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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review: HEAD IN THE CLOUDS by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House, 2010)

From Bethany HouseAdelaide Proctor longs to find a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a governess position on a remote Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her silly romantic yearnings behind.
Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America's wool industry, never expecting to end up with a child. To his dismay, five-year-old Isabella hasn't uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon—and intrigues him at the same time. But he can't afford distractions.When Isabella's uncle comes to claim the girl—and her inheritance—Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man's evil schemes. Soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?
Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Historical Romance, Inspirational Romance
Length: 370 pgs
Rating: **** (Love it)
Review: I'm not sure which of Ms. Witemeyer's books I read first, but I know that I like her stuff. I loved the originality in this one: an English sheep rancher in Texas! A mute young girl! And, though it seems as if it would be common place, a girl wishing for a husband. (It's not really in historical romances these days. Authors try so hard not to be cliche, that they've created the new one: an independent woman struggling in a society where women were dependent.) The romance between them grows at a perfect pace, and everything about it moved me. Great book.
Source: Bought on Amazon via Cheap Reads (Free promotion)
Content:
Sex - 1/5 (Them becoming man and wife in the true sense is discussed; Addy sleeps in Gideon's bed after they are married.)
Language - 0/5
Violence - 3/5 (People are shot; Murder is discussed; an attempted rape)
Preaching - 1/5 (Flows well into the plot.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: DONE & DONE: The Power of Accountability Partnering for Reaching Your Goals by Annette Lyon & Luisa Perkins

From AmazonIn today’s fast-paced world, millions are busy and stressed out, and they find accomplishing their goals to be a struggle, no matter how many to-do lists and motivational posters they create. The solution is simple. By finding and working with a solid accountability partner, you’ll get the support and structure you need to dramatically increase your productivity and keep you motivated. In this practical, conversational book, you’ll learn how best to create your daily to-do list, how to trick yourself into getting work done, how to fight Resistance, and how to make the most of your own cheering section. Annette Lyon and Luisa Perkins draw on their years of experience as successful accountability partners, laying out their best strategies for reaching your goals while reducing your stress and actually enjoying your life again!

Audience: Everyone!
Genre: Self-Help
Length: 61 pgs

Rating: *****

Review: I really can't recommend this book enough. In the weeks since I've read it and teamed up with a fellow author, I've been pretty productive--and I really am not reaching my full potential on this. I have a Daily Chore Checklist that I was doing okay with, but since starting this accountability thing, I've only missed one or two regular days of completing the ENTIRE THING. As well as awesome writing goals being reached. It's short and sweet, and has a bunch of ideas for how to set up one with someone you trust. Melanie and I don't do all the things from the book, but that's the beauty of it. It sets up an way for you to customize your partnership to what you and your partner need. Thought it's written for writers, the authors talk about how they've used it in many other areas, and it a great guide for anyone looking to set and reach realistic goals from day-to-day and even long term. And for $0.99, can you afford to turn it down?

Source: Bought via Amazon

Try this. If you want another simple guide, try Annette Lyon's THERE, THEIR, THEY'RE: A NO TEARS GUIDE TO GRAMMAR FROM THE WORD NERD

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Review: FALLING FOR YOU by Krista Lynne Jensen (Covenant, 2014)

From AmazonJetsetter Elizabeth Embry is the toast of the town. A rising star in the fashion industry, she has traveled the world and lived a life of glamour and fortune. But beneath her carefree fa├žade, Elizabeth is running from a past that won’t let her rest. When a former colleague reaches out with a job offer in the sleepy town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Elizabeth feels a spark of hope—perhaps this drastic change of scene will finally allow her to slow down. Envisioning an idyllic getaway at the mountainous bed & breakfast that has been arranged for her, Elizabeth is caught off guard by her immediate attraction to the aloof innkeeper. Ryan Brennan is certainly handsome, but what secrets hide behind that withdrawn exterior? Surrounded by people bent on playing matchmaker, the stage is set for a picture-perfect romance. But as past heartache threatens to overwhelm them both, can Elizabeth and Ryan let go of their pain and grab hold of a promising future together?

Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Romance, Inspirational Romance, LDS Romance
Length: 272 pgs

Rating: *****

Review: Right off I loved getting to know Elizabeth. In The Orchard she's snooty and icy, so seeing what's beneath all of that, and especially how her sister's new faith has changed Elizabeth is really great. Krista has a thing about writing masterful characters. They are always deep and involved. I wanted to hug Ryan, and I loved the way Krista just nailed his kids too. The setting was so pretty too. The whole thing draws you in and yanks at your heartstrings. It's just lovely. So lovely.

Content:
Sex: 1/5 (Things in Elizabeth's past are discussed, and a friend tries to take advantage of her.)
Violence: 1/5 (Elizabeth pushes a man away and he is injured; there is an incident with a bear)
Language: 0/5
Overall Rating: PG

Source: Bought a copy via Deseret Book

Read this. Follow up by reading Krista Lynne Jensen's Of Grace and Chocolate.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Review: PRINCESS OF GLASS (Twelve Dancing Princesses, Book 2) by Jessica Day George (Bloomsbury, 2010)

From AmazonHoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program. She travels abroad hoping to find better political alliances and perhaps a marriage. But thanks to a vengeful fairy, Poppy's happily ever after gets complicated. This companion to Princess of the Midnight Ball will delight readers with action and romance.

Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Length: 272 pgs

Rating: *****

Review: Princess at the Midnight Ball had been on my list for a while and I read it almost two years ago without realizing there were more! PRINCESS OF GLASS came on sale for Kindle about a week ago, so I went over and bought it. I loved it even more than the first one. I loved how Poppy was strong and capable and smart, how she figured stuff out and connected things logically! And yet she's so fabulously flawed too. Perfect. Again, while the main characters like Poppy and Prince Christian are fantastic, the side characters really shine too. Dickon, Marianne, Roger, and Elanora all come together to make the book amazing. One reviewer complained about Elanora's story taking over the main plot, but I disagree. All the plots and subplots worked perfectly together.

Try this. If you like fairy tales, read one of my favorite Shannon Hale books, FOREST BORN, the 4th Book of Bayern. 

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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