Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Tour: "Champions at Fire's End" by Charlotte Jain


Champions at Fire's End
by Charlotte Jain
Release Date: November 28th 2015

Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old best friends, April and Kyle, are thrown into the final battle of the Titan and Olympian war. Locked into an endless struggle, the Immortals have finally reached a solution - bestow mortal Champions with control over the elements to wage their final campaign.

Bestowed with control over fire and water, April and Kyle were raised by Immortals with a single purpose - win the war. After finally uncovering the remaining Champions' identities, April and Kyle must launch themselves into their final battle for survival. Winner takes all. But the Immortals are growing restless, and time is running out.

About the Author

Charlotte Jain is an Arts graduate from Melbourne and the author of the Champions series. When not scrawling exciting YA tales filled with magic and adventure, Charlotte enjoys travelling the world and snuggling up on the couch watching movies.

Author Links:


We had planned for everything, except Kim. And everything had been running according to plan, until the most peaceful moment under dazzling, warm summer sun had been forever ruined by a single chance observation. Of a hairpin. April was worried, I could see it in her eyes, the way she stared at Kim with menace masked by a smile. She was biding her time, waiting for our battle to become a fair fight. Then Kim, and whoever the fourth champion was, wouldn’t stand a chance. I barely did. I gazed out across the sea of students, any of whom could be my final opponent. I glanced to Kim as she trudged her way back across the shadowed tree line towards waves of colour and chanting which she had so effortlessly created only hours before. Each step fell, heavier than the last, strain growing more evident across her face with every movement towards the exit. She believed she was all alone, and she was running.

I sprung to my feet and dived through crowds of bustling students, weaving in and out between waves of bright blue, green, purple and red. 

“Kim! Kim, hey, wait up!”

Her tiny body spun to face me as I caught her arm and let go. Deep hazel eyes greeted me, holding an uncharacteristic gloom over Kim’s usually rosy cheeks. Once perfectly straightened, sleek locks of chocolate brown hair hung in a stringy mess of tight curls, her features hunched and drawn. Kim’s air of strength and power melted away as she caught my gaze, leaving the dazzling blue and white outfit of half an hour ago seeming vacant and fragile.

“Kim, what’s wrong?” I asked, drawing her in closer.

“Nothing. I’m fine.”

Stubbornness burned to life and she twisted abruptly away to leave.

“Kim, please.”

My rough hands caught her hips gently. Standing there together, an uneasy yet calming peace fell between us. She just looked at me with those big brown eyes, their spark of hope dwindling and on the verge of collapse. Wishing that I could be that hope when everything around her crumbled. But knowing that I don’t think I could.

“Noah,” she stammered, “we’re not…” Kim drew in a steadying breath to gather herself. A single tear fell, the only tear I’d ever seen in Kim’s eyes. “Noah was the only thing I could count on, in that whole school. But at the drop of a hat, his go-to reaction is to hang me out to dry…” “You’re not alone, Kim.” I held a hand out, finally realising she was talking about more than simply not having a lunch date at school tomorrow. But I was taken aback by her rapid breakdown, and hit with sharp awareness that a life of learning to fight someone else’s war hadn’t left me with the social skills required to handle this particular situation. All I had was the best I could manage, trusting instincts that I’d tried to suppress.  “Come with me.”

Kim’s shaking hand met mine, her gaze holding firm.

“Where?” she hesitated.

“Do you trust me?”

Her hand closed firmly on mine. Then the swimming complex, with its joyous students and glittering colours, melted away into dusty darkness.

Kim recoiled in surprise. Her eyes darted, taking in every corner of our dingy new surroundings beneath the day’s fading light. Dark walls rose up around us. With sure footsteps, I walked between two dark green armchairs to a magnificent open fire in the wall furthest from us.

“Welcome to my lounge room,” I said, hesitant and suddenly self-conscious. “This is where I live.”

“What?” Kim spun around slowly, taking in the room, only to return her steely gaze to me after a moment.  

“I thought I was alone, too,” I lied. “Lost in a world that I had no chance of fitting into. Then there was you…”

“But you can do things?” she asked. “Things that aren’t possible?”

I nodded. “Like getting us here, instantly. Because it is possible.” I held out a hand for Kim to see. Shards of glittering blue light emerged, piece by piece, until a ball of shimmering, bright blue crystals danced within itself, ice cold. “It can be scary, though. I know. But you don’t have to be afraid.”

 Book Tour Organized by:

Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Tour: "A Family Like Hannah's" by Carol Ross

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

A Family Like Hannah'sA Family Like Hannah's
(Seasons of Alaska #4)
by Carol Ross
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
February 1st 2016 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Starting over is serious business

With her professional skiing career cut short by an accident, Hannah James is putting all her energy into transforming Snowy Sky Resort into something special. There's only one obstacle. Famous pro-snowboarder-turned-consultant Tate Addison has his own ideas about taking the Rankins, Alaska, lodge to the next level. But Hannah won't compromise her dreams. She gets that Tate is trying to create a stable home for his orphaned six-year-old nephew—a boy Hannah already adores. And if she isn't careful, she could also fall for the boy's too-attractive uncle. Is she risking heartbreak? Or do she and Tate really want the same things out of life?

The Other Books in the Series

Mountains ApartA Case for ForgivenessIf Not for a Bee

Carol Ross is the author of three books for the Seasons of Alaska series for the Harlequin Heartwarming line. She lives with her husband and one loveable miscreant of a dachshund in a small town in Washington close to both the ocean and the mountains. For a complete list of her books, giveaways, and other fun stuff stop by and visit her new website: carolrossauthor.com.

Website – Goodreads – Facebook – Twitter – Pinterest

Guest Post: "Love, Snow, and Hot Cocoa"

Sometimes when I start a story, it takes a while for a character to fully develop. Like a few pages. Or an entire chapter (or twelve). Yes, all right, sometimes they aren’t really “people” until I start working on the second draft.

But sometimes I get lucky. When I started writing this story, Hannah’s character was already sitting right beside me - telling me what she wanted to do, what she wanted to say – and what she likes. And Hannah likes hot chocolate. I think her affinity for this delicious treat is partially due to my own childhood passion and partially due to a backlash against the prevailing coffee obsession in this country. (Guilty as charged.) It might sound weird, but coffee just didn’t suit her personality.

When I started this story, I really tried to immerse myself in winter – the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, thoughts. And tastes. Definitely tastes. I spent a lot of time thinking about my own childhood love of snow. After a morning of skiing, sledding, snowball fighting (or regular fighting) with my siblings, my mom always had hot chocolate at the ready. And Hannah, with her adventurous, playful, fun-loving spirit, combined with her own love for snow, just had to be a hot cocoa drinker.

My mom’s cocoa was this homemade concoction that she’d formulate in huge batches. (I used to love to help make it because it involved the use of one of the most fun and fascinating of all kitchen tools - the sifter.) As I got older and friends would serve hot cocoa, or I would order it in restaurants, I was inevitably disappointed that it didn’t really taste like Mom’s.

Turns out, Mom’s recipe isn’t all that complicated. I think I just loved it because she made it – and because it reminded me of winter. Here it is - super easy and so nice to have on hand.

Mom’s Hot Cocoa Mix
3 cups powdered sugar
3 cups powdered milk
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Sift all the ingredients together. To serve: just mix equal amounts of mix and boiling water. Serve with marshmallows, whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate syrup and/or a grated chocolate bar. Yum! Mix can be stored in an airtight container in the pantry or cupboard for several months.

Does anyone else make their hot cocoa this way? Is there a certain food or drink that screams winter to you? Or helps to take the edge off that winter chill?

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

$50 Amazon eGift Card and an ebook of A Family Like Hannah's (open internationally)
Rankins' Alaska Prize Pack: signed copy of A Family Like Hannah’s, an infinity scarf, gray fluffy mittens, a tin of Starbucks hot chocolate, a coffee mug, and a sterling silver snowflake necklace. (US only)
Copy of A Family Like Hannah's (print if in the US, ebook if outside the US)
Ends February 26th

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Book Tour: "The Greatest Prospector in the World" by Ken Dunn


The Greatest Prospector in the World
Ken Dunn

Laura Dunagan, was born in the gold prospecting days of rustic Alaska in the early 1900's. When Laura was 14 years old, her father was trapped under a mudslide while prospecting in a nearby river and died. Laura was forced to move to Chicago in the care of her rich Uncle Joe. Laura hated Uncle Joe because he forced her to leave the river, but also because he had left the family prospecting business to move to Chicago years before she was born.

Laura discovers that Uncle Joe made his fortune selling insurance and was the owner of the largest insurance company in Illinois. While wandering through the mansion one day, she found Uncle's Joe personal den. In it, she discovered an entire new life that would lead her to heights that she would never had realized panning for gold in Alaska. Uncle Joe used the 6 gold prospecting rules for safety to prospect new clients for his insurance company and in doing so, discovered the secrets to wealth in selling.

Buy the book:     Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository   

About the Author

Ken Dunn is one of the leadership training world’s up and coming great speakers and trainers. An incredible hunger to learn and teach others has led Ken successfully through five different professional careers in the past 25 years.

Ken began a policing career at the age of 18. He was involved in the policing world’s most exhilarating and challenging disciplines, including undercover drug and surveillance work, S.W.A.T. teamwork, aggravated child abuse, frauds, aggravated assaults, illegal weapons smuggling and homicides.

Today, Ken regularly speaks to groups in the direct sales, mortgage, insurance and banking industries. He uses humor and his own experiences to inspire audiences around the world. Ken lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife, Julie, and children Matthew and Laura.

Connect with the author:   Website | Twitter | Facebook

Guest Post: "Nice Guys Don't Have to Finish Last"

Everyone Has Heard The Saying, “Nice Guys Finish Last.”

The fact is, that doesn’t have to be true. According to Professor Adam Grant, there are three types of people in the business world: Takers, Matchers and Givers.
  • Takers are people who strive to gain as much as possible while giving little to nothing in return.
  • These people are the top predators of the Givers and have very little regard for others’ well-being or success.
  • Matchers are people who want everything to be fair and square. They have an “I help you, you help me” mentality.
  • These people make up the majority of people. They also strongly dislike Takers and will often try to get rid of them by spreading negativity about them.
  • Givers give as much as they can with little regard to what they will gain in return.
  • If you are a Giver, chances are you are the nice guy everyone loves, but if you aren’t careful you could get treated as a doormat.
There are three qualities that will make or break the Giver in the business world:
Lack of Assertiveness
  • Shy communicators get taken advantage of and they sacrifice their own values and expectations.
Solution: Become more assertive by negotiating and representing others’ interests. When you act on the behalf of another you can stand your ground.
Lack of Boundaries
  • People who can’t say no burn out.
Solution: Instead of taking everything on yourself, work collaboratively. By working with others everyone is contributing and bearing the load together. You must be able to distinguish boundaries between individual and collaborative work.
Lack of Perspective and Too Much Pity
  • People who lack the ability to take the perspective of others and pity them as opposed to empathizing with them will end up being exploited.
Solution: Be able to read others’ emotions by empathizing with them. This will prevent you from being exploited. You must be able to empathize with others to be a successful Giver. Be selfless not self-sacrificing.

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” You have to find that balance of giving selflessly and giving self-sacrificingly. You can be nice without neglecting yourself. Nice guys can finish first if they are smart.


Win 1 of 20 copies of The Greatest Prospector in the World
(USA & Canada)

Cover Reveal: "Adela's Curse" by Claire M. Banschbach

Today, we have the cover reveal for Claire Banschbach's new book, Adela's Curse.  First, a little bit about the author:

About the Author

Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, TX, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Texas Tech University Health Science Center. She continues to write in her spare time (and often when she doesn’t have spare time). She hopes her strong foundation in God will help to guide her writing. 

Contact Info


A witch and her master capture a young faery and command her to kill their enemy. Adela has no choice but to obey. If she does not, they will force the location of her people’s mountain home from her and kill her. To make matters even worse, the person she is to kill is only a man struggling to save his dying land and mend a broken heart.

Count Stefan is a man simply trying to forget the woman he loves and save a land crippled by drought. When a mysterious woman arrives at his castle claiming to be a seamstress, he knows she is more than she seems.

Adela enlists the help of Damian, another faery, to try and delay the inevitable. He insists she has a choice. But with the witch controlling her every move, does she?

Sound Interesting?

And now for the cover!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: "Thaw: Prince of Demargen" by E. Kaiser Writes


Thaw: Prince of Demargen
E. Kaiser Writes
Thaw #3

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The whole world knows his guilt, and is absolutely correct about it, but how far can a man go to regain respect so swiftly lost?

Or is an honorable death the best a fallen star can hope for?


Imagine: What happened after the evil prince in Frozen was sent back to his country? Prince of Demargren by E. Kaiser Writes thoroughly explores this question.

The Prince of Demargen and the preceding books were not exactly like Frozen, but they were very similar. The plots of the books were closer to the original fairy tales than in Frozen, but the five main characters were essentially the same. Their backgrounds, thoughts, and motivations were more thoroughly presented in the Thaw series and a new villain was introduced. This villain is the reason the Prince changed from his charming personality to the despicable creature willing to murder the queen and princess so that he could attain the throne. This was done through means of an incurable, evil potion, as presented in book two. So, what does happen to the prince after he is sent home to his twelve older brothers?

I enjoyed this book because of the look it gave me into the lives of the characters after the calamity that was the queen's magic powers and attempted murder. It went beyond what I knew would happen in the series after watching Frozen, and is therefore rather original and exciting! I rather enjoyed Prince Hess's charming personality in the beginning and felt that his actions were not entirely his own. The potion he was given made him greedy, but he could have fought against it. In book three, he is shown to carry around the guilt of his actions for the rest of his life. Banishment and estrangement is certainly not much of a life, either. But is there hope?

I adored this book. Hess's journey of discovering the potion and his determination to find a solution were admirable and eventually found me falling in love with his character despite the evil he had done. I even found myself hoping that he and Queen Ilise would somehow fall in love... And therefore can hardly wait to read book four!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 15, 2016

President's Day

Happy President's Day!

I know our country is not at its best, but I am grateful for this day to remember how far we have come and what the presidents in the past 240 years have done for us.  As you enjoy your holiday, do not forget all the things this land of the United States of America has come through!

And most of all, have a wonderful day!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

"From Your Valentine"

When you hear Valentine's Day, what do you think of?  Love, romance, the perfect date?  Or maybe even heartbreak or loneliness?  Anymore, Valentine's Day is a day of controversy because not everyone has a significant other.

But did you ever stop to wonder where Valentine's Day originated?

Perhaps you already know the story, and perhaps you don't.  Either way, let me give you a refresher.

Back in the Roman empire, in the early A.D's, the Roman Emperor Claudius somehow got it into his head that his soldiers would fight better if they had no family to go home to.  They were always complaining about not seeing their family, which Claudius saw as a distraction from their duties.  He did not realize that their families were what the men usually fought to protect, their motivation, in other words.

To solve the problem, Claudius outlawed marriage.

Not everyone agreed with the emperor's laws, however.  The Christians believed marriage was sacred and ordained by God.  Among them was a Christian priest named Valentine.  This man chose to continue performing marriage ceremonies regardless of the law and the deadly consequences.  It is not known exactly how long he evaded the law, but Valentine was eventually caught and sentenced to execution.

While he was in prison, as the story is generally told, Valentine met the blind daughter of a Roman official.  He befriended the girl and gave her the gospel.  At one point, Valentine prayed with her and God healed her eyes.  As a result, both the young lady and her father became Christians.  Unfortunately, however, there was no way to save Valentine's from execution.

The last words Valentine wrote were on a slip of paper he gave to his young friend, ending with, "From your Valentine."  

Valentine was given a Sainthood because of his stand and martyrdom for his faith, and we celebrate Valentine's Day on the day of his death in 269 A.D.  Over the years, the meaning of the day has changed, but we can still look back and be inspired by the man who stood for his faith in God's ordination of marriage, even unto his death.

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?  What do you think of this story?  Have you ever heard it before?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Top Ten Romantic Books

To celebrate Valentine's Day, here is a list of my top ten romantic books that I read in the past year!  These are the books that I could never put down, that I continue to think about months later, that I could hardly stop talking about to my bemused friends...

Melanie Dickerson
I adored this retelling of "The Swan Princess" just like I adored all of Melanie Dickerson's fairy tale retellings.  There was so much to like, I cannot name only one thing!

Cassie M. Sheils
This book I could go on and on about.  It was perhaps the funniest book I have read all year, plus the romance was very sweet.  But I must say, that girl had problems with walls!

Jody Hedlund
Three young men and only two months to choose which will be her husband!  Add murder, greed, and scheming, and you have yourself a wonderous book!

Rachelle Rea
What do you do when the man you believe murdered your parents follows you to another country and saves your life?  You couldn't trust him, and you would never, ever think of falling in love with him... right?

Julie Klassen
Moving into a mansion that has been empty for decades with creepy rumors surrounding it... but this protagonist is not scared in the least!  Can she unravel the clues and, maybe, just maybe, find love in the meantime?

Alana Terry
The young couple can never be together - it is too dangerous to love someone when you are a Christian missionary in North Korea, in danger of capture and torture at every moment.  This book was very heartfelt, but also extremely painful.  Be warned!  

Trisha Leigh
If you discovered that your true love - your one perfect match through all of time - was going to die at young, and if you could time travel to save his life, even if there is no chance you can ever be together and all of history could be changed as a result, would you?

Brenda Pandos
One kiss would make them love each other for eternity, no matter whether they even knew each other before.  The only problem is that one of them would have to give up his or her life on land to become a mermaid... Too bad it happened accidentally?

Anna Banks
Another mermaid novel!  Yes, I am obsessed.  But this one is as good as the last, with romance, mystery, danger...

Jen Turano
Those children need a nanny.  They scared away all the others.  Good thing the nanny who scared away all the parents can come to the rescue!  

What are your favorite romantic books from 2015?  Have you read any of the ones on my list?  Are you doing something to celebrate Valentine's Day, and if so, what?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Book Tour: "The Express Rider's Lady" by Stacy Henrie

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

The Express Rider's LadyThe Express Rider's Lady
by Stacy Henrie
Adult Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 288 pages
February 9th 2016 by Love Inspired

Westward Wedding Journey

Delsie Radford is going to make it to California, no matter the danger or difficulty. Her father may have kept her and her sister apart, but Delsie refuses to miss her sister's weddingóeven with only eighteen days to get there. And she's found the perfect escort in Pony Express rider Myles Patton.

Myles can't believe it when a pretty socialite hires him to take her cross-country through rough terrain and dangerous territory. Surely she'll quit before they reach their destinationóhe's known girls like her before. But the longer they ride together, the more Myles notices Delsie's toughness and kindness beneath her polished exterior. And though they may be worlds apartÖthey might just be perfect for each other.

Stacy Henrie has always had a love for history, fiction, and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a mother to three, Stacy loves to live out history through her fictional characters. In addition to author, she is also a reader, a road trip enthusiast, and a novice interior decorator.

Website - Goodreads - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest

Guest Post: "Reaching California in Time"

            Delsie Radford, the heroine of THE EXPRESS RIDER’S LADY, must travel from Missouri to California in just eighteen days if she wants to be to her sister’s wedding. But would such a feat have been possible?
            I knew initially I wanted this book to feature the Pony Express and a young woman who had to be to California quicker than it would take to ride the stagecoach there. But I had to figure out a plausible way to get Delsie to her sister’s wedding on time. And I couldn’t do it the same way the Pony Express did.
            While the Pony Express was able to get mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to California in ten days, the trek wasn’t made by a single rider or horse—as it needed to be in my story. Express riders’ routes averaged between 75 and 125 miles, changing horses every twelve to twenty in order to maintain maximum speed.

In my book, Myles Patton, the Express rider who’d supposed to accompany Delsie to California, points out the impossibility of riding the same horses day in and day out, while being burdened down with supplies. He also tells her it isn’t likely they’ll be able to pay for new horses at every Express station. 

("Pony-express-joseph". Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons.)
But Delsie—and I—came up with a workable plan. She and Myles could ride the same horses, but they’d rest them every hour and a half throughout the day. To avoid carrying supplies, they’d pay for lodging and food at a different home station each night along the Express trail.
Would such a venture have actually worked? It’s entirely possible, and in the case of Delsie and Myles, it’s just the plan they need to travel the nearly 1800 miles from Missouri to California, in time.
-        Stacy Henrie

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

$50 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
Print copy of The Express Rider's Lady (US only)
ebook of The Express Rider's Lady (open internationally)
Ends February 19th

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As you may (or may not) have noticed, I am doing a little bit of updating on the blog.  I added a bio about the blog and myself as the blogger, so if you are interested, take a look at the tabs underneath the title of the blog.  I am planning two more tabs as well - one for review criteria and one for reader reviews, a few of which I wrote about a year ago.  Keep an eye out!

I have also been posting book reviews just about every day for the past week or so.  I am hoping to keep that up for a while.  I have read quite a few fantastic books outside of my free review copies that I think deserve reviews.  I am planning a few other kinds of posts as well, such as reader interviews, less-well-known holidays, journal entries from fairy tale characters, top ten lists, and who knows what else!  Look for more diverse posts, starting tomorrow, even.  I am looking forward to sharing them with you all and I hope you enjoy them.

As for my personal life, well, it has been crazy busy!  In addition to my classes, I have work, and internship, book reviews and blog posts, and a few more things going on.  I am reading, reading reading!  I signed up for probably more review-books than I should have for the next month and a half in addition to having 5 or more books to read for my internship and reading homework for my classes (I get to read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy for homework!).  With all this going on, I think that, by Easter, I will have read more books in a month's time than in a month at any other time in my life!  I have read 1-2 books in a day before, but only when I had the whole day to do it.  This is just going to be crazy!

A week ago, I attended a conference for my internship at a publishing company for historical fiction, called Bagwyn Books.  It was an educational conference focusing on the Medieval and Renaissance time periods, which is the time period most of the books are set in not to mention the fact that many of the authors have masters or doctorate degrees in those time periods.  Let's just say, I felt a little small and pathetic.  But otherwise, it was pretty fun!  I helped sell books at the book stand, met one of the authors (Grace Tiffany, who is in the photo) in person, listened to interesting (and not-so-interesting) lectures about history, and watched some ridiculous skits written over 400 years ago.  I posted a few photos of the conference, if you are interested.

Last I attended Friends of the Pen, a writing club I am trying to attend more often.  We were working on a several week long prompt that involves writing the same scene from 3-5 different characters' perspectives.  Instead of inventing my own plot (partly because I missed the week before) I chose a scene from one of my favorite fairy tales to write about.  I had been thinking of this particular scene for, well, years, really, and am super excited about how it is turning out!  Perhaps I will share it here eventually, who knows?

Lastly, I have to thank God for all the blessings and opportunities He has given me.  He practically dropped the internship into my lap, not to mention the opportunities I heard about last night - to work on an online magazine and to voice a character in an audiobook (a book written by another student here and a friend of mine!).  I do not know how I will find time for those things and I do not know whether I will be chosen to do them when I apply/audition.  But I know God is great for opening the pathway for me to do the things I love and further my goals for a future profession, and I am so very grateful for it!

How has your life been these past weeks?  Do you have any suggestions for types of posts you would like to see?