Friday, January 31, 2014

Blog Tour: The Gathering: End's Beginning by Randy Lindsay

The Gathering: End's Beginning, by Randy Lindsay
2014, 272p, LDS Fiction
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received copy from publisher for an honest review

Robert Williams didn't expect an early honorable release from his mission, but upon his return home, he sees the reason for the surprise decision. Unemployment, rampant violence, and frequent food shortages have put the United States on the brink of another civil war. As the threads of society unravel, the Williams family must adapt to drastic changes as the long-foretold gathering begins to take place.

This is an intense book! It starts out strong and doesn't let up. Robert Williams is sent home six months early from his mission with an honorable release. He's struggling with this because he really wanted to finish and feels that he's done something wrong. He learns that others have also been sent home but they aren't given details as to why. As he comes off the plane, we meet his family: his dad, John, mom, Becky, and siblings Lucas and Sara. Their part of the story takes place in Houston, Texas.

Then we shift to Washington, D.C. and meet Calvin McCord, the Secretary of State who is in the opposite political party as the President. He's a pariah and is able to get important information to the President with much difficulty and opposition. 

The book continues to shift back and forth between different members of the Williams family and Calvin McCord. Robert is trying to adjust to life after his mission and it's difficult, especially when work is hard to come by. Becky is trying to run her household as well as possible and we learn some of the consequences of food shortages. John gets a huge church assignment which takes him away from his family for a while. 

This book has a lot of tension. I felt on edge a little bit while reading it but was so fascinated that I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I'm used to books where the end comes with a bang and everyone has to quickly figure out what to do but this book explores a more gradual end of times scenario, which is quite realistic. 

Each character has their fair share of trials and I felt for each character as I was reading about them. Robert, as he's trying to find a new life plan post-mission and deals with more violence than he's used to, John, as he's in the middle of nowhere away from his family trying to bring a group of men together and dealing with a neighboring hostile town, and Calvin as he's in the middle of a group of people that hate him and want to stop him from doing his job. I felt the most for Becky, though, probably because she's the one I can relate to the most. She had to try to keep everything running as smoothly as possible and she ran into some scary challenges. I wanted to have a breakdown for her but also know the importance of hanging in there and doing your best during those times. 

It's not all doom and gloom, though. There are some good times, too, and hope and faith are spread throughout. The ending left a lot open and I'm looking forward to reading more! If you enjoy end of days type of books, this is worth reading! And also be sure to check out the Discussion Questions at the end. They're thought provoking and timely.

Meet the Author

RANDY LINDSAY is a native of Arizona. From an early age, his mind traveled in new and unusual directions. His preoccupation with “what if” eventually led him to write speculative fiction. According to his wife everything is a story to Randy. And it is. Although this is his first novel, Randy has been published in a variety of science-fiction and fantasy magazines. He lives in Mesa with his wife and five of his nine children. If you want to find out more you can check him out at

Brooke's Review: School is a Nightmare #1: First Week, Worst Week, by Raymond Bean

School is a Nightmare #1: First Week, Worst Week, by Raymond Bean
2011, 100p, Middle-Grade Fiction
Brooke's Rating=4.5 Stars
Source: Own a Copy

Do you have trouble selecting a book and then sticking with it? Do you start a book, read a few pages, and then put it back?

Do you have to read for a set amount of time each night and can't seem to find a book you like?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then The School Is A Nightmare Series might be right for you. The books are written with you in mind. They're fast paced, have quick chapters (we promise), and are shorter than the average book (you're welcome).

Book # 1, First Week, Worst Week is a quick and fun read. Give it a try. It will be over before you know it.

Justin is not a fan of school. The last few days of summer are quickly vanishing. His mom is in full blown back to school mode, and he can't do anything to stop it. Over the final forty eight hours of summer he's been dragged shoe shopping, clothes shopping, and the worst store shopping of all, school supply shopping.

The first three days of school only get worse when he loses his pet snake, all the money in his savings account, and nearly his own life.

Oh, and he has the meanest teacher in the whole school, Mrs. Cliff. She's been around so long she taught his dad when he was a kid. The thought of spending a whole school year in her class makes him want to hop the first bus to Canada. Unfortunately, he can't afford a bus ticket to Canada, so he'll just have to suck it up.

In School is a Nightmare Justin doesn't want to go back to school. He and his sisters Becky and Mindy and his mom go school shopping. He wants a pair of shoes but his mom is afraid he will break his neck in them, so she picks out a taller pair of shoes for him. And he picks out a wardrobe and his mom doesn’t like it so she picks out a new wardrobe. The next day he hears Becky scream he rushes down to find out that his pet snake (Mr. Squeeze) got out and his parents were making him get rid of it. And Mindy was singing about it in the shower and so he dumped onion soup mix all over her. They missed the bus and he would get his punishment later. He goes to school and sees that he is in Mrs. Cliff's class and all his friends were in Ms. Fiesta's class. He gets there and doesn’t have any supplies so his day is getting pretty bad and in Mrs. Cliff's class she has antique glasses that are filled with marbles. At home they give him his punishment and he has to get beef taco mix poured on him. They dump it on him and then he had to shower. The next day at school he tripped getting on the bus and getting off the bus. Then he made it inside the class room and did something bad and had to put a marble in one of the other jars and he tripped and broke the glass. 

I liked Justin because he made me laugh. I felt sorry for him because I think his parents were a little harsh with their punishment since he already lost his snake. I liked this book a lot and I would read it again. When I finished it, I wanted to read all the other books too.

About the Author

Raymond Bean is a dad, a teacher, and the Amazon best-selling author of the Sweet Farts and School Is A Nightmare series. His books have ranked #1 in Children's Humor, Humorous Series, and Fantasy and Adventure. They often rank among Amazon's top 100 books for children.
Baseball: A Ticket To The Bigs releases August 23 and Benji Franklin: Kid Zillionaire comes out January 2014.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Spotlight: Moonflower by E.D.C. Johnson

I reviewed this book last September. You can read my review here. This book will be on sale January 30-February 5. Purchase it early to get the best price. Keep reading for my interview with the author!

Title: Moonflower

Author: E. D. C. Johnson

Published: March 29th, 2013

Word Count: approx. 73,500

Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy

Recommended Age: 12+

Synopsis: After Josephine Wood’s father dies of cancer, her mother up-roots the two of them and moves to the city. Josie hates her city life, but her teenage issues are of little consequence when they have a car accident and she wakes up in a strange land (reminiscent of Victorian Europe) alone. Lost, with her school backpack as the only connection to her world, Josie struggles to find her way home. She is found by Lucius Conrí, the son of a Marquess, who possesses royal blood and the gift to shift into a wolf’s form at will. Can the kind-hearted Lucius help her find her way while winning her love, or will she fall for Donovan Conrí his older, more serious brother and heir to the Conrí wealth?

Author Interview

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have been writing since I was young, winning a Young Author Award in grade 4, but would not have considered myself a writer. Writing was just another creative outlet and also a necessity as you continue your education and theorizing becomes an integral part of your profession. I didn’t truly feel like a full-fledged writer until I published my first book though I did refer to myself as a writer during the long arduous process leading up to it.

What inspired you to write Moonflower?
It may seem cliché, but it came to me in a daydream. Right before I was about to fall asleep I imagined this scenario and it began to play like a movie in my mind. Then I incorporated my favorite necklace into the idea. It is made of moonstone. This then made me wonder if there was an actual moonflower, and, well, the rest is history.

Do you have a name for book 2 and a scheduled release date?
I do have a name for book two but I will be saving it for a special cover release. I hope to release it sometime in late summer or fall but as a new mother my obligations have been a challenge to gauging my timeline.

What are some of your favorite books and what book are you reading now?
I love Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. When I need to clean my mind of contemporary writing I’ll go back to reading it. I finished the City of Ash by Cassandra Clare and began reading The Infernal Devices trilogy. I like her use of simile and metaphor.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Well, my life has changed quite a bit over the last year with the birth of my first child, a daughter. She takes up much of my time which I don’t mind giving. I also work for my husband as his social media specialist, but I see that more as a job than fun. In the rare chance that I have free time I try to do things just for me such as: get a hair cut, pedicure, watch a movie or go out to eat with friends. Actually spending time with friends is probably what I like to do the most since I don’t have much adult conversation these days. Friends are the best stress reliever!

If you couldn't be an author, what would your ideal career be?
I have been an art teacher for the last decade. It really is an ideal occupation for me. I get to help young people learn new things while guiding them in self-expression. How cool is that? In the last couple of years I have found the world of educators to be extremely politically charged and the joy I once had for teaching is not quite the same. Without going into a downward spiral I will conclude that I am happy to take time to be with my daughter and lead her toward being a good person and hope that my passion for teaching will be refreshed by the time the “education crisis” is somewhat resolved. One can hope at least.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Just do it! Write it down and get it out there. Finishing something is half the battle. There are numerous resources to get help whether you join a writing group, find an editor, or contact a publisher, but you are the only one in control of your creative flow. If you don’t put your thoughts into writing it will never be shared with the world.

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
First of all I would like to genuinely thank all of you for having interest in my work. You are a large part of the reason I write and it is fulfilling to share my work with others. Also I would like to thank everyone for their support thus far. Each email, each word of encouragement, helps to fuel my drive to continue writing.

Second, I would like to ask all of you for your help, not only for myself but for all writers, in sharing my book with others. Independent writers rely on you, the fans, to post about our new exciting books with your family and friends. We wish so desperately for the world to know we are here and to give us a chance. So, once again, I wish to thank you in advance for your support in sharing about Moonflower on your social media sites. Your word of mouth and reviews make a HUGE difference.

About the Author:

EDC Johnson grew up in the Midwest, graduating from Michigan State University with her BFA in Art Education and her MA in Art Education from Western Michigan University. She currently lives with her husband and daughter in Palm Harbor, Florida. Her decade of experience as a public school art teacher has inspired her to write fiction novels that will entice young readers. You may see some of her illustrations in Renee Mallet's: Fairies, Mermaids, and Other Mystical Creatures.

Book Blast: The Complete Amish Wedding Series by Becca Fisher

The Complete Amish Wedding Series
This boxed set features all six books in the Amish Wedding series including:

Amish Wedding
Rebecca Lapp has her life back together after a tough break up. She’s found a new man and is finally happy once again. But when her ex comes back into town wanting her back, Rebecca will be forced to make a decision that will change her life forever.

An Amish Widower’s Heart
Two years after Henry King loses his wife in a freak accident, he’s still trying to cobble his life back together. But he knows that if he doesn’t stop lingering on the past, he’ll have no future. But can he love again? And just how far is the journey back to happiness?

The Amish Late Bloomer
Almost all of Elizabeth Stoltz’s friends are married with kids. Elizabeth meanwhile finds herself back on the dating scene again after a crushing heartbreak. And she quickly finds out that being single at twenty-one year old leaves few options for finding the perfect guy. But Elizabeth is determined to find the love of her life. Will Elizabeth be able to find the love she’s been looking her whole life for, is it already too little too late for her?

Beachy Amish Romance
After a rough break up, Benjamin Stoltz moves from Lancaster to the Florida Amish community of Pinecraft looking for a fresh start. But Benjamin soon realizes that finding romance in Florida has some unique problems of its own.

This Side Of Heaven
Mary Stoltz has a clear idea in her head of what she wants her dream man to be like. But her romantic reality has fallen far short of her dreams. Not to mention she is at the tail end of her rumspringa with seemingly not a single good suitor in sight. But when Mary finally meets a handsome and interesting man, will her love life finally live up to the dreams in her head?

Amish Homecoming
David Lapp has his rumspringa in the city cut short when he finds out that his mother has been in an accident. But when he returns to Lancaster to take care of her, secrets from the past come to light that will change the direction of his life forever.

Praise for The Complete Amish Wedding Series

“I had trouble putting the book down. I enjoy the stories about the trials in their lives and the way they rise above them with a little assistance from Gott. Nice clean romances are a great to get away and relax. Thank you for the Great read.”  ~Teresa Thornock (Goodreads)

Excerpt 1
“You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” Samuel remarked.
That was a bold statement from an Amish man. But Samuel’s feelings were undeniable. Samuel knew that modesty was the Amish way. He’d been brought up on the plain life. Simple service to God. And while Samuel’s feelings about himself were humble in nature, his feelings for Ruth were anything but.
Ruth meanwhile was no fan of attention. She was naturally shy. Samuel had managed to coax her out of her shell though. Still, Ruth was hardly comfortable in the spotlight. It was a mystery to everyone else why Ruth was such a wallflower. She had so much going for her, she just didn’t seem to realize it.
“Now Samuel, there’s no need to exaggerate,” Ruth replied, modestly.
“Who says I’m exaggerating?” Samuel continued. “I’ve waited my whole life to meet a woman like you. And now that I have, it would be a shame not to appreciate you.”
“Are you trying to make me blush?” Ruth wondered.
“No. I’m just trying to make you feel as good as you make me feel,” Samuel said.
“I’d be careful with your expectations. If you let them get too high, you’re bound to be let down,” Ruth replied.
“It’s too late. My expectations are already through the roof,” Samuel admitted. “But don’t worry, I can’t imagine getting let down by you.”
“It must be interesting looking at life through your eyes,” Ruth remarked.
“What can I say? Love brings a rose colored tint to everything,” Samuel replied. “Don’t you agree?”
“Just because I’m not as vocal, doesn’t mean I love you any less,” Ruth said.
“How much do you love me?” Samuel wondered.
“So much that it scares me sometimes,” Ruth admitted.
Samuel was confused. “What’s there to be scared about?”
“Are you kidding? You know the road it’s taken us to get here. So after all the bumps, to finally be with you, to finally turn my heart over, to let my feelings be exposed is both exciting and terrifying,” Ruth explained.
It was true. Ruth and Samuel had found the most roundabout way of getting together. They had been friends for the longest time. Part of a tight knit group of friends that had grown up together in Lancaster. So Ruth and Samuel didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize their friendship. They’d seen two of their close friends date in the past. But when their relationship went south, the friendship was ruined as well. Ruth and Samuel didn’t want the same thing to happen to them.
So Ruth and Samuel dated other people. They did not have much luck finding love though. There were a lot of first dates, but very few second dates. After a while, Ruth and Samuel started to lose hope that they’d ever meet their match. That’s when after a lot of hemming and hawing about risking their friendship, Ruth and Samuel finally gave in to the feelings they had for each other.
Ruth and Samuel’s first date was the best either one had ever experienced. They were a great match. With so much in common. And they made a wonderful couple. It was hard to believe they’d been so afraid to get together. In the end, their friendship only added to the relationship they were building. And ever since then, Ruth and Samuel had been nearly inseparable. Now almost a year in, Ruth and Samuel couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. They made each other happier than they ever thought possible. But that didn’t mean Ruth was without her worries.
Samuel was always there with optimism abound though. “That’s how I know we’re meant for us each other. Because we know what else is out there. And none of it compares to being with you.”
Ruth smiled. “You’re the sweetest man I’ve ever met.”

Excerpt 2
“I don’t ever want this moment to end,” Hannah King said.
“Neither do I,” Henry King replied.
It was a brisk fall day. The kind that made you want to snuggle close to someone you loved. For Hannah and Henry, that was easy. They lived for each other. They were a match made in heaven. And when they were together, it felt like paradise.
Hannah and Henry had been married almost two years. And yet the honeymoon phase was far from over. They still had that glow about each other. An undeniable chemistry. The couple had heard that marriage was work. That everything wouldn’t go as smoothly as they expected. They didn’t find that to be true though.
For Hannah and Henry, the married life was amazingly simple–even for an Amish couple. After work, they always tried to watch the sunset together. It was a tradition, carrying over from their first date. And Lord willing, they caught a glimpse of the sun dancing across the sky as much as they could.
“Do you think it’s always going to be like this?” Hannah asked.
“Gott is the only one that knows for sure. But I sure hope so,” Henry remarked.
“You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future,” Hannah said.
“Only good things I hope,” Henry replied.
“Are you kidding? I have you. What could go wrong?” Hannah asked.
“That’s my line,” Henry joked.
“I figured you wouldn’t mind me borrowing it,” Hannah replied.
“You can borrow it anytime you want if you’re going to use it on me,” Henry said.
“Why don’t we go back to talking about our future?” Hannah joked.
“It’s funny. My parents always brought me up to stay in the present. To just appreciate what was in front of me,” Henry explained.
“Well, I certainly like what’s in front of me,” Hannah interrupted.
“Thanks to you though, I’ve found myself starting to look to the future,” Henry admitted.
“Look at you, living dangerously,” Hannah joked.
“I wish I could be more like you. Looking at the world with nothing but hope in my eyes. But I was raised to keep my feet on the ground. To not let my head drift into the clouds. So optimism is all new to me,” Henry said.
“Don’t worry. I’m with you every step of the way,” Hannah replied.
“I can’t think of a better guide,” Henry remarked.
“But now that I’m changing your mind about the world, how does the future look now?” Hannah asked.
“As bright as can be,” Henry said.


There were certain memories that Henry could never forget. That became burned into his brain. For Henry, that conversation with his wife was one of them. And although the conversation happened over a year ago, it was still as fresh in Henry’s mind as ever. It was the last good memory he had of his wife. The next day she died of a freak brain aneurysm.
It was all such a shock. Completely out of the blue. There were no warning signs. No symptoms. In the middle of a conversation a blood vessel in her brain just blew and she collapsed to the ground. There was no way to prepare for the a tragedy like that, especially when it was such a freak occurence. Henry turned to Gott for an explanation, but received none. And he’d been trying to cobble his life back together ever since.
It was all such a complete tragedy. The best thing in Henry’s life was taken from him in an instant, without warning and without reason. Not to mention that Hannah was only twenty-three years old. She had so much to look forward to. So much in her future. There should have been children on the way. Glorious days spent in the park. Vacations at the beach. And holidays with relatives. It would be a simple life. But it would also be a joyful one. It just wasn’t meant to be though.
Even a year after her death, Henry woke up in disbelief that Hannah was gone. And despite having the whole bed available to him, Henry only slept on his side. He never dared to inch his body to Hannah’s side. It was just a force of habit. He knew that it defied logic. That Hannah wouldn’t be returning to claim her side of the bed. Still, it was the little routines that gave Henry comfort.

Author Becca Fisher

I’m Becca Fisher and I write sweet Amish romances featuring simple people with complex love lives. I’m devout in my faith, relish time with my family, and seek to bring joy to as many lives as possible. I would love to have you as a reader. God bless.

BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/28/14

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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: Love Spell by Stan Crowe

Tour Schedule

Love Spell

Clint Christopherson’s love life is a running joke. When a crazed gypsy curses him with the best wish he could ever ask for, the punchline stops being funny. Now, even his barest touch drives girls mad for him. Desperate to reverse the curse, he turns to his last hope: an attractive private investigator who may be able to locate his missing gypsy. If only Clint knew who it was he just hired…


I really enjoyed Stan Crowe's first book, The Cinderella Project (you can read my review here), so I was excited to see he had another book out.

This book is quite different but is still lots of fun! Clint made a wish for women to fall for him at the merest touch and it's turned into a curse! Women are attacking him and doing crazy things to be with him and he's now afraid to touch anyone. He starts off running away from an ex-girlfriend and his sister's friend Molly is in the neighborhood and helps him escape. Molly has always liked Clint and feels that now is her chance to catch him.

Lindsay Sullivan (Sully) has just started up her own private investigation firm and the jobs aren't coming in so she's stressed about how to pay her bills and keep her self-respect. Clint walks in one day looking to hire her. She has a history with Clint (which includes a major crush on him) but he doesn't recognize her. She agrees to help him find the gypsy woman "Aunt Fey" to reverse the curse, but quickly second guesses herself as the craziness begins.

And, wow, this book is fully of crazy! There are a lot of over the top scenarios that had me shaking my head and/or laughing and wondering if life was going to calm down for them. It does calm down for a little while and then the ending brings more craziness before his situation is resolved.

Clint is a character that I sometimes felt was incredibly clueless and at other times, an outright jerk. I wasn't even sure that I wanted him to get the girl because I thought she would be better off without him. He didn't have a lot going for him, either. I wanted Lindsay to get out while she could. But I was young once, too, and I realize that sometimes the heart wants someone that doesn't make sense to others. Clint did grow on me (esp. when he explained his background to Lindsay) and I think he was trying. He's someone that had the illusion that he was smooth with women, when in fact, he wasn't at all.

I liked Lindsay. She's strong and knows what she wants but Clint is a weakness for her so we see her vulnerable side as well. She also shows her self-control as she is inflicted but isn't about to give in. I enjoyed the time they spent together, even with all the drama.

This is a great book to read when you need an escape and I'm looking forward to reading more of Mr. Crowe's books!

My Rating=4 Stars


It was all Lindsay could do to not kick the front door of the police station off its hinges. Okay, so she wasn’t that angry, but it felt good to think it. As she exited the Seattle P.D. building, she kept her pace steady, her head erect. Treat her like some ignorant civilian would they? Fine. But to blow her off despite her credentials and connection to Uncle Tom? That was almost infuriating.
I’m sure that one station doesn’t represent the whole department, she thought coolly. Certainly most of them must know how to treat a lady.
But no matter. She’d tracked Fey this far, and jurisdictional issues aside, she’d follow the old woman to her grave if necessary. Seattle P.D.s lack of cooperation was a minor setback.
She found Clint planted on a grassy patch in front of the station, lost in doodling as he had been for most of the trip. Lindsay stopped to admire him, privately wondering how much she could stare without unleashing the stalking animal that had exploded to life inside of her when she’d first touched his shoulder. She hated the fact that his very presence compelled her to want to do the kind of things she’d only learned from tenth grade health class. Unfortunately, ignoring him had only worked while he was asleep. However, she found that a better antidote was constantly forcing herself to hate him, and so she did, speaking as little as she dared.
Whatever it was, Clint’s bizarre condition had done something to her. The way her heart raced whenever he glanced at her, the way she stopped whenever a breeze played with his hair—all of it was entirely unwelcome. Yet even as hatred seethed in her veins she couldn’t help remembering how charming he was once he’d started acting like a gentleman during the drive into Seattle. It was as if she’d found the grown up version of the boy he’d been in high school. Maybe there was something more to the new Clint after all. Something he’d hidden from her—from everyone—all this time. Could it be that under that abrasive interior a scared little boy was hiding, waiting for someone safe to come along and help him? And would she want to help him?
Perhaps. If he smiled his smile more often.
Lindsay shook her head clear, and gracefully stepped up to get a view of whatever he was drawing. A remarkably well-drawn portrait of a woman with darker hair done up in a bun, a lovely (if aquiline) face, and glasses perched somewhat seductively on the edge of her nose was posing against a wall. The mouth hadn’t been added yet, but Clint seemed to examine the sketch with adoration. Lindsay’s internal lioness growled at the image. Lindsay herself simply looked away and pretended not to notice.
“Sully, hey,” Clint piped up. “How’d it go?”
She turned back to him, and noticed him pause as she caught his eyes.
“Oh,” he said. “That good. Well, I guess we get to nose around Seattle some, hmm?”
She glared at him for good measure.
“Hey,” he said mock-sternly, “we’re playing nice now, remember? Your cute little self, er, person and mine? And let’s not forget how psyched you were to come here in the first place. I recall you mentioned something about a joint that sells excellent chowder?”
Her frown deepened. “For someone who is potentially mere miles and minutes away from having the supposedly greatest problem of his life fixed, you don’t seem all that eager to get moving. Is there something you’re not telling me?”
Clint hopped up and tucked his sketchpad back into the leather carrying case he never seemed to part from. “That was some excellent alliteration there, Sully. I’m impressed. Have you thought about taking up poetry?”
She grimaced further.
“Yes, of course I’m eager to get this wrapped up.”
He stepped up to her. The faint scent of his aftershave sent an involuntary tremor through her, and she slinked a little bit closer, wondering if her own perfume might convince him to let her even closer.
“I was testing the water temperature of my favorite private investigator is all,” he said. “You looked like you could use some cheering up, and since I just so happen to be available…” He shrugged, and then gestured to her car. “Anyway, after you. I’m sure that detective sense of yours will get this done in no time.”
She smiled despite herself, and when she reached the door of his—her—car, he quickly opened it and gestured inside with one of the grand flourishes he seemed to enjoy. “After you, milady.”
Lindsay smiled again, and she slid into the driver’s seat and started the engine.
There was no stopping her this time.

Author Stan Crowe

Stan had a pretty normal, middle-class American youth. He was lucky enough to change that by convincing an exceptional woman to marry him in 2000, setting him on a much more fulfilling life course.

Four years later, Brigham Young University awarded him with a Bachelors of Science in civil and environmental engineering. He then he spent several years designing homes, prescribing work for bridges, and even exploring the mortgage industry.

In the midst of all this, he produced two science fiction anthologies in 2006 and 2007. In 2012, Breezy Reads Publishing picked up his romantic comedy The Cinderella Project. And thus he transformed himself from Captain Kirk into Don Juan.

Stan lives with his wife, children (final count to be determined) and two cats in Utah.

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/9/14

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 publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Spotlight: The Afterlife of Lizzie Monroe by Kelly Martin

Title: The Afterlife of Lizzie Monroe
Author: Kelly Martin


If Shane Davis had it to do over again, he wouldn't have gone out that night. He wouldn't have burned down the church. And he sure wouldn't have taken the annoying dead girl home with him.

Now that Shane has her, he has no idea what to do with her. He can't release her into the "wild" because people will recognize her (being a hundred and fifty year old town 'legend' will do that). He can't send her away because she can't take care of herself yet. And she can't stay because if people find her, they'll know he burned the church. Being eighteen now, Shane definitely doesn't want that fact coming out.

Unbeknownst to Shane, someone has figured out the girl's secret and will do anything to get it for himself... even kill the girl who isn't so immortal after all.


Shane jumped to his knees, but Lizzie grabbed his arm to keep him from attacking Drake. She wasn’t worth it.

Shane looked down at her, his face hard. “He needs to learn to keep his mouth shut.”

Lizzie opened her mouth to speak, but Drake beat her to it. “And I bet you are the one to teach me, right, Davis?”

“Shut up,” Cheyenne said, stepping in front of Drake. “You two just cool it. You’re acting like children.”

“He started it.” Drake sat back down on the rolling chair in a huff. He ran his hands thought his hair and sighed.

Lizzie tugged on Shane’s arm to pull him down to her. He complied, but didn’t seem pleased about it. He wrapped his fingers around hers, holding her hand. If Lizzie’s heart could beat, it would have beat out of her chest. Even though he was holding her hand, he kept his eyes on Drake and Cheyenne. Lizzie wasn’t even sure he knew he was holding her hand, but Lizzie knew and she didn’t try to let go.

Author Information:

Kelly Martin a southern girl who writes... a lot. She is the author of 5 Young Adult novels. Her favorite reviews are from the people who 'know' they aren't going to like her books... but end up loving them :) She loves God, is addicted to chocolate, and would rather write than sleep. Kelly loves a good mystery and believes in Sherlock Holmes.

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SYNC Summer 2014 Preview

I first learned about SYNC last summer and I downloaded some of their audiobooks which I have slowly been listening to.

You might be asking, what is SYNC? According to their website, "SYNC offers free Young Adult and Classic audiobook downloads in the summer months to introduce the listening experience."

They are currently offering a preview of the books they will offer this summer but the full list and schedule won't be available until February.

Click here to go to their website to get more information, sign up for text alerts, their blog and/or newsletter. Here's the list they're sharing so far:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes II by Arthur Conan Doyle (Naxos AudioBooks)
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (Tantor Audio)
The Case of The Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer (Recorded Books)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Bolinda Audio)
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Harper Audio)
Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy (Scholastic Audio)
Eye to Eye by Catherine Jinks (Bolinda Audio)
Firstborn by Lorie Ann Grover (Oasis Audio)
Headstrong by Patrick Link (L.A. Theatre Works)
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill (christianaudio)
I’d Tell You that I Love You, but then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter (Brilliance Audio)
Living a Life that Matters by Ben Lesser (Remembrance Publications)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (L.A. Theatre Works)
Oedipus The King by Sophocles (Naxos AudioBooks)
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson (Brilliance Audio)
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (Recorded Books)
The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick (HighBridge Audio)
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (Tantor Audio)
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (Listening Library)
Torn from Troy by Patrick Bowman (Post Hypnotic Press)
WARP: The Reluctant Assassin  by Eoin Colfer (Listening Library)

There are so many I'm excited to listen to! I'll be posting more information as it becomes available.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: Netherwood by Jane Sanderson

Netherwood, by Jane Sanderson
464p, 2013, Historical Fiction
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received copy from publisher for an honest review

Two remarkably different worlds—one of wealth and privilege, the other of poverty and desperation—are about to collide in one shattering moment in this mesmerizing tale of high drama, forbidden love, and families fighting to hold on to what they have

Upstairs: Lord Netherwood, a coal baron, earns his considerable wealth from the three mines he owns. Supplying a bustling industrial empire with the highest-quality coal keeps his coffers filled—money he needs to run his splendid estate, Netherwood Hall, and to dress his wife and daughters in the latest fashions. And keeping his heir, the charming but feckless Tobias, out of trouble, doesn’t come cheap.

Downstairs: Eve Williams, the wife of one of Lord Netherwood’s most stalwart employees, cleverly manages her family’s well-being on the low wages her hardworking husband earns in the mines. But when her ordered life amid the terraced rows of miners’ houses is brought crashing down by the twin arrivals of tragedy and charity, Eve must look to her own self-sufficiency and talent to provide for her three young children.

And soon the divide between “upstairs” and “downstairs” is about to close . . . and neither world will ever be the same.

This book takes place in the early 1900's in a Yorkshire mining village called Netherwood. It's the story of the people of the town and their interactions with each other. Teddy Hoyland is the current earl and his wife is Clarissa. Teddy inherited the mines so is the town's main employer. He is well liked and respected. Clarissa would like to associate with people in her own class rather than mingling with the villagers. They have three children, Tobias (Toby), Henrietta (Henry) and Isabella.

The story centers around Eve Williams. She is married to Arthur, a coal miner, and they have three children, Seth, Eliza and Ellen. She works hard to keep their home clean and her family happy. One day, though, tragedy strikes and everything changes. She meets Anna during this time and is surprised at how much she begins to lean on her. She also finds strength she didn't know she had and turns out to be quite the businesswoman. 

I enjoyed this book! It was nice to read about a small village and the interactions and relationships that develop among the villagers. It's been compared to Downton Abbey but I don't really see that aspect. There's a reference to the Hoyland family feeling comfortable in the kitchen at Netherwood Hall but Eve didn't work there and the focus is on the town rather than on the relationships between the inhabitants of Netherwood Hall. It started slow for me as the stage was set and the characters introduced but once it started picking up, it was hard to put down. Their accents were kind of hard to read at times, too.

There are friendships formed but there are also enemies that are made. There are villagers I liked and ones that I didn't like. Eve's character shows a lot of growth and determination to keep going in the face of tragedy. She's likable and easily adapts to the situations she's thrown into. Her son, Seth, becomes difficult to deal with and she struggles with how to help him. 

We do also get to know the Hoyland family. Toby can be a jerk and Henrietta is sweet. Henrietta wants to be involved more in her father's business, but being a female, that is frowned on. I enjoyed spending time in Netherwood and look forward to learning more about all of them!

Stay tuned for my review on the sequel, Ravenscliffe (coming Tuesday, February 4).

Content: Two short sex scenes; mild swearing, including two uses of the "f" word.

About Jane Sanderson

A former BBC radio producer, married to author and journalist Brian Viner, Jane Sanderson has used some of her own family history as background for her first novel.

Find out more about Jane at her website and follow her on Twitter.

Netherwood Tour Stops
Tuesday, January 14th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, January 15th: BookNAround
Thursday, January 16th: Drey’s Library
Monday, January 20th: She’s Good Books on Her Mind
Tuesday, January 21st: Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, January 22nd: Bibliophilia, Please
Thursday, January 23rd: Mom in Love With Fiction
Monday, January 27th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, January 27th: Mel’s Shelves

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Giveaway: One Year Blogoversary!!

Wow! One year ago, I took the plunge and started blogging!

I started a blog because I was following a few at the time and they all looked like they were having so much fun. They always had new, fun books to read and I loved reading reviews. I had a tough time at the end of 2012 and wanted 2013 to be better and, since this looked like a fun hobby, I jumped right in. I was originally planning to read and review my already massive TBR pile. Then, I started learning about blog tours and signed up for a few. When I realized how much fun those were, I signed up for more and my TBR pile grew larger.

I have learned some things over this year:

1. Authors are people. Very nice people, actually. They also like feedback on their books. I don't always feel that I'm qualified to give it, because if I don't like a book, I can't always pinpoint why not. I used to be too shy to even think of contacting an author and I still don't do it a lot, but am gaining more confidence as I realize they don't feel bothered to hear from fans.

2. I used to be pretty stingy with 5 star ratings. I don't feel the need to be anymore. There are lots of wonderful books out there and if I give a lot of 5 stars, I've just happened to read lots of great books in a row! I used to base my 5 stars on whether or not a book was life changing and now I just want to be entertained and enjoy a good read. I think ratings are a personal thing and everyone has their own opinion about it, so I'll just say I'm happy with the criteria I use to rate books.

3. Don't post lots of links back to Amazon or Blogger thinks it's spam and will shut down your blog. That happened to me in the middle of the year and I freaked out (kind of like I did yesterday with the Google glitch). I used to put up lots of links to free books on Amazon because I wanted to share them with everyone. Since I stopped doing that, my blog has been safe so I'm sure that was the issue. If you want free ebooks and don't know how to access them, ask me and I'll tell you.

4. Blog Tour hosts are amazing! They put a lot of work into getting books, preparing posts, excerpts, interviews, invites, etc. and make it easy to sign up and join in the fun. And those have been a lot of fun for me. I've read books I wouldn't have found any other way and some of them have turned out to be favorites of mine.

5. Publishers are also amazing! I've had the opportunity to work with a few of them and have had great experiences. They're incredibly generous and I look forward to another great year with them!

6. I will never, ever run out of books to read!!

I know I have much more to learn over this next year and in lots of ways feel like I started my blog last month! I keep my blog simple because I don't have lots of spare time to get fancy and I don't see that changing any time soon. (However, for the life of me, I cannot get my share buttons to show up on the bottom of my posts, so if anyone knows how to fix that, I would appreciate your insight.)

Now on to the good stuff, which is what you really want to hear, right? I'm going to give to one follower a $15 Amazon Gift Card as a thank you for your support. Just enter below. If you comment, please also include a link to your blog so I can follow you. If I already do follow you, still leave a link so others can check out your blog, too!

Giveaway ends 2/2/14. You must be 18 years old to enter and able to use an Amazon Gift Card. The winning entry will be verified before being awarded. The winner will be chosen through Rafflecopter. They will receive notice via email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Grand Finale: An Incurable Insanity by Simi K. Rao

To post this Grand Finale and add your Social Media to the Rafflecopter, email Tressa at wishfulendings(at) with "Insanity Grand Finale" in the subject line!

The Review Tour for
An Incurable Insanity by Simi K Rao!


We offer flowers in traditional welcome.
You are our honored guest...

You saw The Exotic Tour... you got a taste for the beautiful culture and the romantic attraction of our spunky young characters... now we've reviewed it and have shared the Prologue and first four chapters with you. Did you miss any of them? Read them now!

1/13 Launch - Prologue

"Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps..."

Mel's Shelves - Chapter 1, Part I and Review

"I wasn't impressed with Shaan at the beginning. We find out why he married Ruhi, which didn't paint him in the best light, either, but he shows a lot of growth and maturity as time goes on and redeemed himself to me in the end. There were some crazy, dramatic parts and also some calm, tender moments. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Rao's books in the future!"

Tressa's Wishful Endings  - Chapter 1, Part II

"Ruhi closed her eyes; she could now repeat every movement, every word by rote. He was a creature of habit…and she was bored.

What was supposed to be the most exciting time in every young woman’s life had turned out to be the worst…Well, not really. He wasn’t mean. rather he was the perfect gentleman, too perfect!..."

My Love For Reading Keeps Growing  - Chapter 2, Part I and Review

"This really is a sweet love story.  I found it very hard to put down.  I love reading about different traditions and cultures, even if it's fiction.  I love how each MC talk to themselves in their head. We always make things out to be worse than they really are in our minds, and this book made me chuckle sometimes because there is a lot of "in head" struggle, fighting, and talking.  Silly things that make you want to find out if they are every going to get the nerve up to say to each other!"

Beck Valley Books  - Chapter 2, Part II

"It goes without saying that the youngest Ahuja was by no means lacking in looks. He was unusually handsome, of good build, and above average height who liked to maintain an athletic physique with regular exercise. But despite being inundated with innumerable suitable matches, each willing to part with unbelievable amounts in dowry, he had steadfastly declined. In fact, he had even refused to pay a visit to his hometown until now. His hand finally being forced by the news of his dadaji’s terminal illness, whose final wish was to see his youngest grandson married and settled in life..."

Deal Sharing Aunt  - Chapter 2, Part III and Review

"This was a great look into the life of married couples in India. It was a nice romance story that the author really showed the readers about India and all its customs."

Colorimetry  - Chapter 3, Part I and Review

"This book is a must-read for anyone interested in Indian culture!!  It's a thousand times better than any text book on the subject and should be a required companion. Lol. It's similar to being immersed in the culture. It's also a must-read for romance lovers and everyone looking for something unique. And exotic."

Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews  - Chapter 3, Part II

“Son? Is it okay if I call you beta?” his father-in-law asked him; he had kind eyes.

Shaan looked over to his wife (what an odd-sounding word), and she mouthed a silent, “Please.” Then she smiled, her eyelashes drifting down in shy discomposure, carrying on as though this was one of the happiest days of her life..."

Books with Bree  - Chapter 4, Part I

"He has agreed! Oh, Mama, he has agreed!

The happiness and relief was so immense that Ruhi wanted to jump up, grab her mother, and do a little dance around the room like she had done on the day she had won her first ever trophy at school..."

Vvb32 Reads  - Chapter 4, Part II and Review

"I found this to be a gentle romance read set in Los Angeles, California and India. Being that I grew up in the L.A. area, it was a treat to read about some of the sights mentioned.

Things start off rocky with plenty of back-and-forth tugging of the heart and playful banter sprinkle these pages."

Dividing by Zero  - Chapter 4, Part III and Review

"Worth reading – the storyline is both humorous and sentimental, and I cared about the characters and what would happen to them. Ruhi in particular experiences a lot of personal growth as she adapts both to a new culture and the unexpected limitations of her marriage. (I was rooting for them to work things out, but you’ll have to read the book for yourself to see if that’s what happens!)"

An Incurable InsanityAn Incurable Insanity

by Simi K Rao

Paperback, eBook, 376 pages

Published October 8, 2013 by Tate Publishing

Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven... Yes, exactly seven steps before he stopped, hesitated for a few moments, then removed his shoes one by one and arranged them neatly side by side on the shoe rack.

She smiled. He had been mindful of taking his shoes off every day now. "I am not used to it, but I will if you want me to. It's probably a good thing to do anyway."

As he settled down, he would pick up the TV remote and, without looking at her, would say in his smooth baritone, "So how did you spend your day, anything interesting?"

Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind.

Simi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several years. The inspiration for An Incurable Insanity came from what she has seen transpire among and within the immigrant community. Some of the experiences included are her own; some have been garnered from friends and casual conversations with acquaintances...

I am a physician–and to many I may appear serious and solitary. But once people get to know me better, they often think that I am frank, down to earth, with quite a quirky sense of humor. And that is what I bring to my writing—read and you shall see.

I was born in the dead center of India, but had the privilege of spending time both in the north and south. Therefore I have been able to sample and absorb to some extent the vastly diverse cultures and languages of both these regions (the very quality that imparts tremendous richness to our country’s heritage,) —a phenomenon perhaps not seen anywhere else in the world.

After immigrating to the United States in my early twenties and spending several years in this country, whenever I travel back to my homeland now, I find that I appreciate my roots a lot more. Still there is so much to see and learn, that a lifetime won’t suffice.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

1 Signed Print Copy + Swag Pack!  (US Only)
4 Signed Print Copies of An Incurable Insanity (US Only)
5 eCopies of An Incurable Insanity (International)

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