Friday, November 28, 2014

Book Blast: The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy by Suzanne de Montigny

The Shadow of the Unicorn - cover

About the Book

Title: The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy (The Shadow of the Unicorn, Book #1) | Author: Suzanne de Montigny | Publication Date: October 15, 2014 | Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing | Number of pages: 124 | Recommended age: 9+

Summary: A loud, hissing sound filled the air. The unicorns looked up, their eyes filled with horror.

Azaria, a unicorn colt, is intrigued when the young clairvoyant dinosaur, Darius, foresees a terrifying change in the world. When a giant fireball smashes into the earth, the unicorns struggle to survive the hurricanes and starvation that follow. Danger of a more sinister nature threatens when the creatures-that-walk-on-two-legs settle in the valley and their leader, Ishmael, discovers the healing power of the unicorns’ horns. Azaria, now a young stallion, must use his wits to save the herd from complete extinction.

Amazon (Print) Amazon (Kindle) Goodreads

*** For those of you living in British Columbia, you can grab a print copy of "The Shadow of the Unicorn" from the local Kidsbook Bookstore in Vancouver. ***

FREE Study Guide

There is now a FREE 36-page reproducible study guide to The Shadow of the Unicorn complete with integrated activities for kids and a complete answer key for parents, teachers, and homeschoolers. Click on the image below to download your free copy.

The Shadow of the Unicorn Study Guide by Suzanne de Montigny

Book Preview

Global gold

Winner of the 2013 Global E-book Award for Best Fantasy/Alternate History

The Buzz About the Book

"The Shadow of the Unicorn provides an innovative and interesting plotline exploring how the fictional unicorns, the extinct dinosaurs, and early humans may have interacted if they co-existed in a post-apocalyptic world. Suzanne de Montigny does an excellent job of exploring the themes of natural disasters and environmental change, human greed, compassion, and courage. At the end of the day, The Shadow of the Unicorn is an entertaining read that I think will be enjoyed by children who love the fantasy genre and are keen on reading about unicorns. Ages 9+" ~ Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

"Kudos to Ms. de Montigny for writing an original variation on the fantasy epic--unicorns intermingling with dinosaurs! The book's themes include the humane and environmental concerns that Watership Down and the films of Hayao Miyazaki have in common. If you have a middle grader or are just young at heart, pick up The Shadow Of The Unicorn." ~ 5 Star Review, Stuart W., Amazon

"The Shadow of the Unicorn is a must-read for all unicorn lovers, but even more so for the ones, like my self, who hadn't read anything about them yet. It is a thrilling and encouraging story about a young unicorn that has to save his herd after a meteor nearly destroyed their environment and killed the dinosaurs. Suzanne de Montigny created a compelling universe with believable characters and a great adventure story to challenge them with. While the story finishes in this book, I can't wait to read about the new adventures the unicorns will face.." ~ 5 Star Review, Antje H., Amazon

"This story pulled me in with a beautiful portrayal of a time and place where unicorns and dinosaurs live side by side. It moved me forward with unexpected twist and turns (a requirement in any good story). I found it hard to put the book down and was totally engaged in seeing the young characters (unicorns and dinosaurs) survive and grow because of the challenges they faced." ~ 5 Star Review, NW Harris, Amazon

"What a delightfully unique book. Unicorns and dinosaurs facing changing conditions. Darius is a young dinosaur capable of seeing the future. Azaria is a young unicorn who becomes a friend and learns from Darius. Yes, there are humans in this book. They are the villains of the story. Greedy beasts. I think both boys and girls will love this story. Very quick paced and easy to read. A delightful story, and I look forward to more from this author." ~ 5 Star Review, DM Lawrence, Amazon

About the Author: Suzanne de Montigny

Suzanne de Montigny

Suzanne de Montigny wrote her first unicorn story at the age of twelve. Several years later, she discovered it in an old box in the basement, thus reigniting her love affair with unicorns. The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy, is her first novel. Suzanne lives in Burnaby, B.C. with the three loves of her life – her husband and two boys.

For more information about Suzanne and The Shadow of the Unicorn, please visit

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* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner's choice)

Contest ends: December 27, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

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

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

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Blast: The Ultimate Treasure Quest I: The Jewel of Peru by Sharon Skretting

The Jewel of Peru

About the Book

Title: The Ultimate Treasure Quest I: The Jewel of Peru | Author: Sharon Skretting | Publication Date: September 20, 2014 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 317 | Recommended Ages: 8+

Summary: The Jewel of Peru is a magical adventure through time, taking young Captain Christopher and his loyal crew of orphaned stowaways on a perilous quest in search of Christopher's missing parents.

After his father's ship is found abandoned at sea, Christopher makes an unexpected discovery on board—The Ultimate Treasure Chest! Inside is a message that beckons him to set sail after the treasure and his parents. When a savage pirate and a corrupt businessman join forces to steal the treasure for themselves, the gang gets caught up in pirate chases, time travel, and an underground network of spies. Will Christopher find the Jewel and his parents, or will all be lost for ever?

* You can purchase an e-copy of "The Jewel of Peru" for only 99 cents from Amazon for the duration of the blast, so grab your copy now! *

Amazon Teachers Pay Teachers Goodreads

The Buzz

"Jewel of Peru took me on an adventure from page one. Sharon Skretting has captured Peru and deftly woven elements of the culture and geography into a fast-paced treasure hunt. It was well written, entertaining and introduced me to new ideas. I loved making little discoveries along the way about the people and places. I found some of the features of Peru so interesting, I looked them up the Internet and was delighted to find things just as she described. Fact and fantasy blend seamlessly in this delightful tale." ~ Sara Marschand, Quiethouse Copy Editing

"Engaging and meaningful, the author does an excellent job crafting this story. I don’t usually read middle school novels but made an exception for this one and will be passing it on to all the children in my life." ~ 5 Star Review, Love Reading, Amazon

"The Jewel of Peru is a wonderful piece of educational fiction that blends fact and fantasy to create a literary journey that is both informative and exciting for young readers... It's every bit as much of a page turner as it is a learning experience..." ~ 5 Star Review, Kelley, Amazon

"Sharon Skretting has captured Peru and deftly woven elements of the culture and geography into a fast-paced treasure hunt. It was well written, entertaining and introduced me to new ideas... Fact and fantasy blend seamlessly in this delightful tale." ~ 5 Star Review, Sara M., Amazon

About the Author: Sharon Skretting

Sharon Skretting

Sharon Skretting
is the author of The Ultimate Treasure Quest I: The Jewel of Peru, and the founder of Quest Teaching. She has been teaching elementary school for twenty years and lives with her husband and a cat, named Scat! Now that her three children have grown, she is spreading her wings into the realm of professional writing. Being able to use her love of writing to excite her students about learning is a dream come true for Sharon. Her goal is to write fast paced, excellent literature —filled with interesting characters, intrigue, danger and intricate plots—that will hook readers aged nine to ninety nine and make them want to read more!

* Teacher support materials to go along with the novel can be purchased at Teachers Pay Teachers *

Website Pinterest Twitter Facebook Goodreads

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner's choice)

Contest ends: December 25, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

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

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

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: I Want to Be Baptized by Annalisa Hall

Tour Schedule

I Want to Be Baptized, Written by Annalisa Hall, Illustrated by Corey Egbert
2014, 32p, LDS Children's
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received an e-copy from the publisher for an honest review

Help your little ones recognize the joy, responsibility, and importance of being baptized. I Want to Be Baptized – from the same author and illustrator who brought you The Holy Ghost Is like a Blanket – depicts what baptism really means for children’s lives by comparing it to objects they remember and relate to. Turn to these heartwarming illustrations and meaningful analogies next time a child asks you about baptism.

What a fantastic book! I wish this book had been around when my children were preparing for baptism. It starts with a young boy asking his sister, "Why do I need to be baptized?" She gives an explanation and he summarizes it, then asks, "What else?" They spend the day together, doing different activities and talking about baptism. I love the concept. At the end, there's a two page spread where the author emphasizes each of the nine points again with scriptures and hymns or songs from the Children's Songbook which can easily be turned into Family Home Evening lessons or daily devotionals.

I also love the illustrations! Corey Egbert illustrated another book I recently reviewed, Stars, Stocking and Shepherds by Shersta Chabot, which I also loved and, once again, I thought he did an incredible job. The pictures are fun and will easily keep a young child entertained while you read the story to them.

I haven't read The Holy Ghost is Like a Blanket, but I understand it's similar so would suggest picking it up as well. They are excellent resources for preparing a child for baptism and will make excellent gifts!

About the author:

Annalisa Hall was born in Rochester, MI, to Alvin and Judy Holgerson. She received a merit scholarship to the LDS Business College graduating with honors. She transferred to Brigham Young University in Provo and worked in the Harold B. Lee Library and graduated from BYU with a BA in English. She is the author of Garbage Can Graffiti, published September 2010 in the Friend. She currently lives in Poway, CA, with her husband and three children.

About the Illustrator:

Corey Egbert has illustrated numerous books and publications, including The Holy Ghost is Like A Blanket by Annalisa Hall and the Niuhi Shark Saga series by Lehua Parker. He has also exhibited his work in galleries and won several awards for his handmade prints and digital illustrations.

He studied art at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah and is currently a student at Southern Virginia University where he is studying art history, classic literature and philosophy.

He lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia with his wife Natalya, son Oliver, and their cat, Rex.

He is open to any questions or comments and available for all manner of illustration jobs. Contact him at:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book Blast: Winter Wolf by R.J. Blain

Winter Wolf (Witch & Wolf Book 2) by R.J. Blain

The Hunted Wizard

When Nicole dabbled in the occult, she lost it all: Her voice, her family, and her name. Now on the run from the Inquisition, she must prove to herself—and the world—that not all wizards are too dangerous to let live.

The savage murder of a bookstore employee throws Nicole into the middle of Inquisition business, like it or not. Driven by her inability to save the young man’s life, she decides to hunt the killer on her own. Using forbidden magic to investigate the past, she learns that the murderer is in fact a disease that could kill the entire werewolf race.

Forced to choose between saving lives and preserving her own, Nicole embraces the magic that sent her into exile. Without werewolves, the power of the Inquisition would dwindle, and she could live without being hunted.

Nicole’s only hope for success lies in the hands of the werewolves she hates and the Inquisition she fears, but finding someone to trust is only the beginning of her problems. There are those who want to ensure that the werewolves go extinct and that the Inquisition falls.

But, if she fails to find a cure, her family—including her twin sister—will perish…

Amazon  *  iTunes


Almost everyone in the store had a phone. Dormant devices, from reading lights to mobile chargers, littered the tables. One woman, browsing books nearby, had four battery-powered devices in her purse.
One was a phone, and like mine, it hungered. Its need was strong; its battery waned to the point of failure.

If I wanted, I could charge it for her.

No one would notice if I did. Maybe the woman would wonder how her phone hadn’t died before she got home. It only had a few minutes left. It’d take me all of ten seconds to fix it for her. If I did, I wouldn’t be so aware of it. But to do so, I’d have to touch her—or her phone. Some things I could manipulate without having a direct conduit, but cell phone batteries were tricky, greedy things.

I cringed a little, setting the thriller book down. I picked up the next nearest title. I flipped it over, not reading the text on the back. Did I dare? Out of the corner of my eye, I watched the woman browsing through the books. All it would take was a few seconds. I could charge it without her noticing.

That was one thing I was actually good at.

I put the novel I held down and wandered to the same table, careful not to look at her. Book by book, I investigated the titles, circling to where she stood.

“You’re Nicole Thomas, aren’t you? The actress. You’re her.” My quarry appraised me with a pleased expression.

People normally recognized the mainliners, people with beautiful faces and voices to match, people who didn’t avoid crowds.

In short, people other than me.

I met her gaze, abandoning my perusal of novels. “I am,” I replied, wincing a little at the sandpaper-rough quality of my voice. At least I hadn’t been reduced to a whisper—yet. My fatal flaw was my rough, grating voice. Chronic laryngitis did that to a person. It ruined careers, as it had mine, though I hadn’t quite given up on being an actress. I’d already lost the ability to sing.

I wasn’t going to let a stupid disease take everything away from me.

The woman smiled, not seeming to mind talking to someone who sounded more like a zombie than a human. “You’re taller than I expected. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

She thrust out her hand.

We shook.

I left her phone alone.

“They keep putting me next to giants,” I quipped. It was true. When I did manage to get on the silver screen, I worked alongside actors easily a foot-and-a-half taller than me. “It’s a pleasure to meet you too.” I matched her smile. She didn’t tell me her name, and I didn’t ask for it.

It took all of my will not to fiddle with her phone. All it would take was a murmured word and a thought, and it’d be done. It would have been easy to charge the battery when our hands had been clasped together, but I hadn’t dared.

If, sometime later, she noticed her phone had magically been charged—literally—she might remember me. She knew my name.

And in true cowardice, I couldn’t bring myself to help her. If she connected the strange behavior of her phone with me, she might tell someone. If she did, I’d be as good as dead—or worse. I had dabbled in the occult, and the occult had dabbled back, and there were those who didn’t like when that happened.

The last thing I needed was them finding me.

Author R.J. Blain

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

When she isn’t playing pretend, she likes to think she’s a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband. She is currently on a quest for a new warrior fish.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.

Favorite Books & Series
In no particular order:
Anne McCaffrey’s Pern
Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar & Gryphon Series
Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera & The Dresden Files
Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris
Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega, Dragon Bones, & The Mercy Thompson series
Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time

Blast Giveaway

100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/16/14

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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Monday, November 24, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: Walking with the Women of the New Testament by Heather Farrell

Tour Schedule

Walking with the Women of the New Testament, by Heather Farrell, art by Mandy Jane Williams
2014, 304p, Non-Fiction
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

With questions about women’s roles in the Priesthood, studying the New Testament proves a useful tool. The New Testament contains accounts of over 50 women and their interactions with Christ and the early Church. With beautiful artwork, charts, historical information, and study tools, this book delves into the lives of these faithful women and shows God’s great love for them and their great role in His plan.

When this book came in the mail, I had to dive in right away. It's gorgeous! I love the layout and the artwork is stunning. Visually, I was impressed! Then, I started reading it and loved it even more! In the introduction, Heather Farrell shares why she wrote this book and then she shares techniques to help get more out of the scriptures and I got some fabulous new ideas. 

Then she starts in on their stories. There are some women I'm very familiar with and others whose names I have glossed over many times without giving them a second thought. Some of them are listed by name and others by what they're known for, e.g., "Woman with an Issue of Blood," "Woman with a Spirit of Infirmity," etc. I was especially touched by Mary Magdalene's story and didn't realize how much I didn't know about her. I love the experiences that the author shares from her own life to show the similarities we have with these women. In the Appendix, she includes the Young Women Values and lists women who she considers to be both good and bad examples of each value. I can't even list all the treasures you will find throughout this book.

I wasn't familiar with the author's website so I visited it and there is lots of great information there. I was able to download the first volume of her companion study guide for this book. She gives helps and prompts so you can gain your own individual insights into their stories and get what you personally need out of it.

In the introduction, she shares her hope that as you read this book, you will begin to understand that these were real women with real lives, real feelings and real problems, whose lives weren't really all that different from ours today. I really did feel that as I read and am excited to keep reading and studying about these amazing women that have so much to teach me!

About the author:

Heather Farrell’s love for the scriptures began young, when at the age of 11 she hid a flashlight under her pillow so she could read the Old Testament late at night. Her love for the women in scriptures began when, her oldest son was born around Christmas time and she felt a kinship with Mary, the mother of Jesus. As she began to research Mary she realized that there were hundreds of women in the scriptures, but very little had been written about them. Excited by all the women she discovered, she began sharing what she learned on her popular blog, Women in the Scriptures ( Primarily self-taught in the scriptures, Heather is a testament to the truth that becoming a scholar of the gospel is not beyond anyone’s reach, it just takes a inquisitive mind and the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Heather grew up in Idaho but currently lives in Boone, Iowa with her husband, four children, two sheep, a goat and a flock of chickens.

Blog Tour/Spotlight: The Clever Mill Horse by Jodi Lew-Smith

Publication Date: August 15, 2014
Caspian Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 424
Genre: Historical Fiction

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A young woman’s gift could weave together the fabric of a nation…

1810, upstate New York. 21-year-old Ella Kenyon is happiest gliding through the thick woods around her small frontier town, knife in hand, her sharp eyes tracking game. A gift for engineering is in her blood, but she would gladly trade it for more time in the forest. If only her grandfather’s dying wish hadn’t trapped her into a fight she never wanted.

Six years ago, Ella’s grandfather made her vow to finish his life’s work: a flax-milling machine that has the potential to rescue her mother, brother, and sister from the brutality of life with her drunkard father. The copious linen it yields could save her struggling town, subjugate the growing grip of southern cotton. Or it could be Ella’s downfall. If she’s not quick enough, not clever enough to succeed, more than her own life rests in the balance…

Praise for The Clever Mill Horse

“Jodi Lew-Smith’s The Clever Mill Horse is that rarest of all contemporary novels: an authentically old-fashioned adventure story, in all the best senses. Full of drama, humor, plot surprises, and, best of all, memorable characters, The Clever Mill Horse had me hooked from page one. Best of all, there’s a sequel coming. I can’t wait.” – Howard Frank Mosher, author of Where the Rivers Flow North

“In this delightful debut novel set in the early 19th century, a young woman fights to patent her flax-milling machine. . .An assured, cleverly plotted piece of historical fiction with an irrepressible female protagonist.” – Kirkus Reviews

“. . .intricately plotted and exceedingly well paced. . . filled with danger, science, and suspense, the story rings true with historical and natural detail. . . a complete and finely polished first novel.” – Foreword Reviews

Buy the Book

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About the Author

Jodi Lew-Smith lives on a farm in northern Vermont with her patient husband, three wonderfully impatient children, a bevy of pets and farm animals, and 250 exceedingly patient apple trees which, if they could talk, would suggest that she stop writing and start pruning. Luckily they’re pretty quiet.

With a doctorate in plant genetics, she also lives a double life as a vegetable breeder at High Mowing Seeds. She is grateful for the chance to do so many things in one lifetime, and only wishes she could do them all better. Maybe in the next life she’ll be able to make up her mind.

For more about Jodi and about the lives and world of the characters in the novel, visit her website or blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.

The Clever Mill Horse Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, November 12
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, November 13
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Friday, November 14
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews and More
Monday, November 17
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Tuesday, November 18
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Friday, November 21
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Monday, November 24
Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Tuesday, November 25
Spotlight at Book Nerd
Friday, November 28
Review at Readers’ Oasis
Monday, December 1
Review at Book Babe
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, December 3
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Grand Finale Blitz: Christmas, Actually

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

It's the MISTLETOE KISSES TOUR Grand Finale for
Christmas, Actually
By Anna Adams, Anna J. Stewart, and Melinda Curtis
Three Harlequin Heartwarming novellas, where a sweet kiss takes place under the mistletoe.

Did you miss any of the excerpts, guest post, or reviews on the tour?
Feel free to go back and check out all the stops now!

Launch - Intro to the Collection

Christmas, Actually – three holiday stories about three siblings living in Christmas Town, Maine, where tradition has it that a kiss on Christmas Eve in the town square gazebo will lead to wedding bells in the new year!

Christy's Cozy Corners - An Interview with Anna Adams

How was it decided that the story would take place in Christmas Town, Maine?
We were looking for a setting that spoke of the holidays, and I’d lived in Maine in a town that decorated the green for Christmas. I described it, and someone suggested Christmas Town as a name for our fictional village.

Coffee Books & Art - Excerpt
Snowflakes hit the windshield and splayed into star shapes while Bing Crosby crooned his dreams of a white Christmas. Sophie Palmer tried to sing along, but her mind was already racing up the icy interstate to Christmas Town, Maine, where the father of her unborn child now lived. 

The Book Lovers' Lounge - Christmas Town by Anna Adams
And I imagined my own broken hero, Jack Banning, watching from the sidewalk, there in the town, but watching from the boundaries because he doesn’t belong any more.

Getting Your Read On - Review

"Yeah, I really loved my time in Christmas Town with the Banning family.  Each story was unique and romantic.  I loved all the characters.  They were real and identifiable.  It is the perfect book to curl up with as the days get colder and we get closer to Christmas."

Colorimetry - The Power of a First Kiss by Anna Adams

Hes at her house, killing time because he cant go home and face his brothers happiness when another friend calls to offer him an investment opportunity. Mary is leaning against George, also listening on the phone, when finally, he admits to his feelings. He takes her in his arms for a kiss he clearly doesnt want even as he desires nothing in the whole wide world more than the hometown love of his life. 

Southern Chelle - Review

"I don’t think I’ve read anything by any of these authors before, but these novellas have me falling hard for their work! I used to receive the Harlequin Heartwarming books monthly, but I didn’t have room for anymore paperback books in my house and had to give it up. I’m so glad they’ve continued these offerings!"

Kelly P's Blog - An Interview with Anna J. Stewart

5. What do you hope readers will take with them after reading your story?
There's nothing better than a happily ever after--that's why I write (and read) romance, but that's kind of the easy answer. I think at its core, the story is about learning how to be open with others, to tell them how you're really feeling about situations that are emotionally damaging them.  Dean, Callie and Eliza all have to do this at some point during the story and once they do, the happily ever after is possible.

My Love for Reading Keeps Growing - Excerpt

     “Is this a bad time?” The combination of sympathy and amusement shining in green eyes, along with the tamed Irish lilt, called to mind fields of clover dotting rolling hills. She’d spent many a night and more than a few days dreaming of traveling to the Emerald Isle. Now it seemed as if Ireland had come to her.
     Shoulder-length, golden-streaked hair brushed the worn leather of the bomber jacket he wore over snug jeans, the hint of a plain white T-shirt peeking from under the collar.

Dean Inspired PhotoThe Wonderings Of One Person - Dream Cast for The Christmas Wish

There are some actors who just “hit” from the second I lay eyes on them. When looking for images of my Dean, I did not have to look much further than Chris Hemsworth.

Callie Inspired Photo

Casting my heroines has always been problematic for me. Typically, I use another medium for inspiration (I’m a doll collector), but when I saw this picture of Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries), I knew that was Callie.

"The Christmas Date: The instant I started reading this story, I knew I was going to love it. There's just something about those You've Got Mail-esque stories that I love. Nick and Gina are both so likeable, and their chemistry lept off the page. This was easily my favorite of the three stories!"

Bookworm Lisa - Review

     "Each of the author's did a great job in telling their story. I liked the descriptions and the characters.
     This book is a fun way to get into the holiday season and find a little clean Christmas romance."

fundinmental - My Top Ten Christmas Traditions by Anna J. Stewart
I LOVE Christmas time. Truly, from about Halloween on, I’m all about the tinsel, the trees and the music (why do they have to stop the Xmas carols on the 26th?!). For years now it’s just been my mom and me during the holiday season, but we’ve got our traditions…and they start early…even before we carve the Thanksgiving turkey.

Beck Valley Books - An Interview with Malinda Curtis
What’s your favorite aspect of the story?

One of my favorite aspects is Gina's parents. They've tried for years to do what they thought was right and it strained their character and their relationship. This year, they rejoin the pageant and the town's festivities in a very public way. It's a small part of the story, but a set of vignettes that I love.

Mel's Shelves - Review

"I loved seeing the siblings in each other's stories and enjoyed getting to know them. These stories are quick, easy reads which are perfect to get you in the mood for Christmas. I love that they're all clean so I can recommend it to everyone! Christmas Town was a fun place to visit!"

Painted Words - Review
"But what I truly loved about this book was that it didn't feel at all repetitive which can be a big hindrance to books like this especially if written by multiple authors. It was an absolutely beautiful story, one that I look forward to reading again next year at this time and it was the perfect way to start off the season." 

jellominisI Am A Reader - Melinda Curtis’s Favorite Treat at Christmas Time (with recipe)

My mom is a fan of Jell-o salad.  At Christmas, she’d serve us a slice of Jello salad on a leaf of lettuce with a dollop of mayonnaise on top.  The first time Mr. Curtis had this dish, he happily took a big bite, expecting it to be whipped cream on top.  Kudos to him for keeping his disappointment to himself. 

Deal Sharing Aunt - Excerpt

In the wee hours of Christmas Eve morning, Gina stood at the edge of the town square and traced the deep, jagged scar that ran from her left temple to her jawline with the tip of a gloved finger, as if her touch could erase the past. The small ball of worry, the one that hadn’t let her sleep last night, expanded like bread dough in her chest, pressing against her lungs.
I should have told him.

Wishful Endings - Excerpt (4-star review here)
“Are you kidding? You’re beautiful. Why would he do that?
“You have to say that. You’re standing in my kitchen.” With me practically in your arms. Nevertheless, she hugged his words to her heart. No one had ever called her beautiful before.

JoJo's Corner - 10 Gifts Ideas for Your Teen/Young Adult & Review
I'm a little bit anal about the holidays.  I have a
basic list I work from that my kids will enjoy or find useful.  They're
all in college now, but that doesn't mean they want a package of socks for Christmas.
Here's a list of 10 suggested gift giving categories for your teen/young adult...

Review: "Christmas, Actually is the perfect collection of stories to cuddle up and enjoy on a cold wintry night!"

"Three stories in one book, a great way to start the Christmas season off! Anna Adams takes you on three separate journeys in the life of Jack, Callie, and Gina as each tells their own story. The plot is good in each one."

What a fun story! The reader is taken on a journey through Christmas Town, Maine and we get to see snippets of what makes this town special through the eyes of three different characters.

Christmas, Actually

Christmas, Actually
by Anna Adams, Anna J. Stewart, & Melinda Curtis
Clean Contemporary Romance
Paperback & Ebook, 202 pages
November 1st 2014 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Discover the magic of Christmas Town, Maine!

Three lonely strangers come to Christmas Town, Maine, and find love with three Banning siblings in the town that celebrates the holidays by decorating its square with lights and ribbons and a holiday pageant on Christmas Eve. Tradition has it that a kiss beneath the mistletoe that night means marriage for the couple in the new year.

The Christmas Gift by Anna Adams:
Jack Banning promised to support the mother of his unborn child… But she doesn't need money, she only needs him.

The Christmas Wish by Anna J. Stewart:
Callie Banning's student has declared war on Christmas, so it's up to her to help the little girl—and her widowed father—believe again.

The Christmas Date by Melinda Curtis:
Gina Vernay is about to meet her online mystery date…and she's in for the surprise of a lifetime!

About the Authors

Photo 34

Anna Adams wrote her first romance in wet sand. The Atlantic Ocean washed it away, but Anna kept going. Her stories are of love, like the proverbial stone in a lake, making ripples that spread and contract and involve. From Iceland to Hawaii, and points in between, Anna and her own hero share with children and family and friends who’ve become family. All this living and loving gives Anna plenty of fodder for stories of love set in real life. Come along and live them with her!

Anna J. Stewart can't remember a time she didn't have a book in her hand or a story in her head and credits her mother never saying no to a book for turning her into a writer. Anna lives in Northern California with an overly attentive cat named Snickers and is happiest when setting her heroes and heroines on their road to happily ever after amidst family, fun and laughter.

Melinda Curtis

Melinda Curtis grew up on an isolated sheep ranch, where mountain lions had been seen and yet she roamed unaccompanied. Being a rather optimistic, clueless of danger, sort she took to playing "what if" games that led her to become an author. She spends days trying to figure out new ways to say "He made her heart pound." That might sound boring, but the challenge keeps her mentally ahead of her 3 kids and college sweetheart husband.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

- Gift Card Prize Pack: $20 Amazon gift card and ebook of Christmas, Actually (open
- US Prize Pack: Paperback of Christmas, Actually and three Christmas ornaments
(US only)
- 3 ebooks of Christmas, Actually (open internationally)
Ends November 30th

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Prism Book Tours

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Blast: How a Star Falls by Amber Stokes

How a Star Falls by Amber Stokes

How does a star fall?

Quickly. Completely. Unexpectedly.

Derrick Knolane escapes to Trinidad Head most evenings, avoiding his apartment and planning for the day he’ll break free of Humboldt County. Working in a music store might be fine for a while, but it’s far from the goal he had in mind when he got his college degree. Not to mention the fact that his roommate is a jerk and his family won’t stop trying to run his life.

Then Brielle falls into his world.

She claims to be a star. Not from Hollywood, but from heaven. He thinks she’s crazy. Certainly delusional. Yet, he can’t just leave her alone on the cliffs. So he takes her home.

And his whole world falls apart.

A heartfelt and fanciful contemporary romance novella, How a Star Falls explores the uncertain season of new adulthood and shows that sometimes the worst inconveniences make for the best miracles of all.

Praise for How a Star Falls

“Perfect for when you want a whimsical, heartwarming read, How a Star Falls is more than an inspirational romance…it’s a wink and a smile.”
- Joanne Bischof, award winning author of This Quiet Sky

“Amber Stokes has perfectly expressed the challenges of twenty-something life in her sweet contemporary new adult novella, How a Star Falls. Brielle and Derrick’s journey reminds us all of the search to find ourselves in the midst of young adulthood. Their story is charming and wistful with emotions we can all relate to experiencing at some point in our lives. It is a tale about letting go in order to find yourself once again while never losing the importance of who you are…and who you can be.”
- Cerella Sechrist, author of Gentle Persuasion and The Paris Connection

“Though not typically a reader of contemporary fiction, I found How a Star Falls to be a wonderfully told story of both sweet romance and coming to terms with the fact that even though life doesn’t always turn out exactly as we dreamed it would, even our undesirable circumstances can lead to a bright future.”
- Jaye L. Knight, author of Ilyon Chronicles

Purchase Your Copy


He led the way to the lighthouse, but instead of stopping at a bench, he headed down the stairs to the beach. When he finally reached the shore, he scuffed through the sand until he found a promising spot that didn’t look like it would get wet anytime soon. At the moment, they had the little piece of beach to themselves.

“This is really nice,” Brielle said as she clutched the paper bag to her stomach and gazed out at the boats bobbing in the choppy water. “A little cold, but nice.”

He glanced up from where he was smoothing out the towel. “Too cold?”

She offered him a cheeky grin. “Everything’s too cold for a star.”

That drew out a laugh from him as he sat on the towel and patted the other side. “I thought outer space was supposed to be freezing. Space suits and all that, right?”

She plopped down next to him and set the bag between them, turning her head at the screech of a seagull above them. As he brought out the food, she responded, “You’re thinking like a human. It’s not cold for the stars. They’re always shining, always warm. That frozen darkness could never touch them.”

Her words stilled his hand as he clutched an apple. Hadn’t he once told his dad the same thing, that stars would be warm to the touch?

Author Amber Stokes

Amber Stokes works as a content writer (marketing services) for a Christian publisher. On the side, she self-publishes inspirational fiction depicting the seasons of life and love. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor’s degree in English and to run her own freelance editing and publicity business for over a year. Happily, this new chapter of her career takes place in the Pacific Northwest—a part of the world she’s always considered home.

Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/16/14

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 author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: The Crystal Monkey by Patrick Nohrden

Tour Schedule

The Crystal Monkey, by Patrick Nohrden
2014, 292p, Historical Fiction
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

Little Min Li believes she lives in the world’s greatest nation until the Red Guards terrorize her village. And when her father sells her crystal monkey to buy alcohol, Min Li loses much more than a beloved toy. As she grows up, Min Li must rediscover her hope and courage in order to achieve her greatest dreams. This true-life story will capture your heart!

Min Li is a young Chinese girl who believes that she lives in the greatest nation, China, and that Americans and capitalism are evil. She is a peasant and, since she feels wealthy, she considers that to be a good thing. At the beginning of the story, she feels that the Red Guards, a militant youth group, are the bright future of China. The Red Guards have become power hungry, though, and one night, her family is required to attend a meeting where she realizes who they really are. 

That night, she rescues a crystal monkey from Mr. Li's shop, a brave act that would have serious consequences if she was caught. The crystal monkey shows up in her dreams and helps her through some difficult times in her life. She has to hide it and is disappointed when it disappears and she learns the truth of what happened to it. Over the years, her eyes are opened more and more as she learns the truth about her father and the importance of a good education as the key to creating a better life for herself. 

I loved Min Li! My heart broke a little at some of the things that happened to her. She's resilient and determined to make a better life for herself. She's almost raped twice by the same boy. The first time, she tried to press charges, but he's the son of a wealthy and influential man and nobody will stop him. After his second attempt, I was hoping he would go away but he makes another appearance and what he wanted at that point made me feel sick so I can't imagine how Min Li felt. Her father is another disappointment to her. He lives away from the family most of the time and is incredibly selfish when he does come around. He doesn't have much use for his family unless he needs them to help him with something. I loved her mother, brother and sisters. They are poor but stick together and work hard to survive.

I like that the author included a glossary at the end to help with pronunciations and definitions. I enjoy reading stories about different cultures and this had an authentic feel to it. I wasn't surprised to read later that the author has lived in China. I learned a lot about the Chinese Cultural Revolution and some of it is pretty horrible and difficult to read.

This is a fantastic coming-of-age story that will make you feel like you're witnessing history. I was glad to read that the author is working on a sequel. I enjoyed the ending but feel like there is more to Min Li's story so I'm looking forward to reading it! 

Content: Violence relating to the Red Guards; two rape attempts, neither one too graphic.

About the author:

Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Patrick Nohrden left high school early in order to join the Army. After serving in various assignments throughout the U.S. and Europe, he returned to America and to school, earning a B.A. in English with Great Distinction from San Jose State University where he won two Phelan Literary Awards. Later, he obtained his law degree from the University of Akron and practiced law in Las Vegas, Nevada. Growing disillusioned with the law, after twelve years he gave up his law practice and moved to Northeast China where he taught conversational English at Bohai University. There, he fell in love with the Chinese people and has been an avid scholar of Chinese culture and history ever since, focusing his attention on modern educational systems and the era known as the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Returning to the United States, Patrick Nohrden obtained his teaching license and earned a Master of Arts degree in Teaching Secondary English from Sierra Nevada College and taught public school in Las Vegas for three years venturing overseas again. He taught British Literature and Speech in Kuwait for a year where he met his Chinese wife, Limin, his inspiration for the character Min Li in The Crystal Monkey. A year later they were married in China, and he spent the next two years teaching English Literature in a special Canadian Program in Zhengzhou and was named Teacher of the Year. Now living in Reno, Nevada, with Limin, Patrick Nohrden teaches English and publications for a local high school.

An expert in modern Chinese culture, Patrick Nohrden has published more than thirty articles on China, as well as numerous articles on the Middle East, Russia, and methods of teaching English.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom by June McCrary Jacobs

Tour Schedule

A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom, by June McCrary Jacobs
2013, 144p, Clean Christmas Romance
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

“What's happened?” Amber asked.
“One of your students was critically injured in an accident.”
Amber let out a squeak. “Who?”

Tragedy brings heartache to the community of Apple Blossom. A car takes the life of 6-year-old Mary Noel Simmons’s best friend—her dog—and nearly destroys Mary Noel’s spirit as well. Now she lies at the hospital, traumatized and silent, while the medical bills are piling up with no way for her parents to pay them.

That is, until Mary Noel’s teacher, Amber Kellen, breaks out of her quiet, lonely life to help.

With the help of her new friend Paul, Amber sets out to solve the family’s financial problems by involving the entire community. And as the two friends work together, they discover that creating a Christmas miracle may also has some unexpected benefits. Filled with romance and kindness, this story of hope and faith will warm your hearts.

Amber learns that one of her students, 6-year-old Mary Noel, was involved in an accident over Thanksgiving that wound up killing her dog. She's in the hospital and won't talk to anyone. Amber goes to the hospital to visit her and meets Paul, who works for Mary's father. They become fast friends and decide they want to help Mary's parents with the hospital bills. Their plans are big and will require lots of community help. Can they pull off a Christmas miracle?

This is a fun, fast read. Amber and Paul become very close very fast and in the context of what they were trying to accomplish, I was able to buy into it. Their relationship flowed easily and there wasn't any kind of drama. Because the book is short, we don't get a lot of character development around them but I thought they were sweet together.

I've never lived in a small town and this book has that definite small town feel which makes me wish I knew what it felt like. Lots of people in the community pull together to do what they can to help Mary start to heal and put a smile on her face again. I loved the feel of people working together for a good cause, and Christmas is always a time of year when people are even more generous. 

Everything does come together easily in this book and it was a nice change of pace for me. If you're looking for a quick, feel good Christmas story, this is a book you will want to pick up! 

Enter the giveaway below to win an e-copy of A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom!

About the Author:

June McCrary Jacobs spent twenty years as a primary grade educator after graduating from California State University, Hayward, with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a multiple-subject teaching credential. Along with writing fiction, June is a freelance designer of sewing, quilting and crafting projects. “A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom” is June's debut novel, though not her first published work. Since 2007 June's original sewing, quilting and stitchery projects and articles have been published in national and international magazines including Stitch, Sew News, Sewing World, Simply Handmade, Sew Hip, Sewing Savvy, Crafts 'n Things and Create & Decorate. Two of her sewing designs for children will appear in the upcoming “101 One-Yard Little Wonders” book published by Storey Publishing. A Californian since age six, June currently resides in the San Joaquin Valley. Learn more about June's writing endeavors and view some of her original sewing projects by visiting her website at

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