Friday, June 28, 2019

The World Premiere of The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith

On the red carpet with Chris Gorham, Russell Dixon and Ben Baker

I was SO THRILLED to be part of the world premiere for the new movie, The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith. I loved the first Other Side of Heaven and couldn't wait to see more of Jean and John Groberg's story. (You will love it. Go see it!)

When we arrived, we were treated to a wonderful buffet while being entertained by the OneVoice Children's Choir. I was seated next to Melisa Osmond, Derek, the president of the Utah Film Commission, and two investors of the film. We got to chat with Scot and Maurine Proctor, the owners of Meridian Magazine, and we saw Senator Orrin Hatch there as well. (I took a secret picture.)

Here is us with the Proctors.

Here is my secret picture of Senator Hatch.

Here are the Grobergs with the Proctors 

When we got into the theater, we were treated to another performance by the OneVoice choir and some amazing dancers. John Groberg spoke, as well as the director Mitch Davis, and then it was time for the show!

Elder Groberg speaking to the audience before the screening. What an amazing life he's led!

The dancing was so beautiful.

I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect with this movie. When the scene opens we see the juxtaposition of Tonga and Idaho Falls, where John and Jean now live with their four daughters. There were some fun, comedic elements seeing John and Jean as parents while John serves as the bishop of his ward. Chris Gorham fits the role of John Groberg so well, and it is his ease and believability that truly make this film. He is called to be the mission president over his former mission, and he takes his small family back to the islands. Of course, in the first film, he only has to worry about himself in learning a new culture and way of life. Now he has a wife and children to help navigate the waters. (Literally!)

I enjoyed how the director really explored ideals that seem to have taken a backseat in some aspects of our society today---inclusivity, community, and love for people who don't believe what you do or look like you do. There were poignant and moving moments (I did get weepy during one part) balanced with a story that will make you think about it long after you've left the theater. I definitely will be first in line to buy this one when it comes out.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Book Review: Secrets Never Die

Laurie Lewis is known for her heart-wrenching women's fiction romances, but her new book, Secrets Never Die, is a suspense that is riveting.

We are introduced to Tallie whose mother Julia dies under very mysterious circumstances. After the memorial Tallie starts to uncover deadly secrets with answers that her mother carried to her death. Tallie makes the choice to find the answers herself, and that leads her to Cutler's Ridge and into the path of Jackson James, an investigative reporter who also has some pretty mysterious reasons for going after this story. Can they both find the answers they're seeking before either of them has to pay with their life?

I loved how the author pulls you in from the beginning with the tension of wondering what is really going on in Tallie's life, then slowly, slowly, the reader is lured into this tangle of a mystery until you are caught and HAVE to keep reading. There are several story threads to keep track of, but seeing them come together is one of the payoffs of the novel and the author handles that very well. The tension ratchets up to a nail-biting level until you're turning pages as fast as possible to see what happens! A very enjoyable mystery that will keep you guessing with several unexpected twists and turns. 

Here's the back copy:

Tallie Brown’s life has never made sense. Raised in isolation by her mother, Julia, Tallie was dragged suddenly and without explanation from one third-world outpost to another until life normalized seven years ago when Julia took a position on a mountaintop in the Pacific northwest. But when Julia unexpectedly dies, Tallie uncovers clues suggesting that Julia had a secret life. Journalistic phenom Jackson James is still recovering from the devastating mistake that flatlined his promising career. Now he’s paying the price, working as the editor of a syrupy community rag in a posh D.C. suburb. But when the very man who destroyed him drops a tantalizing lead about a potential D.C. scandal, the reporter sees his chance for redemption and sets off to chase the story. Jackson’s investigation leads him to Cutler’s Ridge, a dying Virginia coal town, and directly into the path of the mysterious and beautiful Tallie. As these two mistrustful loners follow their leads, their stories begin to intertwine until they reach an alarming conclusion – something terrible happened in Cutler’s Ridge. As they doggedly pursue the story, the town’s cold reception spirals into threats and danger, proving that there are those who will stop at nothing to keep the past hidden forever –because secrets never die.

Get your copy here

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Invisible Heroes Review & Interview With Author Jerry Borrowman

Jerry Borrowman has written a book, Invisible Heroes of World War II, that chronicles ten unsung heroes during wartime. He reveals a wide range of individuals and groups who sacrificed everything for their country and the cause of freedom---from Nancy Wake to the Navajo Code Talkers. I enjoyed Mr. Borrowman's perspective and though some of the stories were hard to read, I loved how he brought these unique stories to life---true heroes standing up in the face of evil. I had heard of one of the stories in my history classes, but the rest were new to me. I loved that he included women and minorities who are so often overlooked for their bravery. I also think that we might take freedom for granted and those who gave their lives for it, and this book brings the stories to life that have impact and should be remembered. As someone whose grandfather served in Korea, I really enjoyed this glimpse into the history of these heroes. My curiosity was piqued and I wanted to know more! Luckily, the author graciously agreed to give me an interview.

What made you want to write this book?  I have a deep interest in the history of World War I and World War II from decades of personal reading and research, as well as having written both co-authored biography and historical fiction from these periods. I had earlier published “Compassionate Soldier,” which tells stories of people who act against their own interest to help an enemy or friend in time of battle. Those stories were well received both critically and by the public. But they spanned all of America’s conflicts from the Revolutionary War through the current conflicts in Iraq. So, we decided to go deeper into World War II to find a diverse group of people whose stories are not well known. I particularly wanted to highlight women, minorities, and support personnel whose role was vital, but whose contribution hasn’t made it to the big screens. I believe Invisible Heroes succeeds in these goals.

Pat Patton

What was your research process like? Two of the ten stories included original sources and research. For example, the story of Pat Patton, who was an American G.I. serving in the Philippines when war broke about, was based on interviews I had with Pat nearly twenty years ago. After General MacArthur evacuated from the Philippines the remaining American soldiers were left on their own with no supplies and quickly captured by the Japanese. Pat was part of the infamous “Bataan Death March” where more than 10,000 Americans were clubbed, beaten, and starved to death. He managed to escape and spend a year fighting the Japanese in the resistance, but eventually surrendered to protect the local Filipinos who sheltered the American’s from Japanese reprisals. His treatment as a prisoner-of-war was terrible, and he is representative of all prisoners-of-war, who were “invisible heroes” for fighting with all their vigor, then enduring mistreatment and hunger on behalf of their country.

For the other eight stories I typically read more than 1,000 pages of research for EACH story (three to four books, plus articles). In some cases the individual had written their own story, so I had primary source material. In others I had to synthesize a story from multiple accounts. It was a lot of work, but work that I enjoy.

Joseph "Hyalmer" Anderson

Were you able to interview any living relatives of the people in your book? I was able to do that in two of the eight stories. For example, Joseph “Hyalmer” Anderson was a young man from Ogden, Utah who lied about his age to join the Navy (he was too young). His training aircraft became lost in bad weather while on a training mission over the northern end of Victoria Island in Canada. The wreckage wasn’t found until more than six months after the crash. There, it was discovered, that Joseph had nursed some of the surviving crew members for as long as possible before they died of exposure. He had single-handedly buried each of his buddies as they passed away in the harsh winter. Finally, with no chance of rescue, he’d set off into the woods, never to be found. What makes this story particularly poignant is that from where he crashed, he could see the lights of a Canadian city across the bay, but he was never able to rouse their attention, even though he built fires and used mirrors. He died alone, his remains never found. His story is representative of the more than 77,000 “missing in action” from World War II whose families never received closure. These soldiers are completely invisible.

I share these details because the way I came to this story is that nearly ten years ago my wife and I were on an Alaskan cruise with Lloyd Kartchner, Hyalmer’s nephew. He asked if we’d like to get up at 5:00 a.m. one morning of the cruise to join him in a memorial service as our ship passed by the place where Hyalmer went missing and lost his life. I’m not an early riser but I knew it meant a great deal to Lloyd, so we joined him at the stern of the ship as he related the story and talked about how much his mother had missed her younger brother. Even after 50 years she cried each time she thought of him. It was an extremely moving experience to be part of that memorial, and I knew this was a story that had to be included in the book.

The stories can be difficult to read in the context of the horrors of war. Were any of the stories harder for you to write and research than others? Pat Patton’s story was the hardest because of the way the Japanese guards treated Filipino and American prisoners. I had to remind myself that the discomfort I felt was nothing compared to what Pat endured, and how hard it was for him to share the story. I believe people need to know just how hard war is so we fully appreciate the sacrifices of those who serve, and so we do everything possible to avoid war.

Do you come from a military family yourself? I do not. My father served in the Navy in World War II but his ship, the aircraft carrier “U.S.S. Lake Champlain,” was completed too late to see combat. He helped bring U.S. troops home from Europe. I had an uncle who served in the U.S. Rangers in the South Pacifi, and his life was badly disrupted by the violence he saw. A handsome and cheerful young man, he returned home and turned to alcohol to escape the nightmares and memories. He was never as happy or carefree as he was before the war because of those experience, and I count him as one of the victims.

Was there one act of heroism that stood out to you and stayed with you more than the others? Each story was my favorite as I was writing it. I’d often say, “there can’t be a more moving story than this.” With that said, the story of Nancy Wake is amazing. She was an Australian who moved to Europe long before the war. She married a wealthy Frenchman, and used her position in the community to help American G.I.’s escape to Spain from Italy. When the Gestapo moved in she escaped to Spain and then to London where she said she wanted to use her fluent French to aid the resistance in Northern France. In time Nancy commanded more than 1,000 Maquis (French resistance fighters), even though women were not usually cast in leadership roles. She was AMAZING!

What book are you reading right now? I’m reading several books about U.S. Destroyers in the Battle of the Atlantic and at the D-Day landings since I’ve decided to try my hand at fiction, once again, after nearly eight years writing non-fiction.

What lessons did you learn from writing this book? I gained a greater appreciation for the groups and individuals who served in the military out of a patriotic impulse, even if they were the subject of discrimination here at home. It takes a special kind of person to set their own hurt aside to serve a higher purpose – freedom – despite advserity.

What is your next book about? I just finished a new non-fiction book that I personally love, entitled “Disasters – True Stories of Catastrophe and Recovery.” It’s time to take it to the market to see if an agent or publisher will publish it. I think it would be a great airport bookstore title and have high hopes for it. The book I just started writing is “Of Destroyers and U-Boats,” which is an historical fiction account of the men who served on our smallest ocean going ships, but who saw the most amount of action in the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II. Isn’t it great that I get to do all that wonderful research!

If you have a chance, pick up your copy of Invisible Heroes of World War II this July 4th!

Here is a list of the stories that are highlighted in the book:

1. Pat Patton: Abandoned at Bataan
2. Nancy Wake: The White Mouse of the French Resistance
3. Joseph Hyalmar Anderson: Missing in Action
4. Joseph Medicine Crow: The Last War Chief
5. Dickey Chapelle: American Journalist
6. Navajo Code Talkers: Heroes of the Pacific War
7. The Purple Heart Battalion: Rescuing the Texas 1st (Japanese Americans at War in Europe)
8. Combat Engineers: Builders and Soldiers
9. African Americans at War: Heroes Despite Prejudice
10. Rosie the Riveter: Women in the War Industries

Here is the back copy:

Invisible Heroes of World War II, documents ten fascinating true stories of a diverse group of soldiers and noncombatants from all over the world, including African Americans, women, and Native Americans, who fought with the Allies during World War II. These heroes made significant contributions in the war effort, and sometimes gave their lives for freedom and liberty, often without much recognition or fanfare. Some were frontline soldiers who were captured by the enemy and endured horrific conditions as POWs, others were ordinary citizens who fought in the French Resistance and provided vital operations to undermine Nazi occupation, while others were engineers, workers in industry, or war correspondents and photographers. All served with valor and distinction as part of the massive Allied forces who fought to free the world from tyranny and oppression.

Get your copy here

Monday, June 24, 2019

Learning the Hard Way

I went to a parade on Saturday to watch my daughter and while I was setting up my camp chair, I stepped on a rock, twisted my foot, and fell hard into the road. I honestly don't know what hurts worse, my swollen foot or the road rash on my toes. (Who gets road rash on their toes?) Life tip that I have now learned the hard way: Falling is not fun and should be avoided at all costs, especially the older you get! Ouch.

The bad news is I can't sit at my desk for very long at the moment. The good news is, I have a bit of unexpected reading time so I can start diving into my TBR list! Yay!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Freebie Friday!

If you love biblical fiction, then you've got to pick this freebie up today!

Download your free copy here

Here's the back copy:

The first love story on earth.

In a world where everything is perfect, yet the same day after day, Eve must decide if she wants to live forever in the garden with Adam and never know what lies beyond the walls. When she makes a choice with terrible consequences, the pain of mortality is swift. As she and Adam explore their new world, and her body changes, Eve discovers the sweetness of first love with the man who has always been at her side.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Freebie for Mystery Fans!

If you love a cute mystery, Rachelle Christensen's book, Diamond Rings are Deadly Things is free today! I really enjoyed this one---a fun summer read.

Download your free copy here

Here's the back copy:

Adrielle Pyper knows how to plan a wedding, and she's especially good at pleasing bridezillas. But when her biggest client and best friend is murdered just three days before the wedding, Adri's world falls apart. She moves to the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and starts from scratch. Thanks to Adri's impeccable taste and unique style, she lands two celebrity clients, and her business seems headed for success—until someone vandalizes the specialty wedding dresses she imported from overseas. Adri must race to uncover the secret hidden within the yards of satin and lace before she becomes the next victim.

With a delightful blend of mystery, toe-curling kisses, humor, and spine-tingling thrills, Diamond Rings are Deadly Things will keep you turning pages long into the night.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Book Review: Wrong Place Wrong Time

I was intrigued by the back copy of this new suspense novel, Wrong Place Wrong Time, by E. James Harrison. It hinted at an edge-of-your-seat read and definitely delivered.

Scott Vaughn has made a living smuggling illegal things. He's good at what he does and commands the fees to prove it. But when he takes a job that requires him to deliver a package to Idaho within a week, everything changes. First, he ends up having witnesses to something he wants to keep hidden, so he has the complication of making sure they won't talk. And he still has the package to worry about. Greg and Marena Walker just want to have a vacation, a time to recharge, but that entire plan goes out the window when they witness a murder. They're on the run for their lives and one mistake could end everything for them.

I thought the book had a realistic plot and some great tension throughout. It was different in the fact that there isn't a main character per se, just threads of stories that are woven together to an exciting conclusion. It threw me off a little bit having so many characters and stories to keep straight because it slowed down the pacing, but they all converge and the suspense pulled me in. The author has also created three-dimensional villains who are willing to pay for their crimes to remain hidden. So realistic! Overall, this action-packed book will stay in the back of your mind and make you second-guess traveling internationally! Definitely a good weekend read.

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

The first idyllic hours of Greg and Marena Walker's Caribbean vacation are filled with turquoise water, sand as soft and white as powdered sugar, and gentle ocean breezes. But all too soon, the Walkers find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they are running for their lives . ..

Scott Vaughn has made a lucrative career of secretly transporting illegal materials. Pay him enough, and he'll move whatever you want from anywhere to anywhere. And though he has never met the Walkers, he needs them dead. His future depends on making certain they don't have one.
Wayne Hovey desperately wants Scott Vaughn—alive is best; dead is acceptable. And luck has handed him the perfect bait: Greg and Marena Walker.
In a heart-pounding game of cat and mouse, each player is driven to succeed, never realizing they are all pawns in something much larger—and more dangerous—than any of them knows.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Former CIA Chief of Disguise and Alias

I was doing some research today and came across this Youtube video of a former CIA Chief of Disguise breaking down spy scenes from TV and film. A scene from my favorite show Alias gets her review starting at 1:46 and she says they could have used it as a TRAINING FILM! Isn't that amazing! Loved Alias and Jennifer Garner.

Did you ever watch that show?

Monday, June 17, 2019

Missing H50--Should I Do a Fanfic?

I'm actually sort of missing Hawaii Five-0 these days and I've been thinking about an alternate season ending. I even wrote out a few scenes just to get it out of my head. I'm nervous to post any of it, though, and even if I did, well, the material still needs a polish. But I have some questions for you:

How into fanfiction are you? Do you like alternate realities or scenes that go along with the canon of the show?

What shows are you missing most this summer?

Friday, June 14, 2019

Book Bargain for Regency Romance Fans!

Sarah Eden is one of my very favorite authors and I loved her book, Kiss of a Stranger. The Kindle copy is on sale today for only $1.99 and it is worth every penny.

Here's the back copy:

When Crispin, Lord Cavratt, thoroughly and scandalously kisses a serving woman in the garden of a country inn, he assumes the encounter will be of no consequence. But he couldn’t be more mistaken— the maid is not only a lady of birth, she’s the niece of a very large, exceptionally angry gentleman, who claims Crispin has compromised his niece beyond redemption. The dismayed young lord has no choice but to marry Miss Catherine Thorndale, who lacks both money and refinement and assumes all men are as vicious as her guardian uncle. Trapped between an unwanted marriage and a hasty annulment, which would leave his reputation tainted and Catherine’s utterly ruined, Crispin begins guiding his wife’s transformation from a socially petrified country girl to a lady of society. Their unfolding relationship reveals encouraging surprises for both of them, and privately, each of them wonders if theirs may become a true marriage of the heart. But their hopes are dashed when forces conspire to split asunder what fate has granted, and as a battle of wits escalates into a life-threatening confrontation, will it be possible for Crispin and Catherine to live happily ever after?

Click here to get your bargain copy!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Book Review Love in Disguise

Anneke Walker's debut novel, Love in Disguise, had such an intriguing back copy, I was excited to read it. Who wouldn't love an enemies-to-love romance?

We are introduced to Marion Watt as she is about to play the piano in public for the first time. But the experience is ruined when Lord William Everton leaves in the middle of her piece and all of the ton comments on it, taking it as a slight to her playing. She vows never to play in public again. Marion does befriend Lord Everton's sister, Clara, however, which gives her a friend that she will need later on. A year later, Marion comes across Lord Everton at another ball and he insults her in public again. She can't stand his dandified ways and his arrogance and tries to avoid him. But when Lord Everton suddenly decides to court her, can she see the good in him and let him into her heart?

I really enjoyed the first few chapters setting up our hero and heroine for a journey to love with a lot of twists and turns. The dialogue was witty and the premise was so fun. I was hopeful that we would get to see Marion really coming out of her shell and showing her sassiness to Lord Everton when he tried to court her. I admit, I was a little disappointed that instead, she easily falls in love with someone she previously could barely stand. Such a missed opportunity to really delve into these characters and show how they gradually become friends, then more. There are also several time jumps that brush over parts of the romance that I wish had been shown. But beyond that, we do move from the London social scene to the viscount's country home and the author does a wonderful job of describing all the details of the estate and tenants. The author also touches on the fact that William had faced a lot of experiences in his life that are difficult and emotional involving slaves and people who have been mistreated, and I wished we had seen more of what compelled him to seek that out. A few more thorns are added to the story when William's past shows up with a jealous ex-girlfriend and he's also dealing with a forger on top of everything else. With all of this on his plate, that might explain why he hid his emotions and was fairly unkind to Marion. He does finally make up for his boorish behavior and readers will definitely root for them to have their happily ever after. Marion has a nice growth arc throughout the book and I was glad to see her get the happiness she deserved. Though there were a few bumps, I think the author has a solid knowledge of the time period and this is a fine debut novel. I will definitely watch for more from Ms. Walker!

Get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Marion Watt is set to embark on her first London Season, and her parents have spared no expense to help her secure a suitable husband. Unlike most of the social-climbing young women in her position, Marion has no desire to marry hastily or for anything less than love. But when she learns of her mother’s declining health, she knows she must keep an open mind and allow herself to be courted. What she does not anticipate, however, is that the attentions of the insufferable Lord William Everton will be placed squarely on her. He might be the most sought-after bachelor of the Season, but she sees in him nothing but a frivolous cad.

Until William inherits his father’s title and seat in parliament, he must rely on his own devices to change the world. Dressing like a ridiculous dandy serves its purposes, but he is certain his newest disguise will help him find a wife to please his parents and further his own agenda. From among the glittering group of debutantes, William finds only one woman who passes his test. Unfortunately, the perfect choice is the only woman in all of London who despises him.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Summer is such a tricky time for a writer mom. There's children at home that need a bit of structure so I don't hear, "Mom I'm bored," every thirty seconds. Then there's swim lessons and play dates, picnics and playground trips to make some fun summer memories. But in between, I need to get some work done.

Today we are at the pool and I brought my work along with me. I actually like writing long-hand and my creative juices really flow when I'm near water, so it's a win for everyone! (And this manuscript is really going a lot better than I expected.)

How do you balance kids in the summer with something you really need to get done?

Friday, June 7, 2019

Friday Freebie for Romance Fans!

I really enjoyed this romance, King of the Friend Zone, and it's free today!

Download your free copy here

Here's the back copy:

Esme Taylor has an amazing fiancĂ©, a lifelong best friend, and a problem. The problem stems from the fact that her best friend is named Hunter and, well. . .he’s kind of (totally) hot. It’s hate at first sight when her fiancĂ©, Jon, and Hunter meet. Jon’s convinced that Hunter is in love with Esme, and that Hunter must be out of the picture if their upcoming marriage is to succeed.

Esme thinks Jon is paranoid.

The truth is, Jon’s not that far off. Hunter is in love with his best friend and always has been. What Jon has wrong, however, is that Hunter never had any plans of ruining Esme’s happily ever after. Hunter wants what’s best for Esme, even if that’s not him.

When Jon pushes hard to end Esme and Hunter’s friendship, opposition comes from the most unlikely of places. It’s an eccentric lady with a cookie cart who suggests a different solution to Esme’s problem: Hunter and Esme should give each other a chance.

They’ve both thought of the possibility over the years—of course they have. But with a ring already on Esme’s finger and a heap of hurt feelings and broken trust in the mix, there hasn’t been a worse time to explore the depths of their feelings for each other.

Both Esme and Hunter think it’s time to move on and leave childhood crushes in the past. The question is: Can one woman and the taste of one cookie change their minds?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

D-Day---May We Never Forget

Thinking about our military heroes today on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. 

General Dwight Eisenhower's order to paratroopers right before they boarded the planes was, "Full Victory - Nothing Else." And with those words ringing in their ears, they commenced the assault, by land and by air, which would mark the beginning of the end of World War II.

The bravery shown on June 6, 1944, changed history. May we never forget the cost of freedom.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Book Review: Daisies and Devotion

I was really excited to see Josi Kilpack's next installment of her Mayfield series. The first one, Promises and Primroses (so good!) introduced so many intriguing characters and in Daisies and Devotion we get Timothy's story!

Timothy is a man who has a lot to recommend him, but he needs to marry for money until his uncle offers him the opportunity to marry for love and not have to worry about money. Timothy immediately sets out a list of traits he wants in a wife and his friend Maryann offers to help him find her.

Maryann is such a great character. She's a little too much for some people---she laughs out loud, she speaks her mind, but she's never unkind. She's developed feelings for Timothy, and while she doesn't fit his list at all, she's so perfect for him!

This was such a gentle, sweet story of friends to something more. I totally related to Maryann and felt every little heartache and hope dashed. I really wanted her to have her happy ending and Ms. Kilpack does not disappoint. There are twists and turns and ups and down, but this sweet romance was sigh-worthy and definitely a keeper! I can't wait for the next one in the series.

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy: (Probably one of the longest I've ever seen!)

Timothy Mayfield has nearly given up on his search for a wife. Though he is the picture of a fine,
social gentleman, Timothy wishes his finances provided a more stable foundation. Then his Uncle Elliott presents to him a solution: participate in his “marriage campaign,” and upon approval of his choice for a wife, Timothy’s inheritance will be his.

Freed from the constraints of having to marry for money, Timothy is ready to marry for love instead. And he knows exactly what he wants in a wife: youth, optimism, beauty, blonde hair, fine-boned features, shapely shoulders, small waist, blue eyes, button nose, solid fashion sense, a light laugh, low voice, arched eyebrows, fair skin, elegant fingers, quick wit, calm manner, and a dazzling smile.

His friend, Maryann Morrington, an heiress in her own right, tells him outright that his expectations are ridiculous—no such woman exists. Maryann had considered Timothy as a potential suitor for a time, but then their relationship shifted to friendship and she has avoided allowing herself to have feelings for him again.

She agrees to help him find his “perfect wife,” because she’s certain that the search will render nothing. Until it does. Miss Shaw appears to fulfill every single item on Timothy’s list—unlike Maryann who has brown hair, brown eyes, lacks delicate features, and possesses a laugh that is definitely unladylike.

But when Timothy and Miss Shaw begin courting, Timothy realizes something profound. He’d rather spend his time with Maryann. But can he trust his judgment when his heart has led him wrong so many times before?

It is only when Maryann leaves the London season early, that Timothy realizes that he had truly fallen in love with her and that his list of requirements were nothing but fantasy. If he hopes to build a strong relationship, Timothy must convince Maryann that she is the very woman he’d been looking for all along—before it is too late.

Book Review and Giveaway: The Heart of a Vicar

Sarah Eden is one of my very favorite authors and I have been anxiously awaiting her new novel, The Heart of a Vicar. It is Harry's story in the Jonquil saga and as an added perk, we get to see all of our favorite Jonquil brothers in this novel!

Harry has always thought he'd be a vicar and his family even nicknamed him Holy Harry at a young age. But the calling isn't all he expected and he worries constantly that he is falling short. When the only woman he's ever loved, Sarah Sarvol, returns to the neighborhood, Harry is reminded even more forcefully of what he had once imagined his life to be and how different it has turned out. He goes on a journey of self-discovery and with it comes the renewed hope of love. Can he find himself in time to win Sarah's heart once more?

This was a contemplative book about expectations and realities. Harry has been expected to be a vicar, but the reality is that he might not be suited to the position. Sarah expected to find love, but the reality is her heart was broken and she's not sure it ever mended. I really liked Sarah's feisty personality and ached with her at all she goes through both in her family and with Harry. She is so well-drawn with just enough vulnerability mixed in with her confidence to make her relatable. Harry was a little harder for me. He is so completely unsure and insecure, at times I felt uncomfortable with how weak he seemed. I've thought a lot about why that was, since I am more of an introvert and insecure in some situations. Perhaps I was relating to him on a subconscious level and that's what made me uncomfortable? I don't know. Regardless, he does have a believable growth arc and I was rooting for him and Sarah to find happiness in the end. I think one of the best parts of the book was the secondary stories of Philip and Sorrel as well as Layton and Caroline and how seamlessly the author blends the family sorrows and joys all together into a beautiful, realistic tale. As always, this one will go on my rainy day shelf as part of our beloved Jonquil family.

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

Get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Young love is all too fleeting, as Harold Jonquil painfully discovered years ago when Sarah Sarvol, the niece of a neighboring landowner, captured his heart. After an idyllic few weeks in the throes of blossoming love, reality intervened. They could have no future. Following their disastrous parting, Harold attempted to push aside thoughts of love and regret, but Sarah has never left his heart. Now, years later, he has achieved his lifelong aspiration of becoming the local vicar. However, the role proves more difficult than he imagined. He feels hollow and uninspired—until the most important person in his past returns, challenging him as no one ever has.

When Sarah’s ailing uncle summons her back to the family estate in England, there is only one person from her past she is reluctant to see again: Harold Jonquil, the only man who has ever claimed her heart. But when she comes face-to-face with her former beau, she hardly recognizes the aloof and dull man before her. She is determined to help Harold rediscover the passion he once felt toward his chosen profession. Soon, despite their exasperation with each other, they cannot deny the stirring of feelings long buried—but is it too late for second chances?

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Figuring Out Summer Break---How Do You Do It?

With summer break here, I'm trying to figure out a good summer routine for the kids so they're not on screens every day. We have our library days and swim days penciled in, but for when we're just chilling at home, I'd love for them to have more screen-free time. I saw this pic on Facebook and liked it. I might use some of their suggestions. What do you think? What are your summer break routines for your kids?

Monday, June 3, 2019

Movie Review: The Trial of Porter Rockwell (and a Giveaway!)

I have long been fascinated with the life of Porter Rockwell. There was a restaurant nearby my house that was dedicated to Porter's legacy that I loved to frequent and soak up the ambiance and, of course, I 'd heard all the stories of this enigmatic man. He led such an interesting life! So when I saw that The Trial of Porter Rockwell was coming out, I was excited to see it.

We are introduced to Porter as he is being taken to jail after being caught and charged with the attempted murder of Lilburn Boggs, former governor of Missouri. What follows is Porter's trial and the witnesses who came forward to claim that they knew Porter did it. What the viewer sees, however, is an innocent man fighting for his life and the underlying possibilities of what really happened that night. The movie held just the right amount of tension to keep me glued to the screen and I appreciated the way a court case in the 1800s was portrayed. The actor playing Alexander Doniphan was particularly talented. I do wish the movie would have been longer, but it will definitely whet your appetite to know more about this man and his extraordinary life.

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

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Here's the back copy:

It was a rainy May evening in 1842 when the quiet of the Boggs family home was shattered by gunfire. Though gravely wounded, Governor Lilburn Boggs—best known for his extermination order against members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—survived the attempt on his life. What followed was a crime investigation that had at its center echoes of the bitter history between the Latter-day Saints and the ruthless politician. The inquest was concentrated on two of the very men in the crosshairs of Boggs’s own deadly objective: Joseph Smith and his loyal friend Porter Rockwell.In The Trial of Porter Rockwell, readers will experience the dramatic hunt for Governor Boggs’s assailant and the uncertain justice faced by the legendary man whose very life depended on proving his innocence.

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Movie Trailer:

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Sunday Only Deal for Romance Fans!


 FREEBIE for romance fans! I don't usually post on Sundays, but this is a Sunday only deal! Finding Jack by Melanie Jacobson is being offered for free today. I really enjoy her humorous romantic writing style and I'm excited to read this one!

Get your free copy here

Here's the back copy:

When smart, practical Emily finds herself in the crosshairs of an Internet prankster, her orderly world goes topsy-turvy. Instead of getting mad at the handsome stranger behind the joke, she finds herself drawn to him. But Jack Dobson, though hilarious and thoughtful, has a lot of secrets. Despite her growing feelings for her new and unexpected long-distance friend, his biggest secret of all might be the one that breaks the spell they've been weaving around each other.