Friday, May 29, 2015

Reviews 101

Welcome to Armchair BEA Day Numero Three! Today as my topic I am sharing some very basic tips on how to draft a review. New to book blogging or just want to keep better notes for yourself? This list is a great place to start!

*Shall we start with Rule Number One?? NEVER give away a major plot point without very LARGE and OBVIOUS warning!! Don't be that dude.

*Include an image of the book's cover. Consider leaving a link to buying pages or Goodreads.

Ara Book Blitz + Giveaway

Release Date: Fall 2014
339 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Ara Vertrees is an advisor to the King in Jimalia, a thriving island nation in the middle of a vast ocean. Her macaws are trained to fly home to the palace to repeat confidential information. When their messages become more and more troubling, she finds herself in the middle of a crisis she never expected. Ara's story is full of adventure, friendship, mystery, love and loss. Join Ara and her companions as they fight pirates, uncover deception, find love and fight for Jimalia.

Buy Links:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Visual Expressions

This is day two of Armchair BEA 2015 and I am STILL SO EXCITED. Man, I had better get myself to BEA Chicago next year or I just may never go...

Today blogs around the world are talking about visual expressions, different ways to tell a story. Perhaps it is through paintings, webcomics or graphic novels. I, however, am deviating from the book theme to highlight a few music videos that have been on my mind lately.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Armchair BEA 2015 Introductions

Welcome to Sunrise Avenue Armchair BEA friends! 

And thank you for stopping by :) This will be my third year participating. Last year I think I slacked off too much, so this year I really want to challenge myself to comment on the ABEA blog daily and visit at least three new blogs every morning. And I always participate in the Instagram challenges. Those are fun AND easy!

First, a bit about me. I am a lifelong reader who discovered book blogging and couldn't resist. I am not the best, the hippest, or the most current, but I love books and love to share what I read. This year I am judging the 2015 INSPY Awards so that is keeping me busy this May and June. I am so passionate about reading that when the opportunity came up to start my own book business, I simply couldn't say no. Now I get to help kickstart the joy of reading in children. What could be better?!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Love Unexpected {Review}

Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope, #1)
Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund 
Beacons of Hope Book #1
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Bethany House
Publishing Date: November 25, 2014
All she's ever wanted was a home. But stranded at Presque Isle port after their steamboat sank, Emma Chambers and her brother, Ryan, couldn't be farther away from security. While Ryan at least can find work, Emma can't even find a place to stay. An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper, who recently lost his wife and is struggling to raise his young son, arrives in town. A traveling preacher believes they might be the answer to each others' problems, and after a hasty marriage, Emma is headed back to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger.
But nothing in her wandering life has prepared her for suddenly being asked to raise a child and keep a house. Struggling at every turn, Emma also suspects Patrick may be keeping something hidden from her. In town she hears whispers about strange circumstances surrounding his previous wife's death, and it seems as though Emma's answered prayer for a home and family may actually be something much more dangerous. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Heart's Danger {Quick Review}

A Heart's Danger (A Journey of the Heart, #3)
A Heart's Danger by Colleen Coble
Journey of the Heart #3
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publishing Date: May 5, 2015
On the brink of war with the Sioux, a young woman risks everything to expose the betrayal threatening the man she loves.
Christmas is coming, and the air at Fort Laramie has turned cold . . . but relations with the Sioux have turned colder. As tensions between soldiers and natives approach a tipping point, Ben Croftner and Jessica DuBois prepare a trap for Rand Campbell.
Bitter from rejection and backfired plans, Croftner has enlisted the help of Rand's new fiancee to keep Rand from ever returning to Sarah Montgomery . . . for whom his heart clearly still yearns.
Sarah is simply trying to move on with her life at Fort Laramie, but doing so under the watchful eyes of both Campbell--the man whose love she craves--and Croftner--the man whose lies have cost her everything. Will Rand fall victim to the conspiracy and go through with his wedding? Or will he declare his love for Sarah and make good on the promises that brought her into the rugged western territories?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Conviction Release Day Celebration

CONVICTION by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Official Release Day Celebration Hosted by MMSAI Tours


Monday, May 18, 2015

From the Start {Review}

From the Start (Walker Family, #1)
From the Start by Melissa Tagg
Walker Family Book #1
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Bethany House
Publishing Date: April 7, 2015
Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn't kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays...until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley. 

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend's hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he's lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he's never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it's like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn't part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that's ever happened to them?
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy today

My Thoughts:
Before I dive into this fabulous romance, a quick PSA: I won't be blogging much this week as I prep for Armchair BEA posts and spend much of my time reading for the INSPY Awards. Instead of posting I am going to be doing a lot of drafting, editing, and hopefully some blog clean up. Hugs for you all! *End PSA*

'From the Start' is one of those fabulous books that I just adored, but never got around to blogging about :/ But don't be put off by my blogging failures, 'From the Start' is a must read romance! Yes, I DID say must read.

Why? Colton and Kate were fully formed, swoon worthy people. Tagg has created realistic characters that you can't help but root for. Both MCs have big hurts in their pasts that were a part of the story, shaped who they were, but weren't all consuming of the story. It was touching to see them falling in love and taking risks again. Tagg also allowed them individual time to heal and learn to trust again which really allowed the characters to be strong, independent people who could still fall head over heels in love.

While we are talking about some great characters, I have to mention the cast of secondary characters: Webster, the troubled teen, Megan, Amelia, Norah, and of course Rosie's (Kate's) family, the Walkers. People, this is book one in a series about the Walker family. This means we get more of this fantabulous family that is happy and supportive but not overly cutesy. The Walker family is fun, adorable, and normal feeling. Why can't there be more 'normal' families in fiction? They are usually non-existent, overly cutesy, or in a giant riff. Not so here. It was a like a breath of fresh air that I really appreciated.

Tagg gives us some great pacing. No single event leads to the climax, but instead several events lead up to the conclusion. None of them felt contrived by the author and each lent a hand to our happy ending. The romance was cute, goofy, slow, and just old fashioned fun. Clean, but swoony is what I kept thinking to myself.

Book one of the Walker series is a flat out hit. If you like contemporary romances in anyway, Melissa Tagg should be bumped up to the top of your TBR list. Pick it up, dive in, then come back and let me know what you thought. ASAP! 5 stars. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

As Love Blooms {Review}

As Love Blooms (The Gregory Sisters, #3)
As Love Blooms by Lorna Seilstad
The Gregory Sisters Book #1
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Revell Company
Publishing Date: May 19, 2015
Tessa Gregory is nothing if not tenacious. Denied a position as a horticulturalist at prestigious Como Park in Saint Paul, she is not above a little benevolent deception in order to get the park superintendent to change his mind and hire her. She plans to infiltrate the world of wealthy and influential people in hopes of drumming up financial support for a world-class conservatory. But before she can put those plans into action, she meets Reese King, a handsome gardener at Como Park--and a major distraction. Still, Reese might be the key to achieving her dream. But is his goal to help her . . . or to capture her heart?

Against a lush backdrop of early twentieth century Saint Paul, Minnesota, Lorna Seilstad weaves a sweet and sassy story that is sure to please. Tessa's young romance opens like a rose, stealing readers' hearts and filling their senses with the intoxicating fragrance of dreams come true.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

In Which I Feel the Need to Share My Guilty Pleasures.

I never thought I had 'guilty pleasures', those things you secretly enjoy but other people would scoff at. Any time someone would ask I would just say 'Vampire Diaries' because:
OMG I love these guys!!! Damon and Steffin  DAMON IS PERFECT!!!!! Ps: he's the one on the left
Image from Pinterest. 
Sorry Husband. 

But I realized tonight that I do have a *few* others. I blame it on not wanting to grow up. Ever. This is my space for a running list:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Whenever You Come Around {Review}

Whenever You Come Around (Kings Meadow Romance, #3)
Whenever You Come Around by Robin Lee Hatcher
Kings Meadow Book #3
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publishing Date: May 12, 2015
Will writing a romance help this author find a real-life hero?

Charity Anderson turned her back on Kings Meadow years ago, with good reason, and has avoided visits to her hometown whenever possible. But with her house in Boise damaged by floodwaters and a book deadline bearing down, staying in her parents’ empty home seems her only option. However, being in Kings Meadow dredges up a painful secret, and old fears threaten to overwhelm her.

Charity’s former high school classmate Buck Malone never left town, instead sacrificing his dreams to take care of his family. Now he enjoys an uncomplicated life as a wilderness guide and confirmed bachelor. The last thing on his mind is settling down.

When Charity’s dog causes an accident that leaves Buck with a broken ankle and wrist at the start of prime tourist season, Charity has little choice but to render aid while he recuperates. Soon Buck becomes the inspiration for Charity’s hero, both on the page and off. Can he also help her face and overcome her fears so they might find their own happily ever after?

Monday, May 11, 2015

In Which I Introduce Gabriella

So once upon a time, one month ago today, we adopted a puppy. In all honesty, I don't think we knew what we were doing.

Before we had Baby Girl we tried to adopt a one year old lab, whom we named Jade. I was pregnant and she didn't like females =  a bad situation. Lucky we were smart enough to return her before Baby Girl was born or I think it would have been bad news.

But still, there I was, 2 1/2 years later, wanting a snuggly puppy. This time we adopted a four month old Mountain Cur (think mutt from the South) and although she is a handful, she is a MILLION times better than Jade.

Friday, May 8, 2015

INSPY Shortlists 2015

The INSPY shortlists have been announced!! Check out all the lists HERE. Here is the short list for Literature for Young Adults:

Remnants: Season of Wonder by Lisa T. Bergren
Storm Siren by Mary Weber
Blur by Steven James
Destined for Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Jupiter Winds by C.J. Darlington
I can't wait to start diving in! I'm going to have to buy myself some new sticky notes ;)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Love Like Ours Review + Giveaway

A Love Like Ours (Porter Family #3)
A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade
Porter Family Book #3
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publishing Date: May 5, 2015
Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New on the Shelves (6)

I may be inconsistent, but at least I am persistent! :) Here is another round of books I've gotten my hands on these last two weeks:

Meet Your Baker (A Bakeshop Mystery, #1)
Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Through Fire & Sea Blitz + Giveaway

Through Fire & Sea
Release Date: 05/05/15
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Mirror mirror, hear my call...

In the Fire world, seventeen-year-old Leah is the illegitimate daughter of one of the realm's most powerful lords. She's hot-blooded—able to communicate with the tempestuous volcano gods that either bless a civilization or destroy it. But then Leah discovers she's a Caller, gifted with the unique—and dangerous— ability to “call” her Otherselves in mirror worlds. And her father will do anything to use her powers for his own purposes.

In the Water world, Holly nearly drowns when she sees—and interacts with—Leah, a mirror image of herself. She’s rescued by Ryan, a boy from school with a secret he’d die to protect. Little do they know, his Otherself is the son of a powerful volcano god at war in the Fire world...and he’s about to fall.

As Leah and Holly's lives intersect, the Fire and Water worlds descend into darkness. The only way to protect the mirror worlds is to break every rule they've ever known. If they don’t, the evil seeping through the mirrors will destroy everything—and everyone—they love...

Monday, May 4, 2015

Dragons Are People, Too Review + Giveaway

Dragons Are People, Too
Dragons are People, Too by Sarah Nicolas
Book #1
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publishing Date: April 28, 2015
Never judge a dragonby her human cover...
Sixteen-year-old Kitty Lung has everyone convinced she’s a normal teen—not a secret government operative, not the one charged with protecting the president’s son, and certainly not a were-dragon. The only one she trusts with the truth is her best friend—and secret crush—the ├╝ber-hot Bulisani Mathe.
Then a junior operative breaks Rule Number One by changing into his dragon form in public—on Kitty’s watch—and suddenly, the world knows. About dragons. About the Draconic Intelligence Command (DIC) Kitty works for. About Kitty herself.
Now the government is hunting down and incarcerating dragons to stop a public panic, and a new shape-shifting enemy has kidnapped the president’s son. Kitty and Bulisani are the last free dragons, wanted by both their allies and their enemies. If they can’t rescue the president’s son and liberate their fellow dragons before getting caught themselves, dragons might never live free again

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Flights of Fantasy April 2015

People, I am back. I some how missed last month and, honestly, I can't even recall if I have actually linked any of these posts to the linky. I'm real organized like that. But I'm rockin' this challenge so I don't want to give up now. My goal was 20 books.....I'm now at 17!!

The Silver Witch
Oh goodness. I like the cover, but didn't dig the book.

Friday, May 1, 2015

April 2015 Recap

April is over already?? In my desperate wishes for warmer weather, April slipped by in a flash. But all the cold weather (and brief snow storm) had me in a reading frenzy!
EASTER happened! And Baby Girl loved all the Easter egg hunts :)
As a family we went to our first bookish event together at the library. Then the next week Baby Girl and I attended 'Do Good Together' Night at one of the elementary schools nearby. We drew pictures for elderly folks, made signs thanking veterans, and put together after school snacks for kids who couldn't afford them. It was an easy, fun way to spend an evening, plus I got to teach my 2 year old how to help others. 

My father in law celebrated his birthday, I was a judge for the cheerleading team tryouts, Hubby applied for a new job, and we celebrated our 3rd Annual Thanksgiving in April which was a -busy- success!