Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop!

I will offer you the chance to win one of my favorite books from 2011. They may not all be strictly from 2011, but they were new to me in 2011. Which books are they?

1. This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park

2. Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

3. Saving June by Hannah Harrington

4. Marian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly

5. Seers by Heather Frost

6. Writing Movies for Fun and Profit by Thomas Lennon and Robert B. Garant

7. William's Midsummer Dreams by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

8. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarity

10. Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett

All books are available internationally except Writing Movies for Fun and Profit, although it appears to be available for pre-order coming out in July. May not be the best choice if you are outside the US though. Books will ship from Amazon in the US or Book Depository anywhere else. 

The one mandatory entry is to follow on GFC. Bonus entries are available for:

-Like my Facebook page
-Following on Twitter
-Being my friend on Goodreads
-Adding my Google+ page to your circles

If I can pass 1000 GFC followers, there will be 2 winners! If I reach other follower milestones on other places (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) I may choose more winners. So spread the word!

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check out the full list of blogs in the hop after the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Title:Touch of Power
Author:Maria V. Snyder
Pub. Date:12/20/2011
ISBN:0778313077 (ISBN13: 9780778313076)

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos. 

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)


Avry has spent the last few years on the run. In a world with filled with magic, her particular brand of talents are feared. Healers are hunted and put to death for their response to the great plague that has swept the lands. Avry cannot escape the call of helping though, and is soon imprisoned when she is caught healing a young child. Much to her surprise, Avry is broken out of jail by a band of men who seem to have their own reasons for freeing her. Now Avry has to decide whether her freedom and even her life are worth saving someone who may be able to save the world.

I have heard of Maria V. Snyder from other people, but I never read one of her books. Wow. That is all I can say. I was drawn into this book from the start, and I probably wouldn't have stopped reading if I didn't have other things to do. Everything was just so beautifully done. The pacing was fantastic- lots of action, but plenty of chances to breath and get to know the characters some more. There were moments that were hilarious, and moments that just break your heart. The world was so well developed, and that really helps you get lost in it from the very beginning. There were a couple of twists and turns, and I was definitely left wanting more in the end.

I am keeping this review a little shallow on purpose. There were so many things that I loved about this book, but a lot of the fun was in discovering them. Just know that I highly recommend this book, and it's probably in the top of the books I've read this year. I am definitely adding more books by Maria V. Snyder on my to-read list. This book was so absorbing, I didn't even know where the time had gone. It is a great book, and I can't wait to see what the next one in the series holds!

Galley provided for review.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review: Surviving the Taliban by Jay D. Fluckiger

Title:Surviving the Taliban
Author:Jay D. Fluckiger
Publisher:Cedar Fort Books
Imprint:CFI Distribution
Pub. Date:12/06/2011
ISBN:1599559641 (ISBN13: 9781599559643)

In a culture where Christianity is punishable by death, an extraordinary man known only as The Poet has survived repeated assassination attempts and spent eleven years on the run in his search for truth, safety, and freedom. Delve into a hidden world of cruelty, suffering, and extremism, where despite the deadly consequences, the Poet has tested the limits of human courage and endurance and embraced the gospel of Christ.

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)


For a man simply known as "The Poet," living in Afghanistan and Iran has been beyond horrible. His natural curiosity and love of learning has made him suspicious to the Muslim extremists around, especially those in his own family. Much of his life, he is forced to constantly run from those who want him dead. After being nearly killed by his brother, The Poet pays smugglers to take him to London. There he converts to Christianity, and becomes even more of a target to extremists. The Poet paints a heartbreaking picture of what life is like for anything trying to live their own lives in a rigid belief system.

I had a couple problems with this book. While The Poet mentions early on in the book that his dealing were with the most extreme of Muslim fundamentalists, I felt like this wasn't emphasized enough throughout. Maybe something was lost in translation? I guess I just would have felt better if he had consistently referred to them as "extremists' or "fundamentalists" other than the general "Muslim" term. The other thing is that The Poet presents some pretty harsh accusations about the current government in Afghanistan and current US and UK governments but presents little to no solid evidence. I just feel like that is just fueling people who are looking for any reason to hate. It just didn't sit right with me.

Those things aside, this book was a very compelling story. The things The Poet has be forced to endure is horrific. It does make one very grateful for the freedoms we have, especially as it pertains to our freedom to worship however we choose. What this man had to go through even before he converted was very difficult, and it makes me wonder if that hasn't colored his view of his past some. If nothing else, the story of The Poet should remind us that we need to recognize and celebrate the differences we all have. Helping and learning from each other will make this world a much better place.

Galley provided for review.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Virtual Blog Tour- Enduring Light by Carla Kelly

Welcome to the blog tour of Enduring Light by Carla Kelly!

She leaned toward him and rested her elbows on the brass rail at the foot of her bed. “All right, cowboy, just when did you fall in love with me? I’m definitely curious now.” 
He regarded her in the moonlight. “I knew I was a no-hoping goner when I caught that ridiculous hat of yours on the platform at Gun Barrel.” 
Julia sucked in her breath. She tried to be severe. “Mr. Otto, nobody falls in love that fast!” 
“I did,” he said simply, as he left her room. 

Julia Darling is finally able to marry Paul Otto for eternity. But it’s a harsh world for a rancher in turn-of-the-century Wyoming, especially a Mormon rancher. When alienation and threats begin, Julia must prove she’s her husband’s equal in strength and endurance as she learns to let go of scars on the outside and inside. 

Bestselling author Carla Kelly has woven a new story of a determined rancher, his wife, and how they discover the depths of love.

Learn about the book on Goodreads or the book's website.

Read more about the author on her blog or Facebook page.

Learn more about the publisher, Cedar Fort, on its blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads page.


Julia is finally recovering from a brutal fire that nearly took her life. One important step forward is getting to marry her love, the rancher Paul Otto. Life in Wyoming is very different from her life in Salt Lake City, but she takes it in stride. Julia must learn to deal with mistreatment and distrust from other ranchers. She and Paul also have to deal with another man threatening them and a young boy they have taken care of. As Julia learns to endure her trials, she will grow and learn to love the land and her husband even more than she thought possible.

This book was very sweet. Julia is a very determined woman who is willing to fight for what she wants, and that is always fun to read about. Paul is very kind and a great husband to her. One slightly negative thing was that I was unaware this was the second in a series, but it became very apparent rather quickly. The book was easy to get into, but it glosses over some things that you would know if you had read the first book. That made it a little harder to read at times. There was just a familiarity with the characters and their pasts that I was missing.

That being said, I still enjoyed the book. The plot of this book is fairly independent from the first book, so other than a distinct feeling you're missing some details, you can still enjoy this book. I was particularly fascinated by the reactions of other ranchers to Paul's becoming LDS. There was a lot of negative reactions and prejudice towards Paul and Julia because of their religion, and I thought this was a very interesting plot point. If you like romance and historical novels, this will certainly be a book you will enjoy (although it will definitely help if you read the first book before this one).

Galley provided for review.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Tour: Air by Shauna Granger

Welcome to the book tour for Air, Book 2 of the Elemental Series by Shauna Granger!

It was a rough start to the school year for Shayna and her friends, Jodi and Steven, but thankfully summer break is near. Trying to sort out her feelings for the new guy in town, Shayna agrees to let Jensen join her on a group date with her friends. While out they end up at a local coffee house where their classmate, social outcast Jeremy McCormick, is humiliated by his baseball star brother. When Jeremy runs away from the jeering crowd, Shayna and Jodi hear the unmistakable sound of a thousand wings chasing after him, but no one else seems to hear them. These are not like any air elementals that Shayna or Jodi have ever encountered before and they fear Jeremy has gotten himself tangled up in something too dangerous for him to handle. But when Shayna tries to help Jeremy control his magical abilities she realizes it might be the biggest mistake of her life.


After a run-in with a demon last year, Shayna and her two best friends are excited to get ready for a relaxing rest of the year. Shayna's main goal is to learn to control her powers over the element of earth. Of course, things are never that easy. Shayna, Jodi, and Steven see someone they know get humiliated by him own brother in front of an open mic crowd. Things get very strange after that though as they discover that this boy has a group of fairy-like creatures working for him. These "fairies" are unlike any Shayna has ever seen though. Soon Shayna herself is in trouble, and the boy will stop at nothing to get back not only at those he has been hurt by but Shayna's loved ones as well. Shayna, Jodi, and Steven will have to pull out some impressive magic to get out of this.

I was excited to read this book after having read the first book of the series, and I was not disappointed. Air continued the adventures of Shayna and her friends in a fun way. I loved that the plot was so different though from the first book. Instead of dark demons we have evil fairies. No really, it was awesome. There is a lot of fairy-lore in the book, which I really enjoyed. Jodi and Steven continued to be some of the best sidekicks and friends a girl could ask for. If there was anything that bothered me, it was Shayna (especially as she dealt with Jensen). I just felt like she was really focused on herself and didn't give Jensen a chance to adjust to what was going on. That was really just a tiny thing though.

While this book is the second in the series, it certainly stands on its own very well. I found the plot to be very interesting. There were even a few surprises. All the characters were give a chance to grow in both personality and in their powers. Once again, the combination of supernatural with the natural elements helped to give this book a sense of reality to the magic. It's a different approach that works very well. If you read the first book, this book will be just as fun for you. If you haven't read the first book, then don't worry. With a great combination of magic and elements, this book will be sure to entertain.

Book provided for review.

At the end of this book tour there is a grand prize. Just what is in this grand prize?

Grand Prize: Signed copy of Air with a matching bookmark, a holiday candle, a Christmas ornament, Solstice sun sugar cookies and snowflake peppermint bark candy. US ONLY for Grand Prize.

That looks awesome. To be eligible to win the grand prize, you must comment on every post in the tour.  Check out the link below to see a list of all the stops.

Powered by Linky Tools
Click here for the AIR Tour Schedule

Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blog Tour: Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan

Welcome to the blog tour for Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan!

I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice. 

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake. 

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger. 

In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end.

Learn more about the book, author, and publisher at these links-

Author's Blog
Author's Facebook Page

Cedar Fort Blog
Cedar Fort Facebook Page
Cedar Fort Twitter
Cedar Fort on Goodreads


Llona has a tragic past. Her mother and father died tragically at different times in her youth. Her mother was also very special; she was a Aura. Auras can use the Light to help people, and this ability has been passed on to Llona. Llona is trying to hide as much as possible though to try and avoid her mother's fate. Her mother was killed by a Vyken, a being of pure evil who can feed off of Auras. The minute Llona decides to relax some, horrible things begin happening. Llona will have to face the fact that someone is after her, but she will also find allies she didn't expect. Now all she has to do to survive is learn to fight back.

I thought this was a really interesting book. Llona was a character that took some getting used to. She was just so dreary in the beginning. I understand why, but that doesn't make her any more enjoyable initially. As she began to let loose and take charge of her life, she became much more interesting and enjoyable to read about. Also, I saw the reveal of the bad guy coming a mile away. That wasn't that surprising. Those things aside, I found it to be an enjoyable book. I became fairly absorbed in the book after the beginning, and I was able to read the book in one day. I found myself wanting desperately to know how it ended. Even though I knew who the bad guy was early on, there were some very interesting things and some twists I didn't quite see coming. So there was still some mystery for me.

Overall, I enjoyed the unique aspect of this book. I really wanted to learn more about Llona's abilities. I hope we get a sequel with Llona's post-graduation education. I also loved her friends, especially May and Christian. I found Christian's waffling back and forth between friend zone and relationship zone a tiny bit sudden, although it was explained. I ended up not wanting the book to end, and I definitely look forward to reading more about Llona. Fans of YA who like unique paranormal books with some romance and adventure will enjoy this book.

Book provided for review.

Be sure and check out all the other stops on the blog tour for all kinds of great posts!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Loveswept Holiday Hop

Random House and Romance at Random are doing an awesome blog hop this holiday season. Check out all the details below!

Happy Holidays to everyone - Romance At Random is celebrating their Loveswept line with a random e-book Giveaway to 25 winners plus an opportunity to win one Grand Prize from www.romanceatrandom.com. Enter here to be included in the FREE random e-book drawing (25 winners will pick up their FREE book from Net Galley) and then stop on by www.romanceatrandom.com and comment to enter the drawing to be the ''ONE Grand Prize winner, to win a selection of great books! Good Luck & Happy Holidays to all!
INCREASE your chances to win by visiting all of the participating 'Loveswept - Holiday Hop' sites! Winners will be contacted after 1/10/12.

What a great giveaway! Make sure you check out all the stops on the hop to increase your chances to win.

Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Title:Saving June
Author:Hannah Harrington
Imprint:Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date:11/22/2011
ISBN:0373210248 (ISBN13: 9780373210244)

When her older sister commits suicide and her divorcing parents decide to divide the ashes, Harper Scott takes her sister's urn to the one place June always wanted to go: California. On the road with her best friend, plus an intriguing guy with a mysterious connection to June, Harper discovers truths about her sister, herself and life.

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)


Harper was always jealous of her older sister June. June had the perfect life- great grades, great looks, great boyfriend. When June suddenly commits suicide, Harper is sent into a bit of a tailspin. Harper desperately wants to know why June did it or if anything could have stopped her. While going through June's room, Harper discovers a mix CD that was unlike anything June ever listened to. Harper decides that June's ashes need to go to the one place June always wanted to escape to- California. The mix tape leads Harper to Jake, someone so unlike anyone June ever associated with that Harper can't figure out his connection to June. Harper, her best friend Laney, and Jake soon embark on the road trip of a lifetime to see that June gets to California.

This book turned out much different than I ever imagined it would. For me, the most marvelous part was how tightly things were tied in to music. I love music so much, and I think it really helped heighten the emotional response I had as a reader. Harper, Laney, and Jake were all kind of misfits in different ways. They came together to make a wonderful trio though. The road trip vibe was alive and well, and it made me remember so many random journeys I made when I was younger. There's a certain feel of freedom from the real world that you get while road tripping, and you could feel that throughout the book. This disassociation from real life allowed Harper to really search through her feelings on everything, and you get the feeling this trip was as much for her as it was to deliver June to where she always wanted to be.

Like any good book, there are secrets and conflicts and all kinds of interesting plot points. They never take away from the real plot though-Harper discovering how she feels about life. At first I thought Harper was a trying a bit too hard to be a rebel, but as I got to know her through the plot and the music associated I saw where she was coming from. By the end of the book I loved Harper, Laney, and Jake so much. I read this book so fast because I was just drawn into the story, and I really wanted to know how everything was resolved. A little bit rock and roll, a little bit therapy, I thought this was an amazing book that I would highly recommend to everyone.

Galley provided for review.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Virtual Book Tour- Texting Through Time by Christy Monson

When 12-year-old Micah “borrows” his father's experimental time-travel phone, his hopes for seeing the future are dashed as he and his sister, Alicia, end up trapped in the past at Brigham Young’s boyhood home. This book is a fun way to discover Church history and learn that no matter what time period you are in, God is still aware of you.

Micah and Alicia have a very special phone. Actually the phone is their father's, and it will allow them to travel through time. They use the phone to travel into the past where they meet Brigham Young. They soon realize they are in over their heads as they don't know how the phone actually works. Jumping forward throughout Brigham Young's life, Micah and Alicia see some important parts in LDS church history. However, they are stuck in the past until they can figure out how to get back to their lives. 

This was a very cute book. It is pretty simplistic in style, so it could easily be read by fairly young readers. It manages to tell an interesting story while teaching some very good lessons. I appreciate the fact that it can really help bring church history to life. There were even some moments that I didn't know about. It's the type of story that can keep kids' attention while still managing to help them learn. They may not even know they learned anything. Older readers may be surprised at how easily Brigham Young accepts the children's explanation of where they came from and how they got there, but I don't think that is a major issue. Overall I feel that this book is a fun way to learn about church history and a very unique concept. 

Book provided for review.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Blog Tour Day 2- Youth and Other Fictions Guest Post and Giveaway

Welcome to second post of the Youth and Other Fictions blog tour on this blog! Today I have a guest post and giveaway. For a review of the book, see my previous post. 

Jonathan M. Cook has kindly written a post on finding inspiration.

Sunday Wings; or, A Table of My Own

Most Sundays, I have wings for dinner: boneless, spun in Spicy Garlic, chased with an ice-cold Killian’s. I do this almost ritualistically, to the point where most of the hostesses will simply tell me to take my seat and the servers will ask “A tall Killian’s today?” as I pass by their station. Weather permitting, I sit on the patio, at the corner table, safely behind a wide stone pillar. The music is turned down. Ranch dressing and celery sticks are automatically added to my order. During my wait, I read on my Kindle.

Yes, I sit alone.

If Virginia could say that a woman needs her own room, the very least I can suggest is time to eat and ponder the universe alone, because life too often denies us any semblance of quiet. The perpetual noise of the Real World, the constant drone of people and cars and elevators and keyboards and heels, offers little in the way of respite. Consider how many people who used to go on vacation with the expressed purpose of cutting off all telecommunication
are now bound to their cell phones, enslaved by omnipotent ringtones. Consider how often lunch breaks are interrupted by banal conversations with co-workers who simply cannot stand the idea of enjoying their food in silence. Are we really too busy to be silent, or are we just looking for ways to avoid it? What is it about silence that so unnerves the American populace? Why this almost compulsive need to fill silence with trivialities?

It has been said that American creativity is on an overall decline. Sure, David Lynch and David Fincher continue to direct movies, Paul Auster and Cormac McCarthy continue to write novels, and Philip Glass and Trent Reznor continue to compose music, but a country’s aesthetic successes cannot be judged solely by its geniuses. Do we promote creativity and sufficiently deep thinking in our classrooms? I’d love to say yes, but that would be disingenuous; teachers have too much to juggle as is with No Child Left Behind and state standards. Is our nightly television offering us thought-provoking material? Judging from Mad Men, Lost, and Breaking Bad, I’dhave to say Americans have become the worst kind of thinkers: superficial thinkers who desperately want to believe they’re deep thinkers.

Who is at fault here?

I blame anyone who does not take a moment of silence now and then. I do not mean a moment to smell the roses, though there is something to be said for admiring the natural world, nor do I mean stopping to commune with your higher power—after all, there’s only one real deity and the odds are squarely against yours being it. I mean taking a moment to actually let the world fade away, to lose yourself in quiet, to become one with the Tao.

Odd choice of words coming from a Roman Catholic—go Pope Benedict!—yet still it moves: accept that if there is noise, there must be silence; if there is good, there must be evil; if there is activity, there must be idleness. All of life is composed of opposites, opposites that balance each other, opposites that give shape and definition to life. How can anyone understand what is good unless he/she understands what is not good? Grandparents are particularly fond of saying that life has its ups and downs, and rightly so; they’ve lived long enough and seen enough to know it’s true.

I say, go out, then, and eat alone! Go, sit by yourself in the patio section— skip the Singapore Slings with mescal on the side—and enjoy a quiet meal with only your thoughts for company. Offset some of that tireless god-eat-god
daily grind with some good ol’ silence.

Maybe you’ll find inspiration. Maybe you’ll rewrite classical physics. Maybe you’ll discover a cure for cancer. Maybe you’ll simply be a little bit happier.

Thanks so much! I feel strangely inspired to go eat. Check out the giveaway details after the break!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Blog Tour Day 1: Youth and Other Fictions by Johnathan M. Cook

Welcome to the blog tour for Youth and Other Fictions! I have two days worth of posts for this tour. Today is a review.

Jonathan Cook's debut novel, Youth and Other Fictions looks at the horrors of a school shooting and its psychological effects on those involved. Told from two perspectives--one a student's and one a teacher's--the story reveals the inner concerns leading up to the moment when the world falls apart and the anxieties of coping with the broken pieces afterwards. 

"A thriller of horrific proportions.  The debut novel by Jonathan M. Cook is a thriller that will keep you guessing at every turn. In the first portion of the book it seems a monotonous style will be established, yet the climax in the tale will leave you second guessing. A wonderful and terrifying look into the souls of troubled teens from the point of view of an actual teacher sheds new light on our youth. A must read for teens and older!"- Ikdido, Amazon Reviewer

About Jonathan M. Cook:

Jonathan M. Cook is a high school English teacher.  He earned his MA in Literature from Eastern Illinois University.  He currently lives in Robinson, IL, where he is working on his second novel and grading term papers.

Jonathan's Website


We've all heard the stories. Students bring guns to school and kill others, often ending by killing themselves. This book looks at the effects of such an event on students and teachers. The first half of the book tells the story of Jack, a outcast who is often bullied. He struggles with how he is treated by others at school. While he wishes for revenge, he is soon faced with the aftermath of someone else taking the ultimate revenge. As Jack tries to deal with what happened, he feels his life spiraling out of control. Jason is another student who survives the tragedy. He returns to town years later to teach. However, Jason is left answering questions from his school days. When bad things start happening again, he has to sift through all his emotions to be able to cope.

This book starts off as one thing and ends as another. With Jack, I felt bad for him. Here was a boy that was clearly bullied and depressed, and yet no one did anything for him. I wanted to get him help so bad. I was so caught up in him story that when the school shooting occurred, it really got to me. Seeing Jack trying to deal with all the feeling afterword was even more difficult. With Jason, I was definitely unprepared for where his story went. He talks of his class being considered by some to be cursed, and I started to believe that. I found the ending to be a bit abrupt and confusing though. I wasn't even sure what was real by the end. 

Overall, I can't say I enjoyed this book in the sense that it was a fun read or anything. In fact, it was fairly hard for me to read because of the subject matter. I wanted so much to be able to change things for the characters. I will say that the story completely absorbed me. I did not want to stop reading because I had to know what would happen. This book does a brilliant job of getting into the heads of Jack and Jason. It shows the horrors of having to deal with the tragedy of a school shooting. It goes places you never expect. I think it is a book that people will want to read.

Book provided for review.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a guest post by Johnathan M. Cook and a giveaway!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Mirror Of N'de Blog Tour- Review and Giveaway

Welcome to the blog tour for The Mirror of N'de by L.K. Malone!

In the mythical city of N’de lives thirteen-year-old Hadlay and her people, the Ramash. Scorned and abused by the unloving and absent Emperor, the Ramash are poor people, placed second to the ruling class of the Oresed. Young but bold, Hadlay rages against the injustice in her city. When she is chosen for the honor of serving the Prince in the Tower, she hopes to find a way to right the wrong... but soon discovers that things are worse than she believed.

While Hadlay works to better her people’s condition, she struggles to abide with the abusive Oresed and understand the meaning of her dreams in which a fantastical white horse appears to her and speaks in riddles. When Hadlay stumbles into one of the Tower’s secret rooms, she discovers a hidden mirror that doesn’t just show her reflection, but reveals much more: the horse’s name is Sirach and he has a plan to save the children of N’de, if only Hadlay can bring them to the mirror. Hiding her knowledge of Sirach from the Prince, Hadlay sets out to do Sirach’s bidding. But when Sirach’s presence is revealed, Hadley’s life is in danger and the only way to save her is for Sirach to give up his own.

Crafting powerful narrative and creative characters, author L. K. Malone spins a compelling tale that combines exciting entertainment and the Christian story. In The Mirror of N’de, readers will empathize with the desires of an oppressed people, will anger at the affliction of a cruel adversary, and ultimately rejoice with the revelation of a Savior.

Buy the book here.

About L.K. Malone:
L. K. Malone is an insatiable reader who devours nearly a book a day when she isn’t writing. Favorite genres include political thrillers, historical fiction, romance, and fantasy. Some of her favorite reads include the Hunger Games series and the Harry Potter books, which inspired her to try her hand at fantasy with a Judeo-Christian twist. Malone is a Colorado native with a large extended family, which includes two lovely young women who graciously let her mentor them through the Denver Kids program, and a handsome menagerie of pets. 


Hadley lives in a world that is beautiful yet cruel. Her people are treated as underlings and slaves, forced to live very hard lives. The one thing that keeps her people going is a bedtime story passed through the generations about a beautiful city they once inhabited. Things are changing though. First, Hadley begins having dreams about a creature calling to her. Next, the mysterious emperor reappears and frees her people. Then Hadley and her friend Nomish are chosen to learn to serve the emperor. Hadley discovers there is more to the emperor than meets the eye, and there are secrets within his tower that could change everything.

This is going to be a book that lovers of fantasy will adore. It is so original. It takes some familiar fantasy ideas and combines it with some totally new things in such an original way. This book is able to draw you into the world and immerse you very quickly. Hadley is a great character. While she's certainly good and talented, she also has her flaws. She's seen the way her people have been treated and wants to be able to yield power over those who treated her so poorly. This desire for revenge is not a great one to have, but it's a realistic desire for Hadley. She has suffered a great deal in her life, so this was a natural reaction. This made it very easy to empathize and understand and even like Hadley more.

There are also things that will surprise and shock the reader. Things are never what they seem, and there were a few plot points that I really didn't see coming. I think it's great when a book can surprise you . Overall I found this to be a very enjoyable book. For me, a good fantasy can sweep you away into a totally new world, and that's exactly what this book did. It was an excellent read, and I recommend to everyone who loves magical worlds and exciting adventures.

Book provided for review.

About the giveaway:

To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using @litfuse) about The Mirror of N'de  or share about it on Facebook!
If you tweet we'll capture your entry when you use @litfuse. If you share it on Facebook or your blog, just email us and let us know (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com). Easy. (All Litfuse bloggers who post a review are automatically entered and do NOT need to email us.)
Not sure what to tweet/post? Here's an idea:
TWEET THIS: New YA fantasy - The Mirror of N'de - compelling narrative and creative characters! @litfuse RT for $50 to @amazon http://ow.ly/7AWGT 
FACEBOOK THIS: Don’t miss this debut YA fantasy story: Crafting powerful narrative and creative characters, author L. K. Malone spins a compelling tale that combines exciting entertainment and the Christian story. In The Mirror of N’de, readers will empathize with the desires of an oppressed people, will anger at the affliction of a cruel adversary, and ultimately rejoice with the revelation of a Savior. Share this for a chance at $50 to Amazon.com http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13440685
About The Mirror of N'de:
In the mythical city of N’de lives thirteen-year-old Hadlay and her people, the Ramash. Scorned and abused by the unloving and absent Emperor, the Ramash are poor people, placed second to the ruling class of the Oresed. Young but bold, Hadlay rages against the injustice in her city. When she is chosen for the honor of serving the Prince in the Tower, she hopes to find a way to right the wrong... but soon discovers that things are worse than she believed.
Be sure to check out all the other stops on the tour! Thanks for stopping by! 

Virtual Book Tour: Carving Angels by Diane Stringam Tolley

Papa Adam, the North Pole's oldest elf and Santa's former chief carver, has given up. Blind, frail, and feeling useless, he counts the minutes in every day as he waits to die -- until his youngest granddaughter challenges him to carve again. Together they prove that the most beautiful creations can come from the most unlikely sources and with the right love and encouragement, anything is possible.


Papa Adam was the best carver in the North Pole. All the other elves envied his skills, but as he got older he lost his eyesight. Now Papa Adam spends his days waiting for them to be over. Nothing seems to have meaning anymore...that is, until one day his young granddaughter comes with a piece of wood. She challenges Papa Adam to carve for her. This one bit of support spurs Papa Adam on to rediscover his love of carving and redefine what he can and cannot do. Soon Papa Adam and his granddaughter are working on a super secret project that may just be the most important thing they've ever carved. 

This book was delightful! It is a very simple book and can be enjoyed by younger and older readers alike. You can feel Papa Adam's despair in the beginning, and it is a joy to see his young granddaughter help him learn exactly what he can and cannot do. It also gives a wonderful message. I think many times people who are older or having hard times may see themselves as useless just like Papa Adam. However, this book helps show that everyone has something they can do. It may not always be something as awesome as Papa Adam's carving. Even though his granddaughter learned to carve, I think the biggest ability she had was to be loving and inspiring. She was able to see past Papa Adam's disability, which is a beautiful example we could all follow.

This would be a great book to read with your family as it nears Christmas time. It has just the right amount of story that people will enjoy mixed with a wonderful message fitting for the season. I love books that are able to entertain and bring a great spirit with them, and this one fits the bill perfectly. It will be a great addition to anyone's holiday reading lists!

Galley provided for review.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Virtual Book Tour- Choose the Right by Kimiko Hammari

Crazy days mean no time to plan family nights. With the Choose the Right family night book all your family home evening lessons are done for a whole year, complete with activities, games, scriptures, songs, challenges, and a CD-Rom with printable handouts! Not only are the lessons fantastic but they correlate with the 2012 Primary topics and lessons. Spend quality time with your children as you make family night the best night!

We've all been there. Struggling for another Family Home Evening idea. Trying to balance lessons and activities for younger and older children. Well get ready to have all that stress relieved. This book provides a year of FHE lessons that tie in with the Primary theme for 2012. It has everything you need done for you! There are lessons, activities, songs, and even challenges to carry over to the next week all planned out. With this book you can spend less time worrying about your next FHE lesson and more time on the actual lesson with your family.

I love this book! I think picking a topic to teach each week is one of the things my husband and I dread doing. This book takes a huge burden off us as it provides topics. Now, it says there are lessons for a year, but some lessons are made to "cover" 2 weeks, mostly to provide for Mondays off when you need it. So you're not going to be tied to this book every week. There are activities with ideas on how to cater them to younger and older children. The actual lesson if very short which I love. I have a very young child, so we like to keep things short and sweet for him. For me, I would probably skip some of the activities because it's just not necessary for us at this time. As you can see, it's easy to adapt things to your family situation. While the lessons themselves are short, it would be easy to expand on them for more in-depth and/or longer lessons.

The book comes with a CD that has printable handouts, so I'm not kidding when I say the work has been done for you. I also love the idea of challenges that carry over. This really helps with goal setting, and it can help keep the lesson in your family's minds throughout the week. Tying the lessons in with the Primary lessons for the year is also an amazing thing. I think the lessons are so well planned out in this book that you could easily allow for older children to help or teach the lessons themselves. How great it that? There is even a list of treats at the end. This book is a great resource for families. It will help take the stress out of your FHE planning and help you concentrate on actual family time. 

Book provided for review.

Be sure to check out the other books on the tour!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Lover's Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop!

Today I have my usual giveaway. Yeah, I'm not very original.

So you can enter to win a $10 giftcard from Amazon.com!!

Or you can win $10 of books from Book Depository. It's your choice!

Just check out the details and Rafflecopter form after the break.

Virtual Blog Tour: Miracle of the Christmas Star by Susan Dean Elzey

Hannah died the night she was born. The new star's light brought her back to life, but left her stricken with palsy. Sariah, Hannah's mother, believes Hannah can be healed, if only she can find the Savior. Miracle of the Christmas Star is a tender story of love, faith and endurance that will touch your heart and remind you why miracles happen.


Sariah is giving birth on a very special night. When her child is born, the child is not breathing. A very special star seemed to bring Hannah back to life, but it's a life full of pain. Hannah has palsy, and cannot take care of herself. Sariah and her husband do everything for Hannah, much to the dismay of some in the village. Several times throughout her life Hannah has seemed to be very lucky indeed, escaping death when other children could not. Sariah has heard that a savior was born under the same special star as Hannah, and she is determined to find him to heal her daughter. Through all the trials of life, Sariah and Hannah carry on hoping for one final miracle that can heal Hannah.

This was a very touching book. You really feel for Sariah. In fact, I think the thing the author did best was really capture the ups and downs of having a special needs child. There are so many unique struggles. Sariah wonders what will happen to Hannah when Sariah has gotten older; she also struggles with the dependence on her Hannah has for her every need. However, Sariah also realized the special love and joy she gets from having Hannah as a daughter. I think Sariah's desire to have Hannah be healed represents something that many parents want for their child, if only to make their child's life easier. 

This book has very beautiful examples of faith, patience, and endurance. It is also a great reminders of all the miracles that occur in our lives, big and small. While it is a wonderful read during the Christmas season, I think it would also be good at any time of the year. This book can remind us of all the things we need to help us get through life and the one sure source of comfort we have. 

Galley provided for review.

Make sure you check out all the stops on the tour!