Posts Categorized: sweetwater books

Out of the Ashes by Alicia Buck- Blog Tour

30 Sep, 2015 by in alicia buck, out of the ashes, sweetwater books Leave a comment

I received this book for free from Sweetwater Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Out of the Ashes by Alicia Buck- Blog Tour

Out of the Ashes

by Alicia Buck
Published by Sweetwater on September 8, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
three-half-stars
Source: Sweetwater Press
Buy the Book
When Ashelandra’s father dies, she ends up a servant in her own house, instead of the Baroness she was supposed to become. But Ash’s secret sorcery could be the key to winning back her home and following her heart to a future she never imagined. This fantasy-infused Cinderella story puts a magical twist on a classic tale. Riveting and original, it’s a spellbinding read.
Out-of-the-Ashes-Blog-Banner

I should start this review with a disclaimer that I really struggle with fairy tales. In this Cinderella re-telling, the first half outlining the cruelty of an unkind uncle almost made me put the book down. But finally the main heroine Ash broke away from her guardian’s mistreatment and the book picked up. The tale has a twist with two subservient cousins instead of evil step-sisters, and a sorceress set to inherit her home as a servant.

I enjoyed the author’s world building of the enchanted kingdom with healing plants and crystal birds. The romantic relationships are sweet and respectful. After warming up, I dove in to Out of the Ashes and came away glad I stuck with it.

About the Author

Alicia Buck was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on a cold November day and has hated the cold ever since. Luckily, she lives in the desert now with her husband, Jason, and three children. Alicia loves to read, and goes through book craze phases where she reads a book a day until guilt kicks in and she tries to do something productive like get back to work writing and fix the disaster her home has become. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s in English, and had to constantly defend her major when she had absolutely no desire to teach. Out of the Ashes is Alicia’s second novel.

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Becoming Beauty by Sarah Boucher Blog Tour and Review

25 Nov, 2014 by in blog tour, fairytale retelling, sweetwater books Leave a comment

I received this book for free from Sweetwater Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Becoming Beauty by Sarah Boucher Blog Tour and Review

Becoming Beauty

by Sarah Boucher
Published by Sweetwater on November 11, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fairytale
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
three-half-stars
Source: Sweetwater Press
Goodreads
Claws. Long, filthy, and dangerously sharp.

They’re the first thing Bella sees after what’s been the worst day of her life. If Bella were the quintessential Beauty—gorgeous, kindhearted, and self-sacrificing—she might have a chance at transforming this monster into a man, but she’s never been the toad-kissing kind. Obsessed with landing a wealthy nobleman and escaping her humdrum life, Bella will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Which is precisely what landed her here, at the mercy of the Beast.

In this imaginative retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Bella's sense of entitlement strains both her family's finances and patience. As punishment for her selfishness, she's sent into the Beast's service where she must choose whether to follow the path she's always dreamed of—or risk it all for something even greater.
Becoming Beauty Blog Tour Banner

 

I have really mixed feelings about Becoming Beauty. The book was well written and it’s a great twist in a fairytale we all know. The cover is gorgeous! However, I just couldn’t relate to or fully fall in love with the main characters. There were three of them, and I just kept holding out, hoping I could connect– but it never happened. Belle is incredibly self- centered and selfish for quite a bit of the opening scenes, and then at times she is overly pushy and dramatic. Beast has his control freak, grumpy, “slight” anger managements issues going boiling beneath the surface. And, Jack–well, he seems a bit to self sacrificing and codependent for my liking. I wanted to see more relationship development between Belle and the man she gives her heart to, it seemed rushed. While I didn’t fully connect with any of them, I will say I enjoyed the story.

The author adds plot twists, shows transformation of characters and weaves in a lot of magic with a cursed, or maybe enchanted ruby pendant. There is romantic tension and a great lesson at the end about family. It’s a clean read, and a creative re-working of Beauty and the Beast. Well done and I’m interested in reading any more fairy tale twists Sarah Boucher comes up with! And a request to Sweetwater Books…more covers like this one please!

About the Author unnamed (1)

Mild-mannered kindergarten teacher by day and self-proclaimed scribbler by night, Sarah’s inner fairytale junkie takes center stage with the release of her premier novel Becoming Beauty.
The discovery of a mystery about pants (penned in the second grade) reveals both her lifelong love of storytelling and cute clothes.  With countless stories about makeovers cluttering up her hard drive and a walk-in closet bursting with sassy high heels and handbags, Sarah’s obsession with dressing up is unmatched.  That, paired with her interest in fairytales, led to the birth of Bella, the heroine of Becoming Beauty.

When she’s not embroiled in either teaching or penning a new tale, cheesy music, movies that cause her to snort while laughing, baking (especially if chocolate is involved), and more British television than anyone this side of the Atlantic has any business watching, keep Sarah entertained.

A native Utahn, Sarah graduated from Snow College and Brigham Young University.  She currently lives and teaches in Ogden, Utah.

Contact Sarah on her website SarahEBoucher.com, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Goodreads.

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Softly Falling by Carla Kelly ~ Blog Tour

21 Nov, 2014 by in adult, carla kelly, sweetwater books Leave a comment

I received this book for free from Cedar Fort in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Softly Falling by Carla Kelly ~ Blog Tour

Softly Falling

by Carla Kelly
Published by Sweetwater on November 11, 2014
Genres: Children's, Historical Fiction
Pages: 298
Format: Paperback
three-half-stars
Source: Cedar Fort
Buy the BookGoodreads
Beautiful Lily Branson learns that her wayward father has lost his Wyoming cattle ranch in a card game to handsome cowboy Jack Sinclair, no less! When a series of deadly winter storms sets in, Lily and Jack must work together to save the cattle—as well as their hearts.
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Carla Kelly is amazing with pulling her readers right into the time and place she is writing about. In Softly Falling, it is 1800’s Wyoming- harsh winters, ranchers trying to survive and gambling readily accessible. Lily is the daughter of a drunk who gambles away his money and reputation. She’s sent tot he middle of Wyoming Territory to live with him as a lady of London where she’s been living a quite privileged (but lonely) life. She’s determined to help those around her by teaching school at the run down, abandoned school house.

With many bi-racial and multi-cultural characters there is a reoccurring theme of tolerance and acceptance. The details are rich and side actors grew to be my favorite. The only drawback for me was the pacing of the book. It was quite slow, and it took me to chapter 18 before I felt things picked up. If one weren’t a fan of historical elements in fiction, there isn’t much action to keep the interest level up. Since I love history, I kept reading and eventually grew into the story. I love all I learn when I read one of Carl’s book about time and place.

Overall, a clean historic romance with roots int he Caribbean, Wyoming and London. Some mention of child abuse, prostitution and drinking.

 about_ the_author

Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America. She is also a recipient of a Whitney Award for Borrowed Light and My Loving Vigil Keeping.

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Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele Blog Tour and Review

20 Aug, 2014 by in adult, blog tour, carolyn steele, sweetwater books, western, willow springs 1 comment

I received this book for free from Cedar Fort in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele Blog Tour and Review

Willow Springs

by Carolyn Steele
Published by Sweetwater on August 12, 2014
Genres: Adult, Romance, Western
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
three-stars
Source: Cedar Fort
Buy the BookGoodreads
Crissa Engleson, an immigrant from Sweden, fled Boston hoping to start a new life, unknown and unencumbered, in the West. The quiet Pony Express town of Willow Springs in the Utah desert seemed the perfect spot until the intrigue of her past and rivalries of the town’s leading families envelope her. She falls in love with an Express rider, Drake Adams, but their courtship is thwarted by blackmail and treachery. Crissa must decide which is stronger: her desire for Drake, her own safety, or her love for the two young children left in her charge.

Willow Springs is written for anyone who enjoys Westerns, History, Romance or Intrigue. Men and women alike have expressed great interest in this story.

Willow Springs blog tour
Where to begin? Wow, this a whirlwind of a book! So much plot packed into a small amount of time. Lots of drama, twists and turns. Carolyn Steele’s Willow Springs reminded me a lot of Carla Kelly’s romance novels, also by the same publisher. If you a re fan of the Wild, (and I mean, WILD) West, or books set in the 1800’s, you will like this one. Crissa is a Swedish immigrant who leaves her homeland bound for America. Once arrived, her life is about as complicated and cursed as they come. Luckily she has some great people to take care of her when sinister plots unfold.

There are definitely darker elements to Willow Springs such as rape, prostitution, murder and violence. For my taste, it was a bit TMI in some parts. I’m not sure I would categorize it as completely clean. Though sex is not described in detail, it is a prevalent theme of the story.

I always enjoy historical elements in romance. And the main hero Drake was wonderful. The cover–gorgeous! There were a few editing issues, but since we received an e arc, I’m hoping those are fixed in the final copy. Lots of action, some fun references to the early Mormon church and an intriguing enough read that I finished in one day.

Not a bad debut! Thanks so much to the author for her kindness and to Cedar Fort for having us as a part of the blog tour.

 

About the Author 1386622

Born and raised in Utah, Carolyn Steele was introduced to western novels at a very young age by her grandfather, the son of a gold miner. She has been writing technical and marketing communications for most of her adult life. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in numerous national magazines. She earned her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Utah. Married and living in Salt Lake City, Utah, Carolyn loves researching obscure history then weaving it into stories. She also enjoys family dinners with her children and grandchildren, photography, travel, golf, reading, and all forms of needlework.

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Book Review- Huber Hill and the Brotherhood of Coronado

08 Oct, 2012 by in sweetwater books Leave a comment

Huber Hill and the Brotherhood of Coronado
by B K Bostick
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected Publication Date: October 9, 2012
by Sweetwater Books
ISBN: 1599559811
Book Source: Netgalley
4 stars
Book summary: The Dead Man’s Treasure has been stolen! When Huber receives a revelatory message from a girl in Spain regarding the treasure’s location, the gang hatches a plan. Convincing their parents they are part of a study abroad program, Huber, Scott, and Hannah travel to Salamanca, Spain- an old city full of secrets.

While in pursuit of their goal, the group becomes dangerously entwined with a secret society called the Brotherhood of Coronado- a ruthless organization led by three self proclaimed kings, bent on reacquiring the lost fortunes of the Spanish empire for nefarious purposes.


Their only hope of finding the stolen treasure and escaping the city with their lives requires trust in new found friends and in a cloaked figure who reveals clues leading to the Brotherhood’s hiding place. But in a city of strangers, who can you trust?


With a plot that will keep you guessing, Huber Hill and the Brotherhood of Coronado is a study abroad adventure you’ll want to be a part of! 


Cathy’s Review: Huber, Scott and Hannah have gotten back to normal after their first adventure with the Dead Man’s Treasure, but things won’t stay normal for long! The kids knew that the treasure had already been stolen, but they were unsure of who stole it and just where it ended up. Huber starts to get messages from a girl in Spain, named Yesenia, who claims to be the granddaughter of Carlos Salazar. Yesenia convinces Huber that she knows where the treasure is, and who stole it. All Huber, Hannah and Scott need to do is win a contest that the school will be having to win an all expenses trip to Salamanca, Spain, of course they’ll win, the contest will be rigged! But after getting to Spain, they quickly get caught up in the mystery and their Spanish teacher, Senior Mendoza ends up getting captured by the ruthless Brotherhood of Coronado, leaving the kids all alone in a foreign country. Who can they trust? And why does Huber keep seeing Juan Salazar everywhere he looks? This is a fast-paced adventure, packed with action and betrayal that you won’t want to put down!

I enjoyed this book. I actually liked the first book in this series best, but this one was a close second. I thought that there was plenty of action and adventure in the story. I liked the characters, and was genuinely surprised with who ended up being the traitors. I was also surprised at the twists and turns the story took, there’s no way I would have ever imagined that it would end the way it did! This book is a fun read, both for older elementary school kids an adults! 


About the author: B.K. Bostick, author of Huber Hill and the Brotherhood of Coronado and the best selling book, Huber Hill and the Dead Man’s Treasure, resides among the magnificent Rocky Mountains. In addition to writing, he has spent his career in education. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Utah and his Masters in Psychology from Utah State University. He has worked as a teacher, after school program coordinator, teacher mentor, and currently as a counselor for the Open High School of Utah. He loves spending time with his lovely wife, son and two dogs. In his spare time, he enjoys eating cheetos and watching old episodes of the Twilight Zone.                 
Find out more about B.K. Bostick: Goodreads/ Website/ Facebook/ Twitter    

YA Pre-Release Review-The Lost Son

18 Sep, 2012 by in Preston Norton, sweetwater books, Tamra Torero Leave a comment

The Lost Son
by Tamra Torero and Preston Norton
Paperback, 192 pages
Expected Publication Date: October 9, 2012
by Sweetwater Books
ISBN: 1462111424
Book source: Netgalley
4 Stars
Book Summary from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Jacob has always been able to charm his way out of trouble with the law. But when he’s sentenced to work at a family Christmas tree farm in place of Cody Matthews—a boy killed in Jacob’s last DUI—Jacob is in for a harsh reality check. This emotional story of loss, love, and redemption is impossible to put down.
Cathy’s Review: Jacob is a normal teenager, he has a girlfriend, Melanie, but he’s not above making out with other girls, he also likes to party and that includes getting drunk. Unfortunately, Melanie quickly finds out about Jacob making out with a random girl dressed like Marilyn Monroe and breaks up with him. This was just not Jacob’s night first a fight, then getting kicked out of the great party and then Melanie breaking up with him. Jacob gets into his car to head for home, he’s driven drunk lots of times and nothing ever happens. This time though, Jacob hits another car and kills a young man named Cody Matthews while also injuring his father. When Jacob’s case goes to trial, he knows he’s going to be spending a lot of time in Juvie, but to his surprise someone speaks up for him, someone he would never have expected. Sam Matthews, Cody’s dad, tells the judge that one boys life is over and they shouldn’t ruin another boy’s life because of that. Sam asks that the judge have Jacob come to his Christmas Tree farm and help out in Cody’s place. With his arm injured, he could really use the help. Jacob is sure that this is some sort of revenge for his killing Cody on Sam’s part, and he’s afraid that Sam will try to kill him. But as he gets to know Sam, he learns that the situation is far different from the way he’s pictured it, and he slowly starts to change and to forgive himself for what has happened. 
This was a cute story. I liked the characters and the plot. I thought that the characters could have been more developed at times, I really like to get to “know” the characters and it seemed like the knowing part was pretty superficial in this story. I liked how this story shows the effects that one person can have on other people’s lives. Jacob, in a moment of stupidity, killed Cody which in turn hurts Sam and also Corrine and he got to see just how both of them had been hurt and the impact that Cody dying had on their lives. I think that’s something we should all work harder to remember, just that people have feelings and most things we do are going to have an impact on others, and that impact is sometimes bigger than we would have imagined it would be.
Content: underage drinking, wolves attacking

About the authors: Tamra Torero fills her life with all things sweet—from her nine children and two grandsons, to her husband, Paco. By day she creates sweet things to eat as a bakery manager, and by night she creates sweet stories (which all-too often require “brain food,” aka Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate). She enjoys reading in the bathtub, watching movies in bed, and dancing in the kitchen. She is the author of seven novels for children and teens.                                       Find out more about Tamra Torero: Goodreads/ Twitter/ Website
Preston Norton is the co-author of The Lost Son to be released in October 2012, and Blüd and Magick, to be released in January 2013. He was born in California, raised in Texas, and is currently a student at Brigham Young University – Idaho, seeking a degree in English Education. He enjoys sushi, rock concerts, and scary movies.                                                                                                                             Find out more about Preston Norton: Goodreads/ Website

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Pre- Release Book Review- The Window Builder

07 Sep, 2012 by in sweetwater books, The Window Builder Leave a comment

The Window Builder
by Kelly Hoose Johnson
Hardcover, 80 pages
Expected publication date, October 9, 2012
by Sweetwater Books
ISBN: 1462111130
Book source: Netgalley
4 Stars

Book summary from Barnes and Noble: After his father’s death, sixteen-year-old Jason wants to make the holidays extra special for his mom. With the help of a mysterious stranger, who offers him a glimpse of his family’s past, Jason creates a Christmas his mom will never forget. Filled with the wonder and excitement of the season, this book is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit!

Cathy’s review: It’s almost Christmas and Jason knows just what he wants to get his mom for Christmas. He wants to get someone to fix the broken stained glass window in her bedroom, he also wants her to just be happy again. She’s been so sad since his dad died a few years earlier and he knows that it will brighten her spirits to have it fixed. But he’s going to have to be sneaky about it. He and his twin brother, Carter, know the plan. Trick Mom into thinking Jason’s staying after school so that he can go meet with the window builder. But when Jason meets the mysterious window builder he has no idea the ways in which his family will be fixed, all through trying to fix a stained glass window.

This was a cute, sweet story. It was short and easy to read quickly. I loved the Christmasy feel to the story, and I think that the cover is just beautiful. The only thing that I could wish for was being able to “know” the characters a little better, that’s hard to do in just 80 pages. I would love more of the story about this family!

Content: clean

About the author: Kelly Hoose Johnson grew up in Flat West Texas. Influenced by a fierce sun and even fiercer storms, she played hard with her brothers and watched the night stars for hours at a time with the family dog, Panama Jack. Her brilliant parents and dedicated teachers encouraged her to try everything, supporting creativity in all forms. Many years later, she continues to dabble in variety and to thrive on new challenges, professionally and personally. Always seeking inspiration for writing, the idea for The Window Builder came to Kelly in a vivid dream. She lives in the Rocky Mountains with her young family and two dogs. She still loves sun, storms, and stars. 
Find out more about author Kelly Hoose Johnson: Goodreads
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Book Review- The Rifts of Rime

21 Jun, 2012 by in Steven L Peck, sweetwater books, youth fiction 1 comment

The Rifts of Rime
by Steven L Peck
Paperback, 280 pages
Published June 12, 2012
by Sweetwater Books
ISBN: 1599559676
Book Source: Netgalley
4 stars

Book Summary from Goodreads: In a world overtaken by greed and a ruthless, power-hungry dictator, Pinecone knows he’s no warrior. But when he’s entrusted with the sacred Scroll of Quickening, an ancient record that holds great power, Pinecone must summon the courage to protect the scroll. If he doesn’t, its secrets will be lost forever.

Meanwhile, Pinecone’s friend Leafe is mounting a makeshift rebellion to fend off the Thane whose evil might grows stronger every day. But her efforts may force her into some troubling alliances.

Cathy’s Review: In the beginning of time the Wealdend gathered the animals around them at their holy tree and quickened 5 species of animals: The gray squirrels, the wolf sisters, the marmots, the ants, and the folk (squirrels with a flap of skin attaching their wrists to their ankles.) Each of these groups were given a special gift that would be very important later. The folk however are given a trial before they are able to use their special gift. They must learn to listen before it’s too late. Soon though, their world becomes corrupted. There are too many power hungry of the gray squirrels, including their leader the Thane. They are trying to destroy and get rid of the folk and trying to rule the whole of their world. Will the poet, Pinecone and paper maker, Leafe be able to stop them from taking over before it’s too late?

Honestly my first thought about this book was, squirrels, really??? But the more that I got into the book and learned about the characters the more I liked it. The book is written for a target audience of about 8 to 12 years old and I think that they will love it. It reminds me a bit of The Rats of Nimh that I read as a middle school child and loved. I love the way that good wins in the end. I really enjoyed this book! I hope that there are more adventures connected with this one.

Content: Clean
About the author: Steven L. Peck is an evolutionary ecologist and professor of the philosophy and history of science. He is the author of a previous novel, The Scholar of Moab (Torrey House Press, 2011), and a forthcoming young adult novel, Spear from the Wealdend’s Tree (Cedar Fort Press).

Find out more about author Steven L Peck: Goodreads/ Website/ facebook


YA Book Review- The Secret Life of Copernicus H Stringfellow

24 Apr, 2012 by in sweetwater books, The Secret Life of Copernicus H Stringfellow Leave a comment

The Secret Life of Copernicus H Stringfellow
by Lorin Barber
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 13, 2012
by Sweetwater Books
ISBN: 1599559293
Book Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3 stars

Book summary from Goodreads: Copernicus H. Stringfellow, a.k.a. Nick, is not your run-of-the-mill genius. His mind is so powerful it can stop a speeding automobile or stem internal bleeding. As Nick goes about quietly doing good, he discovers that his powers are greatly enhanced by the nutrients present in Twinkies. Follow Nick on his amazing adventures in this humorous and exciting action-packed book for all ages.
Cathy’s Review: Nick Stringfellow is a genius, some pretty crazy things happen around him. Things like guns that are pointing at him suddenly being pointed somewhere else, or really sick people all of a sudden getting over their illness and being well. He’s also very kind and always trying to help someone out, from a runaway hitchhiker to everyone in the rundown neighborhood that he’s just bought a house in. Oh and did I mention his strange Twinkie fetish? He eats them one after the next after the next, in fact, one of the first things he does when he arrives in Seattle is get on the Twinkie delivery schedule. He also gets a job as a Nurse at Large in Seattle’s Harborview Hospital. But the strange coincidences with patients getting better as Nick was spending time with them leaves the other doctors and nurses working in the hospital wondering just what in the world is up with this man! It’s up to resident Dr Prescilla Spurbeck to figure that out, but just what will she find? I enjoyed the premise of this story. Nick was a likable enough guy, although the Twinkie thing is a bit strange! I did find the story a bit disjointed just because of all the detail that Nick talks about. He’s a genius, and he talks a bit like a rocket scientist through the whole thing. I think there is some definite potential to this Twinkie eating super hero and can’t wait to read his further adventures!
Content: Clean


Author Bio: I have 6 children, 1 wife and 8 grandchildren. I spent most of my adult life as a manufacturing executive. I’ve been to 45 states and 19 foreign countries. With the loss of a business in the bad economy I’m trying to turn a hobby of writing into a new career.

Find out more about author Lorin Barber Goodreads/ Website/ Twitter