Genre: Adult

Painting Kisses by Melanie Jacobson ~ Blog Tour

23 Oct, 2014 by in adult, covenant, melanie jacobson Leave a comment

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

Painting Kisses by Melanie Jacobson ~ Blog Tour

Painting Kisses

by Melanie Jacobson
Published by Covenant on October 2nd 2014
Genres: Adult, Clean Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback
Source: Covenant
Buy the BookGoodreads
Lia Carswell is good at what she does, even if it isn't as glamorous as her old artist life in Manhattan. The popular waitress works hard in a small Salt Lake City diner, with the goal of easing her sister's financial strain. And with her witty personality and good looks, she's something of an enigma to the male customers who vie for her attention. Ever the professional, Lia keeps her distance, with one exception. Aidan is a breakfast regular, and his gentle, clever teasing draws Lia's attention and builds an easy rapport between them, though Lia would never let their relationship get serious, especially since he's not the only one trying to catch her eye. Her handsome neighbor Griff has been hinting that he wants more than a neighborly relationship.

Then her old New York artist life comes knocking, and an offer is made for a series of commissioned paintings. Lia knows it would ensure financial security for her family, but she doesn't know if she wants that life anymore. When she undertakes one final project, she reawakens her heart and soul. And as she finds herself falling in love and needing an outlet more and more, she realizes her paintings might be her saving grace.
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A New York artist flees back to the mountainous landscape of her youth to start over…as a cafe waitress. In saunters Aidan, a regular customer and his dog who flirts relentlessly trying to steal a date from Lia. But she has some sass of her own to throw back his way.

Griff is her next door neighbor, quiet and shy, but so good with Lia’s niece Chloe. She feels pulled to him, but in a completely different way than the sizzle that’s there with Aidan. Lia’s heart has walls up and two men are testing her hiatus from men. With a bucket load of banter and snark in a small town restaurant to the quiet solitude of oil painting on a mountainside, Painting Kisses is filled with detail. Gourmet foods, bright colors, linseed oil, and the rich texture of tiramisu will assault the readers senses. It took me quite a while to assimilate all the layers and feel them as the characters did, but I enjoyed the depth of the imagery present in the story. I at times found Lia’s personality a bit overpowering with sass, but overall I liked the ending and message! I would definitely recommend all of Melanie Jacobson’s books to fans of clean contemporary romance.

Content: Some kissing and tension, mention of prescription drug addiction and domestic abuse, but no violence.

The Tour Schedule

October  20th-25th:

About the AuthorMelaniepic

Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and romance novels. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed houseplants. Melanie is a former English teacher and a popular speaker who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time (ha!), she writes romantic comedies for Covenant and maintains her humorous slice-of-life blog. Her fourth novel, Smart Move, hits shelves in October.

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Sophia by Paula Kremeser Blog Tour, Review

22 Oct, 2014 by in adult, blog tour, cedar fort, clean read, regency romance 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.

Sophia by Paula Kremeser Blog Tour, Review


by Paula Kremser
Published by Cedar Fort on October 14, 2014
Genres: Adult, Clean Romance, Regency
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: Cedar Fort
Buy the BookGoodreads
Small-town Sophia Spencer can’t believe her luck when an unexpected inheritance allows her to experience London’s social scene. But her happiness disappears when she is caught napping in a grumpy gentleman’s room—and forced into an engagement to protect her reputation! Personalities collide and love blooms in this stunning debut novel.

Sophia Spencer is a small town doctor’s daughter, raised far from the influence of the ton and high London society. So, when a solicitor shows up at her door with an inheritance to bestow, life takes quite the unexpected twist. She is sent to town for her “season”, a whirlwind schedule of teas and concerts under the care of her aunt, whom she’d never met. The pace is dizzying and society’s rules so confusing. Sophia lays down for a nap at the ball and wakes up in quite an uncomfortable, but innocent situation that could ruin her reputation and the honor of the man involved. She finds herself engaged to be married to Adam Huntley, a sour grumpy (yet handsome) fellow–but can she follow through?

A light, clean introduction to Regency era romance, Sophia is told in dual perspective. There is a villain afoot and a slow romance fighting against the odds. Overall, I genuinely enjoyed this one, but wished for more detail and fleshing out of the characters and story line. It’s a fast, simple read. I grew fond of the characters and was thirsting for more sights, sounds and feels. Paula has some wonderful material in person and place to work with for future novels and I hope to see more from her on shelves in the future!

Clean, quick read.

About the Author

Paula Kremser focused on a career in science for several years after graduating from Brigham Young University. DNA purification and Affinity Chromatography were always interesting, but when Paula-Kremser-author-360x310she moved to England, Paula seized the opportunity to focus on her love of the Regency Era. The enchantment of the aristocracy and the fascinating stories from every stately home she visits have been both research and inspiration for her first novel. Paula lives with her husband and four children in a charming village nestled in the Chiltern hills in Buckinghamshire.

Movie Preview~ No Ordinary Shepherd, The Last Straw

10 Oct, 2014 by in covenant, movie, movie review, movie trailer Leave a comment

Genres: Adult, Christmas, Inspirational, LDS, Movie
Source: Covenant

the last strawYesterday I had the opportunity to attend a special screening of two new movies coming to stores just in time for Christmas from Covenant Communications. No Ordinary Shepherd and The Last Straw. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house at the end of either of them. Lots of sniffles heard in the theater! Both are clean and appropriate for families.

Head to your local Seagull book as I’ve heard they may have hit shelves already. Special thanks to Covenant Communications for giving me a good cry and an uplifting start to the season…

no ordinary sheperd

No Ordinary Shepherd

As the sun beams brightly on the hills surrounding Palestine, one young shepherd boy thoughtfully considers the significance of the day. The child, crippled in a terrible accident, has always treasured his shepherd father’s tale of that starlit night so many years before — a night filled with the wonder of angelic heralds and a tiny Bethlehem stable sheltering the chosen Messiah. Now, years since that sacred event, tales of Jesus of Nazareth’s miraculous birth touch the young boy’s faith. When he meets the gentle stranger in the hills — a man strangely familiar to him — the faithful young shepherd encounters a miracle of his own.

22 minutes long

Themes: healing, miracles, believing

Content: clean, for all ages


Mainstay Productions Facebook* Covenant Communications


The Last Straw

Christmas is supposed to be a season of love, warm feelings, and happy hearts. But with the childrens’ constant bickering, pretty packages and a sweet-smelling tree don’t come close to filling the McDonald home with the true spirit of the first Christmas. Then Mom remembers an old tradition of building a soft bed for Baby Jesus one straw at a time. Each time someone secretly does something nice for another family member, he or she gets to add a single straw to the manger. Soon the childrens’ quarreling and negative feelings subside and the homemade crib is overflowing. But for one family member, a required act of kindness becomes more than he can take. The Last Straw is a true story.


Themes: Cyberbullying, grief, service, sibling rivalry

Content: Kissing, some tight clothing.

3_5 heather

Review and Event Photos: Focused by Noelle Pikus- Pace

04 Oct, 2014 by in deseret book, Focused, Noelle Pikus- Pace Leave a comment

Review and Event Photos: Focused by Noelle Pikus- Pace

Focused: Keeping Your Life on Track, One Choice at a Time

Published by Deseret Book on September 8, 2014
Genres: Adult, Inspirational, LDS, Non- Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 144
Format: Hardcover
Source: Deseret Book
Buy the BookGoodreads
Where are your choices leading you? Regardless of our circumstances, each moment presents us with decision to make. It doesn't matter what question, trial, or success we experience—each traces back to a choice. At any given moment, we can choose to doubt, fear, worry; to be prideful, angry, depressed, or miserable—or we can choose to move forward. We can choose to be a light. We can choose to be happy. The choice is always ours, and each choice can be a step forward on the path of life we want for ourselves.

The life lessons learned by Olympic athlete Noelle Pikus Pace can equip each of us to turn daily choices and challenges into opportunities for growth. In her warm and relatable style, Noelle shares touching personal stories and teaches how these experiences can help us keep a healthy perspective on the things that matter most. She helps us to see that though all of our goals and trials are different, we each can choose to become the best versions of ourselves one day at a time.

Covering topics from letting go of expectations and pressures to finding a healthy life balance, from standing up for ourselves to standing for righteousness, world champion Noelle Pikus Pace infuses readers with the enthusiasm and confidence to get a little closer to their goals each and every day.

Never has a book been more timely than Focused by Noelle Pikus- Pace is for this generation. A silver medal US Olympic skeleton racer, Pikus Pace shares her wisdom with youth as well as her life experiences. In 2006 she was badly injured by a bobsled and had a huge mountain to climb to make it back on the track.Like, all of us, she has faced moral dilemmas, ups and downs, but she remained focused on what matters most.

Noelle shares how important it is to step outside our comfort zone and friendship others. She shares her personal struggle with miscarriage and returning to the track after an answer to prayer. She reminds youth to be modest, to be an example and to let your light shine.

I read this book full of quotes, photos and inspirational graphics in one sitting. It is one I will passing on to my daughters and sons. I cried along with her when she finally grasped her Olympic medal dream, with YW medallion also around her neck on the awards podium. Her temple medallion reminds all of us…”You are more precious than rubies.”

The Q& A Event


Noelle absolutely shines when you meet her in person. I had the opportunity to met her at a Deseret Book event and she wanted all of us to see and feel her medal, to feel a part of her victory. She is an amazing example of faith and love. If you ever get the chance…GO see her!

See More Photos and Deseret News Media Coverage From The Event Here (we are in photo nine)

Favorite Quote

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with the whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9 “It isn’t always easy to be the one and only standing up for something you believe in. But I can promise you that it is much easier to stand with courage in the days to come if you decide now, today, in this moment, who you are and what you stand for.” ~Noelle Pikus Pace, {Focused} page 67

About the Authornoelle_pikus_pace

NOELLE PIKUS PACE became the first American woman to win the Overall World Cup Title in skeleton in 2005. After playing a variety of sports through high school and college, her exceptional strength in skeleton made her favored to win the gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics. An unfortunate accident prevented her from competing, but the following year she came back to win the World Championships by the largest margin in the history of the sport. Noelle competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics and was the top U.S. finisher, placing fourth.

She retired after the Olympics to spend more time with her family. Following a miscarriage in April of 2012, Noelle and her husband, Janson, decided that she would try one last time to earn an Olympic medal, on the condition that the family would all travel together. Competing in 32 national and international competitions over two years, Noelle finished on the podium 29 times and concluded her career by triumphantly winning the silver medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and jumping into the stand to share the moment with her family and the world.

Noelle earned a bachelor’s degree in 2005 and a master of business administration degree in 2007. Noelle and Janson have two children, Lacee and Traycen.


Review ~Joyful: Return to Sugarcreek, Book Three

01 Oct, 2014 by in adult, amish fiction, HarperCollins Leave a comment

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

Review ~Joyful: Return to Sugarcreek, Book Three


by Shelley Shepard Gray
Series: Return to Sugar Creek #3
Published by HarperCollins on September 2, 2014
Genres: Adult, Amish Fiction, Christian, Clean Romance
Pages: 266
Format: Paperback
Source: HarperCollins
Buy the BookGoodreads
Return to Sugarcreek with bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray for a heartwarming story of second chances with a young Amish couple

Randall Beiler will sacrifice anything to take care of his younger siblings and the family farm, even if it means forsaking love. But when his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job cleaning and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and feels guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth's heart. Then he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet and he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse but she needs the work. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that her love for Randall still burns strong. And though Randall keeps his distance at first, time and teamwork reveal that something deeper still connects them.

Elizabeth isn't sure what to think: Does Randall want her because he truly loves her, or because he needs a housekeeper? And if his feelings have changed for sure, Randall must find a way to show Elizabeth what she really means to him or risk losing his partner in life and love forever.

It was a rainy day yesterday and I picked up three different books in hopes for an escape, and struck out. So I turned to Shelley Shepard Gray…bingo! Once again, her Return to Sugar Creek series was the ticket to a clean, sweet diversion. The third installment picks up three different story lines and follows the theme of second chances, tender mercies from a loving God. There’s the couple who has broken up, the young couple who has miscarried and is looking to adopt, and a divorced restaurant owner who is afraid to trust again. At firs, I was hesitant to have so much going on at one time and I found myself drawn to the story of Elizabeth and Randall. I wasn’t quite as engaged in the other two stories, until the very end, when I was surprised to find I was in tears at the sweet story of a foster baby finding a home.

Shelley Shepard Gray wraps things up in a neat tidy package. She writes feel good novels with faith intertwined. If you are looking for a simple plot with predictable resolution you will be pleased. One finds themselves transported to a community where horse drawn buggies are still used, homemade sugar cookies are cut out with the top of a glass. Yet, modernization is afoot and modern characters are woven in quite nicely. I love the Amish charm and the goodness that emanates from their lives. Recommend this series for a Fall rainy day read! There’s study questions in the book and a sneak peek to book four…going online to pre-order!

heather shelleyshepardgray2013-240x300

Author Bio

I grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.

I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.

Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that in God’s eyes that is okay? That from His point of view, we are all exceptional? I treasure that knowledge and am always so thankful for my faith. His faith in me makes me stand a little straighter, smile a little bit more, and be so very grateful for every gift He’s given me.

I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me. I wanted to write stories about regular. likeable people in extraordinary situations-and who just happened to be Amish.

Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed.



For Elise by Sarah M Eden~Blog Tour

18 Sep, 2014 by in blog tour, book review, covenant, sarah m eden 7 comments

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

For Elise by Sarah M Eden~Blog Tour

For Elise

by Sarah M Eden
Published by Covenant on September 1, 2014
Genres: Adult, Regency, Romance
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Covenant
Buy the BookGoodreads
In the sprawling gardens of their neighboring estates, childhood friends Miles and Elise spent countless pleasant days together in the spirited adventures of youth. They were inseparable—until Elise vanished without a trace. Miles searched, but Elise could not—or would not—be found . . . After years spent laboring on the family plantation in the West Indies, Miles Linwood is shocked by the unexpected news: he has inherited his distant cousin’s estate and the title of Marquess of Grenton. Miles’s return to England is tarnished by only one thing—he is still haunted by Elise’s mysterious disappearance. So when he glimpses a woman with a startling resemblance to his lost friend, he’s shaken to the core. This is no mere shadow of the past: it is truly Elise. But his dear friend has changed—to the point that he questions whether it is really her, though he knows it is. Accustomed to rescuing Elise from childhood escapades, Miles takes her and those in her care back to his estate, even as he struggles to understand her fear and mistrust. As their friendship and feelings slowly blossom again, the shocking truth of their separated years is revealed, and Miles realizes more than ever that he must protect Elise. She slipped away once, and he cannot lose her again.

Regency Romance is one of my favorite genres, and Sarah M. Eden is a great go to Regency author. In her latest, For Elise, Miles Linwood, a marquess, is traveling the country when he happens upon his long lost childhood friend. Elise, now called Ella is a very young widow with small child, living a life of poverty. The two were the best of friends growing up until a murder tore their lives and inherited estates apart. Ella is guarded and seems burdened with so many emotions bottled up, that when Miles steps in to offer her a new life, she’s not sure she can open up again and let him in. Eden addresses deafness, prejudice of social classes and trust between friends. There’s plenty of suspense as mysterious handwritten notes start showing up as a threat to Elise. The murderer is lurking nearby Tafford Estate where Miles now lives.

I read For Elise in one day, start to finish. With returning characters from her previous novels and a dreamy landscape, once again Ms. Eden had me fully engaged. I recommend all of her books!

Content: clean, some kissing & tension, moderate violence, rape (but not described.)




About the Authorsarah_M_eden

Sarah M. Eden is the author of multiple historical romances, including Whitney Award finalists Seeking PersephoneCourting Miss Lancaster, and AML’s “2013 Novel of the year” Longing for Home. Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah has twice served as the Master of Ceremonies for the LDStorymakers Writers Conference and acted as the Writer in Residence at the Northwest Writers Retreat. Sarah is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg at D4EO Literary Agency.


Blog Tour Schedule

The Giveaway

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How Do I Know If I Know~ Blog Tour & Review

08 Sep, 2014 by in adult, book review, deseret book, lds Leave a comment

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

How Do I Know If I Know~ Blog Tour & Review

How Do I Know If I Know?

by John Bytheway
Published by Deseret Book on September 8, 2014
Genres: Adult, LDS, Non- Fiction
Pages: 144
Format: Paperback
Source: Deseret Book
Buy the Book

It's spiritual gut-check time! The mission age has been lowered, and now more than ever, young people are asking themselves important questions:

  • How do I know if I really have a testimony?
  • Am I ready to serve a mission?
  • What does the Spirit feel like?

John Bytheway suggests that we "F.E.E.L." the truthfulness of the gospel through our feelings, our experiences, the many evidences we encounter, and our logical conclusions about how a loving God interacts with His children on the earth. Like gradually turning up a dimmer switch, understanding all the ways we F.E.E.L. our testimony will help it grow brighter.

As you read, you may discover that your testimony is stronger than you thought, and you'll also become more excited and motivated to let your light shine!

So often when seeking spiritual  truth we are waiting for huge life changing experiences. We want a “bolt of lightening” or an absolute, undeniably strong answer to prayer…when in our heart, the truth is already present and evident. By small and simple means, we F.E.E.L. that something is true.

John Bytheway gives four sources from which we draw energy to build our testimony “Feelings “you shall feel that it is right” (D&C 9:8), Experiences “If any man will do his will, he shall know . . .” (John 7:17), Evidences “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16), and Logic “I will tell you in your mind. . .” (D&C 8:2). He breaks each of these testimony sources down in an easy to read manner and offers visual reinforcements via QR code embedded videos, and conference talks in each section. The reader, equipped with smart phone or tablet gets an interactive study session on how to feel and recognize truth and then act on those feelings.  We are taught, not only by the experiences of the author himself, but also from the words of living prophets and apostles, as well as scholars. If the reader truly wants to delve into the book, there are multi-media means to read and learn more.

My favorite embedded video shows the explosive growth of LDS stakes across the United States. I’d never seen a visual representation of just how far and wide the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints has spread.

How Do I Know If I Know? is an excellent resource for young men and women preparing for a mission. For me, it is a wonderful reminder that I already FEEL the truth and know it!

heatherExcerpt Chapter 1

What Do You Know?
Many years ago, a young man (he was only twenty-three years old) was called to be the new stake president in Tooele, Utah. In those days, stake conferences had two sessions, and at lunch between the sessions, Joseph F. Smith, one of the General Authorities attending, said to the new stake president, “You said you believe the gospel with all your heart, and propose to live it, but you did not bear your testimony that you know it is true. Don’t you know absolutely that this gospel is true?”

“I do not,” answered the young man.

“President Taylor,” said Elder Smith to the President of the Church, John Taylor, who was also in attendance, “I am in favor of undoing this afternoon what we did this morning. I do not think any man should preside over a stake who has not a perfect and abiding knowledge of the divinity of this work.”
President Taylor just laughed and said, “Joseph, Joseph, Joseph, he knows it just as well as you do. The only thing that he does not know is that he does know it.”

That story brings up a very interesting question: Is it possible to know that the Church is true, but not know that you know? Is a testimony that hard to detect? This story is even more interesting when you learn the identity of the new stake president. His name was Heber J. Grant. Yes, the same Heber J. Grant who later became the President of the Church.

Interestingly, the next time Heber J. Grant faced members of his stake, he spoke powerfully for forty-five minutes. This time, he knew. And he knew that he knew. What did President Grant do in between “believing” the Church was true and “knowing”? And how can we do the same thing?

Today, youth and young adults are facing huge decisions, and they’re facing them a little sooner than their older brothers and sisters did. Many teenagers facing the mission decision may be wondering, “Is my testimony strong enough? Do I really know the Church is true? How do I know if I know?” Because of the lowering of the age at which young people become eligible to serve missions, there is a greater urgency than ever before to answer this kind of question. I once heard Sister Sheri Dew tell a group of young people, “We want you to figure out what we’ve figured out, and we want you to figure it out quicker than we figured it out.”

About the Author

JOHN BYTHEWAY served a mission to the Philippines and later graduated from Brigham Young University. He has a master’s degree in religious education and is a part-time instructor at the BYU Salt Lake Center. John is the author of many bestselling books, audio talks, and DVDs, including How to Be an Extraordinary Teen; Life Rocks; and his first children’s picture book, The Sacrament. He and his wife, Kimberly, have six children.


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
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.


Bonds of Loyalty Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

19 Aug, 2014 by in blog tour, bonds of loyalty, covenant, Jennifer K. Clark, Stephonie K. Williams 1 comment

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

Bonds of Loyalty Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Bonds of Loyalty

by Jennifer K. Clark, Stephonie K. Williams
Published by Covenant on August 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, LDS
Pages: 176
Format: eARC
Source: Covenant
Buy the BookGoodreads
It shall be the son, the firstborn in the new monarchy, who shall quiet the fears and unite the nation again.

The infamous prophecy declaring that the firstborn would be a boy is the last thing Sarah wants to deal with. As if being newly engaged isn’t difficult enough, she’s still coming to terms with the fact that the first eighteen years of her life were a farce. The prophecy—the reason she had been secreted away from her family and her royal heritage to begin with—wasn’t supposed to disrupt her life any more than it previously had. But when unexpected events force her to leave her fiancé, Prince Alexander, Sarah must return to her home country of Kyrnidan to face her destiny.

Reunited with her royal family, Sarah is thrust into the political turmoil that surrounds her ancestral home. To make things worse, her arrival has upturned the long-held prophecy.

As the voices of distension mount against her, Sarah turns to her bodyguard, Luther, for protection. But Luther’s protection comes with a price. Propelled into a plot that threatens her life and the welfare of the entire kingdom, Sarah must determine where her love and loyalty truly lie. Torn between two men, she will now have to face her fears and undertake a journey of self-discovery that will change the fate of a nation….



Who doesn’t love a little bit of political intrigue, history, suspense and clean romance? Having not read book one, Mark of Royalty , I jumped right into book two, Bonds of Loyalty and thoroughly enjoyed the journey. The authors weave a tale of a kidnapped Princess raised far from home who carries a mark to distinguish her as heir and firstborn. In this second installment, she is returning home to the land of her birth to meet her parents.  But, in doing so, her life is put at risk. Sarah is caught in a web of political unrest and her country is on the brink of war. Meanwhile, she has more than one person out to end her life and the monarchy.

The romance has just the right amount of tension and pull between two suitors. Bonds of Loyalty is a well written read. The only wish I had was that the worlds of  Kyrnidan was more fully fleshed out. As well as the distinction between where she was raised, the land of her fiance Alex, and where she is in book two.

Content: This is a clean book suited for teens. Kissing, some tension. There is a threat of sexual harassment and mild violence , but overall, mild.

I’m so glad I picked up a  soot on the blog tour. I think now I will go back and read book one!



About the Authors 73ojIIp

Jennifer K. Clark and Stephonie K. Williams are sisters by chance but became friends by choice when a year of rooming together at college taught them how to get along. Now “play”-at-home moms, separated and living in different parts of the country, they stay in touch and support each other in their individual projects.

Jennifer K. Clark lives in the small rural town of Wellington Utah, as much as her husband wishes it was Wellington New Zealand. After years of entertaining her three children with infamous made-up stories, she decided to put her imagination to good use and became an author. She likes to add a touch of romance to her novels along with a healthy dose of adventure. Fueled by Lindt Chocolate Truffles and Sour Patch Kids, she now spends a copious amount of time with the characters in her head. In her spare time she likes to create science experiments with the ingredients in her potions cupboard, debate which Doctor is her favorite (currently the 10th…or maybe the 11th), and—when she has time—watches the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice.

Stephonie K. Williams makes her home in a quaint farming town in eastern Iowa with her husband, three cats, and a budding ninja. Two of her favorite things in Iowa are the fireflies (aka lightning bugs) and cows, especially the calves. Despite having lived there for 15 years she still misses the majesty and tranquility of the mountains of Utah where she grew up. She has a vast collection of fortune cookie fortunes because she has yet to determine if it is unlucky to throw them away. She also loves to quill, the art of rolled paper, not to be confused with quilting.

Stephonie is passionate about education and enjoys visiting schools to teach classes on creative writing. She has written poetry, short stories, and dissertations, although Mark of Royalty was the first of her work that she was brave enough to submit for publication.

bonds_of_loyaltyBlog Tour Schedule

*August 18th:
*August 19th:,
*August 20th:,
*August 21st:,
*August 22nd:,
*August 23rd:

The Giveaway

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Saints and Soldiers Movie Blog Tour + Giveaway

08 Aug, 2014 by in adult, deseret book, excel entertainment, movie, movie review, movie trailer, saints and soldiers, utah film 3 comments

Genres: Adult, Movie



Fire and Ice has had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the round table discussion and filming of Saints and Soldiers: The Void (found here) a couple of weeks ago. Last night was one of the pre-screening events for the movie which hits theaters August 15th. I had a sneak peek at the third movie in the Saints and Soldiers franchise. The theatre was absolutely packed, no seats available. Excel Entertainment and Deseret Book hosted the event, giving away swag bags to the media attendees: a t-shirt, water bottle, MREs, a special 2 pack DVD combo set, and water bottle in canvas tote bags.


Lots of eager fans packed in shoulder to shoulder to watch The Void which features Danor Gregory. Gregory is a black soldier, once a hellcat operator and commander, demoted to a truck driver as the war is coming to a close. He experiences daily constant prejudice and ridicule from fellow soldiers. Director Ryan Little highlights how these men sacrificed all in honor of their country, yet were treated as unequal and the lesser class.  You may recognize the other main black solider played by Alex Boye, famous LDS singer, (who, by the way was in attendance at the pre-screening.) It was amazing to see Boye in an unfamiliar role. Both men have some acting skills!


Movie three has many elements– historical London radio broadcast, authentic WWII black and white cinema footage, and still shot highlights of road signs where battles were fought. There is theme juxtaposition of good vs. evil, equality vs. inequality. Racial prejudice is explored in a unique way. Everything feels up close and personal with tight shots.


I truly enjoyed that film three, The Void had a bit of a lighter tone in many parts thanks to Michael Berens who plays Rodney “Ramrod” Mitchell. Lots of laugh out loud moments with his snarky attitude. The franchise of movies gives viewers a realistic look at what war times bring. Movie one, Saints and Soldiers is particularly stark as it explores shell-shock or PTSD from Corbin Allred (Deacon’s) point of view.


Content: There is heavy war-related violence, psychological tension and raw emotion, so I don’t recommend the films for children.


Excel Entertainment and Deseret Book have been the best of hosts in all pre-movie events. I am thrilled to have met the cast, directors and writers. Such an impressive group of people.

The Void hits theatres August 15th. Go, go go! Learn more


saints and soldiers the void

Saints and Soldiers: The Void Coming to theaters August 15th

Germany, May 1945, the twilight of WWII. On a final mission deep in the Harz mountains a U.S. tank crew discovers a platoon of Germans, including three infamous Panzer tanks, preparing to ambush allied supply trucks.

Before the war, private Jesse Owens, was a product of segregation and racial discrimination. Forced by law to ride in the back of the bus and disenfranchised from the political process. Now, Owens fights the greatest tyrant in history, knowing the tyranny of racism will be waiting for him back home if he can survive the war.

With a deadly game of cat and mouse quickly unfolding, Owens and his predominantly white tank crew find themselves out-gunned and out-manned by the German Panzer tanks. Several in Owens’ crew are reluctant to put their faith in a black tank driver despite their dire circumstances. As the German tanks bear down on his unit, Owens has to fight for freedom on two fronts. With tension and fear beginning to manifest Owens knows they must put aside their differences to stop the enemy from their deadly plan. Knowing that a victory over the Nazis means a victory for racial justice, Owens and his men find a way to work together to save hundreds of lives in a desperate battle against the greatest odds they have ever faced.



Danor Gerald
Gerald’s first appearance in a feature film, “Believe” (2005), came while he was earning a Digital Cinema degree in Utah. Danor began getting leading roles with “The Cyclist” (2012) produced by prolific Casting Director Jeff Johnson. “Saints and Soldiers: The Void” (2014) is Mr. Gerald’s star-turn as the protagonist in a feature film. Gerald is most known for performances in teen-genre films like “High School Musical 2”, “Forever Strong”, and “House of Fears”.

Adam Gregory
Adam Gregory was born on December 28, 1987 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. He is an actor and cinematographer, known for The Bold and the Beautiful (1987), 17 Again (2009) andHannah Montana: The Movie (2009). He has been married to Sheridan Sperry since February 26, 2010. They have one child.
Matthew MeeseThis is Matt’s first feature film! He is best known for his work on the hit sketch comedy show, Studio C, on BYUTV. He also enjoys pie, and the idea of gardening. Check him out.

Bart Johnson
Bart Johnson was born on December 13, 1970 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA as Barton Robert Johnson. He is an actor and director, known for High School Musical(2006), High School Musical 2 (2007) and High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008). He has been married to Robyn Lively since September 25, 1999. They have three children.


The Giveaway


One DVD combo set. Contest for US residents only, ages 18 and older. Void where prohibited by law. DVD outer jewel case has been altered by the publisher,  as it is not for re-sale.

The DVD combo pack includes Saints and Soldiers (Special Edited Version) and Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed


Saints and Soldiers is a dramatic, intense and heroic WWII film about members of the Greatest Generation struggling to be both good men and good soldiers.

Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed From the producers of the world-renowned hit film Saints and Soldiers and based on actual events, SAINTS & SOLDIERS: AIRBORNE CREED tells the action-packed story of three World War II U.S. Army paratroopers—Rossi (Corbin Allred), Jones (David Nibley), and Curtis (Jasen Wade)—fighting desperately to fulfill their mission against seemingly insurmountable odds.

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