Saturday, April 30, 2016

Blog Tour/Spotlight: The Quarters by Mari K. Bell


Set in the 1940s, The Quarters features quite the cast of characters and is a funny, quick read with themes of murder, family, race, church, community, passing and a con artist.

Set partially in the small rural town of Preston, Georgia where Louise and Betty Jean (a.k.a. "Honey") were raised by their loving father and not so loving step-mother.  After the third-body that Louise has had to help Honey dispose of, Honey decides to get the heck out of dodge before someone starts missing those boys.

When she takes up residence in a quirky, yet humorous community called The Quarters, life is peaceful and as comfortable as can be in the humid south until a handsome stranger rolls into town, talking sweet and looking nice.  Simee brings news of money that could come to the local church, but like any overly-confidence con artist, Simee is up to no good and soon the church's leadership is knee deep in a scam that could result in the loss of valuable land.

Unfortunately... he's not been made privy of the "accidents" Honey has been prone to and how men tend to end up dead all around her...


I’m Marichele Bell.  I know, you’re thinking Marichele Bell?  Yep, that’s a real name and it belongs to me.  Prior to getting married, I was Marichele Scrutchins.  But you can call me Mari, everyone else does. I’m a sales manager by day and a writer by night.  If you consider funeral announcements, editing friends and family’s writing assignments, and cleaning up resumes writing, then I’m your girl.   Seriously, from the age of maybe 11, I can remember being told by someone “you can write”.  The complements came from a variety of reputable sources, starting with my Mom.  Who’s more reputable than her.   That’s a rhetorical question.  Over time, others, i.e. professors, employers, friends, and more family would on occasion make the same comment.  One of my first memories is from my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Moey.  I remember her quite well.  She was tall, wore cat glasses, had black girl hips (like me), and very tall stiff blond hair, straight up and down. The kind of hair that dared not to move or it just might have toppled her over.   I do believe she kept cans of Aqua Net on standby.  Any hoo, one of our class assignments was to write a short story.  I chose purple bubble gum as my subject.  I can’t remember whether it was Bubble Yum, Bubblicious, or Double Bubble, but it was bubble gum and it was purple.  That simple short story drew laughs from her and my fellow 11 year old comrades.  I remember being surprised by their reaction and laughter.  It was only a few paragraphs, but hey, who am I to dismiss my super hero comical talents.  From there, I received more compliments by others; I just never took them that seriously.  Flash forward years later, I sat down with my Mom and my Aunt and listened while they shared memories of their childhood.  I couldn’t believe some, well, most of the stuff I was hearing.  The community they grew up in held secrets, shame, and humor, so much humor.  I was captivated.  They were beyond entertaining. I couldn’t stop asking questions, but more importantly, I couldn’t stop laughing.  Thankfully, those two planted the seed for The Quarters.  Here it is over 20 years later and finally I was compelled to write this book.  It’s in memory of my Grandmomma, Mrs. Louise Scott who was one of the funniest ladies I’ve ever known.  It is also a tribute to my Mom, Pearline Scrutchins. She is not only hilarious in her own right, but  smart, loving, and just a wonderful mother.  I surely can’t leave out my aunts and uncles.  Some of the funnies in The Quarters, came directly from them.  And finally the real people of the Quarters.  Most of them have passed away now, but they left such a rich impression on me.  My hopes are that this book will carry their humor, kindness, and love for generations.

Follow Along on the Virtual Tour!

April 27
Guest Post at Fiction Zeal

April 28
Review at Musings from an Addicted Reader

April 29
Review at Michelle Draglin's Educational Home

April 30
Spotlight Feature at Mel's Shelves

May 1
Interview at Infinite House of Books

May 2
Spotlight Feature at My Life, One Story at a Time

May 3
Guest Post and Giveaway at Thoughts in Progress

May 4
Interview at Pen & Muse

May 5
Video Review from Kelly Hoggins

May 7
Spotlight Feature at Hott Books

Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Blast: The Convergence by Tenille Berezay

THE CONVERGENCE by Tenille Berezay

Hiding unbelievable physical abilities, seventeen-year-old Desiree Morgan buries herself inside the realities of high school. But when Blake Thomas infiltrates her life, all of Desiree’s secrets begin to unravel. With answers come more questions and soon she is entangled in a world of secret societies, human experimentation, perilous power-struggles, and ultimate sacrifice. To escape, Desiree can’t be simply extraordinary…she must redefine the impossible.

THE CONVERGENCE is a story of one girl’s search to understand herself and the realization of what makes her truly great.

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Praise for Book

“If you like the action of Divergent, romance of Twilight, and super human powers like X-men, you’ll absolutely love this book.”

“I have read a lot of young adult science fiction/romance and this is right up there with the best of them.”

“I was captured from the beginning by Desiree’s story, but even more so by the handsome and charming Blake.”

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He puts me on edge. The last thing I need is someone trying to read me. I meet his eyes defiantly. Blake observes me a second more, then grins revealing white, even teeth. “Sounds pretty great, but why? Why not do the normal thing? Go to college, get a job, become a responsible adult.”

My defensiveness morphs into aggravation. “Guess we just have different definitions of responsible and, most likely, normal.”

Sensing my mood, Nichole makes some excuse and leaves. Blake leans across the space between us, the fire reflecting in his eyes. “Our definitions are probably a lot closer than you think, Dez,” he says with an intimacy that makes me twitch. Nobody calls me Dez. I’ve never liked that nickname.

“You know, Thomas.” I emphasize my use of his last name—Thomas suits him better anyway. “I don’t think I like you.”

Never breaking eye contact, he laughs quietly. “I know,” he says. “But you will.”

Author Tenille Berezay

After living throughout the western U.S., Tenille now claims rural Northern Nevada as her home. If she’s not being consumed by a book—whether her own or another author’s—she’d like to be found horseback riding, backpacking with her high-school sweetheart/husband, or photographing their three beautiful children.

Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 5/18/16

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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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Blast: A Kiss and a Dream by Linda Andrews

A Kiss and a Dream by Linda Andrews

She escapes with a dead woman’s name and finds sanctuary with a widower reeling from his wife’s betrayal. Can a love built on lies survive the truth?

Gretchen Foltz honors her late father’s request and ends up locked in the workhouse by her greedy brother. Dreaming of a home and freedom, she embarks on a dangerous winter journey. She awakes in a stranger’s home. Hiding behind a lie, she discovers a man worthy of her trust.

Kian Bryne is struggling to feed his four children. The last thing he needs is to rescue a woman stranded on the ice and running from her own demons. With his rich in-laws threatening to take custody his children, he’ll make a desperate alliance to keep his family together. When a simple kiss shatters their agreement, he’s left yearning for more.

Can they untangle the lies before someone separates them forever?

amazon get it


In this scene, Gretchen learns that Kian has a secret dream to be a carriage driver on the island. She has a dream of her own and knows the power of them, so she is determined to help him achieve his goal.

“It was a stupid dream. I should sell it, ta pay ya.” Kian jerked the covering into place and turned away.

“Nein. No.” She followed him. “Dream is not stupid. Dream is good.”

She slowed down to hit the correct sound at the end. Just so he understood.

He yanked pieces of oak from the pile near the door and dropped them into her pail.

“I help you vith your dream.” She pulled out the bigger pieces and returned them to the stack before tugging the handle from his grip. Selecting the right size for the cook stove, she filled her bucket.

“You see.”

“Why?” He stared at the wood pile and huddled in his jacket.

She didn’t want to think too hard about the why. Instead, she clasped the pail to her chest and hustled for the door.

He beat her there and pushed back the snow, so she could squeeze through the opening. Before she exited, he stayed her with a hand on her arm. “Why?”

“Because I have the dreams, too. And you are helping to make them true.” She ducked under his arm and walked into the cold. More than he knew. Maybe more than was safe for her heart.

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Author Linda Andrews

Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: “What else would she write? She’s never been normal.”

All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion and she’s followed that passion into history, the future, and beyond. Sometimes, she incorporates her science background and other times, she allows the magic of love to take center stage in sweet historicals.


Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 5/11/16

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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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Blog Tour/Review: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection

Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: June 4, 2012
Number of pages: 142

Beauty and the Beast (Faerie Tale Collection #1)

Beauty and the Beast is the first in a new series of fairy tales for young adult readers. Fans of Disney, fairy tales, and fantasy will love the Faerie Tale Collection by Jenni James. A prince by day and a wolf by night--

Prince Alexander has been turned into a werewolf and has one year to find someone to love the beast and break the spell, or he will be a wolf forever. He has nearly given up achieving the impossible, knowing no girl would ever fall in love with such a monster.

Just when he is about to abdicate the throne to his cousin, he meets Cecelia Hammerstein-Smythe, while a wolf, and begins to hope for the first time in months. Can he balance both worlds as a human and beast, gaining the love and trust of a girl who has every reason to despise him?

Cecelia detests the prince. She only knows Alexander as the arrogant monarch—the tyrant who has made her life miserable—though perhaps he's changed right before her eyes. He's not as full of himself as he once was. The prince is gentle now... but then again, so is the beast.


Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: August 15, 2013
Number of pages: 123

Sleeping Beauty (Faerie Tale Collection #2)

The sleeping girl has no idea she is asleep.

After Aleyna witnessed the cruel deaths of her family, she was put to sleep by Ezralon the unicorn. He has been keeping her safe, hidden in the forest, until her true prince could come and rescue her.

While Aleyna is protected in the forest, her spirit walks the halls of her ruined, deserted castle in a dream-like existence, believing everything is still perfect. However, she is halted in this state—almost as if time were frozen—until the prince awakens her.

Prince Darién of Lybrooke Court loves a challenge as much as the next man, but believes it will be a fool’s errand to rescue a ghost who is already dead! He’s convinced no one could have survived sleeping thirty years, so what is the point of rescuing a girl who is quite content to haunt on her own?

Of course, if Darién wasn’t so afraid of ghouls, this whole thing could be much easier to fathom...


Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: August 15, 2013
Number of pages: 213

Rumplestiltskin (Faerie Tale Collection #3)
A young prince crippled by a witch--

When Fredrico watches his cruel family mourn his false death and announce to the kingdom their cursed prince has died, is the day he truly embraces his new life and new name Rumplestiltskin. How could he be known by anything else? —His skin is completely rumpled and stilted now. He hides away from the king and queen and grows up as a crippled servant in the castle.

Years later, his younger brother, Marcus, becomes king and humors Aubrynn’s father when he boasts that his daughter can turn straw into gold. Intrigued Marcus locks the distraught maiden in a tower and declares to the kingdom that if she can transform the straw, he will marry her, but if she cannot he will kill her father.

Rumplestiltskin is determined to help Aubrynn save her father and marry the king. Now, if only he can remember to keep his real identity a secret and not fall in love with her himself…


Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: July 31, 2013
Number of pages: 236

(Faerie Tale Collection #4)

When Prince Anthony spies Eleanoria Woodston outside her family home dressed as a servant, he knows something is amiss. Pretending to be John, his cousin’s outrider, he decides to take matters into his own hands and figure out why Ella hasn’t been seen at court. And more importantly why the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in the kingdom dresses like a pauper.

Ella has had her own bout of trials, including losing her beloved father and facing the wrath and jealousy of her stepmother and stepsisters. Becoming a servant doesn’t seem all that bad until the handsome John comes into her life, now he appears to be upsetting everything. Never before has she been so unsettled. Just his presence is making her dream of a life beyond this one.

When John invites Ella to the ball and she grudgingly accepts, he wonders if he’s truly losing his mind. How would he ever pull off pretending to be John while obviously hosting the ball as Anthony? Especially when the stubborn girl has made it quite obvious she would never attend a ball with a snobbish prince.


Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Number of pages: 160

Hansel and Gretel 
(Faerie Tale Collection #5)

Hansel's father finds a child lost and alone during a violent thunderstorm. After bringing her in from the tempest, he and his son are startled to discover that she is Gretel, a princess of Larkein the enemy kingdom their own king has just destroyed. Fearful for her life, Hansel pleads with his father to save her. He believes they can make Gretel good by teaching her their ways. His kindhearted father agrees, but with great trepidation.


Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: March 31, 2013
Number of pages: 162

Jack and the Beansalk (Faerie Tale Collection #6)
The quest to save a girl from a giant--

Jack Waithwrite is livid when he learns that his fiancée, Rachel, has been stolen by a giant and taken up to a kingdom in the sky. Without the means to save her, he travels with his sister to Larkein, the place where dark magic abides, to discover a way to help Rachel. While there, a cunning witch knows who he is and offers to help him. However, when he finds out the kidnapping was orchestrated by the witch to use him as her pawn for her own schemes, his true quest begins. Now Jack must outwit a giant and stay one step ahead of the witch in time to save Rachel.

Enjoy Jack and the Beanstalk, the continuing tale of Hansel and Gretel and what happened after they were married. Jack and Jill Waithwrite are the children of Hansel and Gretel, and as their parents before them had adventures, now it is their turn.


Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: September 21, 2013
Number of pages: 238

Snow White (Faerie Tale Collection #7)

An enchanted mirror, a tale of envy--

Raven and Snow White have been the greatest of friends for years, so when Snow’s father, King Herbert, and Raven’s mother, Queen Melantha, wed, the girls’ dreams come true—now they are sisters! However, in an act of exceeding folly, the king presents his new bride with the enchanted Lythereon Mirror as a wedding gift. Its dark power soon corrupts the queen.

Prince Corlan, Raven’s brother, is determined to find a way to destroy the mirror before he loses his mother completely—or it kills them all. Already the queen’s envy of Snow has become obvious. Corlan has been in love with Snow White since they were children and would do anything to protect the beautiful princess, even defy his mother. But when Queen Melantha uses the mirror to force Corlan into killing Snow, he knows it will take a battle of great strength to outwit the evil spell surrounding him and save the girl he loves.


Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: December 6, 2013
Number of pages: 170

The Frog Prince (Faerie Tale Collection #8)

A prince disguises himself to find true love--

Prince Nolan has had enough of Princess Blythe—the woman to whom he has been betrothed since infancy—and her simpering letters. Does the princess truly not have a brain in her head? Never before has he communicated with someone who seemed so childish and spoiled. It was time he met her for himself, to decide if he could actually follow through with this marriage. But to do it right, she must not see how handsome he is. He needs a disguise—something that would show him her true nature.

Nolan asks an old herb woman to transform him into a creature that is disgusting to any female—a frog. The spell will last thirty days unless the princess does the impossible and kisses him. Now the true test begins. Will Blythe prove to be as monstrously annoying as he believes she is, or will he learn to see past his judgments and find a loving princess waiting for him?


Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: February 17, 2014
Number of pages: 184 

The Twelve Dancing Princesses (The Faerie Tale Collection #9)

Twelve princesses, one gardener, and a mysterious secret . . .

As the castle gardener, Aleck is paid well, has his own room above the stables, and he is able to support his mother and younger brothers and sisters. Why would he risk it all for one girl?

For weeks now, Princess Cascadia and her eleven sisters have awakened each morning to swollen feet and tattered dancing slippers without any recollection of what happened. Why would someone do this to them? The king calls all the worthy men in the land to come and help solve the riddle of the twelve dancing princesses. The man who is able to sort the mystery will be allowed to choose one of the princesses to wed.

Cascadia immediately turns to Aleck for assistance. If anyone can help her, she knows it is him, and she knows of no man she would rather marry. But will Aleck be able to unravel the mysterious happenings and save the kingdom before those behind the scheme succeed?


Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: October 2014
Number of pages: 164

Rapunzel (Faerie Tale Collection #10)

A kidnapped girl faces insurmountable odds …

On Rapunzel’s sixteenth birthday, her parents are turned to stone by the evil witch, Lady Vactryne, and the girl is taken to be forever hidden away in a tower. The young princess is afraid and all alone, and as the months pass by and her attempts to escape become more desperate, she begins to lose hope that anyone will come to save her.

Prince Jonathan of Balligyrn has loved Rapunzel since they were children and has vowed to battle the witch, bring Rapunzel back, and restore her kingdom, no matter the cost. It has been years since he last saw her and asked her to wait for him to return from school. Now Jonathan only hopes he is not too late.

The cunning witch has other plans for them both, one that does not involve losing her dreams to mere fools. Who will win—the woman bent on revenge, or the young girl determined to overcome it all?


The Little Mermaid (Faerie Tale Collection #11)
Is grass truly greener than ocean blue?

Pearl has always dreamed of visiting the land of humans, to walk with them, eat with them, and learn everything she can from them. But no one in the North Seas agrees with her. In fact, they are all convinced that the landfolk are a dangerous, scary group of people who would harm the mermaid if they could.

Keel, the great merprince of the North Seas, has never loved anyone as much as he loves Pearl. He knows of her fascination with mankind and realizes she will never be truly settled until she has walked among the humans. So he finally relents, giving her a potion to grow legs of her own so she can experience the world above the water. He vows to come on land and protect her, as he doesn’t trust humans and never will.

Join us in this unique twist of a tale about a princess determined to find a world and life better than her own, and the prince who is willing to risk it all to guarantee that she finds her own happiness.

Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Number of pages: 186

Peter Pan (Faerie Tale Collectoin #12)
Peter Pan needs help, and he's convinced the effervescent Wendy Darling is just the girl to champion his cause. Ever since the mischievous fairy Tinker Bell began recruiting—more like, snatching—boys from London's orphanages to take them to a magical place called Neverland, things have gotten out of hand. Captain Hook has only become more violent and the boys more lost as their memories of life before Neverland begin to fade. Peter's only hope is to get the boys back to England and help bring balance to Neverland before Hook's dangerous escapades kill them all.

Wendy is not quite certain why such a handsome young man would need her—especially a lad who clearly has a touch of madness in him. What boy learns to fly? But whatever the reason, home life has become too much for her now that her parents are hoping she marries an acquaintance she can barely abide. There is something about Peter Pan that intrigues her greatly, and then there is this magical world he talks about, this Neverland . . .


Books in the Series and Books Still to Come...

Other books in this series still to come:

13. Return to Netherland
14.Captain Hook
15. Princess Red
16. Princess with the Golden Touch
17. Princess and the Pea
18. Rose Red
19. Thumbelina
20. The Ugly Princess
21. Diamonds and Toads
22. The Ice Queen
23. The Forgotten Princess
24. King Thrushbeard
25. The Swan Princess
26. The Goose Girl
27. The Light Princesses
28. Princess Nightingale
29. The Princess Who Never Laughed
30. The Disenchanted Queen

Jenni James is the busy mother of ten kids (7 hers, 3 her hubby's) and has over twenty-five published book babies. She's an award-winning, best-selling author, who works full-time from home and dreams about magical things and then writes about what she dreams.

Some of her works include The Jane Austen Diaries (Pride & Popularity, Emmalee, Persuaded...), The Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection (Cinderella, Snow White, Rumplestiltskin, Beauty and the Beast...), the Andy & Annie series for children, Revitalizing Jane: Drowning, My Paranormal Life, Not Cinderella's Type, and the Austen in Love Series.

When she isn't writing up a storm, she is chasing her kids around their new cottage and farm in the tops of the southwestern mountains, entertaining friends at home, or kissing her amazingly hunky hubby. Her life is full of laughter, crazy, and sunshine.



Aleck looked up from snipping at the ornamental hedges in the palace garden to see Princess Cascadia coming toward him. He immediately dropped his shears and lowered into a bow. “Your Highness,” he said as he came back up to face the pretty, dark-haired young woman. She looked exceptionally fetching today in pale blue ribbons and a matching gown.
She smiled and stopped right in front of him. “Hello,” she said again, her fingers slowly twirling the handle of the white lace parasol that shaded her head.
He waited a moment for her to say something while his stomach did flip-flops. How many days had he watched the beautiful princess and wished for opportunities like this, to get to know her and speak with her? And yet, when they seemed to come, he had nothing to say. But how did a simple gardener go about speaking with royalty?
She continued to twirl and wait, her grin growing.
Say something, you dolt! He swallowed nervously and asked, “Would you like a flower?”
“A flower?” She looked at the hedge he had been pruning.
“No. Not from here.” He pointed behind him. “We could pick one from the queen’s garden, if you would like. I know of some lovely roses that have just bloomed.”
“Oh! Yes, please.”
“If you follow me, I will show you just where they are.” He began to walk, but when he noticed she was not with him, he turned around. Princess Cascadia stood in the exact same spot. Confused, he asked, “Would you rather I went without you and brought back a couple?”
She shook her head. “No.”
Good heavens, how was a man supposed to know what a woman wanted? “Then you would not like to follow me?”
She chuckled, her laugh floating about her like tinkling fairy bells. “No, Aleck. I wish for you to lend me your arm so that we may go together.”
How could he be so thoughtless? “Of course.” He rushed to her side. “Forgive me.” Being so close to her, close enough to smell the lavender soap she used, caused his breathing to become quite erratic. He glanced down at her side, and then slowly raised his arm out. He willed himself to act natural as she daintily wrapped her elbow around his shirtsleeve and placed the top of her gloved hand upon his. He gazed into those sky-blue eyes a moment, reminding himself to breathe.
He was holding her arm. Her hand was upon his, her waist mere inches from him. They were together—truly together for the very first time. A warmth spread through him he had never known before, sending a concentrated group of tingles at their touching limbs. He grinned at her and watched in amazement as she inhaled sharply.
This overwhelming feeling affected her as well! She could feel it.
Those eyes sparkled back at him. He was lost. Utterly and foolishly lost.
Could she possibly think of him as he thought of her? Could the princess actually wish to be with a mere gardener?
A hound barked some distance away and snapped him back to the present. “Come, and we shall find the most enchanting roses for you.”
He took a step forward, and then another, half expecting her to turn around and run the other way, but she did not. Instead, she quite happily followed him.
Nothing had ever felt more right and wonderful than this moment.
“Aleck?” she asked as they slowly made their way to the flower garden.
“I know this is highly improper, and I will most likely get scolded if I am caught walking with you, but thank you for doing so.”
His gaze met hers again. “It is my pleasure.”
She nodded and glanced away, a faint blush stealing across her cheeks. All at once, the parasol began to twirl twice as fast as it had before. “Sir, you flatter me.”
“I do not mean to flatter, Princess,” he said with a grin, loving this new game of theirs. “Indeed, I only mean to speak the absolute truth. This is by far the most enjoyable moment of my day.”
She gasped and glanced at him before biting her lip and looking away again.
He could not believe his eyes. If he did not know better, she would seem to be genuine in her response to him. “Why did you ask to hold my arm?” he brazenly asked, curious as to how she would reply.
She kept her profile to him as they continued to walk. “Because I knew you would never think to do so, and so I asked myself.”
“Because I wanted to,” she replied.
“Fair enough.” He let the subject drop. “And have you had any news to impart? Any reason for us to be thus engaged?”
“Yes. For when your father asks why you have been traipsing the grounds with a lowly gardener, you will have a much better reply to give him than because you wanted to.”
She blushed again and then shook her head. “You are incorrigible.”
“I know. I think it is why you like me.” He said the last looking straight at her.
She gasped in shock. “I have said no such thing!”
He stopped, his back toward the many windows of the castle. Stepping forward and hiding her for a brief moment, he said, “You did not have to say anything to me. I can tell by your actions.” His heart grew a bit heavy. “Princess, as much as I wish to keep you near me to learn every possible secret of yours and gain your trust, I also fear this.”
“I have come outside every single day for the past several months in hopes of …” She trailed off.
To speak with him. “Aye. I think I understand. But it will not do. I am simply a gardener. And as much as you would be scolded for doing such a thing, I would be dismissed from my post completely if this were to continue.”
“No.” Her breathing became labored. She looked distraught over this declaration.
Did she honestly have no idea that such things were frowned upon? “What is it?”
“’Tis not fair,” she said after a few moments. “I—I do not know how to express myself, or why. It does not make sense to me. But there is something about you that calls to me. Something I cannot dismiss.”
She did feel it too! He clutched her hand. “Princess Cascadia!”
“Please, call me Casey. I have despised that name my whole life. Casey is what I prefer.”
“I cannot. I do not dare. You know the help is not allowed to speak so casually of you,” he whispered as he glanced around, making certain they were alone.
She squeezed his fingers. “Please?”
How could he deny her anything? He took a deep breath.
“Casey.” The name as he said it was so profound, it was as if it echoed between them for several seconds.
And then she smiled. Her whole face lit up. “Thank you.”
At that moment, he saw the head gardener walking toward them. “Give me a reason to be standing here with you. Tell me something important so that I may continue working here.”
Her eyes frantically searched his before they lit up and she said, “I have it! There is a great secret happening in the house. And who knows, perhaps you will be the one to solve the mystery.” She grinned. “Yes! Father is to send out a proclamation within a week asking for brave men to solve the puzzle of the princesses’ dancing slippers.”
He blinked. “Your what?”
“Every morning, when we awake, our shoes are completely worn through, as if we had been dancing all night. But none of us can remember leaving our beds. Indeed, it is frightening to see the state of the slippers. And our feet! Sometimes they are swollen and blistered. And yet, we were asleep.”
“This happens to all twelve of you?”
“Yes. Oh!” She laughed out loud, causing the head gardener to speed up his walk toward them. “It is perfect!” she said, clasping his hand tighter. “For whoever is able to solve the mystery, Father has said he will allow him to choose one of his daughters to wed!”
Aleck felt as though he had been punched in the chest. My word! Could it be true? Could this actually be happening to him? Was there a way to have this angel near his side permanently?
“Aleck? Aleck? Are you well?”
He glanced at her. “I believe so.”
“Then will you try to solve the riddle?”
The gardener glared at him, but remained silent as he passed the princess. Aleck knew this would be horrendous for them both. His eyes searched Casey’s, and he nodded. “Yes, I will try my best to solve the mystery of the dancing princesses.”

I received a copy of The Twelve Dancing Princesses via Singing Librarian Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

I've read several of these books and have enjoyed them all! I was excited to get The Twelve Dancing Princesses because it is one of my favorite fairy tales and I love to read re-tellings of this one in particular.

Princess Cascadia (Casey) is one of the princesses and has been making frequent trips to the garden lately to be around Aleck, one of the gardeners. During one of their conversations, she lets him in on the secret happening in her house: the princesses shoes are all worn through every morning, as if they've been dancing all night, but none of them remember leaving their beds. The King will allow whoever solves the mystery to wed one of his daughters so Aleck promises Casey that he will try his best to solve the mystery.

We meet Aleck's family and see how they play into the story. The basics to this fairy tale are all there but there some twists and the reason behind the dancing is original. The length is perfect for me. I was able to read it in one sitting and, since it is short, the story moves quickly. I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end! This is a great collection to read if you enjoy fairy tale re-tellings. I'm excited for the books that are still to come and look forward to reading more!

My Rating=5 Stars

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April 18--Beauty & the Beast--Singing Librarian Books
 April 19--Sleeping Beauty--Bookworm Lisa
 April 20--Rumplestiltskin--26 Countless Possibilities
 April 21--Cinderella--Reading Is My SuperPower
 April 22--Hansel & Gretel--Katie's Clean Book Collection 
 April 23--Jack & the Beanstalk--Wishful Endings
 April 25--Snow White--Katie's Clean Book Collection 
 April 26--The Frog Prince--Smiling Book Reviews
 April 27--The Twelve Dancing Princesses--Mel's Shelves
 April 28--Rapunzel--Reading Is My SuperPower
 April 29--The Little Mermaid--Wishful Endings
 April 30--Peter Pan--Singing Librarian Books

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Review: First Light by Michele Paige Holmes

First Light, by Michele Paige Holmes
2016, 351p, Clean YA Fantasy/Fairy Tale
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy via eBooks for Review for an honest review

Seventeen-year-old Adrielle doesn’t believe in magic; she merely possesses it, though no one has ever mentioned that her unusual gifts—exceptional speed, a flair for fire, and an intimate knowledge of flora—aren’t things she was born with. When Adrielle starts a fire that burns down the family home, she must deal with both her grief and her siblings’ hurtful rejection.

While journeying to far away Tallinyne, in search of her older, estranged sister—the only relative who might take her in—Adrielle is separated from her escort when the carriage is beset by thieves. Alone, she is thrust into a dangerous and unfamiliar world where she encounters fairies and gypsies, a wild boar, a drunk cook, and an evil queen whose curse is sweeping death across the land. Adrielle also finds love, falling hard for a kind, funny, handsome—and completely unavailable prince.

From the glowing pearls tucked beneath her mattress and keeping her awake at night, to Queen Nadamaris’s curse that seems to thwart Adrielle’s every effort, Adrielle struggles to navigate a world of magic she never imagined, where people she knows and loves are not always what they appear to be. With the glowing pearls—and her fondest desire—within her grasp, she is forced to make a choice no girl should ever have to—satisfying her own heart or saving the kingdom.

I have loved every book I've read by this author and was excited to see that she was coming out with a new series! It's off to a great start! Adrielle is 17 years old. Tragedy strikes and she quickly finds herself on her own, without any family members willing to take her in. She takes off to find her older sister with high hopes for a joyful reunion. She is quickly immersed in a world of fairies, gypsies, magical pearls, a cook who is always drunk, an evil queen and a handsome prince, with so many unanswered questions. She was given little bits of information, which kept me eagerly turning pages so I could also learn what was going on.

I thought this was a great fairy tale mashup, with pieces from lots of different favorites, including Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Adrielle is such a sweet, caring, loving character that she's able to see the good in those that are trying to harm her. She forms some unlikely friendships because she shows compassion toward others. She's an easy character to love and cheer for. I enjoyed her story and each of the relationships she formed.

I loved this book from the beginning to the end! There were plenty of twists and turns to keep me on my toes trying to guess what would happen next. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys fairy tales and a clean, fun read. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series to see what happens next!

Michele Paige Holmes spent her childhood and youth in Arizona and northern California, often curled up with a good book instead of out enjoying the sunshine. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education, and found it an excellent major in which to indulge her love of children's literature.

Her first novel, COUNTING STARS (Covenant Communications 2007), won the 2007 Whitney Award for best romance. The sequel, a romantic suspense titled, ALL THE STARS IN HEAVEN (Covenant 2009), was a Whitney finalist, as was her first historical romance, CAPTIVE HEART (Covenant 2011). MY LUCKY STARS (Covenant 2012) completed the Stars series.

In October 2014 Michele launched the Hearthfire historical romance line with the publication of SAVING GRACE (Mirror Press 2014). The companion novel, LOVING HELEN (Mirror Press 2015) was released in February 2015. A third book about this same family, MARRYING CHRISTOPHER, will be published in summer 2015, with another historical to follow later this year.

Michele has been a member of the same critique group for over fifteen years and feels that joining a critique group is the single best thing an author can to do help improve his or her writing. She has been a member of RWA and URWA, LDStorymakers, and The League of Utah Writers. Michele enjoys both attending and teaching at conferences.

When not reading or writing romance, Michele is busy with her full time job as a wife and mother. She and her husband live in Utah with their five high maintenance children and a Shitzu that resembles a teddy bear, in a house with a wonderful view of the mountains.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Blog Tour/Review: A Buss from Lafayette by Dorothea Jensen

BeachBoundbooks is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for the middle grade/young adult novel A Buss From Lafayette by Dorothea Jensen from April 11 - May 2, 2016.

About the Book

Title: A Buss From Lafayette
Author: Dorothea Jensen
Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Historical Fiction
Recommended Ages: 10-17
Number of Pages: 266
Publisher: BQB Publishing
Publication Date: April 22, 2016

Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Clara Hargraves lives on a farm in Hopkinton, a small New Hampshire town, during the early 19th century. She has a couple of big problems. First of all, she has a stepmother, Priscilla, who used to be her spinster schoolteacher aunt. Clara resents that her late mother’s older sister has not only married her father but is about to have a baby. To make matters worse, “Prissy Priscilla” keeps trying to make the rambunctious, clever, and witty Clara act like a proper young lady. Secondly, Clara has red hair, making her a target for teasing by a handsome older boy, Dickon Weeks, and by her pretty seventeen-year-old Dread Cousin Hetty. Clara, however, has a secret plan she hopes will change this. During the last week of June, 1825, Clara’s town is abuzz because the famous General Lafayette is about to visit their state during his farewell tour of America. In those eventful seven days, Clara learns a lot about her family, Hetty, Dickon, herself, and about Lafayette. She comes to understand the huge and vital role the young French aristocrat played in America’s Revolutionary War and to see that her problems might not be quite so terrible after all.

This story takes place in New Hampshire in 1825. Clara is 14 years old and adjusting to a new family situation. Her mother died one year ago, and one week later, her father married her spinster aunt. On top of that, they're having a baby. Clara misses her mother and the way her life used to be. She is also sorely disappointed with the color of her hair--red! But she has a plan to change that. At dinner one night, her father talks about the Nation's Guest, who arrived in New Hampshire that day. His name--General Lafayette. 

This book was such a fun read! There were a few different storylines going on and I loved the way the author pulled them all together. Clara's family discussed General Lafayette and the contributions he made in helping the United States win the war and become a free country. There is a love interest, Dickon Weeks, who pays her attention. She's clueless when it comes to boys so their exchanges were entertaining. Her stepmother, Priscilla, is trying to turn her into a proper young lady and she wants no part of that. Clara softens towards Priscilla as she learns more about her. Her beautiful 17-year-old cousin Hetty comes to visit and she makes Clara feel like a child. 

This book takes place in one week and Clara learns and grows a lot during that short time period! I especially loved the stories of General Lafayette and learned so much more about him that I didn't know. This is my favorite way to learn history since the stories are brought to life and make me feel like I was there. I also liked the Glossary in the back. I didn't know what "buss" meant so was curious about the title and love the way it fit into the story! This is the first book I've read by this author but it won't be my last!

My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy via BeachBoundBooks for an honest review

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About the Author: Dorothea Jensen

Dorothea Jensen, born in Boston, Massachusetts, grew up in Chillicothe, Illinois. She majored in English literature at Carleton College. After teaching high-school English and serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Brazil, she earned a master s degree in education at the University of New Mexico. In 1989, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich published Dorothea s novel for young readers about the American Revolution, The Riddle of Penncroft Farm. In addition to other honors, it was named an International Reading Association Teacher s Choices Selection and is read in classrooms throughout the U.S. A Buss from Lafayette is set in the small New Hampshire town where Dorothea lives. Two things inspired her to write this story. First, was learning that Lafayette passed right by her house during his 1824-5 Triumphal Tour. Another was meeting a woman whose ancestor received a kiss from Lafayette. That buss, passed down through generations, eventually came to Dorothea. This sparked her interest in Lafayette s contributions to our struggle for independence. Dorothea also enjoys writing rhyming verse. She has written a series of award-winning illustrated modern Christmas stories in verse featuring Santa's Izzy Elves.

For more information about Dorothea and her books, please visit

Blog Tour Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice Giveaway ends: May 2, 11:59 pm, 2016 Open to: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Dorothea Jensen and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Blog Tour/Review: Royal Brides by Traci Hunter Abramson

Royal Brides, by Traci Hunter Abramson
2016, 304p, LDS Contemporary Suspense/Romance
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

In this eagerly anticipated companion novel to Royal Target and Royal Secrets, readers are invited back to the shimmering Mediterranean paradise of Meridia, where two royal weddings in a year are more than stressful—they’re deadly . . .

Lovely Meridian native Noelle Saldera yearns for adventure, but as the daughter of palace servants, working at Prince Stefano’s royal wedding may be as exciting as her life will get. But her options change drastically when she finds herself in the unlikely position of diffusing a bomb at the ceremony and being enlisted as the newest member of Meridian Intelligence—another wedding is in the works, and there can be no more close calls when Prince Stefano’s brother, Garrett, walks down the aisle.

The bombing attempt at the first royal wedding leaves few clues as to the assailant’s identity. Desperate for answers, Meridian officials enlist CIA agent Jeremy Rogers to prevent a repeat occurrence at the upcoming nuptials. The beauty of the plan: the bride is Jeremy’s sister, so his cover is foolproof. What no one could anticipate is the instant connection between Jeremy and Noelle. Now, with their hearts on the line, the pair must work together to stop a seemingly unstoppable enemy before time runs out.

Meridia is going to have two royal weddings within a few months of each other. Noelle is brought in to help with wedding plans and is able to help prevent a bombing during the middle of the first ceremony. She is asked to stay on to help with the next wedding. Janessa is the bride in the second wedding. Her brother Jeremy is CIA so is asked to go over early to help as well. He has a cover job since only a few people can know what his true purpose is. He hits it off with Noelle but they are both keeping secrets from each other that can end up coming between them.

I enjoyed getting to know Jeremy and Noelle, as well as Janessa. Noelle is the daughter of palace servants. She's refined and intelligent and very easy to like. Jeremy is a gentleman and falls for Noelle right away. He's not shy in letting her know how he feels and they have some sweet scenes together. Janessa is down to earth and likable. Planning her wedding is stressful but she conducts herself well and doesn't take her frustrations out on other people. There are side characters that add to the story as well. Some of them were easier to like than others. I especially loved the plan they concocted to get rid of their unwelcome guests.

I read the first book in this series many years ago and loved it so was excited to read more! I did enjoy it and thought the author did a great job hiding the villains so it was hard to figure out. I think it works well as a stand alone so if you haven't read the other books, you'll still understand what's going on. This is an author that I expect to not be able to put her books down once I start. I was able to do that a few times with this one. However, it's still a great book and you will especially want to read it if you've read the other two books in the series. This is a book I would recommend to those who enjoy clean, contemporary, romantic suspense, with talk of religion (nothing preachy) and royalty!

Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas for suspense novels as well as the skills needed to survive her children's teenage years. She has gone on to write a number of bestselling suspense novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists. She considers shoes an optional accessory which became evident when she won her first two Whitney Awards in 2013 and 2014 for her novels Code Word and Deep Cover. She currently lives in Virginia with her family where she enjoys sports, travel, writing, and coaching high school swimming.

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