Friday, July 3, 2015

{Spotlight} Chasing Shadows (Rising Shadows Book 2) by Ashley Townsend

Chasing Shadows by Ashley Townsend
2014, 400 pages
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22545313-chasing-shadows?from_search=true&search_version=service

This is Book 2 in the Rising Shadows Series.

Description:  

Would you choose to entwine your fate with a hero of the past, even if it meant altering the future?
The murder of an ancient king spurs Sarah Matthews to travel back in time, putting her life in jeopardy as she races against the clock to solve a thousand-year-old mystery and pick up the pieces of her star-crossed romance. Her return to Serimone reveals that the kingdom is in upheaval and that the elusive Cadius has sinister plans for the throne. Unable to right the empire alone, Sarah reunites with Will, the love she left behind and the man beneath the Shadow’s hood. As they work together amidst lavish balls and explore the secret depths of the castle, they discover that the conspiracy runs deeper than they ever imagined. And when a counterfeit Shadow claims the life of someone close to her after a personal threat from Cadius himself, Sarah discovers that the price of questioning the new regime is a life.
Guilt-ridden and alone, she discovers comfort in her newfound friendship with Damien, a charming Spaniard who joins Sarah in her personal crusade for justice. But as she draws closer to his dark past and to the faceless killer in their midst, she realizes that the severed threads of time and the mystery surrounding Serimone Castle are unraveling rapidly, weaving new tapestries of devastation.
In this thrilling and deceptive sequel to "Rising Shadows," Sarah is forced into harm’s way countless times as she races to solve the puzzle before it is too late and Serimone becomes nothing more than a faded memory of the past. . . And before Sarah becomes a permanent fixture in history.


Buy Links:
http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Shadows-Ashley-Townsend-ebook/dp/B00O6VCZVQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435902431&sr=8-1&keywords=chasing+shadows+ashley
 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chasing-shadows-ashley-townsend/1120440724?ean=9781939156570 
  
About the Author:

Ashley TownsendAshley is a young twenty-something who has been spinning tales since she discovered that her wild imagination and love of storytelling could make a career. Reading and writing are her way of experiencing grand adventures from home, and she hopes that others will join in her fantastical escapades! She is a native to bookstores, coffee shops, the beach, and San Diego, CA. She also has an unexplainable aversion to clowns and describes outlines as a “proverbial noose.” Her first book “Rising Shadows” is available on ebook formats. Follow her quirkiness on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and ashley-townsend.com.

Twitter  ||  Goodreads  ||  Facebook  ||  Website
 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review: The Kiss That Launched 1000 GIFS by Sheralyn Pratt

The Kiss That Launched 1,000 Gifs by Sheralyn Pratt
My Rating: 5 Stars
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25711778-the-kiss-that-launched-1-000-gifs

Description: Each weekday from 2:00-4:00 p.m., Grace and Ashton cohost Battle of the Sexes, a radio program arguing the he-said/she-said issues of the day. Their fiery debates often have listeners wondering if there’s more to their relationship than just talk, even though Grace has been dating Phillip, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Perfect, since long before she ever met Ashton Miller.

Yet when news comes that Battle of the Sexes is on the bubble for cancellation, Grace and Ashton need to step up their efforts to engage their audience to keep the show alive. When a charity organization approaches them and proposes that the two of them kiss for a fund raiser, Grace and Ash agree to kiss for a good cause. A kiss is just a kiss, right?
 


My Review:  Grace is a beautiful, sassy, Latina woman and Ashton is a laid back, outdoorsy, athlete and their differences are just enough to help them engage in an intriguing banter day after day on their radio program. I absolutely adored the banter! These two are quick thinkers and know just which buttons to push to keep things interesting, without going too far. The subtle attraction felt more like a sizzling chemistry at times and culminated in a kiss for charity. Only a boyfriend stands in the way.

These characters had personality galore and it really showed through the words on each page. I love strong characters who are perfectly imperfect. I really appreciated the supporting characters as well--especially Esme, Grace's best friend, and Megan, Ashton's niece. Both say it like it is and are total spitfires, especially Megan with her wise words and actions that go beyond her years. I felt completely immersed in the story and felt like I was watching it unfold on social media, right along with the rest of the world.

I love a good, clean romance and this one had a dash of spice. I thought it was very cleverly written and I really can't stop thinking about the story, the characters, and what happened. This one is going on my favorites list!

Content: kissing (making out); mention of sleeping with someone in the past, but no details given; discussion about rape in general without details.

Pre-Order Link:
http://www.amazon.com/Kiss-That-Launched-000-Gifs-ebook/dp/B00ZONLBVK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1435816735&sr=1-1&keywords=the+kiss+that+launched+1000+gifs

About the Author:
Sheralyn's first job was as a karate instructor, which taught her that practice does not make perfect; practice makes habit--good or bad. Martial arts also taught Sheralyn that a master is simply a person who can effortlessly do all the actions a beginner finds difficult or maybe even impossible.

Sheralyn has worked in many fields throughout her life, but her 12 years as a karate instructor have shaped how she does everything, including writing and mentoring. She likes to keep things light and fun, but she's also aware that life is journey and that if you're going to buy a book, your life should better for it.

So, fiction or nonfiction, know that each of Sheralyn's books are designed to take you to a new place. Maybe that book is designed to help you escape for a few hours, or maybe it's a book designed to teach you a new skill. Either way, Sheralyn hopes it's unforgettable...in a good way. ;)
 

Website  ||   Facebook  ||  Goodreads  ||  Twitter @SheralynPratt

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review: Seaside Heartbeats by Stacy Claflin

Seaside Heartbeats: A Sweet Romance (The Seaside Hunters Book 2) by Stacy Claflin
199 pages,June 2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25680696-seaside-heartbeats

Description: After years of hard work, architect Lana Summers just wants a relaxing vacation in the beach town of Kittle Falls. Instead, she suffers unexpected heart problems, and finds herself in the office of a gorgeous cardiologist—who only makes her heart work harder.

Brayden Hunter left his successful cardiology practice in Dallas to be closer to his aging parents. Focused on building a health care clinic in his hometown, he doesn't want any distractions. However, the beautiful Lana is one he can’t seem to avoid.

As their attraction grows, they stumble upon a 160-year-old mystery. Brayden catches her adventurous spirit as they chase after answers, and he can’t help falling for her. But can he convince her to stay in the small beach town and with him?
 


My Review: I love this cozy little town and it's the perfect setting for a summer romance. Brayden is a doctor and is only recently back in his hometown, where the locals know not to get too involved with the tourists because they always leave. Things are different with Brayden and tourist, Lana--they have a cute meet in his doctor's office and it's an insta-attraction on both parts.

Brayden comes across as a very serious guy, who takes his work, life, and family...well, seriously. Lana has a lot of the same characteristics, getting through a tough college degree in near record time, yet she's more open to adventure and really latches on to an unsolved mystery involving the founder of this town. The two of them have some romantic and suspenseful adventures while trying to solve the case and in turn, they fall deeper for one another.

The mystery added a fun and different element to this family series, but it wasn't the main point. The romance happened too fast for me, but I loved that both characters felt the same way and their thoughts were clear on about that. Lana's father had me feeling a little angry about the way he was handling her career choice, but as a parent, I could see where he was coming from. I loved getting to know the Hunter family and some of the brothers a little better and look forward to their stories. I enjoyed the ending and the way it wrapped up, leaving me feeling satisfied. This is Book 2, but can stand alone. This is a great, light, clean and romantic, summer read!

Content: a cuss word or two; kissing (clean); nothing else of note. Clean!

Buy Links: 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Y5LVHUM?ie=UTF8&keywords=seaside%20heartbeats&qid=1435723866&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1
 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seaside-heartbeats-stacy-claflin/1122157989?ean=2940151363792

Follow the other Hunter brothers from Kittle Falls:
Seaside Surprises: Jake, the heartbroken son who never left Kittle Falls - Available Now

Seaside Dances: Zachary, the struggling writer - Coming Soon
Seaside Kisses: Rafael, the disillusioned fashion designer
Seaside Christmas: Cruz, the wild tattoo artist

My review of Seaside Surprises can be found here. 

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.

Sign up for book updates: http://stacyclaflin.com/newsletter/ 
 
 

Summer Book Trek 2015

http://www.newldsfiction.com/summer-book-trek/summer-book-trek-signup/

YAY! It's that time of year once again for the Summer Book Trek, sponsored by New LDS Fiction. You can go here to learn more about it, sign up to take the challenge yourself, and enter to win books!

My list may change a bit, but I think I'm set and I'm really hoping that I can get all of these great books read! I'll highlight the ones that I read in red when I've finished them. Come and join the fun!

My Summer Book Trek 2015 Reading List:

The Kiss that Launched 1000 Gifs by Sheralyn Pratt
The Royal Spy by Cassie M. Shiels
Veils and Vengeance by Rachelle Christensen
The Haunting of Springett Hall by EB Wheeler
Worth Waiting For by Sally Johnson
Another Time for Love by Lynne Larson
Timeless Romance Anthology: The Annette Lyon collection
Love on a Whim by Aubrey Mace
Dreaming of Ivy by Shannon Guymon
A Passion for Cleo by Shannon Guymon
My One and Only by Shannon Guymon
Free Fallin' by Shannon Guymon
At Last by Shannon Guymon
Other Side of the Wall by Jennifer Peel
The Girl in Seat 24B by Jennifer Peel
Timeless Romance Anthology: California Dreamin'
The Boardwalk Antiques Shop by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson, and Heather Moore

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review: Lord Fenton's Folly by Josi S. Kilpack

Lord Fenton's Folly (Proper Romance) by Josi S. Kilpack
Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: October 6th 2015 by Shadow Mountain 
My Rating: 5 Stars
My Source: I won an ARC and I'm providing an honest review and receiving no compenstaion
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25205323-lord-fenton-s-folly
 
Description: 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. But can Alice risk her heart a second time?
 
 
My Review:  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!

Pre-order Links:

 http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Fentons-Folly-Proper-Romance/dp/1629720666/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435527941&sr=1-1&keywords=lord+fenton%27s+follyhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lord-fentons-folly-josi-s-kilpack/1121677980?ean=9781629720661


About the Author:

Josi 

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 accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009. Josi currently lives in Willard Utah with her husband, children and super-cute cat.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: Cupcakery by Toni Miller



Cupcakery: Party-perfect Cupcakes in a Flash by Toni Miller
239 pages, Published June 9th 2015 by Cedar Fort, Inc.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25712592-cupcakery 

About the Book: 
There is nothing quite like a row of pretty little cupcakes lined up in a bakery display case. Who can resist so many fun flavors and adorable sprinkles?

Now you can skip the trip and the cost of bakery-style cupcakes and learn how to make them right in your own home, starting from a cake mix! Anybody can follow these easy recipes and create these adorable designs. And with so many unique flavors, you’ll want to try them all.

Blueberry-Stuffed French Toast
Monster Cookie Dough
Root Beer Float
Chocolate Caramel Irish Cream
Blue Velvet Coconut
Mocha Peppermint Crunch

Popular blogger Toni Miller’s baking has been featured online by Better Homes & Gardens, The Cooking Channel, Yahoo!, Mashable, and Good Housekeeping. And she’s won four national contests with her adorable cupcakes.

Tasty and tempting, these treats are simply irresistible. Perfect for all of life’s celebrations!


My Review: 
Cupcakes. Who can resist cupcakes? I sure can't! I really enjoyed the way this book broke it down. I'm not a creative person and I once tried to do pretty frosting and it ended up a disaster! This book starts out with explaining different methods of baking, frosting, and decorating. Even I could do this! Then came the good stuff--recipes. Lots and lots of different recipes. Each section is separated into similar types of cupcakes. Such as, kiddie flavors, traditional flavors, seasonal flavors, breakfast flavors. I never would have thought to make a Cotton Candy Cupcake. And Neapolitan? Yum! There were so many different kinds--I'm going to be baking for awhile yet to come.

Out of the ones I tried, my favorite was the S'mores Cupcakes. Ooh, so good! This cupcake is made with a yellow cake mix and graham cracker crumbs are added to the batter. A chocolate fudgy ganache tops it with a creamy, fluffy marshmallow cream frosting. Seriously divine!

The instructions are easy to follow and the explanations of technique were very helpful. Using a cake mix is so very simple, but I would have love to see a basic batter recipe. I'm trying to eat healthier and although cupcakes are nowhere near healthy, at least a mix from scratch doesn't have the preservatives and added things in it. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to bake a better, more professional looking, and delicious tasting cupcake.

Buy Links:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cupcakery-toni-miller/1120872798?ean=9781462116263 http://www.amazon.com/Cupcakery-Party-perfect-Cupcakes-Toni-Miller/dp/1462116264/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435285338&sr=8-1&keywords=cupcakery
 


1. 9in Milkglass Cake Stand - provided by Country SweetArt Kitchen
2. 4 Piece Wilton Tip Set – Provided By Make Bake Celebrate
3. Mama & Madison Custom Apron – Provided By Make Bake Celebrate
4. Paper Straw Party Combo – Provided By Sweets & Treats
5. Sprinkle Prize Pack (assortment picked by sponso r) – Provided By Country SweetArt Kitchen
6. $50.00 Credit to Sweets & Treats – Provided By Sweets & Treats
7. AmeriColor Gel Color 12 Pack – Provided By Country SweetArt Kitchen
8. 12 Ct. 12in Disposable Decorating Bags – Provided By Make Bake Celebrate
9. KitchenAid Measuring Cups – Provided By Make Bake Celebrate
10. Kitchen Aid 4.5 Qt Stand Mixer Winners Choice o f Color – Provided by Make Bake Celebrate 11. 2 Pk. Pink Mini Spatulas – Provided By Make Bake Celebrate
12. Wilton 24 Cavity Cupcake Pan – Provided By Make Bake Celebrate
13. Wilton Filling Tip & Cupcake Corer – Provided By Make Bake Celebrate

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Giveaway is open to US entries only. Proof of purc hased or entry validation may need to be provided by winner upon winning. Winner will be chosen at random on J uly 08, 2015. Make Bake Celebrate, and all particip ating bloggers have the right to display winner name(s) on all electronic publicatio ns including but not limited to; blog posts, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinte rest. If for any reason a prize is unavailable Make Bake Celebrate has the right to re place said prize for another similar item of equal value.

About the Author:
Toni’s sweet adventure began with her love for parties and creative knack. What started as a hobby of self-taught home cake baking and decorating quickly grew into a successful baking blog and a love for all things adorable sweet. Her work can be found on many websites and publications around the world, including Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Today, Yahoo!, and more.

*Images are provided by the author*

Friday, June 26, 2015

Review: Best Friends....Forever? by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Best Friends......Forever? (Landry's True Colors Series Book 2) by Krysten Lindsay Hager
212 pages, March 24th 2015 by Clean Reads
My Rating: 5 Stars
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Description: Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her besties make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.

Landry gets her first boyfriend, but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry has to deal with learning how to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American IngĂ©nue modeling competition.
 


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25145859-best-friends-forever?ac=1 
My Review: Best Friends.....Forever? picks up right where True Colors left off. Definitely read True Colors first! You can see my review here.

I swear Ms. Hager stole my middle school journal, read it, and adapted it for her book. What I really love about this story is the way it is told from a 14 year old girl's perspective and her voice is so realistic to that age. The way she thinks and analyzes every little thing and the way she interacts with her friends and parents is true to the age. It took me back to when I was going through similar things (years ago) and the way I would thought processes I would go through, as well as the way I would act. Seriously--it's realistic.

For some reason, there are mean girls everywhere and Landry really gets a dose of them in this book. I couldn't understand how she could be around some of these girls, but she's such a nice person and really tries hard to accept everyone around her. I love the journey that encompasses a first boyfriend, another big modeling job, friend drama galore!, and preparing for high school. Landry goes through a lot of growth and has big decisions to make that really shape who she is and who she is becoming.

The emotion is great! I could feel Landry's pain, awkwardness, confusion, indecision, joy, and triumph. This is such a tough age to be and everyone has to go through it. I really don't want to give too much away. I thought Landry's journey was very inspiring and would be a great read for middle grade readers or for anyone needing a dose of reality to remember what it's like to go through this time of life.

Content: Clean!

Buy Links:
http://www.amazon.com/Best-Friends-Forever-Landrys-Colors-ebook/dp/B00UIP1N5S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1435208533&sr=1-1&keywords=krysten+lindsay+hagerhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/best-friends-forever-krysten-lindsay-hager/1121504612?ean=2940151347204

Krysten L About the Author:
Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. Her debut novel, TRUE COLORS, will be out June 17th from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows.