Genre: Adult

Why I Don’t Hide My Freckles Anymore Blog Tour and Review

07 Mar, 2014 by in adult, body image, 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.

Why I Don’t Hide My Freckles Anymore Blog Tour and Review

Why I Don't Hide My Freckles Anymore

by LaNae Valentine, Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen
Published by Deseret Book on December 1, 2013
Genres: Adult, LDS, Non- Fiction
Pages: 160
Format: Paperback
four-stars
Source: Deseret Book
Buy the BookGoodreads
The concept of beauty, and the definition of it, seem to always be caught between endless battles of opinion. If you were asked to define beauty, how would you describe it?

In this book, “Why I Don’t Hide My Freckles Anymore,” readers experience an understanding of beauty and their relationship with it in a clear, elevating way.

The essays in this uplifting compilation come in every shape and size, but each one reaches toward a similar conclusion: beauty is truth. And the truth is that everything God created is beautiful, your body included – freckles and all!

Women and girls lift their voices declaring that we are beautiful daughters of God, not defined by the world’s standards in this compilation of short essays. Each one infuses and empowers as it explores where true beauty comes from–within.

I love books like this that offer so many points of view from women and writers in all different stages of their lives. We would be wise to read a chapter a day, or to share this book with our daughters and friends. Especially good thoughts with summer approaching, swimsuit season and the many women who hide in shame. There is no shame. Your body is a temple. It is a gift!

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Reflection and writing allow us to see ourselves and others more truthfully, more compassionately. Our personal experiences challenge the illusion of culture. We begin to see how unfulfilling and shallow the messages are. We sense a newfound strength and power to stand up to false standards of self-worth ad refuse to allow ourselves to be merchandise in the marketing of beauty. Real beauty isn’t merely decorative; its primary function is to connect–to our innermost beings to one another and to the world around us. Real beauty does not divide or diminish us–it opens and inspires us. It is not only possible but natural to live peacefully in our body, to be comfortable in our own skin, for each of us to love our bodies and find ourselves beautiful.” – LeNae Valentine, editor.

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Book Review: Habits of Happiness by Wendy Ulrich

27 Feb, 2014 by in adult, deseret book 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.

Book Review: Habits of Happiness by Wendy Ulrich

Habits of Happiness

by Wendy Ulrich
Published by Deseret Book on February 27, 2014
Genres: Adult, Non- Fiction
Pages: 64
Format: Hardcover
five-stars
Source: Deseret Book
Buy the BookGoodreads
What makes us happy? Psychologists have identified three key elements that contribute to an ongoing sense of well-being: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. so is it possible to live in a way that is likely to increase the level of happiness we experience on a daily basis? Popular author and Time Out for Women presenter Wendy Ulrich offers seven habits to enhance our lives and boost our happiness quotient. With practical ideas for implementing each habit of happiness, she challenges readers to pick one to work into your life and discover new ways to be happy every day.

This book completely changed my way of looking at things! It pretty much takes everything we’ve ever thought about finding happiness and flips it around so that a new perspective is possible. For many of us, we can find point zero (where we are surviving, but not thriving), but pushing past point zero to happiness is difficult. Wendy is a PHD Psychologist suggests “if you want to get happier, don’t try to get help with your problems. Don’t turn to therapy for answers..”

Wait, what?!! Here’s her answer “while turning to others to help us be happier is not a very successful approach, offering help to others is.” You just have to read to understand. Everything you’ve been clinging to will shift.

While short in pages, this little book is packed with new ideas and simple suggestions to challenge and lift. I will be re-reading it often and using the exercises in each chapter on my journey to creating habits of happiness. Want to know more about her quirky suggestions? Read on…

1. Stop worrying about your weaknesses.
2. Don’t even try to get motivated to exercise.
3. Stop hoping to find friends.
4. Don’t try to feel happier.
5. Celebrate failure.
6. Don’t try to get help with your problems.
7. Don’t endure to the end.

And now, go pick up the book :)

heather

About the Author

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Wendy Ulrich, Ph.D., M.B.A., was a psychologist in private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan for almost fifteen years before moving with her husband to Montreal (where he presided over the Canada Montreal Mission), then Alpine, Utah. She founded Sixteen Stones Center for Growth, which offers seminar-retreats for LDS women (sixteenstones.net). She is a mother and grandmother, a columnist for Deseret News, a former president of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapist, and a business consultant with The RBL Group. Her books include Forgiving Ourselves, Weakness Is Not Sin, and national best seller The Why of Work, co-authored with her husband, Dave Ulrich.

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Book Review: A Promise at Bluebell Hill by Emma Cane

26 Feb, 2014 by in adult, avon, HarperCollins, Romance 2 comments

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.

Book Review: A Promise at Bluebell Hill by Emma Cane

A Promise at Bluebell Hill

by Emma Cane
Series: Valentine Valley #4
Published by Avon, HarperCollins on February 25th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
four-stars
Source: HarperCollins
Buy the BookGoodreads
Welcome to Valentine Valley, where romance blooms and love captivates even the most guarded of hearts . . .

From the moment Secret Service agent Travis Beaumont strides into the town and through the door of Monica Shaw's flower shop, she feels a sizzle of attraction. After years of putting everyone else's needs first, Monica is ready to grab hold of life. If she can just persuade the ultimate protector to let his own walls down for once . . .

The President's son is getting married in Valentine Valley, and Travis should be avoiding all distractions . . . not fantasizing about a forthright, sexy-as-hell florist. Especially when she's keeping secrets that could jeopardize his assignment. But just this once, Travis is tempted to put down the rulebook and follow his heart—right to Monica's door.

Roses are red, violets are blue, and in Valentine Valley, love will always find you.

This is the first book I’ve read in the Valentine Valley series, but it is actually #4 in sequence. A Promise at Bluebell Hill can be read as a standalone, but ultimately I think readers will enjoy getting to know the back story behind this small town group of activists, shop owners and close friends.

I loved:

The small town setting. Valentine Valley, Colorado has a homey feel. Its a timeless community where everyone knows each other.

The loyalty between the characters and the depth of relationships between family and friends. This is a feel good about women book.

That the two main characters were willing to settle down and commit to one another, putting high push careers and political differences aside. They recognized the importance of marriage and family.

The scenic backdrop of bluebell fields and mountains. It’s a romantic place we would all want to visit.

The exploration and resolution of marital problems between Monica’s parents. There is a good plot arc as we see empty nesters work out how to enjoy each other without being directly involved in each others hobbies.

The trade market price. A paperback for $5.

I Struggled With:

The heavy and descriptive romance scenes. I admit, I typically do not read adult romance unless it leaves details to the imagination. This one was a little too fast moving and TMI for me. It’s definitely an adult romance, not for children or teens.

The push at political agenda and correctness. It felt forced to have an activist group against big development and preservation of fossils, flag burning protests, a female President of the US all rolled into one small town novel.

Overall, for me as a reader, the good outweighed the bad and I would read the rest of the series. But it would mean skipping right over the pages with detailed love scenes. I prefer a clean read with tension instead of having it all spelled out.

I loved the writing and the well developed characters and I am glad to have found out such a place as Valentine Valley really exists! You can learn more on the author’s site. Thanks so much to HarperCollins for a fun Valentine’s read!

heather

About the AuthorEmma Cane

Emma Cane was born in Erie, a small Pennsylvania town on beautiful Lake Erie, where the sunsets are some of the best in the world. Though Emma enjoyed figure skating and skiing (good sports in the northeast), she brought a book everywhere she went, usually science fiction and fantasy. Yes, Emma was a Trekkie. Early in her teen years, she decided maybe she could be a writer, and wrote passionate stories of teenagers in space, first by hand until her fingers cramped, and then on her dad’s manual typewriter, which she still can’t bear to give away. In high school she discovered historical romances, starting with Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Shanna, and Emma never looked back. The first romance she ever tried to write was a historical Western, but now she’s changed to the 21st century, where cowboys can ride pickup trucks as well as horses. Emma fell in love with small-town, heartwarming stories, and created the fictional town Valentine Valley, a small ranching community in the Colorado Rockies, where she sets her novels. A Town Called Valentine was the first in her new series. A Promise at Bluebell Hill is the fourth book, and there’ve also been two novellas.

Emma always wanted a career. She determined she wouldn’t be good at the family business, funeral directing, mainly because a funeral director is a social creature, out in society, joining lots of committees and being involved in the community. She likes to pick and choose her committees (she’s served in almost every capacity in her local writers’ group) She especially enjoys being at home in the evenings, her face buried in a book. When she went to college, Emma figured it might be difficult to earn a living writing, so she tried many different jobs. After majoring in aerospace engineering and taking all her electives in English, she realized writing was her future. While she learned her craft and raised her children, she worked several jobs, from fitness training to programming computer-controlled machines. She joined her local chapter of Romance Writers of America, found her best friends, and with their help, sold her manuscript to Avon Books. At last, writing has become her full-time career.

Now that her three children are grown, Emma loves spending time crocheting and singing (although not necessarily at the same time), and hiking and snowshoeing alongside her husband Jim and two rambunctious dogs Apollo and Uma.

Emma also writes as USA Today Bestselling historical romance author Gayle Callen.

Find out more at HarperCollins * Author’s website

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Longing for Home: Hope Springs By Sarah M. Eden Blog Tour

25 Feb, 2014 by in book tour, deseret book, proper romance, sarah eden 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.

Longing for Home: Hope Springs By Sarah M. Eden Blog Tour

Hope Springs

by Sarah M. Eden
Series: Longing for Home #2
Published by Deseret Book on March 4th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Clean Romance, Historical Fiction
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
five-stars
Source: Deseret Book
Buy the BookGoodreads
All is not well in Wyoming. Katie Macauley gave up her life-long dream of returning to Ireland in order to make a home for herself in Hope Springs, but her future has never been so uncertain. The town is more divided than ever, with both the Irish and the Reds stealing property, burning buildings, and endangering lives.

Katie’s heart remains sharply divided between her love for playful Tavish and steady Joseph, a decision she feels ill-prepared to make. In the midst of the growing unrest, temperatures drop quickly, too quickly, and Irish nightmares of famine and cold resurface as the little Wyoming town struggles to beat the harsh winter.

Katie makes one sacrifice after another to keep the peace and help see her loved ones through the difficult days ahead, but will it be enough? Can the town make amends before their hatred consumes them all? And will Katie find the love she has been searching for as well as a home to call her own?

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Fire and Ice is thrilled to be a part of the offiicial Deseret Book Blog Tour for Longing For Home volume 2~ Hope Springs by Sarah M Eden.

I’ve read all of Sarah’s books and I think this one is by far her best yet! It was born of sacrifice and hard work on her part and those characteristics become so much more real in her main character. Katie MacCauley has made a decision to join her fellow Irishmen on the Irish Road in her small town of Hope Springs, Wyoming. The town is divided by prejudice and hatred, the Irish “Paddys” targeted as foreigners in a  harsh land. The Red Road will do anything to get Katie out of their sight, out of their stores and our of her employment as a housekeeper for Joseph Archer. Tensions are heating up and there are those convinced that blood will be spilled before the division can be settled.

As a descendant of Irish who came to America, I learned a great deal about the hardships they faced, the desires they had to maintain their heritage and the work ethic the Irish modeled in putting down roots. I especially enjoyed reading about colcannon, one of my favorite Irish dishes, and hearing some of the Gaelic words written into conversation. Sarah demonstrates through tradition, family relationships, loyalty and love, just how tightly woven the Irish settlements were. She shows the character’s weaknesses of short tempers, raw emotions and pride, as well as their ability to laugh and press forward with tenacity and courage in the midst of adversity.

I cried several times. I felt the feelings of these people and grew to love them as my own. Hope Springs is a tale of one woman’s vow to turn her tragic past into triumph and to make a difference in her community. It is also a beautiful story of how love can heal all wounds and a heart has the power to choose its path. I highly recommend this series as a prime pick for well researched, beautifully written historical fiction and clean romance. Sarah M. Eden’s writing pulled at my heart!

 

heather

About the Authorsarah_m_eden

Sarah M. Eden is the author of multiple historical romances, including Whitney Award finalists Seeking Persephone (2008, Covenant Communications) and Courting Miss Lancaster (2010, Covenant Communications). 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, acted as the Writer in Residence at the Northwest Writers Retreat and is one-third of the team at the AppendixPodcast.com. Sarah is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg at Foreword Literary Agency.

website* twitter *facebook* goodreads

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Living in the Eleventh Hour by Robert L. Millet Blog Tour

18 Feb, 2014 by in blog tour, deseret book, robert l millet 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.

Living in the Eleventh Hour by Robert L. Millet Blog Tour

Living in the Eleventh Hour

by Robert L Millet
Published by Deseret Book on January 1st 2014
Genres: Adult, LDS
Pages: 146
Format: Hardcover
four-stars
Source: Deseret Book
Buy the BookGoodreads
Just as the scriptures teach us that the Second Coming of the Lord will be "at midnight" (Matthew 25:6), so the signs of the times teach us that "midnight" is close at hand. In Living in the Eleventh Hour, author Robert L. Millet points our minds and hearts toward the future-to the glorious day that lies ahead. This encouraging work not only assists us a Latter-day Saints to recognize and better understand the signs of the times but also reminds us of our individual responsibilities as we prepare ourselves and the world for the much-anticipated return of Jesus Christ. Filled with uplifting quotations from Church leaders, insightful scriptural texts, and engaging personal experiences, this timely book inspires us to live today as if He were coming tomorrow. Brother Millet's faith-building message is clear: Steadfastly doing the small things that allow us to live each day with faith, rather than fear, builds our trust that the Savior's return to earth to rule and reign will be a glorious and welcome event.

I love Robert L Millet’s teachings and writing. Living in the Eleventh Hour takes very small chunks of doctrine in each chapter which makes for a quick, light read. It’s certainly not a deep doctrinal look at the signs and time of the second coming of Christ, not does it reveal “big new truths.” However, I enjoyed it for exactly what it was. His counsel is straight forward and simple. I found that for me, this book was the perfect fit. It offers a hopeful perspective without the doom and gloom or long lists of signs of the second coming. Brother Millet re- emphasizes what we can do on a daily basis to have the Spirit with us and to keep our lamps filled with oil before the bridegroom cometh. I especially liked his story of how many of us, in fear of judging others fall into the “tolerance trap” and begin to tolerate the behaviors of others that are sinful without speaking up. The formula for preparation is built on the basic primary answers we all know and I am glad he kept it that way.

heather

Favorite Quote

We cannot, at least not for very long, operate simply by sheer grit and willpower; to do so proves to be both spiritually exhausting and emotionally discouraging. We need help. That help comes from God and is mediated through his Holy Spirit.

 

About the Author

Robert L. Millet, an Abraham O. Smoot Professor and former dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University, is a professor of ancient scripture and a lifelong scholar of the last days. After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BYU in psychology, he earned a PhD from Florida State University in religious studies. He has served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a seminary teacher, bishop, stake president, and member of the Materials Evaluation Committee. He and his wife, Shauna, are the parents of six children.

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In Love and War Blog Tour

13 Dec, 2013 by in blog tour, book review, carla kelly, Uncategorized Leave a comment

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

In Love and War Blog Tour

In Love and War

by Carla Kelly
Published by Cedar Fort, Sweetwater on February 14, 2012
Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads
Beloved romance writer Carla Kelly shares a treasured collection of wonderfully written stories of dashing war heroes and the sassy heroines who can’t help falling for them. From daring sea captains to genteel lords, there’s a little something for every heart’s fancy. Readers everywhere will adore these four regency romances—now available together for the first time in one must-have book!
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Fire and Ice is honored today to be a part of the blog tour for In Love and War by Carla Kelly.

If you are looking for historical fiction set in time of war this is another great compilation of shorts by Carla. It’s very similar to her Christmas Collection and the two of them together would make a great gift set. We get a very interesting look at Quakers, American versus British society, the shipping and rope making industry, Naval press gangs and life in time of trouble. I would recommend taking this book one chapter at a time because there is so much detail in each setting that it’s hard to digest in one read.

Carla has a way of always highlighting the two hearts that find each other amidst the most daunting of circumstances. I’m thinking this is a reprint of the same books from her mainstream signet romance book with a re-imaged cover. So I can’t wait to see what else Carla has up her sleeve. Hoping this new year brings some new original LDS romance titles!

Fans of Regency or historical romance this is a great author to stalk.

Content (highlight to reveal): mature, some sexual innuendo like  mentions of breasts, mattresses

 

3_5heather

 

About  the Author

carlakellyAward-winning 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.

Website /Blog /Goodreads

 

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Review: Peace: A Crittenden County Christmas Novel by Shelley Shepard Gray

09 Dec, 2013 by in amish fiction, book review, christmas Leave a comment

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

Review: Peace: A Crittenden County Christmas Novel by Shelley Shepard Gray

Peace: A Crittenden County Christmas Novel

by Shelley Shepard Gray
Published by Avon Inspire on October 22, 2013
Genres: Adult, Amish Fiction
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads
After a year of secrets and scandal, will this Amish community finally find peace under the bright promise of Christmas?

Beth Byler has a secret. Ever since she met Englischer Chris Ellis while helping out at the Yellow Bird Inn, she can't stop thinking about him. She knows a relationship could never go anywhere—Chris was working undercover in Crittenden County as a DEA agent. That meant he faced danger daily and carried a gun, making him completely unsuitable for an Amish woman like herself. But she knew he felt the attraction, too. It was the reason he left so suddenly, promising never to see her again.

Then, three days before Christmas, while Beth is taking care of the inn, Chris returns. This time, he is bleeding and in need of a place to hide. Against her better judgment, Beth takes him in and tends to his wounds. She also promises to keep his presence a secret. Before long, it becomes clear that nothing between them has changed—a relationship is inevitable. But are they ready to sacrifice everything for this chance at love?

I’ve really been loving both Amish fiction and Christmas fiction this year, so I was super excited when I received Peace in the mail for review. Beth Byler is working for Christmas, holding down the fort at the bed and breakfast owned by her friend Frannie. She’s not expecting any guests until a knock at the door reveals Chris, a DEA agent and Englischer who has been badly wounded. He’s seeking refuge from a job gone bad. In need of stitches, without a place to stay, Beth decides she must take him in– but her heart is in more danger than she imagined.

Chris is looking for some peace and a chance to heal. But he has walls up that must be kept there to protect himself and Beth. He hasn’t seen his family in years for fear they will be ashamed of what he must become when he goes undercover, and for fear they will pay consequences if he is followed. But his time at the Yellow Bird with Beth may be just what he needs to sooth his soul.

This is a cozy novel that helps you believe in destiny, and the need to forgive. There is a definite romance element but the author keeps it clean, which I truly appreciate . It moves along slowly enough to fit the genre and characters perfectly. The pacing is good, but I wasn’t a fan of moving between two different story lines.

Alongside the main plot,  is a subplot of another Amish family in the community trying to muddle their way through a murder and the imprisonment of  the perpetrator. Lots of guilt and bitterness to be worked through. I had a hard time connecting with it, as I wanted to know just how the victim, Perry, lost his life and what role each person played. There were details left undone that left me a bit confused. The motivation for murder, the reasons behind it and how it played out were all left sketched, but not filled in. Maybe a follow up novella, or deleted scene with  flashback would be a great solution for me on the unanswered questions.

Overall, this is the best Amish fiction I’ve read yet and I would recommend it to adults looking for a light seasonal romance. I’m happy to have found the Avon Inspire imprint and new author to follow!

4heather

 

Author Bio

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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.

Learn More

        
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