Mom Loves 2 Read: February 2012

Feb 29, 2012

Free on Kindle - Noah Zarc Mammoth Trouble


I was searching through the Free Kindle ebooks on Amazon.com and found that Noah Zarc Mammoth Trouble is currently FREE!
So for all you who commented on the contest, and wanted to read this amazing book, this is  your chance!  Download it today!
Don't own a Kindle!  No problem - you can download a FREE kindle for PC program and read it right on your computer!

LINK:  http://www.amazon.com/Noah-Zarc-Mammoth-Trouble-ebook/dp/B005H5GFNE/ref=zg_bs_digital-text_72

Haven't heard of Noah Zarc ????  Click here to read my review and more about this wonderful book!

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Feb 22, 2012

Review ~ KritterKreep by J. D. Gordon

About the Book:
Andy Biggs new life in the "burbs" is about to take a turn for the worse. An uninvited guest has moved into the stately old Victorian home he shares with his mom, new stepdad and baby sister. This weird little demon in a zoot suit has nothing but mischief on its mind and threatens to destroy Andy's home, school life and even his sanity. And when Andy enlists the aid of a pretty girl with a mysterious past, his whole world turns upside down in a battle of good vs. evil against the dreaded "Kritterkreep."



My Review:
I found KritterKreep to be a very strange book.  It was creepy in some parts, and might be a good story for middle grade to preteen kids.  I didn't really care for it and found it hard to keep reading.  Although the story was written pretty well, I just couldn't get into the story and my love a details was constantly being challenged.  There were several parts where I found myself rereading parts to figure out what was going on.
I would not suggest this book for younger readers as there is quite a bit of scary stuff in it.  At one point the main character is put in a mental ward of the hospital because he tells his parents what is going on.  I just feel the theme of this book would be better for older kids 13 and up.  If I had to rate this on a 1 to 5 scale, I'd probably give it a 3.
Although I personally did not like this book, I always recommend my readers try a book for themselves.  All reviews are my personal opinion, and my likes will differ from other people's.


About the Author:
Author Jimmy Gordon.
Firefighter and paramedic-turned-author Jimmy (J.D.) Gordon was born and raised in Chicago where he developed a taste for the finer things that the Windy City has to offer - pan pizza, live blues and the Cubs. 
Jimmy dropped into the world of literature, literally. After falling off a train and breaking his knee Jimmy had to spend quite a bit of time recuperating. While visiting the firehouse his peers asked what he planned to with all that time away. This when Jimmy said the words that he now claims to have changed his life. "I should write a book."
Join Jimmy as he chronicles the exciting adventures of his characters and his journey as a "hot" multi-genre author emerging on today's publishing scene.
Look for his other books: Dartboard, and Carribean Calling

Author Website




* I received a free print copy of this book for my review.  All my reviews are my honest, personal opinion.  For more info, see my Policy & Disclosure page.

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Review ~ The Secret DMS files of Fairday Morrow


For this review, I was sent a paperback copy of The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow by one of the authors: Jessica Haight.  I was so excited for the chance to read and review for Jess since she is my most faithful follower and commentor on this blog; and since I am always on the lookout for new middle grade books to entice my 10 year old to read more.  Now that I finally have gotten caught up on housework and mommy stuff (at least for the moment), I had a chance to sit down last night to relax.  Of course, relaxing to me is READING!  I have several reviews yet to read and post this month, but was looking for something light and different to read before bed.  As I looked at my TBR pile, I picked up this book and began reading, I was still reading when my hubby came to get some sleep last night, so sadly I had to stop.  I finished this morning and now have my review ready to share with all of you!

About the book ~ taken from the blog:


~ For more info on the book, the authors and some clue-finding fun ~
visit: Jess's blog:   http://jessicahaight.com/The_DMS_Home_Page_.html
or Fairday's blog:   http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/
Fairday on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/fairday
Jess on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/@dmsfiles

My Review:
I fell in love with the characters in this book from page one.  Fairday and her family are unique, entertaining, and completely believable.  I enjoyed getting to know Fairday, her family, Lizzy and the kids in Fairday's new school.  The  mystery and suspense is perfect for young readers (and even older ones like me).  The writing flows and I never had to re-read or pause to figure out what was going on.  I love that the story is easy to read and understand and yet written in such a way that kids ages 10 through teen will enjoy the story, the characters and the adventure.  I am anxious to see what happens next!  The story ends perfectly with a mystery solved, yet with more adventure and mystery yet to come!  Excellent job Jess and Stephanie!  A definite 4.5 stars from this book lover!

On a personal note - I was trying to think of a creative way to entice my 10 year old son to give this book a try.  So, I pretended that the spiders on each page were "scary" to me (I would fake shudders and quickly close the page repeatedly to make him laugh and tease me).  Now, all 3 of my kids tease me about the spiders every time they see the book. - lol

I highly recommend you give this book a try - as I've found out from the blog, this is the first book of a series of five.  I can't wait to read the next mystery solved by the DMS team!



*I received a free paperback copy of this book for this review.  All my reviews are my personal, honest opinion.  See my Policy & Disclosure page for more info.

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Feb 20, 2012

An Iron Fey Valentine's Day

Per blog:
AN IRON FEY VALENTINE can be found at theironfey.com. It's a story of pure, unfiltered fluff that Julie Kagawa wrote just for fun, but also a thank you to her readers and fans for all their support and encouragement over the years. Head over to theironfey.com to read it in it's entirety: http://www.theironfey.com/pdfs/AnIronFey...








My Review:
Wow, what a wonderful surprise.  I was surfing around Goodreads.com after posting a few new reviews and found this on Julie Kagawa's page.  I read through the short 24 page story and was enthralled from beginning to end.  I already love the Iron Fey series, and have purchased and read each of the short stories as well.  This little tidbit fit in perfectly and was a nice Valentine's Surprise!  Even though Valentine's Day has passed, I felt that this short story deserved it's post on my blog and a short review as well.  Great free short story, love the interaction and especially Ash's surprise for Meghan.  Great Job once again Julie Kagawa!

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Feb 19, 2012

Review ~ The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie

I once again have the amazing privilege of reviewing one of author Jamie Carie's books!  The Guardian Duke!  This book is the first in a series and is an amazing start to adventure, intrigue, romance, mischief and more!  So, buckle your seat belts and get ready for an awesome adventure. . .

About the Book:

The Guardian Duke is award-winning novelist Jamie Carie’s most exciting story yet, a uniquely arranged Regency-era romantic adventure where hero and heroine know each other through written letters but have yet to meet.

Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, is ordered by the King to take guardianship over Lady Alexandria Featherstone whose parents are presumed dead after failing to return from a high profile treasure hunt. But Alexandria ignores this royal reassignment, believing her parents are still alive and duly following clues that may lead to their whereabouts. Gabriel, pressured by what are actually the King’s ulterior motives, pursues her across windswept England and the rolling green hills of Ireland but is always one step behind.

When they do meet, the search for earthly treasure will pale in comparison to what God has planned for both of them.




My Overview & Review:
All I can say is “wow,” what a wonderful introduction to both Lady Alexandria Fetherstone (Alex) and the Gabriel Ravenwood, the Duke of St. Easton (Guardian Duke).  Both characters are brought to life within the pages of this amazing adventure in such a way that the reader feels completely drawn into the story with each and every word.
When we first meet our soon-to-be “Guardian Duke,” he is enjoying the opening strains of relaxing music at the opera and is rudely interrupted from his much needed peace by his secretary, Mr. Meade.  In Meade’s hand is a letter with the King’s seal addressed to the Duke informing him that his has become the guardian for Alexandria Featherstone upon the mysterious disappearance of her parents.  As he reaches for it, he feels a roaring in his ears, shortly followed by a bright light of sorts exploding inside his head.  Once he recovers, he realizes . . . well, I don’t want to spoil the book for you, so I’ll just say he begins to have some physical difficulties that greatly concern and anger him.
We are introduced to Alex (Lady Alexandria) as she is traipsing along the sea shore of her island home, in her night clothing.  She shows immediately an adventurous and determined personality.  She lives in a castle which is run down, drafty and leaky, while her parents are on one of their many treasure hunting excursions.  Her parents frequently leave her to hire out in search of stolen or missing items.  This time, they have been gone for about a year and she has not heard from them for nearly 10 months.  Although she is concerned, they have often been gone for long periods of time and she is certain they will return once their search is complete.  Little does she know the danger they have put themselves, and her as well, into on this quest.
Upon finding out that the Duke of St. Easton has been assigned her care by the King, in her parents absence, she is quite dismayed.  She does not believe her parents to be dead as others seem to believe.  So despite her new guardian’s concern for her well-being, she sets out alone to discover what has become of her parents.  Along her journey she meets both dangerous and friendly people.  She trusts God to lead her and guide her along the way, yet she still manages to get into quite a bit of mischief.
As we follow along on Alex’s journey to find and save her parents, a parallel journey is taking place.  The Guardian Duke is learning to deal with a new and frightening handicap, as well as dealing with a missing ward.  He feels a responsibility to her, but also a kinship that grows as they correspond through letters.  As he discovers more information regarding her parent’s disappearance as well as her journey to find information about them; he finds that she is in grave danger, and he attempts to meet up with her to help her. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am very anxious for the next book to arrive.  There is a bit of a “cliff-hanger” ending to this that leaves me with a greater desire to learn what will happen next and what will happen between the Duke and Alex.
I love the flow that this book has.  It is very easy to read, and very hard to put down.  I could not stop reading!  I needed to know what would happen in each and every chapter.  I was able to read this book in 1 day (with several interruptions for housework and kids) and greatly recommend it to anyone who loves good clean fiction, with lots of adventure, excellent, well-developed characters and page-turning intrigue!  
*And for those of you who love clean fiction but shy away from "preachy" books, don't worry! although there is mention of God, faith and scripture from time to time, this book is definitely not "preachy" ;)


About the Author:

When she was six, Jamie’s parents met Jesus and soon after started a church. It changed everything.

Road trips with her dad—to and from Bible studies across Indiana—were filled with talks of things beyond earth’s bounds – creation and the fall, God and Jesus and the rapture, the earthly walk compared to the spiritual walk, and how we are born for more than what we can see or touch.
The highlight of those nights was stopping at a truck stop in the middle of the night where her dad would spend a little of the offering basket on two slices of pie and a couple of Cokes. Nothing ever felt so special as a middle of the night slice of pie with her dad. And nothing could stop the writing pouring out of her.
As Jamie’s relationship with God grew, she discovered her heart was filled with songs and poetry. During high school she wrote lyrics for her brother’s band. (And she sang them too!) After college, Jamie married, had two sons and decided to stay home with them. While she homeschooled she wrote skits, poems, plays and short stories for school and church.
When her eldest son turned five she dove into the world of novels. She’d read romance novels for years, but couldn’t relate to the flawless, saintly heroines in Christian romance novels. So she decided to write her own.

Snow Angel was born on a frosty night in an old farmhouse in Fishers, Indiana, where the cold floor gave plenty of motivation for the snow scene. Jamie loves to write late at night when the house is quiet and the darkness seems alive. Elizabeth and Noah had been playacting in herhead for a long time, so the story went fast.
Ten years later Snow Angel was published and won the ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, was a National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and a 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. It was the beginning of her dream career.

Jamie and her husband Tony have been married for twenty-one years and live in Indianapolis with their three sons and a giant of a dog named Leo.
If she could only say one thing to her readers it would be, “Live the dreams God has destined you for!”


This book just came out this month and can be found at Christianbook.com, Amazon.com,
BarnesandNoble.com and other retailers.

Live Action Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyTk2MQw04s
USA Today Review: http://books.usatoday.com/happyeverafter/post/2012-02-04/review-the-guardian-duke-by-jamie-carie/620195/1



*Thanks again to Angie, the Marketing Coordinator at Propeller for providing me the free copy of this book for my review!  For the FTC guidelines and my personal disclosure, please see my Policy & Disclosure Page.*

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WONDAWEDGE ~ For any Time, Any Place, Any Person!

wondawedge


WondaWedge is a wonderful new take-anywhere inflatable pillow that is great for any TIME, any PLACE and any PERSON to use!  This inflatable pillow has a permanently attached mat, and is great for use at the beach, on picnics, outdoor events, reading in bed, or for comfortable reclining.
WondaWedge is lightweight, great for travel and stores flat.  Easy to use and great for most any need.
 
My Review:
My children and I tried this wonderful pillow in a variety of different ways.  I used it for reading in bed - I love how comfortable it is and easy to conform to my body.  My kids enjoyed sitting on the floor watching TV using the WondaWedge as a backrest.  Since it is inflatable, it is easy to "set" the comfort level to each person by adding or letting out a bit of air.  Very simple to use, and doesn't take up storage space.  I can see this being something that individuals or families could keep in their vehicles for those sports games, outdoor concerts and camping trips.  Great for people with back or neck pain, and for those who need a little more support when sitting or reclining. 



Check out WondaWedge for yourself!




Visit WondaWedge ~ http://www.wondawedge.com/
and BookWedge (review coming soon) ~ www.bookwedge.net
 

Find WondaWedge on Facebook and Twitter.


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Feb 15, 2012

WBC $100 Amazon GC giveaway

Once again 10 blogs have teamed up to offer a $100 Amazon gift card to our readers.


 
Each blog has a different Rafflecopter form for entry. You can enter on one or all the blogs, but the more you enter, the greater your odds of winning. Each blog has daily tweet options so that’s an extra 10 entries a day. When the giveaway is over, all entries for all the blogs will be combined and one winner will be chosen via random.org.
Open Worldwide, 18+ Ends February 24, 2012
Good luck!


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Feb 10, 2012

In My Mailbox ~ Tiger's Quest!


Oh My!  What an awesome surprise!  When I went to my mailbox this afternoon, I saw a nice large package.  I knew it was a book, of course, but not sure which one!  Imagine my thrill to find Tiger's Quest!  Book Three in the Tiger's Curse Series!

TIGER'S VOYAGE by Colleen Houck

In the third installment of the Tiger series, Kelsey Hayes pushes through the pain of lost love and strengthens her friendship with Kishan. Despite his strong feelings for her, Kishan has agreed to be her ally in helping her reunite with the man she still loves. Together, they seek to help Ren regain his memory and begin the search for the third magical gift—an object of power that will help break the curse that causes them to live part of their lives as tigers.

They board a luxury yacht and seek Durga's aid once again, who supplies them with her golden weapons. With Nilima, Mr. Kadam, Ren, and Kishan at her side, she soon learns that the task ahead will be even more difficult than the others. Confronting a dark magician, multiple dragons, and terrifying denizens of the deep seems easy when compared to facing the daunting task of stitching up her heart. Just when she thinks she's ready to set her feet on a new path, she is yanked back with a jolt to the one she's determined to leave behind.

The jarring tug-of-war that ensues for Kelsey's heart leaves her anxious and confused. Combined with the stress of almost being killed every other day, it would appear that saving the tigers is almost more than she can handle. Still, she presses on, knowing that a choice is looming on the horizon. One she cannot put off making for long.

Tiger's Voyage is an irresistible romance with a barrage of action on the high seas, where a reader will find a treasure chest full of dragons, sea monsters, knights in shining armor, fabled weapons, and enduring love. The tropic waters of India create the backdrop for the latest installment in the tiger series. This novel, a multicultural take on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale, delves into the complex emotional turmoil and pressure associated with not only making the best choice for a nation but also the best choice for yourself.



* I can't wait to read this one!  Oh, and I plan to have it in a giveaway coming very soon!

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Feb 8, 2012

Like my blog? Help me move up!


- would you be so kind as to click on this button,
Just Click To Send A Vote For Us @ Top Mommy Blogs

look at the right side where it says "categories"
and click on "contest and giveaway blogs"scroll down and
you should see my blog - Loves 2 Read
 click on the cute little cupcakes vote counter!  although ranking me with 10's would be wonderful, 
please vote honestly and help me move up in the Top Mommy Blogs ranks!

 ~~~~~****~~~~~

Then, if you still want to help - you can also vote for me
on Picketfences - this one is easiest - 
just click the button below (can be done 1 time each day)
and that is IT!  You've voted!




OK, so now you've done your part - how about a Thank You  prize for being such a great blogger friend!  If you comment below, telling me you voted for 1 or both - 

I'll pick a random comment using random.org. that person will win (if she or he accepts)
a $10 shoebuy.com giftcode!  AND
a $50 restaurant.com code (if you sign up for a free trial of netflix) code as well

thats a $60 value in prizes, just for being nice enough to vote for my blog and leave me a comment - ;)

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New blog design courtesy of Nifty Creations by Jodi

Wow - have you noticed my new blog design?  Amazing isn't it!  I absolutely LOVE how it turned out!
Why a new design you ask?  Well, it's simple really . . . I found out in early November that I had won a contest for a FREE header design from Nifty Creations by Jodi


As I grew excited thinking about what I wanted my blog header to "say" when readers or followers stop by - I began to think that maybe an overall design would make more sense.  And, at the time, Jodi was having a wonderful sale on her blog designs!  So, I replied to her email telling her a little about myself and what I was looking for in a header and blog design - and OFF we went on our wonderful journey!  Jodi found some amazing graphics design ideas, "listened" patiently to my likes and dislikes and overall, I believe we came up with a wonderful design that turned out even better than I imagined!

Jodi is an absolute Joy to work with.  She is patient, understanding and works very hard to make my blog fantastic.  I highly recommend if you are in the need for a blog header, button, some cute social media buttons, help with HTML, or an overall design - check out Nifty Creations by Jodi!  You'll be just as satisfied as I am!  I'm so satisfied, I plan to have her help with another of my blogs in the near future!

Thanks again Jodi for everything! 


Loves 2 Read - new design by:

Nifty Creations by Jodi


Using elements from Vice Versa from Designs by Krista.

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Feb 6, 2012

Follower Love Giveaway Hop ~ Loves 2 Read


Welcome to Loves 2 Read!
& thanks for stopping by for the:
Follower Love Giveaway Hop





I have some wonderful prizes for this giveaway
There will be 6 winners in all:
 (click on the title links to read my reviews for each of these prizes) 

1 hardcover copy of Cooper and Me and the Military





2 ebook (pdf) copies of After the Snow Falls







$33 Online Store Credit for Savor Sweets Candies!









ebook copy of The Next Door Boys








hardcover copy of A Marriage Carol





















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Review ~ Savor Sweets - candy made with natural ingredients

For your Reading Pleasure - I have a savory review today


About Savor Sweets:

Savor SweetsSavor Sweets is a little hard candy company in Spokane, Washington. Andrea Parrish-Geyer and Peter Geyer started the company in mid-2011 after making hundreds and hundreds of candies for friends and family.

We use natural ingredients and small batches to create suckers (lollipops, sticky-pop, lolly, stickpop, whatever you care to call them) in surprisingly tasty flavors. Most of our candies have just three main ingredients – organic evaporated cane juice, a little bit of lemon juice, and whole flavors like basil leaves, crushed peppercorns or locally-roasted coffee. No corn syrup, no artificial preservatives and no artificial flavorings are to be found anywhere near this candy. The packaging is comprised of recycled paper printed with soy ink, biocompostable cellophane bags and organic compostable ribbon made in the USA. When you’re done with your treat, you can throw everything into your compost pile or yard waste bin.

Savor Sweets is about surprising your sweet tooth, and enjoying candy like an adult again.



Savor Sweets Flavors:


Savor Sweets offers many unique flavors to tempt your inner child.  Some of their current flavors are:

  • Black Tea
  • Espresso (made with Roast House coffee)
  • Balsamic
  • Basil
  • Ginger
  • Chai Tea
  • Pink Peppercorn
  • Caramel with Sea Salt
  • Pomegranate and Lemon
  • Tiger’s Ear Vanilla Cinnamon
  • Fresh Mint
  • Spiced Honey Baklava
  • Spicy Habenero
All flavors are soy-free and gluten-free. All flavors except caramel and baklava are vegan. All flavors are made using whole ingredients, no flavor oils or artificial extracts.

Savor sweets has several new flavors in the test phase as well.  In addition to these wonderful choices, Savor Sweets offers Custom-Made Candy!  You can order Custom Flavors, Shapes, and even Custom Colors!  Great for parties, wedding favors, advertising handouts and more.  Make sure to check out Savor Sweets Website for all the information you need to order your In-Stock or Cutsom candy today!




My Review:
My children and I tried several of Savor Sweets' flavors for this review. Savor Sweets was kind enough to send me some free samples for us to try.  What I like most is knowing that these candies are made with natural ingredients and not full of artificial colors, flavors and other artificial ingredients.  A great treat for those who want a treat for themselves or their kids.  I can picture a woman at work who needs something to tide her over until lunch - she grabs an Expresso flavored sucker for a quick treat that tastes good and looks cute too.

These are the flavors we tried and our reactions:

* Baklava    ~   good flavor, taste sort of like a dark caramel, yummy, my favorite
* Fresh Basil    ~ smells like basil, mild taste, different but not bad (kids)
* Salted Caramel   ~  good, mild flavor, slightly sweet taste, kids' favorite, yummy
* Tiger's Ear vanilla cinnamon  ~ slightly sweet flavor, mild taste, nice (kids)
* Pomegranate Lemon    ~ ok (kids), sort of a molasses type taste (me), mild,
* Habanero   ~  (only my son was willing to try it), heat but no flavor - did not like this one




Thank you Savor Sweet for this tasty review!  Now for the fun part!  Starting on Feb 7th on this blog, I will be participating in a Follower Love giveaway Hop - Savor Sweets is providing a $33 Online Store Credit for 1 random winner!  So come back tomorrow and enter the giveaway for your chance to win some credit for their wonderful sweets!


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Review ~ After the Snow Falls by Carey Jane Clark

About the Book:
In the middle of a soccer drill, in an awful, awkward moment, Celia Bennett’s eight-year-old son Caleb lands on his face and chest in the grass. The diagnosis blindsides her, bringing her face-to-face with every parent’s worst nightmare.
Desperate to save her son’s life, Celia pursues a cure through alternative medicine, but her quest ends in frustration and disappointment. Facing despair, hope walks in on the most unlikely set of legs, when her father returns after a 30-year absence. Can she release pain to embrace hope? Will it make a difference, or is it too late?


Read the First Chapter! 



My Review:
After the Snow Falls is a well-written and compelling story of faith, hope, and forgiveness.  I must warn you, that it is an emotional read, so make sure to have some tissues handy.  This story grabbed my heartstrings from the beginning, and I was completely immersed in the story until the very end.  I could not put it down.  The main characters have such difficult decisions to make, and when they embrace their faith in God, amazing things happen.  But to get to that point is the hardest part of all.  I kept thinking of my 3 kids and what I would think, or do, or feel if a similar situation happened with any of them.  After the Snow Falls is an inspirational read for anyone who loves an emotional story with well-written characters and real-to-life issues. 



 

“Carey Jane Clark is a new voice in inspirational fiction, and definitely one to watch. Her picturesque prose and compelling characters makes After the Snow Falls a riveting story, one that will remain with readers long after closing the final page.”
- Kathi Macias, author Deliver Me From Evil

Carey's Website:   http://www.afterthesnowfalls.com/

You can Find After the Snow falls:

Amazon.com Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Library Thing,


About the Author:
Carey Jane Clark is a homeschool mother by day, writer by night. The
writing bug afflicted her early in life. The first two stories she recalls
writing were about kidnapped insects and dancing pumpkins. (It's been a
few years since those stories were penned.)

Now, she writes to inspire courage, hope and conviction. After the Snow
Falls is her first novel.

She shares the adventure of her life with her husband and three children.







*I received a free ebook copy of this story for this review.  Please see my Policy & Disclosure Page for more info.

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Review ~ Kim Vogel Sawyer ~ Song of my Heart



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Song of My Heart
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
by
Kim Vogel Sawyer




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.

Kim can be reached through the Contact link on her Website



ABOUT THE BOOK

Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent--though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job.

Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. After he earns enough money doing sheriff work, he wants to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house, but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he begins to wonder if she's far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he's come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?


If you would like to read the first chapter of Song of My Heart, go HERE.




My Review:
This story was a bit different from the ones I usually read in this era.  I enjoyed the unique theme.  I loved the idea that Sadie is doing something different in order to help support her family.  She finds a way to use her talent to help support her family. She is a determined young woman, but still very much naive about what is happening around her.  A good read that kept my interest and curiosity peaked throughout the story.



 * I received a free copy of this book through CFBA for this review and tour.  All  my reviews are my honest opinion.  For more info, see my Policy & Disclosure page

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Review ~ The Next Door Boys


Summary:
With her body still recovering from last year's cancer treatments, Leigh Tressman is determined to be independent. Despite the interference from her overprotective brother, the ever-expanding line of young men ready to fall in love with her--not to mention the physical frustrations and spiritual dilemmas Leigh discovers what it actually means to stand on her own and learns that love can be found in unexpected but comfortable places.



My Review:

This book is an emotional read, so grab your tissues before you start the first chapter.
The only real negative I have for this story is the character of Leigh.  I thought Leigh was a bit shallow and judgemental.  She immediately “judged” Brian at first sight;  she judged Kim (her roommate) immediately upon meeting her, and Meghan's (her other roommate’s) sister after she had known her only a moment.  Leigh’s character is portrayed as quiet and nice, down to earth and boy crazy, but I found her more judgmental and shallow. 
Now, the positives definitely outweigh the negative.  This story is well-written and worth reading.  The characters are wonderful and pulled me into the story.  The way this story is written, made me feel as if I was a part of everything happening.  I love when a story drags me in and makes it more realistic for me.  The ending is unique and amazing.  I don’t like giving spoilers so that is all I’ll say.  Great read!



*Thanks to Netgalley for the free digital copy of this book for my review.  See my policy & disclosure page for more info.

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Feb 4, 2012

Review ~ Cooper & Me & the Military

Cooper and Me and the Military 




Overview: 

Meet Trooper, Cooper’s best friend, and learn how he was adopted by Gracie and Joe and their parents, who both serve in the military. Find out how this family stays close despite being separated.

A must-read during patriotic holidays and for anyone with friends and family in the military, this book helps children know, that even when loved ones aren’t with us, they still love us and think about us. This book, along with all the other books in the Cooper and  Me series, includes these interactive features:
• A Special Memory Creation
• Life Lesson
• Connections
• Learning Together

In addition to a fun adventure, each Cooper and Me story teaches an important Life Lesson and features interactive materials at the back of the book to drive the message home.  Included are activities that help children name and process their own feelings about what they’ve read.

What Others Are Saying

The language and lessons of Cooper and Me and the Military are simple enough for young children to understand and open up a forum for discussion.  This would be a great book to help a child whose parent is currently deployed or help a child relate to a friend whose parent is currently serving away from home.  It's a welcome addition to our library.
- Jennifer, Military Wife, akathewife.com 

 
My Review:
I read this book with my 3 year old daughter.  When I was finished she grabbed it from me and told me she was going to read it again!  She really enjoyed the pictures of Cooper and Trooper.  She was even able to answer over half of the questions at the end of the book!  This is the second Cooper and Me book I have been privileged to review and once again it is a hit in my home.  The pictures are not what I would call "professional" or smooth looking, but I don't think it detracts from a child's enjoyment of the story.  Another wonderful book that children everywhere will love.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Feb 1, 2012

Review & Blog Tour ~ Abstrus by TK Rayford

Abstrus


By TK Rayford

When 17 year old Lexi Lee's mother disappeared six months ago, her world was turned upside down. Just when she is coming to terms with her new, motherless life, she meets Farah, Ferdinand, and Liza, a strange group of teenagers. She quickly finds out that they are not at all what they seem.

Lexi finds that although she is human, that is only one part of what she is and people are after her for it. She has to figure out who she can trust... and fast. She learns that her mother has known the truth all along, but disappeared before she could explain things to her. She believes that she has no hope of survival if she doesn't find her mother, and trusting the wrong person to help her could prove fatal.







Excerpt:

I could barely make out their shapes in the dark and without the weak glint of a light hanging on the side of one of the buildings; I probably would have walked right by them without ever noticing that they had stopped. I could make out two of them kneeling in front of something, their heads hung low in concentration, while the other, which I could tell was Ferdinand because of his big frame, stood behind them as if he was protecting them. But what would he be protecting them from—me? I felt a shiver slither its way from the nape of my neck and rest in the bottom of my spine. I was convinced that the hairs on the back of my neck would have been standing on end were they not slicked to my skin by the rain. Nervously, I shifted my weight from one foot to the other while I tried to gather my wits. I stood and watched Farah and Liza kneeling and Ferdinand standing over them like a mother hawk protecting her young for what seemed like forever. There was no real reason for me to be frightened except for maybe the lack of light in the alley way between the buildings, but I couldn’t shake the quiet terror that was building in my throat and threatened to explode in a scream. It would have been an irrational scream. Wouldn’t it?

I fought back the panic and the urge to turn and get out of the alley as fast as I could. I squeezed the fabric of my jacket between my fists and worked up the courage to find my voice. It wasn’t enough courage to take a step forward though.

“Guys,” I almost whispered.

Liza lifted her head, which was the only indication they gave that they had even heard me speak. It seemed as if they had completely forgotten that I was following them from the theater. They were frozen in place like statues and I felt the unease creeping back. I began to pick my foot up to step back—but then Ferdinand was there. I had not seen him move but there he was, standing directly in front of me. And in the same way, his hand materialized on my shoulder, preventing me from moving backward at all.

I couldn’t tear my eyes away from Farah and Liza to even look at Ferdinand. He probably would think that I hadn’t noticed his ability to materialize at my side without taking a step. Liza glanced over at Farah, who gave a short nod of her head that I would have missed had I not been completely engrossed by the pair. She rose to her feet, as if Farah had just given her permission to do so, and much in the same way that Ferdinand did, appeared at my side. She didn’t do it as effortlessly as he had and that was only apparent in the fact that a tendril of her strawberry blonde hair fluttered in the breeze that her movement had created. Unlike Ferdinand she didn’t touch me, didn’t attempt to make eye contact or even assist him in restraining me… not that he wasn’t doing a good job of it himself. His grasp on my shoulder wasn’t hard or tight. He didn’t seem to be holding me in place with any sort of super-human strength at all. It was more as if his hand was a huge magnet and not just to my shoulder. But the very fiber of my being had all of a sudden become the magnet with the opposite pole. He held me in place not by forcing me to stand there but by making my will bend to his. I stood there because I all of a sudden wanted to. Taking that step backward had become the furthest thing from my mind.

But there was something else there too. It seemed that somewhere in me there was a strange curiosity quickly arising and that hadn’t come from Ferdinand. That was mine alone. I wanted to know what was happening around me more than I wanted to be able to break free of Ferdinand’s hold and flee the way I had come. Even more so, I wanted to know what would happen next, and I couldn’t even logically explain why.

Liza stood in front of me, eyes closed. Strange sounds began to emanate from her. It sounded like humming from a bird, but as if the bird was speaking in a foreign language. Her mouth never moved at all. It became clear that I was hearing a conversation in a strange language when the same humming, but a deeper baritone version, began to bubble up from Ferdinand. It lasted only a few seconds before silence once again fell in the little alley way. We stood in this way, Ferdinand with his hand on my shoulder and Liza eyes closed in front of me, for what seemed to be hours rather than minutes. Ferdinand’s hold on me didn’t lessen with the passing time. I was stuck in that spot as if my feet had been cemented to the wet pavement. The rain had all but stopped by now but I was beginning to experience a feeling that chilled me and not just because my jacket and jeans had finally soaked completely through. Ferdinand’s control over my want to flee and my budding curiosity had no effect on the fear that was simmering in my throat and chest and threatening to strangle me. I could feel my body struggle between my instinct to flee and the complete mesmerizing effect that he and the situation had over me. 

  


My Review:
I was drawn into the story from the first.  Intrigued as to what was happening with Lexi and her new "friends."  I immediately felt a distrust of Farah, and a liking for Liza.  Not sure what I think of Ferdinand still.  This book is emotional. intriguing, and a roller coaster of twists and turns.  Parts of it were confusing at times, but I think that just adds to the mystery of what is happening in the story.
A great YA paranormal fantasy adventure.  I don't like to give spoilers in my reviews, so all I can say is that you should read it for yourself!  If I had to rate it on a 1 - 5 scale.  I'd definitely give it a 4!




About the Author:
TK Rayford was born in Chicago, IL with her four siblings. She later moved to Memphis, TN. She fell in love with writing in the second grade and has been writing ever since. Her teachers would always say that she would become a great writer, but she would insist that she would be a neurosurgeon. She proved herself wrong and her teachers right when she decided to pursue her passion, which has always been writing.





Amazon Author Page: 



* I received a digital copy of this book through Bewtiching Book Tours for this review/promo.  See my Policy & Disclosure page for more info*

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Giveaway Contests Updates ~ Winners

Just a quick update for those of you on the edge of your seats (if you are like me) anxious to find out who won what on all the contests I've participated in recently!






$100 Amazon.com GC
through Makobi Scribe's Twitter Blast


Winner is:   Bernice M.












Winners of the $50 Amazon.com GC's are:

TBA (on or around Jan 10th)  ~ See Author D. Robert Pease's blog post
HERE for more contest info!

ALSO ~ Since I had so many wonderful comments in response to my book tour & giveaway
I have decided to choose 2 random comment entries on each of my blogs
to receive a FREE ebook copy of Noah Zarc Mammoth Trouble as a Thank You!


I will be choosing the Winners on Feb. 5th  - so there is still time to enter the contest!


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