Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: At First Sight by Mya O'Malley

At First Sight 

At First Sight by Mya O'Malley
ebook, 239 pages
Published August 4th 2014 by Astraea Press 
My Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Description: Modern love can be a headache. Just ask Annie Morgan, who, recently divorced, finds herself in the middle of the proverbial online dating jungle. Making a deal with her best friend, Annie agrees to go out on exactly five online dates out of seventy-six potential suitors.
Shane Nicholls was jaded, he had his heart broken and never got over the hurt. Now, convinced that all women are trouble, he avoids drama at any cost. Funny thing is, drama seems to find Shane around every corner.
Can Annie, a romantic at heart, find love online or will she find love at first sight the old-fashioned way, by awkward, chance meetings with Shane Nicholls? Through a number of obstacles and heartache, Annie and Shane find that love at first sight really does exist if you truly believe.
My Review: Annie has recently divorced and is now looking for love again. Her best friend, Sam, gets her to agree to go out with five guys from the online dating site that she recently joined. I was amazed at how her dates turned out. Are there really guys out there like that? There were some very humorous situations, that's for sure. I love the way Annie gets so emotional about Shane and assumes that she knows all about his type, yet upon self-examination, realizes that maybe he sees her in a similar way. Annie is a very no-nonsense girl and I love how she handles some of those awkward dates and situations.
Shane hasn't ever recovered from the broken heart he suffered from years ago, yet he finds himself going on one bad date to the next, with drama and crazies at every turn. Shane has been burned, yet he tortures himself with the dating scene, just in case he can find that special someone. He comes across as tough, but he's got a heart of gold--he's an amazing teacher and not everyone can do that. I love the part when he takes his dog, Tiny, in to be checked out for fleas.
Shane and Annie meet in such a sweet way but their insecurities and assumptions lead to misunderstandings and obstacles that may prove to be too great to overcome. With a story built upon misconceptions, I wasn't sure how things would work out, but they did. I loved it!

Content: minimal swearing; no violence; kissing--no intimate details. Clean!
Amazon  *  B&N
About the Author:  
Mya O'Malley 
Mya O’Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and three step-daughters. The family also consists of two boxers; Destiny and Dolce and a ragdoll cat named Colby. Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy. She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.
Mya’s passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child. Mya spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters. Mya likes to travel; she has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica. Mya is currently working on her fifth novel.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Candy Canes and Christmastime by Linda Hoffman Kimball

Candy Canes and Christmastime: Enhancing the Holidays in the Real World 
Paperback, 178 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media 
My Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Description: If the holiday rush has you feeling like you’ve been run over by a reindeer, this is the book for you! Linda Hoffman Kimball presents a compilation of heartfelt and humorous stories and ideas that help families refocus on the sacredness of the season. Discover unique traditions, fresh ideas, practical tips, and spiritual insights so that your family can get back on track. There are even some recipes! This is a great gift to give your friends, neighbors and relatives.
My Review:  It's crazy to think that the holidays will be here before we know it! I haven't quite finished the book, but I've read enough that I feel I can give my honest opinion and if the rest is anything like what I've read, I'm in for a real treat. This is a great book to savor during the busy holiday season.
My life is crazy busy and I'm very good at making myself feel guilty, especially when I don't feel that I'm enough. I look at women around me and wonder why I'm not more crafty and creative. The message that I really picked up strongly from this book is that you don't have to be like that to make memories. Things can be simple and that's okay. I'm not trying to knock anyone who goes all out, because that's okay, too, especially if you have a talent for that. 
I loved the way each little story was told--some were told in a very tender, humble way, while others were quite humorous. I was able to take something away from each story that I read. In fact, I often felt validated that it's okay to do only what I am able and those are memories, too.
Amazon  *  Cedar Fort  *  B&N
About the Author:
Linda Hoffman Kimball is an author and illustrator based in Illinois and Utah. Candy Canes & Christmastime: Enhancing the Holidays in the Real World is the 5th compilation for Cedar Fort in the “In the Real World” series. This series on topics compelling to Mormon women, features the voices and experiences of a wide array of women “in the trenches” who candidly share what they have learned from the highlights – and even the lowlights – in their efforts to build Zion. She is a blogger with Segullah.org and writes a column for the quarterly journal Exponent II with which she has been affiliated since 1975. Her other books include humorous novels for LDS adults Home to Roost (Hatrack River Press) and The Marketing of Sister B. (Signature Books), an essay compilation Saints Well-Seasoned: Musings on how food nourishes us – body, heart and soul (Deseret Book) and the children’s picture book Come with Me on Halloween (Albert Whitman Co.). Learn more at LindaHoffmanKimball.com.
Linda Hoffman Kimball earned a BA from Wellesley College and an MFA from Boston University. She and her husband Christian have three grown children with marvelous spouses and three delightful grandchildren. She loves to travel, make creative messes, and consume dark chocolate.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: Pastels and Jingle Bells by Christine S. Feldman

Pastels and Jingle Bells (Heavenly Bites Novella #1) (Heavenly Bites Novellas) 
Pastels and Jingle Bells (Heavenly Bites Novella #1) (Heavenly Bites Novellas) by Christine S. Feldman

Kindle Edition, 60 pages
Published October 31st 2013 
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Description: Trish Ackerly never expected to cross paths with Ian Rafferty again, but when she spots the former bully of her childhood years through her bakery window, she thinks she may just have been given the best Christmas gift ever: the opportunity to finally give Ian the comeuppance he deserves.

But clearly she does not have a knack for this whole revenge thing, because before she can make good on her plans, Trish gets inadvertently drawn into Ian’s life in an unexpected way that lets her see just how different the man is from the boy he used to be. In fact, much to her astonishment, she actually starts to like the guy.

A lot.

Trouble is, Ian doesn’t know who she really is, and explaining it to him is going to be a little difficult now—which is bad news, because Trish is starting to realize that all she really wants for Christmas this year…is Ian.

My Review: It's getting to be about the time of the year when Christmas stories come out. I was excited to read this one because I really do love Christmas stories--especially romantic ones.

Trish had a difficult childhood, all because of bully, Ian. Years later, when their paths meet again, she has the chance for revenge, but can she do it? 

Trish has really done a lot for herself to get to the point she's at. She's happy and successful and even though she holds a grudge, she doesn't let that get in the way of her being a kind person. I think her experiences really shaped who she grew up to be. Ian's past has created the man he grew up to be as well. I love the kind of father he is and I love how sweet he is.

I think a lot of people can relate to this story. Kids do dumb things, especially when they don't know how to express their feelings. I loved the heartwarming message that was given in this story.

Content: short, sweet, and clean!

Amazon  *  B&N

About the Author:
Christine S. FeldmanChristine S. Feldman writes both novels and feature-length screenplays, and she has placed in screenwriting competitions on both coasts. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her ballroom-dancing husband and their beagle.   
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Review: The Land Uncharted by Keely Brooke Keith

The Land Uncharted (Uncharted, #1) 

The Land Uncharted (Volume 1) by Keely Brooke Keith
Paperback, 306 pages
Expected publication: October 21st 2014 by Edenbrooke Press 
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Description: Lydia Colburn is a young physician dedicated to serving her village in the Land, a landmass in the South Atlantic Ocean undetectable to the outside world. When injured fighter pilot Connor Bradshaw’s parachute carries him from the war engulfing the 2025 world to her hidden land, his presence threatens her plans, her family, and the survival of her preindustrial society. As Connor searches for a way to return to his squadron, his fascination with life in the Land makes him protective of Lydia and her peaceful homeland, and Lydia’s attraction to Connor stirs desires she never anticipated. Written like a historical, set like a scifi, and filled with romance, The Land Uncharted weaves adventure and love in this suspenseful story of a hidden land.
My Review: Lydia is a young woman at the end of her training to becoming her village's doctor. She and her family live in the Land, an unheard of area in the South Atlantic Ocean--one that hasn't been discovered by anyone since the founders in the 1860s. This society is absolutely incredible! They are able to completely support themselves and have a system set up that is very functional, if still technologically behind the times of the rest of the world. The world around them is in chaos and in search of resources, yet this landmass remains undetected--until Connor accidentally lands on it. As he searches for a way to return home, he discovers that life here in the Land isn't all that bad. 
I loved the simplicity of life in the Land. For the most part, people are genuine and real. I love that these people are very connected to their past and their families and do what they can to support their society. Of course, there are a few "bad guys," but that all adds to the story. 
Lydia is a very self-reliant and independent woman, yet she realizes some things about herself when Connor shows up. I love the support and encouragement he gives her, especially when she was at her low point. Connor is a very brave and loyal man. He's the type of person who lives in the moment and looks toward the future, instead of living in the past. I love the self-restraint he showed in many situations, as well as the commitment he develops towards his new home, friends, and family.
I thoroughly enjoyed the way it was written and loved how the ending wrapped things up somewhat, but still left the story open for more. I can't wait to see what's coming next!
Content: no language; mild violence (fighting), a few deaths that weren't descriptive; mild, sweet romance. Clean!
About the Author:
Keely Brooke KeithBorn in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely was a tree-climbing, baseball-loving ‘80s kid. She grew up in a family who frequently relocated. By graduation, Keely lived in 8 states and attended 14 schools. Keely’s many adventures include: being an exchange student, recording with a former Beatles producer, being chased through the New Mexico desert by a rattlesnake, jumping out of an airplane at 14,500 feet, and sleeping under the open sky in the Australian outback.

Keely is a bass guitarist and plays on worship teams and for solo artists. She is married to singer/songwriter John Martin Keith, and they frequently perform and tour together. When she isn’t writing stories or playing bass, Keely enjoys dancing, having coffee with friends, and sifting through vintage books at antique stores.

Keely resides on a hilltop south of Nashville with her husband and their daughter, Rachel.
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Daydreams by Marcia Lynn McClure


Daydreams by Marcia Lynn McClure
Paperback, 202 pages
Published July 2011 by Distractions Ink
Description: Sayler Christy knew chances were slim to none that any of her silly little daydreams would ever actually come true-especially any daydreams involving Mr. Booker, the new patient-the handsome, older patient convalescing in her grandfather's rehabilitation center.

Yet, working as a candy striper at Rawlings Rehab, Sayler couldn't help but dream of belonging to Mr. Booker-and Mr. Booker stole her heart-perhaps unintentionally-but with very little effort. Gorgeous, older, and entirely unobtainable-Sayler knew Mr. Booker would unknowingly enslave her heart for many years to come-for daydreams were nothing more than a cruel joke inflicted by life. All dreams-daydreams or otherwise-never came true. Did they?

My Review: This is one of my favorite contemporary books by this author and I had forgotten just how much I loved it...until I read it again. 

Sayler is a dreamer--a dreamer who just so happens to work as a candy stripper, uh, I mean, striper, at her grandpa's rehab center. Bo is a new patient in the center and their first meeting had me laughing out loud! That has got to be the best meeting ever! Bo quickly steals Sayler's heart, but nothing comes of it--it's all just a daydream for her--until they meet again, years later. 

I love how naive Sayler is. She's easy going and tries hard not to let things bother her and she really does love to live in her dreams. Bo is such a fun man. He could have had a fit about how they met, yet he just played right along with it. He's very real, although he has every reason not to be. Their chemistry is great and I love the way the storyline builds. So much happens in such a little book, yet it wasn't rushed. This really is a favorite of mine.

language: a few mild expletitives
violence: none
romance: kissing

About the Author:
Marcia Lynn McClure 
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Marcia Lynn McClure grew up influenced by the reminiscent stories of rugged, rural Colorado farm life fascinatingly recounted to her by her parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts…tales of runaway buckboards, mule-drawn plows and dust pneumonia; verbalized images of stream-flooded meadows, frozen over in winter, where a child could peer through the crystal clear ice in wonder at the small fish, snakes and mice sealed in the meadow grasses beneath; stories of hardship and tragedy, love and loss. But always the stories, and the people telling them, bore evidence of the wonder and worthiness of simpler, yet sometimes brutal, times.

These influential people and the family legends they detailed, coupled with her own life experiences and utterly romantic nature, led Marcia to begin writing novels as Christmas gifts for her closest friends…friends who long for a breath of the past and miss the romance of bygone eras; friends searching for moments of distraction from the stressful, demanding times we live in.

And so, knowing that it is the breath of the past and the "take me in you arms and kiss me" kind of moments that so many women long to relive, Marcia spins her tales of love, life and laughter…adventures woven around those compelling, romantic instances that most appeal to a woman's loving heart. Marcia feels that if her readers close one of her books with a contented sigh and a delighted smile, feeling rejuvenated, cheerful and edified, then she has achieved what she set out to do…shower refreshment and happiness on anyone having experienced the story.

Marcia lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. There she writes her stories surrounded by her beloved friends and family...and the beautiful desert landscape of New Mexico!

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Jack Templar and the Lord of the Werewolves (Book 4) $50 Book Blast

Jack Templar 4$50 Book Blast
Jack Templar and the Lord of the Werewolves Fresh from confronting the Lord of the Vampires in the limestone catacombs beneath Paris, Jack Templar faces his toughest challenge yet as he searches for the next Jerusalem Stone, this one being held by the Lord of the Werewolves. But the narrow escape from the vampire lair came at a great cost and Eva battles to survive the new vampire blood in her veins. The only chance to help Eva is to continue their quest and find the Jerusalem Stones. Reuniting the Stones will not only stop Ren Lucre’s coming war against mankind, but also transform Eva back into her human self. From the ruins of ancient Delhi to the depths of the Black Forest in Germany, Jack and his friends face monsters, bewildering riddles and treachery from the most unlikely of places. Through it all, they are plagued by the Oracle’s prediction that at least one of their group with not make it through the adventure alive. Worse yet, they know that Kaeden, the Lord of the Werewolves, will do his best to make sure none of them do. But they are monster hunters of the Black Guard… and they will do their duty, come what may.

The stench hung heavy in the air. There was no other smell in the world quite like it. First came the stink of grease fires from the wall torches, the heavy black smoke that roiled through the air like a foul fog. Then a moldering, musty base layer came to the senses. It reeked of decay and seeping moisture that grew black mold on every surface. The mold clung on the rough-cut rocks lining the dungeon tunnels. It covered the thick iron bars holding the prisoners in place. It even grew on the tattered rags covering the miserable creatures in the cells and likely on their skin as well. That final smell overlay the symphony of stink.

The Creach prisoners.
Werewolves, harpies, blind mad-worms, blinderwursts, fangpiercers, even some demons held with the special pure iron chains required to keep them in place. Many of these creatures were pungent under the best circumstances, but locked in the deepest dungeon underground, sometimes for decades, they took on an odor so ripe, so awful, that visitors to the dungeon often had to hold their breath to enter. Even then, the smell would make their eyes sting and well with tears.
Immediately after leaving the dungeon, visitors were allowed a bath or a shower in the castle. As they washed the stench from their bodies, they would feel an overwhelming sense of thanks that they were not a prisoner wallowing in the horrifying conditions they’d just witnessed.
No one, human or Creach, wanted to be a prisoner in the dungeons of Ren Lucre.
Far away, at the end of one of the long, twisting corridors, came the creak of a massive door opening. The prisoners stirred at the sound. Their reactions mirrored how long they had been in their cells.
The newer arrivals looked up with expectation, still hopeful their punishment was going to be short and that someone was coming to tell them their nightmare was over.
Those who had been there longer knew that hope was useless in this dark place. They simply cowered farther into whatever dark corner they could find in their cell, desperate not to be noticed by the Master.
Then there were those who had been there the longest. They simply looked up with mild interest, knowing that nothing they did made any difference. Their spirits were broken. Worse, they knew this to be the dark truth, and they simply didn’t care.
One single prisoner reacted in none of these ways. He simply stood, and the rags that had once been his clothes hung on his bony frame. Unbroken by years of starvation and torture, he still squared his shoulders in the direction of the sound and raised his chin, his eyes glistening in the torchlight with defiance. What he saw would have brought a normal man to his knees, but this man was no more normal than the monster approaching.
Ren Lucre, the five hundred year old vampire, filled the hallway as he strode through it, his cloak billowing behind him as he rushed past the stinking cells. His pale, narrow face looked pinched and concerned. His blood-red lip pursed in a straight line, and his eyes glowered like embers in a fire that might at any time combust into new flame.
He came to the thick set of bars that held the proud man, stopped, and stared him down.
“Well, if it isn’t the Lord of the Creach,” the man said. Even though his voice was course and weak, he still managed an edge of bitter sarcasm. “You look like you’re having a bad day.” The man spat on the floor. “Good.”

 Jack Templar 4 Tour

jeffAbout the Author
Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Amazon bestselling supernatural thriller, Night Chill, and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book of the series, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. Killer Within is his second novel for adults. As a father of five, he and his wife Nicole spend most of their time chasing kids and taking advantage of living in the great state of Maryland. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel. If you see him there, sit down and have a cup of coffee with him. You just might end up in his next novel.
Jack Templar awards
book blast button  Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/4/14 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 and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: The Rainy Season by J. Adams

The Rainy Season 
The Rainy Season by J. Adams
Kindle Edition, 299 pages
Published March 21st 2014 by Jewel of the West 
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
“Life is a fickle thing, and destiny is as unpredictable as the shifting of the wind.

When I was ten years old, I wasn't concerned about either of those things until the day my mother died. That single event changed the course of my life, pointing me towards a destiny I could never have foreseen, and a love I couldn't have forsaken even if I tried.”

This is the story of a girl who was handed a life she never expected, encountering a love she could never deny.

“Such an inspirational read...simply lovely. I enjoyed reading this book and will read it again to remind me of the life I must live and cherish.”

“This was a very heart felt book. Very touching. I absolute loved it.”

“The love this author writes about must be a love she live each day. No one could make this up!”
My Review:
I honestly couldn't decide how I felt about this story at first. It was a little shocking, yet as I got into it, I couldn't put it down. This story of true and unconditional love was told in a beautiful way that was very touching, emotional, and inspirational. 
Giselle was orphaned at a young age and was taken in by her mother's best friend from college. Gina was a grudging kind of "mother" and was very cold. On the other hand, Gilles, her new "brother" made up for all of that, along with his father. Giselle ended up having a great childhood, since she felt loved, was able to pursue her dream of ballet, and was cared for.
Giselle and those close to her had a lot of heartache and trials to endure, but they all did so with great faith and strength. I was especially amazed at how mature Giselle was and how well she handled what life handed her. Sometimes, the books that have all gloom and doom can be depressing, but this one was very uplifting. I really enjoyed the way the story came together--I just wished for a little more for the ending. I guess I just wanted it to be a little longer.
language: a few mild curse words
violence: a non-graphic fight or two (bloody nose, etc)
romance: kissing, some passionate; sex between a minor before legal marriage, but all implied and behind closed doors--nothing graphic. Technically clean, but for an older reader
religion: talk of praying and of inspirational experiences, but I didn't feel it was preachy
Amazon  *  B&N 
About the Author:
Image of Jewel Adams

J. Adams has written books in different genres, but her main focus is inspirational interracial romance. She is a motivational speaker to both youth and adult audiences. In her spare time (when she has any) you can find her curled up with a good book and a healthy stash of orange Tic Tacs.
She and her family reside in Utah.