Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Blast: Destruction by Sharon Bayliss

Light always exists and will always return when missing...

Publication Date: April 14, 2014

Series: The December People, Book One

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy 

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without. 

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children. 

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

Available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Add it on Goodreads!

About the Author

Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pintrest

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

It I Tell
by Janet Gurtler

Raised by her grandparents, seventeen-year-old Jasmine, the result of a biracial one night stand, has never met her father but has a good relationship with her mother until she sees her mother's boyfriend kissing Jaz's best friend...

If only. . . if only I hadn't gone to that party.  I never would have seen what I did.  Jackson wouldn't have driven me home.  I wouldn't have started to fall for a guy just out of reform school.  I could go back to pretending everything was normal.  I wouldn't be keeping a secret from my mom that could blow our family apart. . .

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this young adult book.  Jaz has had an unusually upbringing.  I won't say it was terrible because she had grandparents who loved her and raised her.  Her mother had gotten pregnant as a teenager and hadn't been able to deal with the idea of being a mother - but she is still a part of her daughter's life.  Her father took off and never looked back.  She is also biracial - which is a minority (nonexistant) in the town she lives in, so she has never really felt like she belonged.  Because of an incident that happened in elementary school, she has closed herself off and can count the number of friends she has on one hand.  They are somewhat misfits like herself, but she is happy to have them.  Unfortunately when she sees one of them kissing her mom's boyfriend, well, let's just say it hurts to lose one of the few friends she has.  

I liked the relationship between Jaz and Jackson that develops - how they each discover they have things in common.  Things that go beyond what the eyes can see.  I think that Jaz does a lot of growing in this book.  She deals with some difficult truths and learns how to trust - both herself and others.  This is my first Janet Gurtler book, and I would definitely recommend it - especially to my daughters.

Purchase Links: 

About the author:  Janet Gurtler lives in Calgary, Canada, deliciously close to the Canadian Rockies, with her husband, son, and the memories of a sweet little dog named Meeko.  Janet does not live in an igloo or play hockey, but she does love maple syrup and says "eh" a lot. 

Author Links:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review: Confession by Carey Baldwin

by Carey Baldwin
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

For fans of Allison Brennan and Karen Rose comes Carey Baldwin, a daring new name in suspense, with the story of a serial killer out for blood—and the only woman who can stop his reign of terror.

They say the Santa Fe Saint comes to save your soul—by taking your life.

Newly minted psychiatrist Faith Clancy gets the shock of her life when her first patient confesses to the grisly Saint murders. By law she’s compelled to notify the authorities, but is her patient really The Saint? Or will she contribute to more death by turning the wrong man over to the police? Faith is going to need all her wits and the help of a powerful adversary, Luke Jericho, if she’s to unravel the truth. But she doesn’t realize she’s about to become an unwitting pawn in a serial killer’s diabolical game: For once he’s finished with Faith, she’ll become his next victim.

My thoughts: Carey Baldwin is one of my new favorite suspense authors!  I loved this book.  She introduces you to the cast of characters early, but it doesn't stop the suspense at all.  And she gives you just enough background information on them to hook you.  

Faith only has one client, Dante Jericho, and when he confesses to being the Santa Fe Saint, she struggles with turning him in, as she doesn't believe he is guilty.   But she has to do her duty and protect the public on the off chance that he is a threat.  

Luke is Dante's half brother and after not seeing him for twenty years is trying to make amends with him.   He calls in the best defense attorney and enlists Faith to help prove that Dante has made a false confession.  Working with Faith proves to not be a hardship in Luke's eyes and the sexual tension that runs between them adds a nice romantic touch to this thriller.

I'm not going to tell you anymore as I would not be able to do the book justice and I don't want to let anything slip!  The ending was fantastic and the creep factor was off the scale.  I finished the book Sunday night after everyone else had gone to bed, and as I continued to read I began noticing all the creaks and groans the house was making.  I spooked myself more than once that night because of this book!  It has been awhile since I have read a book that actually had me checking the locks on my doors before I went to bed!  Nicely done!  Can't wait to see what Ms. Baldwin writes next!

~I received a complimentary ecopy of Confession from Harper Collins/Witness Impulse through Edelweiss in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Purchase Links:

About the author: Carey Baldwin is a mild-mannered doctor by day and an award-winning author of edgy suspense by night. She holds two doctoral degrees, one in medicine and one in psychology. She loves reading and writing stories that keep you off balance and on the edge of your seat. Carey lives in the southwestern United States.

Author Links:    

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: One Good Cowboy by Catherine Mann

One Good Cowboy

(Diamonds in the Rough #1)
by Catherine Mann

Genre: Contemporary Romance

From Ex to Eternity?

To inherit his family's empire, Texas cowboy-turned-CEO Stone McNair must prove he has a heart beneath his ruthlessly suave exterior.  His trial?  Finding homes for his grandmother's rescue dogs.  His judge?  Johanna Fletcher, the woman whose heart he broke.

Sure Johanna can handle a week traveling the country with her ex-fiance to fulfill his dying grandmother's request.  She and Stone want different things -- plain and simple.  But there's nothing plain about Stone, or simple about the heat that still flares between them.  One week may not be long enough.

My thoughts:  This story was about more than just Stone and Johanna.  You also got to meet the matriarch of the McNair family - Stone's grandmother, Mariah McNair.  She is definitely the glue that holds the family together.  The other blood relatives include Amethyst and Alexandrite or Amie and Alex, Stone's twin cousins.  Johanna is like a granddaughter to Mariah though, being practically raised on the ranch where her father worked and herself now living and working there. 

Stone and Johanna are sent out on this test because Mariah has found out she has an unoperable brain tumor.  This shocks all the grandkids but affects Stone the hardest.  He was raised by his grandmother as his mother was/is a drug addict -  in and out of rehab continuously.  He didn't find out who his father was until he was 25, and decided that he was better off without him.  He made some decisions during that time that would affect his future in ways he could not imagine.  

I liked the love of animals that is also portrayed in this book, and the care they took in finding these dogs homes.  Makes me want to go find another furry friend to replace one that we lost to diabetes a couple of years ago.  

All in all it was a quick read.  I like those stories that don't lose speed and have some heat between the main characters.  You knew there was attraction between Stone and Johanna, even though they both fought to ignore it. I liked it that they didn't just jump into bed with each other at the first sign that the spark was still there, but you get to feel their frustration and their confusion.  Looking forward to the next book in the series.

~I received a complimentary ecopy of One Good Cowboy from Net Galley and Lola's Blog Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Purchase Links: 

About the author: USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann and RITA Award winner, Catherine writes contemporary romance for Berkley, Harlequin, and Sourcebooks. With over two million books in print in more than twenty countries, she has also celebrated five RITA finals, three Maggie Award of Excellence finals and a Bookseller’s Best win. A former theater school director and university instructor, she holds a Master’s degree in Theater from UNC-Greensboro and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts: Theater (with minors in both English and Education) from the College of Charleston. Catherine and her flyboy husband live on the Florida coast where they brought up their 4 children – and still have 5 four-legged, furry “children” (aka pets). Catherine is an active volunteer with her local Humane Society, serving on their Board of Directors and fostering puppies and special needs dogs (she stopped counting at a hundred). She recently checked off a major item on her “bucket list” by completing the hands-on training for the Florida State Animal Rescue Coalition. Catherine enjoys hearing from her readers and can be found online daily. To receive an autographed bookmark, send a SASE to: P.O. Box 6065, Navarre, FL 32566.

Author Links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Pinterest / Blog

Review: Wish You Weren't by Sherrie Peterson (Giveaway)

Wish You Weren't
by Sherrie Petersen
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magic

Marten doesn't believe in the power of wishes. None of his have ever come true. His parents ignore him, his little brother is a pain and his family is talking about moving to Texas. Not cool. So when he makes an impulsive wish during a meteor shower, he doesn't expect it to make any difference. 

Until his annoying brother disappears.

With the present uncertain and his brother’s future in limbo, Marten finds himself stuck in his past. And if he runs out of time, even wishes might not be enough to save the ones he loves.

My thoughts: I have been trying to find more middle grade books to read and share with my son, and I think this may be a good one.  In the book Marten is eleven (almost twelve) and I think that would be a good age to target for this book.  

The book starts out with Marten, his best friend Paul, his little brother Aldrin and his mom laying on the grass outside of a hotel in Texas in the middle of the night.  They are watching for a meteor shower and according to Marten's mom, if you see one you are to make a (silent) wish.  Marten has been doing this for years with his mom and so he is kind of bored. He doesn't believe in wishes and finds it ironic that his mom, a scientest, does.  

As things often go between siblings, Aldrin and Marten get into a fight. Towards the end of it, Marten sees a shooting star and makes a fierce wish that he wishes his brother wasn't there. When he opens his eyes he is a little disappointed, but not surprised to see his little brother still standing there.  But sometimes wishes take time to come to fruition and it isn't until the next day that Aldren disappears right in front of their eyes. 

Well, you can imagine that Marten and Paul are distressed as they can't believe what they have seen.  Soon, a spirit being from the star that was wished on appears and a series of adventures ensues as Marten tries to figure out how to get his brother back and undo the wish.

This was a quick book to read at 150 pages and I finished it in one sitting.  I really thing my son would like it as it is quick, with lots of information about space, stars and super novas. There are also some subtle lesson squeezed in along the way about love, family and responsibility.  At the end you will find an index with links to lots of things "space" like a meteor shower calendar, links to the Hubble telescope, the Spitzer telescope and the solar system.  I must admit I have already visited some of the links provided. 

~I received a complimentary ecopy of Wish You Weren't from Blog Tours by Elana in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Purchase Links: 

About the author: Sherrie Petersen still believes in magic and she loves to write (and read!) stories that take her on fantastic adventures. In addition to writing middle grade novels, Sherrie moonlights as a graphic designer, substitute teacher, freelance writer, school newspaper advisor, yearbook advisor and mother of two children. She spends her free time watching movies, driving kids around and baking cookies. Or eating them.

WISH YOU WEREN’T is her debut novel.

Author Links: 

Praise for Wish You Weren't:

“If you’re looking for the same old formula middle grade fantasy, this isn’t it. Wish You Weren’t is magically real. You wouldn’t be surprised if you met Marten in “real” life, but what he encounters in this story is pure magic.” ~VALERIE HOBBS, award-winning author of Wolf, Sheep and Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind

“Wish You Weren’t is a sweet story about the blessings of family contained within the rip-roaring roller coaster of time travel. It is a page turner that kids are going to love!” ~KATIE D. ANDERSON, bestselling author of Kiss & Makeup

“I love all the science details mixed with fantasy in Wish You Weren’t — just the kinds of flights-of-science-fancy I wish I had as child!” ~SUSAN KAYE QUINN, bestselling author of the Mindjack Trilogy, Faery Swap and Third Daughter

“Fun and accessible, rich with realism and heart, this magical adventure reminds us of the things truly worth wishing for.” ~CASEY McCORMICK, literary agent intern and blogger at Literary Rambles

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Review: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor (Giveaway)

The Girl Who Came Home:
A Novel of the Titanic
by Hazel Gaynor

Genre: Historical Fiction

A voyage across the ocean becomes the odyssey of a lifetime for a young Irish woman. . . .

Ireland, 1912 . . .

Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the few passengers in steerage to survive. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that fateful night again.

Chicago, 1982 . . .

Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her great-grandmother Maggie shares the painful secret about Titanicthat she's harbored for almost a lifetime, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads both her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.

Inspired by true events, The Girl Who Came Home poignantly blends fact and fiction to explore the Titanic tragedy's impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants.

My Thoughts:  Ever since the movie, Titanic, came out I have been obsessed with things Titanic.  My son even loves watching the movie, but I suspect that was just because he liked watching the ship sinking.  It wasn't until we read a kid's book about Titanic together that he realized that it actually happened and that there were a lot of people who died.  

So anyway, when the offer to review this book came out I jumped on it!  I like the way the story is told between the events that led up to Maggie and her companions traveling on the Titanic back in 1912 and how finally sharing her story comes to affect her great-granddaughter Grace and the path that her life takes in 1982. 

There were times when I was reading about when they were all on the ship that I wanted to wring the necks of some of the first class passengers and how cavalier they were towards the third class passengers in steerage.  I would say the majority of the story was told from the 1912 perspective, as it should be, as that was when the tragedy occurred. You don't really learn much about what happened between 1912 and 1982 other than to know that Maggie survived and went on to have a family of her own. This made it kind of fun at the end when you did get a glimpse of those years. 

Though Grace wasn't involved in an ocean liner sinking, she did have tragedy befall her when she was just a little older than Maggie was while on the Titanic, and some of the things in her life paralleled Maggie's in that they were derailed for a short time before being able to put the pieces back together. 

I enjoyed the way the author used the cherry trees back in Ballysheen to represent people and how cherry blossoms figured heavily throughout Maggie's life. 

I would like to share one of my favorite passages from the book:

It was a moment Grace would never forget, watching this dignified old lady whom she loved so much, as she stared into a small case which she'd last seen when only a girl.  A lifetime of memories flooded Maggie's lined face; a lifetime of forgetting was washed away.  It was a moment of silent reflection; a moment laced with poignancy. (p70, Advance Reader's eproof of The Girl Who Came Home).

I received a complimentary ecopy of The Girl Who Came Home from Harper Collins in exchange for my unbiased review.

Purchase Links: 


About the author: Hazel Gaynor is an author and freelance writer in Ireland and the U.K. and was the recipient of the Cecil Day Lewis Award for Emerging Writers in 2012.  Originally from North Yorkshire, England, she now lives in Ireland with her husband, two young children, and an accident-prone cat. 

    Tour wide Giveaway
    Grand Prize -  New York Times poster 
    Prizes: Three books for lucky readers. 

    Review: Just Destiny by Theresa Rizzo (Giveaway)

    Just Destiny
    by Theresa Rizzo

    What would you do if your whole world fell apart?

    Jenny Harrison made some poor choices in the past, but marrying Gabe was the best thing she’d ever done. They had the perfect marriage, until a tragic accident leaves Gabe brain dead and her world in ruins.

    Devastated by grief, she decides to preserve the best of their love by conceiving his child, but Gabe’s family is adamantly opposed, even willing to chance exposing long-held family secrets to stop her. Caught in a web of twisted motives and contentious legal issues, Jenny turns to best friend and attorney, Steve Grant. Steve wants to help Jenny, but he has reservations and secrets

    of his own. 

    When something so private and simple turns public and complicated, will Jenny relent? What is Steve willing to sacrifice to help Jenny?

    My thoughts:  I really enjoyed reading this book.  It held a secret that I didn't see coming, and it was revealed in such a way that I had to go back and read it again. It wasn't a big game changer, but it did put some things in perspective.  There are other secrets revealed that have a larger impact, but I felt this first one gave depth to the relationship between Steve and Jenny that I didn't think was there yet. 

      Steve had been good friends with Jenny and Gabe before Gabe died, so it was natural for Jenny to turn to him to lean on.  He was engaged, but his fiance was not someone that Jenny had every approved up.  Being so wrapped up in her grief and legal battle that she isn't even aware when Steve breaks things off with his fiance. And she is even more clueless when it comes to his feelings for her. 

    Like life, this one is messy and the ending leaves some things unresolved and surprised me.  While I do think it is a happy ending, it didn't end the way I expected it to, and that was a nice change! 

    I received a complimentary ecopy of Just Destiny from the author in exchange for my unbiased review. 

    Purchase Links:

    About the author: Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.

    Theresa’s debut book, He Belongs to Me was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards!  Her second book, Just Destiny, will be released March 31, 2014.

    Author Links: 

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Cover Reveal: Birthright by Nichole Giles (w/Giveaway)

    by Nichole Giles

    Two months ago, Abigail Johnson saved the life of the boy she believes is her destiny and defeated an army of demons that have pursued her ancestors for centuries. Now, she and Kye should be taking their place as leaders of the new generation of Gifted. But the curse they thought was broken has returned, and every minute together brings them closer to death.

    When remaining shadow demons attack again, the Dragons send Abby to Mexico. Being apart from Kye is slowly killing her soul, and it turns out she isn’t any safer here than she was back home. The shadows have tracked her, the locals expect her to help with their own demon problems, and the more time she spends away from Kye, the more she doubts the destiny that ties them together.

    When the demons destroy her safe house, Abby has no choice but to take the fight to them. But the arrival of an old nemesis throws their careful plans into disarray, and Abby and her friends find themselves facing new adversaries in a battle that turns fatal. This time, not everyone will make it out alive. 

    About the author:  Nichole Giles was born in Nevada, and moved with her parents to a number of cities in and around the West. Writing is her passion, but she also loves to spend time with her husband and four children, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.

    Author Links:
    Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads


    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    Book Blitz: One Broke Girl by Rhonda Helms w/ Giveaway!

    One Broke Girl
    by Rhonda Helms
    Publication Date: April 2014
    New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

    Anna Parker’s life disintegrates with one phone call. Her dad’s selling their ritzy New York City condo because her Wall Street banker mom emptied their bank account and ran off with another man. Which means Anna has to drop out of her elite college and move with Dad back to their small Ohio hometown. Anna’s determined to reclaim her life ASAP, so she’ll use the next few months to save money, help Dad get back on his feet, and find and confront her mom.

    But Anna doesn’t anticipate things going so wrong. The only job she can get is working as a lunch lady in an elementary school. Their money-pit duplex is falling apart around their feet. And her dad is depressed without her mom, who’s proving hard to find.

    One bright spot in the chaos is Gavin Metcalf, a kindergarten teacher she dated when they were young teens. With his easy wit and sexy smiles, he makes her forget her stresses—and the fact that her boyfriend Steven back in New York doesn’t know the truth yet about her dire circumstances. When past and present collide, Anna has to decide where her future lies…

    About the author: Rhonda Helms started writing several years ago. She has a Master's degree in English and a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. She also edits for Carina Press (an imprint of Harlequin Publishing) and freelance edits.

    When she isn't writing, she likes to do amateur photography, dig her toes into the sand, read for hours at a time, and eat scads of cheese. WAY too much cheese.

    Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her family.

    Author links: 

    Purchase Links: 

    Blitz Wide Giveaway
    Open INT
    - A $10 Amazon or BN gift card plus a kindle or nook copy of ALL I EVER WANTED, a new adult anthology with novellas by Rhonda Helms, Lexi Ryan, Caisey Quinn, and Marilyn Brant.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


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