Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Blog Tour/Review: A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles by Mary Elizabeth Williams

About A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles

• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic; 1 edition (April 26, 2016)

A wry, witty account of what it is like to face death—and be restored to life.

After being diagnosed in her early 40s with metastatic melanoma—a "rapidly fatal" form of cancer—journalist and mother of two Mary Elizabeth Williams finds herself in a race against the clock. She takes a once-in-a-lifetime chance and joins a clinical trial for immunotherapy, a revolutionary drug regimen that trains the body to vanquish malignant cells. Astonishingly, her cancer disappears entirely in just a few weeks. But at the same time, her best friend embarks on a cancer journey of her own—with very different results. Williams's experiences as a patient and a medical test subject reveal with stark honesty what it takes to weather disease, the extraordinary new developments that are rewriting the rules of science—and the healing power of human connection.

I was interested in reading this book since my sister had cancer removed from her body in January of this year (2016). I learned quite a bit in that process and was interested to compare the differences and similarities. The similarities are there--the questions of why this is happening, starting out with zero knowledge of cancer and quickly learning, feeling like a lab rat at times, and the incredible job the doctors and nurses do. Cancer is a tough condition to deal with and there are so many different kinds that there's not one protocol and there's quite a bit of guesswork involved. The author was able to get into a trial which worked rapidly for her, so that was a definite blessing! She gets raw at times and doesn't hold back, which is refreshing to read in a book like this. 

The main difference is that the author doesn't attribute any of her healing to God, but rather to science. Science certainly plays a role, but in the case of my sister, faith did as well. There was also a good deal of swearing, which I don't personally enjoy reading, including the "f" word, which was used quite a bit. 

The author did a great job explaining cancer and the different treatments that are available in layman's terms so you won't feel lost or like you're reading a textbook. She also shares experiences she has with other women who are dealing with cancer as well and how important those relationships were to her. Cancer sucks! Overall, I found this book to be an interesting read. It's a story of hope and I'm glad that things turned out well for this author and her family!

My Rating=3 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review 

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About Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior staff writer for award-winning Salon.com whose columns are regularly among the top viewed, commented on, shared, and cited as the best of the week. The "Lab Rat" series on her clinical trial was nominated for the 2012 Online Journalism Award for Commentary, and her essay on receiving a melanoma diagnosis is in the Harper anthology The Moment, an Entertainment Weekly "Must List" pick—alongside essays by Elizabeth Gilbert, Jennifer Egan, and Dave Eggers. She is the author of Gimme Shelter: Ugly Houses, Cruddy Neighborhoods, Fast Talking Brokers, and Toxic Mortgages: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream. A starred Booklist selection, Gimme Shelter was called "poignant and funny" (Kirkus), "a must-read" (New York Daily News), "hilariously evocative" (Time Out Kids) and "compelling" (Publisher's Weekly). She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

Find out more about her at her website.

Tour Schedule:
Wednesday, April 27th: The Discerning Reader
Wednesday, April 27th: Bibliotica
Friday, April 29th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, May 3rd: Stranded in Chaos
Wednesday, May 4th: Back Porchervations
Tuesday, May 10th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, May 12th: Patient #1
Wednesday, May 18th: Booby and the Beast
Thursday, May 19th: A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, May 31st: Mel’s Shelves
TBD: Darn Good Lemonade

Monday, May 30, 2016

Blog Tour/Spotlight: The Super Spies Series by Lisa Orchard

Genre: Upper Middle Grade Mystery/Thrillers 
Publisher: Astraea Press
Publication date: March 13, 2012
Number of pages: 277

In a small town in Michigan, fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman and what's worse? One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death.

Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own investigation. The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they​ start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the investigation. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer.

Or die trying...

Genre: Upper Middle Grade Mystery/Thrillers
Astraea Press
Publication date: July 26, 2012
Number of pages: 366

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes ​suspicious. She decides to investigate. ​

The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

Genre: Upper Middle Grade Mystery/Thrillers
Astraea Press
Publication date: May 28, 2013
Number of pages: 277

​Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when they learn their missing parents’ cell phone has been traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the in-vestigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation. Suddenly, the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker." But when Sarah learns he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance, she’s 
determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake. Can they find the proof they need to stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late?

Lisa Orchard grew up loving books. She was hooked on books by the fifth grade and even wrote a few of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then. Her first published works are the “Super Spies Series.” These stories revolve around a group of friends who form their own detective squad and the cases they solve. “The Starlight Chronicles,” is the next series that Lisa created with musical misfit, Lark Singer as her main character.

Lisa resides in Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. Currently, she’s working on the next book in the Starlight Chronicles Series along with a few new ideas that may turn into stand-alone novels. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.

Book 1:

Chapter One

“Do you know who that was?”

Sarah Cole whirled around and spied a tall, skinny girl standing a few feet behind her. “Are you talking to me?” Shading her eyes, Sarah cocked her head to get a better look at her.

The skinny girl nodded, her mop of wild curls dancing with her movements. “Yeah, do you know who she is?”

Sarah gazed down the street at the wizened old woman shuffling away. She wore a faded housedress, which appeared to have been slept in for at least a couple of nights. It looked like the wrinkles had wrinkles.

The woman’s hair was a listless gray, trapped in a feeble bun at the nape of her neck. Some of it had escaped and trailed behind her as she walked, the limp strands swaying with the old woman’s faltering steps. Minutes ago, Sarah had helped her with her cart—it had gotten stuck on the doorjamb as she left the corner drug store.

Pulling her honey-colored hair out of her eyes, Sarah spun and studied the skinny girl, not quite sure what to make of her. “No, I don’t.”

Sarah continued her scrutiny and noticed the skinny girl stood at least five inches taller than she did. Her curly hair burst from her scalp in a frantic frenzy. She looks like an exploded cotton swab. Pursing her lips, Sarah suppressed a bubble of laughter.

“She’s the Cat Lady,” the bony girl said, an expression of guarded curiosity mixed with fear on her face.

“Who’s the Cat Lady?”

The skinny girl pointed at the old woman shuffling away. “She’s a crazy lady. A witch.”

“A witch?” Sarah scoffed. “I don’t believe in witches.”

“It’s true,” the skinny girl whispered emphatically. She stared at Sarah, her dark eyes reflecting the conviction behind her words.

“I don’t believe you.”

“No one has seen her in years. She never leaves her home.” The skinny girl glanced toward the Cat Lady again, and then walked closer to Sarah.

Realizing the skinny girl was scared, Sarah glanced down the street a second time. She watched the hunched, old woman make her painful shuffle down the sidewalk. The Cat Lady didn’t look dangerous to Sarah. She appeared to be a weary old lady making her way home.

“There’s no such thing as witches,” Sarah said.

“She’s a witch, an evil witch,” the scrawny girl insisted. She nodded her head again, sending her dark curls into another wild dance.

Sarah glanced down the street a third time and watched the old woman limp away. She didn’t look like she had the strength to pull her cart, let alone perform black magic. “How do you know? Does she practice voodoo or something?” Sarah smirked at the skinny girl, realizing she had a flair for the theatrical. “And if she never leaves her home…why is she out on the street now?”

The girl opened her mouth to speak, and then shut it again as if she realized Sarah had a point. “Well…the delivery boy must have quit.” She pulled on a wayward curl and frowned. “Because there’s no way she leaves her home. I haven’t seen her in years.”

“Uh huh,” Sarah said, raising her eyebrows and pursing her lips.

The skinny girl must have seen the doubt in Sarah’s expression, because she crossed her arms over her bony chest and moved another step closer. “Just let me tell you the whole story; I’m sure you’ll change your mind. My name’s Jacqueline Jenkins.” She drew out the syllables emphasizing her name like a movie star or the Queen of England, JAAAQUELEENE JEEENKIINS. Jutting out her hip, she faced Sarah as if she were posing for a magazine. “What’s yours?”

“Sarah Cole.” Speaking through tight lips, Sarah was able to stifle another bubble of laughter.

“You can call me Jackie, though. That’s what my friends call me.” She studied Sarah for a moment. “You’re new in town, aren’t you?”

“Yeah. We’re staying with my aunt and uncle while my parents are on vacation.”


“Me and my sister, Lacey.” Sarah scrutinized her surroundings. “Is this the whole town of Harrisburg?”

“Yep, this is it.” Jackie  opened her arms wide as if she were presenting the town to her.

Sarah stifled another giggle. She looks like Vanna White on the Wheel of Fortune.

“Where are you from?”

Sarah cleared her throat and sighed. She wasn’t looking forward to being stuck in this podunk town for the summer. Looking down the street, she realized there were only two traffic lights in the tiny burg.

“We’re from Walker, you know, the big city.” Sarah held up her hands and formed quotes with her fingers when she said the words ‘big city’. “Do you guys have a bookstore?”

“Nope, but we do have a library.” Jackie pointed to a weathered old building standing on the corner. “But no on33e goes there this time of year.”

“Why not?” Sarah’s spirits sank even lower as she realized she wouldn’t be able to buy her true crime novels.

“Because, it’s summer, silly.”

Sarah rolled her eyes. “Oh, I thought you were going to say it was haunted by the Cat Lady.”

Jackie cracked a wide grin. “Nope, she never comes out of her house.”

“Except for today.” Sarah shot Jackie a skeptical look.

“Once I tell you the whole story, you’ll be a believer.” Jackie hooked her arm through Sarah’s. “Good thing you ran into me, otherwise you would have gone the whole summer without this knowledge. Come on, let’s follow her home.”

Sarah chewed on her thumbnail. “I don’t know—”

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Book Blast: Heart of the Billionaire by Jennifer Youngblood and Sandra Poole

The scrumptiously romantic series continues with the second book in the Almost an Angel Series by Bestselling Authors Jennifer Youngblood and Sandra Poole

Gracie, an angel-in-training, has completed her first assignment, reuniting Alex and Dawson after their tumultuous breakup. Her elation is cut short when she receives her next assignment: Brooke Matthews—the snotty, entitled, princess, who did everything in her power to snatch Dawson away from Alex.

Where in the world will Gracie find a man to put up with this beauty of a beast?

Nash Rigby is a bull rider. Used to taking life by the horns, he’s willing to enter into an arrangement—a dubious arrangement—to save his father’s ranch. He’s trained to hang on for all he’s worth for eight seconds, but can this cowboy hang on to Brooke long enough to win the prize? Or, will he be able to see Brooke’s inner beauty and find the love of a lifetime? Maybe … with a little help from an almost angel.

Faced with the insurmountable task of helping the cowboy and the billionaire’s daughter fall in love, Gracie digs in, determined to do things her way. When Sheldon, a dark angel with killer looks, floats back into her life, err … afterlife, Gracie must fight against her growing attraction to heaven’s bad boy.

Heart of the Billionaire is a stand-alone novel. But to get the full effect of how things work in the realm of angels, check out Candlelight Kisses (Book 1 in the Almost an Angel Series)


Praise for the Series:

“I did not see that ending coming! Gracie is not what I expected either…she doesn’t fit the mold of what you think an “angel-in-training” is supposed to be like, and it will be fun to see her continue to learn and change. I love her mentor, Gertrude! It is a fun, clean romance that keeps you interested and entertained. Eagerly anticipating the next one in the series!” by Verified Amazon Customer

“Love this series! Nash’s desire to save his father’s ranch touched me. And it helped he’s hot and swoon worthy! And Gracie’s love story with the ‘bad boy’ makes it even more interesting! Love this! Don’t miss it!” Always Reading

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Excerpt From Heart of the Billionaire (Book 2 in The Almost an Angel Series)

Stewart Matthews sat poised on the edge of his seat, his body taut—his face wearing the laser-beam focus of a General preparing for battle. In many ways, he was fighting the greatest battle of his life, for it involved the heart of the one he loved the most.

He could only see one way to help Brooke, but she wouldn’t like it. In fact, she would be so angry that she might never speak to him again. That was the price he would have to pay for attempting to save her. Better to be a parent than a friend. Even though he dreaded what was to come, he knew there was no other option. His money had been the thing that sent Brooke down her path of self-destruction. He could only hope that it would also be the catalyst that would save her

A feeling of resignation settled over him as he looked down at the blank page. Then he picked up the pen and began to write …

My Darling Brooke,

From the moment you were born and I held you in my arms, I knew that my life would never again be the same. Never before had I experienced such pure and complete love. And that love has only grown and multiplied over the years. You are my heart, my primary responsibility, and I will take any measures necessary to protect you, even if that means protecting you from yourself.

Sweetheart, my only desire is that you find joy and contentment—the kind that can only come from within. You need to learn to love unconditionally and to love someone so completely that you are willing to put his needs before your own. Please know that I have spent many a night, walking the floors, trying to determine the best course of action to set you back on the right path.

A way has been opened up, and I intend to take full advantage of it. My only hope is that you will one day find it in your heart to forgive me, for what I’m about to do.

A knock sounded. He looked up as his assistant stuck her head in the door. “I’m sorry to disturb you, but the attorney is here and waiting in the conference room. It’s time.”

The moment of truth was here. Once he signed the documents, there would be no going back. He blew out a breath, a rigid look of determination on his lined face. “Tell them I’ll be there in five minutes.”

Jennifer Youngblood & Sandra Poole

Jennifer and Sandra—daughter and mother writing duo—have been writing together for many years and have over a dozen published novels, a collection of short stories, and a children’s book (released under the pen name of Periwinkle Blue). They feel it’s a great privilege to be able to collaborate with each other as it adds a depth and spice to their work that neither of them could get independently. For them, writing is a continual journey of discovery. They have so many ideas for books that it’s hard to focus on one at a time.

Both of them have a penchant for chocolate, seafood, and movies.

Jennifer has a B.A. in English and Social Sciences from BYU Hawaii, and Sandra has a Masters in Business Administration. Jennifer and Sandra now live in the Rocky Mountains with their families.

Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/13/16

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

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Book Review: Proposals and Poison by Rachelle J. Christensen

Proposals and Poison, by Rachelle J. Christensen
2016, 270p, Clean Cozy Mystery
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy via eBooks for Review for an honest review

Love can be a very dangerous thing.

At least it seems that way to Adri Pyper, the premier wedding planner in Sun Valley, Idaho. When one of her clients dies mysteriously, Adri takes the advice of the local detective and swears she will stay out of the investigation . . . this time. Luke Stetson's involvement in the case, along with the possibility of a kiss between the two, should be enough incentive to keep Adri out of trouble. But when a dog-themed wedding is almost ruined by a suspect, Adri and her assistant, Lorea, are thrust into private eye mode. When poison enters the picture, even a reluctant sleuth can’t steer clear of danger.

This is the third book in this series and I enjoyed it as much as the first two! Adri just can't seem to keep away from the action. This time, one of her clients died, and the police believed she was poisoned. Adri couldn't believe where the evidence was leading and wanted to help clear the name of another friend.

Adri is a wedding planner and Luke is a divorce attorney. They met in the first book and haven't always gotten along. There is an attraction there, though, and they start to explore it in this book. You don't have to read the first two books to understand what's going on but it helps to have the background for their relationship (and they're fun to read!).

I like how each chapter starts with a recipe, beauty tip or craft, which are linked to a functioning website, and how the author incorporates that into the chapter. There are twists and turns along the way to figuring out the guilty party and plenty of suspects to choose from (although I thought this was one the easiest to figure out so far). There's also some slow-moving romance mixed in. This is a fun cozy mystery series which is left open at the end so I'm hoping there will be more!

RachelleAuthor Rachelle J. Christensen

Rachelle is a mother of five who writes mystery/suspense, nonfiction, and women’s fiction. She solves the case of the missing shoe on a daily basis. She enjoys raising chickens and laughing with her husband. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a minor in music.

Rachelle is the award-winning author of ten books, including The Soldier’s Bride (a Kindle Scout Selection), Wrong Number, Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things, What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know, and Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology. Her novella, “Silver Cascade Secrets,” was included in the Rone Award–winning Timeless Romance Anthology, Fall Collection.

Rachelle has a VIP mailing list where all subscribers get access to free books, guides, and other resources. Sign up now to hear what exciting news Rachelle has to share. VIP Mailing List

Book Blast: The Descendant Prophecies by Mary Ting

From Titans (Book #4) by Mary Ting

Everyone is searching for Mason.

Zeus sent Hermes, and the Oracles have used their magic, with no success. A sparkle of hope arises when Eris, the goddess of Chaos, sends an invitation to her wedding engagement party. She’s holding Mason hostage, and Skylar and her friends only need permission to enter Eris’s world to rescue him.

At the party, Eris gives them one condition: In exchange for Mason, they must travel to the Land of Reverse and bring back the bottle of gold water King Midas used to wash himself free of his gift. Further chaos follows when Eris not only sets up a hunt in the Labyrinth of Crete, but makes a bargain with the Titans she rescued.

The Titans possess power more than anyone anticipated, and Cronus is hungry for revenge after his own children locked him up in Tartarus. No one is safe. Not even the humans.

pre order on amazon

Praise for the Series
“From Gods takes mythology to a whole new level of imagination with its incredible plot and amazing characters. It’s full of hotness that you never want to end!” Michele, Insane About Books

“From Gods by the AMAZING AUTHOR Mary Ting is OMGods good!! If you even LIKE Greek Mythology, set aside some time because you will DEVOUR Mary Ting’s Demi Gods and Vultures!!!” Mindy, Books Complete Me

Grab a FREE copy of From Gods this weekend ONLY!

From Gods (Book #1) by Mary Ting

Did you just see a flash of lightning across the sky on a clear sunny day?

Don’t blame Mother Nature.

Skylar Rome can’t wait to spend her last summer before college with her cousin, Kayla. Everything changes when they meet the Grand brothers. Skylar is sure she should stay away from Mason Grand, but their attraction is undeniable. Then Skylar’s life erupts into turmoil. She steps into a world where descendants of ancient gods have super powers, evil beings chase her, and questions arise about her own identity. She is running out of time and running for her life, while trying to unravel the mystery of what they want from her.

Forced into a battle set into motion long before she was born, will Skylar find the answers she seeks, or will she die trying?



“Mason, MASON, MASON!” Skylar panicked.

“I know. Skylar, hold on tight. I’m going to brake.”

“But there are cars behind us.”

“We have no choice. Don’t worry. I got this.” Mason pushed down on the brake forcefully. The car hydroplaned to the right. “Hold on.”

Skylar gripped the first thing her hand found. The water from the road jetted up into the air like in a water show, but the car kept gliding sideways, until finally it spun in a full circle and stopped. With no time to waste, Mason turned it to the right and accelerated, hoping to dodge what was coming toward them.

Out of nowhere, a long piece of ice, taking the form of a spear, darted through the trucks’ tires and punctured some of them. More ice spears came soaring out of the rain, but this time ten or more sphere-like ice balls followed, denting the sides of the trucks. One went through a windshield. With flat tires, the trucks now glided as if skating on ice, maneuvering from side to side.

“Did you do that?” Skylar asked excitedly.

“No. Must be Poseidon’s kids. Where the hell are they?” Mason spread his right arm out in front of Skylar as if to protect her. “Bend down, Sky.”

One of the trucks hit another and veered off, hitting yet another one. The crash caused the trucks to flip and tumble, heading straight for Mason’s car. With a look of shock, Skylar held her breath. There was no time to move, think, or get out of the car, so she closed her eyes and prepared for the crash. Seconds before impact, Mason’s car flew up into the air and over the trucks. Somehow, as if by magic, the water created a liquid bridge, guiding the car safely over, and then it thumped hard onto the ground on the other side. Without looking back, Mason sped away as the sound of screeching brakes and metal hitting metal blasted behind them.

Author Mary Ting

International Bestselling, Award-Winning, Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

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Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/13/16

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

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Blog Tour/Review: Just Claire by Jean Ann Williams

Genre: Fiction, Historical, Children's
Publisher: Clean Reads
Publication date: January 6, 2016
Number of pages: 208

ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.

With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.


Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, this is her first book. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.

I received a copy via Singing Librarian Books for an honest review
My Rating=4 Stars

It's 1960 and ClaireLee's family has recently moved from Oregon to the wilderness of Gallagher Springs in Northern California. Her mother has just given birth but both she and the baby need to be taken to the hospital. Thirteen-year-old Claire is left alone with her brothers and sisters and quickly becomes the one in charge. She needs to physically take care of them, and get them to school. She's ready to make friends and gets caught in the middle of feuding girls. She likes most of the girls involved and tries to bring them all together.

I liked Claire and there were times that I felt bad for the situation she found herself in. Her parents were a bit frustrating to me, especially when it took so long for her to find out what happened to her mother. When her mother came home, her behavior was confusing to Claire and she had to adjust to the new family dynamic. She stepped in when her family needed help, yet there were times she just wanted to escape and be a teenage girl.

Claire also had to figure out her friendships. She so badly wanted to be part of the Lavender Girls and was fascinated with the city girls and their lifestyle. There was one main reason not to join them, though. She had a big heart and wanted everyone to be accepted. This is a good coming-of-age middle-grade story that will also appeal to adults. I enjoyed getting to know Claire and look forward to reading more from this author in the future!

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Blog Tour/Spotlight: Survivor Pass by Shirleen Davies

Survivor Pass, Book Five, Redemption
Mountain Historical Western Romance Series

“The Redemption Mountain series is as good as historical romance gets—vivid settings, memorable characters, love, and lots at stake. Shirleen Davies knows how to bring the old west to life. You feel as if you've traveled, with the characters, to the frontier. I hope there will be more to come!” Book Review

He thought he’d found a quiet life…

Cash Coulter settled into a life far removed from his days of fighting for the South and crossing the country as a bounty hunter. Now a deputy sheriff, Cash wants nothing more than to buy some land, raise cattle, and build a simple life in the frontier town of Splendor, Montana. But his whole world shifts when his gaze lands on the most captivating woman he’s ever seen. And the feeling appears to be mutual.

But nothing is as it seems…

Alison McGrath moved from her home in Kentucky to the rugged mountains of Montana for one reason—to find the man responsible for murdering her brother. Despite using a false identity to avoid any tie to her brother’s name, the citizens of Splendor have no intention of sharing their knowledge about the bank robbery which killed her only sibling. Alison knows her circle of lies can’t end well, and her growing for Cash threatens to weaken the revenge which drives her.

And the troubles are mounting

There is danger surrounding them both—men who seek vengeance as a way to silence the past…by any means necessary.

Survivor Pass is book five in the Redemption Mountain historical western romance series. It is a full length novel with an HEA.


Alison’s breath hitched when she felt Cash’s hands grip her waist, but she couldn’t pull away, didn’t want to break the contact. His large palms and strong fingers almost spanned her slim body, drawing her closer as his gaze held hers.

She’d been kissed once by a boy from a neighboring farm. It had lasted seconds and made no impression, other than causing her to grimace and swipe an arm across her mouth. He’d wanted to do it again. Instead, she’d pushed him away, turned, and ran as fast as possible back to her home. Her feelings today couldn’t be more different.

Although unwise and against all her plans, Alison looked up, her tongue darting out to moisten her lips. She closed her eyes at the feel of his lips brushing hers.

On a low groan, Cash slanted his mouth over hers, ignoring the warnings in his head in favor of the sensations she made him feel. Warmth spread through his body as she allowed him to take control, sweeping his tongue into her mouth when her lips parted on a sigh. She tasted of coffee and pie. He couldn’t get enough and deepened the kiss, tightening his hold, aligning his body with hers. She wrapped her arms around his neck, brushing her fingers through his hair.

Her taste, touch, and unique scent messed with his rational thought and common sense. For a man used to dealing with situations in cool, dispassionate logic, Cash felt all control slip away as their embrace and actions became more zealous.

Knowing he had to stop before the passion caused them both to lose all restraint, he broke the kiss, resting his forehead against hers, his breathing unsteady and ragged.

Taking a step back, Alison looked into eyes reflecting the same desire and confusion she felt. When he placed one more kiss on her forehead, she inhaled a deep breath, touching a finger to her still sensitive lips.

Clearing his throat, Cash grasped her hand in his. “We should be going before we lose sight of the path.”

Unable to form a coherent thought, Alison nodded, leaving her hand in his as he guided her off the hill and back toward town. Neither of them spoke until they stood outside the door to her shop. At least the time had allowed her to get her breathing and erratic heartbeat under control.

“Thank you for a wonderful evening, Cash. It was…well…unexpected.”

Eyes dark and hooded, he pulled her close for one more kiss before setting her aside so as not to draw attention from those few people still on the street. Clearing his throat, he glanced around, searching for control.

“I’ll come by at noon tomorrow and we’ll head out to the Pelletier’s. That is if you’re still interested in going with me.”

“Yes, I’d like to go if you’re certain they won’t mind.” She sucked in a breath, realizing they’d be alone during the ride, posing a temptation she didn’t need. Alison wrapped her arms around her waist to help control the shivers from their brief, intense kiss. “Perhaps it would be best for me to wait. I don’t want to impose.” She let her gaze slowly move from his chest to the opening at the top of his shirt before traveling to his face, which now held an easy smirk.

“You’re not afraid to be alone with me, are you, Mrs. Burns?” He leaned forward, his warm breath washing over her cheeks, his lips brushing hers.

Drawing away and straightening her shoulders, she glared at him. “Of course not, Mr. Coulter.”

Moving close to her ear, he lowered his already husky voice. “You should be, Alison.”


Shirleen Davies writes romance—historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense. She grew up in Southern California, attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day she provides consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But her real passion is writing emotionally charged stories of flawed people who find redemption through love and acceptance.  She now lives with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Blog Tour/Spotlight: Hope in My Heart by Alexis A. Goring

Genre: Romance
Publisher: WestBow Press
Publication date: November 25, 2015
Number of pages: 148

Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.

In Love Unexpected,a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.
​Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, The Best Gift. Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister's wedding. Jordan
 wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In Peace and Love, three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents' divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart and a journalist by profession.

She loves the art of storytelling! She was delighted when her first book, an inspirational romance novella called Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, released in Sept. 2013.

When Alexis is not working on her next book or chasing down the next big story for the newspaper where she works as a freelance reporter, she can be found listening to songs by her most admired musicians, enjoying the food in cafes/restaurants, shopping at her favorite malls and spending quality time with loved ones (family and friends).

Chandra was driving down the highway with a heavy foot on the accelerator. The music in her Mazda Miata coupe was blaring and she was happy. She planned to return to work before lunch break was over, and it looked like she was going to meet her goal in exactly ten minutes. As Chandra prepared to change lanes for her exit, a car slammed into the passenger’s side of her vehicle.

Chandra screamed but managed to maintain enough control to steer the car to the side of the road. The car that hit Chandra spun around and ended on the side of the road, not too far from her car. A panicked Chandra immediately hopped out of her car and inspected it for damages. The entire passenger side of her car was dented.

“Oh no!” Chandra crumpled to the bare cement beside her car and buried her head in her hands.

Meanwhile, the driver who had caused the accident emerged from his Jeep and checked the damages. The entire driver’s side of his car was scratched and mildly dented. He was inspecting the damage when he heard crying. He turned around and went to see the lady he had run into. He should have known not to text while driving.

“Hey, lady, I’m so sorry!” he apologized. “Are you okay?”

“No!” Chandra screamed as she struggled to rise to her feet. “Why weren’t you looking where you were going?”

“Listen, lady,” the man replied as he retrieved his phone from his jean pocket. “Let’s not get upset. I’m going to call the cops, and we’ll be out of here in an hour.”

“An hour?” Chandra cried. “I’ve got be at work in ten minutes!”

The man looked at her. “Well, what do you propose we do?”

Chandra scrambled, pulling out her purse out of her car then running back to the man who had caused the accident. “Give me your name and number and we’ll settle this later.”

“Fine.” The man embodied tall, dark, and handsome. “But I’m going to take your license plate number in case you forget.”

“Fine,” Chandra replied before pulling out a notepad from her purse and looking over at the man’s license plate. She quickly penned his tag numbers and then looked up at his broad six foot frame. “Here.” She scribbled her name, tag number, insurance information, and cell number on a separate piece of paper and handed it to him. “That’s all the information you’ll need for your insurance agent.”

“And you’re sure that you don’t want to call the cops?” the man asked.
“Yes!” a somewhat annoyed Chandra answered. “Now write your contact information on this paper so I can call my insurance company from work.”

Wow, this woman was bossy—just like his sister. But he obeyed her order.

After exchanging information, Chandra read the stranger’s name out loud. “Sebastian Carter. Why does that sound familiar?”

“I’m a personal trainer for some celebrities,” he replied.

“Like who?” Chandra asked before remembering that she had limited time to return to the office. “Oh, never mind! I have to go.” She hurried to her car.

“Drive safely, lady!” Sebastian called. He glanced at the paper she gave him. “I mean drive safely, Chandra!”

“I was driving safely,” Chandra called back. “You need to look where you’re going!”

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