Books reviewed on this site have been provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. All reviews are my honest opinions.

October 31, 2014

Deceived {Irene Hannon}

I received a NetGally copy of this book in exchange for my review.


Deceived {Irene Hannon} | #bookbloggers #tingsmombooks #revellreads
For three years, Kate Marshall has been grieving the loss of her husband and their four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on an escalator in the mall, she is convinced it is the son she thought was dead. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan. 

The former Secret Service agent is dubious but agrees to investigate. Digging into the case he discovers that the incident may have been no accident at all. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may be willing to go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret. 

It has been a long time since I read an entire book in one sitting, but this was that book that I just could not make myself put down.

This book begins with a brief prologue that basically relives the moment Kate Marshall learned that her husband and son had died in a boating accident. I hope I never know what that feels like, but my heart immediately went out to this character.

The first chapter brings us to "current" or three years later. Kate has made a new life for herself in St. Louis and seems to be doing well. Of course she still has heartache from her loss, but she is learning to move on. And then that one moment at the mall changes everything.  I really appreciated that this book jumped right into the story line and didn't try to get us "caught up".

The moment Kate and Connor meet, the obvious sparks begin to fly. Thankfully, the sparks remained the background story so that the real story could unfold. Connor believes in Kate and in her story. He gets his entire firm on board, and things begin to move fairly fast.

There were several sub-stories going on in this book, but each of them contributed a great deal to the main story. As all the characters and story lines began to merge together, I just got more excited about seeing how this would all end.

The end of this book took a major twist that I was most definitely not expecting. But once the book was complete, I thought back and decided that I really appreciated the ending. It all worked out, and I was happy with how the author left it.

This is a must-read for sure, so go check it out.

Meet the Author: Irene HannonTwitter

Purchase this Book: Family Christian | Christian Book

Add to your Reading List: GoodReads

October 30, 2014

Seasons of Grace Sweepstakes

In bestselling author Lauraine Snelling's new novel, To Everything A Season, the tight-knit town of Blessing, North Dakota faces change and challenge at every turn.

In the middle of the maelstrom is young Trygve Knutson. He's devoted to his family and his community, but he sometimes dreams of other horizons--especially since meeting Miriam Hastings.
Miriam is in Blessing with one goal: to complete her training as a nurse, and get back to Chicago to support her siblings and her ailing mother.  But the town of Blessing has a way of drawing in the most reluctant visitor, and soon Miriam's attachment to Trygve and his family has her questioning her entire future.

To celebrate the release of this heart-warming novel, Bethany House and author Lauraine Snelling are pleased to present the SEASONS OF GRACE Sweepstakes. This sweepstakes features three special prizes, each closely connected to the book:  One prize to sweep you back into history, one prize to enable you to give to someone else, and one prize to help you celebrate a little of the story's romance, in your own home.

Timeframe & Notifications:

This giveaway starts October 14, 2014 and ends November 3, 2014 @ 11:59 pm (PST). Entry is open to US residents only, age 18 and over. Winners will be selected Tuesday November 4, 2014, and announced at laurainesnelling.com.
   
GRAND PRIZE:
SEASONS OF GRACE Grand Prize
RED RIVER RAILWAY ADVENTURE
In To Everything A Season, new visitors, old friends, and important supplies are transported to town on these rails, and the arrival platform is a place of warm greetings and new beginnings.
Our Grand Prize winner will have the chance to experience some of the same warmth and excitement with an authentic taste of the golden age of railroad travel:
A $200 value Scenic Steam Train Ride for Two (Location and dates available nationwide and will be specific to the winner's state).
         
SECOND PRIZE:
SEASONS OF GRACE Second Prize
DINNER DELIVERY FROM INGEBORG
In the story, the inventive Ingeborg Bjorklund is well-known for her cooking, bread baking, and cheese making, and now she's pondering another new idea to help her hometown: a delivery service!
Like the hard-working people in Blessing, many of our friends and family members carry heavy workloads and health burdens, and could use a helping hand and a comforting meal.
While we may not be able to deliver Ingeborg's cooking, our Second Prize winner will win the next best thing, to be used for themselves, or as a gift to brighten the day of a friend facing chemo, a military spouse, a lonely senior citizen, or other worthy recipient:
$175 meal delivery gift card for MagicKitchen.com - Provide a full Thanksgiving meal for 6, or an extended selection of meals for 1 or 2. Gluten free, low sodium, and dialysis-friendly meals available.
       
THIRD PRIZE:
SEASONS OF GRACE Third Prize
STEAL AWAY DATE NIGHT PACK
The peaceful farming community of Blessing faces an unexpected threat when robbers target banks and businesses in towns nearby. As the town comes together to find a solution to the thieving problem, Ingeborg notices another kind of stealing going on: the new nurse in town, Miriam Hastings, has completely stolen the heart of her nephew, Trygve.
Soon Trygve and the dark-haired nurse with the sad eyes are regulars at the Blessing Soda Shop, sharing thoughts and dreams over Rebecca Valders' famous fizzy concoctions.

Our Third Prize winner can share their own thoughts and dreams, and enjoy a taste of Blessing's Soda Shop at home, with the Steal Away Date Night Pack.

This $100 value package includes: The UnGame Couples Edition, the Soda Stream Fountain Jet Home Soda Starter Kit, and the Homemade Soda Recipe Book.

       
    
How to Enter:
Go to http://www.laurainesnelling.com/html/giveaways.html and complete the entry box, anytime between October 14 and November 3.  

October 28, 2014

The Heart of Christmas {Brenda Novak}

I was sent this book in exchange for my honest review.


The Heart of Christmas {Brenda Novak} | #bookreview #bookbloggers #tingsmombooks

Eve Harmon has always enjoyed Christmas, but this year it reminds her of everything she doesn't have. Almost all her friends are married now, and that's what Eve wants, too. Love. A husband and kids of her own. But the B and B she manages, and even Whiskey Creek, the small Gold Country town where she was born and raised, suddenly seem…confining. 
Eve's worried that her future will simply be a reflection of her past. There's no one in the area she could even imagine as a husband until a handsome stranger comes to town. Eve's definitely attracted to him, and he seems to have the same reaction to her. But his darkly mysterious past could ruin Eve's happily ever after just when it finally seems within reach. And just when she's counting on the best Christmas of her life!
So... this is book seven in the Whiskey Creek series. I've read book one, but none of the others. Because of that, I felt very unconnected with most of the characters in this story. I liked book one, and I enjoyed this book, but I know I would have enjoyed it so much more if I had read the five books in the middle.
With that being said, I still enjoyed this book. It did have a couple love scenes that bordered on being more detailed than I typically want to read - but it wasn't really anything we don't see on TV every single night.
I felt like I connect a little with Eve because she is the same age as me. How would I feel if I was unmarried and kid-less. I found myself thinking about that and feeling so much sympathy for Eve and her situation. I wasn't sure I liked Rex/Brent/Perry/Whatever throughout most of this book, but I was glad to have that situation resolved before the story wrapped up.
Without going into too much detail (or giving spoilers), this book read a lot more like a mystery than it did a romance. I liked that about it though. Eve's entire relationship with this guy was overshadowed by this huge mystery and she, and all her friends, were determined to uncover.
I really (really) liked how this book ended. It wasn't at all what I expected, but it was a great surprise. Although it was a little hard to connect with some of the characters due to my own lack of reading, I still thought it could be a good stand alone book. I would recommend the Whiskey Creek series if you are looking for a good series.
About the Author: Brenda Novak
Purchase this Book: Amazon
Add it on Goodreads: GoodReads



October 24, 2014

365 Pocket Prayers for Mothers

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

365 Pocket Prayers for Mothers | #bookreview #devotional #tingsmombooks
Daily life brings worries—challenges with your children, tasks undone, health problems, financial difficulties, and other things that keep you from enjoying your children and your life. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to pray for or even how to talk with God about these life issues. 

Following in the footsteps of the popular 365 Pocket Prayers series, which has touched so many lives, here is an edition especially for moms and their special life needs. Each reading in this convenient, easy-to-carry, quick-access guide begins with a daily prayer and ends with a promise from Scripture.

I was having one of those I'm-a-horrible-mother days when this book arrived in my mailboxes. You know the days - the ones where you and your kids just don't seem to "click" and everyone drives each other crazy.

I took this book out of the package, opened it up, and right there was a prayer for when you're feeling burned out as a mom. Thank you and Amen!

This awesome little book is a small leather bound book in one of my favorite colors - purple. It fits perfectly into the console of my car and has become my quick little pick me up each day. Each day when I get in my car after work - before I head off to pick up my kids - I just read one of the daily prayers. It seems like God has placed the most appropriate prayer on each page for the day I am having.

This is one of those books that will likely remain in my car and get read over and over and over again. If you're a mom, you need this book.

Purchase this Book: Family Christian | Christian Book

October 22, 2014

A Promise to Protect {Patricia Bradley}

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.


A Promise to Protect {Patricia Bradley} | #bookreview #revellreads #bookblogger
Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her--or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago--out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. When Tony dies just days later, Ben is charged with a different task--protecting Leigh and her nine-year-old son, TJ, from the killers. But how can Ben keep an eye on Leigh if she's doing everything in her power to avoid him? And could the secret that Leigh is keeping change Ben's life forever?

Oh. My. Word. This book is amazing.

This story revolves around the two main characters, Leigh and Ben. The two were an item one summer about ten years ago, but Leigh left town and Ben moved on with his life (sorta). Leigh has returned to Logan Point with her son for, what she hopes, is a temporary job.

Almost as soon as Leigh returns to town, bad things begin to happen. First her brother is murdered, and then a long list of crimes begin to stack up around town. Ben just happens to be the sheriff and has promised Leigh's brother that he will protect her.

This book has so many twists and turns, you just can't make yourself put it down. Just when you think you have figured out who is committing all the crimes, something else comes up and changes everything.

The same is true with Ben and Leigh's relationship. There is a deep history there that begins to reveal itself as this story unfolds. There is hurt and confusion, but also an attraction that the reader can't help but notice.

It's hard to talk about this book without including spoilers, but the story will hook you in the first chapter and keep you wanting more until the very last sentence.

Meet the Author: Patricia Bradley | Twitter

Purchase this Book: Family Christian | Christian Book | Amazon

October 20, 2014

Once Upon a Prince {Rachel Hauck}

Once Upon a Prince {Rachel Hauck} | #bookreview #bookbloggers #tingsmombooks
Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by bestselling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.

Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess---just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn't going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon's Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family's tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna's aid under the fabled Lover's Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He's a royal prince. She's a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel's coronation. It's the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God's will or their own?


I have such a fascination with the royal family and all the traditions that they hold so tightly. When I saw that Rachel Hauck had a series based on a royal family and their reign, I knew I had to read it.

Once Upon A Prince introduces us to Susanna as she is being ceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend of 12 years. We learn very quickly that Susanna is one of those people who thrives on a plan and on doing the right thing. My heart immediately went out to Susanna and I found myself cheering for her early on in this story.

Then we meet Nathan, or Prince Nathaniel, while he is visiting the states. I also found myself really liking this down-to-earth guy who didn't let his royal title go to his head.

Of course Susanna and Nathan find themselves falling in love, but the political situation of Nathan's country quickly gets in the way. One of the things that really drew me in to this story was that it is so much more than just a love story. Hauck goes in great detail about the politics and traditions of the country and of the royal family. For me, the pomp and circumstance of Nathan's life is just as fascinating as the relationship between him and Suzanne.

This is a fairy tale, so we have to get the happily-ever-after at the end... or do we??

The only thing that kept me from immediately starting on the next book in this series was the low battery warning on my reader. I can't wait to get started.

Meet the Author: Rachel Hauck | Twitter

Purchase this Book: Family Christian | Christian Books

Add this book to your reading list: GoodReads


October 17, 2014

The Woman Code {Sophia A. Nelson}

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Woman Code {Sophia A. Nelson} | #bookbloggers #bookreview #sponsored #tingsmombooks
Every woman lives by a code, whether she realizes it or not. It informs how she treats others and herself, how much she expects of herself, and how far she is willing to go in order to find success. But is the code we're living by truly helping us create the lives of purpose and fulfillment we desire? Or are we sacrificing the deeper things for mere achievement? 

In this inspiring book, Sophia A. Nelson calls women to live out a powerful life code that will lead them to purposeful and successful lives. With the wisdom that comes from experience, Nelson reveals to women

· the true meaning of "having it all"
· how to take better care of their minds, bodies, and souls
· how to achieve professional excellence without compromising their values
· how to find lasting love and purpose in life beyond their accomplishments
· how to navigate the sisterhood of women, to build collaboration rather than competition
· how to heal from past hurts, rejection, and life's inevitable storms
· and much more

The Woman Code is a way of living, of navigating life's challenges, and of interacting positively with other women. It's a way of pursuing our dreams and our deepest desires. It reveals a universal and timeless set of principles of the mind, body, and spirit that help women balance the demands of work, home, family, and friendship. The Woman Code not only calls on women to practice purpose in their lives, it shows them how to do it with grace.


I have to admit, I had a very hard time getting through this book. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting from this book, but I can't honestly say I liked anything about it.

I can remember in school when we had to write long papers on a subject, but I could only come up with one very short thought about the whole thing. I would get creative and just rewrite my thought in as many creative ways I could think of. I feel like this is what the author did with this entire book.

The book is broken down into five sections, or codes. The table of contents serves as a basic outline for the entire book, but I feel like the outline could actually stand without the rambling paragraphs to expound on it.

I really hate giving bad reviews, but I just couldn't find anything I loved about this book.


October 13, 2014

Grace Unplugged {Melody Carlson}

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Grace Unplugged {Melody Carlson} | #bookbloggers #bookreview #B&HPublishing
Grace Trey is an eighteen-year-old singer as passionate about her Christian faith as she is her phenomenal, God-given musical talent. Both traits come from her father, one-hit wonder Johnny Tray who found Jesus after losing his chart success two decades ago.

When Grace encounters her own music break of a lifetime, the sudden dive into the "real world" puts her deeper beliefs to the test. Pop superstardom is just within reach but appears to require some spiritual compromise. Will Grace reject her faith, or will she own it?

So, I wanted to read this book because I've discovered that I really like movies better if I have already read the book and kinda know what is coming. I don't do suspense very well, ha!


Grace Unplugged, the book, is based on the movie by the same name. The movie came out last Fall, and the book came a few months later. I've seen the movie trailer, but have not seen the actual movie yet.

Grace is a typical teenager. She is technically old enough to be an adult, but she still lives at home with her parents. Her parents treat her like a typical teenager, and Grace is completely fed up with it all.

Grace's dad, Johnny, is a former rock star. Apparently he had a rough life when he had a music career and he is determined that Grace is not going to follow in his footsteps. He and Grace butt heads on a regular basis about her future and her desire to have her own music career.

Grace leaves home unannounced and heads off to Hollywood to start her music career. She signs with a big label and seems to have everything going for her. But Grace's life is spiraling out of control very quickly.

I think what Grace goes through is typical to what a lot of teenagers experience when they decide to try to live their lives outside of their parents wishes. As with most teenagers, Grace gets very far from the way she was raised, and very far from God.

It takes a series of events to give Grace the wake-up call she needs. I don't think there was really any surprise to how this story ended with Grace being back in the good graces of her family and back to living her life for God.

This book was good, but not spectacular. I am looking forward to watching the movie though. It looks like it has potential.

Meet the Author: Melody Carlson

Purchase the Book: Family Christian | Christian Book

Watch the Movie Trailer:


October 11, 2014

Cover Reveal: Slayed on the Slopes {Kate Dyer Seeley}


I'm excited to be part of the cover reveal for Slayed on the Slopes by Kate Dyer-Seeley! Slayed on the Slopes is the second book in the Pacific Northwest Mystery series and releases the end of March 2015. The first book, Scene of the Climb is available now. 


Slayed on the Slopes

After talking her way into a job writing for Portland's Northwest Extreme magazine, Meg Reed may now really be in over her head. Actually, about 8,000 feet over her head. . .

She's at Mount Hood's remote Silcox Hut, covering the seriously hardcore Ridge Rangers—Oregon's elite high-altitude rescue team--during their four-day winter training. Sure, Meg beefed up her outdoor skills over the summer . . . but she's still hoping to cover the event with some hot chocolate by the cheery fireplace. Then, during a sudden blizzard, she swears she hears gunshots. No one stranded in the hut believes her . . . until self-absorbed Ridge Ranger Ben Rogers is found outside in a pool of frozen blood. Meg's now got to find this killer quickly . . . before cabin fever does them all in!

Praise For Scene Of The Climb

"A splendid overview of the greater Portland and Columbia River Gorge region, perfect for travel buffs. Her protagonist shows promise with her determined attitude and moxie." --Library Journal

Includes Adventure Guides!


About the Author:

Kate Dyer-Seeley’s work has been featured in a variety of regional, national and international Scene of the Climb, was released June 3, 2014 and is now available at bookstores and online.
publications. She writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Books. The first book in the series,

Kate also wrote a memoir Underneath the Ash (published in 2011) that chronicles her experience becoming a mother for the first time while losing her mother to young-onset Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, Kate writes and co-produces a monthly online magazine Broadsheet360. The magazine has a steady readership from all around the globe.

She lives in Vancouver, Washington with her husband and son.

- See more at: http://www.katedyerseeley.com/about


Giveaway:
Paperback of Scene of the Climb by Kate Dyer-Seeley (US)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 2, 2014

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes {Betsy St. Amant}

This book was provided to me at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes {Betsy St. Amant} | #bookblogger #bookreview
Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself her is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

I really wanted to love this book. I have seen hype about it in several of my reading circles so I was looking forward to a book that I could fall in love with. Unfortunately, "almost like" is more the term I would use for this one. It had its high points, but I just didn't love it.

First there is Kat. Kat has zero confidence in herself. Thanks to her preacher daddy, haughty-taughty mom, and beauty queen sister, who could really blame her. She works for her aunt at her cupcake shop, but dreams of being out on her own with her own cupcake bakery. While her lack of confidence made her likable in the beginning of the book, it really began to grate on my nerves about the mid-way point. 

Lucas is the local football coach, and has been Kat's best friend since junior high. We learn in the very beginning that he had developed very strong feelings for Kat. The guy is thinking about marriage and babies before we ever get a chance to really know him. He decides that his big love declaration is going to be entering Kat into this cupcake competition. Of course he ends up going with her as her assistant, and he quickly decides that he has made a huge mistake.

The thing that really irked me about this book was the lack of dialogue. I would guess that 98% of this book is just the characters' thoughts. The chapters alternate between Kat and Lucas, and I found myself getting mad at them for their unwillingness to just talk to each other. With that said, had the characters actually talked to each other, the entire story could have probably been told in about four chapters.

The actual story line for Kat and Lucas was pretty good, and kept you thinking that things were going to go terribly wrong. On more than one occasion, I was pretty convinced we weren't going to get the happily ever after that we are so accustomed to in books. I was pleased at the ending (even though it seemed pretty obvious several chapters from the end), and glad I got to know these characters.

Have you read this one? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Meet the Author: Betsy St. Amant

Purchase this Book: Amazon | Family Christian