Beat the Winter Blahs Giveaway

To help you beat the winter blahs this January I've got an amazing giveaway list. The books that you could win:
January 2nd - 101 Gourmet Cupcakes by Wendy Paul
January 4th - Where the Wind Blows by Caroline Fyffe
January 6th - Guided By Him…to a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You by Julie Morris
January 8th - Chickens in the Headlights by Matthew Buckley
January 9th - Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena
January 11th - Altered Plans by Rebecca Talley
January 13th - My Son, John by Kathi Macias
January 15th - Discipline Me Right by Mary Simmons
January 16th - The Sister Pact by Cami Checketts
January 18th - Counting the Cost by Liz Adair
January 20th - Methods of Madness by Stephanie Black
January 22nd - Altered State by Gregg Luke
January 23rd - A Tapestry of Spells by Lynn Kurland
January 25th - Women of Virtue by Jodi Robinson
January 27th - Torn Apart by Diony George
January 28th - The Pigpen by Kevin Krogh
January 29th - All the Stars in Heaven by Michele Holmes
January 30th - Love Your Body by Brooke Parker
Must be a follower of my blog to enter.
1 entry for sharing how you beat the winter blahs
2 entries for sharing the current giveaway on Twitter or Facebook
4 entries for posting about the current giveaway or the month-long contest on your personal blog or putting it on your sidebar. If you post about the overall contest, please let me know which book you'd like your extra entries put towards.
Please post your entries on the day the book you're interested in is featured. I will leave each giveaway open for two weeks.
Contest open to residents of U.S. and Canada.
Thanks to all the authors who so generously donated their books. We'll start it all off on Saturday, January 2nd with Wendy Paul's delightful cupcake cookbook. She's sharing a recipe with us. It's got loads of chocolate, so don't miss it.
Monday, December 21, 2009

January Giveaways and one more signing

To beat the winter blahs this year I'm hosting a huge January giveaway contest. I'm still scrounging up free books from some of my favorite authors, but when I get it all figured out I'll give you a list of the books I'll be spotlighting each day and how you can win. It should be a lot of fun!
If any of you live in Cache Valley I'll be signing The Sister Pact at The Book Table, Tuesday, Dec. 22nd from 3-5 p.m.
Enjoy your holiday season!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rating Books?

It's easy for me to decide which movies, television shows, or video games I will let my family watch. I simply look at the rating first and then decide if the show looks interesting.
But what about books? Books don't even have to put a disclaimer on their cover revealing they're full of sex, violence, or language. Sometimes the cover reveals all, but most often the reader is left guessing. I was recently on page 151 of a very clean, very well-written book when suddenly there were several offensive words and the nastiest sex scene I've ever read. I chucked the book across the room and vowed never to read the author again.
What's the solution? Do we need a rating placed on the cover or would a simple disclaimer work? And the big question - how are we going to convince publishers a rating system is in their best interest?
If you feel strongly about this issue, please cast your vote at Helium -
A great blog post about the issue -
Monday, December 14, 2009

The Winner

Janet Kay Jensen (who just happens to be the author of a fabulous book, Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys) won Susan May Warren's, The Great Christmas Bowl.
Congrats Janet! I'll try to get it to you before the holiday season is over!
Thanks to everyone who entered and shared the contest through blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. I'll do another giveaway after Christmas when we hit those winter blahs.
Happy Holidays,
Saturday, December 12, 2009

Last chance to win The Great Christmas Bowl

Okay, friends, it will be all over soon. If you haven't already entered to win your free copy of The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren, you should do it now! Just leave a comment on this post - I don't get online on Sunday, so you have until Monday morning to declare your intentions to win. Good luck and have a fabulous weekend!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

"What if your imaginary friend from childhood was your one true love?"
I really enjoyed Sundays at Tiffany's. It had an interesting premise - a wonderful imaginary friend whom the heroine can't forget. The book was well-written - James Patterson, how could it not be well-written? I was touched by the ending and the life-lessons taught in the story. My only complaint about the book was the number of times the Lord's name was taken in vain. As a Christian, I'm extremely sensitive to that.
Have you ever read a book and wished you could remove one element so you could recommend it to everyone you know?
Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love Your Body by Brooke Parker

Brooke Parker's first book, Love Your Body, has just been released. Brooke is an amazing dietitian. I've had the opportunity to listen to her speak. Her positive attitude and real-life approach made me believe I could be healthy and happy.
Here's a little information about her book:
Are you tired of dieting and feeling unsatisfied with your appearance? In this book, registered dietitian Brooke Parker shares secrets for developing a positive body image and creating your own customized eating plan. You'll also learn how to replace negative thoughts about yourself with positive, motivational thoughts.
With the tools you master in Love Your Body, the scale, the media, and your "skinny jeans" will no longer have the power to determine your mood or your life!
Topics include:
-Finding a New Relationsip with Food
-Honoring Your Hunger and Fullness
-Finding Your Own Healthy Balance
-Creating Healthy Expectations
-The Inner Dialogue
-Put an End to Worry
-Your Body is a Gift
-Eliminating the Physical Triggers
-Destructive Thinking Styles
-Pampering Activities
..and many more
Brooke Parker is a registered dietitian. She graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Dietetics. She currently works for USU's Student Health Center providing nutrition support for the entire student body. She specializes in Eating Disorders and has worked with this clientele for 8 years. She is passionate about helping women overcome eating disorders and body-image issues.
Brooke and her husband live in northern Utah with their three young children. She loves being a mother and all that comes with it. She also enjoys gardening, family vacations, reading, golfing, and snow skiing.
Brooke will be signing copies of Love Your Body at The Book Table in Logan, Utah - Friday, December 4th from 6-10 p.m.
Buy link for Love Your Body -
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Sister Pact in the newspaper

I was thrilled yesterday to open The Herald Journal (our local paper) and find an article about me and The Sister Pact on the front page. My husband told me first thing in the morning that I was on the front page. I said, "Stop teasing me, you jerk, that isn't even funny." Amazingly he was a bit put out with me all day!
It was a really nice article. Charles Geraci is a fabulous writer. Here's the link if you'd like to read it -
Hope you all have a marvelous day,
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giveaway - The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren

I gave myself an early Christmas present, The Great Christmas Bowl, by one of my favorite authors, Susan May Warren. I'm so happy I did. It was delightful. I giggled through the heroine's antics to hold her family close and serve up the perfect Christmas.
The ending was so lovely I found myself sniffling. This book reminded me that I need to savor my wild boys for the few years I'm blessed to be with them. Someday I'll have to graciously share them with in-laws and other demands. The thought makes me sick. But today, they're all mine and I'm going to take advantage of their captivity.
I enjoyed this book so much I wanted to give it to one of my readers. Here's how you can win.
1 entry for posting a comment below (make sure to include your e-mail address)
1 extra entry for posting a link to the contest on Twitter or Facebook.
2 extra entries for posting a link to the contest on your personal blog.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Savor the food, the break from work, and most importantly your loved ones.
The contest will close on December 12th at midnight.
All my best,
Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright

My mom gave me a lovely book last week, Christmas Jars. It's a touching novella about a young woman who is orphaned twice. I cried. This is definitely a story I will read to my boys every year.
The idea of the Christmas Jar is ideal for our family. We're definitely participating this year. I'd recommend you read the book, buy a couple extra copies for family members and neighbors and add your own star to Jason Wright's list:
Many blessings to all of you as we embark on this Christmas season,
Monday, November 16, 2009

What makes you buy a book?

A few weeks ago I was browsing through books at Seagull Bookstore. I picked up Soul Searching by Shannon Guymon and found myself smiling and even chuckling as I read the first few pages. The book wasn't my typical read, but the voice captured me enough that I plunked down my money on an author I'd never read before. This should be a huge compliment to Ms. Guymon because I spend a lot of time in bookstores reading the first couple pages of any book that catches my eye. I never read the back cover blurb, just the first few pages. I've gone through thirty books before without wanting to buy a one.
What about a book captures your attention? The back cover blurb? The cover? A referral by a friend or reviewer? The first few pages? The clever author bio?
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Ball's in Her Court - Book Review

She's got a great job, a loving group of family and friends and basketball skills like you wouldn't believe, but Denise DeWalt's life is far from perfect, and she's about to come face-to-face with a past she hoped to leave behind forever.
Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her former life. As Denise's search leads her closer and closer to the one person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize that her future depends on just one person--herself.
This emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of unexpected twists and turns--especially when it comes to facing your demons, fighting for love, and finding happiness for the future.
My thoughts:
I enjoyed this book, but it was heart-wrenching. Denise's childhood abuse and journey through the foster care system would be obstacles to happiness most couldn't overcome. Throughout the book I rooted for Denise and hoped that the hero, Rich, wouldn't give up on her. I think most men would have.
The Ball's in Her Court was interesting and well-written but you need to plan on being frustrated and even depressed at times as you immerse yourself in the story. I laughed and cried and felt immensely relieved when Denise finally accepted love, peace, and family.
A month-long book tour will run in conjunction with this book's release. Heather will be doing giveaways on her blog throughout the month and has just informed me that The Sister Pact will be included.
You can find a link to the book trailer here:
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Great Quote

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
Calvin Coolidge
Love this quote. Don't give up on your dreams, my friends. Press on, even if your only success is knowing you've given your best.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Finding time to read

No time to read that stack of novels on your nightstand? Here's how I fit in a few pages here and there and usually get through a novel a week.
  • Take the book everywhere with you. You never know when you'll be waiting outside the preschool pick-up, at the doctor's office, or in line for McDonald's.
  • Read while you exercise. I actually have a hard time reading a novel while I exercise, but I do cruise through my magazines on the treadmill or spin bike.
  • Make reading your treat. Think of the extra time (not to mention the calories saved) if you read instead of baking or running to the store for a pint of Ben & Jerry's. At the end of a long day promise yourself that you can read a chapter of The Lost Symbol. You'll get so into the book you won't feel the deprivation of your taste buds (maybe).
  • Don't discount toilet time. Now I know this sounds gross, but no child is going to bother you in the bathroom. Well, they might try to bother you, but you've got the greatest excuse in the world.
  • Read during couple time. My honey can think I'm watching a football game with him while I read my latest Susan May Warren book. All I have to do is comment on every four to five plays. That's about as often as something exciting happens anyway.
Follow these tips and you'll not only get some reading time in, you'll also improve your multi-tasking skills.
Friday, October 16, 2009

Whitney Awards

I just found out that I was nominated for the Whitney Award. They don't announce the winners until March, but I was so excited I had to share!
I'm entering a blogger contest on Monday. I committed to write a one-line blog and leave it up until Friday. Whoever gets the most comments to their post will win a free copy of Ghost Waves by W. Everett Prusso. Of course you all want me to win because then I'll review it for you and with the author's permission do a giveaway. So I'll try to think of some witty one-liner and you all post even wittier comments and together we'll be winners!
Have a fabulous weekend,
Thursday, October 15, 2009

Life Support and Life Everlasting - Robert Whitlow

I finished Robert Whitlow's Santee series. It was an interesting premise. Here's the blurbs on both books.
Life Support
A tragic accident in the Carolina mountains leaves a young man paralyzed and in a coma. Soon, a fierce legal battle erupts between the man's wife who wants to terminate life support and the young man's father who wants to keep his son alive at all costs. Caught up in the turmoil is a young female attorney who takes the case and finds out that her client's husband isn't the only person in need of life saving measures.
Life Everlasting
Book two in the Santee Series picks up with Baxter Richardson's recovery from a near-fatal fall from a cliff. Married to Rena, a suspicious and highly unstable woman, Baxter is faced with a choice of staggering ramifications.
While Rena Richardson is desperately trying to conceal her crime, her attorney, Alexia Lindale, struggles to put the pieces of the case - as well as her own life - back together. As the mysterious circumstances surrounding Baxter's brush with death are revealed, the focus shifts from Life Support to the question of Life Everlasting.
I enjoyed the books. They were well-written if a bit verbose for me. I found myself skipping quite often, but then I got in trouble because I'd miss something important. I'd recommend these books because they were interesting and I liked the heroine quite a bit, but be prepared to spend a lot of time reading.
Do you like books that are heavy on the description of settings, characters, history, etc. or would you rather just read the story?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cozy Mystery

My latest WIP is a murder mystery set in a retirement home. It's different from my usual suspense novels so I've been trying to find a spot for it. I thought it might be a cozy mystery with a senior sleuth because the protagonist is an older woman.
I found this definition, "The crime-solver in a cozy mystery is usually a woman who is an amateur sleuth. Almost always, she has a college degree, whether she is using it or not. Her education and life’s experiences have provided her with certain skills that she will utilize in order to solve all the crimes that are “thrown her way.” The cozy mystery heroine is usually a very intuitive, bright woman.
The cozy mystery usually takes place in a small town or village (click here to read more on the village setting). The small size of the setting makes it believable that all the suspects know each other. The amateur sleuth is usually a very likeable person who is able to get the community members to talk freely (i.e. gossip) about each other. There is usually at least one very knowledgeable and nosy (and of course, very reliable!) character in the book who is able to fill in all of the blanks, thus enabling the amateur sleuth to solve the case. (i)
As I read this I realized that Josi Kilpack's Lemon Tart and English Trifle definitely fit in this genre. Here's a list of some other great cozy mystery authors with senior sleuths:
Deb Baker
Nancy Bell
Emily Brightwell
Dorothy Cannell
Sue Henry
Sherry Lewis
Stefani Matteson
Cynthia Riggs
Deborah Sharp
Patricia Wentworth
Rita Lakin
Suzann Ledbetter
Camille Minichino
Have you read any cozy mysteries that you enjoyed? Please share the authors and titles.
Friday, October 2, 2009

Royal Target - Review

I recently read Royal Target by Traci Hunter Abramson.
Back cover blurb:
When CIA agent Janessa Rogers meets the royal family of Meridia on assignment, she expects to use her skills in linguistics and security detail to protect and serve, but she doesn't expect to find herself engaged to Prince Garrett Fortier, Meridia's most eligible bachelor, as part of the security plan. And she certainly doesn't expect to fall in love with him.
Janessa resists her feelings, fearing conflicts in her personal and professional life, yet when the Prince admits his feigned affection has become genuine she can no longer pretend. Matters of security, society, and spirituality make their unlikely romance even more complex, and escalating political intrigue gives Janessa an excuse to ignore the questions in her heart. But when a terrorist plot against the royal family endangers them both, Janessa and Garrett must face the challenges of loyalty to family, to country, to God — and to love.
My thoughts:
It was a cute royalty falls for commoner story. Ms. Abramson is a talented writer. I've enjoyed her other books, but I had a hard time suspending disbelief throughout this tale. I kept questioning the characters and their motivation. Have you ever read a story where you enjoyed the story-telling and characters, but didn't quite fall for the plot?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Book Signings - The Sister Pact

I've got a couple of crazy weeks with book signings. If any of you live in Utah, I would love to see your beautiful faces. Here's a list of where I'll be next.
Tuesday, September 22nd, 7-9 p.m. - Barnes and Noble - University Crossings Plaza 330 East 1300 South Orem, Utah
Saturday, September 26th, 10 - 11:30 a.m. - Seagull Book - 1720 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, Utah
Saturday, September 26th, 12-2 p.m. - Barnes and Noble - The Pointe at 53rd 5249 South State Street Murray, Utah
Tuesday, September 29th, 7-8 p.m. - North Logan Library - Speaking and book signing
Saturday, October 10th, 5-7 p.m. - Heart of the West conference book signing, The Lodges at Deer Valley, Park City, Utah
Saturday, October 17th, 5-7 p.m. - Seagull Book, 1114 North Main Street, Logan, Utah
Saturday, October 24th, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. - Seagull Book, 1102 Washington Boulevard, Ogden, Utah
Saturday, October 24th, 2-4 p.m. - Seagull Book, 4031 South Riverdale Road, Riverdale, Utah
After all of this I'm going to take two months off to write, love on my kiddos, and enjoy Christmas!
Hopefully I'll get to meet some of you at the signings,

Another Book Giveaway and Reviews - The Sister Pact

Another chance to win a copy of The Sister Pact - - if you already have a copy, you can start compiling Christmas gifts for your neighbors!
Some great reviews of The Sister Pact lately.
"I always love to read a book by a new, recently found author. It is like trying a new food at a restaurant. There is some excitement and hopefulness that it will be something that you will really like. I have to say, I struck gold with this new romantic,mystery-suspense novel.
This book has a great mix of Romance and mystery. Even though you know who did it...the angst comes in seeing how Savannah is able to prove her innocence. This was a quick read for me. I did not want to put it down until everything was resolved."
The Sister Pact is a suspense novel but it's also a book about love. Not just the romantic kind but the love that bonds sisters, a husband and wife, a father and daughter, a mother and child. Not the sappy kind but the kind that gives people strength to overcome hardship and suffering.
"The Sister Pact is quite a gripping page-turner, too - once I started reading, I could not put it down. The main characters are complex, passionate people who carry their own baggage and have to deal with their past before they have a shot at happiness. Whether they succeed or not, the tragic event that puts Allison into a coma will change their lives. None of them is perfect but neither are they fatally flawed. Their insecurities only make the characters more human and believable."
"This is the first of Cami Checkett's books I've read, and I was not disappointed.
I would have to catagorize this as a "Whydunit". In the 1st chapter the author tells us "Whodunit", the mystery is how will they prove it, and will they prove it before he strikes again. Another mystery, will Savannah figure out she is in danger before its too late, or will her stuborn pride just get her in more trouble.
I loved this book from the beginning to the end, even though I knew who the bad guy was, there were a lot of twists and turns in the story to keep me guessing and interested.
This is another book I would recommend for Mystery/Suspense/romance lovers."
Thanks to these wonderful reviewers! I hope one of you wins the book,
Monday, September 21, 2009

Saving Madeline - review and giveaway

Happy Monday friends. Today I get to share with you an amazing new novel by Rachel Ann Nunes, a writer I have enjoyed since I was a teenager. First a little about the story:
"As a public defender, Caitlin McLoughlin dreams of someday locking the bad guys in prison instead of defending them. But prosecuting jobs are scarce, and Caitlin’s future seems bleak. When her current client is about to walk away from a brutal crime, she risks her career to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else. Yet what if her choice means sacrificing her career and the means care for her mentally disabled sister?
Then Caitlin meets Parker Hathaway, charged with kidnapping four-year-old Madeline. Just another criminal, another job, Caitlin thinks.
But Parker tells a far different story. Can Caitlin believe him, as her heart urges? Is she willing to put everything on the line to defend her client—a man who claims to be protecting the child he loves? Or is her trust better placed in the handsome deputy district attorney with his undefeated record in court? Caitlin’s pursuit of the truth swiftly thrusts her into a maze of unanswered questions and unexpected heartache.
Meanwhile, time is running out for Madeline. If Caitlin doesn't find the proof she is looking for soon, there may not be a future for any of them."
Inspired by real life stories, this novel tore my heart apart. One moment I found myself aching for Madeline and Parker, the next rooting for Parker to kiss Caitlin. I was afraid the romance in the story would seem false when interwoven with such a serious subject, but it felt very real.
Rachel delves into the critical issues of drug abuse, protecting precious children, and how sometimes our legal system can injure the innocent. It is obvious the author knows her subject well and feels passionately about it. This is a book that I will not soon forget. I would highly recommend you all read it.
To purchase Saving Madeline, please refer to the publisher's website -
To win your free copy, just post a comment below. You can also post a comment on the other blogs participating in the Saving Madeline tour to increase your chances of winning. Please refer to Rachel's blog -
Thanks Rachel for sharing this thought-provoking book with me,
Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lemon Tart

Hi, friends. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in Josi Kilpack's new series and wanted to share it with you.
Sadie Hoffmiller tries to solve the murder of her neighbor, a single mother who was killed while a lemon tart baked in her oven. Sadie must also rescue the woman's two-year old. Whoever took the child must be the murderer, but Sadie is certain the police are looking at all the wrong suspects including her.
Lemon Tart was fun and intriguing. Sadie is a delightful, 56-year old woman who refuses to listen to or obey anyone. This fast-paced novel held my interest and kept me guessing until the murderer revealed himself and I bit off all my fingernails praying for Sadie and the missing two-year old to find safety.
I would highly recommend Lemon Tart. I can't wait to read the sequel, English Trifle.
Cami: I loved all the references to cooking and baking in Lemon Tart. What inspired you to write a culinary mystery?
Josi: It didn’t start as a culinary mystery—just a mystery novel. I wanted a domestic ‘gumshoe’ and she cooked. It wasn’t until after Deseret Book accepted the story that we thought to put recipes in it, but it worked so well it seemed as though it had been our intent all along. The initial inspiration for the book itself was due to a writing contest hosted by Jeff Savage. He’d challenged writers to write the first chapter of a mystery novel that involved food. I had such a great time with it that I kept it going here and there for a couple of years. Eventually it became an entire story.
Cami: Sadie is such a quirky, lovable heroine. I noticed she is in your newest release, English Trifle. Is Sadie the main protagonist or does this book focus on her daughter?
Josi: No, Sadie is the main protagonist; Breanna fills the role of side kick, sorta. She has her own part to play, but it’s Sadie who remains front and center.
Cami: Please tell us a bit more about English Trifle:
Josi: In Lemon Tart it’s mentioned that Breanna has a boyfriend—someone she’d met several years earlier and has recently reconnected with. In English Trifle, the relationship has blossomed to the point where Liam, the boyfriend, had divulged a secret—he’s the heir to an English Earldom. Breanna, with Sadie in tow, travels to England between Christmas and New Year’s in order to get a taste of what this part of Liam’s life is like—a part of his life that will take over when his father dies, which might be sooner than anyone thinks. As they prepare to leave after the week long vacation, Sadie and Breanna discover a body pinned to the wall of the sitting room with a fireplace poker. And, well, Sadie can’t help but try to piece things together, which gets her into trouble in more ways than one.
Cami: The recipes included at the end of each chapter in Lemon Tart sounded wonderful. I'm sure you're an amazing cook. Would you please share your favorite recipe with us?
Josi: Gosh, that’s a hard one. I really like to cook :-) But here’s one of my favorite, super easy, ones.
Taco Soup
1 can chicken broth
1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed
1 cup Salsa
1 can corn
Heat all ingredients and simmer 5 minutes. Scoup up with Frito Scoop chips.
I can't wait to try this recipe. I love easy!
Josi's website: Read the first chapters of my books as well as find purchase information.
Josi's blog:
Josi is currently working on the third book in the series, Devil’s Food Cake, which should be in stores spring 2010
Thanks, Josi!
Saturday, September 12, 2009

Our Cup Runneth Over Contest

You may have noticed the blue cup on my blog. I'm participating in a huge book giveaway through Here's the info on the contest:
Our Cup Runneth Over contest details:
Each week, over the next seven weeks, you will have the chance to win free e-books courtesy of the White Rose Publishing authors.
How? By joining our scavenger hunt. Each Saturday two to three new author’s web-sites will be added to the White Roses' blog. Your job is to locate the WHITE ROSE PUBLISHING cup hiding somewhere on their site. Jot down the author’s name and what color cup is on their web page and e-mail the correct answers to (Please place in the subject line WRiB Contest) Each Saturday, starting September 19th, a winner’s name will be drawn and your prize will be awarded.
But that’s not all, each time that you send in an entry—regardless if you win that week or not--your name goes into a larger kitty for the grand prize drawing October 31st! (That prize consists of: seven e-books, a box of White Rose Organic tea, your very own beautiful White Rose mug, and a little basket of Arbonne skin care products.)
Check back tomorrow - - where the first two web-pages will be posted so you can start your hunt. There will also be a listing of the books which will be awarded.
If you enjoy reading on your Kindle, this is a great chance to add some fabulous books. I will be giving away my second novel, The Broken Path.
Hope you all have a lovely Sabbath,
Friday, August 28, 2009

Book Giveaway - "Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys"

I am so excited to share my review of my friend, Janet K. Jensen's novel, Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys. Janet has offered to give away a free copy to one of my blog readers. All you have to do is leave a comment with your contact info. I will close out the contest Friday, September 4th.
When Andy McBride met Louisa Martin, he knew he had found the girl for him. There was only one problem: polygamy -- a lifestyle that Louisa could not escape and Andy would not embrace.
Janet Jensen writes about a secretive society in a way that is both fair and thought-provoking. I loved the insights into a polygamous community and the fact that the author showed the bad and the good of this society - the heartbreaking abuse, yet the tight-knit group is full of love and goodness as well. Louisa's own father is a great man and a polygamist.
The hero and heroine, Andy and Louisa, are people I would want as friends. I hoped and cheered through their courtship. When their babies were kidnapped I couldn't stop reading until they were safe.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would recommend it to anyone, in fact I bought a copy for my mom!
Cami: Tell us about your current release and where you got the inspiration for it.
Janet: Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys is my latest release. I have always been aware of polygamy, as there are a number of groups who practice it in Utah. I discovered, after the fact, that I went to high school with the son of a man who was a leader of a polygamous group. Occasionally I would read newspaper stories about him or his family and was fascinated to read about their life. They have since left the clan and he lives with his first wife and their children. He encouraged his wife to get an education at the University of Utah and she was valedictorian of her class. So I began thinking what it must have been like for her to be exposed to so many new ideas and people after living such a sheltered life.
That developed the premise of Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys: what happens when a young woman raised in polygamy has the opportunity to attend college? What if she falls for a young LDS man? Would they be able to deal with their conflicting beliefs? What would they have to sacrifice to be together?
Cami: When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Janet: I’ve always loved to write. It was usually channeled into school projects, though. In my profession (speech-language pathology) I did a significant amount of writing, but it was always technical and clinical. It had to be precise and accurate. Then, as a faculty member at Utah State University’s Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, I supervised and trained students in their clinical work. I taught them to write diagnostic and progress reports, all of which had to be clear and concise.
However, I began to miss writing creatively! There was a definite need that wasn’t being met for me. I began to attend the local chapter of the League of Utah Writers and through several kind and patient mentors, I gradually developed and polished my creative writing skills, which were quite different from the technical writing I had been doing for years.
Cami: How did you think of writing a novel about a polygamous society? How intensive was the research for your novel?
Janet: I read extensively about polygamy. Jesse Embrey of Brigham Young University wrote a fascinating book in which she interviewed people who had been raised in “traditional” polygamy and what life was like for their families. The Los Angeles Times, The Deseret Morning News and the Salt Lake Tribune each did an in-depth series about polygamy in Utah. Dorothy Allred Solomon wrote two fascinating memoirs about growing up in polygamy. I read other books written by people who had left or escaped the lifestyle. There have been numerous TV documentaries aired on the subject.
I also interviewed two people who had been involved in polygamy and then left. In both cases, they took significant risks to do so, as it is a secretive lifestyle and leaders tend to have tight control over their followers.
Then Warren Jeffs became one of the FBI’s Most Wanted. That put polygamy in the international news almost daily. He was the leader of the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints) polygamous sect and was charged with numerous crimes by former followers. The most serious involved performing marriages of underage girls, which the law interpreted as statutory rape. When he was captured and tried in court, there were headlines in Utah papers every day. So the whole subject was actually hard to ignore!
I had started to write my book in about 2000, long before Warren Jeffs became a household word, and before Mitt Romney ran for President of the United States, but all of a sudden polygamy was news. Then, shortly after my book came out, there was a raid on the YFZ (Yearning for Zion) ranch in Texas, where many of Warren Jeffs’ followers had moved. Many children were taken from their parents and it took about a year for the court to finally return most of them to their families. It’s a very complicated subject but also fascinating.
Progress on my novel was interrupted by The Book Lover’s Cookbook, which I co-authored. It took extensive research and also involved developing original recipes, so my novel was put aside for about three years. The Book Lover’s Cookbook was released in 2003. After its release I began to work on my novel again.
Cami: What is your next project?
Janet: I’m writing Gabriel’s Daughters, the sequel to Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys. I’m also writing a novel which explores the effects of illiteracy in our society, and have written the text of a Christmas picture book, which I’m peddling to agents and publishers as we speak.
Cami: Where can we find Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys and more information about your writing?
Janet:, Deseret Book, Seagull Book,, and a lot of other online bookstores. contains many reviews and interviews about the book. My other blog covers various subjects.
My webpage is, where you can read the first chapter of my book.
Thanks all for stopping by. Please remember to leave a comment so you can win your own copy of Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys. I promise you'll enjoy it!
Friday, August 21, 2009

Book giveaway and reviews - The Sister Pact

More opportunities to win a free copy of The Sister Pact. If you already have a copy, you can get a start on your Christmas gift list! (August 21st - September 4th) (now through September 3rd) (August 22nd - September 7th)
Blurbs from the latest reviews of The Sister Pact:
In her search to find the person who hurt her sister, the reader joins Savannah on an exciting ride filled with twists and turns. And in the center of the turmoil lies a ray of light, in the form of a blossoming romance.
I thought the story was heartbreaking, frustrating, heartwarming, and thrilling. I found myself drawn into the close knit, family circle that keeps the Compton family afloat during such a tragic time in their lives. Having a strong relationship with my own sister, I easily identified with Savannah's horror, heartbreak, faith and even anger.
I would definitely recommend this book. It was an entertaining page turner with strong, core characters. What a fun read! - Maryrose Serac, Reviewer
Cami Checketts’s SISTER PACT is a remarkable suspense novel that keeps you on your toes until the very last page matched with spellbinding love and hushed attractions putting the reader right inside the gripping investigation. - Laci Smith, Author
I really liked this book. Although the title or cover didn't grab me at first, my curiosity was peaked when a collegue recommended the story. So I began reading and I was sucked in at the first chapter. The characters were believable and the plot was intriguing and at times intense. I also liked the fact that the author threw in a little romance along the way. A very entertaining story- I highly recommend it. - Rozelle Hansen, Reviewer
If you have enjoyed The Sister Pact I'd love to hear about it.
Friday, August 14, 2009

Illuminations of the Heart - review and giveaway

Today I get to share with you my review of Joyce DiPastena's new book, Illuminations of the Heart. I don't remember the last time I've enjoyed a book so much. As a writer I'm a picky reader. I force myself to analyze and pick apart every book I read to try and improve my own writing.
It wasn't possible for me to pick apart Illuminations of the Heart. From the first scene I was sucked in and cheering for the heroine, Siri. Siri is one of those heroines who you'd want for a best friend. She's warm, beautiful, and loyal. And she's not afraid to pull a knife and force a man to back off. Loving the tough girl!
The hero, Triston, is a troubled man. I fell in love with him, but had a bit of a struggle with his tendency towards violence. Yet at the same time, I've got to give him kudos for restraining himself (most of the time) and this tendency is integral to the plot.
Speaking of the plot, it was extremely well-done. I loved all the twists. I never wanted to put the book down. And it's a big book. My family were not happy boys.
I would definitely recommend Illuminations of the Heart to anyone who enjoys clean romance, riveting suspense, and a story that will touch your heart.
He spoke the name on a breath like a prayer. Then he lowered his head and kissed her.
Her heart is lost in that first embrace, her world shaken to its foundations. There is just one problem: her name is not Clothilde. It is Siriol de Calendri. Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, Siri is directed by her late brother’s will to the county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brother’s friend, Sir Triston de Brielle. Once in Poitou, Siri hopes to find employment in an illuminator’s shop—until Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.
Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guilt he carries for the death of his late wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Or does she? Her merry laughter and twinkling eyes are very different from his late wife’s shy smiles and quiet ways. Yet when he gazes into Siri’s face, all he sees is Clothilde.
Then Triston’s past returns to threaten them both. Will his tragic life with Clothilde be repeated with Siri? Trapped between the rivalry of the king’s sons on the one hand and a neighbor out for vengeance on the other, Triston realizes it would be safer to send Siri away. But how can he bear to lose her again?
Siri is determined not to be cast off and not to live in another woman’s shadow. She has illuminated many a priceless book with pen and paint. But can her own vibrant spirit illuminate the darkness in Triston’s soul and make his heart beat for her alone?
Joyce's blog:
Walnut Springs Press: Http://
Buy the book here -
Don't forget, leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a free copy of Illuminations of the Heart.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Author Spotlight - Marcia Mickelson

I'm excited to share Marcia Mickelson's newest book, Pickup Games with you. It sounds amazing, definitely on my list of presents for my honey to buy me!
Tell us about your current release and where you got the inspiration for it.
Pickup Games is a sequel to Reasonable Doubt. In Reasonable Doubt, Mick Webber, a college basketball player was accused of killing his fianc√©. Five years later, he’s been exonerated, but still picking up the pieces of that tragic time. He is building a career in sports broadcasting and hating to share a new show with his co-anchor, Cara Jones.
I used to be a big fan of college basketball. I don’t have much interest or time to follow the sport, but this book was a way for me to
Is there a particular event that helped you become an author?
I’ve always loved writing and did it for fun. About six years ago, I stopped working full-time and felt like I finally had time to dedicate to writing.
What advice would you give to writers wishing to have their works published?
After you finish your first novel, read as many books as you can about the writing and publishing process. Then, go through your book to spot all the things that are wrong. Then, set it aside and start your next one. Use your first book as a learning process to help you in writing the next one. At least for me, my first book was so bad I won't let anyone read it, and it is nowhere near being publishable, but I learned so much from it.
What is your next project?
I'm finishing up a book about a woman helping to raise her autistic brother.
What other works of your have been published?
Star Shining Brightly and Reasonable Doubt are my two other published books.
Who is your favorite author?
I love Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book and was a great inspiration for Pickup Games. One of my favorite storyline in books involves two main characters who initially hate each other and then end up loving each other.
When Mick Webber gets a new job hosting a college basketball show, he is less than thrilled to learn he will be co-hosting with Cara Jones, a pretty brunette trying to get over her failed engagement. From the start it is clear the two will not be playing nice, and work soon turns into a battlefield. But as the season progresses and the two are forced to work together more closely, they begin to see that first impressions can often be deceiving. In this riveting story about the game of love, you ll find yourself holding your breath to see what the scoreboard says when the clock runs out.
About the Author: Marcia Argueta Mickelson was born in Guatemala but grew up mostly in New Jersey. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and lives in Texas with her husband and three sons Omar, Diego, and Ruben. When she's not writing, Marcia enjoys playing at the beach, reading, blogging, watching movies, and making train layouts for her boys. She is the author of Star Shining Brightly and Reasonable Doubt.
Thanks for being on my blog, Marcia.
Buy link -
Thursday, August 6, 2009

Illuminations of the Heart blog tour

I'm excited to tell you about the upcoming blog tour for a new medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart. This is a fabulous book. I read it on my way to California and enjoyed it more than any book I've read in a long time.
The blog tour will run from Monday, August 10th through Friday, September 18th (excepting the weekends and Labor
There will be daily reviews and the occasional author interview with Joyce DiPastena during the blog tour.
My review will take place on August 14th and if you leave a comment on my review, you'll be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of Illuminations of the Heart. I am including the list of reviewers because you can comment on more than
one review and be entered multiple times to receive the free book.
August 10
August 11
August 12
August 13
August 14
August 17
August 18
August 19
August 20
August 21
August 24
August 25
August 26
August 27
August 28
August 31
September 1
September 2
September 3
September 4
September 7
September 9
September 10
September 11
September 14
September 15
September 16
September 17
September 18
Friday, July 24, 2009

The Sister Pact - win a free copy

The Sister Pact will be in bookstores August 1st. Yeah! For more info go to my website - or you can read the entire first chapter here -
I'm giving away a free copy (or more depending on how many enter) on this blog. Here are the rules:
Post a comment saying you want to enter, please leave a way for me to contact you if you win.
Then post a link to this contest (you can gush about how wonderful you think the The Sister Pact is going to be for bonus entries!) on Facebook, Twitter, or your personal blog, then either e-mail me your link - camichecketts at or post your link in the comments section.
The contest will end on August 8th.
Friday, July 17, 2009

Author Spotlight - Susan May Warren

Susan May Warren is the award-winning, best-selling novelist of over twenty-four novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, and been Christy and Rita finalists. Her compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, she returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children and her husband are active in their local church. You can find her online at:

Tell us about your current release and where you got the inspiration for it.

I’m really excited about my new book, Nothing but Trouble – it’s a fun, romantic, light suspense series about a wanna-be PI who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. I’ve been working on it for about three years. (or, maybe doing the research all my life, hmmm) Here’s the blurb:

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her hometown, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder--who also happens to be PJ's former flame--is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend's husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right.

It hit the stands just in time for a summer beach read and is available now at your local bookstore. Go to: for sneak peeks and to sign up for free stuff and updates!

Is there a particular event that helped you become an author?

I’ve always been amazed at the journey God has taken me on. I always loved to write, but being a missionary in Russia, I never dreamed about being an author. I just tried to do the best with what God had entrusted to me, and for me that meant writing missionary newsletters. I honed my skills through my newsletter, and then, after a number of years, began to write devotionals and magazine articles. Although I tried my hand at writing novels (I wrote 4 before I ever had one published), I never thought I would get anything published. But I diligently studied craft and analyzed books, even though I was hidden away in Siberia. I’ll always be grateful that Tyndale and later Barbour and Steeple Hill took a chance on me! I’m still learning, and still trying to be a good steward of what God has entrusted to me.

What advice would you give to writers wishing to have their works published?

Read – figure out why you like the book, Read more, Write, get feedback, implement feedback, Read, Write more, and eventually go to a writer’s conference and pitch your story. Most of all, spend time in the Word, filling up, so you can pour out.

What is your next project?

I wrote a Christmas book! I’m so excited for my Christmas novella – the Great Christmas Bowl, a story that I wrote two years ago when my family took sick over the holiday season. For eight days over Christmas, I made soup and handed out Vicks…and conjured up a book about the crazy things mothers do, the looming threat (and joy) of empty nests and the universal desire to create memories for our children. I live in a small town, so of course, I had to write about the crazy, wonderful small town Minnesota life. (Go Big Lake Trouts!) Yes, it’s a mother book. (But did I mention it also has FOOTBALL in it?) It’s also a book about reclaiming romance after the kids are grown, and discovering that all your years of investing in your children do bear fruit.

I am overjoyed at this story; this holiday tale of my heart. It comes out in October!

Do you have a quote that motivates you?

This is the quote I had above my computer as I started to write novels…J "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Excerpt from The Great Christmas Bowl:

There are some Christmases that slink by, their significance lost amid the flurry of parties, holiday card mailings, and the endless lists of stocking stuffers. They end well, perhaps, with a sigh of relief and a warm curl of happiness that signifies, once again, a successful season had by all.

There are other years, however, that stand out in stark relief. Moments where the trudge of time, however briefly, hiccups. Years when we remember exactly why we gather with family to celebrate a day of peace, of grace.

For me, such a stumble in time came in my forty-eighth year. The year I turned into a fish.[1]

It happened by accident, as all monumental occurrences do. In fact, it wasn’t until afterward that I realized the depth of what had transpired. My youngest son claims that I entered into my state fully cognizant of the ramifications. My perspective suggests I was tricked, baited by the hope that my youngest son might find inspiration and purpose in my humble transformation and sacrifice.

Perhaps he did. But that year, the year I became a fish, also turned out to be the Christmas that would remind me, in years hence, that children do remember. They hold the memories we create as nourishment, filling in the nooks and crannies of their lives to make them stronger.

And eventually, they pass them on.

Thank you for stopping by Susan. I've adored your other books and can't wait to pick up these two. Blessings to you,
Friday, July 10, 2009

Author Spotlight - Kathi Macias

I am so thrilled to share this interview with Kathi Macias. I was blessed to win her book, Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today. I love this book. Kathi's knowledge of the Bible is amazing. I'm learning so much.

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.

Tell us about your current release and where you got the inspiration for it.

My most recent release (I’ve had four within the last year, with five more scheduled in 2010) is Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today from New Hope Publishers. It is a beautiful hardbound gift/devotional book, with stories about fifteen different biblical mothers who dealt with issues similar to those encountered by mothers today. The book includes a dedication page for gift-giving, as well as a mother’s prayer and making it personal section at the end of each of the fifteen chapters. This book was suggested to me by my former agent when we were chatting about ministering to moms, which is where my heart is.

Is there a particular event that helped you become an author?

I can’t remember when I’ve ever wanted to do anything but write. I love words, and communicating God’s truth, whether in speaking or writing, is my passion. My first book was published by Regal Books in 1988, when I was working in their editorial department. I imagine having that connection was a huge step in getting that first book accepted for publication.

What advice would you give to writers wishing to have their works published?

My journalism professor once told me, “Whether you want to be a good writer or mechanic or teacher, find someone who already does it well and hang around them.” Excellent advice! Find a good writers’ conference in your area (they’re everywhere!) and go there. Soak up everything you can; meet with authors, editors, publishers, agents; and maybe even get your proposal into the right hands at the right time.

What is your next project?

I am currently in the middle of a four-book fiction series for New Hope Publishers (their first-ever venture into fiction) titled the “Extreme Devotion” series, which deals with stories based on real-life modern-day martyrs of the faith in different countries (South Africa, Mexico, China, Saudi Arabia). I also just finished co-authoring a stand-alone historical (third-century) novel with Susan Wales; the book will be released by Abingdon Press in Fall 2010.

What other work of yours has been published?

I have actually published thirty books of my own, hundreds of magazine articles and short stories, and have ghostwritten/collaborated on at least 100 other books. One of my more recent releases, How Can I Run a Tight Ship when I’m Surrounded by Loose Cannons? (also from New Hope), is closest in style and focus to Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today.

Who is your favorite author?

Oh, that’s a tough one! For nonfiction, I love Brennan Manning, Max Lucado, and C.S. Lewis (also one of my favorite fiction writers, as I love the Chronicles of Narnia). For fiction I love to read Francine Rivers, the Thoenes, Susan Meissner, Mary DeMuth, Jeanette Windle, and Bonnie Grove.

Do you have a quote that motivates you?

Oh, my goodness, again, there are so many! Apart from the Scriptures, I suppose I have been most motivated by a quote for whom I have no author but heard it often from my high school creative writing teacher: “If there is owing in the eyes of the giver, there is no gift.” I’ve never forgotten that, and it motivates me to life selflessly.


Challenges that mothers face day in and day out are not unique to this time, and modern-day moms have much wisdom to gain from true examples recorded in Scripture. In Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today, readers meet ordinary women of their day who, by God’s incomparable grace, were used for extraordinary purposes. Beautifully designed, this book makes the perfect gift for a mother on any occasion.


Chapter 3

Rebekah: Playing Favorites

Before he [Abraham’s servant, Eliezer] had finished praying,

Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder….

The girl was very beautiful, a virgin

(Gen. 24:15, 16).

Suggested Scripture Readings:

Gen. 23:17-20; 24:1-4, 58, 66-67; 25:20, 21-26, 28; 27:6-12; 28:5

As a mother, have you ever been tempted to cover or even lie for your child in order to obtain special treatment or to override negative consequences in that child’s life, rather than trusting the Lord to work according to His purposes? Have you ever been involved in a family situation where there were “favorites” among siblings? Though this chapter depicts Rebekah as a loving wife and mother of twin boys, she ends up favoring the younger son, while her husband favors the elder. This results in a lot of manipulating and maneuvering, as well as downright deceit and trickery, which literally leads to the physical breakup of the family. It is a tragic story, with much to speak to us in similar situations today.


Rebekah is first introduced to us, literally, on “the wings of a prayer.” As Abraham’s servant Eliezer later told Rebekah’s brother Laban, “Before I finished praying in my heart, Rebekah came out” (Gen. 24:45). In a setting of romance and purity, bathed in prayer, this beautiful virgin girl, fulfilling the mundane task of drawing water for herself and her family, appears and steps into her God-ordained destiny, agreeing to marry Abraham’s son Isaac and eventually becoming one of the great matriarchs of the Bible. It is an idyllic, scriptural way for a marriage to begin, but—as many of us can attest—our lives and relationships haven’t always begun with or followed such a perfect pattern.

But before you think Rebekah’s life can’t possibly have any relevance for your own, let me assure you that this young woman experienced many trials and heartaches in the fulfillment of her life’s calling as wife and mother. Let’s take a look at Rebekah—where she came from, how she ended up where she did, and the price she paid for some of the decisions she made in her life.

Thank you, Kathi, for sharing your talents with us,


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Hawk Brothers Romance Collection

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Onboard for Love

Cancun Getaway

Reluctant Rescue: Park City Firefighter Romance

Rescued by Love: Park City Firefighter Romance

The Daring One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance

The Faithful One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance

Pass Interference: A Last Play Romance

The Protective One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance

The Independent One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance

The Feisty One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance

The Resilient One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance

Running from the Cowboy: A Snow Valley Romance

Spring in Snow Valley

Oh, Come On - Be Faithful

A Touch of Love

Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology

Protect This

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The Broken Path

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