Friday, October 26, 2012

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection 2012

So the instant I saw the beautiful cover of this book and the list of authors participating I knew I want to read this book. I was even more thrilled when I got the chance to get a review copy. This book is full of a series of novellas by some of the best authors in the market today. I saw the names Sarah M. Eden, Heather Moore, Annette Lyon and I was super excited. It also gave me a chance to sample the work of some author’s whose names I recognized byut hadn’t read anything from before.
There is such a wide array of love stories here, they take place in different times and places, but they are all historical romances. I think I enjoyed something about every single story. There wasn’t one that I absolutely hated or disliked. I did feel that some were more polished than others, however. Some of the stories felt a bit forced or disjointed on account of the novella format. Still each one reads as a complete and satisfying story, and it was fun to read from so many time periods and genres.  Oh, and the cover says they are short stories, but they are long short stories. Most of the stories have more than one chapter. They are more short novels than short stories in my opinion.

Sarah M. Eden writes a Victorian era Irish tale about Alice Wheatley a working class girl who has formed a strong friendship with an Isaac Dancy as they walk to and from town each weekend. Alice goes to visit her grandparents and Isaac goes to court the belle of the town. Alice realizes that she is in love with him and can no longer support his foolish perusal of a woman who is obviously stringing him along. When Alice begins to avoid him Isaac takes a second look at what he really wants in a partner.

I really loved this one. The characters were well drawn and motivated. I like how the author took her time showing Isaac coming around to the realization that he liked Alice. Also, I liked the fact that this story had a lot of interesting side characters. Well told.  

It Happened Twelfth night by Heidi Ashworth

Tells the story of Luisa, the daughter of the gatekeeper who is invited to the welcoming home party for her childhood sweetheart. Percy is the son of Sir Walter Brooksby and while they are from different classes she is sure their love will work out somehow. That is until she finds him wooing another woman at the party, an engaged one no less. Luckily for her she meets Mr. Flynn before the party turns into an entire disaster. He makes her horrible party experience into a bearable one, and when they are snowed in for the night. Luisa gets that chance to learn more about the Mysterious Mr. Flynn.

This seemed like the shortest read to me, and while I enjoyed the story I had a hard time believing the love interest Mr. Flynn would propose after only knowing Luisa one night. Still, I did like his character, big and kind hearted.  

A Winter’s Night by Donna Hatch

A novel that follows in the footsteps of romantic gothic novels Clarissa Fairchild  and her aunt are on the way home from shopping when their carriage must pull off at Wyckburg castle on account of bad weather. For generations the Lords of the Castle were rumored to have killed off their wives. Clarissa had imagined what sort of man must rule the Castle, but had never expected to find out. However, the Earl of Wyckburg welcomes them into his home, distressed to learn that a Fairchild girl is on his property, because according him the truth behind the deaths of Wyckburg castle is that one of Clarissa’s relatives cast a curse. Each Lady of Wyckburg dies after giving birth to their first born son.  Clarissa and Lord Wyckburg must break the curse if they want to act on the feelings they begin to have for one another.

I loved this one. It was spooky, which made it a perfect Halloween read, but it ultimately it is a Christmas story.  The eerie atmosphere of a cursed castle gave this one a fun and unique ambiance.  

An Unexpected Proposal by Annette Lyon

Caroline finds work in a wood camp up Logan Canyon to help pay the bills that help care for her sick sister Bertha.  Most of the time the camp is a safe place to work until one of the workmen gets fresh with her. Quickly punished, the man gets thrown out of camp and afterward Caroline finds comfort with her friend James. Only his attentions lead him to propose to her. Caroline hates to hurt him, but has to say no because she hadn’t done half of the things she has wanted to accomplish before she get married. Then an avalanche imperils men in the canyon. James volunteers to risk his life to join with the rescue party. The long night that he is gone Caroline finds the perspective she needs to admit that she really does love James.

I loved that is one is set out west and that makes it unique in the collection. It reminded me of home since I grew up in Utah and am familiar with the history of it. I love the scene at the end where Caroline comes and talks to James after he returns from the rescue. Can’t give much details to spare giving the ending away, but it is romantic and hilarious and sweet. This one had more typos than the others which I found odd since Lynnette is really strict about that sort of thing. Some mix up must have happened.  I also felt like the beginning of this story doesn’t really fit with the rest of the story.  

Caroles on the Green by Joyce Dipastena

Set in medieval England Isabel is a strong-willed woman, who rules much of her father’s affairs.  Then her father decides that it is time for her to be married and throws an extravagant party to move things along in that direction. Isabel tries to pretend that she is unruffled by Sir Lucian’s presence, though he is stubborn and handsome as ever. Impulsively, when Isabel finds a ring in her pudding, she puts in on not knowing who the giver is, effectively accepting the unknown giver as her betrothed. Only as the night wears on and the dancing begins, Isabel remembers just how much she loves Sir Lucian. But another knight claims that he gave her the ring, and desires to take her hand.

I love Isabel and her strong will! I also loved how the author explored the characters more in this story. I liked how the motivations behind Isabel’s angry and rebellious actions were shown so that Lucian could understand her better.

A Fortunate Exile by Heather B. Moore

In turn of the century New York Lila was discovered with playboy Roland Graves, and although she was not ruined the rumors proclaim her as good as. In order to preserve her reputation her Father is sending her away to her aunt’s house in the country. Lila hopes to escape this fate with a marriage proposal from Roland but he has and never had any intention of marrying her. Hurt and betrayed she accepts her exile to her aunt’s home and is determined to obey her. Though she already has a house guest named Peter, a handsome young man attending a nearby university. Peter understands how Lila feels about Roland, having been cast off in a similar manner by a society lady. They quickly form a sincere friendship that turns into something sweeter.

This one is also unique in that it is set in 1919, New York City. I like the big city, high society feel at the beginning of the story with the illusionary romance set against the rural, down to earth, honest romance at the end of the story. Such a beautiful contrast, and I loved how the author showed such a genuine connection between the main characters of the story. This one was one of my favorites.

Find out more about the anthology at its offical site includes sample chapters and summaries.

If you are interested in novella collections Kaylee Baldwind, Jolene Perry, and Rachel Anderson just released All I Want (Three Holiday Romances), a romantic Chirstmas collection with three novellas.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

LDSPBP: Michael O. Tunnel

Michael O. Tunnell planned on being a lawyer until he visited a elemetary school as a grown up, which reminded him of childhood love for books. He changed his major to education and focused his learning on children's literature. He experiemented with writing from the time he was young and finally got his first picture book manuscript accepted on the third submision. He has written picture books, historical non-fiction for children, and several novels.

Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell

A historic picture book based on the odd but true story of a girl who wanted to visit her grandmother. Her parents were unable to afford a train ticket for her, but came up with the clever idea of mailing the child instead.

This is a delightful and unique picture book that has the flavor of early 1900’s in both the art work and the author’s text. This wonderful not only transports readers back to another century, but also give them an interesting story to read about.  Children can learn more about trains and the early postal system as well as read the author’s notes to discover just how this story happened in history.

Halloween Pie by Michael O. Tunnell

The witch has finished a very delicious pie. She leave it on her window seal to cool, but leaves a curse on it to protect it from greedy thieves. When the witch leaves the vampires, banshees, skeletons, Ghouls, and ghosts are tempted by the smell of the pie wafting through the grave yard. Together they eat and are cursed, and are turned into the pie ingredients. You’ll have to read and find if these poor souls are ever turned back into their normal selves. I like that this book was scary, but not too scary. Good and fun Halloween book. Includes a recipe for Halloween Pie.  

Other books not reviewed:


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Guy Next Door by Kate Palmer

The Guy Next Door by Kate Palmer

On the surface, Eva Black's life seems practically perfect. The small-town kindergarten teacher is set to wed ambitious lawyer Sean Langley, and their plans for a dream wedding are well underway. Eva accepts that she will soon live life in the spotlight as a member of the prestigious Langley family, but can she overlook her fiance's tendency to dominate the details of her life and push the limits of her standards?
Mere weeks before the wedding, Eva is thrown into a traumatic, life-changing event that changes her view of family commitment and creates a sharp contrast between her ideals and Sean's. With her engagement to Sean in jeopardy, Eva finds herself relying on the support and encouragement of Peter, her kind and attentive next-door neighbor. Faced with a choice between her penitent fiance and the increasingly mysterious Peter, Eva is unprepared for the consequences—and peril—that come with her decision. (amazon summary)

I really liked the way the author wrote the two love interests in The Guy Next Door. Sean was a decent smart guy that Eva could have built a life with. I like that he and Eva disagreed, but  that he never really turns evil. He kind of is a jerk when Eva adopts her baby niece Melody, as he had a different opinion about children than she does, but he doesn’t ever turn into evil guy. I like how the author shows the layers of their relationship to the reader so you can see the strengths as well as the weaknesses of it so the reader finds it believable that they break up without being cliche or too melodramatic.

I found it refreshing that Peter wasn’t the typical cookie cutter Mormon love interest. He’s got long hair, a goatee, and a suspicious job. I liked how the author showed how comfortable Eva felt around him and found their love story to be super sweet. Though, I found it a bit unbelievable that Eva wasn’t more suspicious about his job, and thought that should have been less of a big reveal, as I felt it was obvious. Perhaps there could have been some hints as to non-disclosure contracts and all that to give Peter more of a reason to stay silent about his “consulting business.”  I just felt like he should have given her a more solid reason as to why he wouldn't discuss his work.

Other than that I was sad that the novel was over. I wanted to read more about Peter and Eva and the special relationship that was blooming between them. I wanted to discover if they really found one another as compatible as they first thought, and how Peter’s job turned out.

Overall, I really liked this unique romantic suspense novel that portrayed unique and layered relationships. I am glad that I had the opportunity to participate in the blog tour and receive a e-copy for review.  

As part of the tour, Kate is generously offering a grand prize giveaway of a copy of The Guy Next Door plus Junior Mints (Eva’s favorite candy), and a copy Eva’s lemon chicken recipe.
To enter to win these prizes, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form provided. (Each tour stop will have the same Rafflecopter form)
  • Open from October 2 to November 2.
  • Must be 13+ years of age to enter
  • US mailing addresses only
Earn entries by doing any/all of the following:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

LDSPBP: Cambria Evans

Cambira Evans is an illustrator and designer that lives in New York. She went to school in graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design. While there she took a class focused on illustrating children's books. She completed a mock up of Martha Moth Makes Socks and had to submit it to a panel of editors for her project assignment. Shortly after that she obtained an agent and a book deal for her first book.
Author's Website:

This simple little story is about a very hungry moth, who is planning a birthday dinner.  Going shopping preparing food while you’re hungry is a very bad ideas because you may eat all the food before the guests arrive!

I thought this little story a bit odd. It is not every day that you think about moths cooking up your sweater on the stove for dinner, but the illustrations are fun and cheerful. The story is unique and cute.


This is a story about Finnigin the skeleton, who has a reputation for eating a bit too much at parties. So when the witch flies by and realizes Finnigin is headed for her town she warns everyone she meets. Everyone agrees to hide away their food, and Finnigin arrives to a non-existent Halloween feast.  Though, he is rebuffed by the townspeople Finnigin has a plan, and starts a bone soup. Pretty soon the witch, beast, zombies, mummy and werewolf have all decided to put their share into the soup. There is a true Halloween feast for everyone.

I really enjoyed this little retelling of bone soup Halloween style. The art work is really interesting and distinct. I love how the author puts the text and scenes into frames to give the text a graphic novel feel. It makes the story feel very sharp and organized. I am totally going to remember this one for when Halloween festivities come around.  I found Finnigin to be a clever and likable little ghoul.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Witch Born by Amber Argyle

Witch Born by Amber Argyle

Brusenna thought it was finished.

She defeated the Dark Witch, saving the Haven Witches from imprisonment and death. She found love and a place to belong.

She was wrong.

Haven is not the sanctuary it appears to be. Even love is in danger of slipping away like water through cupped hands.

Some things can't be saved.

A new threat merges with the old as the Witches’ dark history begins to catch up with them. Only Brusenna knows the extent of the danger and how to stop it, though doing so might cost her everything.

Including her life.

Will Brusenna be required to make the ultimate sacrifice? (Summary from Author’s Website)

This sequel to Witch Song picks up with Brusenna in Haven learning all the things she needs to know about being a witch. As an apprentice, she gets through classes fairly well though she has to deal with how her teachers and classmates treat her because her song has become so very strong that it does impossible things.  They speak of her being creator touched, but as Brusenna tries to find out what that means she discovers another coven of witches,  who desire to destroy their haven.

I found that I really got caught up in this book. I remember having a few nitpicks about the first book in this series, but I found that I enjoyed Witch Born a lot more. The plot felt more original, the characters more natural, and there was some really cool world building in this installment. So I really enjoyed this read and felt like the author had really hit her stride in presenting the characters and the world set up around them. I would enjoy reading a sequel, but I am not quite sure where the author would take the characters. I just know that at the end of the story I would have had a lot of fun exploring the new setting the author created for the witches to live in and there wasn’t a whole lot of time to do that. 
Author's Website
Book avaliable as Paperback or ebook .

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

LDSPBP: Four Halloween Stories

Get into the Halloween Spirit with picture books written by LDS authors.
Michael O. Tunnell's Halloween Pie
Don't go eating a witches pie. It may be cursed. Yummy recipe included.
Cambria Evans Bone Soup
The retelling of a classic fable with a creepy twist.
Skeleton Cat by Kristyn Crow
A dancing cat grooves in the graveyard
Mrs. McMurphy's Pumpkin by Rick Walton
A creepy pumpkin with a wicked wicked smile. It wants to eat you and just keeps coming back.