Tuesday, November 20, 2018

In the Non-Fiction Corner and a Giveaway!

In the Non-Fiction Corner with Lauren!

When most people think of Susan Easton Black, they usually think Church History scholar. But here she is, writing a book about Mary the mother of the Savior! I first received the book and looked at how many pages it was. 84? How can it possibly be 84 pages? I was pretty sure I already knew everything there was to know about Mary, we have heard the stories a million times. However, I was mistaken. Black not only tells the stories that we all know, but she puts them in the context of Jewish tradition. She really did her research with the history, so she can tell us things like what Joseph and Mary’s wedding was probably like, what happened when she visited Elisabeth, and why the inns in Bethlehem were actually full. It was interesting to learn in this way---it brings the story to life as you consider the circumstances and emotions that Mary and her family were facing.

Susan Easton Black also puts everything on a precise timeline. This proves to be extremely educational as well, because while we all know the stories of the Savior’s early life, Black connects them chronologically and relates them to each other. She did it this in one of her chapters about Jesus’ early life. She tells about his life in Egypt, when he was brought back to Nazareth, what his life was probably like, and takes us to where he is teaching the scholars at the temple. Black writes in a very educational and profound manner, and I think her serious style is perfect for the content of this book. Mary, who is so loved and revered by Christian faiths, needs to be talked about in our faith as well and this book did a really great job of making her real to me.

You can get your copy of Glorious Truths About Mary Mother of Jesus here

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

Here's the back copy:

Throughout the world, millions of devout followers of Christ look to the Virgin Mary as a sacred figure, a woman to be revered and worshipped. While Latter-day Saints do not worship this chosen vessel of the Lord, we do esteem Mary as one of the most influential women in history. Her faithfulness changed the course of history, but even so, much detail of her life remains unknown to most. In Glorious Truths about Mary, Mother of Jesus, readers are invited to join distinguished LDS scholar Susan Easton Black on a journey of discovery spanning the life and legacy of this unparalleled historical giant. Discover, through scriptural and historical sources, the compelling look at how Mary, mother of Jesus, has been characterized over the centuries and the true story and lasting influence she has had, this woman whose incomparable example continues to guide and inspire faithful women today.

Blog Tour Schedule:

*Nov. 19th: http://mybookaday.com/blog/, https://brightlystreet.com/, https://www.rockinbookreviews.com/

*Nov. 20th: http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com/, https://www.singinglibrarianbooks.com/, https://ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com/

*Nov. 23rd : https://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 16, 2018

Freebie Friday for Western Fans!


 If you are looking for a western romance with a Christmas theme, Christmas in Three Rivers is free!

Download your free copy here

Here's the back copy:

Isn't Christmas the best time to fall in love? The cowboys of Three Rivers Ranch think so. Join four of them as they journey toward their path to happily ever after!

THE NINTH INNING: The Christmas season has never felt like such a burden to boutique owner Andrea Larsen. But with Mama gone and the holidays upon her, Andy finds herself wishing she hadn't been so quick to judge her former boyfriend, cowboy Lawrence Collins. Well, Lawrence hasn't forgotten about Andy either, and he devises a plan to get her out to the ranch so they can reconnect. Do they have the faith and humility to patch things up and start a new relationship?

TEN DAYS IN TOWN: Sandy Keller is tired of the dating scene in Three Rivers. Though she owns the pancake house, she's looking for a fresh start, which means an escape from the town where she grew up. When her older brother's best friend, Tad Jorgensen, comes to town for the holidays, it is a balm to his weary soul. A helicopter tour guide who experienced a near-death experience, he's looking to start over too--but in Three Rivers. Can Sandy and Tad navigate their troubles to find the path God wants them to take--and discover true love--in only ten days?

ELEVEN YEAR REUNION: Pastry chef extraordinaire, Grace Lewis has moved to Three Rivers to help Heidi Ackerman open a bakery in Three Rivers. Grace relishes the idea of starting over in a town where no one knows about her failed cupcakery. She doesn't expect to run into her old high school boyfriend, Jonathan Carver. A carpenter working at Three Rivers Ranch, Jon's in town against his will. But with Grace now on the scene, Jon's thinking life in Three Rivers is suddenly looking up. But with her focus on baking and his disdain for small towns, can they make their eleven year reunion stick?

THE TWELFTH TOWN: Newscaster Taryn Tucker has had enough of life on-screen. She's bounced from town to town before arriving in Three Rivers, completely alone and completely anonymous--just the way she now likes it. She takes a job cleaning at Three Rivers Ranch, hoping for a chance to figure out who she is and where God wants her. When she meets happy-go-lucky cowhand Kenny Stockton, she doesn't expect sparks to fly. Kenny's always been "the best friend" for his female friends, but the pull between him and Taryn can't be denied. Will they have the courage and faith necessary to make their opposite worlds mesh?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Hawaii Five-0 Recap & Review---The 200th Episode!

I have watched this show from the very beginning and am so thrilled it made the milestone of 200 episodes! Not many shows do these days and it is quite an accomplishment.

The episode starts out with an old school car chase on Dec. 6th 1941. Two men who look suspiciously like Danny and Steve (only Danny is being called Milton), dressed in 40s clothing are in a police car chasing some bad guys, bickering over Milton/Danny's shooting, and displaying some awesome driving skills---until the bad guys come out with a Tommy gun. Cut to the music, but this time it's done instrumentally with a little 40s type jazzy beat. Loved it!

We come back to present day where the Restaurant of Ridiculousness is finally opening. There is lots of law enforcement there with full plates (that they aren't paying for since it's a soft opening) to introduce people to the restaurant. Danny is worried about money and Steve, as always, is trying to reassure him. Duke brings in a retired HPD detective named Milton Cooper to meet Steve. Milton has a backstory of being best friends with Steve's grandpa and they had aspirations of being detectives together, but all that changed on Dec. 7th.  Milton and GrandpaMcG were attempting some armchair detective-ing on the weekends back in the day to crack the last unsolved case of Chang Opana, the legendary HPD detective. (Wait, I thought GrandpaMcG was a military guy and died on the Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack? Also, if Milton and GrandpaMcG were buddies as young men in 1941 wouldn't Milton be close to 100 years old now? He's looking pretty good for being close to a century in age.) Anyway, Milton brings out GrandpaMcG's briefcase that he dug out of storage so maybe Steve can help solve the case that they couldn't all those years ago. 

Steve takes the briefcase home and opens it up.There are a few sentimental items in it like a pen with SM initials on it and a pic of GrandpaMcG with Chang. Danny comes in, grousing about how he has a headache and the restaurant has emptied his pockets. Steve reassures him again and says they made fans tonight. (Oy. Let the restaurant die already!) Danny asks what he's working on and Steve fills him in on the legendary HPD detective Chang Opana and how he apprehended all his suspects. He was the inspiration for Charlie Chan and he did all of it without a gun, using a bullwhip instead. (Cool details.) The case in front of Steve is Chang's last unsolved case of a girl who went missing in April 1932 and Chang worked the case until he was forced to retire. Danny is not interested in the least and leaves.

Steve gets to work on the case laying out the documents and evidence files, but he gets tired, and falls asleep at the desk. When we come back we're in Steve's dream! He's now his GrandpaMcG's at his HPD desk on Dec. 5th 1941. Milton is his partner and comes in with a pic of MissingGirlLila's last photo before she disappeared and she's wearing a very expensive diamond necklace. How does a poor girl get a piece like that? they wonder. As they are leaving the HPD, a suspicious looking car rolls by and shoot at them. You know, when people shoot at you in front of your office you're on to something, Milton says. Yes, Captain Obvious, someone really wants Lila's disappearance to remain a mystery. (I really love the music, costumes, and accents. They really did a good job of making it feel like the 40s sort of film noire.)

Duke comes to take their statement, but they don't have a description since it was dark. Steve calls over a detective named Flanagan (Jerry) and asks him to get info on the Fleetmaster car that the suspects were driving. Cut to the beach where Lila's brother (Junior) is trying to teach a woman to surf, but she's more interested in flirting with him. McG and Milton catch up and he says he told them all he has to say about Lila's disappearance. When they ask him about the photo and the necklace, however, he says he thinks he knows who could have given it to her.

A Honolulu police car pulls up to the Peteffer estate. Milton and McG argue about whether to go in or not since it didn't go well last time. McG thinks maybe they were too polite so when the security guard approaches and doesn't want to let them in, Steve smashes his face against the car and they punch their way in. Mr. Peteffer doesn't look all that surprised and is standing on his veranda. He does ask them to leave, but gets all sad-looking when they show him Lila's picture. He loved her like a daughter, he says, since she was a rare beauty, too delicate for cane fields. He had her working in the house and though he doesn't know anything about the necklace, she did offer him money to pay off a debt her dad owed right before she went missing. Mr. Peteffer answers his phone and it's for Steve, haha. Jerry's street snitches have eyes on the Fleetmaster so McMilton heads out, talking about how if Lila was desperate to pay off Mr Peteffer who knows what she got mixed up in. They find the Fleetmaster and the two men who were shooting at them earlier. They get in and drive away so Steve gives chase and it's the opening sequence chase again.

Milton manages to shoot one of the bad guys and they crash. The car bursts into flame, but Steve still runs toward it. Both men are dead and Milton is yelling that the car is going to blow. Steve is trying to reach for a wallet when his arm catches on fire. They run for cover just as the car blows up. Steve is sad that his best hope to ID those guys went up in smoke.

Steve is getting treated for his arm burn by Noelani who Milton mistakes for a nurse and she corrects him that she is a doctor. Milton doesn't want to look at the burn because he'll get sick, so he's watching an athlete get treated and notices the letterman jacket on the athlete's girlfriend. He pulls out a pic from Lila's case of her with some other girls and there's a letterman jacket in it. Flanagan helps them figure out that the letterman's sweater in Lila's picture is from Franklin High school and one of the girls in the photograph is Alexa Alani, a singer.

They go to the club where Alexa is on stage singing. (I liked her voice and all the authentic era music.) Before he can question Alexa, Steve sees Earl Blackstone and goes to talk to him. Earl (Adam) is not happy to see Steve and accuses HPD of harassing him. Steve says that if he wants HPD to leave him alone he shouldn't run illegal gambling dens and push dope. Of course, if Steve had any evidence Earl wouldn't be there sipping this fine liquor. Steve takes a swig from the bottle just for good measure (and to annoy Earl.) Back to Alexa who is now sitting at the bar. The boys approach her, but she won't talk to cops. Instead, she gives them a matchbook that says meet me in the alley in two minutes. (That won't be good.) They ask her how she knew Lila and it turns out they were hula girls together. Lila was working two jobs to pay off father's debts and Alexa saw her the night she disappeared getting into a man's fancy car. She was over the moon in love with him and he definitely gave her the diamond necklace. She tells them that it would have been a big scandal if anyone knew who it was, but before she can say his name, she's shot. Steve cradles her in his arms and asks her for the name. She manages to get out "James" before she dies. As they're loading her body into the ambulance, Captain Grover comes along and is ticked that they didn't followed orders to drop this and work the Blackstone case so he takes away their guns and badges. (Surprisingly a lot of the cast looks good with hats on.)

It's Dec. 7th and the boys meet up with Flanagan. He has film of archived old newspapers of when James Whitmour got a new fancy car called the Phantom II for his 25th birthday. He's the son of mobster Clarence Whitmour and was engaged to Ellen Debecker of the Debecker Diamond fortune. But the twist is, that the evening edition of the paper chronicled how James Whitmour died in a hail of bullets the same day Lila went missing. James was found in an alley (the picture they show is super ew), but McG notices that there's no pool of blood, even though he had multiple gunshot wounds. The autopsy showed that he was actually sitting down when he was shot, so the body was moved. If Lila left club with James, it's possible she was in the car when he was gunned down. Steve gets a phone call from the coroner's office and they ID'd one of the guys from the Fleetmaster crash. He was a known associate of Whitmour's! Obviously, Clarence knows who killed his son, but Steve thinks it was Earl Blackstone since there's a feud between the two families since 1932. James' death were probably the spark that ignited the whole thing, since Clarence wouldn't want people knowing his son was hanging out with a hula girl, so he covered it up. They go to talk to Clarence to find out what happened to Lila. (I sort of wish Adam was still a bad guy, haha! He plays them so well!)

They go to Clarence's compound armed with guns and hop the fence, take out a guard and open the gate. Walking up the driveway, they take out all the guards and shoot their way in. These are terrible guards who should have been fired for their incompetence since Steve and his crew easily overpower them all,  including shooting through a wall to kill the guy walking down the creaky stairs. They have one last guy who is dumb enough to come down the main stairs, so they all shoot him. (A teensy bit violent, but okay.) They find Clarence and sit him down. He's not talking, so Steve plays Russian roulette with his gun and Clarence's knee. Clarence protests that they're cops, but they tell him they don't have badges. (The look on his face is hilarious.) Clarence listens while they tell him what they think they know, that James was in relationship with Lila, driving the Phantom II, when they were both killed inside the vehicle. James got word and told his goons to tidy it up and make it look like James was by himself. They finally give him a chance to talk, but before he can say anything sirens blare and when they look out window they see Japanese planes flying to Pearl Harbor. Uh oh. that can't be good.

Back to present day and Steve wakes up. He gathers all the papers and goes to the office. Danny is doing research on Chang and Steve says he thinks he's solved the case and knows what happened to Lila. The key is finding the car. She was last seen in the Phantom and the car is very distinctive. If Clarence wanted to avoid the tragedy turning to scandal, he would need to tow the bullet-riddled car somewhere and get rid of it. Well, there's a record from that night of Whitmour having his towing company take a car from downtown Honolulu to the Whitmour estate. (I guess the HPD missed that important detail and so did Chang?) Oddly, Whitmour submitted plans for a swimming pool on the estate and hired a company to start work, but satellite pics show there is no pool. Dun, dun, dun. They go to the compound and dig up the car. Lila's remains are still inside. Steve solved a 90 year old cold case in his sleep! He modestly says he just got it over the finish line. Steve goes to a Chang Apana exhibit-type room and he places Lila's picture next to Chang's picture before meeting Milton at a funeral for Lila.

Back at the restaurant Steve says the case got him thinking about what he really wants to do with his time. His grandfather would have given anything to be a cop and gave his life for country. (I'm still confused about that a little.) Steve has a badge and a great job, so what is he doing running a restaurant. (Which is what so many people have been asking for the last two years!) He apologizes to Danny, but says he loves his job and isn't going to walk away from that. Danny says if Steve is out, he's out too. He'd rather die from a bullet than the stress of running the restaurant. Luckily, Kamekona wants to buy them out of their shares.They have a celebratory drink to knowing when to quit.

The end.

I loved all the costumes and the feel of the old-fashioned case. The details were really well done from phones to cars to the toothpick in Steve's mouth. There were a few parts of the dream that didn't add up, but it was a dream after all and didn't take away from the overall feel for me. It was a fun 200th episode for sure!

Did you watch? What did you think?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway!

As a big historical romance fan, I was excited to try Joanna Barker's new regency, The Truth About Miss Ashbourne. 

The book opens with governess Juliana Ashbourne being called to task by the lady of the house. Juliana loves the children she teaches, but the gentleman and lady of the house are difficult to deal with to say the least. But as Juliana comes to find out that she is an heiress and her dream of opening a school might become a reality, she has some decisions to make. If she accepts the inheritance, she must spend a month with family she's never met. And then, to make things even more complicated, she has a misunderstanding with Mr. William Rowley, a man who makes her heart pound. Can Juliana accept the love of a family? And maybe even a future with William?

I really enjoyed this author's writing style. I think she captures the time period and her characters were really well-done. Juliana has a believable growth arc and readers will definitely be cheering for her to get her happily-ever-after, both with her family and with William. And let's talk about William for a minute. He is such a sigh-worthy hero and I would have loved to have had chapters from his point of view. Their banter and blossoming friendship was so sweet and there were definitely some laugh out loud moments as they navigated their relationship. The romance is slow and tender and will take readers on a bumpy, twisty road to love that will make you laugh, cry, and wish the book never ended.

I will definitely be looking for more from this author.

You can get your copy here

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!


Here's the back copy:

Governess Juliana Ashbourne has dreams reaching far beyond the confines of her current position, hoping to someday establish her own school for girls. When she inherits a fortune from her late grandfather, she is shocked to learn that "someday" may soon be within reach. However, there is one condition: she must spend a month at the estate of Havenfield--with the very family who disowned her mother. Intent on securing the money she needs to start her school, Juliana accepts the invitation, vowing to guard her heart against those who shunned her all her life.

But Havenfield is far from what she expects. She discovers a grandmother seeking forgiveness, a cold and disapproving aunt, and a painfully shy cousin. And then there is Mr. William Rowley. Though the heir to the estate is a merciless tease, Juliana finds in him a friend and confidant--and perhaps something more. As she struggles to make sense of her new place in the world, her stubborn independence clashes with a yearning to belong and the even more confusing desires of her heart.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Christmas Novella Sale!

If you are looking for some short and sweet stories to get you in the Christmas spirit, Under the Mistletoe collection is on sale this week for only .99 cents! It's perfect for those readers who are busy and always on the go, but still need that little bit of romance and Christmas feels. (My story is number three in the collection)

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series: Under the Mistletoe Collection. Six contemporary novellas, all adding sweet romance to the Christmas season.

In the enchanting novella FORGOTTEN KISSES by Cindy Roland Anderson, costume designer Madison Taylor has no love lost when the male lead playing Sir Lancelot in a TV series is fired. She couldn’t stand working with him anyway. But when she discovers who his replacement is, her heart nearly stops. Caleb Matthews is one of the hottest male actors ever… and not to mention Madison’s former boyfriend. When things got too serious between them, everything fell apart. And now, Madison must play nice or lose her job. She just has to forget all of the reasons she’d fallen for him in the first place.

In THE LAST CHRISTMAS, a sweet romance novella by Annette Lyon, Meredith only has to make it through the Christmas holiday pretending that she and her husband Eric aren’t on the verge of divorce. She doesn’t want to ruin the holiday for her two grown daughters and their boyfriends. But when Eric hurries home after weeks of living in a motel to unpack before their daughters arrive, he starts pressing Meredith with questions about why she filed for divorce. The last thing Meredith wants to do it give Eric a second chance, but it seems that Eric is not willing to let her go without trying to win her back.

In Julie Coulter Bellon’s captivating novella TRUTH OR DARE, after a year of recovery, wounded war veteran Jonah Harrison comes home for Christmas. No longer the outgoing high school track star, he just wants to be left alone, away from well-meaning friends and neighbors. But when a blizzard strands him with Cami Jackson—the girl who once knew him best—he can’t hide anything from her, no matter how much he wants to. Cami has a wounded heart of her own, though, and it might take a Christmas miracle for them to find the healing they both long for and the courage to reach for a chance at love.

In the charming novella HOLIDAY BUCKET LIST by Sarah M. Eden, Celeste Lagorio has officially given up on Christmas. A single mother, with her children grown and unable to return for the holiday, Celeste determines to take a break from everything. When her single neighbor and almost-best-friend, Mike Durham, discovers her non-plans, they discuss things they’ve always wanted to do, but never had time. Mike and Celeste put together a friendly competition of checking off the things on their bucket list, all the while drawing closer and discovering they have more in common than they thought.

In CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY, a delightful novella by Heather B. Moore, Monica is on the verge of buying her dream store, but when she tells her boyfriend, he turns it into an embarrassing public argument. Heartbroken, but determined to follow her dream, she goes to her employer’s Christmas party to play Mrs. Claus, only to be paired with someone unexpected. A young Mr. Claus who is the complete opposite of her ex-boyfriend in all the most important ways. Yet, Monica is not sure she can risk opening her heart again.

In Jennifer Griffith’s exciting novella FIRST (AND LAST) CHRISTMAS DATE, pilot Juliet Law has been in a holding pattern, dating the wrong guy, until she gets a holiday shake-up: old flame Tag McClintock e-mails her to ask for second date—after ten years. Their first date, back in high school, had been an unmitigated disaster culminating with Pepto Bismol and the police. Still, Juliet would have gone out with Tag again the next day—and the next—had he asked. So now that he’s finally popping up in her in-box again, Juliet must decide whether to say yes to the date, even if it puts her at risk of another decade of carrying a torch for Tag McClintock. Will their second date be their last?

Monday, November 12, 2018

Book Review: Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany's

Julie Wright has a new book out called, Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany's. I really enjoyed her last book, Lies Jane Austen Told Me, and was excited to read Silvia's story. It did not disappoint!

Julie Wright has such a witty and fun writing style. It's like I'm right there with the characters experiencing the twists and turns through life with them. In Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany's, Silvia is trying to make it as an editor in the film industry. She lands what was supposed to be a dream job, but her boss is a nightmare. In trying to save the film they're working on, she turns to her old colleague Ben, who gladly helps her out. And in that moment, she realizes that Ben might not be in the friend-zone anymore for her. But does he feel the same way? 

Silvia is such a rich character. She has a job that she's trying to maneuver, an opportunity to explore her feelings with Ben, but she also deals with prejudice against women in the workplace, a grandma who is hiding something, and some remnants of fear from her childhood cancer. Mingled with all of this is movie quotes and Audrey Hepburn moments because of Silvia's special connection to her. I love how the author was able to seamlessly pull together a character and truly breathe life into her--so much that she feels like a friend! All of the characters were so well done, from the hero to the boss to the assistant. But another real standout for me was how much I learned about what a film editor does. The research was incredible and so woven into the story that I closed the book with a new appreciation for what I see on the credits of a movie.

Of course this is a romance and if you don't fall in love with Ben, then you don't have a pulse. He's so swoony and quirky and everything you want in a romantic hero. Their journey to love is so bumpy in this story, and you'll want to see that happy ending so bad that you'll take the book everywhere with you and be turning the pages at every red light until someone honks at you. It's that good. I loved this one.

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

The Lie
Women in Hollywood are just pretty faces. But Silvia Bradshaw knows that’s a lie, and she’s ready to be treated as an equal and prove her worth as one of Hollywood’s newest film editors.

The Love
She and Ben Mason had worked together as editors before Silvia got her big break, so he’s the perfect person to ask for feedback on her first major film. But even as their friendship begins to blossom into something more, a lawsuit surfaces, jeopardizing both Ben and Silvia’s jobs—as well as their fledgling romance. Audrey Hepburn once said: “The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.” Silvia agrees. Or she used to. It’s one thing to risk her job and her heart, but can she really risk Ben’s, too? Does she have the right to make decisions for her own happiness when they affect so many other people?

The Breakfast
With everything to lose, Silvia meets Ben for breakfast at his favorite diner, Tiffany’s, for one last conversation before the credits roll on true love.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Freebie Friday for Romance Fans!

If you love a cute second chance romance, Kimberley Montpetit's The Secret of a Kiss is free today! I haven't read it, but it looks like one I could snuggle up with this weekend!

You can download your Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

A lonely stretch of highway, a handsome stranger, and a long-kept secret that could wreck everything.

Linden Adair is a talented makeup artist on the New York Broadway show, Phantom of the Opera, creating the hideous scar for the actor who plays the phantom every night. But nobody knows the deep scars Linden carries after the divorce from her husband, Mark Denly—who is the famous director of Phantom.

Desperate to get away, Linden takes a cross-country trip to visit her best friend in Seattle. While driving on a deserted stretch of highway late at night, she hits a deer and crashes the rental car into a gully outside of Snow Valley, Montana.

A devastatingly handsome stranger with a tow truck rescues Linden and her smashed vehicle, but when she catches sight of him in the light, she’s shocked. Anton Baldwin possess a terrible scar on his face—just like the phantom she created every night at the theater.

But Anton is hiding more than the truth behind his scar, and during a whirlwind week while being recruited for a television show being filmed in Snow Valley, the secrets of this enigmatic man turn her world upside down. Does he hold the magic she needs to heal the scars on her broken heart?