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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blog Tour Review: IMPERFECT LOVE by Rebecca Talley (DuBon, 2014)

Imperfect Love Tour

Imperfect Love Imperfect Love Lauren Wilson is well on her way to her happily-ever-after. She has a career she loves, a husband she adores and a baby on the way, but a devastating diagnosis changes everything. The life she's built suddenly crumbles around her when her husband insists she choose—the baby or him. Returning to her small hometown to rebuild her shattered life, Lauren crosses paths with Ethan Campbell, the man who stole her teenage heart. The old attraction is still there, but Lauren won't admit it to anyone—least of all herself. Her only priority is providing a life for her child, and she can't afford to get it wrong. Ethan is confusing everything, including stirring up feelings she’s not prepared to face. Will she spend her life raising her baby alone or is the family she's always wanted finally within her reach?  

My Review

Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Romance, Women's Fiction
Length: 283 pgs

Rating: *** (I liked it)

Review: I really liked the emotion in this book, and the way the main character, Lauren, had some impossible choices. It upped the tension and made the conflict more realistic. Ethan is a great hero and there's a good contrast between him and Lauren's ex-husband. Everything, from the cover to the description points that this is a romance, but I think it would be better categorized as women fiction, since it really delves into Lauren's life and the challenges that she faces with her husband, her pregnancy, and then her growing feelings for Ethan. I think that would help fit in the timeline better, for me at least. The first half of the book deals with Lauren's pregnancy and her dissolving marriage, and it isn't until later that we get to meet Ethan, even though he's a pivotal character. I missed getting to know him more and wished there was more of the romance between him and Lauren rather than the disintegration of the romance between Lauren and her ex-husband. My only other twitch was that I got frustrated when it seemed like Lauren wasn't growing and changing at all in certain aspects. I understood that the issues she dealt with were mind-blowing, that the changes she faced were earth-shattering, but by 75% through, I wanted to see her at least tip-toeing in a better direction.

Source: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review as part of a blog tour.

Content: Rated 1-5; 1 being minor, 5 being saturated
Sex - 1 (Kissing)
Violence - 0
Language - 0

Try this. Like reading about women facing tough choices? OLIVIA (Newport Ladies Book Club) by Julie Wright.

rebeccaAuthor Rebecca Lynn Talley
Rebecca Lynn Talley grew up in the gorgeous seaside city of Santa Barbara, CA. She met, and married, her husband, Del, while attending Brigham Young University. She graduated from BYU with a degree in Communications. She currently lives in rural Colorado on a small ranch with a dog, too many cats to count, and a herd of goats. She and Del are the proud parents of ten wildly-creative, multi-talented children. Rebecca is the author of a children’s picture book, Grasshopper Pie (WindRiver 2003), a children’s chapter book, Gabby’s Secret (DuBon Publishing 2011), four novels, Heaven Scent (CFI 2008), Altared Plans (CFI 2009), The Upside of Down (CFI 2011), and Aura (DuBon Publishing 2012). She has also authored numerous children’s stories and articles for both print and online magazines. When she isn’t writing, Rebecca loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house. She has folded at least one million loads of laundry, baked hundreds of batches of chocolate chip cookies, and eaten 5,478 gallons of ice cream.

Blog Tour Giveaway Details $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/10/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Guest Review: ANYWHERE by J. Meyers

Review by Gina Denny
Check out her blog or on Twitter at @ginad129

From Goodreads: Skye Whitcomb is running from her troubles, and where better to run than Europe? Fresh out of college, she makes quick plans with her best friend Paige and hops on a plane.

Of course, nothing ever goes as planned—at least not for her. First, Paige has to bail, and Skye’s left to travel alone. Then she meets sweet and sexy Asher Benedict in Paris, and sparks fly after a night together on the train to Rome. He’s all kinds of perfect for her, but the timing couldn’t be worse since she was running from the altar when she left—so the last thing she wants right now is a relationship. 

But Skye’s about to discover that no matter how far you run, love can find you anywhere.

Audience: New Adult
Genre: Romance
Length:156 pages

Rating: *****

Review: This is NA lit done right. I love the more-permanent feel of NA love stories - I'm more apt to believe a 22 year old finds true love than a 15 year old. 

Meyers does such a fantastic job of capturing the butterfly feelings that come with new love. Not a first love, and not proclaiming to be true love or insta love, just NEW love. The relationship develops naturally and I want to just sigh and cuddle up with it... not in a weird way... this is getting off-track. 

Anyway. This is adorable and fun, but still grown up. It also manages to be grown-up without being explicit or graphic, which I like. If you're curious what this newfangled NA category is all about, this is a pretty perfect example of it. 

Content: Rated 1-5; 1 being minor instances, 5 being saturated
Language - 4 (Up to and including F-bombs, but it's not pervasive. It's there and it's used in a real, but fairly sparse way.)
Sex - 4 (Euphemisms and fade-to-black scenes make up the sex in this book. (note: the euphemisms are simple and not gross. No "quivering bratwurst" here). Safe sex is advocated.)
Violence - 0
Substance Abuses - Some wine and some beer are drank by adults who would be of age, even in America (but they're in Europe)
Overall Rating* - PG-16

Review originally posted to Goodreads by Gina here.

*Rating determined by Ranee` based on content Gina described.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Conferences & My Publishing Story

A few days ago, Melanie Jacobson posted a link to my post about getting THE GAME PLAN published on the LDStorymakers facebook page because of the influence the conference had on it. As I thought about it, I realized that really I'd only mentioned the conference in a few sentences, when in fact it had a huge impact on how things played out--in a lot of ways. I wanted to write more about it and also discuss ways writers who don't have the opportunity to go to conferences can get the same things.

1. Bootcamp with my instructor Becca Wilhite. Becca was one of my choices for a reason. Her novel, MY RIDICULOUS ROMANTIC OBSESSIONS could be THE GAME PLAN'S sister. Becca caught some really important things, like the tense. When I first wrote TGP, I had kind of done it on a whim, and one of those whims was to write it in third-person, present tense, just for kicks and giggles. To stretch my writing muscles. Becca pointed out that while it was cool in some places, in others it just clunked. Hard. Plus I got to discuss those pages for almost an hour with her and five other writers, include a young male writer who gave me some fantastic pointers on my male POV for the story.
Without a conference: Three words - good critique partners. Not too many (you know, spoiling the stew as the saying goes). Get people who know your genre, and people who don't. Between them, they'll ask all the right questions. And get people you trust. That's so important.

2. Classes. A big one I want to talk about is the self-editing master class that Annette Lyon taught. The grammar stuff that she went over wasn't that new to me, since as an editor myself, I study grammar often. But she had some excellent revision tips - including one that I now use on every single manuscript I'm writing. She said to go through, scene by scene, and 1) identify what the scene is about in ONE sentence. If you can't do it in ONE sentence, too much is going on. And 2) identify the conflict. This one is the kicker. After I got home, and went through TGP with this in mind, I realized that the conflict in every single scene was pretty much the same thing. BORRRring. It led to me adding a whole new subplot, more conflict, and a whole lot of awesome. The other classes that were super memorable was the romance class I took with Krista Jensen and the pitching class by Lisa Mangum. (Thanks to that one I ended up with a pitch that rocked my socks off.)
Without a conference: Know your craft. Ask other writers for book recommendations. Read blog posts. Go to online workshops. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I used to think studying too much about writing would ruin the, uh, I don't know, purity? of it. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. (For example, discovering how plotting and pacing using Save the Cat is for a whole other blog post. TGP was the first novel I revised using the Save the Cat beats and...look where it is now. ;) )

3. Pitching opportunities. This one is self-explanatory. I don't think it was an accident that I got to pitch to Ms. Gordon at Covenant. It was great to make that connection and see her excitement for the project. It helped me in a lot of ways that go beyond the fact that Covenant ended up choosing my novel for publication.
Without a conference: There are tons of online opportunities to get *face time* with editors and agents; take advantage of them. (One that comes to mind is WriteOnCon, a great, free online conference with LOTS of benefits.) But, kids, querying. To be honest, I believe TGP would have been accepted, even if I'd gone through the submission process the regular old way. Just do your research and find the best place, then go after it.

4. Networking. And I don't just mean for the connections it may provide, I mean mostly for the knowledge you'll gain. Specifically, I remember after a panel on publishing and getting agents, I was able to chat with Melanie for a few minutes about what I wanted for TGP. I still remember her advice that if I wanted something, to not rest until that's what I got. Melanie had been in the exact place that I was, and she was writing for the company I wanted to write for. I know I would have mucked everything up if we hadn't had that one, fairly short, conversation.
Without a conference: Ditch that lonely writer persona and find people who can help you. It's hard to navigate the sometimes confusing world of writing without people who can give sound advice. You'd get there, eventually, but you'd probably make a lot of mistakes that you don't need to make. There are lots of good writing groups and Facebook groups for this stuff. Check them out.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Blog Tour Revew: Ripple Effect Romance HOME MATTERS by Julie N. Ford

Home Matters Updated

Home Matters by Julie N. Ford According to her mother, Olivia Pembroke was born to be a star. But how is she supposed to be famous when she can't even get a decent acting gig? Her lucky break comes when she lands an audition for a wildly popular home improvement show. Even though she has no design training and has never even held a power tool, she refuses to let that stop her. She's confident that her destiny is finally within reach. When her affections are torn between her heartthrob co-host and the irritating, yet somehow endearing lead contractor, does she continue to reach for the stars? Or does she design a new happily ever after? One that leads not to the fading lights of fame and fortune, but to a love that will burn forever.

Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Romance, Novella

Rating: ****+ (I loved it!)
Review: I loved the organic way that this romance spilled out, and not without it's obstacles that seemed so natural to what was going. Even in the short space given her, Olivia's character arc really blossomed. Having cheated and gotten a sneak peak at SILVER LININGS by Kaylee Baldwin, I'm getting very excited to see how all these novellas intertwine. Pete is a wonderful hero and, I hate to say this, I liked getting into his struggles and watching him fall for Olivia almost against his will.

Content: Rate 1-5; 1 being minor instances, 5 being saturated
Sex - 1 (Passionate kissing, and sex scenes referred to - but absolutely nothing 'on stage.')
Violence - 0
Language - 0
Overall rating - PG

Try this. Want a short, sweet romance? Read GOODNIGHT KISS by Ranee` S. Clark. ;)

Author Julie N. Ford Julie is a forty-something, dangerously close to becoming a fifty-something, graduate from San Diego State University with a BA in Political Science. In addition, she has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama, which has only made her better able to recognize the unhealthy, codependent relationship she has with writing. Professionally, she has worked in teaching and as a marriage and family counselor. She is the author of four women’s fiction novels, including Count Down to Love, a 2011 Whitney Award finalist. When she’s not writing, she entertains delusions of being a master gardener, that is, when she’s not killing the unsuspecting plants in her yard with her good intentions. She lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, two daughters, a Betta named Bob, and a Scottish fold kitten, Ardweal.

Updated Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series Enjoy this exciting new series of clean novellas by six critically-acclaimed authors. "Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love."
 Book 1: Home Matters by Julie N. Ford
 Book 2: Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin
 Book 3: Righting A Wrong by Rachael Anderson
 Book 4: Lost and Found by Karey White
 Book 5: Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver
 Book 6: Immersed by Jennifer Griffith

Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/31/14   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Check out THE FORTUNE CAFE by Julie Wright, Melanie Bennett Jacobson, & Heather B. Moore

Fortune Cafe
The Fortune Café
a novel in three parts
MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Café will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the café, Emma accidently cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.
LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky . . . until her parents meet her fiancé’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Café, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brave, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered it lucky how she met her fiancé. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiancé dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows.  
TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Café, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?

  About the Authors
JulieWJulie Wright started her first book when she was fifteen. She’s written over a dozen books since then, is a Whitney Award winner, and feels she’s finally getting the hang of this writing gig. She enjoys speaking to writing groups, youth groups, and schools. She loves reading, eating writing, hiking, playing on the beach with her kids, and snuggling with her husband to watch movies. Julie’s favorite thing to do is watch her husband make dinner. She hates mayonnaise, but has a healthy respect for ice cream.

MelanieJMelanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and romance novels. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed houseplants. Melanie is a former English teacher and a sometime blogger who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time (ha!), she writes romantic comedies and pines after beautiful shoes.

HeatherM Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes historical thrillers under the pen name H.B. Moore, her latest is Finding Sheba. Under Heather B. Moore she writes romance and women’s fiction. She’s the co-author of The Newport Ladies Book Club series. Other women’s novels include Heart of the Ocean, The Fortune Café, the Aliso Creek Series, and the Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology Series.
Fortune Cafe Tour
book blast button    

  Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/18/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mini-Review: A JANUARY BRIDE by Deborah Raney (Zondervan, 2013)

From AmazonA year’s worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed. In A January Bride by Deborah Raney, what will happen when novelist Madeleine Houser’s “pen pal” friendship with a lonely widower takes an unexpected turn? Who can work in a house that's overrun by contractors and carpenters? Not Madeleine Houser, a successful novelist who gladly accepts the help of her octogenarian friend, Ginny, to arrange for a temporary office in the charming bed and breakfast owned by Ginny's friend, Arthur. Maddie's never met the innkeeper - but a friendship grows between them as Maddie and Arthur leave messages for each other each day. To Maddie's alternate delight and chagrin, she seems to be falling for the inn's owner - a man who's likely many years her senior - and who she's never even met.

Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Romance, Inspirational Romance

Length: 99 pages

Rating: ***+

Review: Novellas are really in right now, and I love that. I'm impatient and can really get into a quick resolution of a romance. Plus, because so many authors are doing it, I can enjoy my favorites much more often, especially when it seems like I just don't have enough time to read!
I really enjoyed the first I read in this series, A DECEMBER BRIDE, and this one didn't disappoint. It had some fun characters, the lighthearted romance but with a dash of seriousness that's necessary. I loved exploring and imagining the old Inn with Maddie as she drew inspiration to write. I thought that Arthur's character was well developed and thought out. To be quite honest, though, I spent the better part of the book just wishing the two would meet in person so I could see some real sparks.

Content: Rated 1-5; 1 being minor instances, 5 being saturated
Sex - 0
Violence - 0
Language - 0
Preaching - 2
Overall rating - G

Source: Received a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Try This. Want to read about more people falling in love through letters? Enjoy Annette Lyon's novella "Between the Lines" in the TRA: LOVE LETTER COLLECTION.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Blog Post We All Dream of Writing

I have written this post in my head a million times. I can't describe to you how excited I am to finally actually post it today. Okay. So before you all die of impatience, the GREAT news.

Covenant has accepted my LDS Romantic Comedy novel, THE GAME PLAN, for publication!!!!!

And now the backstory.

THE GAME PLAN's story began quite a few years ago. I was watching an interview with BYU basketball star Jimmer Fredette and they interviewed his girlfriend. I wondered, how does a girl end up dating a guy like that and how does he know it's for real and she's not just a fan.

And since I'm a writer, that was the birth of a story. I started working on it, changing the star basketball player into a star football player because I just adore football. And the girl took shape before my eyes, someone who absolutely knew football and used it against the object of her affection. And then fell for him.

I had a baby in there somewhere, so writing went kind of slow at times, but I did finally finish. My husband kept asking why I was writing something new--totally new! I'd never written straight-up romance before--when I was still querying for my superhero novel. I didn't know. It just felt really right.

In January or February of 2013, I signed up to go to the LDStorymakers conference. I knew I wanted to pitch it there, and at this point THE GAME PLAN had only been read by two readers and my fabulous CP Kaylee hadn't even seen it yet. So I got my rear in gear and got to work editing. By the time I went to the conference in May, it wasn't totally done. The conference is a whole other post (that I think I've totally written...) but right off at the boot camp I got AMAZING advice from Becca Wilhite and my co-boot campers on my MS.

I was supposed to pitch just to Lisa Mangum at Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain, but when some extra sessions came up with Covenant, I begged to get in. After making sure everyone had a chance, Melanie Jacobson got me a pitch session with Kathy Gordon. It was fate, guys. I pitched her my book and she was excited about it. That in and of itself made going worth it, to have someone in the book biz be excited about my project. My friends and I shared a lot of excitement when I got out of that pitch session.

But once back home it was back to work. I'd learned a lot of things at the conference and also decided to change the tense on the book. Eeek. Over the next couple months I worked harder than I ever have on a book. I analyzed every scene with a mid-view approach I learned in Annette Lyon's master class on self-editing. (So awesome, really.) Then finally, on July 24th (I remember because Sarah Eden pointed out to me that since that's kind of a holiday in Utah, I probably wouldn't need to worry about hearing back that day...) I submitted. And then I sat back to wait. I'd discussed Krista Jensen's story of submitting to Covenant with her a lot. I knew it would take some time, so I got busy doing other things. I wrote two more novels. (Dang, didn't catch Krista! But in all fairness, she had 9 months, I only had 7.5.) I revised and overhauled another YA novel. I did some mom things. I moved to Alaska.

In January I emailed just to check up on things. It had been over six months. I got a very nice email from a submissions editor that said some nice, positive things about my book and she said she hoped it would be about another month and they'd let me know. Cue more waiting.

This morning, I got up just like normal, oddly enough, not thinking about getting any special emails today. My mind was mostly on a lunch I was having with my friends and the fact that we still don't have a signed contract on the house we're buying even though it's been well over a month since we accepted their counter-offer. Also, that is another blog post. I did my mom thing, getting my kids all ready for school and stuff, and then grabbed my phone on the way out the door to drop them off. When I picked it up, I saw a notification for an email from Covenant.

I gasped. My heart started pounding and my hands shook. This was probably the email. Maybe you remember this morning about how terrified I was to open it. I texted my husband and my mom, hoping someone would give me the strength to open that email. Finally, about thirty minutes later, after dropping the kids off at school, I sat down at my computer and opened my email. It was kind of anti-climatic. I saw the "Congratulations" snippet before I opened it. I only read two lines before I ran around the room screaming with joy.

I'm so excited, guys. SO EXCITED. Covenant has been my dream publisher and they said yes to me! I feel like I get to join a really fun club with some other really fun people that I know and admire and who write great stuff. I feel like I'm not quite sure how this can be real, that I can actually join in. But let's just say...

THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME. In the words of my brother, D.J. (who consequently, kind of deserves a co-author credit on this book...), "Zigga zigga woot shiminy yowza yowza moooooolalalalalala yayayayayayayayayay."* Yep. That's how I feel.

*Yes, D.J., I had to do a teeny bit of editing to that text.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review: THE HERE AND NOW by Ann Brashares (Delacorte, April 2014)

From Amazon

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.
This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 
Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. 

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. 

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking--and a must-read novel of the year.

"This gripping story is set in a world unlike any other and inhabited by beautifully imagined characters that stay with you long after the last page. As always, Brashares expertly captures the wonder of love’s enduring power.” – Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars

Audience: YA
Genre: Speculative Fiction, Romance
Length: 256 pgs.

Rating: ***** (A definite favorite!)

Review: This book just plain blew me away. Let me start out honestly. I didn't know who Ann Brashares was until just a couple minutes ago when I looked the book up on Amazon. I just got an email from NetGalley saying I was preapproved for this title, and since it looked really interesting I got on board. The book hooked me from moment one. And it's beautifully written. Poetic. There are so many passages I wish I could just share just because of how beautifully they're written. It's very thought provoking, and there may be a slight agenda to it. (There's a part toward the end that, it seemed to me, was a bit preachy about environmental awareness, but it only stuck out a tiny bit.) It moved really quickly. I was so engrossed I didn't want to put it down for anything. Luckily, or unluckily, I finished it in a couple days so I can get back to laundry now... I never got frustrated with what I didn't know. It seemed I would ask a question and a page or so later it would get answered. Perfect.

Source: I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Content: Rated 1-5; 1 being saturated, 5 being minor instances.
Sex - 1+ (There is kissing and touching. The main characters talk about sex, though not graphically--in the context of a relationship.)
Violence - 1 (**SPOILER** There's a fight near the end, but no graphic gore or anything is discussed.)
Language - 3+ (I only add the plus in there because it contains one word that's very offensive to me, and a handful of instances of what I would refer to as a "worse" word)
Overall rating - PG-16*
(Be aware that I'm pretty conservative in my rating. Usually I think about my littler sister or as a mother, when would I let my child read this.)

Try this. Like beautiful, romantic YAs? Read MATCHED by Allie Condie.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Review: A DECEMBER BRIDE by Denise Hunter (Zonderan {HarperCollins}, 2013)

From Amazon.comA year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.
What started as a whim turned into an accidental---and very public---engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the facade in Chapel Springs this holiday season---for the sake of her career . . . and his heart?
Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy---the best friend of Layla O'Reilly's ex-fiance---would be the last person she'd marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency---a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map.
Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she'll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she's landed her client.
For Layla, it's the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it's his last chance to win her heart.
'Denise Hunter knows how to warm up an inspirational romance with sizzling chemistry. You'll fall in love with this December wedding story!' ---Kristin Billerbeck, bestselling author of What a Girl Wants

Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Romance, Novella
Length: 88 pgs

Rating: ***** (A fantastic book I loved!)

Review: Seth's feelings for Layla and his protectiveness caught me right. Away. Their first kiss had me waving my hand in front of my face. Sometimes it's difficult with novellas to see the whole picture of the couple falling in love since it all happens quickly, but this one, with their past, it all flowed so well. I read this in an hour, it was just so fun and simple a read. Loved it.

Content: Rated 1-5; 1 being minor instances, 5 being saturated
Sex - 1 (passionate kissing)
Violence - 0
Language - 0
Overall rating - PG

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

Try this. If you like short romance stories, try the Aliso Creek Series, by Heather B. Moore.

About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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