Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Review: The Mannequin by S.G. Rogers


The Mannequin, by S.G. Rogers
2015, 219p, Clean Regency Romance
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from eBooks for Review for an honest review



Aubrey Whittingham lost everything when his family drowned in a ferryboat accident, including the will to live. His neighbor Rosamund tries desperately to bring him back from the brink of despair, but the beastly young duke fights her every step of the way. His feelings for her deepen, and when she departs for London, he vows to regain his health and woo her properly. Unfortunately, she disappears before he has the chance.

Rosamund is admired and praised as a mannequin for an exclusive London modiste, but her life is empty without the man to whom she gave her heart. Now, just when happiness seems within her grasp, jealous rivals conspire to ruin her dreams.

Can a beastly duke and a beautiful mannequin ever achieve a fairytale ending?


This book takes place in England in 1883. Rosamund's parents have died and she lives with the Gribbles, her aunt and uncle and their three daughters. They treat her more like a servant so it's a good thing she has Joe, the coachman's son. The Gribbles are off to London to find husbands for her cousins, Beulah, Vivian and Fanny and Rosamund is being left behind to fend for herself. She is offered a job to visit with the grandson of the Dowager Duchess of Swanhaven but needs to keep it a secret. She quickly learns the truth about Aubrey and does her best to help him. 

She has an opportunity to go to London so she does and that's when things unravel. After learning some hard truths, she realizes that she needs to forget all about Aubrey. She takes the position of a mannequin, where she wears the dressmaker's clothes out in public to bring in orders. I wasn't sure where the story would go from there and couldn't put it down until I found out!

This book has a Cinderella/Beauty and the Beast feel to it. Rosamund starts out as a Cinderella of sorts and meets Aubrey, who is a beast of sorts. As they get to know each other, their feelings towards each other start to change. When Rosamund realizes they can't be together, she is heartbroken but determined to live the best life she can under the circumstances. The rules of society were so strict which could make relationships quite complicated. I wasn't sure how things would work out and found her job as a mannequin fascinating as I'd never heard of that before. 

I loved this book from beginning to end and could not put it down! The ending was absolutely perfect! I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys clean regency romance with overtones of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. 


Originally from Southern California, Suzanne G. Rogers has also lived in Asheville, North Carolina and Laurel, Mississippi. Currently residing in beautiful Savannah, Georgia, Suzanne writes sweet historical romance, fantasy, and romantic fantasy stories.  She’s owned by two hairless cats, Houdini and Nikita, and lives on an island populated by exotic birds, deer and the occasional gator. Tab is her beverage of choice, but when she imbibes, a cranberry vodka martini doesn’t go amiss.

Grand Finale Blitz: A Heartwarming Thanksgiving


On tour with Prism Book Tours.

Grand Finale for
A Heartwarming Thanksgiving

Harlequin released 13 FREE short stories by beloved Harlequin Heartwarming authors during November via their site. You can still read these short stories through December 31st. The sale for 30% off Heartwarming titles also continues through November 30th. Grab the ones you want now!

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving Facebook Party

Join us for a grand ending to this month of wonderful Harlequin Heartwarming short stories with a Facebook party! All thirteen authors are stopping by and giving away more books!! Come join us on Monday, November 30th, from 12 pm to 2 pm EST HERE. If you can't make it, feel free to stop by later and check out the party.

If you missed any of the extra guest posts or excerpts for stories you might have missed, go back and check them out...

11/2: Snow Day Baby by Amy Vastine

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Short Story Guest Post
. . . when Harlequin came to me about this Thanksgiving short, I had to give Scott the ending he deserved. SNOW DAY BABY was born.
Sheridan pulled her hair over one shoulder. She had been a pretty girl who turned into an absolutely beautiful woman. Pregnancy looked good on her. Her skin was flawless and those green eyes had always been capable of taking his breath away.

Singing Librarian Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
You always know you’re going to get an emotional-satisfying read with a guaranteed happy ever after. Another great thing about this line – you can share these books with your friends, your mother, your sister, your daughter and not be embarrassed to say you’ve read them.

11/4: Wedding at Turkey Run by Liz Flaherty

Babs Book Bistro - Short Story Guest Post

. . . the Writer’s Lot in Life—which is nothing more than thinking “what if…” every time you turn around—took over, resulting in Wedding at Turkey Run.

“Sorry.” Although she wasn’t. Even taking into account the gorgeousness of his eyes, hair and smile, there was something about Zeke McNeil that set her teeth on edge.

Heidi Reads... - Heartwarming Guest Post
I was in Northwest Florida avoiding a terrible winter in the Midwest, but my heart was in the Northeast Kingdom. I made a discovery then, that not only were these books heartwarming to read, they were heartwarming to write, too.

11/6: Her Thanksgiving Soldier by Leigh Riker

Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima - Short Story Guest Post
From the start, Caleb seemed to need his own story—and now he has it. I hope you enjoy reading “Her Thanksgiving Soldier.” I loved writing it.

Mel's Shelves - Excerpt
She tried to focus on her list, but it seemed his image was imprinted on her mind. Sleepy eyes and tousled hair. He looked good enough to…love? Even after yesterday when she’d cried in the car, and he’d kissed her, she wasn’t going there.

Brooke Blogs - Heartwarming Guest Post
Whether each author’s stories are funny or sad or both, they all contain lots of emotion. Heartwarming gives me the chance to explore some deeper issues with fully-realized characters to love.

11/9: Mr. Right All Along by Jen Snow

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Short Story Guest Post
Ah well, she gets her happily ever after in this Heartwarming Thanksgiving short Mr. Right All Along. Of course, not without a few bumps in the road;) 

Love thy Shelf - Excerpt
Her eyes lit up and immediately he knew where her thoughts were heading. “Cooking isn’t hard for you.” She grabbed his hands in her small soft ones, making his heart pick up speed. “Teach me,” she said.

Min Reads and Reviews - Heartwarming Guest Post
I’ve made a lovely home at Harlequin’s Heartwarming line. When my agent and I were looking for a place for my small town, contemporary, sweet series, it was the perfect fit.

11/11: Falling for the Cowboy by Sophia Sasson

Kindle and Me - Short Story Guest Post
I wrote this story because for me, thanksgiving is about home. It’s a holiday where we get together with our loved ones and are grateful we have each other.

He’d grabbed a cowboy hat off a rack, placed it on his head, and gave her a broad smile, looking a lot like the star of a country western film.

Colorimetry - Heartwarming Guest Post
I read books because I want to feel; I want to laugh, cry, yell at no one in particular. I want the freedom to experience a range of emotions that aren’t of my doing. That’s also why I write for Harlequin Heartwarming. This is a line where the stories are driven by an emotional payoff; that moment when you clutch your heart and feel the words in your soul.

11/13: The Marriage Gift by Tara Taylor Quinn

Babs Book Bistro - Short Story Guest Post
The Marriage Gift is a lot shorter than any of my other work, but it’s classic ttq. Emotionally compelling. A little dark. And ultimately joyful.

Shrugging, prosecuting attorney, Corrine Armstrong, pulled the offensive piece of material off the small, but nice wooden dinette she’d purchased two months before but had yet to host a meal on. She used to host a lot of meals. All the time. She used to have a large, impressive dining room table, too.

Brooke Blogs - Heartwarming Guest Post
I’m thrilled to be spending time in this new Heartwarming world as well. Where my heart can spill forth freely! I hope you find the result a blessing in your life.

11/16: Heart of a Hero by Pamela Tracy

Writing Pearls - Short Story Guest Post
Heart of a Hero is Nathan’s story. Imagine finding out your whole history is not the one you were supposed to have? That the parents who raised you weren’t your parents and that the mother who gave birth to you never stopped loving, never stopped searching, never stopped praying.

Nathan nodded. He knew Agatha. Back when he was a cop in nearby Adobe Hills, Arizona, he’d occasionally called her needing information. She knew everyone.

Waiting For Wentworth - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love Harlequin Heartwarming. Within the pages of the books, I can go places I’ve never been, meet heroes and heroes having adventures, and always walk away knowing that Happily Ever After is the perfect ending.

11/18: Thankful for You by Karen Rock

Christian Chick's Thoughts - Short Story Guest Post
I’m absolutely thrilled with the second chance love story I wrote for a secondary character in another romance I’d set in the Adirondacks, RAISING THE STAKES. In that book, two best friends co-own a diner. I wanted to give Maggie James, a woman who admires the gutsy gals she grew-up watching in black and white films with her grandmother, the happily-ever-after she deserved. 

Beams whined overhead and plunged. One careened into the opposite wall in a shower of sparks. Eric doggedly kept his focus. They would make it out. Alive.

Getting Your Read On - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love writing Heartwarming novels because they are deeply emotional and extremely romantic. As they are “clean reads” the author has lots of page room to devote to developing the love between two compelling characters and their journey to find it.

11/20: Autumn at Jasper Lake by Carol Ross

I Am A Reader - Short Story Guest Post
I thought the story would be something light-hearted and not-too-serious with a hero returning or moving to Rankins to escape a difficult past. He’d want to be left alone. I intended for the folks of Rankins to make my broody hero’s alone-time impossible. . . . Some of that happens. But, as is usually the case when I start writing, my characters began to take on lives of their own. And they had other plans. Plans that surprised me.

Ryder could feel two sets of eyes on his back as he and Tag started toward the cabin. Something in him itched to turn around and see if he was right. What could it hurt to take one more glance at the lovely Jessie and her dog Fife? Cool it, Ryder, he told himself, women and dogs were both off limits.

Colorimetry - Heartwarming Guest Post
The emphasis on feelings like affection, respect, admiration and “like” reflects the necessities (in my opinion) that make up a strong and lasting relationship. True love, in other words, is the hallmark of Heartwarming.

11/23: The Firefighter’s Promise by Kate James

Mel's Shelves - Short Story Guest Post
[T]he precipitating event in The Firefighter’s Promise is based on a very personal experience. . . . It was an interesting process for me to try to put myself inside my husband’s head while writing this story to understand what he must have been feeling and thinking.

     Amidst the scorching bursts of light, she saw him. Dark hair. Strong features. Blue eyes. There was a prick on her forearm and an odd taste in her mouth.
     She trusted those eyes and believed the voice that assured her he’d take care of her before everything went black.

Beck Valley Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
The Heartwarming series is for readers who enjoy well-written, deeply-nuanced stories that are clean and wholesome.

11/24: Wedding of His Dreams by Cari Lynn Webb

Bookworm Lisa - Short Story Guest Post
I had so much fun writing this story and watching Matt push Ruthie outside of her comfort zone. Of course Ruthie didn't budge easily from her by the book life, but Matt was more than up for the challenge. And Ruthie discovered the best happy-ever-after was the one she never planned for.

Kindle and Me - Excerpt
Matt squatted down and rubbed the golden coat of Lady, Steve and Becca's eight-month old Great Dane rescue puppy. But his focus remained on Ruthie as she circled around the tables toward him. He took in everything from her thick, loose braid that hung over her left shoulder to her scarf wilted against her belted jacket to her ease with the pony-sized dog that easily outweighed her by a good twenty-some pounds. 

Zerina Blossom's Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love strong emotional stories with characters defining what it means to be a part of a community, learning the value of family and discovering the power of their own happily-ever-afters. These are the types of stories I like to read and write.

11/25: The Sweetheart Tree by Rula Sinara

Reading Is My SuperPower - Short Story Guest Post
In my Harlequin Heartwarming Thanksgiving short story, The Sweetheart Tree, environmental activist Serena Myss doesn’t only take a short walk in the woods when her family suffers a tragedy…unable to cope with her emotions or loss, she leaves home for several years. In doing so, she leaves behind the very people who love her, including the man she once thought she’d spend forever with. . .

Officer Austin Shale had slapped handcuffs on plenty of wrists—most of them hairy—but never in his wildest dreams had he imagined locking them on the soft, slender wrists of Serena Myss. Well, maybe he had imagined it once or twice, but not with her shooting daggers at him with those piercing, hazel eyes of hers. She glared at the handcuffs he’d taken off his belt.

Writing Pearls - Heartwarming Guest Post
What I love about writing for Harlequin Heartwarming is that, although the stories in the line are fiction, they’re so true to real life that the pain, struggles and loss so many experience are as much a part of the characters’ journeys as they are ours.

11/26: Married by Thanksgiving by Melinda Curtis

Heidi Reads... - Short Story Guest Post
I love marriage of convenience stories, but if you aren't writing historicals or paranormals, it's hard to come up with a plausible plot for one. When I was asked to write a short for Thanksgiving, a marriage of convenience idea came to mind: one NFL quarterback - Clinton Hadley - desperate to get out of jail and play Thanksgiving weekend.

She glanced up at Clinton. He looked like the poster boy for the NFL. Finely chiseled features, crisply cut black hair, dark brown eyes that could dissect a defense in less than ten seconds. He was known for his ability to adjust a play on the fly, to take risks, to think outside the box. What line had he crossed? 

Love, Laughter, Friendship - Heartwarming Guest Post
There is physical attraction between the hero and heroine (and kissing!), but the love between them is more likely built on the foundation of one soul recognizing another than one perfect body being attracted to another.

We hope you found something to warm your heart and help you get into the holiday spirit! Don't forget to enter the giveaways, if you haven't already...

GIVEAWAYS

Goodreads Giveaway

13 Harlequin Heartwarming Books

Enter on Goodreads HERE.

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Pin one or both of these images to spread the word and enter to win this adorably festive Thanksgiving Table Set:


Pinterest Prize includes: four reversible, quilted placemats, four matching napkins, hand-painted matching napkin rings, matching table runner, matching quilted hot pad/trivet, floral centerpiece in pot, and hand-crafted pilgrim pair.
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- Ends December 4th


Tour Giveaway


Grand Prize: Harlequin Heartwarming Year Subscription (Provided by Harlequin and to US/CAN only)

$40 VISA card (US only)

13-Book Heartwarming Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, Back to McGuffy's, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Small Town Secrets, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, Wedding of His Dreams, After The Silence, and A Memory Away (print copies if US, ebooks if international)

8-Book Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, and After The Silence (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
Ends December 4th

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Book Blast: Wasted Time by Mya O'Malley


Wasted Time by Mya O’Malley

Do you believe that some souls are destined to be together, even through hardship and deceit?

After 9-11, Declan’s heart is torn between wanting to stay with Morgan and needing to fight for his beloved country. Knowing that the future may be uncertain, he kisses his fiancée goodbye and focuses on his mission until that dark day from which he will never fully recover. Injured in Afghanistan, Declan has lost more than part of his leg; he’s lost part of himself, now plagued in grief and guilt. How could he possibly ask Morgan to take care of him for the rest of his life, being nothing but a burden to her? Which would be more heartbreaking, feigning his own death or bringing her unhappiness every day? If only he could eradicate her from his mind and be at peace with his decision.

Morgan prays day and night for Declan’s safe return, but when his letters stop coming, Morgan knows in her heart that she has lost him forever. Morgan has a hard time believing in fate and destiny after her fiancé is taken from her. With Declan gone, Morgan’s hope for true love is destroyed, but eventually she finds comfort in the arms of another, even though Morgan’s new love knows that her heart belongs to Declan.
Will Morgan eventually be able to move on, or will Declan haunt her dreams forever?


Excerpt:

Her face was the only thing that had kept him sane during his deployment. At this moment, however, thoughts of Morgan had been pushed to the side for reasons of pure survival. Declan wiped the mud from his eye with a swift movement of his hand, just quick enough so that he could see again. Booming thunder went off near and far.

Swearing under his breath, Declan closed one eye and squinted the other shut as he spied his target. Breathe. One, two, three… he could do this. The first time he’d had to shoot another man he had faltered, hesitated only the briefest of seconds, during which time the man escaped his line of sight and shot a fellow soldier in the leg, causing serious injury.

This time, Declan concentrated, aimed his M4 rifle, and fired. The distinct thud of a man dropping to the ground confirmed the target had been hit. Swiping at the sweat in his eyes from the sweltering mid-day heat, Declan gulped and struggled to his knees. Lining up his rifle again, his neck and shoulders ached with fatigue. He bit down and gritted his teeth, tasting dirt while fighting off the pain.

It seemed as if hours had gone by, when in fact, it had probably only been minutes when finally the haunting sound of gunfire ceased. Not one to trust silence in any setting, Declan mentally counted upward until he reached near fifty.

“All clear,” his buddy, Sean, called out. “All clear.”

Declan, always cautious, still maintained his position until he heard his fellow soldiers from his platoon begin to speak. Peeking up from his ravine, Declan rose slowly to his feet as the rifle was pressed to his side.

Surveying the damage, it appeared that several of their enemies were lying still on the ground. The man he had shot lay still, appearing lifeless. Another man lay several feet away. It seemed the enemies had taken off, deserting the boundaries of the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. His platoon mates fell silent, all business as they quickly gathered their belongings to head back to base.

Declan clutched his rifle, drawing closer to his victim. Curiosity had gotten the best of him. Fully aware of his previous actions, Declan stepped even closer. He had never killed a man before — injured, yes, but never killed. This man did not appear to be alive.

His heart sped up as sweat caused his fatigues to cling to his body. For God’s sake, the man looked to have been only in his early twenties at best. What have I done? What are we doing here? Waves of nausea rose and Declan swallowed hard.

“Hey! Step back!” Sean called out. “Move out! I repeat, move out!”

Hearing his friend call out to him, Declan turned toward the sound of his voice, realizing his mistake seconds too late. He should have known better; he should have. But no amount of training can prepare you for taking another man’s life.

Glancing swiftly at Sean through tear-stained eyes, he saw the movement in his peripheral vision. Sean raced to the open dirt road. They were sitting ducks, in plain sight. The man that Declan had presumed dead, the one he had shot, raised his own rifle and fired at Sean, who dropped instantly to ground.

“No! No!” Declan spun his head back to the imminent threat, a moment too late. The force of the explosion knocked him to the ground in an instant. Morgan’s face was the last thing that registered in his mind as another shot fired, leaving his world black.

****

Clouds scattered overhead, cries of gulls bringing back another time, a different memory, sitting here with Declan by her side. Morgan squeezed her jaw, fighting back the pain.

Months later, there was still no word from Declan. On the Internet, she had searched out his name relentlessly but there was no mention of Declan, no death certificates and his name couldn’t be found on any list of casualties of the war. It was as if he had simply disappeared, but that wasn’t possible and she feared the worst.  He was gone and there was no closure for Morgan, as his only living relatives were his mom and some family living on the west coast, whom Declan hadn’t seen in years. Even she and Declan’s old friend, Stephen seemed to be losing touch.

She could sit on this beach and watch the water forever; it was a place Declan had cherished, a place she felt close to him. Never again would her life be the same without Declan Blake. How was she going to make it without him?

The world was quiet and without joy for Morgan. Even Morgan’s mother nagged her to speak with a therapist. She didn’t see the purpose of smiling or laughing when it was all forced. Constant thoughts of Declan plagued her day and night.

Morgan nearly jumped when her cell rang. First instincts were to let the call go to voicemail, but she knew the person calling would only persist. That’s how it had been lately; she would ignore phone calls only to find tons of messages waiting.

It was Elle, calling for the second time that day. “Hi, Elle.”

“Where have you been? I’ve been trying to call you for hours,” Elle exclaimed.

“I don’t know, I’m just hanging out.”

“Down by the river again?” Elle inquired.

“Yup,” Morgan responded as she moved her foot around in the sand.

“Figured as much.”

Elle’s voice sounded odd, almost as if she were hearing her close by. Morgan turned to see her friend walking toward her on the grassy path leading to the small beach.

Rising to her feet, Morgan felt tears escape. Elle was by her side, arms wrapped around her within moments. Morgan released Elle and took a small step back.

“Oh, Elle, what am I going to do?” she sobbed.

“You’re going to live, dammit. Declan would want you to be happy.”

“How? How can I forget about him, just move on?” It wasn’t possible, she had tried, and it just wasn’t working. Even when she was at work, she was just going through the motions; she did her job, but her heart wasn’t the same.

“I think it’s time for you to see someone to talk about all of this. You’ve waited long enough.”

She was right and so was her mother, believe it or not. “I will, Elle. I will because I don’t know what else to do.”

“Morgan, you’re the strongest person I know. You have so much happiness and love to share. I have full confidence in you. You’re going to make it and come out stronger in the end.” Elle spoke through her own tears.

“Thanks, Elle. I love you.” Morgan felt better knowing there was someone on her side rooting for her.

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Author Mya O’Malley

Mya O’Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and three step-daughters. The family also consists of a boxer, Destiny and a ragdoll cat named Colby. Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy. She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.

Mya’s passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child. Mya spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters. Mya likes to travel; she has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica. Mya is currently working on her eighth novel.




$50 Blast Giveaway

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by readinglight.com. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: By the River by Jennie Hansen



By the River, by Jennie Hansen
2015, 204p, Clean Suspense/Romance
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review



It was supposed to be a relaxing early morning run, but the path along the river trail quickly turns into the scene of a nightmare for recent college graduate Kira Paxton. An unintended exploration of a secluded riverbank leads to a gruesome discovery that sets her on a collision course with danger: it is the body of a young woman. In shock, all Kira can manage to do is scream . . . From the moment Ford Kettering hears the cries for help along the trail, he is drawn irrevocably into a mystery in which he plays a shocking role. Ford, a local high school teacher, had a recent classroom clash with the victim—now, he’s a person of interest. As Ford and Kira bond over their shared ordeal, they work together to prove Ford’s innocence—and soon, their attraction is undeniable. But it seems that Kira’s nightmare is far from over. What begins as a series of close calls and acts of vandalism soon escalates, putting Kira’s own life in jeopardy. It appears that Kira saw something that day along the trail, something that has made her a target. With Ford’s help, she is determined to track down the killer—before she becomes the next victim.

This book starts off fast--Kira has just discovered the body of a young woman. Actually, her brother's dog, Jasper, has due to his fascination with shoes. Kira's screams attract the attention of Ford, a local high school teacher. He realizes that he knows the victim and has had some negative interactions with her recently. He does become a suspect but I didn't feel that he was looked at seriously past the first interview with the detective. 

Things start heating up for Kira as all sorts of crazy things start happening. She is constantly fighting her father and brother for her independence. Unbeknownst to her, her father sets up security for her. By the time she learns of it, though, things have gotten to the point where she is grateful for it.

The characters we get to know in this book are all likable. Jasper, the dog, was particularly fun to read about. He annoyed Kira and didn't obey her at all. I understand why she didn't want him around, but there were times she was glad he was there. Kira and Ford were attracted to each other and it didn't take long for them to start dating. There was a lot going on which made for some challenges but they were willing to figure things out.

The pace of the book was fast and there was quite a bit going on. There was someone trying to keep Kira quiet and it was difficult to pin down who it was. I was ready for some answers at the end and was a little disappointed in the reveal. I'm not sure what I was expecting but after all the craziness Kira went through, it seemed like it would have been something different. 

Overall, it's a great read, especially if you enjoy clean, romantic suspense. This is the first novel I've read by Jennie Hansen and I look forward to reading more in the future! 


Jennie Hansen lived a nomadic life during her early years and can remember living in twenty-two different houses and attending eight schools. The two colleges where she earned degrees, Ricks and Westminster, made ten. She worked as a model, secretary, newspaper reporter and editor, legislative page, teacher, and librarian. Through it all, she kept writing. To date she has twenty-three published novels, numerous short stories, and many magazine and newspaper articles to her credit. She has written reviews of LDS fiction for Meridian Magazine since 2001.

She and her husband have five children, all of whom are married to wonderful people, and eleven grandchildren. Two days each week Jennie and her husband can be found serving at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, a fifteen-minute drive from their Utah home.


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Book Blast: Mice & Spiders & Webs...Oh My! by Sherrill S. Cannon

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for the picture book "Mice & Spiders & Webs... Oh My!" by Sherrill S. Cannon.

Mice & Spiders & Webs... Oh My!


Title: Mice & Spiders & Webs... Oh My! | Author: Sherrill S. Cannon | Illustrator: Kalpart | Publication Date: March 19, 2015 | Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency, LLC | Pages: 30 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 8 | Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)

Summary: Is your child a good listener? Rosemary is a little girl who is worried about returning to school after her teacher warns the class that they would soon have some mice, spiders, and webs in the classroom. Could Rosemary have misunderstood something? How can mice and spiders and webs belong at school? Full of "Computer Speak," this story introduces young readers to basic computer terms in a delightful way! See if your child can discover the mystery of the misunderstood words, and learn about the fun of computers with Rosemary.

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Please note that 50% of the cost of Sherrill Cannon's books go to the following two organizations: http://sbpra.com/curejm and http://sbpra.com/imbullyfree. Here are Ms. Cannon's other books:


Macintosh HD:Users:skcannon60:Dropbox:iPhoto Library:Masters:2014:03:15:20140315-145024:IMG_1139.JPGMy Fingerpaint Masterpiece deals with perspective, perception and self-esteem as a child fingerpaints artwork in class, and later discovers it as part of the town’s Art Contest.







Macintosh HD:Users:skcannon60:Dropbox:iPhoto Library:Masters:2014:06:12:20140612-155332:IMG_1287.JPGManner-Man is a Superhero who helps children cope with bullies, and teaches them how to look within themselves for their own superhero.







Macintosh HD:Users:skcannon60:Dropbox:iPhoto Library:Masters:2014:08:20:20140820-114042:IMG_1390.JPGGimme-Jimmy is about how a bully learns to share. His “New Polite Rule” helps him learn to make friends.







Macintosh HD:Users:skcannon60:Dropbox:iPhoto Library:Masters:2012:09:10:20120910-174324:TheMagicWord-6lg copy.jpgThe Magic Word helps Elisabeth learn the magic word “please”, and to use it every day. Please and Thank you are words that everyone needs to use!







Macintosh HD:Users:skcannon60:Dropbox:iPhoto Library:Masters:2013:11:06:20131106-210036:IMG_0871.JPGPeter and the Whimper-Whineys, helps parents cope with whining, disguised as a fun story. Peter is a rabbit who whines all the time, and might have to join the Whimper-Whineys.







Macintosh HD:Users:skcannon60:Dropbox:iPhoto Library:Masters:2013:11:06:20131106-210036:IMG_0873.JPGSanta’s Birthday Gift includes Santa in the Christmas story. (After reading a story of the nativity to her granddaughter, she was asked “But where’s Santa?”)






The Buzz About the Book

"Mice & Spiders & Webs... Oh My! features a wonderful rhyming tale with an important underlying message about "being a good listener". As an added bonus, the book also features bright and kid-friendly illustrations with cameo appearances of characters and covers from previous books. I highly recommend this (and other books by Sherrill S. Cannon) for children ages 4 to 8 years." ~ Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

"I adored this fun story and know it will become a fast favorite among readers." ~ Stacie @ BeachBoundBooks

"This book is educational, while entertaining too, and is a great teaching tool on being a good Listener." ~ Lu Ann, Rockin' Book Reviews

"This is a very fun book for both children and adults. It carries an important message, but at the same time introduces computer terminology that perhaps not every child will be familiar with." ~ Crsytal @ Castle View Academy

About the Author: Sherrill S. Cannon

Sherrill CannonSherrill S. Cannon is a former teacher and a grandmother of ten, who is also an Award-Winning Best-Selling Author! Her multi-cultural books have received thirty-six 2011-15 National and International awards. Most of her books try to teach something, like good manners and consideration for others. All of her books are part of two fundraisers, one to help find a cure for Juvenile Myositis, an incurable children's disease at http://sbpra.com/curejm/ and another for the anti-bullying campaign at imbullyfree.org at http://sbpra.com/imbullyfree 50% of the cost of her books on these sites will go directly to each organization!

Sherrill is also the author of seven published and internationally performed plays for elementary school children, She is a resident of New Hope, PA and travels with her husband of 55 years throughout North America in their RV, sharing her books along the way!

Website SBPRA Website CureJM Website

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** Book Blast Giveaway **

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice

Giveaway ends: December 9, 11:59 pm, 2015

Open to: 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 Sherrill S. Cannon and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send an email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: More Than the Tattooed Mormon by Al Fox Carraway




More Than the Tattooed Mormon, by Al Fox Carraway
2015, 176p, LDS Non-Fiction, Inspirational
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review



Al Fox Carraway has spent the last four years inspiring the world with her story of conversion, redemption, and finding faith. As a blogger and award-winning public speaker, her message has reached millions. This up-close look at her life will show you what it means to truly trust in the Lord.

"Don't go, Al. You won't fit in."

Being baptized and following the Lord has made Al's life harder than it ever was before. She endured criticism from friends and family for becoming a Mormon. She faced harsh judgments from Church members for her appearance. She gave up everything and felt more alone than she ever had in her life. All because she chose God.

Now she shares an up-close look at how trusting God has led her to places she never expected. As a blogger, YouTuber, and award-winning public speaker, her message has reached millions. Sharing her love of the Savior, Al goes beyond her own conversion and encourages readers to choose God above anything else. This uplifting book inspires readers to build a true relationship with the Lord that will bring them real, lasting happiness.


I love to read conversion stories and heard about Al Fox (now Carraway) a few years ago. I didn't know too much about her so was interested to hear her story. 

I loved that I felt like she was just talking to me, telling me what led up to her joining the church and how difficult it was for her after that. She actually had a great life and didn't feel like anything was missing. Things changed for her when she started asking questions. When she joined the church, her friends and family left her and she was completely alone. She was able to find the strength to keep reading and studying her scriptures and attending church. Moving to Utah was in some ways more difficult for her, though. She dealt with insensitive comments and looks from others but never let those keep her from living the way she knew she should.

Her story is inspiring! She seems like she would be fun to know. She gets real and shares some serious heartache she experienced. There are also lots of good times, too! I liked that she included what her current relationship is with her family.

This is more than just her story--she shares scriptures and passages that have helped her. I enjoyed hearing her perspective on those and so much more. It's easy to see why she's a highly sought after speaker. Her story is definitely thought-provoking, inspiring and well worth the read! 


AL CARRAWAY is an award-winning LDS speaker, a blogger, and a convert. She was born and raised in Rochester, New York, where she became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2009 and earned her degree in graphic design.

Al's social presence first started with www.alfoxshead.blogspot.com, where she blogs about her relationship with God and her experiences and trials. Over the years she has found herself traveling across the country every week. She speaks to LDS audiences of all kinds--at youth camps, firesides, and even prisons--sharing her conversion story and teaching all those who will listen how to keep going in hard times and how to stay close to God when we think our prayers aren't being heard or we're asked to do things we may not understand.

Al married her sweetheart, Ben, in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple in Utah, and they are now currently enjoying the heat and cacti of Arizona with their daughter, Gracie.

She loves the outdoors, waking up early, and hot sauce and onions on everything she eats. She is a die-hard pizza fan and a lover of God and all things good.

Her passion is to tell everyone that happiness exists and that it comes from this gospel.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: Ella by Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee




Ella, by Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee
2015, 240p, Fairy-Tale Retelling
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review



Reserved yet resilient, Ella Blakeley lives with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, without hope of escape—until the day Prince Kenton announces a ball that changes everything. Even without mice, magic, or fairy godmothers, Ella might discover a life that’s better than she ever dreamed. This intricately woven twist on Cinderella is an enchanting book you won’t be able to put down.

So, there are lots of fairy-tale retellings for Cinderella, and of course, I was interested in reading another one. There are some great ones and this version is now one of my personal favorites!

All the basic ingredients are there: Ella's mother died when she was young, her father remarried and has also now died, Victoria is the evil stepmother and Mabel and Cecilia are the two self-absorbed stepsisters. There is a ball where Prince Kenton is hoping to find a wife as he is in a bit of a hurry to get married.

There are also some differences. Ella has two friends, Jane and Will. There are things that happen through the course of the book which tests both of those friendships. There's no fairy godmother so Ella has to find a different way to get to the ball. And as for the evil stepmother...well, you'll have to read the book to find out what happens with her.

Ella is worked to the bone and not treated well by her stepmother and stepsisters. She's always pleasant, but when they go a little too far, she is not about to live with what happened and sets out to make it right. It's one of those stories where you feel like you know what will happen in certain parts, but there are some great twists which make the story more realistic.

There are some great lessons to be taken from Ella's story and this is a book that will appeal to both teens and adults. I definitely plan to share it with my daughter and will read it again myself. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author in the future!


Watch the trailer here.

About the Author:

Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee was born the fourth of seven children to a family of avid readers, movie quoters, and sports fanatics. She graduated with a degree in English from Brigham Young University in 2004. She is a mother of five rambunctious, adorable boys and while you read this, she is probably folding laundry . . . or should be.

Book Blitz: Roman's Holiday by Susan Aylworth


Roman’s Holiday by Susan Aylworth

Four years after Roman Kincaid was catapulted into stardom as a country-western singer and A-list movie star, he is burned out: exhausted by a grueling schedule, drained by the ceaseless demands of producers and managers, weary of meeting the needs of others at the expense of his own. Leaving a sold-out show in Phoenix, he rents a car and drives north and east, landing in the Painted Desert town of Rainbow Rock.

Nearly three years after leaving her old life behind, Lottie Beale is feeding people and baking pies, managing the Kachina Café and tending secrets of her own. When circumstances conspire to give two attractive people some time alone together amid the world-class vistas of the Four Corners, they discover more than either had bargained for.


Excerpt

“Ro-man! Ro-man!” A capacity crowd in the Ak-Chin Pavilion chanted his name under the starry desert sky, but Roman Kincaid barely heard it. He stood in the stage wings, gearing up for an encore and wondering when his dream had become a nightmare.

“Okay, guys,” he said to his back-up band via their ear buds. “One encore only. Let’s do ‘Gamble.’ Start with the chorus.” He took two steps toward the stage entrance, swinging his guitar into playing position.

Sam, his manager, caught his elbow. “Are you sure about this? That crowd adores you. You could probably play three encores, sell more CDs—”

“No.” Roman left no room for argument. “One and done. And no backstage stuff, either. I’m outta here.” He took a deep breath, pasted on the same fake, crowd-pleasing smile he’d used in the last half-dozen shows, and jogged back onto the stage to the roar of twenty thousand excited voices. He strummed the intro and launched into the chorus of his first number-one hit:

“Love is such a gamble.
You break a new deck every time.
Sometimes you’re dealt the aces;
Others you draw to nines.
But when I met you, I knew it was true.
A winning hand you seemed.
Now I have the rush of a royal flush.
You are the gamble of my dreams.”

The crowd cheered wildly as he played his way through the music he now sang in his sleep. In fact, he realized as he watched fans taking up the beat and clapping along, that was pretty much what he was doing now. He struggled to suppress a yawn during the guitar interlude as he turned to acknowledge his band.

I spent my early life dreaming of a crowd like this. When did performing start to feel like a chore? He put the thought away. Lately he’d been thinking of times when he’d heard of some celebrity being hospitalized for exhaustion and assumed it was a euphemism for drug rehab. Now he wondered. When was the last time I felt truly rested? The question was an imponderable. Months, at least.

He hit the last chord and took a deep bow, then shouted, “Thank you, Phoenix!” and dashed off-stage.

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Author Susan Aylworth

Susan Aylworth started her first book when she was nine. “It was called Buff, The Proud Stallion. I wrote eight whole pages.” For her fifth grade career day, she stated her ambition to become “a rich and famous author.” Decades later, she is pleased to have achieved the ‘author’ part of that goal. A former university professor, she enjoys researching backgrounds and careers for her novels. “It’s one way to live many lives at once.” She lives in northern California with her husband of 45 years and two spoiled cats.



Book Blast Giveaway – $50 Amazon Gift Card or $50 in Paypal Cash

Ends 12/11/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving Tour/Guest Post: The Firefighter's Promise by Kate James


 On tour with Prism Book Tours.

We'll be highlighting 13 FREE short stories by beloved Harlequin Heartwarming authors that will be available from Harlequin during November. All Heartwarming titles are 30% OFF during November from Harlequin as well! Use code HEART1115.

TODAY'S FREE SHORT STORY:

The Firefighter's Promise by Kate James

An accidental love . . .

When Jacqueline (Jax) Warren is in a serious motorcycle accident, firefighter Ryan Hudson is the first to arrive at the scene. Ryan takes a special interest in Jax particularly when he discovers that her stepmother—Jax’s only known contact—shows little interest in her wellbeing. But Jax learned early in life that she can’t rely on other people and it’s her six-year-old half-brother, Kyle, who’s the only person she cares about.

In the face of Ryan’s persistence and devotion, Jax begins to open up to him. Convincing her to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family—to prove to her that not all families are like the one she’d known—he presents her with a gift she never imagined, and she finally lets him into her life . . . and into her heart.

Read it HERE!

Guest Post

There hasn’t been a Thanksgiving in my experience when I didn’t have a myriad of things, both big and small, to be truly grateful for. This Thanksgiving is no different. As I have aged, the more I have come to appreciate the importance of living every day to the fullest. Through personal experience, I know how fragile and precious life can be, and it can all change in a heartbeat. To me, the Tim McGraw song, “Live Like You Were Dying” captures this concept in a powerful way.

When I was asked to participate in the Harlequin Heartwarming Thanksgiving reader event, I wanted to write a story that would underscore the importance of family and give my protagonists reasons to be truly grateful at Thanksgiving.

I’ve written previous posts about the concept of fictionalizing facts. That means that while the story is fictitious, there are certain elements that are based on personal experience or fact. I believe this can make a story more genuine and potentially more powerful. As an example, the precipitating event in The Firefighter’s Promise is based on a very personal experience. Nearly fifteen months ago, on a beautiful sunny afternoon, my husband and I were heading home along a quiet country road on his motorcycle. My husband saved our lives with sound decision-making and quick reflexes when he avoided an accident caused by a young man who ran a stop sign at a crossroad. Unfortunately, my husband was very seriously injured, while I “bounced up” with nothing more than a few abrasions, bruises and a couple of minor hairline fractures. It was an interesting process for me to try to put myself inside my husband’s head while writing this story to understand what he must have been feeling and thinking.

For those of you who’ve read any of my books, you might find this story a little different, but I hope you enjoy it all the same.

Happy reading!

Kate


Kate spent much of her childhood abroad before attending university in Canada. She built a successful business career, but her passion has always been literature. As a result Kate turned her energy to her love of the written word. Kate's goal is to entertain her readers with engaging stories featuring strong, likable characters. Kate has been honored with numerous awards for her writing. She and her husband, Ken, enjoy traveling and the outdoors with their beloved Labrador Retrievers.

Other Heartwarming Titles by this Author

A Child's Christmas The Truth About Hope

When the Right One Comes Along (K-9 Trilogy, #1) When Love Matters Most (The K-9 Trilogy, #2)

TOUR SCHEDULE

Don't miss any of these FREE novellas or the extra tour content! Stop by each of the tour stops each day:

11/2: Snow Day Baby by Amy Vastine
Singing Librarian Books, The Power of Words, & Katie's Clean Book Collection


11/4: Wedding at Turkey Run by Liz Flaherty
My Love for Reading Keeps Growing, Babs Book Bistro, & Heidi Reads...

11/6: Her Thanksgiving Soldier by Leigh Riker
Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima, Mel's Shelves, & Brooke Blogs

11/9: Mr. Right All Along by Jen Snow
Katie's Clean Book CollectionMin Reads and Reviews, & Love thy Shelf

11/11: Falling for the Cowboy by Sophia Sasson
Kindle and Me, The Power of Words, & Colorimetry

11/13: The Marriage Gift by Tara Taylor Quinn
deal sharing aunt, Babs Book Bistro, & Brooke Blogs

11/16: Heart of a Hero by Pamela Tracy
Writing Pearls, Wishful Endings, & Waiting For Wentworth

11/18: Thankful for You by Karen Rock
Christian Chick's Thoughts, Getting Your Read On, & Love, Laughter, Friendship

11/20: Autumn at Jasper Lake by Carol Ross
Reading Is My SuperPower, I Am A Reader, & Colorimetry

11/23: The Firefighter’s Promise by Kate James
Canadian Book Addict, Mel's Shelves, & Beck Valley Books

11/24: Wedding of His Dreams by Cari Lynn Webb
Bookworm Lisa, Kindle and Me, & Zerina Blossom's Books

11/25: The Sweetheart Tree by Rula Sinara
The Written Adventure, Reading Is My SuperPower, & Writing Pearl

11/26: Married by Thanksgiving by Melinda Curtis
Heidi Reads..., Love, Laughter, Friendship, & Singing Librarian Books 

11/29: Grand Finale

11/30: Facebook Party

GIVEAWAYS

Goodreads Giveaway
13 Harlequin Heartwarming Books
Enter on Goodreads HERE.

Pinterest Giveaway

 
Pin one or both of these images to spread the word and enter to win this adorably festive Thanksgiving Table Set:


Pinterest Prize includes: four reversible, quilted placemats, four matching napkins, hand-painted matching napkin rings, matching table runner, matching quilted hot pad/trivet, floral centerpiece in pot, and hand-crafted pilgrim pair.
- Enter via the Rafflecopter below
- Open to US/CAN only
- Ends December 4th


Tour Giveaway


Grand Prize: Harlequin Heartwarming Year Subscription (Provided by Harlequin and to US/CAN only)

$40 VISA card (US only)

13-Book Heartwarming Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, Back to McGuffy's, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Small Town Secrets, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, Wedding of His Dreams, After The Silence, and A Memory Away (print copies if US, ebooks if international)

9-Book Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, When The Right One Comes Along, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, and After The Silence (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
Ends December 4th

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