Feb 082016
 

27971062 The Secret Life of Daydreams

Author: Lucinda Whitney

Publisher: Lange House Press

ISBN13: 9781944137038

Paperback: 256 pages

FTC FYI: I received an ebook copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads Summary

Sometimes the dream you never planned for is the one you can’t live without.

Six years after a painful divorce, Josh Conrad is happy traveling the world as a photographer. When he arrives in Portugal, he plans to complete the assignment as quickly as possible. What he doesn’t plan for is Sofia, the girl he baptized eleven years earlier on an LDS mission, and soon he’s making excuses to prolong his trip.

Sofia Monteiro leads a structured life in Braga, Portugal, teaching high school by day and caring for her mother by night. After she reconnects with Josh through mutual friends, the memory of a failed relationship and her new graduate program are enough reasons to stay away from him.

As they collaborate on a project, Josh is wary of repeating his old mistakes and Sofia hesitates to spend time with an American who’s only passing through.

Can two people with wounded hearts bring themselves to trust their dreams to each other?

The Secret Life of Daydreams is a clean and wholesome contemporary LDS romance set in Portugal.

My Review

A great solid effort by the author for her first book.  I enjoyed the story and the characters.  However, at times, I felt some scenes went on too long and there was a lot of unnecessary details that didn’t need to be there, and it did take awhile to get the resolution.  I appreciated the care the author took with her characters, though, and the setting descriptions.  I could see Portugal through the character’s eyes and can only imagine what a beautiful place it is.  The Portuguese words thrown in fit the story, but I was distracted as I wasn’t able to understand most of them.  I did really like Sophia and Josh and what they were able to overcome individually.  The cover is beautifully well done and it fits the story well.

3 1/2 stars, which I will round to 4 in Goodreads and Amazon.

Author Links

Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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Jan 222016
 

laymedown#2  28543486 Product Details

  •  Title:  Lay Me Down
  • Author: Tamara Hart Heiner
  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Tamark Books (January 15, 2016)
  • Genre: YA, Romance, Mystery, Supernatural
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989088847
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review ARC in exchange for an honest review
  • Reviewed by:Sheila

Book Description:
Life is more than just breathing.

Kylee Mansfield knows what it is to be alone. Her dad left when she was seven, and her mother remarried an abusive alcoholic. Kylee finds ways to escape reality, usually by substituting one pain for another.

Things take a deadly turn when a jagged cut shows up on her arm, and she doesn’t know where it came from. She enlists her neighbor, Price Hudson, to help her uncover the truth. But Price shows her much more than just her past—he shows her what it is to be alive.

Excerpt from Lay Me Down:

 Kylee leaned against her bedroom door, her heart beating erratically. Even from here, she could hear Bill swearing and yelling in the living room. She squeezed her eyes shut. Why was he still going on? He should have forgotten about her by now.

“Please stay in the other room. Please stay in the other room,” she chanted to herself. She glanced down at her throbbing arm, noting the small rivulet of blood collecting in the corner of her elbow.

Her mom’s shouting mingled with Bill’s, and something large crashed into a wall. The single-story house rattled as Bill’s thundering footsteps approached.

“Kylee!” he roared, the full extent of his fury echoing in the one word.

She whimpered. Her eyes landed on the chair scooted against the wooden desk next to the closet. She lunged for it, intent on propping it under the doorknob like she had so many times in the past.

Barely had she vacated her spot by the door before it banged open, slamming into the opposite wall with its force. Kylee shrieked and spun around.

“I’m sorry,” she sputtered, her hands splayed out in front of her for protection. “I should have stayed out of it. I—”

He cut the rest of her apology off with a left hook to her jaw. Kylee stumbled backwards and went down to her knees, a little surprised she hadn’t seen that coming. Bill was angrier than usual.

*****Order Lay Me Down on Amazon HERE

My Review: 
I must preface this review by saying first: this review may be vague in what I can tell you about the story. The reason why is, I absolutely do not want to ruin the story for you. This book is so far one of the best I’ve read this year in 2016. It has a little of everything in it: romance, mystery, and supernatural. Quite a combination wouldn’t you say?

The story starts with us looking at the world through main character Kylee’s eyes. Her life is not easy. She lives with her browbeaten, druggie mom, and abusive stepfather Bill, in a rundown home. Kylee doesn’t go to public school anymore and is always in fear of her life because of Bill’s explosive temper. Kylee is cut off from her few friends and the rest of the world. She feels like she is non-existent and no one cares.To help her deal with the pain in her life she cuts herself.

It is amazing to me how this story is told so beautifully in such an ugly situation, but Author Tamara Hart Heiner is able to do so. You are pulled into Kylee’s world of emotional pain,verbal and physical abuse, and her longing to be loved.You will be mesmerized like I was as this story unfolds. This is one of those stories that you won’t be able to put down. You’ll be reading as fast as you can to figure out the many mysterious things that start occurring in Kylee’s life. 

The story brightens a bit when Kylee’s cute, new neighbor, Price Hudson, starts talking to her.He’s hesitant at first because of his own heartache he’s living through, but soon he can’t stay away from Kylee. Price soon shows her that the world can be a brighter and more loving place. They also form a friendship that can’t be broken. The two teens are quickly pulled into a supernatural world where they work together to figure something very important out. Price is a wonderful character that you will like because of his kindness and loyalty.

As you figure out what is truly going on, the tension in the story does not die down, it only builds. Time is running out for the mystery to be solved and both Kylee and Price are in danger. With the help of a Medium, Madame Humphrey, the story finally comes to an end with a shocking revelation. I was left with a feeling of contentment at the end, though the ride getting there was full of angst. This is a must read and I think I heard there may be a sequel. I hope it is true!

**I read this book with my teen daughter and we had some good discussions along the way. The story is for older teens and adults. There is some violence, blood, and mild gore within the book.** 

 
Meet Author: Tamara Hart Heiner 

I live in Arkansas with my husband and four children, two crazy boys and two pretty little princesses.

I am the author of the young adult suspense PERILOUS series (DELIVERER, PERILOUS, ALTERCATION, and a third book under contract!), INEVITABLE, and the Cassandra Jones saga. My non-fiction book about the Joplin tornado came out in May, 2014. You can find out more about what I’m writing and catch deleted scenes from my books on my blog at http://tamarahartheiner.blogspot.com.

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Jan 222016
 

25205322 My Fair Gentleman

Author: Nancy Campbell Allen

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published: January 5th, 2015

ISBN13: 9781629720951

Paperback: 248 pages

FTC FYI: Received a paperback copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads Summary 

In this Regency twist of My Fair Lady, Jack would rather be at sea than fixing the mistakes of his grandfather, the late Earl of Stansworth. Instead, he finds that inheriting his grandfather’s wealth and title—and securing the welfare of his sister and mother—means joining the ranks of high society and living with the aristocracy. Luckily, Ivy Carlisle, the granddaughter of a dear friend of Jack’s late grandmother, is willing to teach him etiquette and properly introduce him into society. Jack soon learns that his challenge isn’t surviving his new lifestyle but surviving the conspiracies against him—as well as keeping himself from falling madly in love with his new tutor.

My Review

I absolutely adored this book.  It was a joy from start to finish.  I loved all of it.  Nancy did an incredible job with writing her characters.  All them stood out to me and I longed for each of them to be in the story more.  I especially enjoyed how the story started and ended with the same character.  (He was a very pleasant surprise.)  It took me a chapter or two to appreciate Jack’s character and how rough around the edges he was, but he was great to get to know.  Jack’s love for his mother and sister, and those who were most important to him, showed in his actions.  He is a very devoted person.  Ivy, though, was my favorite.  Her enjoyable demeanor and countenance leapt off the page and I loved it when she and Jack would have their battles of words.  The story takes an interesting turn in regards to Jack and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I can’t give anything away, but he is a great, great guy.  Sophia, too, was a delight.  I honestly can’t say enough about the awesome book.  The pages wouldn’t turn fast enough.  When I reached the end, I was wanting more.

5 out of 5 stars.

Author Links

GoodreadsTwitter

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Deseret Book

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Jan 202016
 

27420580

Product Details

  • Title: Dumpsters & Dinosaurs
  • Author: Lois D. brown
  • Publisher: Levanter Publishing (February 26, 2015)
  • Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy(Ages 8-12)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1940576083
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
  • Reviewed by: Sheila

Book Description:
 Steven had never thought about where the Loch Ness monster or Big Foot came from until he found an old stone box with a secret beyond his wildest imagination. Unsure what to do about his discovery, Steven confides in the one perso
n he shouldn’t—one who is willing to do anything to have the box . . . even kill.

My Review:
Dumpsters & Dinosaurs is a perfect read for the 8-12 year old crowd. It is full of excitement, mystery and magic. The main character is Steven, a new kid who lives in Vernal, Utah whose family just moved there from Idaho.

There is much in this story for kids to relate to; bullies in the school, not always having enough money to buy the clothes you want, and having a hard time making friends and finding his place in the new town.

His family is short on money, so the whole family works together cleaning buildings to make money to live on. One of the buildings they clean is the field house in Vernal. The museum is where all of the mystery starts taking place. Steven finds all sorts of things, a body in a dumpster(thankfully it’s still alive), a mysterious box and other things. Soon, Steven is way too involved but luckily finds friends: a boy at school and a home-schooled girl from the public library, odd like him, that help him solve the mystery of what’s been going on at the field house. 

Kids in the 8-12 year range will love to read this short 180 page book. They will understand the humor and the narration is written in easily understood words. Lois Brown perfectly caught the characterization of a 12 year old boy. This book is fun and will be enjoyed by both boys and girls. 

Meet Author: Lois D. Brown 
Lois Brown received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked as a news correspondent in Washington, D.C. She later completed a Master’s degree in communications and started her own freelance business.

She has written nearly fifty articles and books, many of which are about nutrition and the use of natural food supplements. She worked as the chief editor to former New York Times best-selling author Dr. Neil Solomon, and she co-wrote a book on time management with former Miss America Sharlene Wells Hawkes.

Please visit her at her website, www.loisdbrown.com.
Lois D. Brown

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Jan 082016
 

broken things to mendProduct Details

  • Title: Broken Things to Mend
  • Author: Karey White
  •  Series: Power of the Matchmaker
  • Genre: Clean-Romance/Women’s Fiction
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Karey White (December 9, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1941898106
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review
  • Review by: Sheila

Book Description:
 Celia is in desperate need of a change–a change of scenery, a change of pace, and a complete redo of all relationships. Not knowing what else to do, she opens a map, closes her eyes, and lets fate decide her future. Then she packs her meager belongings and buys a one-way ticket to a little town on the fringes of Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest called Sisters. She’s wanted a family for years. Will she find one in Sisters? What Celia doesn’t plan to find is a strange Chinese woman whose meddling ways keep throwing her in the path of a handsome, but reserved, forest ranger. But no matter how kind or dependable Silas seems to be, there are some things in Celia’s past that neither of them can escape, and this time, the damage might be too much to mend.  

 ***This book is part of a multi-author project that features one recurring character–the match maker–but it is a STAND-ALONE novel.***

My Review: 
It’s very rare that you read a novel where both main characters are so incredibly vulnerable. In Broken Things to Mend both Celia and Silas are broken in some way from tragic things in their past.

The beautiful Pearl, The Matchmaker, brings them together and then let’s them get to know each other. Pearl only has a small part in the novel, but she is still one of my favorite characters.

Celia, a runaway, has had a hard life and then finds out the consequences of what an act of brutality has done to her. Silas lost his parents as a child and also lost his confidence, as he became a loner with a stuttering problem. Both Celia and Silas have a hard time trusting each other at first, but after many months they can’t help but feel the attraction that is pulling them together. After things are revealed from Celia’s past, Silas has a hard time dealing with them.
Celia has to make a very important decision in her life and is very confused. This part of the book made me have such mixed emotions.

The ending of the book could have gone in different directions. The end also felt a little rushed when the two main characters make a decision. If I had been Celia, I truly can say I’m not sure what I would have done. As a reader you get so emotionally involved, and depending on your own experiences, you hope for Celia to make certain choices. I know that this may seem very confusing, but I do hate to give things away in a review. Let’s just say, this book will have your emotions bouncing all over the place. This book is a fast read and I kept reading every spare second I had. Broken Things to Mend is a beautiful first book in The Power of the Matchmaker series. It is a story showcasing redemption, acceptance, and love.
 

amazon get it

add to goodreads Karey White 

Meet:Author Karey White 
Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

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Dec 252015
 

25205324 Home and Away: A World War II Christmas Story

Author: Dean Hughes

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published: September 2015

ISBN13: 9781629720937

Hardcover: 176 pages

FTC FYI: Received a hardcover copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads Summary

A historical fiction novel told from the perspective of a son fighting on the battlefields of Europe during World War II and his mother, struggling with worry and uncertainty about her soldier son while she tries to keep a semblenance of a normal, happy Christmas holiday back on the home front. Norma Hayes has always tried to make Christmas special for her family, but 1944 will make that more difficult with money being tight and wartime rationing making everything hard to come by. Aware of his mother’s hardships and the worry from having her eldest son at war, second son, Dennis, is determined to buy his mother a special gift this Christmas, a lavender blue dress he hopes will bring her comfort as a symbol of special times gone by and the hope of a brighter future with the family reunited at war’s end. Meantime, on the long campaign to free Europe, her soldier son carrys on as best he can, the horrors of war taking its heavy toll on armies and civilians alike. On a battlefield far from home in Holland with his 101st Airborne battalion, he catches a familiar scent of lavender which briefly transports him back to the home front to the perfume scent his mother wore, giving him a short respite and reuniting the family once again if only in his imagination. This historical fiction novel is a nostalgic and tender story about the power of love, the reality of war, and the hope we all have that things will turn out all right.

My Review

I truly loved this story.  It is the perfect book for Christmastime.  The story is beautifully told.  Dennis was my favorite character.  I loved how he treated his mom, with so much respect and love.  It was touching how he wanted to get her the perfect gift and I loved how he was able to obtain it for her.  That part made me cry.  I enjoyed the point of view switches between Dennis and Glen.  The author does a great job showing the hardships of war, for all involved.  How hard it is for the soldiers and those left at home worrying.  Dennis’s father, at times, really frustrated me, but I appreciated him more when I understood his side.  The scenes with Glen at war were written well, one particular scene that had the tears flowing.  I loved how the family was able to come together, as they are waiting to hear Glen’s fate.  The time period was a character itself.  I really enjoy stories about World War II.  Dennis and Glen’s mother, Norma, was a great character.  No matter how hard things were, she always remained positive.  She sacrificed so much for her family.

5 out of 5 stars.  Merry Christmas!

Author Links

Website / Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Deseret Book 

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