Friday, April 30, 2010

Imprints by Rachel Ann Nunes - Book Review

Sometimes what you can't see means everything.
A young woman is missing. In desperation, her parents turn to Autumn Rain for help. Autumn reads imprints—emotions left mysteriously behind on certain treasured objects. But is this ability a blessing or a curse?
Sometimes Autumn isn’t sure—her life has become far from normal—but for people who have missing loved ones, her talent might mean the difference between life and death. Even the infuriating Detective Martin has asked for Autumn’s help, though at times she feels more like a suspect than a consultant. Too often Autumn finds herself retreating to her antiques shop and the company of her best friend, Jake Ryan, to avoid notice.
But soon more than one woman is mission, and Autumn teams up with private eye Ethan McConnell to investigate their disappearance. Ethan’s attraction to her is a pleasant change from Jake’s frustrating offers of friendship, but once Autumn takes that first step, she sets in motion a series of events that risk not only her own life but the lives of those she cares about most.
Imprints is one of the most enjoyable books I've read in a long time. The blend of suspense, romance, and paranormal kept me intrigued throughout the story. The paranormal aspect was different and refreshing, but still believable and fit well in the story. I adored the heroine, Autumn, and fell completely in love with Jake (Ethan was really cute too, but oh, Jake - ooh la la. When you finish the book e-mail me so we can drool over him together).
Imprints is a sequel to Eyes of a Stranger, the story of Autumn's sister, but the author does a fabulous job of making Imprints read like a stand-alone. I would recommend if you're going to read Eyes of a Stranger that you read it first.
Imprints was so much fun to read. Autumn is quirky and delightful. She feels like a beloved friend. If you're looking for a wonderful and clean paranormal romance you should pick up Imprints. I hope you love it as much as I did.
Read the first chapter here.
Enter Rachel's contest to win a $50 gift certificate at the bookstore of your choice.

Review - No Greater Love by Kathi Macias

Forbidden romance, an unlikely martyr, and an even more unlikely hero. Orphaned four years earlier when their parents, active in the African National Congress ANC movement against Apartheid, were murdered, 16-year-old Chioma and her 15-year-old brother Masozi now live and work on an Afrikaner family’s farm. When Chioma and Andrew, the farm owner’s son, find themselves attracted to one another, tragedy revisits their lives. Chioma escapes to join an ANC rebel band in her effort to survive and gain revenge for her family and culture. When cultures clash in life-or-death struggles, Chioma must choose between violence and revenge or forgiveness and selfless love. Loosely based on historical events and set near Pretoria, South Africa, in the violent upheaval prior to ANC leader Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 and his ascendance to the presidency of South Africa, this story of forbidden romance produces an unlikely martyr who is replaced by one even more unlikely.
"…Kathi Macias has created a sweeping epic about a land alien to too many, but more important is the crucial nature of the story and its monumental implications. You’ll feel as if you were there." Jerry B. Jenkins, bestselling author of the Left Behind series
My Review:
This book pulled me in on page one and did not let me go until the very end. I found myself sneaking in a few pages any chance I had. It's a truly suspenseful read, but it's also touching and heartbreaking. I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried (pregnancy emotions have nothing to do with it).
My twin brothers served LDS missions in South Africa from 1992-1994. This book was set just a few years previous to their service. They'd told me many sad and scary stories, but this book truly put me in the middle of the horrors of apartheid. I recommend everyone read this story. It's so well-written and intense you won't want to put the book down, but it will also touch your heart and teach you many important lessons.
Special Offer from Kathi Macias:
Buy No Greater Love on Amazon today or tomorrow, April 27th & 28th, e-mail Kathi - - and she will send you a free copy of More Than Conquerors (Book Two in the Extreme Devotion Series).
Monday, April 26, 2010

Almost Super

My good friend, Matthew Buckley, author of Chickens in the Headlights, taught a workshop at the LDS Storymakers conference this weekend about thinking outside the box. Because of the Internet the music and television industries have been revolutionized. He believes publishing is next.
Matthew doesn't just talk, he thinks and works outside the box. He did a podcast of one his books. My sons giggled through every chapter (as they do with all his books). His latest novel is called Almost Super. He's using to raise enough money to publish the book without a traditional publisher. The cool thing is you can pledge your dollar or more but he won't run your credit card until he gets enough funds to publish the book. For $15 you will get a signed and numbered copy of the book. I can promise you this book is hilarious. I was in critique groups with Matthew when he wrote the book. A group of 30-50 year old women were cackling through critique group (that doesn't happen when the rest of us read!). Knowing Matthew as well as I do I can also promise that this is not a scam. He is an amazing writer and person.
I'm heading over to pledge now. If you'd like to join me click here.
Click here to read the first chapter of Almost Super.

No TV and No Treats

We made it through our Multi-Media Fast for a Week. I have to be honest - I struggled the most. By Wednesday I was fighting some serious depression, worried about what e-mails I was missing. Sure every one of my blogger friends was going to drop me because of neglect. But I made it through and it was very good for our family. I cooked a lot more, spent a lot more time with my adorable boys, and read a couple of fabulous novels (I'll post the reviews later this week, Kathi Macias and Rachel Ann Nunes latest).
It was a great break, I would highly recommend trying it for a week (but make sure it's good weather).
You all remember that I pledged to not buy treats during the month of April and instead donate the money to charity? That isn't going quite as well as our No-TV pledge. It was my Stockton boy's b-day so I bought ice cream. The problem was I bought ice cream on Wednesday, by Friday it was gone, so Saturday I had to buy two more gallons for Sunday's b-day party. Sheila said I could just pay double, my contribution to charity is going to be huge!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Raindrop by Brian D. McClure - Review

The Raindrop by Brian D. McClure (Author), Buddy Plumlee (Illustrator)

"I am just a raindrop, I am smaller than small. What am I doing here? I have no use at all..." So begins the story of The Raindrop. In this adventurous journey, many Truths are uncovered which help the Raindrop remember the higher purpose of his life. This simple and heartfelt story, allows children and adults of all ages to remember the Truth of who they are.

Buy Now from Amazon

Brian's Website

I loved the message of this story. We all have a mission. We're all important in our Heavenly Father's plan. It's a truly beautiful book - both the illustrations and the words.

I read the book then decided to take it to the important audience - my three sons. They all crowded onto my lap or the edge of the chair and listened intently throughout the story. When I finished I asked, "So what did you think?"

"Read it again!" my three-year old demanded.

"I liked it," my seven-year old said (he's my man of few words).

I turned to my oldest (eleven) before beginning the re-reading for the little one. He cocked his head to the side and said, "I think it's got a great message. It's kind of . . . serious, but it's something every kid should read and think about."

So there you have it. It's a serious book about an important issue and each of my children enjoyed it. In fact, I've read it to the three-year old over and over again. He loves how the raindrop learns to laugh.

I would definitely recommend it for your children and for you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

No TV for a week?

My sons have declared a No-TV week. Of course I took it a bit further and decreed that no one in our family is utilizing any multi-media device April 19-25 (we had to make it the weekend also, my boys said to prove that I’m mean). What does no multi-media mean to us? No video games, television, movies, computer, games on Daddy’s cell phone. We’re returning to 1950. I’m going to sew me a cute apron and bake all week (great idea if I could sew). Maybe I’ll actually catch up on that stack of books and magazines piled on my dresser. I will be posting a review on Brian McClure’s book to this blog on the 20th, but I promise I will write it before and set up the automatic posting feature.

I’m thrilled to turn off electronics for a week. The boys won’t even have to ask, “Can we play video games?” 90% of the time the answer to that is no, this week it will be 100%. Yeah, for family bonding. Here’s a list of some of the fun things I hope we can fit in.

- Sports - our favorites are playing catch with a football, wrestling on Momma’s bed (ups the risk of injury), kicking a soccer ball around, and practicing baseball or basketball

- Hide and seek

- Playing board games - my boys' favorites are Monopoly, Sorry, and Risk (notice I said the boys' favorites, not mine!)

- Reading stories together - we love chapter books. Lately we've devoured the Dragon Slayer’s Academy series by Kate McMullan, Chickens in the Headlights by Matthew Buckley, and the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull.

- Going on a bike ride or walk. I enjoy the actual walk and bike ride, but my boys love making it to the park or finding a river to throw rocks into.

- Cleaning - We draw out of a jar the name of one room in our house. Then the boys and I clean that room from top to bottom - blinds, baseboards, drawers, everything. You'd think this would be miserable but it actually turns out pretty great. The boys work hard because I'm working alongside them and we get some wonderful chatting time in. Sure, it’s not their favorite activity but sometimes they have to do what Mom wants to do.

- Visiting our elderly friends

- Going to the library or bookstore (two of my favorite places on earth). I love giving my boys extra jobs so they can earn money to buy new books.

- Craft projects - I am horrible at hands-on projects, but Parenting magazine will often have fun and easy ideas that I can handle.

- Making magic potions or baking together – messy stuff, but so much fun.

- Setting up an obstacle course in the basement or backyard

- Building forts out of blankets

- Jumping on the tramp

- Playing in the sand (especially if water is involved)

- Having battles with Playmobils or Imaginext knights and pirates

- Chasing for a kiss - the boys run around screaming, if I catch them I get to kiss them.

- Dancing to music

- Making a band with pots, pans, and cooking utensils

- Letting them earn a dollar and then taking them to the dollar store to spend it - again, their favorite, I'd prefer they save their money or spend it on books.

- Playing silly games like airplane on Mom's feet or horse rides on Mom's knees or holding their leg and hand and spinning until we lose our equilibrium.

I’d love to hear from all of you. Please share some of your favorite family activities.

I think the best part of No-TV week is just spending more quality time together as a family. I won’t be sneaking in my office to work, Dad won’t be lounging in his theatre watching sports (he’s going to miss the NBA playoffs, yikes), and the boys will be forced to play with each other. I’ll let you know if we make it through the week without any serious injuries.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fun Giveaway - The Pitch

Coming up on May 5th I'm reviewing and giving away several copies of The Pitch by Linda J. Lord. Linda is also doing a fun giveaway in conjunction with her blog tour. Here's how it works:

Prize 1: 1 $50.00 Amazon gift card

Prize 2: 2 $25.00 Amazon gift cards Prize 3: 2 copies of The Pitch

You will need to leave a comment (10 entries) or answer my soccer contest questions (25 entries) on my site. Or on any of the participating tour stop sites on the scheduled tour date to enter. And to finish off your entry, leave your email address in the post or send a message to

The questions are (1) name 3 soccer rules, and (2) name 3 soccer positions.

One dollar from the sale of each book goes to the Hemophilia Society of Ontario, South Western Ontario Region.

Purchase copies of The Pitch from Amazon Click here

Purchase copies of The Pitch from Barnes & Nobile Click here

Good for 300 entries per book you purchase by using the links above. Email your receipt to Not valid on past purchases.

The Pitch Tour Schedule

May 3-Interviewed and book giveaway at Working Writers May 4-Interviewed and book giveaway Jens Book Talk May 4-Interviewed and book giveaway Author Exposure Club May 4-Interviewed on Catch That Book Radio May 5-Interviewed and book giveaway at Cami’s Books May 6- Book spotlighted at Womenhomebusiness May 9-Book Review and book giveaway at Between the Pages May 10-Interviewed and book giveaway at Chitlit Club May 11-Interviewed and book giveaway at Reading At The Beach May 12- Interviewed and book giveaway at May 12-Interviewed on Moms Empowering Moms Show May 17-Interviewed and book giveaway at The Cajun Book Lady May 18-Interviewed on The Renee Bobb Show May 19-Interviewed on The Business Woman May 19-Interviewed on The Chris Treece Show May 20-Book Review at Soccerphile May 24-Book Review and book giveaway at Readaholic May 25-Book Review at The Book Guru

May 26-Guest Blogger at The Life Success Mindset May 29- Interviewed on BookDivasOnline

June 2-Interviewed on Book That Author Radio

Book prizes open to international readers.


The contest ends on June 3 at 11:59 pm Central and the winners will be contacted via email. You will receive your prize directly from the author. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR FIRST AND THE INITIAL OF YOUR LAST NAME as well as a valid email where we can contact you. REMEMBER the more things you do, the more entries, the greater the chances of winning. PLEASE ALLOW THIRTY DAYS to receive your prize BEFORE EMAILING US.

Monday, April 5, 2010

April Challenge - Giving up Sweets for Charity

My friend, Sheila, who runs Book Journey, asked me to participate in her April Challenge. I've been such a slacker lately with pregnancy woes I've tried to say no to as many things as possible, but I couldn't say no to this.
For one month you give up or cut down on something that you enjoy but can live without, then you donate the extra money you would've spent to the charity of your choice.
I've decided I will not buy any treats - ice cream, chocolate, candy, cookies, etc. for the next month. I'm not saying I won't eat treats if someone gives them to me or beg, steal, or borrow from my son's Easter baskets, but I won't actually purchase treats for me or my family for the month. There is one exception though, my 3yo's birthday is April 25th. I already have a cake mix in the house, but I'll have to buy some ice cream. I mean, come on, he's three!
I will be donating the money I save to The Humanitarian Aid Fund for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love donating to that fund because 100% of the donation goes directly to people throughout the world who are in need because of poverty or tragedies such as the Haiti Earthquake.
I'll let you know at the end of the month how much I was able to donate and how much I suffer (going through the grocery store with my 3yo and repeating, "No donuts!" 20 times should be fun). Seriously, I'm excited to be able to give up something I don't need and donate more to those who need more than I can imagine.
If you'd like to enter Sheila's challenge you can here. She also is giving some fun prizes and a $50 check to one of the charities.
I'd better go hide some of that Easter candy so I can make it through the month. If any of you want to bring me cookies, my door is always open.

Book Review and Giveaway - Texas Roads

A disillusioned widow must choose between her new-found home and guarding a secret. Then a devastating discovery leads her down a road she never expected to travel...
TEXAS ROADS is a love story about one woman's quest to find home.
Texas Roads is a delightful story of heartache, romance, and home. I fell in love with the characters of Miller's Creek and cannot wait to read the sequel to this touching book. I have to admit that it did take me a bit of time to get into the story, but once I became attached I really became attached. I even dropped the book into my bathtub and was sad when I finished, knowing I'd miss my friends from Miller's Creek.
Win your free copy of Texas Roads
Must be a follower of my blog to enter.
1 entry for posting a comment on this post
2 entries for sharing the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook (please provide link)
4 entries for sharing the giveaway on your blog as a post or sidebar (please provide link)
Contest will close April 26th.
Open to residents of U.S. and Canada.
Thanks for entering!
Friday, April 2, 2010

Win The Sister Pact and Band of Sisters

Win a free copy of The Sister Pact on Novel Rank. Also at Rachael Renee Anderson's blog she is giving away The Sister Pact and five other books in a fun guessing the number of jelly beans contest. Enter here.
Don't forget to enter to win Band of Sisters by Annette Lyon. The giveaway ends April 5th.
Have a wonderful Easter weekend,
Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My son, Denver, and I recently finished reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner. We both loved the 13th Reality series and were disappointed with The Maze Runner. Denver had read ahead in the book. I kept asking him, "Does it get any better?" He kept reassuring me that it didn't. Sadly, I read to the end and it didn't get better. I hated the senseless violence and the made-up swear words. The boys kept saying, shuck you, shuck face, shuck it. It doesn't take a great imagination to convert that one.
I'm not sure if the book itself was the problem or if it was because I read it with my 11yo. I'm fairly protective of my sons. They don't watch PG-13 shows or much television beyond Discovery Channel. I wonder if I was upset because I assumed this would be another 13th Reality and didn't realize The Maze Runner was a Dystopian story. It reminds me of a good friend who told me she hated the movie Avatar. I was surprised because I loved that show. But she explained that she saw it after her 7 & 10 yo sons had seen it twice. We look at things a bit differently when we're mothers.
Would I have loved The Maze Runner if I would've read it by myself? Was I too affected by parental protection? I honestly don't know. There were a lot of wonderful reviews on the book. I'd love to hear from those of you who have read it.

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Onboard for Love

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Reluctant Rescue: Park City Firefighter Romance

Rescued by Love: Park City Firefighter Romance

The Daring One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance

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Pass Interference: A Last Play Romance

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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

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