understand there will be a sequel, which will be great. The ending wasn't a cliff-hanger, but was left open for more and I'm really curious to see what will happen next.

Summer is brave, yet it takes her awhile to come into that bravery. I can't imagine stumbling upon a place so foreign--she can't understand the language and has no idea how to take care of her basic needs, since they're done so differently there. Once she taps into herself, she really surprises herself.

Bentri, an Atomalian boy, finds himself bonded to Summer. He's super smart and has many gifts, with a bright future ahead of him, yet he's willing to make discoveries and sacrifices as needed. I thought he was kind of spoiled brat at first, but my feelings changed as I came to understand him better and saw how he handled the situations he was placed in.

This is a fun, clean, creative, YA Fantasy adventure with a dash of romance suitable for most readers. I'm definitely looking forward to more!

Content: Nothing of note. Clean! 

About the Author:
Norma T. RudolphNorma T. Rudolph was born and raised in the wilds of Wyoming where she spent far too much time alone as a child making up silly day dreams in her head.

She served a mission for her church, got a degree from Brigham Young University in fine arts, married a sculptor and then realized that two artists of that variety in one family were too many, so she turned her art into words. Finally, she learned that the cure for living in her head was to put those crazy things onto paper.

She still lives in the prettiest part of Wyoming, has three beautiful daughters, and the amazing sculptor husband, who works hard and lets her stay home to tell her stories.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan is FREE 4/20 and 4/21

Fields of Elysium
by A.B. Whelan
Best seller in Teen & Young Adult Fantasy
4.3 stars on 86 reviews
Price: $0.00 Save $14.35
Award-Winning Author
Small town girl, Molly Bennett, moves to Los Angeles where she becomes an outsider while attending Beverly Hills High School. It seems life cannot be any more dreadful.
Then one day after school, something magical happens. On a secluded hike in the Hollywood Hills, Molly chases her disobedient mutt and only friend into a hidden cavern. She stumbles upon a strange glimmering gateway that transports her to Arkana, a planet that is the cradle of an advanced human race. There, teenagers navigate amazing flying vehicles, compete in perilous games for glory, and possess supernatural powers.
While Molly tries to wrap her mind around this unbelievable discovery, she meets the alluring and mysterious Victor Sorren. He is a Sentinel Apprentice, whose hatred toward people from Earth is beyond understanding. Yet every time Victor unpredictably saves Molly’s life, his heart draws closer to hers, no matter how much he tries to fight against it. It further complicates things that their growing friendship is strictly forbidden. Earth people are prohibited in Arkana, yet Molly continues to cross through the portal to Arkana to see Victor.
Torn between their double lives, they go down a dangerous path, from where there is no return and multiple endings.
Would you fight to be with the one you truly love? What cost would you be willing to sacrifice for that love?
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After reading this story you will find your heart racing whenever you enter a cave.