Jun 28, 2013

Quick Duck

So I am doing the A to Z Book Reading Challenge...
I have read every letter EXCEPT Q and X...
Feeling a little anxious about this I was browsing the children's book isle...
And I came across this book!
So I read it...
Thoroughly enjoyed it...

YES it is a board book...YES it probably shouldn't count...BUT I am counting it because it starts with a Q!

This little duckie needs to be quick-quack-quick — leaping out of the mud, scooting under the hedge, running around the flowers, and skipping over the stones. Now he can splash into the river, where his mom and siblings are waiting and ready to go! And he needs to be QUICK, DUCK!

Now if only I can find an X book...?

The Kindling

Book Details
Author: Braden Bell
Release Date: July 2012
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Genre: Middle Fantasy

So well written!
Thrilling, fantastic, enchanting, electrifying, captivating, gripping, did I say fun?
I couldn't stop reading!
All ages will enjoy this tale!

Middle school can be pretty crazy and pretty intimidating...especially if you have a secret...
A secret so deep that you don't even know about it!

When crazy things start to happen to Conner, Lexa  and Melanie... like gym shorts of the bully starting on fire, hockey sticks getting broken in a flash, strange men stalking them, teachers always underfoot, and feelings that come true...questions arise.

Questions that lead to the discovery of the secret that they are KINDLING...


About the Author
Braden Bell earned a Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York University. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in theatre arts and child drama from Brigham Young University. He and his family live on a quiet, wooded lot in Tennessee, where he teaches theatre and music at a private middle school--the world described in The Kindling (whether his evenings and weekends are spent fighting evil is something he cannot disclose). An experienced performer, Braden enjoys singing, acting, reading, gardening, and long walks with the dog.

Braden enjoys interacting with readers on his blog or Facebook page. He's available for schools assemblies, classroom visits, and book clubs in person or via Skype. You can contact him by leaving a message here.

(A digital review copy was provided for this review. However, all reviews are of my own opinion :)

Jun 26, 2013

Zucchini Pie

Book Details
Author: Susan Aylworth
Release Date: June 2013
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Genre: Drama

Families, Funerals, and Food...
Can it get any better than that?

Granny Adelaide is dying...
Her last, final wish?
To have a family reunion as part of her funeral.
Including not only the family that was split apart decades earlier, but to also include nostalgic family foods.
And none of those cliche songs.

As Karen and her family put this unusual funeral together hearts will be healed, family secrets will be put to rest and new life will be revealed.

A tender book of feelings, grieving, forgiving, and accepting.
And of course the power of food....
Recipes included at the end of each chapter!

Click HERE to read the 1st chapter :)

Bibb lettuce
2 avocados; seeded, peeled, and sliced
2 C. grapefruit sections
1 C. fresh raspberries
½ C. fresh blackberries or blueberries
Prepared sweet vinegar and oil dressing*

Line serving platter or individual salad plates with lettuce and watercress. Arrange avocado and grapefruit over greens in a tight pattern. Scatter berries over the top and sprinkle with dressing.

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
¼ C. cooking oil (olive oil does not work as well)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 drops Tabasco sauce
½ tsp. salt
Dash of black pepper

Mix oil, vinegar, and sugar thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and mix again. Chill. Mix once more before using. Drizzle while still well mixed.

About the Author
Susan's first book was Silhouette Romace #702, which appeared in 1990. It has just been re-released as en e-book by Belgrave House. Susan is married to fellow author, journalist and columnist, Roger Aylworth, and the couple are parents to seven grown childen. They live in northern California.

Jun 25, 2013

My Own Mr. Darcy Cover Reveal


After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

Excerpt 1

Janessa folded her arms and looked at me for so long I started to squirm. “What?”
“I wish you’d look at yourself. You’re ruining your life with this stupid obsession.”
“I’m not obsessed.” I stood up quickly, nearly tipping my chair over. I rinsed my plate and put it in the dishwasher. I could feel Janessa’s eyes on me the entire time, but I refused to look at her. “And just because I’m not interested in this guy doesn’t mean my life is ruined.”
“Let me guess. Was he blond?”
“Knock it off.”
“Too short?”
“He wasn’t short. I’ve got to go.” I left the kitchen with Janessa on my heels.
“Was he too cheerful?”
“Oh brother. I’m not having this conversation with you.”
Janessa grabbed my arm and turned me toward her. “Yes, you are.”
“I’m going to be late for work.”
“Then we’d better talk fast.”
“I don’t have anything to say,” I said.
“Then I’ll talk. You listen. You have to start giving these guys a chance.”
I folded my arms tightly. “I give them a chance.”
“You give them one date, two at the most. But you’re not really giving them a chance because your mind’s already made up before you even go out.”
I was getting annoyed. “I don’t have time for this conversation again.” Janessa was practically reciting word for word what she’d said after my last date. And the one before that.
“Lizzie. If you don’t want to have the same conversation, do something different. Shake things up a little.” She smiled and did a little shimmy. I refused to smile no matter how silly she looked.
“How do you suggest I do that?”
“If this guy… What’s his name?”
“If Chad calls you back, go out with him again.”
“I don’t see the point.”
“Did you get a serial killer vibe from him?”
“No, I got a nice-guy-that-doesn’t-deserve-to-be-led-on vibe from him.”
“Nice guys are good. So you’ll say yes, right?”
“If I’m not interested, it wouldn’t be fair to say yes.”
“Oh knock off the baloney. You haven’t been fair to a guy since high school. You’re just afraid if you get to know a guy, you might like him. And wouldn’t that be awful? Was Chad funny?”
“Yes, he was funny.”
I sighed. “I don’t know if I’d call him handsome, but he was cute.”
“Cute is good. Especially if he was funny. So go out with him again.”
“You act like it’s all up to me.” I walked to the closet and collected my purse. Like a tiger leaping on her prey, Janessa pounced at the bowl on the entry table and grabbed my car keys. “This isn’t funny, Janessa. I’m going to be late for work.”
“Then let’s make a deal. You agree to go out with him ten times before you toss him aside and I’ll give you your keys.”
“Ten times? No way.”
“That’ll give you time to get to know him.”
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
“I’m serious, Lizzie. Ten is a good number. In that amount of time, you can make a real decision. Instead of one based on a stupid movie.”
Now Janessa was skipping through a minefield. “It’s not a stupid movie and I’ve got to go.”
“It’s the stupidest movie in the world if it ruins your life.”
“Nothing’s ruining my life and I’m going to be late. Give me my keys and we’ll talk about this later.” A little tussle ensued as I tried to rescue my keys from her clutches. I almost had them when she darted to the bathroom and shut the door hard and fast, locking it behind her. “This is real mature.”
“I don’t care about mature. You’re my best friend, Lizzie.  I love you and I’m trying to save you from yourself.”
I banged on the door. “Give me the keys. Now.” My voice had become shrieky.
“I’ll give you the keys as soon as you promise you’ll go out with him ten times.”
“I doubt he’ll ask me out again.”
“Why? Were you a jerk?”
“Are you sure?”
I hesitated, knowing I hadn’t been very good company. “I’m pretty sure.”
“If he doesn’t ask you out, you have to ask him.”
“No way am I asking out a guy ten times. No way!”
“You just have to ask him out once. If he doesn’t return the favor you can move on. But you have to be nice to him and give him a reason to want to ask you out again.”
“This is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had.”
“Listen Liz, I’m doing this for you. Give a guy a chance before you give him the old heave-ho.”
I leaned my head on the door. “Just give me the keys. Please.” Now I was whining.
“You’re the one keeping yourself from your keys. And probably true love.”
I looked at my watch. Now I’d have to risk a speeding ticket or get to work five minutes late. I wasn’t sure which was worse—a ticket from a police officer or a tongue-lashing from Delia.
“Fine. I’ll go out with him again if he asks me.”
“If he doesn’t ask me, I’ll ask him?”
“Right. And how many times will you go out with him?”
“Way too many,” I said under my breath.
“I can’t hear you.”
“Ten times. If he asks me.”
The door cracked open. “And you’ll be nice to him?”
“Whatever you say. Now give me the keys.”
Janessa emerged from the bathroom and triumphantly dropped my keys into my outstretched hand.
“You’re an idiot,” I said.
“An idiot that loves you and wants you to be happy,” she said. She turned and headed down the hall. “Someday you’ll thank me,” she sang.
“If I don’t kill you first.” I slammed the door behind me.

Excerpt 2

It was a busy Monday morning. I was looking out at the line of waiting customers when he walked in. I gasped, shut my thumb in my cash drawer, and then tried not to cry while Mr. Sandoval from a hearing aid store asked me if I was okay.
When I finished Mr. Sandoval’s transaction, I looked at him again. He was taller than anyone in the room. Of course. His hair was dark and a little disheveled. It was hard to see from where I was, but his eyes looked like they were blue. And best of all, he didn’t smile. He looked gorgeously unpleasant and impatient. He looked around the room and his eyes met mine. Still he didn’t smile. My heart was racing. He looked perfect.
I did my best to time it so I’d be his teller. I went a little too fast with one customer and accidentally shorted her a twenty dollar bill. I tried to concentrate as I corrected the transaction. I slowed way down on the next customer, but just when I thought I was finished and would be able to help him next, my customer asked me to break a ten into change. He walked up to Courtney’s window while I counted out nickels and dimes. Furious, I stomped my foot. Not too loudly but enough to release a little of my frustration.
I listened closely as Courtney helped him to see if I could learn anything, but he hardly spoke. He gave a terse nod when Courtney thanked him for coming in and turned on his heel and left. He had excellent posture and a nice, confident stride.
I finished with my customer, and then before anyone else could step forward, I picked up the phone and dialed Courtney’s extension. She glanced at her phone’s display and looked over at me curiously.
            “Who was that?” I whispered when she picked up the receiver.
“Elizabeth, look how many customers there are.”
“I know. Just tell me who that was.” I watched as Courtney picked up her last transaction slip.
“His name is Matt Dawson.”
“Is he married?”
“I have no idea,” Courtney said.
“Was he wearing a ring?”
“I didn’t look. What’s going on, Lizzie?”
“I just need to know about him.”
“Well, I don’t know anything about him and Delia’s watching us. I’ve gotta go.”
Matt Dawson. Matt. Matthew. Like Matthew Macfadyen. Dawson. It was pretty close to Darcy. The only way it could be better is if his name was Fitzwilliam but I’d never met a Fitzwilliam in my life.
Matt Dawson.
This had to be a sign.  

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John William and the Bandits of Basswood Book Blast

banditsJohn William and the Bandits of Basswood

We already know Alexander Drake’s story. His father, John William started it all years before when he entered Azra’s Pith. This is his story.

John William was born an explorer; just like his dad before him. His adventure really began with the worst year of his life. He lived everyday in misery until his twelfth birthday.

He set out to turn things around and find his smile again. A new friend gave him an invitation he could not turn down… follow me and change your destiny.

He never imagined being captured by bandits and taken to a ship riddled with river rats was part of his fate.

Not just any bandits – the Bandits of Basswood; known to be a ruthless and wild crew of thieves. Trying to escape would be a ridiculous idea. No one has ever escaped and lived to tell about it.

Someone should have mentioned that to John William before he snuck off the ship.

The chase out of Basswood was on. He took a chance to change his destiny and ended up on a wild ride to save his life.


Author Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows

Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat. Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose.

Website * Twitter * Facebook


Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/10/13 a Rafflecopter giveaway   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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Jun 24, 2013

Swept Up by the Sea


Book Details
Release Date: July 2013
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Genre: YA Fantasy

I LOVED this book!
A LOT of FANTASTIC SCENES, filled with tongue-in-cheek humor, are found in these pages!

If you have read Tales of the Dragon's Bard: Eventide, then you have met our meddling story-teller, Edvard. He is only trying to NOT be eaten by providing wonderful stories for the dragon.

And he especially loves to meddle in stories that involve 'matters-of-the-heart!
So he seduces a poor village girl, Vestia, and arranges a marriage between her and Percival Taylor....But Percival wants to seek his own fortune! (Read my review of Eventide HERE)

A chance meeting between Percival, Madame Zoltana and a deck of cards tells Percival that he must find his destiny at sea! 

How can he become a legendary pirate and win the heart of the beautiful Tuppence, the girl of his dreams...the one that he just met, if no one will let him even near a ship in the port of Blackshore?

And to top that off, the Dragon Bard, along with his scribe, have finally caught up to him in hopes of bringing him back to Eventide. However, Edvard realizes a story might be in the making right here in Blackshore.

Alas, Edvard summons Vestia to come to Blackshore, while Percival finally gets a broken down ship along with a very INTERESTING and HILARIOUS crew!

And what of Tuppence? She is the governors daughter and the first lady of Blackshore. She is suppose to be bred in all of the finest things. However she fancies the forbidden and the scoundrels...

So when she reads a book written by the Dragon's Bard, and runs into Percival who just happens to look just like the pirate in the book, she will do anything to become the love of said pirate...even go so far as to kidnap herself.

When the two women meet, and fight over Percival, he comes to understand "why men go to sea."

Strange characters you will find as you sail along with Percival in hopes of finding treasure and romance! 
It is your destiny to read this book and be "swept up by the sea."


About the Authors:

Tracy Hickman is a New York Times best-selling fantasy author who has published more than 40 novels, many of the co-authored with Margaret Weis. He published the first of his solo novels in 1995.
Laura Hickman is credited as the first female designer of a published role-playing game module. Laura and her husband, Tracy wrote and edited the first science fiction movie filmed in space, and a copy of their DNA is currently in orbit on the International Space Station. They are the parents of four children and live in Utah.
Tracy and his wife, Laura have been collaborating on fantastic works of fiction since their marriage in 1977. Together, Tracy and Laura have written role-playing games, screenplays, and works of fiction, including their first co-authored novel in 2004.

(A digital review copy was provided for this review. However, all reviews are of my own opinion :)

Jun 22, 2013

Why a Daughter Needs a Mom


Book Details
Genre: Inspiration

Today is my darling daughters' birthday.
I am SO GRATEFUL to be her mom!

This book is so beautiful!
Amazing messages!
Wonderful pictures of moms and daughters!

A daughter need a mom...
Because there are some things a dad just can't handle.
To provide her with moments that will last forever.
To remind her on the bad days that she is not alone.
Who shares with her the wisdom of generations.
To love her for who she is.
To remind her hat there is a rainbow after every storm.

From the Author:
My name is Gregory E. Lang; my friends call me Greg. I am an author and photographer living with my family in the Atlanta, GA suburbs. My series of inspirational books about faith and family relationships have sold over 3.5 million copies. Several of my titles have appeared on the New York Times Best-Sellers List; I have also published over 550 photographs. I write nearly every day - it is practically a compulsion.

In addition to my work as an author and photographer, I work as the Executive Director of The Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett, a non-profit medical clinic serving the poor and uninisured, also a Christian ministry. I love serving the Lord by serving His people.

Jun 21, 2013



Book Details
Author: Rebecca Belliston
Release Date: November 2011
Publisher: Deseret Book
Genre: Romantic Suspense


Sadie Dawson thinks she has the perfect life until one Christmas Day when accusations and misunderstandings throw her life into turmoil. 

Feeling her boyfriend's wrath in a blinding Montana snowstorm, she finds refuge with four friends on their annual ski vacation. 

While she knows there is more to a perfect life than diamonds and dinner parties, Sadie must discover who has her best interests at heart and who she can trust...before it's too late.

The sequel, Augustina, is coming out SOON!




About the Author
Rebecca Lund Belliston is the author of the best-selling LDS novel, Sadie, its sequel, Augustina (summer 2013), and a new dystopian trilogy entitled Citizens of Logan Pond. She also composes religious and classical-style music, teaches piano, and loves to read. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children.

Sworn Enemy


Book Details
Author: A. L. Sowards
Release Date: April 2013
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Genre: Historical

This book is SO GOOD!
It pulls you in on page one and keeps you going as you fight, fear, love, and conquer right along with the characters.

You will be captured and give in to this wonderful telling of WWII happenings.

And your final release will be when you turn that last page and sigh knowing that what you just read was wonderful, and heart-wrenching, and will forever be kept in your mind.

French Resistance worker Genevieve Olivier and Lieutenant Peter Eddy are on the run. Being captured and then escaping seems to be a way of life for them now.

Each would love nothing better than to just being together, but Peter is recruited to fight against the Nazis and Genevieve has sought shelter in being a nurse in England.

Before they can be reunited once again they must both fight against their "sworn enemy."


About the Author
I was born in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Moses Lake, Washington. Then I came to Utah to attend school and ended up staying. Books have always been an important part of my life. I remember writing self-illustrated storybooks at my grandparent’s house when I was in elementary school (none of those made it to publication for many good reasons) and attending my first writer’s conference when I was in third grade.

Another big part of my early life was swimming. I swam for the Big Bend Manta Rays, the Moses Lake Manta Rays, Moses Lake High School, and Brigham Young University. In addition to swimming, I studied Political Science and English at BYU.

Now I’m a busy mom of twin toddlers. I still love to read and I also love to write. I’m usually reading a couple books at once and working on multiple writing projects too. Other than that, my life is pretty ordinary. I’m grateful for that. I’ll let the characters in my books have all the adventures.

Ten Fun Things to Know About the Author

1. I have yet to name any of my own novels. I always give the publisher a list of suggestions, and they pick something completely different. (I’m not complaining—so far they’ve done a better job than I would have.)

2. I have three-year-old twins. (Most days I don’t complain about that either.)

3. Once I was at a swim meet in Federal Way, Washington, and Inge de Bruijn set a new world record in the 100 meter butterfly, but I didn’t see it, because I was in the warm-down pool.

4. I was on the BYU swim team for four years, and was one of the captains my senior year. My time on the team was part of a five-year winning streak for BYU in the Mountain West Conference. (I might be doing a little bit of bragging right here.)

5. I’m from a family of six kids. I’m number two in age, dead last in height.

6. Speaking of dead, I have a weird fascination with titles that include words like “dead,” “death,” or “die.” Yes, a few of those title suggestions I send to the publisher with each manuscript usually include death words. I blame it on whoever picks out titles for Jack Higgins. (Seriously, go look at his titles.)

7. Speaking of Jack Higgins, I grew up reading his books. Other family favorites included Alistair MacLean and Dick Francis.

8. My all-time favorite Shakespeare play is Henry V. (But I haven’t read all of his plays yet.)

9. Sworn Enemy was actually an afterthought. I had finished a few drafts of the book that would become Espionage, and figured I was done with those characters. But then I realized I had eleven months before V-E day, and decided it would be fun to carry on with the story. My next idea was to set the action in Yugoslavia. After doing some research and finding out how many Americans ended up in Yugoslavia on their way back from bombing missions in Romania, I settled on Romania for book two (Sworn Enemy) and Yugoslavia for book three (title TBA).

10. One of my all-time favorite movies is The Hunt for Red October. My younger sister (I almost said “little sister,” but she’s taller than me) bought me a copy when we were both in college. When I got married, I was pleased to find that my husband also had a copy. When we combined our collections, it was the only movie we had duplicates of.

(A digital review copy was provided for this review. However, all reviews are of my own opinion :)

Jun 20, 2013

Music CD Giveaway from Shadow Mountain Records

Shadow Mountain Records 
is allowing me to give away
a FREE, FUN, NEW music CD :)

Fun, upbeat versions of favorite kids' missionary songs. 
Including "I Hope They Call Me On a Mission", 

"We'll Bring the World His Truth", 

plus the brand-new song

"A Mission For Me" (especially for girls).

What people are saying about this CD:
"These fun, upbeat songs keeps the missionary spirit in our home all week long." —Tara Brown, Orem
"Fun for any day of the week" —Jill Smith, American Fork
"Fun renditions that the whole family will love to sing along to" —Amy Willard, Orem
Enter below...
US addresses only please :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop


Participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway 
and we are all linked up together so you can easily 
hop from one giveaway to another.

Hop runs from Jun 21st to 30th

My Giveaway ~
$15 Amazon OR Deseret Book Gift Card (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

After you have entered my giveaway...
hop to another giveaway from the list below :)

Vee Caught Offside


Book Details
Author: Andrea Montalbano
Release Date: 2013
Publisher: In This Together Media
Genre: Middle Fiction

I LOVE the Soccer Sisters Series!
Strong female characters who struggle like the rest of us...But help each other pull it together and move forward...Just like sisters do...especially if they are soccer sisters.

Vee lives away from the rest of the team and goes to a different school.

When one of the team members hints that Vee is no longer welcome on the team, Vee has to take a hard look at herself and her family situation.

When she decides she wants to stay with the team no matter what she will need to re-evaluate the soccer sister code...can she keep it on the field?

This would be a perfect series to read during summer break! 

About the Author
Andrea Montalbano is an author, journalist, mother and coach.

She grew up on a soccer field in Miami. She continued to play through college, acting as captain for her Harvard University soccer team and eventually being inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame.

After college, Andrea pursued a career in journalism, attending Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She was an English anchor at Vatican Radio, and then worked as a writer and Supervising Producer for NBC News and NBC's TODAY program.

Now, the mother of two young players, Andrea is coaching, writing and bringing all her loves together in Soccer Sisters, the follow up series to Breakaway (2010). Andrea lives outside New York City with her husband Diron, and two children.

(A digital review copy of this title was provided this review. However, all reviews are of my own opinion :)

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