Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: Flesh and Bone by Lee Strauss

Flesh and Bone: The Minstrel Series #2, by Lee Strauss
2014, 300p, Contemporary Romance
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Provided a copy from the author for an honest review

She can’t remember. He can’t forget.

Eva Bauman is invisible. Sebastian Weiss is famous. In a perfect world Eva would be fearless and Sebastian would be guiltless.

It’s not a perfect world.

Includes MP3 links to original music recorded by Canadian singer-songwriters Trisha Robins and Bryan Steeksma,

The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each is a complete stand-alone story with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!

Books can be read out of order, but are best enjoyed in sequence.

#1 Sun & Moon
#2 Flesh & Bone
#3 Heart & Soul - coming July 2014!

I am loving this series! This book is so different than the first book. We meet Sebastian Weiss in Sun and Moon but he has a girlfriend, Yvonne. Now he’s a rock star and has fans surrounding him wherever he goes. His life looks pretty great, but it’s actually not. He and Yvonne have recently broken up and he’s devastated. He’s not close to his parents because he didn’t take the career route they would have chosen for him. His band is on the verge of breaking up.

Eva Baumann is handicapped from a hit-and-run accident five years ago. She walks with a cane and feels like her sister, Gabriele, is living the life she wants. Her parents keep a tight rein on her but she’s okay with it because she doesn’t want to venture out much, anyway. She wants to sing at the Blue Note Pub but keeps chickening out.

One night, Eva becomes brave and sings. Sebastian is there that night so they finally cross paths. Eva has a hard time believing Sebastian might possibly be interested in her. Sebastian helps her come out of her shell and she starts to live again and it feels great!

There’s a major twist in the story as Sebastian’s been keeping a secret that comes to light. It’s devastating to them both and their love just might not survive. This is a story of forgiveness and second chances and making the most of your life under less than ideal circumstances.

I love Eva and Sebastian and the part that music plays in this series. Their relationship made me smile as I saw how he looked past her physical handicap to see who she really was and she looked past his rock star status to see who he really was. My heart broke for them when Sebastian’s secret was revealed and I had to cling to the promise that this is a Happily Ever After (HEA) book. I highly recommend this book and this series and am looking forward to the next one!

Content: There is talk of sex and characters sleeping together but there are no details. There is also some kissing. I consider this to be clean.

About Lee Strauss: Lee Strauss writes romantic mixed genres set in the past, present and future for YA and adult readers. She also writes light and fun stuff as Elle Strauss. She divides her time between BC, Canada and Dresden, Germany, and enjoys drinking coffee and eating chocolate in both places. Find out more at

Book Review: The Light We Share by Harriet R. Uchtdorf

The Light We Share, by Harriet R. Uchtdorf
2014, 48p, LDS, Inspirational
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

What difference does it make to have the light of the gospel in your life? To a twelve-year-old girl in post-World War II Germany, it made all the difference.

In this charming book, Sister Harriet R. Uchtdorf reflects on the power of heavenly light in her own life and recalls the joy it brought to her family during a dark and difficult time. "It was like a miracle," she explains as she describes how hope came back into their lives.

Discover how the light we share can make a life-changing difference to those whose lives we touch-as family members, leaders, missionaries, teachers, friends, and brothers and sisters in the gospel.

This is a book that doesn't take long at all to read. Sis. Uchtdorf shares that she always believed their "overseas assignment" here in the United States was temporary and that one day they would return to Germany. In 2004, when her husband received the call to be an Apostle, they knew their lives were changed forever.

She reflects on the difficult times her family went through when she was 12 years old and the message two missionaries brought her family. She also expresses her love for the hymn "Hark, All Ye Nations!" and how they consider it their "German hymn." The words do a great job of explaining how they felt during this time of their lives and has expressed her feelings on many other occasions since then. The light we share will, indeed, bless our lives and the lives of others as we serve, teach and are an example of good for those around us.

While this book is short, the message is powerful and the photographs are beautiful! It's a wonderful book to display and can easily be read again and again.

About the Author

HARRIET R. UCHTDORF received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in Frankfurt, Germany, and worked with the public transportation department prior to her marriage to Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who now serves as Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has served in many callings in the Church and as an institute teacher in Frankfurt. She and her husband have two children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Book Blitz: The Golden Apple by Michelle Diener

To post this Blitz and add your Social Media to the Rafflecopter, 
email us at PrismBookTours(at) with "Golden Apple Blitz" in the subject line!

We're celebrating the release of Michelle Diener's second fairy tale retelling:

The Golden Apple

An Adult Fantasy Romance based loosely on the Princess on the Glass Hill

The Golden AppleThe Golden Apple
by Michelle Diener
Adult Fantasy/SciFi
March 24, 2014

Kayla's world has been turned upside-down...

Her father has made her the prize in a deadly, impossible tournament, and Kayla has retaliated in the only way she knows how; by choosing her champion beforehand. But taking control of the outcome changes the game completely, and when the real reason behind the strange test becomes apparent, Kayla realizes not just her life, but her entire kingdom is at stake.

Rane's honor is torn in two...

In order to save his brother, Rane will do whatever he has to--including deceive and betray a princess. He knew nothing about this tournament would be easy, but when it turns into a deeper, far more sinister game, Rane is forced to see it through to the end, or leave his brother at the mercy of their enemy.

Now their fates are entwined, and they must venture into the deep, dark forest together...

Kayla and Rane are bound to one another by an enchantment and Kayla's actions. But the sorcerer forcing them to do his will may have miscalculated, because no-one comes out of the Great Forest unchanged. No-one.

The inspiration for The Golden Apple

The Golden Apple is loosely based on the Norwegian fairy tale The Princess on the Glass Hill. The original tale is more about the hero than the heroine, and it is a very straightforward quest story, with the hero becoming more and more accomplished, until at last he succeeds against the odds. But there were a few things in this fairy tale that stood out for me and made me take notice. The first is the very unusual situation of the king holding a contest for his daughter’s hand by putting her on top of a glass hill with a golden apple in her lap. Knights from all over are invited to race a horse up the smooth glass sides of the mountain and the one who can pluck the golden apple from the princess's lap wins her hand and is heir to the kingdom. As usual in fairy tales, there is no explanation as to how the king came by a glass mountain, but I wondered where he got it, and that sparked the starting point of the story. It is really the inciting incident that starts the story off, rather than the focus of the story, as it was in the fairy tale.

Secondly, the crux of the tale, for me, is that the hero cannot win the princess's hand without help from the princess herself. That part of the original tale is one or two lines long, but for me, it's fascinating. The feminine power determining and choosing which masculine power will prevail. This really made me interested, because the princess doesn't just sit there and take whoever it is manages to accomplish the (impossible) task set by her father, but actively chooses who it is she wants to win and helps them. I wanted to write a story about the consequences of her taking that power and using it and The Golden Apple was the result -- far, far more heroine-centric than the original, and I really had fun with it.

- Michelle Diener

Are you interested in fantasy romance?

Do you love fairy tale retellings?

Have you read Michelle Diener and enjoyed her work in the past?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you can request a review copy of The Golden Apple! The Golden Apple is up for review by invitation only on NetGalley. Reviewers with book review sites can apply for a limited number of pre-approved copies. Book reviewers who post their review on their review site, Amazon, and Goodreads can enter a Rafflecopter draw to win one of ten copies of any Michelle Diener book of their choice, or a $10 Amazon gift card. (Instructions in sign-up form.)

Sign up HERE

Image of Michelle DienerMichelle Diener writes historical fiction. Her Susanna Horenbout & John Parker series, set in the court of Henry VIII, includes In a Treacherous Court, Keeper of the King's Secrets and In Defense of the Queen.

Michelle's other historical novels include Daughter of the Sky, The Emperor's Conspiracy and Banquet of Lies (loosely connected to The Emperor's Conspiracy).

Michelle's first fantasy novel, Mistress of the Wind, is set for a December 23, 2013, release.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

Blitz-Wide Giveaways:

1 - Enter to WIN one of ten ebooks of The Golden Apple.

- March 30 - April 7.

See Rafflecopter for restrictions.

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2 - For book bloggers: Review The Golden Apple by April 1, 2014 and enter to WIN one of 10 prizes:

- Choose any one of Michelle Diener's books or $10 Gift Card!

- March 24 - April 7

Request an early review copy using the form. Instructions on entering the second giveaway are included!

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Tour Launch: What Goes on Tour by Claire Boston

A themed tour with Prism Book Tours...

It's time to launch The Rock Star Tour for
What Goes on Tour
By Claire Boston

What Goes on Tour

What Goes on Tour

by Claire Boston

Adult Contemporary Romance

Ebook, 282 pages

February 11th 2014 by Momentum Moonlight

What goes on tour, stays on tour … or does it?

Few people know that socially awkward Adrian Hart is actually rock god Kent Downer, and that's the way Adrian likes it. His privacy is essential, especially now that he has guardianship of his orphaned, ten-year-old niece, Kate. But when the nanny quits in the middle of his tour Adrian finds himself in a bind.

Until Libby Myles walks into his life.

Libby has only ever wanted to become a full-time author and prove to her parents that she can make it on her own. On the surface, the temporary job as the nanny for Kent Downer's niece looks perfect—the pay is fabulous, the hours are short and Kate is a big fan—it's the rock star that's the issue.

Arrogant and way too attractive for anyone's good, Kent Downer has enough swagger to power a small city. But when he's out of costume he's different—shy and uncertain. For Libby it's a far harder combination to resist. She needs to find a balance between work, writing and ignoring her attraction to the rock star, because if she falls for him, it could mean the end of her dream.

But when a horrible scandal is unleashed—putting young Kate in danger—there's more heat between Libby and Adrian than just sexual attraction. Libby must figure out if Adrian ever cared for her, or if it was all just part of the show …


Here's some background on What Goes on Tour and the author:

What Goes on Tour is single title novel and the idea hooked me right from the
beginning. I liked the thought of writing about a rock star who wasn’t like the normal party hard singer with a full entourage that you see in many novels and TV shows these days. 

I’d love it if readers enjoyed the novel and maybe took with them that people are often different from their public persona.

One of my favourite scenes is probably the dancing game scene because I had a lot of fun writing it.

Something unique about me… I’ve recently taken up vintage motocross and I’m the passenger on a sidecar. I’ve attached a photo because people often think that a sidecar passenger just sits on the side but it’s a lot more work than that!

- Claire

Claire Boston was a voracious reader as a child, devouring anything by Enid Blyton as well as series such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. Then one school holidays when she’d run out of books to read her mother handed her ‘Hot Ice’ by Nora Roberts and Claire instantly fell in love with romance novels.

The love of reading soon turned to a love of writing and she struggled to keep within the 1500 word limit set by her teachers for her creative writing assignments. When she finally decided to become serious about her stories she joined Romance Writers of Australia, found her wonderful critique group and hasn’t looked back.

When Claire’s not reading or writing she can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables, or racing around a vintage motocross track. If she can convince anyone to play with her, she also enjoys cards and board games.

Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her two grubby, but adorable Australian bulldogs.

Tour-Wide Giveaways
March 31 - April 20

$50 GC & ebook of What Goes on Tour

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 ebooks of What Goes on Tour
Prism Book Tours
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book Blast/Review: Grimmtastic Girls by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

About the Books: The Grimmtastic Girls

Book #1

Title: Grimmtastic Girls #1: Cinderella Stays Late | Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams | Publication Date: March 25, 2014 | Publisher: Scholastic Inc. | Pages: 192 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12

Grimmtastic Girls: Cinderella Stays Late

Summary: The authors of the hit Goddess Girls series put a fun and girly twist on another super-popular theme: fairy tales!

Once upon a time, in faraway Grimmlandia...

A Grimmtastic girl named Cinderella is starting her first week at Grimm Academy on the wrong foot. Cinda's totally evil stepsisters are out to make her life miserable. The Steps tease Cinda, give her terrible advice about life at the academy, and even make her look bad in front of her new friends, Red, Snow, and Rapunzel! But when Cinda overhears the Steps plotting a villainous deed that could ruin Prince Awesome's ball, Cinda, her new friends, and a pair of magical glass slippers have to stop them--before the last stroke of midnight!

This is a great start to a fantastic new series! Cinda is starting out at Grimm Academy. She's super excited for her Balls class, hoping they'll get to play masketball, a game in which players wear masks and shoot balls through magical hoops. She only knows her stepsisters and soon makes some new friends, girls that are actually nice to her: Red, Snow and Rapunzel. There's also a new guy in school, Prince Awesome of the Kingdom of Awesomeness. The Steps tricked Cinda into taking the Balls class by leading her to believe it was sports rather than dancing. Prince Awesome is in that class and they want Cinda to talk them up to him. As time goes on, Cinda figures out what the Steps are really up to and it's up to Cinda and her friends to stop them.

I read this book with my 10-year-old daughter and we both enjoyed it. The story is familiar yet also has unique elements that make it interesting. Grimm Academy is a magical place with one textbook that changes by speaking the name of the book you're looking for, a library that changes location and size depending on the current need and magical charms that have magical powers only the owner can unlock. Grimmlandia is a place that any young girl will enjoy visiting!

My Rating=5 Stars

Book #2

Title: Grimmtastic Girls #2: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost | Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams | Publication Date: March 25, 2014 | Publisher: Scholastic Inc. | Pages: 192 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12

Red Riding Hood Gets Lost

Summary: Red Riding Hood might have a terrible sense of direction, but her grimmtastic friends are always there to help!

Once upon a time, in faraway Grimmlandia...

Red Riding Hood is thrilled to try out for the school play. Acting is her dream, and she's great at it--too bad she has stage fright! After a grimmiserable audition, Red decides to focus on helping her friends Cinda, Snow, and Rapunzel save Grimm Academy from the E.V.I.L. Society. But when Red gets lost in Neverwood forest and runs into Wolfgang, who might be part of E.V.I.L., she needs her magic basket and a grimmazingly dramatic performance to figure out what's going on!

The fun continues! My daughter and I also read this book together. Part of the story continues from book one (the E.V.I.L. Society), but we get to know Red better. She wants to be an actress but has stage fright. The mysterious Wolfgang, who is an amazing actor, starts paying her attention and she needs to figure out what he's up to. Does he really want to help her or is he trying to gain her trust so he can get something from her? 

I liked that we got to meet even more new characters. Again, the story was familiar but had some twists that kept it fresh and interesting. We learn more about the E.V.I.L. Society but not enough to solve the mystery so there is definitely more to come! I'm looking forward to reading more in this series as it continues (Snow's story comes out in July) and highly recommend it! 

My Rating=5 Stars

About the Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

Joan Holub

Joan Holub has authored and/or illustrated more than 130 children's books, including Little Red Writing (illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet) and Zero the Hero. She lives in NC and is online at

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Suzanne Williams

Suzanne Williams is the author of nearly 50 books for children, including the award-winning picture book Library Lil (illustrated by Steven Kellogg). She lives near Seattle, WA and is online at

Author Blog Goodreads

Co-authors Joan and Suzanne have written the Goddess Girls, Heroes in Training, and Grimmtastic Girls series. Though they live in different states and hardly ever get to see each other, they spend lots of time together in Grimmlandia.

Facebook (Grimmtastic Girls) Facebook (Goddess Girls Books)

Online Author Visits

$50 Book Blast Giveaway

Amazon $50 Gift Card

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: April 23, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the authors, Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Blog Tour/DVD Review: The Saratov Approach

The Saratov Approach
2013, 107 min., PG-13 (for violence)
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

On what seemed like any other day, Elders Travis Tuttle (Corbin Allred) and Andrew Propst (Maclain Nelson) are approached by Nikolai (Nikita Bogolyubov) to teach a friend. But then the missionaries experience the unimaginable—they are kidnapped, beaten, and held for ransom. While their families, friends, and the world pray for their safe return, Tuttle and Propst are tested physically, emotionally, and most of all—spiritually.

I never did make it to the movie theater when this was out so I was excited to see it come up for review. What an amazing story!

It's one of those movies that I knew the ending before I started watching it, but that didn't make it any less suspenseful. It was interesting to watch the gamut of emotions the missionaries went through--shock, fear, anger, survival, compassion and peace.

Two missionaries, Elder Tuttle and Elder Propst, go to a teaching appointment and are attacked and beaten, then tied up and moved to a remote location. We get to see what's happening with their families during this time as well, which was quite emotional. This is every parent's worst nightmare, no matter how old your children are. The missionaries and families know the ransom can't be paid because then kidnappings would become commonplace. The missionaries quickly figure out what they need to do in order to stay alive.

There are lots of touching moments in this movie, and I cried a few times. Faced with death, the missionaries go from thinking about themselves to praying for the hearts of their kidnappers to be softened. The nation comes together in prayer, regardless of religion, for the safe return of the two missionaries. There is an outpouring of love shown to the families of the missionaries.

This is an inspirational movie and there is some humor in it as well. I enjoyed this movie a lot and will definitely watch it again and again. I recommend The Saratov Approach to everyone!

Here's an interview with the missionaries regarding their ordeal:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Painter of the Heavens by Bart Stewart

Painter of the Heavens, by Bart Stewart
2013, 219p, Crime, Suspense
My Rating=4.5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the author for an honest review

"A Novel of Crime and the Heart," Painter of the Heavens goes inside the mind of a woman as she is drawn into the bizarre fraud scheme of an eccentric man she is dating. Penny doesn't know going in that Lyle is a con artist. His personality had seemed slightly strange from the start, but charismatic and alluring as well. Only after bonding with him does she learn that the "business plan," which was too sensitive for him to talk about, is in fact an outrageous forgery plot. He needs an accomplice for this caper, and sees Penny as being perfect for the role.

Penny Sturdevant is in flux in her life. Just turning thirty as the decade of the 1980s turns into the '90s, she has taken a leap into the unknown, divorcing her well-placed husband because he had become loveless, distant, and dull. Coming from a background of financial struggles, she feels the insecurities swirling around her after this big move. She dreams of turning the page, getting off of the sidetrack, and being "part of something." Her old circle of friends, and her impoverished parents, aren't much support for her in this time of transition.

One day, on a random whim, she stops off at an indie bookstore on the outskirts of her home town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The manager there has a hypnotic presence, with a magnetic gaze that grabs her and leads her to come back again. He is a poet (six original poems are featured in the novel) and Penny finds him more and more intriguing as she gets to know him. The point of view in the novel is all Penny's, so we have only Lyle's mixed signals and trippy, zen-like sayings to know what's happening in his mind.

He seems increasingly suspicious, but we don't know just how bad this bad guy is. One unsettling moment comes at their first date, when he asks Penny to keep it entirely their secret that they are seeing each other. He has a plausible explanation for this, all ready to go. And it turns out that he always does. He talks a very, very good game. At one point Penny reflects that everything he says seems to be both outrageous and indisputable. He is a "plague of vague," and "like boxing with a fog bank." But he is also sexy, and loving for her. He's different, and interesting. They have a hot affair. (Not that this is full-on erotica.)

The novel is character-driven noir fiction that goes deep into the heads of its two lovers. It is not the familiar crime novel or police procedural. Penny and Lyle aren't Bonnie and Clyde, but they become desperadoes in a way, when their perfect, "victimless" crime spins out on them.

A phony letter and a genuine love. Humor, pathos, danger, and two of what Dickens called "lives of quiet desperation" come together in Bart Stewart's debut novel, Painter of the Heavens.

I used to read lots of crime and mystery novels and don't read them as much anymore. This is a great read! Usually, the stories are told from the POV of the "good guy." This one is told from the POV of Penny and the path she takes to become involved in a major crime. We don't get into the head of Lyle, the mastermind behind the crime, but we get a good idea of who he is. And even then, he still surprised me. 

Penny meets Lyle, the manager of an indie bookstore, and she is immediately drawn to him. He convinces her to keep their relationship secret. He's dangerous and exciting and she can't seem to get enough of him. They finally do have sex and the first time has some detail (but it's not graphic) and then it's implied after that. 

Penny is stunned when Lyle explains his plan to her. However, she thinks it's ridiculous and thinks there's no way they'll get away with it, so she agrees to it. She figures they'll try and fail and then they can carry on their relationship as they had before. She's amazed when it appears that they will actually pull this con off. Then everything spins out of control and the ending was a surprise to me.

I liked Penny at the beginning but once she got involved in the con and continued with it, she became harder for me to like. I felt like she had opportunities to come clean but chose not to so I didn't see her as a victim after a while. I knew going in that Lyle was a bad guy. I could understand Penny's initial attraction to him, especially since she was going through a transition herself, but kept hoping she would come to her senses. Lyle does a good job of emotionally and psychologically controlling Penny and is a mystery all the way until the end. How bad is he really? You'll have to read it to find out!

I enjoyed Mr. Stewart's writing style and this book is well-written. The ending is suspenseful and was hard to put down. I'm still not sure how the ending sits with me, though. If this is the type of book you enjoy reading, you will definitely want to read this one!

Content: Sex (some detail, not graphic), there is a scene where he exerts mild violence toward her, mild swearing. (When the author contacted me, I did express concern at the language "They have a hot affair. Not that this is full-on erotica," and asked him about that. He reassured me that he focused mostly on the emotional and psychological side of their relationship rather than the physical. I found that to be true and appreciated his explanation to me.)


Originally from Charlotte, NC, Bart Stewart has lived all over the United States, studying characters and occasionally having his short stories in little literary magazines. For many years he worked in antiquarian bookstores, and for a change of pace spent ten years in the Las Vegas tourist industry as a strolling entertainer. He performed for several years in the live Star Trek show at the Las Vegas Hilton, first as a Starship Enterprise crewman, and later as a Borg drone!

His first book was Tales of Real and Dream Worlds, a collection of surreal short stories in the Twilight Zone tradition. It won a finalist prize at the 2008 National Indie Excellence Awards at Book Expo in L.A. Three of the scarier tales are available on Amazon as an eBook entitled The Statuary Cats.  His debut novel is Painter of the Heavens.

Bart is currently unmarried and living near Boston, Massachusetts, where he is working on his next novel, writing social media for, and tweeting away @BartStewart1.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

The Eye of Minds, by James Dashner
2013, 323p, YA, Science Fiction
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Borrowed audiobook from the library

An all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure from James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

I listened to this on audio and enjoyed it! James Dashner's books are always full of adventure and plenty of twists and turns. Michael and his friends, Bryson and Sarah, are given incentive by the government to go deep into the VirtNet and locate a hacker who is wreaking havoc. Their adventure starts with a lot of action and doesn't let up. Because there's so much going on, I don't feel that I got to know a lot about the characters outside of their hacking skills. There's a hint of romance for Michael and Sarah but nothing happened between them in this book.

As the story progressed, I wasn't sure who to trust and the revelation at the end was surprising. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series to see what will happen next! (Coming Aug. 2014)

James was born and raised in Georgia but now lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. He has four kids, which some might think is too many but he thinks is just right. Once upon a time, James studied accounting and worked in the field of finance, but has been writing full time for several years. (He doesn’t miss numbers. At all.)

In his free time, James loves to read, watch movies and (good) TV shows, snow ski, and read. (Reading was mentioned twice on purpose.) Most of all, he’s thankful that he gets to make a living writing stories and considers himself pretty much the luckiest guy on the planet.

Congratulations Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Winner!!

Thanks so much to all of you who participated in the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop! The winner of the $10 Amazon Gift Card is Stacey A.

Please come back soon for another giveaway!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: Luminescence by Braden Bell

Luminescence (Middle School Magic #3), by Braden Bell
2014, 309p, Middle-Grade Fantasy
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the author/publisher for an honest review

Determined to rescue their favorite teacher, Conner, Lexa, and Melanie confront their worst fears and use their powers in unexpected ways to defeat Lady Nightwing, the treacherous Darkhand leader. But when the trio makes a terrible choice to save Dr. Timberi, their powers may not be enough to keep everyone alive. A thrilling conclusion to the Middle School Magic series!

If you haven't read about this series before, you can read my thoughts on the first two books here.

I enjoyed the first book, liked the second book better and absolutely love the third book!! What a great middle-grade series! 

At the end of the second book, it is believed that Dr. Timberi is dead but Lexa declares to everyone that he is, indeed, alive! Some believe her and some don't. Conner, Lexa and Melanie believe he is so it's up to them to rescue him from the torture they believe he's enduring.

Conner, Lexa and Melanie learn the power and strength they have when they actually work together. They've had a lot of emotional ups and downs and their relationships are strengthened. Lexa was pretty snotty in book two but was given opportunities to reevaluate her behavior towards the end and she redeems herself in book three.

Questions are answered! We learn the truth about The Stalker. I got this series for my daughter (more on that below) and she couldn't wait to start reading it. She started before I finished and she was asking me about The Stalker. I told her he's still around in book 3 and she was asking if he's good or bad. I hadn't finished yet so I was honestly able to tell her that I didn't know. She believes he's good so those of us that know won't confirm or deny. 

There's so much to love about this series and there's lots of wisdom interspersed throughout. There are Discussion Questions at the end of book 3 but there aren't any in books 1 and 2. This is a series I want to read with my children because it will generate some great discussions!

If you're ready to get these books right now, there's a great deal going on. I got the paper copies for my daughter for her birthday and she was excited (and so are some of her friends). The deal for those is that you purchase Luminescence at regular price and then you can get The Kindling and Penumbras for $1.00 each! This offer is only good through the Cedar Fort website. Put all three books in your cart and then when you check out, use this code: MSM0314 (that's a zero between the "M" and the "3"). That will bring the price of the other two books to $1.00 each. I have purchased these so I know it works! You can also get ecopies of books 1 and 2 for $.99 each. For those instructions, click here. You'll need to hurry, though, this deal ends March 31st!!

Here are the buy links in case you miss out on these great deals!

During his middle school years, Braden Bell was the least-stable, lowest-achieving student in the history of the world. He shocked every former teacher by graduating from high school and college, and then going on to earn both a Master’s degree as well as a Ph.D. A teacher by day and a parent by night, he is around teenagers 24/7. He teaches music and directs plays at a private school, much like Marion Academy in The Middle School Magic series. Whether he fights evil after hours is something he cannot disclose.

Braden Bell holds degrees in theatre from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. from NYU. A committed educator, he has been directing plays and teaching school now for over twenty years. Braden lives with his family on a quiet, tree-lined lot outside of Nashville, TN, where he teaches theatre and choir at a middle school. The author of The Road Show, The Kindling, and Penumbras.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: Imperfect Love by Rebecca Talley

Tour Schedule

Imperfect Love

Lauren Wilson is well on her way to her happily-ever-after. She has a career she loves, a husband she adores and a baby on the way, but a devastating diagnosis changes everything. The life she’s built suddenly crumbles around her when her husband insists she choose—the baby or him.

Returning to her small hometown to rebuild her shattered life, Lauren crosses paths with Ethan Campbell, the man who stole her teenage heart. The old attraction is still there, but Lauren won’t admit it to anyone—least of all herself. Her only priority is providing a life for her child, and she can’t afford to get it wrong. Ethan is confusing everything, including stirring up feelings she’s not prepared to face. Will she spend her life raising her baby alone or is the family she’s always wanted finally within her reach?

This book starts out with such happy news. Lauren and her husband are expecting their first child! As Lauren starts to figure out ways to tell him, it becomes obvious that her husband, Paul, might not be as excited as she is. He's a workaholic and their schedules don't match up. He acts happy when she finally does tell him, though. Then, they get the news that their baby has a birth defect and Paul doesn't take the news very well. He makes her choose between him and the baby so she leaves him and goes to stay with her mother. She starts to hang out with Ethan, her old crush, and feelings for him start to resurface. She's determined not to let him reject her baby, though, so she won't allow him to get too close. 

This might sound like a cut-and-dry story but there is a lot going on. Lauren is sweet and likable. At first, she seemed a bit needy to me so I enjoyed watching her become more independent as the book progressed. I had a hard time having children so I understood her excitement when the pregnancy test finally showed positive results! I also knew that, no matter what, I would have had my children.

Paul is a first-class jerk. He lets his parents dictate his life and that makes his relationship with Lauren difficult. I thought he might have even been unfaithful with the crazy work hours he kept. He seemed distant and disinterested. Ethan is a great guy! He's kind and generous and just allows Lauren to be herself. He travels a lot, though, and doesn't seem ready to settle down.

The first half of the book was kind of slow to me and I kept waiting for something to happen. Then it started to pick up and I enjoyed the second half more. There was a curve in the story toward the end and I was pretty sure I knew her final choice but she was definitely given something to consider. This is a thought-provoking read, and if you enjoy a heartwarming romance, you will want to give it a try!

My Rating=4 Stars

Author Rebecca Lynn Talley

Rebecca Lynn Talley grew up in the gorgeous seaside city of Santa Barbara, CA. She met, and married, her husband, Del, while attending Brigham Young University. She graduated from BYU with a degree in Communications. She currently lives in rural Colorado on a small ranch with a dog, too many cats to count, and a herd of goats. She and Del are the proud parents of ten wildly-creative, multi-talented children.

Rebecca is the author of a children’s picture book, Grasshopper Pie (WindRiver 2003), a children’s chapter book, Gabby’s Secret (DuBon Publishing 2011), four novels, Heaven Scent (CFI 2008), Altared Plans (CFI 2009), The Upside of Down (CFI 2011), and Aura (DuBon Publishing 2012). She has also authored numerous children’s stories and articles for both print and online magazines.

When she isn’t writing, Rebecca loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house. She has folded at least one million loads of laundry, baked hundreds of batches of chocolate chip cookies, and eaten 5,478 gallons of ice cream.

 Twitter * Facebook * Website * Blog

Blog Tour Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 4/10/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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 authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

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Unbelievable by Sherry Gammon

Deliah Dreser's in town to take care of family business. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but there's more to Lilah than meets the eye. Cole's in danger of losing his heart when this firestorm throws sparks his way. Is she simply playing him for the fool in order to exact revenge for her brother's murders?

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Nothing good ever happens after dark. Those were the words country singer Daleigh McDermott’s father always repeated.

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Cassie's Cowboy Crave by Kimberly Krey

In a moment of weakness, Shane steals a kiss.

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When Cassie is forced to join the witness protection program, she fears her life is over… but then she meets Shane Emerson — the hunky cowboy posing as her husband. Will this sham marriage turn into the real thing, or will a hidden danger put it all at risk?

Kimberly Krey writes romance that’s clean without losing the steam. What’s Beyond Forks calls this Best-selling Western Romance author “the master of romantic tension.”

A Perfect Fit by Heather Tullis

Cami DiCarlo is not happy when her father forces her into heading up guest services at his newest five-star hotel and unveils the existence of four half-sisters at the same time, insisting they live together while they launch the new resort.

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You Belong with Me by Shannon Guymon

Layla Kendall is a burned out social worker one step away from a major depression. When she and her sisters inherit their grandmother's bakery, she doesn't know if she can trust her good fortune or not. But the chance to be with her sisters and get away from the heartache and pain she's faced day in and day out is a chance she's going to take. With Layla's new life, come new friendships, including Michael Bender, a single dad. She doesn't trust men but Michael's little girl grabs her by the heart and won't let go.

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Devastated by the loss of her brother, Natasha Senecot exposes the dangers of Matthew Chrysler's violent video games, bankrupting and humiliating him. Chrysler sends a hit man after her. In a race against time, can Natasha expose Chrysler before his assassin murders her family and shatters her world?

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