Friday, May 1, 2015

Blog Tour ~ "Stranded" by Nathan Huffaker



Stranded by Nathan Huffaker
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from publisher to review
Genre: LDS Suspense

Book Description:  Kazakhstan is on the brink of civil war, and Elders Schofield and Johnson need to get out ASAP. But when their train explodes, all the evidence points to the missionaries! With terrorists on their trail and the whole country against them, the elders’ only refuge is the US Embassy in Astana—800 miles away. Fans of “The Saratov Approach” will love this jaw-dropping thriller.


My thoughts;  It surprised me that this is a debut novel for Nathan Huffaker.   The book is polished for a debut.

I found myself liking the missionaries from the beginning.  Their relationship of a new missionary and a trainer caught my interest.  Maybe it's because I have a son serving a mission right now?  I don't know.

The book takes off from the very beginning.  The Mission President receives a call in the middle of the night telling him to evacuate the missionaries.  It was impressive to think of the network set up to handle emergencies in the mission field.  The chain of information and the help that they receive was great to be reminded of.

It's not a spoiler to reveal that the train two of the missionaries are to travel on explodes just after the leave for an emergency situation.  The missionaries were already being watched as possible spies/terrorists.  This didn't help them at all, but it did save their lives.

I enjoyed the writing.  Nathan Huffaker did a great job at description and the portrayal of the story.  I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.

This book contains some violence.  It is written to the LDS market.





About the Author: Born and raised in Springville, Utah, the first time Nathan Huffaker boarded a plane was when he left home to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kiev, Ukraine. The two years he spent in Kiev later helped him to base parts of “Stranded” on his missionary experiences. Huffaker recently graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in English and now resides in Spanish Fork, Utah, with his wife and five kids.

Visit his WEBPAGE!

Side Note ~  I think it's pretty cool that he grew up in the small city that I currently live in. :)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Spotlight ~ "Halfway Perfect" by Julie Cross and Mark Perini + giveaway

Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with Ford model Mark Perini to pen a poignant and gritty YA novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry

Eve's time as a fashion model nearly destroyed her-now she's determined to build a career behind the camera lens. But landing a coveted photography internship brings her face to face with her dark past-and her ex.

While Eve is snapping pictures, up-and-coming male model Alex is launching his career-which, for him, involves maintaining a fake relationship with his co-star, Elana.

But Alex is falling for Eve, and Eve won't let herself get hurt again. If Alex can pull off a fake love with Elana, can he convince Eve to risk a secret affair with him?



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

When I finally give the rack a closer look, I start to weigh the options. There’s a varying array of briefs, boxer briefs, and pseudo banana hammocks with full backs in every color under the sun—black, neon green, pink, yellow, gold,red, navy, bright fuchsia. As the stylist is looking through the rack and sizing me up, probably trying to match my coloring, I’m silently chanting, boxer briefs, boxer briefs

He’s reaching a hand toward the banana hammock rack and I suck in a breath, trying to look cool with whatever.

But seriously. No one is cool with whatever.

“Nah, not these, they’re not relatable enough to the G.P.” the stylist says.

I let out a sigh of relief. But no sooner do I look back up and he has a pair of black briefs with neon green micro-polka-dots.

“These are perfect. You’re ready to be pounced on by the woman of your dreams,” he says.

“Great. Can’t wait to…try these suckers on.”

“You’ll look amazing.”

Yep. A dude just told me I’m gonna look amazing  in skimpy underwear.

He hands me a robe and leaves without waiting for a response.

After a quick change and after they’ve lubed me up with some makeup and self-tanner, I’m off to set. The thing about shooting underwear shots is the light is important. Janessa has two guy assistants as stand-ins testing everything. I resist the urgeto go talk to Eve and instead sit down on the couch. I’m not about to ask her out while wearing neon polka dots. That’s got failure written all over it.

As soon as Janessa sees me on the couch, she ushers me over to fill in for one of the assistant stand-in guys. I ditch the robe and feel the awkwardness Richter scale skyrocket. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot Eve standing out of Janessa’sline of sight. She’s trying not to smile, but she’s doing it anyway. At my expense. I decide it’s time to look the beast in the eye. I wave dramatically at her, like I’m flagging her down.

Janessa follows my wave all the way to Eve, who turns completely scarlet.


“Eve!” Janessa says. “Step in for Daniel. You’re closer to Elana’s height.”

Her eyes get really big and round, but her voice stays totally even. “Okay.”

Well, this should be interesting. Of course it would be much more interesting if she was also wearing neon polka- dot underwear.

“Guess your time in the spotlight isn’t over after all,” I say when she appears in front of me.

“This is not exactly the spotlight, nor do I have any choice in this matter,” she whispers, leaning in close so I get a whiff of her hair and something that smells like cinnamon.

Janessa interrupts us by shouting some directions. “Get really close!” I can totally do that. Just give me my pants back. “Alex, dip 
her down like you’re going to kiss her.”

I love pants. I will never take them for granted again. When I get the fragrance campaign, I’m donating a bunch of money to a pants-related charity.

But in the meantime, I don’t have a fragrance campaign and I’m not about to show any signs of fear. Fashion people can smell it a mile away and then ruin my chances.

“You heard the boss lady,” I say to Eve before hooking an arm around her waist and tugging her closer. My fingers brush over a strip of bare skin on her lower back and it sends my pulse racing so fast that I’m sure she can feel my heartbeat. And for a good long second, I don’t even care. Let her figure it out if she hasn’t already. I hadn’t planned on playing hard to get or any other equally frustrating mind games.

I move my hand up to the back of her neck before I lean her backward. My eyes are still locked with hers. I’m fighting the urge to undo her ponytail and run my fingers through her hair.

For the cameras. Of course.

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






About the Authors: 

Julie Cross is the international bestselling author of the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy. Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. Her knowledge of the modeling and fashion world comes from viewings of the movies The Devil Wears Prada, and Zoolander, and her unwavering devotion to the first three seasons of Ugly Betty. On a recent trip to NYC, she also took the time to walk past both the Gucci and Prada stores, spending at least 15 seconds viewing items through the windows.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


Mark Perini is a New York City-based author debuting his first YA novel, Halfway Perfect. Additionally, Mark is a featured author in the NA anthology, Fifty First Times.

Mark began his career as an international fashion model ten years ago, while simultaneously obtaining a business degree from Seton Hall University. He has a passion for traveling the world, and he’s made a blood pact with friends to see all seven wonders of the ancient world before he's thirty. Four down, three to go.



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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Blog Tour ~ "Crooked House" by Marlene Bateman



Crooked House by Marlene Bateman
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Source: Received to Review
Genrey Mystery/Suspense

Book Description:  Someone is trying to kill Liz Johnson and it’s up to quirky private investigator, Erica Coleman, to find out who. Erica is no stranger to murder and mystery, which is why her best friend’s daughter, Megan, turns to her when unaccountable and potentially fatal “accidents” threaten her roommate’s life.

Once Erica arrives at the ramshackle old mansion known as Crooked House, matters go from disturbing to deadly as it becomes clear someone is trying to kill Liz.  As Erica begins to unearth secrets, she discovers a twisted web of love, money, greed, and deception. Although the police and friends sometimes find Erica’s OCD annoying, its those very traits that help her sift through evidence and see clues that others miss. Erica must draw upon her all her investigative prowess to keep Liz safe and unmask the killer before he can accomplish his deadly objective.

 With a dash of romance and surprising twists, this thrilling mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. As with all Erica Coleman mysteries, ten delicious recipes are included.  


My thoughts: I have wanted to read on of Marlene Bateman's books for a while now.  I have the first two book starring Private Eye Erica Coleman, but have not found the time to read them yet.  Fortunately for me, I didn't need to read them before starting this book.

This book is full of mysterious events and danger.  It appears that someone is trying to kill Liz.  She is a sweet young lady.  The only thing she possesses of some value is the historic home she inherited, Crooked House.

Several times she is the target of someone trying to kill her.  Erica needs to get the clues sorted and solve this case before another the killer succeeds.

The book is written in a fun manner.  Marlene Bateman does a good job at portraying the thoughts of the characters in a light way, yet as a reader, I still understood the danger.

The book has  background religious elements, but they are not the focus of the book.  It is pure and simply a mystery/suspense novel that will keep you wondering who did it and will they be caught.

The  book is clean.  There are murder attempts and a murder, but I did not find them to be graphic.




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

“I’m scared.”
Erica’s heart turned over when she heard the quaver in her young friend’s voice on the phone.
Then Megan asked, “Can you come?”
 “Of course.” Erica’s reply was automatic. She would do anything she could to help. Although she often received emotionally-laden phone calls in her job as a private investigator, there was a difference when the call came from the teen-aged daughter of her best friend. The very fact that Megan—who was usually so calm and composed—sounded frightened out of her wits, put Erica on high alert.
“I think someone’s trying to kill my roommate, Liz,” Megan said.
“What makes you think that?”  Erica asked. “Has someone threatened her?”
“No, but Liz has had a couple of serious accidents lately—at least she says they’re accidents, but either one of them could have killed her.”
Erica made an effort to reel in her skepticism. “Tell me about them.”
“First, someone tampered with her car. The brakes went out and Liz ended up driving across someone’s yard and hitting a tree. Fortunately, she was okay. The second one happened downtown. Liz was on the sidewalk waiting for the bus when someone shoved her. She fell into the road. A truck was coming and if a guy hadn’t pulled her back, Liz could have been killed.”
Still, they could have been accidents, Erica thought, at least until the third one occurred—this time at Crooked House.

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


About the Author: Marlene Bateman was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan.  Her hobbies include gardening, camping, reading, and enjoying her four cats and three dogs. 

Marlene’s first novel was the best-selling Light on Fire Island. Her next novel was Motive for Murder—the first in a mystery series that features Erica Coleman, a quirky private eye with OCD.  The next book in that line, (they do not have to be read in order) is A Death in the Family.

Marlene has also written a number of LDS non-fiction books under the name Marlene Bateman Sullivan. Those books include:  Gaze Into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, which is a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences from the lives of early latter-day Saints, Heroes of Faith, and Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines.  Marlene also wrote three books about documented accounts in early LDS church history when a person either saw or heard an angel; Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, And There Were Angels Among Them, and By the Ministering of Angels.


Check out the first two books!










Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Get a digital copy of "Rewind to You" for #FREE

Links to FREE eBook:

Rewind to You FREE on Amazon Kindle

FREE on Barnes and Noble

FREE on eBooks
FREE on Kobo


   “Johnston’s debut spotlights romance and familial relationships, including themes like grief and self-sacrifice. It’s an ideal story for readers looking for a deep-rooted YA love story with the emotional ups and downs and poignancy of a Nicholas Sparks contemporary. There’s also a touch of wit and a sigh-worthy hero – a definite on your TBR list.”
– RT Book Reviews



Wish You Were Here

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…



Contemporary YA romance
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp.


"I love a good YA summer romance and for me, this one totally hit the spot!...I loved the journey; I loved the story; I loved the romance; I loved the little surprises and twists; and I loved the ending! Content: no language; mild violence; lots of kissing. Clean!" - Katie's Clean Book Collection

"I loved this book!...It caught my attention from the beginning and didn't let up the entire time." - Mel's Shelves

"This is a really remarkable love for me, to be honest. Definitely worth my 5 stars." - Book Inspections/Silly Readers

"Rewind to You is a fantastic young adult book. It has it all and it does it all so very well. Romance, heartbreak, loss, growth. You really can’t ask for more with a book. Laura Johnston created a little master piece in this otherwise unassuming young adult contemporary. "- Book Briefs

"This is why I LOVE reading YA! Rewind to You is a sweet romance with such awesome lyrical writing that I couldn't help but be swept up in the feelings of the characters." - A Writer's Dream

"I've read a lot of contemporary books the past two years, and I can safely say that Rewind To You is easily one of the best that I have ever read." - Justin's Book Blog

"...This was so much more than a sweet love story, it was a wonderfully done tale of learning how to deal with pain, loss, and moving on while still keeping your heart open to new experiences, new people, an new challenges." - My Guilty Obsession

"The writing is excellent and the story only deepens as the summer draws to a close, leaving the characters with resolution and the reader with a satisfying ending." - Heidi Reads

"5 out of 5...but I think it deserves another star!!! It's AWESOME!...This story was such a sad, and beautiful story all at the same time." - My Love for Reading Keeps Growing

"Laura Johnston has written a beautiful story with wonderful characters that have so much depth to them, I could have sworn they were real." - The Written Adventure

"Laura Johnston's debut novel Rewind to You is a perfect summer read ! A stunning soul touching story about finding love and forgiveness." - Lady A, Literature Junkie Extraordinaire 

"Rewind To You is a beautiful, heart touching romance. Laura Johnston deals with a subject we don't want to think about, the loss of a loved one, but she did it with heartfelt tenderness and a beautiful romance. I recommend Sienna and Austin's love story as a must read." - I Heart YA Books 

"I really enjoyed this book from Laura Johnston. The characters were solid and the story was fast paced and sweet." - Min Reads and Reviews

"This book was soooo good!" - Mylissa's Reviews and Books Thoughts

"I went through every emotion more than once. I can't find enough words to convey just how much I LOVED this book" - Crazy Four Books

Tour Grand Finale ~ "A Love Like Ours" by Becky Wade

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

We're blitzing the GRAND FINALE for:
A Love Like Ours
By Becky Wade

Did you miss any of the excerpts or reviews for this tour? There's still time to check them out and to order your copy of A Love Like Ours by May 17th to have part of your proceeds go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (more details on the Launch).



Launch - Letter from Author Becky Wade
"I'll be giving a percentage of my earnings on A Love Like Ours from whenever the book starts selling through May 17th to IFHF."

Babs Book Bistro - Review
"...this is the first book I have read by this author and it will not be the last."

     Turning, he squinted beneath the brim of his black Stetson and tried to make out who was coming toward him. A small woman with long, wavy blond hair. She wasn’t on the barn staff; that he knew. He angled toward her more fully.
     And then, very slowly, recognition began to slide over him. The hair on his arms rose.
     It couldn’t be her. Not after all this time. And yet the rational part of his brain understood that it could be. He knew she’d moved back to Holley. His mom had been nagging him to see her ever since, but he’d wanted no part of that, no part of her.
     Yet here she was.


Bookworm Lisa - Review
"Jake was a marine. The wounds he carries from his time in Iraq are not all visible to the eye. He has a scar on his face, but his real battle is in the PTSD that is a part of his everyday life. I really liked that the book looked into a topic that is the battle that extends long after a soldier leaves the military. The book looks at how everyday situations can impact a person struggling with PTSD."

Wishful Endings - Excerpt
     Jake’s poor face. His poor, ravaged face, both undeniably handsome and unbearably exhausted. As big and strong as he was physically, he was also wounded. He needed someone to care about him.
     Following pure instinct, she stepped forward and reached up to place her hands on either side of his face.
     “No,” he rasped, trying to pull back.
     “Shh,” she replied, firm. She’d purposely placed her hands in the same position on both sides of his face, favoring neither the perfect side nor the scarred.

"Tackling a serious issue that many in our military face is no easy feat, but Ms. Wade does it well. The story isn't too heavy, as it's balanced with romance, fun, family, horses, and religion. I love reading about this Porter Family and can't wait for more!"

Pieces of Whimsy - Excerpt
     He had only two goals where Lyndie was concerned: to interact with her as little as possible and to keep her safe.
     Whispering Creek Horses took every precaution with their exercise riders. In the past, a few had sustained minor injuries but none had been seriously hurt. There was no reason to worry about Lyndie.
     He should be more concerned about himself. He couldn’t afford to let a pretty blonde mess with his head.

"The slow progression for Jake is so satisfying to read. I loved the flow of the book and I loved learning in bits about both Jake and Lyndie. This is one of those "feel good" books leave you so content in the end. It's a great addition to this Porter Family series. I loved it!"

I Am A Reader - Excerpt
     How long had it been since she’d experienced a stirring of desire for anyone? Ages. A couple of years at least. It was fun and harmless to . . . tingle . . . over someone again. It wasn’t as if Jake was in danger of returning her feelings. Or as if this altered her intentions toward him.
     She was determined to help him and his horse. The kind of help she had in mind for Jake had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day emotions and everything to do with God’s power to redeem.

     Jake stopped at Silver Leaf’s stall. The horse had his head down, chewing hay. It took Jake a moment to spot Lyndie’s small form in the dim space. She sat to one side, her back against the wall, her knees drawn up and her arms wrapped around them. She must have heard him coming because she was already gazing up at him. Her lips tipped into a gentle smile.
     For a long moment Jake stared at her. Foolish woman, sitting in a horse stall for hours every day. Even more frustrating, looking at him as if she liked him and trusted him. Looking at him as if she believed he was worthy of her friendship and trust. Raw pain gathered in his chest.
"A Love Like Ours was another special read from Becky Wade. I loved the characters and finally reading Jake's story...which was such a sad, yet beautiful story."

Worthy2Read - Review
"Character-driven, A Love Like Ours was a joy to read — and re-read. As Lyndie and Jake get to know one another again, Lyndie breaks through the walls Jake has built (and those surrounding Silver Leaf) to be an instrument of hope and healing. Wades characters are flawed individuals, ones the reader can relate to and cheer for. Her novel captivates the reader from the prologue."


A Love Like Ours (Porter Family #3)A Love Like Ours
(Porter Family #3)
by Becky Wade
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback, 368 Pages
May 5th 2015 by Bethany House Publishers


Deeply scarred from a day he wishes he could forget during his military service, Thoroughbred trainer Jake Porter has given up on love. He struggles against symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake's childhood best friend, returns to their hometown of Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake trusts her with his prized racehorse, Silver Leaf, then battles his hopes for his horse against his increasing fear for Lyndie's safety.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake's will, Lyndie's sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he's built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he'd thought he'd lost returns. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?


During her childhood in California, Becky Wade frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances for the general market, put her career on hold for many years to care for her kids, and eventually returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She’s delighted to be penning warm, wry, and heartwarming contemporary romances for the Christian market. She's the Carol Award and Inspirational Reader's Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, Undeniably Yours, and Meant to Be Mine.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.


Other Books by the Author
 
Tour Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Signed copy of A Love Like Ours (US Only)
1 Kindle ebook (gifted through Amazon) of A Love Like Ours (INT - if available in your area)