Friday, April 6, 2018

BLOG TOUR / REVIEW FOR - THE LEMONADE YEAR - BY - AMY WILLOUGHBY-BURLE




Welcome to my stop on the fun tour!

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DESCRIPTION:
 Pic and description taken from showdowmountain.com

Nina’s once-sweet life has unexpectedly turned sour. Her marriage is over, her job is in jeopardy, and her teenage daughter is slipping away from her. Then her father dies and issues with Nina’s mother come to a head; her estranged brother, Ray, comes home; and her sister, Lola, is tempted to blow a big family secret out of the water. They say the truth will set you free, but first it will make a huge mess of things.
All Nina’s got left is her final photography assignment shooting images for the book 32 Ways to Make Lemonade. Well, that and the attention of a younger man, but Oliver’s on-again-off-again romantic interest in her ebbs and flows so much she is seasick. And then Jack, her ex-husband, shows up, wanting to get back together.

As Nina struggles to find a way through her complicated relationships and uncover her true path, she discovers just how valuable a second chance at life and happiness can be.

MY REVIEW / THOUGHTS:

I really do love being able to review books.  Reviewing for Shadow Mountain Publishing is always great.  I have loved everything they have sent me and this book is no exception.

This story takes you on a roller coaster ride in emotions.  There is so much heartache and loss in this book that it kind of tears at your heart strings.  BUT, there is also so much, love, forgiveness, and second chances, that your emotions are all over the place.  I LOVE it when a book can do that for me.

I don’t want to give too much away so I am just going to tell you a little about the characters that I love in this book.

Nina – Is looking at life as a single mother now.  She thought her whole live was going to be perfect.  Perfect house, perfect husband, perfect child.  Then life happens.  Nina, is a photographer, and most of her work is made up of taking pictures of food.  She can hear the talk around the office that it might get sold….so she has uneasy feeling easy feeling at work also.  Nina also has a 15-year-old daughter named Cassie, who doesn’t seem to like Nina at all.  Nina, and her sister Lola, are close and Lola seems to keep Nina grounded.  Then walks in Oliver.  Just in case her life wasn’t messy enough, in walks a yummy young man who is interested in her.  Nina has also recently lost her father.  Her life is a train wreck that you cannot turn the pages fast enough to see how it turns out.

Lola, Nina’s sister, is my favorite character out of all of them.  Nina, may be the MC, but Lola is still my favorite.  I love her outlook on life, and her beautiful ability to forgive and love.  She has a little problem with memory that I don’t want to talk too much about, but sometimes she forgets things at the most inconvenient times.  Lola is dating Chris, and well, let’s just say…. mmmmmm mmmmm.  Everyone around Lola is careful about what they say and do, because they are fearful that it will send her into some kind of memory loss or remembrance.  Neither of which any one wants.  Lola is so beautiful.  Really, I just grew to love her so much in this book.  I need to use her outlook on life every day!

Ray, is Nina’s brother.  The troubled soul.  The tortured soul, and the convicted soul.  Ray, has spent his whole life pulling away from everyone he loves, and one of those times it lands in in prison.  Ray, is the bad boy all the girls go for.  Well, that is what he wants everyone to think about him.  He is no good.  He doesn’t deserve to be loved.  He is a screw up.  Ray, really isn’t as bad as he makes himself out to be.  I couldn’t help be drawn to this tortured young man.  He lived his life doing everything he could to make those who love him most hate him.  He came and went as he pleased, and usually caused havoc when he was around.  Ray’s story is probably my favorite part of this book.  Lola, favorite character, and Ray’s story just made me see what so many other people I know might be going through.  It is sad and beautiful at the same time.

Cassie, is Nina’s daughter, and I don’t like her at all.  Yes, she is angsty teenager, but I still don’t like her.  She is a good character to not like 😉.  I feel bad that I don’t like her, but I don’t like any angsty teenager, so I guess it’s no a surprise I didn’t like her.  Most of the time I just wanted to smack her in her face.  But hey, the author did a great job of writing a character I loved to hate, so I guess that is great.

Jack, is Nina’s ex-husband.  I still haven’t figured out how I feel about him in this story.  I am still processing if I like where things went with him.  He’s a great dad, and seems to be a good guy, but I am still on the fence about him.  I would love to hear what you guys think about him though!

There are some other great characters in this book but these are the ones I chose to talk about.  I decided I didn’t want to talk about Nina’s mother, because the jury is still out on her as well. 

You should pick this one up.  It has so much to it.  It’s full of twists, and surprises, and second chances at life.  Who doesn’t need a second chance once in a while.  The author did a wonderful job bringing these characters to life for me.  I could feel their emotions while I was reading, and there is nothing better than that.  I felt like I was a fly on the wall during this whole book.  Right there in it, but no one could see me.  It was wonderful.  I hope you take the time to read it.

Source:  I was given this book as part of a blog tour in return for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.

MY RATING:



WHERE TO BUY:

    



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author avatar
pic and bio taken from showdowmountain.com

Amy Willoughby-Burle is a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children. She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us. She is the author of a collection of short stories entitled Out Across the Nowhere and a contributor to the anthology Of Mist and Magic.

A SPECIAL THANKS TO:



Sunday, April 1, 2018

BLOG TOUR / REVIEW FOR - WIZARD FOR HIRE - BY - OBERT SKYE





WELCOME TO MY STOP ON THIS FUN TOUR:

DESCRIPTION:
taken from shadowmountain.com 

Fourteen-year-old Ozzy lives near Portland, Oregon, and is desperate for help. His scientist parents have been kidnapped after discovering a formula that enables mind control. Their work was so top secret Ozzy is afraid to go to the police, but without help, he fears he’ll never find his parents. Then he stumbles across a classified ad in the local newspaper that says “Wizard for Hire. Call 555-SPEL.” Ozzy has read about wizards in books like Harry Potter, but wizards couldn’t actually exist today, could they? After Ozzy meets the wizard Labyrinth–aka Rin–he’s even more skeptical.

Sure, Rin dresses like a wizard, but the short robe and high-top tennis shoes seem unorthodox, as does Rin’s habit of writing notes on his shoes and eating breakfast for every meal. Plus, Rin doesn’t even cast any magic spells, which means that the unexplained coincidences that start happening around Ozzy are just that–coincidences.

With the help of a robotic-talking raven invented by Ozzy’s father, a kind and curious girl at school who decides to help Ozzy, and, of course, a self-proclaimed wizard who may or may not have a magical wand, Ozzy begins an unforgettable quest that will lead him closer to the answers he desperately seeks about his missing parents.

MY REVIEW / THOUGHTS:

This was such a great book.  Our main Character Ozzy and his family move to Portland, Oregon to to live in the solitude of the mountains.  The first day Ozzy is allowed to go behind the cabin by himself to the little river, he hears screaming.

He runs back to the house in time to see people dressed in green taking his parents away.  Ozzy was only 7 years old.  He was so scared and alone, but quickly learned how to take care of himself.  Seven years after his parents go missing, Ozzy finds an interesting box from his father, he decides it's time to go and search for answers.

This book had a lot of funny things happen.  Ozzy not being around people for seven years, made him a little odd, but he didn't have any idea why people thought that.  I love how confident he was because he didn't know any better.  I wish all kids could be this confident.  Knowing that it doesn't matter what the world thinks, just that they be a good person.  

When Ozzy goes looking for answers it doesn't quite happen like he thought it would.  He sees an add in a local newspaper that says "Wizard for Hire", so he of course had to see if it was real.

Then we get to meet Rin.  Now he is a great character.  In his funny clothes and eccentric personality make him one of a kind.  Ozzy meets him tells him he is searching for his family and their alliance begins.  

With the two in search for his parents, a fun adventure starts to take place.  With Ozzy's bird that he found that is father made the three of them made for a very unlikely crew.  They worked well together, yet Ozzy wasn't always convinced that Rin was a "real" wizard.  

This was such an interesting book.  I loved the characters, and the setting.  I loved the world that Ozzy lived in and the one Rin seemed to live in.   Skye's writing is amazing, and so much fun to read.  It's one book I think I am going to have to read with my son, because it's great for middle grade kids.  It's full of adventure, and interesting happenings.  

I hope you will take the time to read this one.  It was such a great ride.

Source:  I was given this book as part of a blog tour.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.

MY RATING:



WHERE TO BUY:

    

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

avatar-author
pic and bio taken from shadowmountain.com

Obert Skye is the bestselling author of the Leven Thumps and Pillagy series. He is also the author of the comic novels, The Creature from My Closet. Obert lives in a constant state of wonder. He has a keen sense of smell and is the owner of a great deal of curiosity. For further information about Obert’s current whereabouts or state of mind, visit abituneven.com.

A SPECIAL THANKS TO:


Thursday, March 29, 2018

BOOK REVIEW FOR - CELEBRATING A CHRIST-CENTERED EASTER - BY Emily Belle Freeman

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pic and description taken from shadowmountain.com

DESCRIPTION:

This is a children’s picture book edition of the best-selling adult book of the same title. Using illustrations and age-appropriate text, this children’s edition features passages of scripture along with original text to tell the Easter story and provides ideas for family traditions that young children can understand to make the holiday more Christ-centered. Each spread uses at least one person from the Easter story-including Simon, Joseph and Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and Thomas-to illustrate a theme.
Combining biblical text with a beautiful story line and wonderfully charming, full-color illustrations, this book will help make Christ the focus of your celebrations this year.



MY THOUGHTS / REVIEW:

This is such a sweet story for children.  I love Easter.  I love to teach my kids the real meaning of Easter.  Not that having eggs hunts and Easter baskets aren't fun, I just want them to recognize the reason for the season.

This book has such beautiful illustrations about the Easter.  Each scripture reference comes with an activity that you can do with your family to make Easter more meaningful.  I wish my kids were still little, but I am still going to make them do some of them with me anyway.

If you have children this is a great book to pick up and read with them, and then do the activities as a family.

Easter is beautiful.  The Savior is beautiful.  This is such a sweet story.

MY RATING:


WHERE TO BUY:

    


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

avatar-author
pic and bio taken from shadowmountain.com



EMILY BELLE FREEMAN is a coach’s wife, a mother to four children and a few others who have found refuge in her home, author of several bestselling books, and sought-after inspirational speaker. Her days are spent watching over teenagers, her flock of pampered chickens, and a rabbit that she adores. She finds great joy in studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Her deep love of the scriptures comes from a desire to find their application in everyday life. For a few minutes every day Emily forgets about the laundry, leaves the dishes in the sink, and writes. She coauthors a blog that is a stopping place for hearts seeking all that is good.




Tuesday, March 27, 2018

BOOK TOUR / REVIEW FOR - THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRIDGE - BY - CAMRON WRIGHT



Welcome to my stop on this amazing tour.

DESCRIPTION:


Katie Connelly has lived in San Francisco all her life. Her late father made his career on the Golden Gate Bridge, and the many stories of how he saved jumpers still haunt her. And now her job assignment is to write about the history of the bridge-a history that includes a secret journal about a promise ring and a love story that may be the answer to her unresolved sorrow.
Meanwhile, Dave Riley, a marketing executive in New York, has sorrows of his own. Grasping at straws after tragedy strikes his family, he decides to follow a daydream that has turned into an obsession: to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge on a motorcycle on the Fourth of July. Does the bridge somehow mysteriously hold the answers both Katie and Dave are looking for? Or will they find something completely different when they get to the other side?

MY REVIEW / THOUGHTS:

When the opportunity came up to review one of Camron Wright's books I jumped at it.  His book "The Rent Collector" is one of my favorites, so I knew I was getting a good book.

This story was so complex, and beautiful.  I have to admit I had read some reviews that made me wonder if I would love it as much as I did his other books, lets just say, everyone has their own opinion, and I loved this book.  It was so moving.

We follow two different stories in this book, that end up being intertwined, but not in a way you think it would be.

Katie is a single woman who has been tasked with writing a story about The Golden Gate Bridge.  This is something near and dear to her heart, since her father worked on the bridge for years, saving people from jumping to their deaths.  

I learned so much about the making of this bridge from Katie's research, and I have always had a fascination with the Golden Gate Bridge, but I still have never been.  I want to go now more than ever.  I feel like I would be able to feel the people who worked so tirelessly to make it such a great site.  There were so many lives lost while building the bridge, but also some wonderful friendships and stories that came from it as well.  Katie does such a great job researching and bringing to life these amazing people who helped build the bridge.  It's so great.

Dave on the other hand has a story that is so tragic, that it was hard for me to read.  I don't want to give anything away, but his man had a hard go at life for a while.  He had a dream to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge on the 4th of July, with the sun at his back and the wind blowing through his hair.  His Grandfather had helped build the bridge and had told him that it had helped him find answers.  Dave was hoping the same thing would happen for him.  But, how could he leave his life and his work and just go take off on a Harley across the country.

The story that brings this to life is so wonderfully tragic.  We all face loss, disappointment, and anger.  What we do with that is what makes us who we are as humans now.  Dave seem to be stuck in the anger, until he met Redd.  Redd introduced Dave to his first Harley Davidson (which is a bike I swoon over every time I see one.....I don't want to ride it I just want it to sit in my garage and look pretty).  

When Dave finally decides he is going to go for his dream.  He walks out on his work, and his life, buys a Harley and heads towards San Francisco.  

This book is such a great story of love, loss, anger, friendship, devotion, and new beginnings.  I couldn't put this one down.  It was so captivating to hear two different peoples look on life and to see how their little lives come together just for a moment.  That moment seems to be what they are both looking for.

Wright is an excellent writer.  He brings the world to life.  He brings tragedy to the forefront and makes your heart ache.  He also tells such a compelling story that now all I want to do is learn more about the bridge.  

Pick this one up.  I know I always say that, but that is because I love to read and love to share the books I love with others.  You won't be disappointed.  It is such a beautiful, and meaningful story.  We all need to find our place in this world and sometime it takes some longer than others.  Sometimes we think we have found it, and learn that there can be more to add to the beauty that is already around us.  

I cannot say enough good things about this book!  Read it.  You won't regret it.

Source:  I was given this book as part of a book tour.  I was not compensate  in any way for this review.  These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.

MY RATING:
this deserves the +1

WHERE TO BUY:

    



ABOUT THE AMAZING AUTHOR:
avatar-author
pic and bio taken from shadowmountain.com

Camron Wright holds a master’s degree in writing and public relations. He says he began writing to get out of attending MBA school, and it proved the better decision. His first book, Letters for Emily, was a Readers Choice award winner, as well as a selection of the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. His next novel, The Rent Collector, won Book of the Year, Fiction, from ForeWord Reviews; Best Novel of the Year from the Whitney Awards; and was a nominee for the prestigious International DUBLIN Literary Award. The Orphan Keeper is his most recent publication. Camron lives with his wife, Alicyn, in Utah. They are the parents of four children.

A SPECIAL THANKS TO
Sarah Cobabe @

for the opportunity to participate in this wonderful tour!





Wednesday, March 7, 2018

BLOG TOUR / REVIEW FOR - ASHES ON THE MOOR - BY - SARAH M. EDEN






WELCOME TO MY STOP FOR THIS TOUR!


 
pic and description taken from shadowmountain.com

DESCRIPTION:

When Evangeline is sent to live in a small mill town in Northern England as a schoolteacher in 1871, she finds herself struggling to fit in with an unfamiliar culture. Raised with the high-class Victorian values and ideals of a sophisticated upbringing, she is unprepared for the poverty she finds in the gritty factory town of Smeatley, where the locals speak with a hard-to-understand Yorkshire accent and struggle to thrive with few resources or opportunities.

Though she has no training as a teacher, she must prove herself successful before her grandfather will release her substantial inheritance to her and allow her to be reunited with her younger sister, the last remaining member of her family after a fever claimed the lives of her parents and brothers.

MY REVIEW / THOUGHTS:

Well, we all know how I feel about Proper Romance Books, but this is Proper Romance plus Sarah Eden.  Yes, Please!!!!  I love this author.  I like all of the authors, but I don’t know if I just enjoy her so much because I have actually met and talked with her a few times.  She is such a delightful person.  Her writing always brings a smile to my face.

Evangeline, is forced to be an independent woman after being brought up in high society when an accident takes all of her family away except one sister.  Lucy.  Instead of being able to mourn their family their Aunt Barton came and ripped them from their home and took them to Smeatley. 

Evangeline, promised Lucy they would always be together, but her Aunt Barton had other plans.  Not only did she rip Lucy away from her, she forced her into a teaching position, and into a home all alone.  Then she was told she wasn’t allowed to reveal their family relations or she would be fired.

This sounds like such a great family.  Aunt Barton told Evangeline that she would be checking on her progress and if she didn’t show that she could take care of her self then she would never be able to take care of Lucy either. 

Forced into a life she didn’t want Evangeline takes the high road and decides she going to do the best she can with the circumstances she has been put in.

She meets a neighbor man by the name of Dermont, who ends up helping her more than any one has in her whole life.  Evangeline doesn’t seem to mind that he is Irish like most of the town did when he arrived.  Dermont is a hard working man taking care of his son Ronan and building houses and fences.  He is a master at masonry.

This is such a sweet story of love, hope, endurance, and hard work.  The setting is so beautiful.  I love the town of Smeatley.  I was right there with the town people and Evangeline as she navigates through her new life.  It didn’t hurt anything that she had a yummy man living right down the street from her (Dermont) that helped her so much and made her feel welcome.

Evangeline is an amazing character.  She is kind, loving, compassionate, and fiery!  I love the fire she has.  She is a lady but is learning that she doesn’t have to take all the grieve her aunt and uncle are giving her anymore.  She finds joy in life, in the town and in the children, she is teaching.  She genuinely loves them, and it shows through this whole book.

I felt for the people in this small town, and all the hardships they faced, and how they all pulled together no matter what.  It is just such a wonderful, uplifting story.  It gave me chills, made me angry, and made me cry.  All good things a book can do for me 😊.  I loved every minute of this book.  I hope you take a chance to pick it up and read it.  It’s just a beautiful story.

Source:  I was given this book as part of a blog tour in return for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.

MY RATING:





WHERE TO BUY:

    





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author avatar

Pic and bio taken from shadowmountain.com


SARAH M. EDEN read her first Jane Austen novel in elementary school and has been an Austen addict ever since. Fascinated by the English Regency era, Eden became a regular in that section of the reference department at her local library, where she painstakingly researched this extraordinary chapter in history. Eden is an award-winning author of short stories and was a Whitney Award finalist for her novels Seeking Persephone and Courting Miss Lancaster.

A SPECIAL THANKS TO:









Thursday, February 22, 2018

PRE-RELEASE REVIEW FOR: MISS WILTON'S WALTZ - BY - JOSI S. KILPACK - BOOK TO RELEASE MAY 1, 2018


WELCOME TO MY PRE-RELEASE REVIEW FOR: 

 MISS WILTON’S WALTZ


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pic and description taken from shadowountain.com
book to release May 1, 2018


DESCRIPTION:

Lenora Wilton has spent her life hiding behind the keys of her beloved pianoforte and vibrancy of her younger sister, Cassie. But Lenora is ready for a change and beings her journey of self-discovery by traveling to Bath to live with her Aunt Gwen and teach music at an all-girls’ boarding school. She is different in Bath and enjoys the freedom and independence of her new life there. When Lenora meets Aiden Asher, she finds herself attracted to him, but her unexpected feelings become more complicated when she learns that Catherine-Lenora’s newest and most troublesome student in the school-is Mr. Asher’s niece.

Catherine is a difficult student, but Lenora feels as though she is making progress with the girl even as the chemistry between Lenora and Aiden increases. When they share a passionate kiss by the River Avon, Lenora feels it is the beginning of new forever-until she learns that Aiden has withheld an important detail about his life that changes everything.

Lenora closes her heart to him, and Aiden, caught between his obligation and his heart, must do what he can to make amends. And Lenora, after years of hiding from everyone and everything, faces a decision only she can make.

MY REVIEW / THOUGHTS:

It’s no surprise to those who read my blog how much I love the Proper Romance series.  The books are so wonderful, and clean and always carry such a great story.  This installment to the Proper Romance series is not different.  It’s amazing!  I love Kilpack’s writing.

This is a follow up book to the Vicar’s Daughter, and I was so excited to receive the book.  We get to see the sister rejected in the Vicar’s Daughter get her chance at love.  If she will just let it happen.
I just want to introduced my favorite characters to you, and hopefully you will love them as much as I did!

Lenora – in The Vicar’s Daughter she drove me a little insane.  She was so insecure and quiet, that it bugged me.  Probably just because that is so opposite of my own personality.  I never understood how she couldn’t speak her mind.  NOW, we get to see a whole new Lenora.  I love her.  She is still terribly shy, but she has been living with her Aunt and has gained more confidence and is just a delightful character.  Her ability to handle a difficult teenager made me happy.  I wish I could handle my own difficult teenager the same…hehe.  Lenora is just a picture-perfect person of grace, and beauty to me.  I truly loved her character, and was so happy to go on her journey with here in this book.

Aunt Gwen – Now, this woman is a woman after my own heart.  She loves to socialize and always has a kind presence around her.  She is stern, yet loving, and just all around amazing.  I love how she helps Lenora see the good in people, and helps her to come out of her shell a little.  She is the kind of Aunt every one should have.  One that is always there for you no matter what, and willing to help even when you’re stubborn and don’t want to listen to advice.  I love her so much.

Catherine – well, let me think of how to describe her, without being too unkind 😉.  She is a rotten teenager who makes everyone lives difficult especially if she doesn’t get her way.  She did have a horrible life until her Uncle took her in, but her snarky and full on disrespectful attitude, makes her a great character to hate.  Or love.  It’s a fine line.  I ended up really rooting for her and hoping she would see the light.  She is surrounded by people who have vowed to never abandon her again, but she has trust issues.  Which is very understandable.

Aiden – Mmmmm….Mmmmm….Mmmmm Aiden.  He comes off a bit brash at first but even then, you can tell he has a good heart.  He had to leave his estate to come and take care of his niece who is a petulant child, yet he loves her and cares for her the best he can.  He is such a gentleman.  I swooned over him the whole time.  His character is so well written.  The whole book is well written but these characters are stellar.

I don’t want to say too much about the book because I want you to go buy it for yourself.  It’s such a wonderfully, sweet romance.  The setting of this book is beautiful and I found myself completely emerged in the culture and time.  Kilpack has an amazing way of doing that for her readers.  There are other supporting characters that bring this book to life as well, but these four are what I want to focus on.  They are beautiful.  Dealing with real life situations, just in a different time.

This story captured me from the beginning and held me until the end.  It’s very well written, and has some amazing and complex characters.  If you like historical romances you should pick this one up, you won’t regret it!  It’s so beautiful.

Source:  I was given this book in return for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the story.


MY RATING:



WHERE TO PRE-ORDER:

      






ABOUT THE AUTHOR

avatar-author
bio and pic taken from shadowmountain.com

Josi S. Kilpack began her first novel in 1998. Her seventh novel, Sheep’s Clothing, won the 2007 Whitney Award for Mystery/Suspense. Rocky Road is Josi’s nineteenth novel and the tenth book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband and children. 


SPECIAL THANKS TO:

and Josi S. Kilpack