Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review - Looking Over Your Shoulder

**I hate giving reviews like this, but I must always give my honest opinion. I still greatly admire the feat the author has accomplished by completing this novel. It's no easy task.

Looking Over Your Shoulder by P.D. Workman
Genres: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
My rating: 1 star
Pages: 262

Image from Goodreads.com

“Just because you're paranoid, that doesn't mean someone isn't out to get you."


Despite being diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, Abe VanRam does a pretty good job at maintaining a normal life. He takes his meds, goes to work, and comes home to his family. But when he's suspected of jewel theft the good life he's built for himself is threatened.

Abe knows he didn't take those jewels. But those who were really behind the crime are out to get him. Or so he thinks. He keeps seeing things and gathering evidence that points to someone other than him. But can he really trust his eyes?

And after all—who'd believe someone who's mentally ill?

My review: I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this novel. I mean, a paranoid schizophrenic suspected of jewel theft? Never heard that one before. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed.

For being a suspense novel, Looking Over Your Shoulder was sadly lacking in suspense. It took a while before there was any real action. At the beginning, the story was mostly contrived of the goings on of Abe and his family. At first I was okay with this. I thought it was nice that it wasn't all about the mystery, and that I'd get to know more of the characters. BUT, when I had to read through a pages long, pointless discussion between Abe and his young daughter, and STILL there was no suspense, I got a little frustrated.

Frankly, I was bored with the story. And it didn't really pick up for me. Added to that, the main plot ended up being underdeveloped.

Maybe this isn't worth mentioning, but it is a huge pet peeve of mine. Twice in this book, two men were said to giggle. It wasn't even in unusual circumstances; they just giggled at something someone else had said. Now...in general, grown men don't giggle. They laugh, or chortle, or even guffaw. But they don't giggle. Just had to clear that up.

There were a couple of typos and instances in the book that were in need of editing. I think that's what this novel really needed—a good editing. Cut some scenes, add some more action, get rid of the typos and this read would have been much more enjoyable.

On the bright side, I do think that Abe was an interesting character. And I did like the relationship he had with his children. Their banter was really fun. I just wish that it didn't take up so much of the story.

Overall, this book just wasn't to my liking. Wouldn't recommend it.

Content: Mild language. Mentions of drinking alcohol.

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

Author Site / Amazon Link

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mailbox Monday - Dec 29

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at To Be Continued and is now hosted at its own blog.

First, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! I had a wonderful time with my family, AND got a couple of books I'd like to share with you guys.


Image from Goodreads.com
 
THE CHRISTMAS BOX

A Christmas story unlike any other, The Christmas Box is the poignant tale of a widow and the young family who moves in with her. Together, they discover the first gift of Christmas --- and what the holiday is really all about.

TIMEPIECE

Tracing the lives of a young couple as they discover love, loyalty, and the power of forgiveness, Timepiece is a tale of wisdom and of hope --- and a gentle reminder that the connections from one generation to the next are indelible.


 
THE LETTER

A mysterious letter is found at the grave of a couple's only child in this unforgettable conclusion to the collection. As they face love's greatest challenge, they find its truest meaning and learn the lessons that are echoed throughout.


Image from Goodreads.com

 
 
 
What happens when a nineteen-year-old boy leaves home and heads into the jungles to evangelize a murderous tribe of South American Indians? For Bruce Olson, it meant capture, disease, terror, loneliness, and torture. But what he discovered by trial and error has revolutionized then world of missions.
 
 
 
 
 
 

This next one wasn't a Christmas gift. I actually won it in a giveaway from the wonderful people over at Go Teen Writers. Can't wait to get started on it! Might be the incentive I need to actually write a novel.
 
Image from Goodreads.com
 
Also, because I thought it was funny, here's something else I got for Christmas.
 
Pepper Spray. Apparently it's a must have for any girl heading off to college.
 
What's in your mailbox?
 
 
 
 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Review - Dear Mr. Knightley

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Christian
My rating: 5 stars
Average Goodreads rating: 3.95 stars
Pages: 328
  
Image from Goodreads.com

Samantha Moore has had a difficult childhood. Being passed around to different foster parents. Never living up their standards. As a result she's put walls up around her heart. She buries herself in her books until she doesn't know who she is anymore.

After college she's granted a scholarship from the anonymous 'Mr. Knightley' to earn her graduate degree. On one condition. That is, she must write to this 'Mr. Knightley,' keeping him updated with her progress. It's only in her letters to this mysterious benefactor that she can be herself. But even with the help of her new friends she finds herself opening up. Will it only hurt her in the end?




Pardon the cliché, but this book made my heart smile. I wish I could erase it from my mind and start it all over again.

I was endeared to the protagonist, Sam, almost from the very beginning. I felt for her and cheered for her, but at the same time I wanted to kick her for some of the things she did! She's always pushed people away—never really trying to build real, lasting relationships. Because she'll just end up getting hurt. Because she's flawed. A failure—or so she thinks.

Sam has so much offer and she doesn't even know it! But with Mr. Knightley to vent to in her letters and all these new friends that actually seem to care about her—she finds herself opening up more than she ever has before. And it kind of scares her. But I just loved watching her grow and discover herself.

Some people might be put off by the fact that this is an epistolary novel. Don't be! It flowed so well and had a wonderful, intimate voice.

This was a really fun novel with a sweet romance and a fabulous, complex heroine. Highly recommended!

Content: Kissing. Some heavy issues such as mentions of abuse. It's a clean read!

Author Site / Amazon Link

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Books I Wish Santa Would Bring Me This Year

Today's meme, Top Ten Tuesday, was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

All the books I picked are one's that my library doesn't have. I always the plan the books I buy that way. :)

1. The Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry: "The Beloved Daughter" follows Chung-Cha into one of the most notorious prison camps the contemporary free world has known. Her crime? Being the daughter of a Christian.

2. Blood Song by Anthony Ryan: Vaelin Al Sorna, trained and hardened to the austere, celibate and dangerous life of a warrior of the Faith, is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the Realm, but the world.

3. A Waltz for Matilda by Jackie French : In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. Set against a backdrop of bushfire, flood, war and jubilation, this is the story of one girl's journey towards independence.

4. Me, Just Different by Stephanie Morrill : I've been wanting to read this series ever since I read the Ellie Sweet books by the same author. Well, and because I absolutely love Mrs. Morrill's blog, Go Teen Writers.

5. By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson : Because she's also from Go Teen Writers, I just had to try out Mrs. Williamson's books. After reading her epic Safe Lands trilogy, I'm ready for more. (Actually, I still have to read Rebels, but it's waiting for me on my Nook!)

6. Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen : It's a fairytale. Need I say more? ...Okay, I will. It also got glowing reviews. If I don't get this from Santa I'm buying it myself.

7. Breaking Ties by Jo Grafford : Loved Trail of Crosses by this author. Check out my review.

8. Can't Let You Go by Jenny B. Jones : The conclusion to a series I thought was OVER. DONE WITH. FINISHED! But alas, Ms. Jones had bigger things planned for these characters. Good grief, I'm excited about this!

9 & 10. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling : Like you really need links to find these books. Okay, so I lied before. Obviously, my library holds these books. But they happen to be the only two in the series that I don't own. I NEED them. You understand.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Book Blast - Unbound Hearts and Amazon Gift Card Giveaway






Author is offering Two $10.00 Amazon Gift Cards Giveaway. Two Winners will be randomly chosen via rafflecopter.

Contest ends: December 24, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

ASIN: B00QR552TG

Genre: Interracial Christian Romance

Title: Unbound Hearts

Author: Michelle Lindo-Rice



About The Book: Unbound Hearts (Able to Love Book 2)























 
 
 

Would you hire the person responsible for your losing both your legs?

Before he lost both his limbs, Jasper Orion was on his way to being voted Most Valuable Player in the National Football League. A man of faith, his faith in God remains unshaken and he starts his own business. With God’s leading Jasper decides to hire Charmaine Evans, the woman responsible for his demise. But, unexpectedly, Jasper develops feelings for his newest employee. He longs to hold her in his arms. Wheelchair bound, will Jasper’s love for Charmaine motivate him to walk again?

A backslidden Christian, Charmaine Evans’ ambitions left her broke, unemployed and a social pariah. Guilt-ridden, she returned home to Port Charlotte, FL to lick her wounds. To Charmaine’s surprise, Jasper not only offers her forgiveness but also a job when no one else would. Charmaine marvels at Jasper’s faith while grappling with her own. Bound by her past, will Charmaine learn to accept God’s plan for her heart and her life?


About The Author

Michelle Lindo-Rice enjoys crafting women's fiction with themes centered around the four "F" words: Faith, Friendship, Family and Forgiveness. Her first published work, Sing A New Song, was a Black Expressions featured selection. Originally from Jamaica West Indies, Michelle Lindo-Rice calls herself a lifelong learner.

She has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, and Teachers College, Columbia University. When she moved to Florida, she enrolled in Argosy University where she completed her Education Specialist degree in Education Leadership. A pastor's kid, Michelle upholds the faith, preaching, teaching and ministering through praise and worship. Feel free to connect with her at michellelindorice.com

You can read her testimony, learn about her books, PLEASE join her mailing list, or read a sample chapter at michellelindorice.com

 
Social Links






Buy Links:


Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1yTnRQ4






Trailer:

Tour Hosted by WNL Book Tours www.wnlbooktours.com



Prize: Two $10.00 Amazon Gift Card for Two winners


Contest ends: December 24, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.








Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author Michelle Lindo-Rice and is hosted and managed by Paulette from Write Now Literary Book Tours. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send an email to Paulette @ pharperjohnson@gmail.com

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fairytale Retelling Challenge 2015

The Daily Prophecy
It's no secret that I'm a little obsessed with fairytales. I love them, happily ever after or no. So I thought, what better way to kick off the new year than to participate in this challenge?
The Fairytale Challenge is hosted by Mel at The Daily Prophecy. If you want to participate, head on over there to check out the rules and link up! There are six different levels you can aim for. I'm going for the Big Bad Wolf(10-15 books).
Here's where I'll post the books I've finished for the challenge:
1. Fable by Chanda Hahn. (Not strictly a fairy tale retelling, but the whole series is about fairy tales and this one included Rumpelstiltskin.) Read Jan 3. My review.

2. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier. (Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince). Read Jan 17. My review.

3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer. (Cinderella). Read Feb. 7.

4. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. (Red Riding Hood). Read Feb. 9.

5. Cress  by Marissa Meyer. (Rapunzel). Read Feb. 21.

6. Before Beauty by Brittany Fichter. (Beauty and the Beast). Read Mar. 26. My review

7. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. (Peter Pan). Read April 29. My review

8. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. (The Snow Child) Read June 16. My review

9. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. (Beauty and the Beast) Read June 28. My review

10. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge. (Little Red Riding Hood and The Girl With No Hands) Read June 30. My review

11. Fairest by Marissa Meyer. (Sort of a prequel to Snow White) Read in May.

12. Enchanted by Alethea Kontis. (The Frog Prince + others). Read in July.

13. Beauty and the Beast by Jenni James (Beauty and the Beast). Read in July.

14. Winter by Marissa Meyer (Snow White). Read in November.

15. Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas. (Cinderella). Read in December.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Review - Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Genres: YA/Children's, Fairy Tale
My rating: 5 stars
Average Goodreads rating: 3.94 stars
Pages: 232
 
Image from Amazon.com
"It is helpful to know the proper way to behave, so one can decide whether or not to be proper.”
 
Ella of Frell is not your ordinary girl. On the day of her birth she was cursed(or as the fairy Lucinda would say, “gifted”) with obedience. Any and every command given to her she must follow. But Ella is a strong girl and she won't let her...unfortunate situation faze her.

In this unique take on Cinderella, Ella must find Lucinda and put an end to this silly curse—or she must let go of the one she truly loves.

I vaguely recall the first time reading this; I was maybe 10-years-old and found it while scouring the shelves at the library(my favorite place even at that age). Now, I've always been a sucker for fairy-tales and my mom said I should give the book a try. So I did.

I know that I liked it, but at that age I didn't keep track of the books I read, and it didn't leave a lasting impression. But then I picked it up again a few years later. Here's how the conversation with myself went as I fingered the worn pages of Ella Enchanted for the second time:
Hey! I've read this book before!
Wasn't this the one with the girl who wrote letters to that prince? Oh, and she was cursed?
Man, it was nothing like the movie.

I decided to give it another try. And that's how it became one of my all time favorite books. Just so you know—it's better than the movie.

This book is enchanting, I don't know how else to describe it! Ella, our heroine, is feisty and witty and endearing. Not to mention smart, brave, and funny. But she had her flaws and it was wonderful to see her adventures unfold on the page.

I've read this three times now—and I'll read it again. The end—that happily ever after—always leaves me satisfied and(dare I say something so cheesy?) warm and fuzzy inside.

Content: Very clean. Highly recommended.
 
Buy this book: http://goo.gl/RSQGHp

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Books From my Childhood

                                             Top Ten Books From my Childhood
The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew, #2)

Today is the first time I'm participating in the meme, Top Ten Tuesday! I ended up being very sentimental. Here are the top ten books from my childhood.

Amelia Bedelia: I loved reading about Amelia's blunders and quirks. I still remember some of them.

“Draw the curtains, Amelia,” she's told. Well, that's an odd request, but she'll do it! So she whips out a sketch pad and starts drawing the curtains! These books are filled with things like that, that children will find hilarious!

Nancy Drew: Fun fact: Carolyn Keene isn't one person. But, whoever all these Keenes are, I sure enjoyed reading their books about Nancy. I read more books about the young sleuth than I can count. It was definitely my favorite series as a kid.

Black Beauty: The abridged version of course. I read this book about 15 times. Carried it with me to school every day in 4th grade. Oh, and the pictures in my version were lovely. I used to redraw them as a kid.

Black Stallion: I can barely recall anything about this series. But it was one of my favorites in 5th grade, so....

Ella Enchanted: Utterly Enchanting! ;)

Purple, Green, and Yellow: Ok, you might be thinking, “What in the world is that?” I know this looks like just another children's book, nothing special. But I was obsessed with this book as a kid. So was my sister. I used to read it to her. Every. Day. The story about the girl who turned invisible because she colored on herself with the wrong markers, well, it just stuck with us.


A-Z mysteries: I just really loved mysteries.

Magic Treehouse: It is my belief, that if you didn't read these books as a child, you had no childhood.

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House, #1)Junie B. Jones and the  Stupid Smelly Bus (Junie B. Jones, #1)
 

Junie B. Jones: My kindergarten teacher read these aloud to the class before dismissal. Because of that, I just had to get my hands on all of them.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing: My mom read this aloud to my siblings and me when we were younger. Later I read it again on my own—loved it just as much!

All images from Goodreads.com

So, those are my top ten. What are some books you loved reading as a kid?


Monday, December 15, 2014

Review - The Pawn

The Pawn (The Patrick Bowers Files #1) by Steven James
Genres: Crime/Thriller, Christian
My rating: 5 stars
Average Goodreads rating: 4.09 stars
Pages: 427

The Pawn (The Patrick Bowers Files, #1)
Image from Goodreads.com

There's a killer on the loose. Enter Patrick Bowers—Special Agent, lousy stepfather, and endearing main character of The Pawn.

Our hero has a lot weighing on him. The death of his wife, the strained relationship with his stepdaughter—oh, and dealing with dead bodies. Too many dead bodies for his taste. And the serial killer dubbed as The Illusionist has only been adding to that count.

The killer's game just gets more and more dangerous, threatening Patrick and the ones he loves. It's takes all he can do to stay ahead in the game. But will it be enough?

The Illusionist is taking their pieces. He's taking their lives.

Wow! I can honestly say that I was hooked from the very first page. Steven James has true talent. The Pawn contained such an intricate and well-paced plot. I don't know that I have anything bad to say about this book.

But just a warning: this is not a book for the faint of heart. There are parts that are pretty creepy and hard to stomach. Personally, I wasn't bothered by any of it, but I have heard that the series just gets more gruesome.

But that in no way detracts from the enjoyment I got out of this book. I think it's true that most crime thrillers are plot driven—but while The Pawn had an amazing plot, I was equally drawn to the characters. Especially Patrick.

Above them, the bloated early morning clouds were drinking in the scarlet sunlight that seeped up and over the peaks. For a moment they made me think of giant gray bodies smeared with blood hanging from the sky.

Man.

I need to get a different job.” --Patrick Bowers

I loved seeing Patrick grow throughout the story and try to develop a relationship with is stepdaughter, Tessa(another likeable character). But most of all, I loved watching the process of catching the killer unfold and being inside Patrick's head during that process. He's always analyzing everything, trying to be one step ahead, trying to think like the killer. And he does a scary good job.

The ending left me satisfied, yet wanting more. I highly recommend it.

Content: It's a Christian book, and so it's very clean. I will add though, that it's not at all preachy. I think non-Christians would also enjoy this book. A bit gruesome and violent. Mentions of cutting and suicide. The descriptions of the dead bodies don't go in depth, but one of them might make you cringe.

Author site: http://stevenjames.net/
Buy this book: http://goo.gl/hnLDml

Friday, December 12, 2014

Review - Next Door Secrets

Next Door Secrets by Karen Lenfestey (Secrets #2)
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
My rating: 2 stars
Pages: 233

Next Door Secrets


Bethany doesn't exactly have it easy. Sure, she has a boyfriend, Parker, who she loves--but he seems determined to keep her at arms length. After all, he can't promise her that they'll have a full life together.

But as Parker pushes her farther away, she becomes closer to her neighbor's daughter, Kaylee. Kaylee is a sweet little girl who fills a void in Beth's life. But she also complicates it.

Parker's not the only one who's pushing her away. Kaylee's father wants nothing to do with Beth, and she knows he's hiding something. And she's determined to find out what it is. Because she'll do anything if it will help Kaylee.

For the record, I really did want to give this book a better rating. It was written well, it had likeable characters, it kept me wanting to know what happened next. All of these things were good, but in the end it didn't quite meet my expectations. It just wasn't the right book for me.

I'll start with the things I liked. First of all, the main character, Bethany. She felt real to me, and I enjoyed reading her point of view, feeling all of her desires and insecurities. I also liked the affinity she felt with children and her relationship with her neighbor's daughter.

Oh, and did I mention that the book started with two of the characters watching Star Trek: Voyager? Pretty Awesome.

But--the dislike side weighed a bit heavier.

Okay. So, the "love interests." Technically, one of the guys wasn't even a love interest. But both of them bothered me. I felt that Bethany deserved better than either of them. But, hey, it's a romance. She had to end up with someone so I thought I might as well choose a guy. Well... I was left disappointed there.

The ending left me feeling dissatisfied. There were questions left unanswered; it felt very rushed. Overall, it was just an okay book. I liked the writing--Ms. Lenfestey certainly has a talent for it. But like I said, it just wasn't the right book for me.

Content: Some profanity; a couple has sex, but it's not described; pregnancy out of wedlock. By my standards, not very clean.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Buy this book at: http://goo.gl/4qpaK1

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Votes for the Swoony Awards

Deluge (River of Time, #5)The Dancing MasterSecrets of Sloane House
Silenced (Alaskan Courage, #4)Forever With You (Christy & Todd: The Married Years #1)Full Steam Ahead
The Silver Siren (Iron Butterfly, #3) Images from Goodreads.com

If you read my post from Monday, http://thescribblingsprite.blogspot.com/2014/12/2014-swoony-awards-giveaway.html, you'll know about the Swoony Awards. The Swoony Awards were created to recognize excellence in Clean Fiction--that means no sex, mild/no language, and no graphic violence. You can vote for YOUR favorite books here: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/79941.2014_Swoony_Awards.

Today, I thought I'd share my own votes. I know, it's not a lot...but I haven't read many new releases this year. I tend to read older books, so I'll have to get on that.

So, did you vote? If so, what for?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Review - The Maze Runner


The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Genres: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian
My rating: 3.5 stars
Average Goodreads rating: 4.02 stars



My name is Thomas, he thought.
That … that was the only thing he could remember about his life. ”

The Maze Runner immediately plunged me into the story. I had questions; I wanted to know what happened next from the very first page.

In Chapter 1 we're introduced to a boy named Thomas. What else can I tell you about him? Well...nothing. Thomas awakes to darkness, with no memories of his life, his family, his friends. He only knows his name. And apparently that's not such a strange thing in the new world he's introduced to.


His new life is a maze—literally. And for some reason that he can't explain, Thomas wants to become a Maze Runner. A risky job that will send him into the chaos that surrounds his new home, and is occupied by the dangerous and grotesque Grievers.

One more thing—no one has ever made it through alive.

I really enjoyed The Maze Runner, but it didn't quite meet my expectations. For one thing, it was a bit slow to get started. There were always questions that made me want to know what happened next, but just not enough action or happenings to make it a fast-paced read. I'd say the story started out with a bang, slowed down for a while, then picked up about half way through the book.

I think the thing I liked best about this book was the mystery behind the maze. What were all those kids doing there without their memories? It was an interesting premise, and Dashner executed it well.

Content: A lot of the characters threw around some stupid made up words(like they were cursing) and that got pretty annoying. But other than that it was a pretty clean read. I'd say suitable for ages 11 and up.

Overall, I liked the Maze Runner and I'll keep on reading the series. The epilogue really made me want to know what happens next!

Author site: http://jamesdashner.com/
Where to buy it: http://goo.gl/i7mPJN

Don't forget to vote in The Swoony Awards! See my previous post http://thescribblingsprite.blogspot.com/2014/12/2014-swoony-awards-giveaway.html for info and a Giveaway.

Monday, December 8, 2014

2014 Swoony Awards + Giveaway

Hey everyone!
 
So, recently I became aware of an event that some the bloggers I follow are participating in--an Awards Blitz for the Swoony Awards. What are the Swoony Awards? Well, they're all about clean fiction. Keep reading to find out how you can vote for your favorite books and enter the giveaway!

 


What Are the Swoony Awards?

The Swoony Awards were
created to recognize excellence in clean fiction. There are so many
books published every day and it can be hard to find the ones worth
reading. We want to help recognize authors who write entertaining books
that are wholesome. It’s our hope that each year we will help provide
everyone with a great list of books to read and maybe introduce them to
new authors.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?

-Publication
Year: Only books published during the current contest year may be
nominated. To be fair to all books, contest dates will run from December
1, 2013 – November 31, 2014.

-Clean romance: No sex or closed door, low/mild innuendo. Only M/F romances.

-Language: None/mild, anything over a handful of profanity (especially the more offensive words) would not be considered clean.

-Violence: None/mild

-Other: Nothing overly dark, depressing or heavy subject matter

Novels,
novellas and short stories are all eligible for nomination, no limits
on page number. Any (clean) genre is eligible (i.e. contemporary,
fantasy, mystery, historical, etc.).

Each voter is able to choose
up to 100 books to vote on or nominate each contest year. There is no
cap on the overall number of books nominated.

How Are Winners Selected?

We will be accepting entries throughout the year and the winners announced
the first week in January. There are fifteen award categories (i.e.
Best Novel of the Year, Best Historical, Best Contemporary, etc.).
Winner’s will be announced via our blogs (Bookworm Nation, KJ’s Book
Nook and Katie’s Clean Book Reviews) and through Goodreads Swoony Awards
Group.

Since this is a reader’s choice award the winners are
determined by a combination of the number of votes received and how high
the voter rated the book and what rank the voter gave each book they
voted for.

Who Are We?

Kathy








Kathy (Bookworm Nation)

I've been hosting a book review blog, Bookworm Nation, for over five
years. I love to read and review books. And of course, I love to discuss
books! A few years ago I started the Goodreads group, Happily Ever
After Book Club. It's through Goodreads that I met Katie, Kathy Jo and
Heidi and while discussing our love of books one day we thought it'd be
fun to host our own Reader's Choice award. We're excited to introduce
the Swoony's this year, it's going really well and we look forward to
hosting it for years to come. 


Contact Info for Kathy:

Twitter: @bookwormnation
Blog: www.bookwormnation.blogspot.com

Kathy Jo 

Kathy Jo (KJ's Book Nook)

This may come as a shocker but I have NOT always been a little bookworm.
In fact growing up I was not the kid you saw jumping at the chance to
read. I was the one that just did it to make my teachers happy. That
silent reading time during school?! Yeah.. I was the kid napping! ;)
About 12 years ago someone loaned me a book and said I just HAD to read
it. I took it just to get them off my back and much to my surprise I
could NOT put it down! And from then on I would read... but only that
one author. I refused to read anything else! It
wasn't until 2009 when 2 of my favorite people introduced me to the
Twilight Series that I actually started branching out. And ever since
then I haven't been able to STOP reading! ;) About 5 months ago I
decided to start a book blog and I have been loving it! I get to be
another voice for all the amazing authors that I love! How cool is
that?! And of course through my
adventures in reading I have been able to meet some amazing women who
love books just as much as, if not more than, me! I love chatting with
them about all the books we read! We have become such great friends that
at times I forget that I've never really met them in person! Books just
have a way of bringing people together! My reading choices vary... I
love a lot of different genres.With that said... I am not ashamed to
admit that I am a romantic and I love fluff! As long as it's clean and
has a HEA, I'll definitely give it a try! Any book that gives me a break
from reality and puts a smile on my face is definitely a book for me!
  
Contact Info for Kathy Jo:

Email: kjsbooknook@gmail.com
Blog: kjsbooknook.blogspot.com    
Twitter: @kjincali  



Katie Watkins 

Katie (Katie's Clean Book Collection)

I started blogging about a year and a half ago. I've always loved to read and talk about books--it's my obsession. The first book I learned to read on my own was Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. I love a lot of different genres, but my favorite is clean romance, which is perfect for the Swoony's! I've had a blast meeting new friends who enjoy the same types of books that I do.

Contact Info for Katie:

Email: lilacqueen75@gmail.com
Twitter: @lilacqueen75
Blog: www.katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/katiescleanbookcollection



Heidi 

Heidi 

I'm a mother of four amazing kids and married to my own Prince Charming.
I love to read, kiss my handsome Prince, bake, run (because I love to
bake), ride horses, play sports, and spend time with my little family. I
first fell in love with reading at a very young age because of my sweet
grandmother who always took the time to read me my favorite books over
and over again. She could never tell me no. My wonderful mother is also
entirely addicted to reading and we love to "talk books" late into the
night....and plot how we are going to buy more. :) I adore clean,
happily ever after books, and I've loved getting to know so many other
women who do as well. Who knew books would be the reason I would meet
some of the dearest people in the world?! 

Contact Info for Heidi:

Email: curlyhide9@hotmail.com

Note to Authors:

If you’ve written a book that matches the above criteria fill free to
nominate it for a Swoony! Don’t be afraid to promote the award or to let
your fans know your book is up and that it needs votes. We are doing
some promoting, but sometimes a Facebook, Twitter or blog post directly
from the author is the best way to let your fan base know your book has
been nominated. Only books with a minimum of THREE votes will be added
to the official nomination list found on the Goodreads Swoony Awards group page. Winners will be announced January 2015.

To stay up to date on voting and nominations, please join our Goodreads Swoony Awards group page!

Note to Readers:

If you’ve read a book this year that you think is awesome…VOTE! This is a
great way to let authors know you appreciate all that hard work. You can
vote for up to 100 books on the list. We’ve also learned that the order
you rank the books you vote on does affect the overall score of the
book. So take a minute and make sure you have your books in the order
you want them. Invite your friends to vote! Voting ends December 31,
2014.

The 2014 Swoony Awards is now accepting nominations and votes for your favorite books of the year. Polls will be open until December 31, 2014. 
 
Join us on Facebook and Twitter.



As a thank you for making the Swoony Awards a success,

we'd like to offer an Amazon gift card! The winner will

have 48 hours to claim the prize. Only valid

where Amazon gift cards may be used. You must

be 13 or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 5, 2014

Review - Trail of Crosses

Trail of Crosses by Jo Grafford
Genres: Historical Romance
My rating: 4.5 stars
Pages: 378

Image from Amazon.com
 
 
 
 
 
Trail of Crosses is the second book in The Lost Colony Series, but can also stand alone. If you want a book with a romance that will make your knees go weak, look no further.
Jane Mannering is just a simple, poor Englishwoman, searching for freedom in a new land just like the rest of her Colonial caravan. But when the colonists are attacked and enslaved by “those red-skinned savages,” freedom seems to be far-off.

But Jane is determined to free the other colonists—if not herself. For she finds herself drawn to these people, their manner of living so different from the haughty ways of England. And the mighty Chief Wanchese, a fierce man who sends her heart racing, may not let her go without a fight.

This book pleasantly surprised me! At the beginning, I was a little wary. The story was spurred right into the conflict, which was great. But right after that came what I like to call an 'info dump.' I think Ms. Gafford tried to describe too much all at once. We're introduced to a lot of characters, and it was a bit overwhelming and hard to keep up with. However, even at this point the descriptions were lovely and the writing flowed really well, so I was in no hurry to quit.

Thank goodness. Because what came next wasn't just layed out information. It was action. It was conflict. I became so invested in the story, in what would happen next. The main character, Jane, also endeared herself to me very quickly.

I sympathized with her in her plight. Before her untimely adventure, she was looked down upon as a spinster. Then she had to undergo the embarassment of being sold and enslaved. To top it all of, her new chief tries to seduce her. But she refuses him in spite of her attraction, holding fast to her morals. I never stopped rooting for her.

This really was a captivating read. I enjoyed seeing how everything would play out, and watching the Englishmen and the Native Americans work together. I also loved their manner of speaking and the historical feel. In short, I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the series!

Content: Kissing; Wanchese tries to persuade Jane to lie with him, but she refuses because they are not married; the Native American women are bare chested. I recommend it for girls 15+.

Just a side note: As a Christian, one thing bothered me a little bit—that Jane, though she was a Christian, never really tried to convert anyone. And that she *MINOR SPOILER* married Wanchese even though he was not a believer *END SPOILER*. Still, I loved the novel overall, and was happy to give it 4.5/5 stars.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review—just an honest one.

Amazon / Author site
 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey
Expected Publication date: February 3rd, 2015

Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now paired together on Yancey's search-and-rescue canine unit, they begin to put aside old arguments as they come to see each other in a different light. Then a call comes in from the Iditarod that will push them to their limits.

Kirra's uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing. Frank's daughter has been kidnapped. In order to save her, the man must use his knowledge as a mechanical engineer to do the kidnapper's bidding or she will die. Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl's life, but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.


Having read the first four books in this series and loved them all, it's safe to say I'm a little excited for this book. I can't wait to see what's in store for Kirra and Reef.

Update: Read my review of Sabotaged.