Thursday, August 17, 2017

Blog Tour/Review: The Search by Clair M. Poulson

The Search, by Clair M. Poulson
2017, 256p, Clean Contemporary Suspense
My Rating=3 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way

Young private investigator Jayden Spaulding has cracked his share of tough cases, but nothing like this. When stunning professional basketball player Nadia Fairchild walks through his door, her story seems simple enough: two days ago, her mother disappeared along with a member of the women’s college basketball team she coached. Jayden and Nadia delve into a baffling maze of motive and opportunity with a lengthy list of possible suspects. As they work together amid their growing attraction to one another, the unlikely duo seems no closer to discovering the truth. Then the threats begin. Soon, the pair begins to suspect that this case is much more complicated than a simple disappearance—they have unwittingly stumbled on a conspiracy of corruption, greed, and murder far more deadly than they ever imagined. Others are also searching for the missing women, and they will eliminate anyone who stands in their way . . .

I've read a lot of Clair Poulson's books and have enjoyed most of them. Unfortunately, this wasn't one of my favorites.

I'll start with the negatives. I'm okay with characters that are immediately attracted to each other, but usually they keep it to themselves for a while. I felt like they were a couple within hours of meeting each other and so I had a hard time connecting with them. I didn't feel like I saw their relationship develop and progress because it was so instant. There were times I found myself skimming over the story because I started losing interest. The good news is that the story would pick back up so I would find myself engrossed in it again.

Now for the positives. I love that his stories move at a fast pace and this one was no different. There were plenty of suspects which didn't make it easy to figure out what happened. Even though I had some issues with how Jayden and Nadia's relationship developed, I liked their characters. Jayden's sense of humor helped lighten up some otherwise tense situations. His dog, Bullet, was awesome and easy to fall in love with!

Even though this book wasn't one of my personal favorites, I look forward to reading more of Clair Poulson's work in the future!

Clair M. Poulson retired after twenty years in law enforcement. During his career he served in the U.S. Military Police Corps, the Utah Highway Patrol, and the Duchesne County Sheriff's Department, where he was first a deputy and the the county sheriff. He currently serves as a justice court judge for Duchesne County, a position he has held for nineteen years. His nearly forty-year career working in the criminal justice system has provided a wealth of material from which he draws in writing his books. Clair has served on numerous boards and committees over the years. Among them are the Utah Judicial Council, and FBI advisory board, the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, the Utah Justice Court Board of Directors, and the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Other interests include activity in the LDS Church, assisting his oldest son in operating their grocery store, ranching with his oldest son and other family members, and raising registered Missouri Fox Trotter horses. Clair and his wife, Ruth, live in Duchesne and are the parents of five married children. They have twenty-two grandchildren.

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Tour Schedule:

*August 18th

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Blog Tour/Review: Courting the Country Miss by Donna Hatch

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Courting the Country Miss
(Courting #2)
by Donna Hatch
Historical Romance

Paperback & ebook, 312 pages
August 4th 2017 by The Wild Rose Press. Inc.

Cynical and broken-hearted, Leticia banishes dreams of marriage. When her childhood friend, Tristan, wagers he can find her the perfect husband, she hopes the challenge will coax him to forgo his devil-may-care lifestyle. Meanwhile, Leticia throws herself into forming her charity school but meets opposition—even from the people she’s helping.

Guilt-ridden that his past mistakes robbed Leticia of true love, Tristan vows to set it right, but match-making has its pitfalls for a repentant scoundrel. When he finds two ‘perfect’ gentlemen to court her, he discovers his own deep feelings for the lady.

Though Tristan seems to reform, Leticia doesn’t dare risk heartbreak with a notorious rake. When opposition for the school takes a deadly turn, can Tristan protect her from a madman bent on destroying their dreams and their lives?

Leticia and Tristan are childhood friends. Tristan feels guilty that his actions caused Leticia to lose a man she loved (his brother) to another woman, so he decides to play matchmaker and find the perfect man for her. Tristan has a reputation for being a scoundrel and Leticia, having her own ulterior motive, agrees to his plan.

We get both Leticia and Tristan's points of view so it was fun to see how each of them felt about Tristan's matchmaking efforts. It was also fun to see how their relationship with each other developed. Tristan is charming and easy to fall in love with, but Leticia has serious concerns about his past. I also liked that Leticia was involved with starting a charity school with her friend, Elizabeth, and seeing the good they were able to accomplish with that.

I didn't read the first book in this series (although now I want to), and this works well as a stand alone. I loved the setting, characters, and, of course, the romance. If you enjoy clean Regency romance, this is a great one to get lost in!

My Rating=5 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy via Prism Book Tours, which did not affect my review in any way  

Other Books in the Series

Courting the Countess by [Hatch, Donna]
Courting the Countess
(Courting #1)

by Donna Hatch
Adult Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 388 pages
October 5th 2016 by The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

When charming rake Tristan Barrett sweeps Lady Elizabeth off her feet, stealing both her heart and a kiss in a secluded garden, her brother challenges Tristan to a duel. The only way to save her brother and Tristan from harm—not to mention preserve her reputation—is to get married. But her father, the Duke of Pemberton, refuses to allow his daughter to marry anyone but a titled lord. The duke demands that Elizabeth marry Tristan’s older brother, Richard, the Earl of Averston. Now Elizabeth must give up Tristan to marry a man who despises her, a man who loves another, a man she’ll never love.

Richard fears Elizabeth is as untrustworthy as his mother, who ran off with another man. However, to protect his brother from a duel and their family name from further scandal, he agrees to the wedding, certain his new bride will betray him. Yet when Elizabeth turns his house upside down and worms her way into his reluctant heart, Richard suspects he can’t live without his new countess. Will she stay with him or is it too little, too late?

About the Author

Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty five years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive an ebook of Courting the Countess
Open internationally
Ends August 29th

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blog Tour/Review: Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

Beneath Copper Falls, by Colleen Coble
2017, 368p, Christian Mystery/Suspense
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy via TLC Book Tours, which did not affect my review in any way

Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . but could it be different in Rock Harbor?

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancĂ© to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.

I love a good mystery/suspense and this one delivered! Dana moves to Rock Harbor to escape an abusive relationship. She reconnects with old friends and meets new ones. She is attracted to Boone and it doesn't take long before they are working together to solve a mystery.

I don't want to say too much because I don't want to give anything away. I enjoyed getting to know Dana and Boone and watching their relationship develop. It wasn't easy for me to figure out who the killer was. For me, this book had the right amount of danger and suspense without being too creepy or gory. I enjoyed it from the beginning, but about halfway through, I had a hard time putting it down.

This is the sixth installment in this series and the first one I've read. I think it works well as a stand alone. I could tell there were some characters whose stories have previously been told and I was still able to enjoy this one. This is Christian fiction with some references to God and prayer (nothing preachy) and is a great read for anyone who enjoys suspense! This author is new to me and I will definitely read more of her work in the future!

About Colleen Coble

USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

Colleen Coble’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, August 7th: Splashes of Joy
Wednesday, August 9th: For Him and My Family
Monday, August 14th: By the Book
Tuesday, August 15thMel’s Shelves
Wednesday, August 16thDiary of a Stay at Home Mom
Friday, August 18thRead Till Dawn
Monday, August 21stReviews from the Heart
Wednesday, August 23rdReading is My SuperPower
Thursday, August 24thEmpowermoms
Monday, August 28thRainy Day Reviews
Thursday, August 31stJust Commonly
Friday, September 1stJust One More Chapter
Tuesday, September 5thBooks and Spoons
Wednesday, September 6thChristian Bookshelf Reviews
Thursday, September 7thJathan & Heather
Friday, September 8thA Chick Who Reads
Friday, September 8thView from the Birdhouse
Monday, September 11thWrite Read Life
Tuesday, September 12thKritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, September 13thSteph the Bookworm
Thursday, September 14thFrom the TBR Pile
Friday, September 15thBook Reviews and More by Kathy

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Blog Hop: Road Trip of Delusion by Jean Ann Williams

Genre: Contemporary, Christian
Publisher: Love Truth
Publication date: June 22, 2017

A fifteen-year-old takes a road trip with her two younger sisters and their strong-willed great-granny, and circumstances force her to drive her granny’s Cadillac through a freeway-closing-down blizzard which brings everyone and everything to a standstill.

Jean Ann Williams is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She writes regularly for Putting on the New blog and Book Fun Magazine on the topic of child suicide loss. Her book “God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart” started out as a blogged book on her Love Truth blog. Jean Ann and her husband of forty-six years have thirteen grandchildren from their two remaining children. They reside on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, fruit orchard, goats, and chickens. Jean Ann’s favorite hobbies are practicing archery, hiking through the woods, and big game hunting with her bow.


(The cities and places along the characters route are actual locations, though some names are changed.)

1. Some characters are composites of a few family members including myself.
2. Within minutes after the conversation which inspired this story, my husband and I began our trip home to Oregon and I pulled out my laptop and wrote Road Trip of Delusion.
3. The working title of this book was The Road Trip of Our Lives, and I changed it to its current title.
4. The cover illustration was created by my granddaughter.
5. Since the age of eight, I’ve traveled the same route my characters traveled.
6. My sister’s husband works for the highway division in Oregon and plows the snow off of Interstate 5 each winter.
7. At the same age as my main character, I drove my parents’ station wagon without a driver’s license and know the feeling of driving scared when I stalled the car in a deep creek behind our house and couldn’t get the vehicle out.
8. I know what it’s like being in a snow storm. When I was 14, my family and I woke to five feet of snow, and my dad had to climb out a window and shovel the snow away from the front door.
9. My personality is similar to the main character in respect to feeling often like a coward and plagued with a nervous stomach.)

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Blog Tour/Review: Havencross by Julie Daines

Havencross, by Julie Daines
282p, 2017, Clean Historical Mystery/Romance
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way

When a shocking scandal involving her father spreads through London society, Elaine Cardinham and her parents are forced to retreat to their country home in Cornwall for refuge. But Havencross is no sanctuary for Elaine. She is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her brother—and the heartbreak she left in her wake all those years ago. It has been five long years since Gareth Kemp last saw Elaine—when she rejected his marriage proposal. Her reappearance convinces him of one thing: he has never stopped loving her. To put his feelings for her aside, he focuses his attention on the dangerous smuggling plaguing the Cornish coast. As Elaine attempts to run from her past, she ventures ever closer to a dangerous truth—and Gareth may be the only one who can save her from a deadly finish.

Elaine Cardinham was humiliated by the scandal involving her father which caused her family to leave London society for their country home, Havencross. And she especially wasn't looking forward to facing Gareth Kemp, the man whose proposal she rejected five years ago. However, she was determined to make the best of her new situation.

Elaine and Gareth were easy characters to fall in love with. There were obstacles in their way, especially one large one that I wasn't sure how they would overcome. Elaine wasn't bitter about the tough situation she was in due to her father's actions. Gareth's circumstances had drastically changed since she'd last seen him. I enjoyed their interactions and how they looked out for each other despite their past history. I liked the side characters and how they added bits and pieces to the story until the full picture was revealed.

Julie Daines is one of my favorite authors and this book delivered! I loved how the different storylines came together--scandal, smugglers, mystery, second chances and romance kept me turning pages until the satisfying conclusion. This is a great read for anyone that enjoys clean historical mystery/romance!

Julie Daines is an award-winning and best-selling author. She was born in Concord, Massachusetts, and was raised in Utah. She spent eighteen months living in London, where she studied and fell in love with English literature, sticky toffee pudding, and the mysterious guy who ran the kebab store around the corner.

She loves reading, writing, and watching movies—anything that transports her to another world. She picks Captain Wentworth over Mr. Darcy, firmly believes in second breakfast, and never leaves home without her vervain.

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Tour Schedule:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Blog Tour/Guest Post: Searching for Irene by Marlene Bateman

What happened to Irene?

When Anna Coughlin, a modern 1920’s woman, travels to the secluded hills of Virginia to work for wealthy Lawrence Richardson, she discovers that the previous secretary, Irene, mysteriously disappeared a few weeks before. Upon arriving at the castle-like mansion to begin working, Anna finds that Lawrence’s handsome, but antagonistic son, Tyler, wants nothing more than to have her gone. And he isn’t the only one—

After Anna sets out to find the truth behind Irene’s disappearance, a series of frightening incidents ensnare her in a maze of intrigue. Anna is helped—and often hindered—by the temperamental Tyler Richardson, who—despite her best intentions—begins to steal her heart.

But even as Anna begins to uncover dark secrets in a troubled household, she must continue to hide a significant one of her own. When her life is threatened, Anna is left to wonder if she’ll be able to unravel the mystery before she disappears as mysteriously as the unfortunate Irene—


The tallest parts of the mansion—fanciful turrets and a circular tower—were visible only in glimpses Anna caught between lofty oaks and towering pines as her cab wound through the knolls and hills of eastern Virginia.

When the cab turned up the long driveway lined with dogwood trees in full bloom, Anna Coughlin reached for her handbag, gripping it with a tension that had knotted her muscles ever since getting on the train.

The vast estate stood on a hilltop, like a castle—and she craned her neck to better view the starkly impressive gray-stone mansion of Ashton Hall—where she hoped to be hired. With its arched, leaded windows and slate roof with numerous chimneys, the house rivaled pictures she’d seen of castles in Europe.

Instructing the driver to wait, she climbed out, patted her hat in case it was askew, then smoothed her gray suit with gloved hands in hopes of presenting a professional appearance. Anna had no confidence she was clever enough or bold enough to pull this off, but she had to try.

Her eye was drawn by a tall man—more than six feet—who came from the side of the house. Since the man was striding toward her so purposefully, Anna stopped and waited. As he drew near, Anna noted his deep-set eyes were as black as his hair. His skin was tanned, his thin, long-fingered hands brown and strong.

“Miss Coughlin?” He stretched out a hand and shook hers, but there was no warmth for her in his eyes. “I’m Tyler Richardson. Unfortunately, your services are not needed after all.” A touch of arrogance marked his manner, as though he was long accustomed to command those around him.

“Your father called only last week to have someone come out,” Anna blurted in dismay. “May I ask what caused him to change his mind?”

A fleeting glimpse of discomfiture crossed Mr. Richardson’s face. “I wasn’t consulted about his hiring another secretary to replace the one who left so suddenly. My father isn’t in good health, and the last thing we need is someone coming in and upsetting him by making a muddle of things.”

His words kindled a fire that glinted in Anna’s eyes. How dare he make such an assumption? It was difficult to hang on to her temper, but there was too much at stake to let his boorishness sidetrack her. “Since I’m here, I’m sure you won’t mind if I keep my appointment. After all, your father is the one who requested my services. I’m sure he’s expecting me.”

Her words hit home.It took a few bitter seconds, but he finally acquiesced. “Come in, then,” he muttered ungraciously before leading the way up the steps and opening the door.

Following his rigid back down the narrow hall, Anna’s brows furrowed as doubts crept in. How wise had she been to come to this remote place? Especially when the previous secretary had disappeared so mysteriously? Even her employer thought it odd that no one in this mansion seemed to know where Irene had gone or where she was now. It was as if Irene had vanished into thin air.

Guest Post:

Surefire Ways to Create Memorable Characters
by Marlene Bateman, Author of; Searching for Irene

Every author wants to capture their reader’s interest and one of the best ways to do this is by using effective, efficient characterization. Why are characters so important? Because a story is only as affecting and meaningful as the characters who tell it. Characters engage our emotions and make us want to keep reading. That’s why it’s essential to create strong, multidimensional characters. Your story will only succeed if the people in it fascinate, anger, please, tickle, or otherwise affect the reader. Below are some surefire ways to craft believable, interesting characters that your readers will connect with.

Work to give your readers someone they can identify with. Readers want to become involved with the characters they read about. To make your readers feel something for your character, you must make your character a specific person and strike a chord you know to be universal; such as fear, love, revenge, ambition, insecurity, etc.

Have your main character be amazing at something. Give them a certain trait, strength, or skill that will make readers admire them. This doesn’t have to be anything over-the-top, but your character should have a characteristic that helps define them. This can range from great humor, a tremendous memory, an ability to decipher complex clues, or a love for cats.

Have your main character have a weakness. This will develop an underlying tension that will drive his behavior. It will also make your readers feel compassion for your character.

Create a problem that preys on your character’s weakness. This must be a difficult or fearsome problem for your character to overcome, so that your story can recount his struggle to turn his weakness into victory at the end. One example is the TV series, Monk. His debilitating OCD gave him overwhelming obstacles to overcome.

Give your character a few obstacles along the way. This will highlight the character traits you have chosen to help or hinder him. Above all, never let the protagonist know he is going to succeed. That way he cannot win unless he works hard, perseveres, and/or gives up something that is of great value to himself.

Have your main character be compassionate. A character will be more likable if they have a personality that shows that they care more about someone or something other than themselves. Show them being kind to a child, an animal, or a stranger.

Give them an attitude. A character’s personality has a lot to do with how they react to certain situations. You don’t want dull and boring characters going along with everything that happens. There are plenty of ways to dress up your character’s personality. You can make them chivalrous, attention-seeking, introverted, depressed, or distrustful. A good question to ask yourself is how does this character treat others? And, how are they treated by others in the book?

Know their fears and wants. Our fears and desires are what drive us and our actions. Your character’s dreams, hopes, and fears is where the story is going to take place. Generally, during the development of a character, writers will have them confront certain fears, which will allow them to grow and reach their goals. Think Indiana Jones and the snake pit.

Add surprises. A great way to keep your audience on their toes and interested is to have your characters surprise you and the readers. This can be anything from your character having a change of heart to showing them in a different light. A great way to make you character interesting is to have your “good” characters do “bad” things, and “bad” characters do something “good.”

Make sure characters are credible. Don’t have a mousy person rush into a burning building to save someone. Remember that characters must act credibly, and not just before the author needs them to act a certain way. Credible characters act out of their own nature, not the author’s plot needs.

Stressed by a difficult year, McKenzie Forsberg quits her high-powered job to move back to her hometown. Desperate and determined to rebuild her life, Kenzie seeks to buy the home she grew up in. The only problem is that a handsome widower, Jared Rawlins, also wants the house. As a battle of wits ensue, sparks of attraction grow into something more. Then, Kenzie makes a stunning discovery about her past that changes everything. Will the power of love be enough to allow Jared and Kenzie to find their happily ever after?

Marlene Bateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other cozy mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner.

Marlene has also written a number of non-fiction, LDS books: Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Blog Tour/Review: Beyond by Catina Haverlock & Angela Larkin

Beyond, by Catina Haverlock & Angela Larkin
2017, 262p, Clean YA Paranormal Romance
My Rating=4.5 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way

“Dangerous. Wrong. She could be so close to finding out who I really am, and I don’t want to think about how badly that could damage her. If I have any conscience, I’ll turn and run. But I can’t let her go.”

Presley Hale has no idea the guy she just told off in the school parking lot died in a drowning accident four months ago. Why would she? It’s not like she knows she can see the dead. Stunned by Presley’s sixth sense, Landon Blackwood rethinks his planned departure and begins tracking her to find answers to their mysterious connection.

When their complicated relationship turns dangerous, they learn that tampering with the boundaries of death comes with consequences. Can Landon save Presley from the insidious spirits who have marked her for death, or was their love doomed from the beginning?

I'm not a huge fan of paranormal books, but I am always intrigued by this premise. Landon Blackwood died in a drowning accident four months ago and Presley Hale can see him. She just moved to town, so she doesn't know who he is. He knows there will be consequences to furthering a relationship with her, but he can't help himself.

The story is told through both Landon and Presley's points of view. I liked that so we could learn more about Landon and what he was going through, as well as get Presley's thoughts as certain information was revealed. They were in an impossible situation and I wasn't sure where they would end up. I also enjoyed the side characters. Presley has an autistic brother and I liked her interactions with him.

Overall, I loved this book! The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because it was moving along well but the ending was a bit too rushed for me. There was a group of people that were built up throughout the book and then kind of fizzled out. I loved that I couldn't figure out the ending, but when I got there, I wanted more. I've recently learned that there will be a sequel so that makes me happy! I would recommend this to teens and adults that enjoy clean paranormal romance!

Catina Haverlock graduated with a BA in broadcast and print journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Taylor Swift lyrics are her muse.  She has appeared on several radio and television programs to discuss autism and hosted a dating game show of her own. She lives in Southern California with her husband and four children.

Angela Larkin spent much of her childhood under a blanket with a flashlight, secretly reading past bedtime. She’s been a gold miner, a pool cleaner, a mannequin dresser, and a teacher. She's lived a true romance: meeting her husband in a case of mistaken identity and now lives in the North Carolina pines with him and her four children.