Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Summer Giveaway Hop!

We've gotten to the hottest days of summer, which means I officially start my countdown to fall. Ha!

I am going to offer up my usual prizes:

a $10 gift code or $10 in books from Book Depository!

Please check to ensure that Book Depository delivers to your country.

How do you enter?

Choose one or any or all of the following:
1. Follow on GFC
2.  Follow on Twitter
3. Like on Facebook
4. Friend on Goodreads 

That's all!

Be sure to check out all the stops on the hop. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Some Kind of Peace by Camilla Grebe and Asa Traff

Title:Some Kind of Peace
Author:Camilla Grebe & Asa Traff
Translator:Paul Norlen
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Free Press
Pub. Date:7/10/2012
ISBN:1451654596 (ISBN13: 9781451654592)

"It seems so idyllic. But something is out of place. In the neatly raked gravel parking area is a dazzlingly clean black Jeep. The paint of the Jeep reflects a clematis with large pure white blossoms climbing up a knotted old apple tree. Someone is lying under the low trunk and crooked branches of the tree. A young woman, a girl. . . ."Siri Bergman is a thirty-four-year-old psychologist who works in central Stockholm and lives alone in an isolated cottage out of the city. She has a troublesome secret in her past and has been trying to move on with her life. Terrified of the dark, she leaves all the lights on when she goes to bed--having a few glasses of wine each night to calm her nerves--but she can't shake the feeling that someone is watching her through the blackened windows at night.

When the lifeless body of Sara Matteus--a young patient of Siri's with a history of drug addiction and sexual abuse--is found floating in the water near the cottage, Siri can no longer deny that someone is out there, watching her and waiting. When her beloved cat goes missing and she receives a photo of herself from a stalker, it becomes clear that Siri is next. Luckily, she can rely on Markus, the young policeman investigating Sara's death; Vijay, an old friend and psychology professor; and Aina, her best friend. Together, they set about profiling Siri's aspiring murderer, hoping to catch him before he kills again.

But as their investigation unfolds, Siri's past and present start to merge and disintegrate so that virtually everyone in her inner circle becomes a potential suspect. With the suspense building toward a dramatic conclusion as surprising as it is horrifying, Siri is forced to relive and reexamine her anguished past, and finally to achieve some kind of peace.

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)

Siri Bergman is a psychologist who is trying to deal with her own tragic past. The death of her husband several years ago has left her scared and scarred, leaving her unable to be alone in the dark of her remote country home. When the body of one of her patients is found near her home, Siri finds herself involved in something even more frightening then she had imagined. Someone is after Siri, and they are using her patients to get to her. They have an intimate knowledge of her life and practice, and Siri cannot think of why someone would do this. With the help of her colleagues and friends, Siri must use all the knowledge she has to try and figure out who is after her before it is too late.

I found this book very intriguing. I could tell reading it that the authors knew a lot about psychology, and I thought this made for a more thrilling book. This book was quite scary for me. I think that I feel for Siri living alone out in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to just pack her up somewhere with more people. Not knowing what would happen next was frightening. Luckily it wasn't too scary. I probably wouldn't read it at night alone, but the mystery of trying to figure out who was doing it and why did distract me from the terror a bit. I will admit to some quickened heartbeats though. I don't do well with creepy stuff though.

For me, the payoff was truly in the end. It was just so frightening yet real to me that this could happen. There were some random things dropped to throw you off the trail of the real killer though that were never explained. This kind of left me hanging. I wanted to know why the characters acted the way they did, but I never got that. That was kind of a let down. Overall though, this was a psychological thriller at its best. If you like mysteries and creepy psychological thrillers, you will definitely enjoy this book.

Book provided for review.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Company Blog Tour

A meteor strike plunges the world into darkness. A stranger to the village of Brigos Glen restores power and light, supplied by three businesses, known as “The Company,” located beyond the forbidden mountains. The stranger reveals a plan so the Brigons can maintain the power and share the light with outlying territories, which remain shrouded in darkness.

Now, seventy years later, The Company summons six Brigons, including the young engineer Sam Mitchell, to attend a conference in the mountains of the forbidden Outlands. 

Responsible for compiling a report about Brigos Glen from his five companions, Sam learns how managers and villagers largely ignored the plan or compromised it to self-interest, forsaking their duty to share the light. They also took for granted The Company responsible for generating and transmitting the power.

In an ordeal fraught with failure, revelations, and judgment, Sam discovers the true identity behind The Company and learns the fate that may befall Brigos Glen . . . that is, unless he can stop it.

Buy the book here .

About the Author:

Chuck Graham's legal career as an attorney in private practice spanned more than thirty-one years. He represented many local, national, and international clients, acquiring intricate knowledge about the often-overlapping structures of the corporate world. He also worked against those seeking to create racial division, including the Ku Klux Klan. He has served as a member of the state bar of Georgia since 1979 and an instructor to attorneys and judges through the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE). He received the Medallion of Appreciation from ICLE.

Chuck is also a speaker and the author of Take the Stand (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996) and the compilations, A Year of Encouragement (Xulon Press).

In 1997 he founded Ciloa (Christ Is Lord Of All), a ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement with the world and teaching those who follow Him how to encourage others. Today Chuck serves as executive director and principal author of A Note of Encouragement, a weekly e-zine reaching 175 countries.

He and Beverly, his wife of thirty-four years, have lived in Lawrenceville, a suburb of Atlanta, for fourteen years. God has blessed them with three children. In his free time, Chuck enjoys backpacking and hiking (especially on the Appalachian Trail), playing the guitar, dabbling in photography, and reading extensively about the Christian faith. 


When a meteor strikes the planet, the world finds itself in complete darkness. One group of people in the small are known as Brigos Glen manage to make a new life for their people. They are making things work until one day when a stranger shows up. The stranger offers them power for lights and things, and they readily accept his offer. Many years later though, divisions have arisen among the Brigos Glen citizens. Suddenly, several members of the 3 power divisions are invited to meet the people providing them with power. They soon learn that things are much more complicated that they though, and their very presence there could spell disaster for Brigos Glen. On the other hand, they may be the only people able to save it.

This book is an allegory, but I didn't quite see what the author saw. He was using it as an allegory for the Holy Trinity. In retrospect I can kind of see that, but I did't really get it while reading. However I did see some parallels to religions and divisions among them. I found the story to be very interesting, but I definitely wanted some more background on the story. I felt like there was more that could have been filled in to help things make more sense to me. The characters were interesting, and their personalities really worked for the story.

This book was an extremely quick read. Part of that is due to the length, but it is also a fairly absorbing book. The story leaves you hanging, and I wanted the book to keep going. It looks like there will be a sequel though, so maybe I will get more answers there. The story also stands well on it's own without the allegorical aspects. It is a story of survival, learning, helping, and ultimately love. I'm very interested to see where the author is going with this story.

Galley provided for review.

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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: A Lady Cyclists's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson

Title:A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar
Author:Suzanne Joinson
Bloomsbury USA
Pub. Date:6/4/2012
ISBN:1608198111 (ISBN13: 9781608198115)

It is 1923. Evangeline (Eva) English and her sister Lizzie are missionaries heading for the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar. Though Lizzie is on fire with her religious calling, Eva’s motives are not quite as noble, but with her green bicycle and a commission from a publisher to write A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar, she is ready for adventure.

In present day London, a young woman, Frieda, returns from a long trip abroad to find a man sleeping outside her front door. She gives him a blanket and a pillow, and in the morning finds the bedding neatly folded and an exquisite drawing of a bird with a long feathery tail, some delicate Arabic writing, and a boat made out of a flock of seagulls on her wall. Tayeb, in flight from his Yemeni homeland, befriends Frieda and, when she learns she has inherited the contents of an apartment belonging to a dead woman she has never heard of, they embark on an unexpected journey together.

A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar explores the fault lines that appear when traditions from different parts of an increasingly globalized world crash into one other. Beautifully written, and peopled by a cast of unforgettable characters, the novel interweaves the stories of Frieda and Eva, gradually revealing the links between them and the ways in which they each challenge and negotiate the restrictions of their societies as they make their hard-won way toward home. A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar marks the debut of a wonderfully talented new writer

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)

Eva is going on a grand adventure. With her sister Lizzie and her acquaintance Millicent, they are traveling to Kashgar as missionaries. It's a treacherous road for 3 women in the 1920's, but Eva is determined to make the best of it. While she is traveling, Eva is writing a guide for cycling to Kashgar. Back in the present, Freida is a world traveler. She loves the freedom of being able to leave and experience so many wonderful places. Soon though, she meets Tayeb, a man trying to avoid deportation to his native Yemen. She also learns that she is responsible for an apartment full of stuff left to her by a person she has never met. The tales of Freida, Tayeb, and Eva all intermingle as they each work their way through their separate adventures.

This book wasn't at all what I expected. There are two main stories, and it is unclear how they are related for quite a bit. I loved the way they tied in, but I wish the author had dropped a few more clues along the way. I had kind of figured it out, but the payoff felt a little late for me. I loved the feel of the book though. Eva is basically using the mission and missionaries for a chance to see the world. I thought she was a great character. Freida and Tayeb were a bit more difficult to get a feeling for. I also felt like their story had slightly less resolution too. I was very interested in their stories though. I was really drawn into this book, and there were some great surprises too.

Millicent was perhaps the most interesting person in the book. I really wanted some more back story on her, although it really wouldn't have fit in the context of the story. When things were finally brought together in the end, it was nice to see it all make sense. Overall I found this to be a really absorbing and fascinating story.

Galley provided for review.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fathoms of Forgiveness Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for Fathoms of Forgiveness by Nadia Scrieva!

There is no divorce in the undersea kingdom of Adlivun. Marriage is a bond that lasts until death—even if death comes in several centuries, and in that time your spouse happens to become your sworn enemy. This is the conflict that General Visola Ramaris faces when she learns that the mighty Vachlan is behind the attacks on her kingdom. She has sworn to protect Adlivun with her life, but long ago, she also swore to love and honor her husband…

Visola must choose whether she will destroy Vachlan once and for all, or attempt the hardest thing conceivable: communication. After two hundred years of desertion, she has no faith in their feeble bond and knows she can never forgive him. When he threatens the person dearest to her, she must take action. Confronting Vachlan on enemy territory would be nothing short of suicide. She knows that if she falls into his custody, the deranged man would relish breaking her down and making her lose her own sanity.

Princess Aazuria forbids Visola from taking matters into her own hands. She will do anything it takes to protect her friend from the man who wants to crush her.

Alas, Visola is a crazy, uncontrollable warrior woman with the blood of Vikings in her veins. Why would she ever consider doing the safe and predictable thing?


Taking up where Drowning Mermaids ended, Fathoms of Forgiveness takes us back to the underwater world of Adlivun. Aazuria is getting ready to wed Trevain, while Trevain is adjusting to his new reality. Aazuria's primary general Visola has recently learned that one of the people behind the most recent attack on Adlivun was her estranged husband Vachlan. It turns out that Vachlan wants Visola, but Aazuria cannot live without her best warrior. Vachlan soon forces their hand though, and Visola does what she feels is necessary. Whether or not Visola can survive her plan is another matter altogether.

I enjoyed the first book, so I was looking forward to reading this one. It definitely paid off. This was a better book on several levels. I found the writing to be tighter and the dialogue to be smoother. It all seemed to flow just a little better. I also found the story to be very intriguing. I remember wanting to learn more about the underwater world of Adlivun, and I got my wish for sure. Most of the action took place underwater, and there were so many traditions and important parts of underwater politics and history that I learned about. The author almost seemed to have a checklist of questions I had and seemed to answer many of them.

My favorite part of the book was Visola's flashback to how she and Vaclan met. You really get a good feel for their personalities and some of the things that drew them together. Naturally there were some twists and turns, several of which I did not see coming. I was honestly shocked by some of what went on. I will say though that some of the characters were much more forgiving that I would have been. This book also ends with a cliffhanger that left me wanting more. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I can't wait for the next one.

Book provided for review.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Kindling Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for The Kindling by Braden Bell!

All thirteen-year-old Connor Dell wants to do is pass pre-algebra, play lacrosse, and possibly kiss Melanie Stephens, but when a run-in with the school bully ignites strange powers inside him, Connor’s normal teenage life goes up in flames. Now he’ll need his new powers to defeat the Darkness that’s coming for him. Fast-paced and original, this book’s guaranteed to keep you guessing!

Meet the Author:

Braden Bell grew up in Farmington, Utah and graduated from Davis High School. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theatre from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York University. He and his wife live  with their five children on a quiet, wooded lot outside of Nashville, Tennessee, where he teaches theatre and music at a private middle school. An experienced performer, Braden enjoys singing, acting, reading, gardening, and long walks with the dog.  You can learn more about Braden’s writing at


Connor lives a pretty average life. He, along with his twin sister Lexa and her friend Melanie, are looking forward to their trip to Disney World and tryouts for different things at school. One day though, strange things begin to happen. It seems like they can make things happen just by thinking about it. Then, they notice a stranger following them around. He really seems like a bad guy, but their teachers stop him from getting to them. Connor, Lexa, and Melanie find themselves caught in a world they never even knew existed. This world is full of Light and Dark, and the teens will have to use everything they have to keep themselves and everyone they love safe.

I loved this book! It draws you in fairly quickly, and I read it pretty fast. Even though it is a more of a middle-school book, it is not too childish. The use of Light and Dark in this book were fairly unique. There was a lot that wasn't explained though, so I'm hoping there's another book (at least) coming so I can learn some more about the world. Connor, Lexa, and Melanie were great friends. I liked that they squabbled some while they were going through all of this. That made things seem much more realistic, and it also allowed them for some growth. I also liked that all 3 of the kids were given a chance to shine. There wasn't one "hero" taking care of the danger; all of them had a part to play.

Of course, I was also very intrigued by the teachers. I think I would read an entire book just about them! I really loved the use of particular skills to harness the Light (also big points for having one of the girls love math). The use of music was particularly awesome, and it showed the author really knows his stuff where music is concerned. The songs all fit in different ways. Overall, this was a super fun book. It was unique, and it had some great parts in it. Watching Connor having to fight the darkness within himself was particularly interesting. This is a book that younger and older people will be able to enjoy, and it will leave them dying for more.

Galley provided for review.

Be sure to check out all the stops on the tour!

Carnival Girl Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for Carnival Girl by Sonja Hebert!

Today I have a guest post and review, but first a little info on the book!

The only life Sonja has ever known was on the road. Now she must choose between the carnival and her convictions, between her family and her faith. This beautifully written memoir of growing up in post-war Germany and meeting the Mormon missionaries will remind you of how much God loves each one of us and how his power can make anything possible.

Meet the Author:

Sonja Herbert and her five siblings were raised in a caravan, traveling the carnival circuit from town to town in post-World War II Germany.

Sonja converted to the LDS Church, later married, and immigrated to the United States, where she received a bachelor of arts degree at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, and a master of arts degree from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She also raised six children, taught school and ESL, and is now a freelance writer.

Besides her childhood memoir, Sonja has also written many autobiographical stories, which have been published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and other anthologies. A biographical novel about her half-Jewish mother’s experiences in Nazi Germany is almost finished.

Sonja lives in Provo with her husband and cat. You can find more about her unusual life at

Guest Post:

When I was a little girl, traveling in our small carnival caravan, I often listened to my mother talking about how she used to be a model in Berlin, the greatest city of Europe, and how she had to leave and hire on with the circus in order to stay ahead of the Nazis.

During the few times we carnival children attended school, I once received an A for a story about a Greek myth I had written, and on that day I decided to write about my mother’s life when I grew up. 

All through the time I raised my six children here in the U.S.A., this thought was with me, and when the younger ones were a bit older, I started on my mother’s story. As the story unfolded, I realized that it would not be complete unless I also told my own story, the story of my childhood and my life with my mother.

And that’s how Carnival Girl began. I originally called it Conversations with Margot (my mother’s first name), but since the novel I wrote about her life isn’t published yet, I decided to re-name the memoir and publish it first.

As I wrote the story and remembered the things that happened in my early life, old feelings also returned, and I had to confront the childish reactions of my younger self. Now, as a grown woman, I was able to see things I had not seen as a little girl, and when my memoir was finished, I had a new insight and understanding for my mother, who had suffered so much and still came out ahead.

My mother, Margot, is now ninety-one years old. She lives in Stuttgart, Germany, and is still going strong!
Thank you Mutti, for everything you have taught me!


Sonja has known nothing but living on the go. Growing up in Germany after World War II is interesting enough, but Sonja's parents run a carnival. This means Sonja is always moving from place to place. This can make it difficult to make friends and get a consistent education, but none of this holds Sonja back. Not even being stuffed in a small caravan with her 3 siblings can hold her down. Sonja tries to make the best of her life, and even manages to find something she didn't know she was looking for- religion. Her faith allows her to make a new life, but she never forgets her old one.

I found this book very interesting. What a fascinating way to grow up! I really felt for Sonja's mom; she seemed to chafe with the constant moving. That would be so hard, especially with so many small children. In some ways though, that lifestyle seems like something I dreamed of as a child. Running a carnival was definitely interesting as evidenced by this book. There were also some unique situations the family found themselves in. I do with one particular thing had been delved into a little deeper, but I can see why it wasn't.

I think my favorite aspect of this book was Sonja's search for a sense of self and home even. She eventually found this, but I don't think it's where she expected. Through everything though, you can tell Sonja has an amazing affection for her mother. In some ways this is a very sweet tribute to all her mother went through raising children on the road. I am really looking forward to the book about her mother's life during the war. This is a book that many people will enjoy. It reads like fiction in some ways, but it is all real. It's a great book.

Book provided for review.

Be sure to check out all the stops on the tour!!