Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Blog Tour ~ "Stick in the Mud Meets Spontaneity" by Rachael Anderson

SITM




Stick in the Mud meets spontaneityStick in the Mud Meets Spontaneity by Rachael Anderson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Description: Home from college for the summer, Samantha Kinsey steps into her role as nanny for her two favorite little charges. But when she finds herself playing chauffeur more than playmate, her summer outlook quickly turns from fun to bleak. That is, until she drives the girls to a family-owned ranch and meets Colten McCoy—a genuine, hard-working cowboy, who's as set in his ways as he is handsome. Although he claims he doesn't need any fun in his life, Sam’s determined to help him find it. But she'll soon discover that cowboys are about as easy to train as wild mustangs. Stick in the Mud Meets Spontaneity is about an adaptable girl and a not so adaptable guy. It’s about learning to accept people for who they are and realizing that sometimes who they are is exactly who they should be.


My thoughts: Rachael Anderson has a great series going with Meet Your Match. I haved loved every single book in the series. Each is a stand alone.  The books  have some of the same characters , but you do not need to read them in order to follow along.

Sam loves to live life in the moment. She is daring, she makes bucket lists, she finds joy in every thing she does. Colton is happy on his family ranch. He doesn't do anything halfheartedly. He invests himself completely professionally, with his family, and romantically.

The characters in this book are fantastic. I loved the interaction between Sam and Colton and how they loved and cherished their families. I don't think there was a character that I didn't like, except a co-worker at the end. But he is only there for a couple of minutes.

The laughter started at the beginning when Sam makes a bucket list and it is discovered. Imagine explaining to an eleven year old what "summer fling" means. It gets better from there.

This is a great book to take to the beach, or read on your deck with a tall glass of lemonade. :) It is clean with some mild kissing scenes.

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  Stick in the Mud Meets Spontaneity (Meet Your Match #3) by Rachael Anderson
Purchase your copy from:

 Amazon * Barnes & Noble





Rachael



Author Rachael Anderson USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
Meet Your Match
$50 Book Blast Giveaway Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/31/15 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

"Veils and Vengeance" by Rachelle J Christensen realeases TODAY! + giveaway

I am looking forward to this book!  I loved the first in the series, "Diamond Rings are Deadly Things" and I know that I will love this one too.  I will be reviewing it on July 28th! (Honestly, I have enjoyed every book of Rachelle's that I have read.)


 When wedding planner, Adrielle Pyper, goes to Hawaii to orchestrate a destination wedding, she isn't prepared for what she finds. After the trauma of her previous event, the beautiful isle of Kauai is the perfect place for Adri to unwind and do what she does best – plan. She even lets herself indulge in the attention of the groom’s handsome brother. But just when everything seems to be perfect, an afternoon snorkeling trip turns to murder when Adri discovers the body of a young woman. Shaken, but unable to let it go, Adri’s sleuthing leads her into more danger than she could imagine. When a number of “accidents” threaten her own life, it soon becomes apparent that someone will do anything to keep Adri from interfering with their vengeance.



Veils and Vengeance


Get a Kindle copy for $2.99




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Enter the Goodreads Giveaway here:


I loved the first book in the series!  You can check out my review HERE!  (I gave it 4.5/5 stars)


Pick up your copy of the first book at Amazon!




Praise for Rachelle J. Christensen

“A fun walk-down-the-aisle cozy mystery!” – Shauna Wheelwright, reviewer

"Fans of award-winning author Rachelle Christensen will be standing in line for her latest release. With tension, action, danger, and definite hints of romance, this book represents everything we love to read."  - Tristi Pinkston, author of the Secret Sisters Mysteries

“Author Rachelle J. Christensen has created likable and realistic characters. She blends the drama of a mystery with the allure of weddings mixing in a good dose of humor, suspense, and of course, a touch of romance.” –Mason Canyon, reviewer


"Here's the exact way to turn an improbable plot into a rollicking suspense novel, full of surprises and twists, and wonderful characterizations."-- Jeff Needle prominent book reviewer from AML

"Don’t expect to get a lot of sleep . . . . If the thrills of the chase don’t get you, the thrills of the heart will."
-- Jeffrey S Savage, author of the Shandra Covington mystery series and the Mysteries of Cove series


rachelle
Photo by Erin Summerill
Author Rachelle J. Christensen Rachelle J. Christensen is a mother of five who writes mystery/suspense and solves the case of the missing shoe on a daily basis. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a minor in music. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and, of course, reading. Rachelle is the award-winning author of six books, including Wrong Number, Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things, and What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know. Her novella, Silver Cascade Secrets, was included in the Rone Award-winning Timeless Romance Anthology, Fall Collection.


$50 Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/21/15 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 and sponsored by Rachelle Christensen. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Monday, July 6, 2015

Win $250 in the Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway!

lazy days of summer 250


I an excited to be participating in this giveaway!  There are a fabulous group of people who are bringing this to you.





  Lazy Days of Summer $250 Cash Giveaway July 6th to 26th An Amazing Group of Authors & Bloggers have joined with me to bring you 1 fabulous prize!! We’re giving away $250 in Paypal Cash.


  Sponsor List 




  Giveaway Details $250 in Paypal Cash (alternately the winner can choose a $250 Amazon.com Gift Code) Ends 7/26/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. 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 authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy July 4th


I love living in the United States, and the 4th of July has always been a huge and fun holiday for me.

I hope you have a wonderful day, no matter where in the world you live.  I will be trying to relax with friends and family!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Beautiful Music Video for the 4th of July ~Condoleezza Rice and Jenny Oaks Baker ~ "Amazing Grace"




The music is beautiful and the images behind the musical artists create a perfect atmosphere for this patriotic time of year.  I was stunned with the beauty of the video and the music.  It is the perfect blend of violin and piano.

This song can be purchased on iTunes.  The  proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project.  The cost is 99 cents.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Blog Tour Spotlight ~ "Ashes of Life" by Erica Lucke Dean & Laura M Kolar + tour giveaway

Married for just three months, Alex Barrett is stunned when her husband, David, dies in a tragic accident. And the absolute last thing the pregnant young widow wants is to take on responsibility for his teenage daughter, Maddie. Reeling from loss, Alex struggles to deal with her grief and her troubled stepdaughter, but one question haunts her: why was David with his ex-wife when he died?
All Maddie Barrett wanted was for her parents to get back together, but an icy road took that dream away.  Afterward, Maddie is riddled with guilt that she can’t share with anyone. Feeling angry and alone, she lays all the blame on Alex.

Alex and Maddie must find a way to move past their pain—shared, yet separate. Thrown together in an untenable arrangement, they fight through a frozen landscape of sorrow and redemption while redefining love, forgiveness, and family.



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

Chapter 1
Maddie

Two caskets flanked the church altar: dark wood—mahogany, maybe—for Dad and a warm honey oak with white satin trim for Mom. So many flowers surrounded them, my nose stung from the mixture of scents, or maybe it stung from my grandmother’s perfume, sprayed on thick to mask her alcohol-laced breath. Grandma Rosie and Aunt Shannon both reeked as though they’d spent the entire morning at a bar.
Alex sat, unmoving, across the aisle from me. My stepmother’s perfect auburn hair draped over her shoulder like a scarf as she stared into her lap. Her hands rested over her flat stomach, but I knew what she hid under those bony fingers. And she could pretend all she wanted, but her stomach wouldn’t be flat for much longer. She didn’t even bother wearing black to her own husband’s funeral. Instead, she wore a stupid purple cashmere sweater and gray slacks—not a stitch of black, unless you counted her soul.
Father John recited a closing prayer, and the organist played a low, mournful melody as people exited the sanctuary, turning their backs on my parents… and on me. When most everyone had left, the immediate family—and she—was allowed a few private moments. My aunt and grandmother got up and headed straight to my mother’s casket. No one from my dad’s family came. His parents had passed away years ago.
“Maddie? Would you like to come up?” The priest asked.
I sucked in a deep breath and stood, but the world spun, and I stumbled. Alex looked up at me with her emotionless green eyes but never made a move from her seat. Regaining my footing, I marched toward my father first.
“Hi, Daddy.” I didn’t really know what else to say. He was gone. His body was in the box, but my dad was gone. I kissed my fingers then pressed them to his heart. “I love you.” Then I wiped my eyes and went to see my mom. My grandmother and aunt stepped aside but hovered close by. “Mom,” I whispered. “I-I’m…” I burst into sobs, wishing I could crawl into the casket with her and shut tight the lid.
Alex’s mother put her arm around me. “She’ll miss you just as much as you miss her.”
I doubted it. Did the dead even have the capacity to feel anything? I glanced at my stepmother. Some of the living didn’t seem to feel much as it was.
She gave my shoulder a light squeeze then stepped back, allowing me some space to wipe my eyes and nose with my already well-used tissue. That was when Alex decided to stand and go to my father’s side. I watched her put her hands over his, but if she said anything, it was too quiet for me to hear. Grandma Rosie tsked and left the sanctuary with Aunt Shannon close on her heels, probably both in search of a drink.
“We’ll take care of your parents until the ground thaws in the spring,” Father John said, reminding me we had to wait months before burying them.
“Thank you.” I swiped my sleeve across my eyes to dry my tears. “I think I’ll go find my friends now.”
“Very good.” He smiled then turned toward my stepmother. “Alex, would you like to join the others for some refreshments?”
My dad’s new wife, his widow, didn’t move. “I’ll be there in a minute.”
The old priest nodded, making the loose skin on his jaw bounce. “Take as much time as you need.”
With one last look at my mom and dad, I left. On the way to the reception area, I nodded at Alex’s parents, refusing to read too much into their sad smiles. Father John held the door then walked me through the lobby and all the way to the fellowship hall. I was barely ten steps inside before people surrounded me, offering their condolences. I felt like the french fry all the seagulls fought over at the beach, but the attention always seemed to come with a lot of shit.
Mrs. Jarvis—the lady who lived down the block from Mom and me—latched on to my wrist. “Oh sweetie, your mother was such a wonderful woman, and we’re all going to miss her.”
One of the guys from Dad’s golf club patted my head as if I were the family dog. “I bet your dad’s already found a prime course, wherever he is.”
“Your parents loved you so much, Maddie. It’s just so, so sad,” said a woman I didn’t even recognize.
Each comment, laced with well-meant but unnecessary pity, made me want to run away, screaming. None of these people knew my parents as I did. None of them knew me the way my parents did, especially Mom. The nearly uncontrollable urge to bolt from the room as if a horde of zombies was bearing down on me swept through me, and I had to force myself to breathe through it.
“Hey.” Haleigh hugged me. One of her corkscrew curls caught in my eyelashes, and I smothered a laugh. “I have to admit, I thought it would be weird having your parents’ funeral together, but Father John did a nice job.”
“Yeah, he did. And nobody had to sit through two services. But now I just want to get out of here. I can’t stand all these people looking at me like I’m the most pathetic thing they’ve ever seen.” I wrapped my arms around myself. I’d worn my black sweater dress, the one Mom’d bought for me to wear on New Year’s. We’d done our annual shop ’til you drop at the after-Christmas sales, and she’d found it on a clearance rack. The fit, the style, everything about it was perfect.
“You don’t look pathetic. You look stunning right now, and you should totally show off that dress later.”
Part of me knew I should have probably stuffed the dress in the back of my closet and never thought of it again, but no matter how badly I wanted to, I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t have anything else to wear for the party, and Mom did buy it to show it off. She’d been so happy when I modeled it for her that day.
“Maddie, I’m so sorry for your loss.” My school principal put her hand on my shoulder. “I wanted to let you know that, in light of your current circumstances, we’re not going to take any action regarding last week’s incident. However, that doesn’t mean I want to see a repeat of it.” She stared down at me, raising one penciled-on brow in a perfect arch.
“Thank you, Mrs. Walker.” I forced a smile. So kind of you to remind me of my transgressions at my parents’ funeral. Bitch.
“And who are you staying with?” She looked around the room as if scoping out my possible caregivers.
“With Haleigh’s family.”
“Oh…” She glanced between the two of us. “Well, I’ll make a note of that in your record, but if you need anything at all, please be sure to let me know.”
“Okay.” I shrugged.
She patted my shoulder again then went over to Haleigh’s parents. The three of them kept glancing in my direction, and I knew without a doubt they were talking about my situation.
Poor Maddie, the troubled sixteen-year-old orphan, whose parents died in a car accident together. She’s going to need lots of support and… a keeper. She’s going to need to talk to someone and tell them all about her feelings.
“I could really use a hit right now,” I whispered in Hayleigh’s ear.
Hayleigh went wide-eyed. “Maddie! We’re at your parents’ funeral.”
I rolled my eyes. “My point exactly.”
“I get it. But you might want to be careful. You could’ve been expelled if it weren’t for—” Her mouth fell so far open I could see her uvula—a word I’d learned in biology the week before.
“My parents dying?” I stared her down, watching her face turn every shade of red in the color wheel. I had no idea why I was punishing Haleigh for the shit day I’d had. She hadn’t done anything wrong.
She stared down at the floor. “Mm-hm.”
“Sorry. I just… I don’t even know.” Then I bumped her with my shoulder. “Did your mom say we could use her car tonight?”
Haleigh smiled. “As long as the snow holds off. But I wish you had your license. I hate driving at night.”
“Yeah, maybe I can get it in April.” That seemed like such a long way away, and I wasn’t even sure who’d take me. Mom and Dad had made me agree to wait until I turned seventeen because they didn’t think I was ready to have my license. I’m pretty sure they didn’t expect to die before then. I know I never expected to lose them so soon.
“What are you two girls conspiring about over here?” Grandma Rosie slurred her words, and I wondered where she’d found more alcohol in the short time since the service ended. The church most likely didn’t keep a stocked bar, unless you counted the communion wine. But I wouldn’t have put it past my grandmother to raid that when no one was looking.
“Probably some party with booze and boys. Maybe we should crash it.” Aunt Shannon winked at me, though she had trouble re-opening her eye, as if she were moving in alcohol-induced slow motion.
I tried to guard myself against the offensive smell oozing off the two of them, but it was impossible when my grandmother wrapped her twig-like arms around me, and her bleached-blond hair fell in my face.
“You know you can come with me if you want, to live I mean. We’d have such a great time.” I had to help her stand upright as she let me out of her grasp.
“Oh, that would be fun!” my aunt squealed a little too loudly. “It’d be just us girls, and we could give each other facials and watch Hugh Jackman movies. God, that man makes me wet.”
Ew, gross! “Um, thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.” I grabbed Haleigh’s hand. “I should probably go say hi to some people, so…” I took a step back, pulling my best friend with me.
“Okay, sweetie. You just let me know,” Grandma Rosie said, though it came out more like, Okay, sheety. Yoused lemme know.
I hadn’t even made it halfway across the room when my former ballet instructor cornered me. “Maddie!” Miss Nicole pulled me into a hug, enveloping me in her familiar gardenia perfume. “I’m so sorry, sweetie. Your parents were such wonderful people. I’ve missed seeing them—and you—since you stopped dancing.” She finally let me go and took a step back. “My God, has it been three months?”
“Time flies.” When your life is falling apart around you. “I’ve missed you too.”
“Why don’t you stop by the studio? You never did see the new floors. No more warped wood.”
I’d sooner spend a week in detention. “Sure. I’ll do that. I, uh, should go say something to my, uh, stepmom before she leaves.”
“Okay, good.” She pressed a kiss to each cheek before setting me free again. “I’ll see you soon.”
I turned around to make my escape and ran smack into Brody Allen, all six feet, blond hair, and brown eyes of him. His soft dark sweater clung to his lean muscular chest, and he smelled like sweet pine with a hint of chlorine, probably from spending most of his time swimming with the school’s team.
“Sorry, I—”
“You have nothing to be sorry about.” Brody winked at me with that skeezy half-grin of his perched on his kissable lips. “I’m the one who’s sorry about your parents. My dad’s really shaken up by it too. He keeps saying he’s going to sell his golf clubs and take up fishing instead.” Michael Allen and my dad had golfed together every week, from the moment the snow melted until the course was too cold to walk, so I’d known Brody half my life. The guy went through girls like Grandma Rosie went through six-packs, and he was exactly what I wanted at that moment. Sign me up for self-destruction 101—only bad boys need apply.
Brody ran a finger across the back of my hand, and my mouth turned dry. Sweat trickled down the back of my neck as if someone had turned up the furnace to its boiling point. “Thanks. Um, I think my dad would want him to keep playing, though.” If the look in Brody’s eyes was any indication, I was about to become his flavor of the week.
“Let me know if you need anything. I’ll even cover your next stash,” he whispered in my ear then kissed my temple and stepped back. “So, are you two coming to Drew’s party tonight?”
Haleigh giggled and turned a lovely shade of pink. I managed to nod just before another well-wisher appeared.
“I’ll see you later, then.” He winked and walked away. I knew he probably practiced that wink for hours in front of the mirror, but I couldn’t help the butterflies in my stomach when he directed it at me.
********************

Purchase a copy at:



About the Author's:

After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica Lucke Dean moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains, where she lives  in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180 lb lap dog, and at least one ghost.
When she’s not writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens and diabolical ducks, she’s either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub. Much like the main character in her first book, To Katie With Love, Erica is a magnet for disaster and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces.
How she’s managed to survive this long is one of life’s great mysteries.
 Laura M. Kolar lives with her husband and daughter in a one-stop-light town in northern-lower Michigan. Though she didn’t discover her love of books until she turned thirty, as a self-declared hopeless romantic, she has spent the past few years reading and writing stories with mostly happy endings. If not at her day-job or with her family, you will find her sipping a cup of chai latte while sitting in her favorite rocking chair, hunched over her laptop writing or spending entirely too much time on Twitter.


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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Freedom to Read giveaway hop (International)



I love the 4th of July! (Except for the heat)  Thanks to Bookhounds and I am a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting this giveaway.


My prize will be a choice of one book up to $15 USD to one winner.  It will be shipped from the Book Depository, so as long as they ship to you for free, you can enter.

Entry is thought the raffelcopter form below.  You must be 18 or older to enter.  Terms and conditions are to the right.  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the hop! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Review ~ "Taken" by Dee Henderson

Taken by Dee Henderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from Publisher to Review
Genre: Christian Suspense

Book Description:  Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She has enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator and former cop Matthew Dane to help her navigate her reentry into society, she quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. For one thing, her brother is the leading candidate in the race for Illinois governor, and news of her escape will create a media frenzy. For another, the ransom her family reportedly paid years earlier appears to have been a scam; no one knows what happened to the money. And then there’s the fact that Shannon’s escape involved faking her own death. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her–even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.
 



My thoughts; When I read the synopsis for this book I was intrigued. A woman escapes a crime family after 11 years of captivity. I knew it would be an emotional ride and full of detective work. I wasn't disappointed. I'm glad I requested this book from Bethany House.

Shannon's journey from victim to metal health is very meticulous. She has everything planned. She has a list and sticks to her list and the time schedule she feels is appropriate. She sought out the man she felt could help her best, Matthew Dane. His daughter survived eight years before she was rescued. He knows how to deal with her situation, he is compassionate, and he understands her better than anyone else.

There is suspense and drama in the book, but it focuses on the emotions of the victim and the man who helps her. As Matthew leans more of her ideal, the more impressed he is of the woman she has become. When he is stumped by her behavior, he prays to seek inspiration and the best way to help her. It is not a fast moving book. Layer upon layer of the story and the process of bringing justice for Shannon add for a good story.

There is a tiny bit of romance. The violence is described long after the events. Most of the horrors Shannon endured are alluded to without many details. I would classify this book as clean.


Dee Henderson is a new author to me, even though she has published several books. I will definitely be watching for more of her books to read in the future.