Monday, January 22, 2018

Spotlight On A New Romance & A $50 Giveaway!





I'm excited to spotlight a brand new romance by Cami Checketts that was just released today! I don't think I've read anything by her before, but this one looks good and it's on sale today for only .99 cents! (Oh, and be sure to scroll all the way down and enter to win $50!)

You can download your sale copy here

Here's the back copy:

Hailey Knight has two choices: fall prey to a predator who is out to own her and destroy her football team, or marry a man she’s just met. True, her fake husband can make her quiver with a touch, gets her jokes, and is patience personified, but she knows better than anyone how quickly charm can turn ugly. Brady Giles has dealt with a sweetheart stalker for two years and has no hope of shaking the annoyance. He steps in to rescue the beautiful and feisty Hailey Knight from a leering idiot and somehow ends up engaged to her. The marriage is supposed to help them both out of sticky situations, but instead turns into a media hailstorm with lies and attacks coming from all sides. When Hailey falls in love with her fake husband and danger lurks around every corner, she knows it’s time to run, but Brady has never given up on an impossible battle.


Excerpt

 Hailey’s brain scrambled for an out, any out. She put on a fake smile and said, “You don’t know how much I wish I could have dinner with you tonight, but you must not have heard … I’m recently engaged.” She kept a straight face when she wanted to gasp in shock. Where had that come from, and who was she going to claim she was engaged to?

William released her hair and actually took a step back, the scowl on his face ruining all his supposed good looks. “You are?” His eyes strayed to her left hand. She clasped it with her right to hide her naked finger. “To whom?”

 A dark-haired man appeared at her table. Hailey dealt with burly football players every day of her life, but this guy’s shape still gave her pause. He was probably around six three and two hundred and fifty pounds. Every inch was muscle, not bodybuilder muscle but lean and functional and covered by smooth, tanned skin. He definitely had some Italian heritage in him as dark and good-looking as he was. Hailey had a strict policy of not checking out her own team’s football players, but she knew every single one of them. This guy wasn’t on her roster.

“Excuse me.” The man’s deep voice washed over her as his dark eyes looked at her with concern then flashed to William with annoyance. “Do you need some help?”

Yes, yes she did. Hailey grasped his arm and cuddled into his side, wrapping her other arm around his waist. “Thank you for coming to check on me, sweetheart.”

His body tightened at the way she was trying to manhandle him, impossible to really do as she was almost a foot shorter and less than half his bodyweight, but she needed help, and she needed it now. The solution was so clear. William would back off if she were engaged. He would have to. Then there would be no repercussions on her football team and no coercion to date, and especially not to stay the night with, the slime ball VP.

“Um, sure … anything for you, honey.” The man wrapped his arm around her shoulder, and Hailey had never felt so safe as he gently pulled her close.

Safety and reassurance were amazing and unexpected feelings to have at the moment, especially after the fear of William clogging her throat mere seconds ago and the fact that she naturally shied away from well-built men. The emotion of it all made her weak, and she found herself leaning against his muscular chest. The dark-haired guy glanced down at her and winked. Ooh, he was quick too. She ticked off his positive qualities in her mind—not one of her football brothers, handsome with strong facial features, brown eyes framed with dark lashes, and smart. She might even give this guy a date to prove they were engaged.

“This is my fiancĂ©,” she said to William, inclining her chin with pride. The man kind of started, but he stayed close to her side as he released her from his hold and stuck his hand out to William.

“Brady Giles. Pleasure to meet you …” Brady Giles? Oh, crap, he was one of her players! He’d recently transferred from New England. He was one of the top cornerbacks in the nation, and they were extremely blessed to get him, but the Brady Giles she’d seen from the sidelines had long, dark wavy hair and a full beard. This guy with the cropped hair and clean shaven model-gorgeous face was a Brady Giles she’d never expected—sharp and way too appealing. What had she done?


 

  $50 Release Day Giveaway Ends 1/29/18 



Friday, January 19, 2018

Hawaii Five-O Recap & Review--The Grover Episode

Well, sometimes we get an episode that makes the HPD look like they can't do their jobs very well and this was one of them! But we also get some good scenes with Lou and I enjoyed it overall.

We start out with Tani and McG paddling along on their boards, talking about the time when Chin got locked out of his room and had to chase Abby with only a towel on. (A classic scene.) Tani wants to meet Chin and McG thinks it will happen, that the island always draws you back home. (I hope so, but I highly doubt we'll see Chin or Kono anytime soon, sadly.) Steve also tells Tani that he has a rep for being hyper-competitive, but he isn't. He just likes to win. (Um, isn't that the definition of competitive?) Tani hears this and decides to test the theory by paddling faster. Steve catches on quickly and tries to keep up. (You know that isn't going to sit well even with Steve's "non-competitive" nature.)

Cut to Will who is having girl troubles and Grover is trying to help him out. Just listen! All women need is a fixed stare and open ears! (Not bad advice, really.) Will gets an emergency alert on his phone and reads it to his dad, but his dad says it's his day off. The guy must have bad karma or something because they come up on the car the HPD is looking for. It crashed into a street sign and is smoking in the road. Grover tells Will to call Steve and to stay in the car, then he approaches. He's yelling at the driver to get out of the car, but the guy says he can't. And when Lou gets closer, he see that the guy is pointing a gun to his own head. That can't be good.

Steve and Tani make it back to shore and she was four yards ahead. Steve wants to call it a draw and she's all, whatever, so he finally admits that she won. Steve takes the call from Will and says they'll be right over. (They do take time to get dressed and in tac gear before they arrive, though. I wonder how long that took.) Long enough that HPD is setting up barricades around the car. Duke and Junior give Danny, Steve, and Tani all the pertinent info---the suicidal guy was going to surrender for murdering his wife, but he didn't turn up. His wife fell fifteen stories, but the husband claims she jumped. Cops don't believe him. Nobody does. (Yeah, that guy is definitely having a bad day.)

The suicidal guy's name is Brad and he's telling Grover he didn't kill his wife. Grover is trying to calm him down, has him roll down the car window so he can hear him and tells Brad that everyone needs to hear his side of things and he should trust Lou. Steve gives Lou a call and Lou takes it, walking a few feet away to chat about Brad. Does Lou believe Brad didn't kill his wife? (Well, Lou's only been talking to the guy for five minutes!) Also, Brad can probably hear everything Lou says.  Lou answers Steve's question with a maybe he did, maybe he didn't. (Or in other words, how would I know?) Lou asks Steve to look into evidence on the case, just in case there's something HPD missed. Steve assigns Tani and Junior to look at everything HPD has on the case. Danny Downer says this is a dangerous precedence they're setting by helping this guy. (Well, what do you think we should do Danny? Tackle him and hope the gun doesn't go off? Call in the snipers?) On top of that little comment, a crisis management guy comes on scene ready to take over. Steve says Lou has it under control, so thanks but no thanks. The guy is put out and snottily says, well, if the man kills himself, you'll deny justice to wife and family. (Poor Steve, having to put up with all the Negative Nellies.)

After that we get a gruesome scene where we get to see where the wife hits the car and a close-up of her dead body. (So not needed and really gross.) Tani is standing on balcony looking over where the wife fell before she turns around to take in the trashed apartment. But back at the HPD perimeter, Brad is still holding a gun to his head. Lou is pleading with him, saying he doesn't want to leave the people who love you like this. They'll have to live with that. Why don't you tell me about your wife? Lou really seems to connect with the guy and is able to keep him talking.

Tani brings Steve everything they got and tells him there was definitely a struggle, and Noelani is looking over physical evidence. So far, emails, texts, and bank records are solid. (So, no motive?) Brad claims that he left straight after argument, but sadly no one can corroborate. Oh, and Brad deleted her texts and didn't return her calls. (It all seems really circumstantial to me, but hey, what do I know?)

Brad is talking about how they'd been married ten years, but actually, he doesn't want to talk, he just wants it over with. Lou reminds him that death is final. He will have thrown away his whole life in one split second mistake. To show he trusts Brad, that he believes in his innocence, Lou puts away his gun. Steve is watching and the Crisis Management creeps up behind him to give his opinion that Lou putting his gun away is a mistake. Lou's practically signing his death warrant! (And he's not overdramatic or anything. Not at all.) Steve backs Lou's play, but he's also got snipers in position. He mentions that when Lou was running SWAT in Chicago he had similar situation with a gunman holding a two year old inside and he wishes he'd handled it differently. The guy killed himself while still on phone with Grover and when they went inside, he'd killed the boy, too. Sad!

Lou is still talking and says Brad does't look like a guilty man. Brad thinks Grover is playing him so he'll put the gun down, but Lou reassures him that he thinks he's innocent and if he takes his life, he'll take the truth with him. Lou starts to move to the passenger seat just as Noelani confirms that Traci had defensive wounds and Brad's DNA under her fingernails. They've got enough evidence to lock guy up for life! (Really? Do they?) Steve calls Lou, but he won't pick up, since he's getting in the car. Steve is visibly worried. (I love how much he cares.)

We get a flashback of the funeral of little boy that Grover couldn't save in Chicago seven years ago. He's standing apart, it's raining, and the mother gives him an accusing look. Nobody wanted Brad at his wife's funeral, but he had to go to say goodbye. Grover assures him that people are looking for answers and it's easier to point the finger at Brad. Brad gets animated and says they should look at him as the guy who tried to save her and keep her safe from herself! Apparently, Tracy had severe depression and didn't tell anyone else, only Brad knew. Steve is trying to listen in, but creepy Crisis Management guy pops up again to say that talking is good, but Captain Grover gave up all his power when got in car. Brad has leverage over us now! (*whine whine* What an annoying guy. And that's who they have trying to talk people down!)

Junior and Tani are back at the scene of the crime, lamenting that the apartment manger thinks he saw Brad leave, but can't remember what time. Neighbors saw nothing. But then Junior sees an ATM machine across street! They hurry over to look at it and hope it caught something. (How did HPD miss that? Rookie investigators?) Steve is still listening in to the car convo, but a random guy not only gets by the barricade, but also where Duke is set up, and he pulls a gun! Steve takes him down, and it's Tracy's dad. He's disheveled and nearly crazed saying Brad should die for what he did. He had a concealed permit for the gun, but Steve tells him, not anymore! Haha. Steve and Danny urge him to let them do our jobs. Trust us! CrazyDad doesn't look too convinced and refuses to leave. Steve gives Duke babysitter duty and says CrazyDad can stay. (Big mistake there.)

Meanwhile, Brad is telling Grover how he needed to get out of there with all the mood swings happening every day. Grover asks what we're all thinking, why not get her professional help? Brad tried, but got tired of asking. He says he should have insisted. He's getting more agitated and Lou is calmly saying he'll have his day in court, there's more life ahead for you. Then they call for pizza. Brad wonders why Lou is doing all this and he says he's been where Brad is and he needs someone in his corner.

Another flashback from seven years ago when Grover was drinking in a bar. He's not looking good. He says that when you're hurting, it affects people who love you and we see Grover's wife trying to get into a locked room. Grover is inside, drunk and crying, trying to get into his safe and he won't open the door for Renee. He asks Brad what really happened that night and Brad says he messed up. The pizza arrives and Steve's going to walk it over. CrazyDad is incensed they're feeding him since Brad is not the victim! Steve tries to talk him down, Danny throws in that he has a daughter, too, but nothing works. If there was something wrong with Tracy, CrazyDad would have known!

At the same time, Brad is saying how Tracy left him four messages and he knew what was going on, since she'd done it before. He raced home to find her hysterical and screaming with his sleeping pills, saying she'd take them all. There's a struggle as he tries to take them away and the apartment gets trashed. Tani and Junior, or "the kids" as Steve calls them, have evidence from the ATM that Brad left the apartment building before she jumped, the time stamp proves it. Steve approaches the car with the pizza, but CrazyDad freaks, grabs Duke's gun, and fires a shot at Brad and Lou. John is then shot by police. Steve trains his gun on Brad, worried for Lou. (So many guns, such a tense scene!)

Brad is actually hit and needs paramedics, and Steve is saying they know he didn't do it and they have proof. Lou is relieved, now everyone knows Brad's innocent. But Brad won't accept that. He says it's his fault, he didn't know how to help her and he was done. He told her to go ahead and do it, felt like he didn't have the strength to stop her. So, he feels like he killed her and puts the gun to his head again. Lou is visibly upset and says he wants to tell him one more thing. Flashback to seven years ago. Lou kisses wife goodbye, the kids are off to school, so he goes upstairs and gets his gun. He's holding it to his chest, cocks the gun, when he hears a noise downstairs and goes to investigate. It's his son who has cut school, with a broken dish on the floor. Lou remembers the hurt, and there didn't seem to be a way to make it stop and find peace. Guilt can consume you, but Lou made it through that day and the next one and the one after that. He found help and eventually found peace. He tells Brad if he puts the gun down, he'll help him because he knows what it's like. Brad gives up the gun. Lou is crying, it's an incredibly well-acted scene. Steve starts shouting for EMS right now! Come on! As they slowly saunter over and ignore the urgency. (Thank goodness that snotty Crisis Management guy wasn't around to tell Steve how they did everything wrong again.)

Grover goes home and talks to Will. It was a long day, but he thanks him for all he did. Will says he didn't do anything, but Grover assures him he did more than he knows. Flashback to a counseling group in Chicago that Lou's been attending, but this is going to be his last one. He tells the leader of the group that he feels like he can't move on as long as he's in Chicago, with all the bad memories. She asks where he's going to go? He doesn't know, but somewhere warmer. (I guess that's when he decided on Hawaii.) Lou walks away, a light snow falling, but was that a palm tree I saw in the background? (Hmm...)

So, an emotional episode, light on the action, more Chicago backstory, and making HPD look inept for their investigations and keeping people out of an established perimeter. But we did get some great acting from Chi McBride, so there's that.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Game Night With The Family


Our family got to go to the BYU vs. LMU men's basketball game tonight and we had a blast! We were lucky enough to get a Cougar Tail (a super yummy, giant donut sort of shaped like a cougar tail) and we danced and cheered until the very end. Our team won 82-67!

I think the most fun part for me was watching my little kids get into it. My seven-year-old was hoping to have the dance cam on him so he was dancing his heart out! It was a nice break and we definitely had some awesome family time.

Back to the drawing board tomorrow, though. I am going to have a fun announcement for you all soon, and I can hardly hold the secret in! Not much longer . . .

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

#Starstruck Book Review And A Giveaway!


I have been a big fan of Sariah Wilson's writing for a long time, but I think this story might be her best work. It's a fun, sassy romance, with laugh out loud moments, swoon-worthy kisses and characters that pulled me in and didn't let me go.

Zoe Miller is a shy introvert whose had a crush on celebrity Chase Covington since she was a teenager---one that hasn't gone away now she's at college. But when she makes a snarky tweet to him and he singles her out, well, it turns her life upside down.  It seems like a dream come true at first when she gets to meet him. She can actually talk to him and not be uncomfortable. He is sweet and kind and seems to really like her. But self-doubt creeps in. How could someone like him want to hang out with someone like her? And can they learn to trust each other when their relationship gets complicated and the world weighs in?

I loved this story. I loved everything about it. Zoe is so hilariously introverted and unpretentious she comes across as someone we can all relate to. And frankly, if I'd met my celebrity crush, I'd probably have reacted the same as she did! But this is more than just a fluffy romance (although there are plenty of swoony moments.) Both Zoe and Chase have dealt with difficult childhoods and the consequences that followed them into adulthood. I like that the author addressed the issues with just enough focus, but didn't get too heavy-handed. Chase is the consummate romantic hero, with just enough vulnerability that will make your heart go pitter-pat while wanting to give him a big hug. I like that the obstacles they faced seemed realistic and kept me turning pages to see how it would all turn out. It's definitely moving to the front of my rainy day shelf, because I know I'll be reading it again and again.

Caution: You will definitely want to block out an afternoon to read this one. I nearly read it all in one sitting because there really is no good stopping place! It's that good.

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

You can get your copy here


 Here's the back copy:

“You’ve done better.”

With one uncharacteristically sassy tweet to her longtime celebrity crush, Zoe Miller’s life turns upside down. Ultrahot A-lister Chase Covington doesn’t just respond to Zoe’s tweet, he does the unthinkable: he messages Zoe directly. Now she must decide between walking away or meeting her crush in person.

Chase knows better than to trust anyone from the Internet, but Zoe’s saucy challenge has totally caught his interest—and her girl-next-door personality is keeping it. He’s been burned enough to know he needs to keep his heart close. But his feelings for Zoe might be a lot more than just an online flirtation. He just has to convince her…

When the press gets wind of Zoe and Chase’s secret relationship, their romance turns into tabloid headlines. Will they be able to hold on to their Hollywood love story?

Connect with Sariah Wilson

Sariah’s Goodreads

#Starstruck Goodreads

Sariah's Twitter

Sariah's website

Sariah's Facebook 

Sariah's Amazon


See what everyone else is saying on the blog tour:

January 15 - Bookworm Nation / KJ’s Book Nook

January 16 - Literary Time Out / Getting Your Read On / Katie’s Clean Book Collection /

January 17 - My Book a Day / Wishful Endings / LDS Writer Mom

January 18 - Empower Moms / Why Not? Because I Said So

January 19 - Bookworm Lisa / Min Reads and Reviews

Book Review & Giveaway!


In the Non-Fiction Corner With Lauren


From the cover to the words inside, this book is absolutely beautiful. I can tell the author has put a lot of time into what he is writing about, and he is truly passionate about helping others put God first in their lives.

Morgan chose to focus on the life of Nephi and what we can learn from following his example. There are seven principles that help us endure our trials, and the author draws off personal experience and other scriptural examples to explain what he has come to know throughout his life. Besides talking about trials, he also covers topics such as joy, self-steem, and vulnerability. This gives the reader a chance to look for different meanings and highlights and leaving the application and lessons completely up to them. And who hasn't struggled with these things? Everyone can benefit from the message that Morgan has to share. The changes I want to make in my life because of this book maybe aren't what the author intended, but the insights he provided caused me to do some deep thinking of my own.

My favorite chapter in the book was the chapter on love. The author talks about how God can fill us with His love, and how we are to share this love with others. Sometimes this can be difficult if we aren't used to sharing these feelings or if we are afraid of getting hurt. The author said something profound when he gave a personal example of caring for something more when we work for it. He compared this to developing Christlike attributes and characteristics. If the Lord blessed us with every talent and characteristic we would need in this life and we never had to work for it, what would we learn? We have to develop them, and as we do they will become more precious to us. So as we become more patient, or forgiving, or better at spreading love, we will be proud of our accomplishments and ready to share them more.

Overall, this is a great read that I would recommend to people of all ages. The author has put in his research and it contains some principles that we are familiar with, but seen in a new light we can all benefit from.

Get your copy here

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

Here's the back copy:

Nephi, that great hero of the Book of Mormon, is often viewed as a pinnacle of devotion: steadfastly faithful, profoundly spiritual, and unwaveringly obedient. But the beautiful passage of scripture often referred to as Nephi’s Psalm reveals that, like all of us, Nephi faced his own inner struggles in this mortal existence. His heartfelt introspection demonstrates that amid the trials of life, discouragement can burden us all—but it can also be overcome.

In My God Hath Been My Support: Seven Keys to Understanding and Enduring Personal Trials, author David T. Morgan looks to the words of Nephi’s Psalm to offer an inspiring message of hope and a loving call to action. Featuring tools and ideas on how to overcome adversity, increase feelings of self-worth, and endure the ups and downs of mortality, this scripture-based roadmap to a more fulfilling life is a joyous invitation to learn from Nephi how to transform sorrow into joy.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Western Romance Freebie!



Carolyn Twede Frank is offering her western romance, Bridge to My Heart, for free today! Sounds like it might be a cute read.

Here's the back copy:

Jo Kersley hates change. Especially when it comes to her family’s traditions—or coincidences as most people view them. Like her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother before her, Jo is the oldest of three daughters and one day will inherit the Triple Bar Ranch. She is determined to marry a “local boy” the summer she turns twenty-five to keep another tradition going. But when mysterious inconsistencies arise concerning her fiance's actions, Jo turns to her new friend for comfort, a local National Park ranger who hails from back east. Will she be able to let go of her fettish for tradition before it’s too late, open her eyes, and recognize the man who can actually help run her struggling ranch—and who truly loves her?

You can download your free Kindle copy here

Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Review: Letters to a Young Mormon

In the Non-Fiction Corner With Lauren


When I first got this book and started thumbing through it, I kind of got a CS Lewis feel to it. With the old school cover, the letter writing set up, and seeing the deep thoughts spread throughout, I was excited to start and see what I would find.

CS Lewis should be proud of that comparison, because this is an absolutely incredible book. Every chapter covers a different topic that many people have questions about, and the author uses examples and stories that really get you thinking about how you can do and be better. I teach gospel doctrine, and I couldn't stop marking and note taking, reading and rereading, thinking about how I could use the truths I was learning for future lessons. I have already started spreading the word to my YSA friends to get their hands on this book. 

My favorite section was the one on scripture reading. Sometimes for me, scripture reading gets so mundane and I have to find ways to keep learning and keep wanting to read. I love what Miller had to say about it.
"But that [translation], open ended all along, is unfinished. Now, the task is ours. When you read the scriptures, don't just lay your eyes like stone on the pages. Roll up your sleeves and translate them again. Every morning and every night, we are commanded to sit down at our kitchen tables, spread out our books and notes and papers and pens, and with a prayer in hand, finish what Joseph started. You and I must translate these book again. Word by word, line by line, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, God wants the whole thing translated once more, and this time he wants it translated into your native tongue, inflected by your native concerns, and written in your native flesh." 
I read this and my mind was absolutely blown! We all know the scriptures are written specifically for us, but I had never thought about the lifelong work translating it to mean something to me will be. It made me want to grab the nearest Book of Mormon and start translating immediately. 

This book is full of gems, and I am glad I stumbled upon Adam Miller and the knowledge he is willing to share. Sign me up for all his books, because I am definitely sold.


You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

This book is composed as a series of letters. The letters are meant for a young Mormon who is familiar with Mormon life but green in his or her faith. The author, philosophy professor Adam S. Miller, imagined himself writing these letters to his own children. In doing so, he struggled to say his own piece about what it means to be—as a Mormon—free, ambitious, repentant, faithful, informed, prayerful, selfless, hungry, chaste, and sealed.

The letters do little to benchmark a Mormon orthodoxy. That work belongs to those called to it. Here, Miller’s work is personal. He means only to address the real beauty and real costs of trying to live a Mormon life and hopes to show something of what it means to live in a way that refuses to abandon either life or Mormonism.

This second edition of Letters to a Young Mormon includes all the content of the original, well-loved book, with added chapters on the Sabbath and stewardship, as well as a new preface by the author, which provides additional framing and context for his writing.