Friday, March 6, 2015

"To My Friends: Messages of Counsel and Comfort" by Jeffrey R. Holland


Book Description:  "If you need a burden lifted, I want you to imagine I am in a personal, private, closed-door chat with you. I want to help you if I can." With those words, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland invites every reader of his latest book to become a friend, to receive instruction and encouragement, counsel and comfort.
Elder Holland addresses these powerful messages "to my friends who love the Lord," "to my friends who want to change," "to my friends who face opposition," and more. Each chapter begins with a beautifully designed quotation to help convey the message in an artistic way, making the book a lovely gift for friends to share. Throughout, Elder Holland's powerful witness of the Savior shines through, for, as he writes, "I am grateful for the greatest friend any of us could ever have, in time or eternity, the Lord Jesus Christ."


My thoughts: It's fun for me to read a book where I can hear the voice of the writer in my head.  That adds to the whole idea of sitting down in a room and having chat with Elder Holland.

Elder Holland is a speaker that I enjoy listening to.  I love to listen to him speak and then read his talks.   He has a talent of reaching my heart and mind.

This book has 21 chapters that range in topics.  He writes them to his friends who want to move forward, of other faiths,  who seek and share love, who would be clean, who feel alone.  There are a few of the chapter topics.

You can sit down and read this book at once, or take each chapter individually and savor it over a period of time.  This book has a beautiful presentation.  At the beginning of each chapter color graphics can be found.  They add a nice touch.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.


Purchase Links:

About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 23 June 1994. At the time of this call, Elder Holland was serving as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, to which he had been called on 1 April 1989. A native of St. George, Utah, he has spent most of his professional life in Church education. He received his bachelor and master degrees from Brigham Young University and a master degree and Ph.D. from Yale University.

From 1980 until his call as a General Authority in 1989, Elder Holland served as president of Brigham Young University. He is a former Church commissioner of education and dean of the College of Religious Education at BYU.
Elder Holland is the author of several books, one of which he co-authored with his wife, Patricia. They were married in 1963 and are the parents of three children and the grandparents of 12 grandchildren.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Blog Tour Spotlight ~ "One Perfect Year" by Melinda Curtis + giveaway

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

One Perfect Year (A Harmony Valley Novel)One Perfect Year
(Harmony Valley #4)
Melinda Curtis
Adult Contemporary Romance
March 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming


He's coming up on her blind side

How can Shelby Hawkley forgive Gage Jamero for bailing on her when she needed him most? He and her husband, Nick, were the best part of her life. Now her former best friend is back, shaking up the widowed wine harvester's world. The safest bet is to protect herself. Except Gage is awakening feelings that are decidedly unfriend-like.

Shelby is the woman Gage has secretly loved since high school. Starting over—together—could be the best dream he's ever had. If only he can find the courage to say what he should have said all those years ago.

Amazon - Barnes & Noble - iTunes - Kobo - Google PlayHarlequin


Read an Excerpt:
********************
“Accept my apology, Sugar Lips?” Gage Jamero was up to his elbows in trouble with his latest lady love.

Well, at least one elbow.

Sugar Lips’ contraction built like a blood pressure cuff around Gage’s right bicep. His face heated, his fingers numbed, his body felt as if it was wrapped in a too-tight ace bandage.

“Breathe easy, honey.” Gage tried to follow his own advice. During his internship and residency, he’d gained quite a reputation as a horse whisperer when it came to peevish, pregnant horses. Since then, he’d soothed countless mares and saved many foals trapped in utero by breach positions, like this one was. But this foal, sired by a Kentucky Derby winner, was the equivalent of a million dollar baby.

On the floor of a hay-lined stall, sprawled on his back, his legs half across Sugar Lips’ chestnut flanks, Gage sweated through the mare’s next contraction. He hadn’t been this nervous about his performance since he choked while asking his lab partner out in the twelfth grade. Saving this foal would make or break his fledgling career. 

He’d graduated. He’d passed his licensing exam, both in California and Kentucky. He had a job offer in Lexington. All he was waiting for was his predecessor’s retirement. Until then, he was working for lucrative per-delivery fees from the Thomason Equine Hospital, a facility in Davis which was also an open classroom to local university vet students. They received notification when a procedure or delivery was imminent at Thomason and were able to observe through specially installed viewing windows. Today they were witnessing Gage, one of their own a year ago, on the main stage. He'd never been requested to deliver such a valuable foal before. If he screwed this up - and there were many ways to fail here (loss of life, broken bones, oxygen deprivation) - it would be a blow to his young career. He might even lose the job in Kentucky.

As if sensing what was at stake, the student on-lookers and support staff in the hallway of the birthing center fell into a hushed silence, much like the gallery at a golf tournament before a pro-golfer shot for birdie and the win. And just like that pro-golfer, Gage knew he had supporters and detractors. No one wanted anything bad to happen to the mare and her foal, but everyone was hungry for the spotlight he'd recently claimed.

The contraction faded and Gage regained use of his fingers, pressing them harder against the flat of the foal’s forehead, pushing it farther back into the mare’s uterus. He shifted more weight onto his shoulders and the mare’s haunches. Extending his arm, he found the foal’s front leg and eased it forward without snagging the umbilical cord until he had two delicate hooves in his grasp.
“Here we go, Sugar Lips,” he crooned, much too aware that his back was at the mare’s mercy should she kick.

The mare’s wet flanks heaved as if this breath would be her last. She was young and this was her first pregnancy. She’d spent much of her pre-labor huffing, glaring, and kicking at Gage, blaming him for her condition. So far he’d been extremely lucky in avoiding injury, but luck only lasted so long when idiots were present.

“Dr. Jamero?” The question echoed through the birthing stall.

Sugar Lips cold cocked Gage in the kidney with one powerful hoof. Pain sucked his legs and torso into a stiff ball. Gage almost lost his grip on the foal. It was a sign of how spent the mare was that she didn’t kick him repeatedly. It was a sign of good fortune that this position allowed him greater mobility to shift when delivery was at hand. He’d have to remember that.

Sugar Lips’ uterus tensed once more. It was go-time.


Moments later, he lay panting in the hay cradling the trembling key to his dreams. Sugar Lips lifted her head to see what all the fuss was about, whinnying when she saw her newborn.


********************

Award winning, USA Today bestseller Melinda Curtis writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet and emotional romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, and the indie pubbed Bridesmaid series. Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”. Melinda also writes independently published, hotter romances as Mel Curtis. Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “Sharp, sassy, modern version of a screwball comedy from Hollywood's Golden Age except a lot hotter.”

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Grand Prize: An Autographed Set of the first 3 Harmony Valley Books
(Dandelion Wishes, Summer Kisses, and Season of Change) (US only or ebooks to an international)

Additional Prizes:
- Happy Bee Day Mug with candy and Sweet and Heartwarming Bracelet (US
only - if international winner pulled then a single ebook from author's back list)
- Bee Salt and Pepper Shaker and Sweet and Heartwarming Bracelet (US
only - if international winner pulled then a single ebook from author's back list)

Ends March 15th

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Review ~ "Steadfast Heart" by Tracie Peterson

Steadfast Heart (Brides of Seattle, #1)Steadfast Heart by Tracie Peterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley (received to review)
Genre: Christian Historical Romance.

Book Description:  Lenore Fulcher isn't pretentious despite her spoiled upbringing. Her deepest desire at the age of twenty is to find true love. However, her father believes she's wasted enough time searching for a suitable husband, and he wants to marry her off to one of his business partners--thirty-seven-year-old James Rybus. But the idea of marriage to a man so much older is out of the question for Lenore.

Kolbein Booth, a lawyer from Chicago, arrives in Seattle looking for his headstrong sister who he believes may have answered an advertisement for mail-order brides. Sick with worry, he storms the Madison Bridal School, demanding to see his sister, only to learn she isn't there. But Lenore Fulcher is, and something about her captures his attention.

Is this the man Lenore has been searching for? She may not have long to find out..



My thoughts: There are some fun things that I liked about this book. My favorite character, Abrianna, with her sweet sincerity and love of people carried the book for me. She was a ray of sunshine in rainy Seattle. She tried to fill her days by going about and helping the poor and downtrodden. She lived her faith by her actions and encouraged her friends to be better people.

The rest of the story fell a little flat for me. I struggled to get into the story and the characters. The books romance centered around Lenore and Kolbein. They had a quick courtship and fell in love almost immediately. Once they met, they were each others focus. There seemed to be many back stories that cluttered their romance for me.

I think I would have been happier if this had been a romance story between Abrianna and Wade. They have know each other as friends for a long time and it seemed like a story that I would have liked a little better. Maybe sometime in the future?

There were unresolved issues that I hope will come together in future books.  This is a Christian themed romance book.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Review ~ "Where Trust Lies" by Janette Oke

Where Trust Lies (Return to the Canadian West, #2)Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley (Received to Review)
Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Book DescriptionBeth Thatcher returns home from her first year as a schoolteacher in the mining town of Coal Valley and steps into a whole different world. Her life back among her wealthy Eastern family is a stark contrast to her primitive life in the West, and Beth isn't sure where she belongs anymore.

She barely has time to settle in before her mother announces plans for a family holiday--a luxurious steamship tour along the eastern coast of Canada and the U.S. Wishing to reconnect with her mother and sister, Beth agrees to go but quickly finds herself at odds with her mother's expectations. After enjoying complete freedom in the western wilds, Beth isn't sure what to make of her mother's ongoing efforts to direct her life--and her heart.

Beth keeps in touch with her Mountie beau, Jarrick, even as young men more of her station catch her eye. Is she ready to fully give her heart to Jarrick, knowing it will mean saying good-bye to her family and her life of privilege once again? And when Beth trusts the wrong person, will Jarrick be able to help her despite the distance between them?
 


My thoughts: This is a second book in a series, unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of reading the first book. I feel that it would have been helpful to read Where Courage Calls before this one. There was a lot of back story that it took me some time to get up to speed on.

Beth has returned home after spending a school year teaching in a small Canadian town. She wants to rest and relax, but finds her family has other plans. A cruise is the plan. Beth reluctantly joins her mother and sisters.

The trip becomes more than anyone bargained for. The book tells of a families journey, not only physical, but emotional as well. The family's bond is taxed and strained. The book is about learning the cost of freedom and the consequences of decisions.

While there is a hint of romance, the bulk of it would have happened in the first book. Beth is determine to study God's will and her desire to be with Jarrick.  The romance is long distance, mainly through letters and telephone conversations.

I enjoyed this book and I hope to read the first at some point. I would like to know how the relationship began and the events that led the characters to this point. This book is a clean read with a strong Christian theme.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Launching "One Perfect Year" by Melinda Curtis ~ Blog Tour + giveaway

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

We're Launching the BOOK TOUR for
One Perfect Year
By Melinda Curtis

A sweet romance from Harlequin Heartwarming 
about two old friends with past mistakes between them.


Intro to One Perfect Year

Harmony Valley sits at the northernmost edge of Sonoma County wine country and is in trouble. All the big employers have moved on, and without jobs, everyone under the age of 65 has left town. The 70 or so residents remaining are set in their ways, to say the least. And now a group of twenty-somethings (whippersnappers!) have come to town to start a winery. Old clashes against new with fun and heartwarming results. Although each book is a step closer to bringing the town back to life, each book also stands alone (because I hate it when you need to read from book 1 to enjoy the series).

In One Perfect Year, a young widowed wine cellar manager, Shelby Hawkley, finds her life shaken up when her former best friend shows up in town. How can Shelby forgive Gage Jamero for bailing on her when she needed him most? Gage has secretly loved Shelby since high school. If only he can find the courage to say what he should have said all those years ago, then maybe they could put the past aside and start over—together.

One Perfect Year (A Harmony Valley Novel)One Perfect Year
(Harmony Valley #4)
Melinda Curtis
Adult Contemporary Romance
March 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming


He's coming up on her blind side

How can Shelby Hawkley forgive Gage Jamero for bailing on her when she needed him most? He and her husband, Nick, were the best part of her life. Now her former best friend is back, shaking up the widowed wine harvester's world. The safest bet is to protect herself. Except Gage is awakening feelings that are decidedly unfriend-like.

Shelby is the woman Gage has secretly loved since high school. Starting over—together—could be the best dream he's ever had. If only he can find the courage to say what he should have said all those years ago.

Amazon - Barnes & Noble - iTunes - Kobo - Google PlayHarlequin

Award winning, USA Today bestseller Melinda Curtis writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet and emotional romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, and the indie pubbed Bridesmaid series. Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”. Melinda also writes independently published, hotter romances as Mel Curtis. Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “Sharp, sassy, modern version of a screwball comedy from Hollywood's Golden Age except a lot hotter.”

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Grand Prize: An Autographed Set of the first 3 Harmony Valley Books
(Dandelion Wishes, Summer Kisses, and Season of Change) (US only or ebooks to an international)

Additional Prizes:
- Happy Bee Day Mug with candy and Sweet and Heartwarming Bracelet (US
only - if international winner pulled then a single ebook from author's back list)
- Bee Salt and Pepper Shaker and Sweet and Heartwarming Bracelet (US
only - if international winner pulled then a single ebook from author's back list)

Ends March 15th

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book Review ~ "Remake" by Ilima Todd

RemakeRemake by Ilima Todd
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley (received to review)
Genre: Dystopian

 Book Description:  Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. The Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.

But Nine isn't like every other batcher. She harbors indecision 
and worries about her upcoming Remake Day -- her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they'll be.

When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom 
Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is 
pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test 
her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will she decide to be?



My thoughts: This book provoked many different thoughts and feelings for me.

Basically, it's a dystopian book where the people of Freedom 1's hormones are repressed until they turn 17. They don't go through a natural maturation process. This allows them the opportunity to be "remade". They can pick their gender, their skin color, teeth color, hair color, every thing a person can imagine about appearance can be altered to personal preference.

Nine is the main character. She is female. Her appearance is odd because she has red hair and freckles. At least it begins to grow out red, until her head is shaved, another way to keep the children without an identity. On her 17th birthday she boards a shuttle to go to the remake facility. Her plane crashes into the ocean and she is picked up by Islanders. Their society is a traditional society. It is made up of families, where people live with the attributes they are born with. They are loved and have consequences for decisions, emotional support, and mental stability.

The idea of a family is new to Nine. All of the beliefs that she grew up with are challenged and she learns to adapt and think outside of the module she knows.

I liked that this book took a hard look at the importance of families. It gave a perspective that freedom doesn't come by choosing to change our bodies, it comes from inside and having friends and family to love and accept you.

I had a hard time with some of the situations in the book. They weren't bad, just a little uncomfortable. Physical intimacy is looked at clinically. I don't think I would let younger YA readers read the book. There is material that require maturity.

I don't know if this is a stand alone book. There is a lot of places that Ilima Todd can take this story. I am interested to find out more about this dystopian society and hope that implodes! Overall, I would say that this is a good debut for this author.





About the Author:  ILIMA TODD was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and currently resides in the Rocky Mountains. She never wanted to be a writer even though she loves books and reading. She earned a degree in physics instead. But the characters in her head refused to be ignored, and now she spends her time writing science fiction for teens. When she is not writing, Ilima loves to spend time with her husband and four children.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Blog Tour ~ "The Wife Maker" by Karey White + tour giveaway

Wife Maker (1)
Blog Tour Schedule
Wife MakerThe Wife Maker by Karey White
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Description: Charlotte has spent years as the husband maker, sending every guy she dates off to enjoy marital bliss with the next girl he dates. But things have now changed, and she's determined to use her husband-maker abilities one last time--on herself. And she finally knows exactly who she wants. Angus has loved Charlotte since they were teenagers, but he's tired of waiting for her to realize how good they could be. She's broken his heart one too many times, and it's time to move on with his life. Maybe a position halfway across the country will be just what he needs to get over her. But when Charlotte won't let him go without a fight, Angus has to decide if he's willing to let her in again or if she's too late.

My thoughts: This book was bitter sweet to read. Bitter, because I have grown to like the characters and I am sad to see the stories come to an end. Sweet, because the ending was what I wanted it to be. :) It was quite the journey to get to the ending that was well worth the time invested in the story.

Charles (Charlotte) has finally figured out who she wants to marry and spend the rest of her life with. She is done with the title of the "husband maker". She figures it all out a little late in the game, and the object of her affection is done waiting. (I don't want to give any spoilers if you haven't read the first two books.)

This trilogy is a fun and clean read. It is all about timing and making decisions. I adored Charlotte and the menagerie of characters. Each one was delightful and a great fit for the flow of the books.

I highly recommend that you pick up this book. First, you should read the first two. It would be helpful to understand all that has transpired in Charlotte's romantic past.




If you haven't read the first two books, pick them up for Kindle@


The Husband Maker (The Husband Maker, Book 1)
The Match Maker: (The Husband Maker, Book 2)




Read an Excerpt
********************


My phone rang before six the next morning. Who would call that early on a Sunday? I rubbed my bleary eyes and looked at the screen. The number was unfamiliar and a strange configuration. I almost shut it off, but on a hunch, I answered the call.

“Charlotte, it’s Flynn.”

“Flynn? Is everything okay?”

“Aye. I think we should talk. Turn on your computer and call me.”

Ten minutes later, Flynn appeared on the screen of my laptop.

“What’s going on?”

“I think you should move to Kansas City.”

I laughed. “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t laugh. I’m not jokin’.”

“I can’t move to Kansas City. My job’s here. My family’s here. And I don’t think Angus would even want me to.”

“Ah, he’d say he doesn’t want ya to, but I’d wager that what he wants and what he says he wants are two different things.”

I shook my head. “You’re crazy. This is what you wanted me to call you for at this hour of the morning?”

“Aye. And hear me out. I’ve been chewin’ on this all day.”

I was touched that he’d been trying to figure out a way to help me, but this idea was insane. “I’m listening.”

“You say you’ll wait for him to come back.” I nodded. “What about him? You might be willing to wait for ten years, but what about Angus? He’ll be meeting new people. He won’t be waiting around. If ya want to cook a chicken, ya have to put him in while the water’s boilin’.”

I snickered. “I don’t even know what that means, Flynn.”

“Sure ya do. If ya wait ‘til the water’s all cooled down, good luck cooking the bird. Right now the water’s boilin’.”

“No it’s not. He doesn’t want anything to do with me.”

“That’s ’cause the water’s boilin’. If it weren’t, he’d talk to ya all day long. He’s just tryin’ not to get burned.”

There was an absurd and comforting logic to what he was saying. “Keep going.”

“There’s not much more to say. Move to Kansas City.”

“That’s easier said than done, Flynn.”

“Tell me this. What needs more attention? The things in San Francisco? Or the thing in Kansas City?”

I didn’t answer him. I didn’t know what to say.

“Charlotte, give him a grand gesture. Show ’im he’s more important than the things you’ve left behind.”

“Wow. I should never have answered the phone this morning.”

We laughed. “Think about it. It might work.”

“It might not. And then I’ll be two thousand miles away from my family and I’ll have given up the best job in the world and . . . It’s all so scary.”

“But you’re brave. And if it doesn’t work out, you can go back.”

“I thought you were my friend.”

Flynn didn’t say anything right away. He just smiled. When he finally spoke, his voice was soft. “I am.”


*********************







Karey WhiteAuthor Karey White Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.




25_Amazon_Paypal  $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/22/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Blast ~ "The Crystal Keeper" by Laurisa White Reyes + giveaway

Crystal Keeper 1 to 3  Fourteen years before The Rock of Ivanore… Jayson lives among the shadows of Hestoria, his sole purpose for staying alive – to protect his half of the Seer’s crystal. Exiled from his homeland for loving the king’s daughter, Ivanore, Jayson is now pursued by two opposing factions: the Vatéz (League of Magicians) who intend to use the crystal for their own selfish gain, and the Guilde, the ancient guardians of the crystal. Meanwhile, Ivanore flees from her father to Hestoria in search of Jayson. As the Seer, she is plagued with visions of him being tortured and is determined to rescue him. When the Vatéz capture her, however, she unwittingly jeopardizes everything Jayson has vowed to protect. He must now make a terrible choice: Should he save Ivanore or save the crystal? The Crystal Keeper trilogy is available in print or digital formats.



Crystal Keeper 1-3




Read an Excerpt:
*********************

 Ivanore hunched over the parchment, the tip of her quill flicking above her hand like a trapped bird desperate to escape. The tallow candle cast a cramped circle of light across the table, hardly enough to see by. If only the night would last a little longer. Perhaps then she would have enough time to write everything she needed to. But alas, time was one thing she had too little of—that and light. An older man with long, gray-streaked hair and piercing gray eyes waited beside her. The stone bungalow, their most recent of many hiding places, boasted the barest of furnishings: the table, stool, cot—and a plain wooden chest, its key held tightly in Zyll’s fist. A sudden thump sounded at the door, startling them both. A strand of Ivanore’s hair, gold as the candlelight, fell across the page. She quickly tucked it back into place and wrote faster. Zyll laid a hand on Ivanore’s shoulder. “They are here,” he whispered. Ivanore finished the document and handed it to Zyll unbound. Turning to the chest, he carefully laid the pages inside. “Wait,” said Ivanore. “Will you keep this as well?” A flat circle of pale green crystal lay in her open palm. “But you will need it. I mustn’t—” “Please,” she insisted, pressing it into his hand. “I can’t risk losing this one.” Zyll reluctantly folded his fingers around the cool stone. “Of course, milady,” he said. Then, adding the crystal to the parchment, he laid a plate of thin wood atop them both, sealing the chest’s false bottom. He closed the lid and locked it. The pounding at the door grew more insistent. Whoever stood outside was using their full weight against it in an effort to break through. “We must hurry,” said Zyll. Ivanore allowed herself a quick glance at the chest, offering the briefest of prayers that the gods would keep it safe until her return. Then, taking her by the arm, Zyll led her through the low archway dividing the bungalow’s front room from the back. A loud crash of splintering wood resounded through the bungalow. Their visitors had finally broken in. “Find her now!” a deep voice bellowed. Grateful for the trousers she now wore instead of her usual cumbersome skirts, Ivanore clambered onto a stool and through a narrow window, lowering herself as quietly as possible to the ground outside. Once Zyll had done the same, they stole away across the rocky field. Though the sky was black as ink, their path was illuminated by the amber glow of volcanic fissures scoring the area for miles around. “There she is!” a man’s voice shouted behind them. The words sent spasms of fear through Ivanore. She glanced behind her and saw three soldiers emerge from the bungalow, wearing the gold and red cross of her father’s crest. They had tracked her even here, to the remotest corner of Imaness. Would Fredric ever let her be? Ivanore stopped running. She looked at Zyll, her trusted guardian and ally these past months since she had fled Dokur, and knew her time with him had come to an end. “You’ll watch over them until I return?” she asked, out of breath. “Keep them safe. Don’t let my father find them.” “You have my vow,” Zyll whispered, his voice tight with emotion. Ivanore’s eyes welled with tears as she pressed her lips against the calloused skin of Zyll’s hand. “Go,” said Zyll. “Go now before it’s too late.” Ivanore released Zyll’s hand and sprinted forward alone. As she ran, she cupped her hands around her mouth and let out a loud, sharp call, much like that of a hawk or an eagle. She risked another glance over her shoulder and watched as Zyll turned to face their pursuers. As the soldiers neared, their swords glinting in the fire glow, Zyll held up his hands. A horizontal bolt of cerulean lightning shot out from his palms, striking the oncoming soldiers. The men recoiled, their bodies instantly singed and bloody. Ivanore ran on. In desperation, she repeated her call, and this time another voice called back. A dark form appeared on the horizon, silhouetted against the light of the volcanic fractures and growing larger as it approached with tremendous speed. As it neared, the creature’s massive feathered wings moved the air around Ivanore in warm, powerful gusts. Ivanore saw clearly its eagle’s head with a beak large enough to break a man in two, paired with the muscular, furred body of a lion. As she ran toward it, the gryphon lowered its head, waiting. Behind her, the soldiers reeled in pain, but they did not forget their duty. One man struggled to his knees, grunting from the effort. Reaching over his shoulder, he slid a short bow and arrow from his pack and swiftly took aim. Ivanore reached the gryphon and in one smooth motion hoisted herself onto its back, twisting her arms deep into the feathers on the creature’s neck. In that same moment, a single arrow found its mark in Ivanore’s shoulder. She cried out before her body slumped forward and her mind went dark. The gryphon took flight then, and in less time than it took to draw another arrow—or a breath—they had vanished into the night. 

********************





Laurisa White Reyes Author Photo   Author Laurisa White Reyes After spending more than a decade as a newspaper editorialist, magazine staff writer, and book editor, Laurisa finally started living her dream of being an author. She is the author of three novels for younger readers, the editor-in-chief of Middle Shelf Magazine, and Senior Editor of Skyrocket Press. She lives in Southern California with her husband and five children.
   

Crystal Keeper Launch Giveaway - Kindle Fire HD 6

Ends 2/28/15 a Rafflecopter giveaway Book 













100_Amazon_Paypal
Blast Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/15/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway