Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Marrying Christopher Cover Reveal

Dearest friends who still pop by my blog from time to time—please don't think I'm off my rocker for participating in the cover reveal for a *gasp* ROMANCE! I am in full control of my faculties (well, mostly) and retain all previous reasoning abilities.

This is a special case. I have good reasons for agreeing to participate in this cover reveal for Marrying Christopher (Hearthfire #3) by Michele Paige Holmes, which is coming out in July. And those reasons aren't just because it is a lovely cover. (Although it is lovely, isn't it?)

First, I loved Counting Stars (2007 Whitney Award Winner for Best Romance),  Michele's debut novel, because it wasn't your stereotypical romance (read my review here). I read all the rest of the books in that series too and really liked them.

I also enjoyed her book, Captive Heart (2011 Whitney Award Finalist for Best Romance), a more traditional historical romance, but still a strong book with character depth and interesting plot.

While I have not read the first two books in the Hearthfire series, my mother has read Saving Grace and liked it, and I just sent her Loving Helen as a gift. Without reading it first. Why take that risk? Because of the past level of quality and enjoyment Michele Paige Holmes has given me.

Here's a bit about the book:

Having seen both his sisters Grace and Helen happily married, Christopher Thatcher is free to pursue his dream of life in America. With adventure in his heart and mind, he boards one of the first steamships set to cross the Atlantic in the record breaking time of only twenty-five days. Within the first two of those, his resolve—to avoid women and the complications they often bring to a man’s life—falters when he meets Marsali Abbott, a young woman with a past even more troubling than his own.

Whether from years of habit protecting his sisters, or simply because he feels drawn to Marsali, Christopher chooses to help her and becomes her friend. As the truth about what awaits Marsali in America becomes evident, he is faced with a more difficult choice, one that will impact their lives far beyond four weeks together at sea.

To add this book to your GoodReads list, click here: Marrying Christopher on GoodReads

To find out more about Michele, visit her website: www.michelepaigeholmes.com.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

(dis)Abilities and the Gospel by Danyelle Ferguson and Lynn Parsons {and a Giveaway}

This is my niece, Ryane. She is 26 years old. She is absolutely awesome! Her strength of spirit, her wit and humor, her exuberant expressions of love and support have inspired me for years.

This girl has more courage than anyone I know. Years ago when she was in the hospital facing the very real possibility of losing her leg, she told us that at first she was afraid, but then Heavenly Father and Jesus came and sat on either side of her—and she wasn't afraid anymore.

What an amazing expression of faith in God! I don't know very many people who could say that with absolute confidence and peace.

Can you imagine the strength of testimony and the example that she could have been to the other girls in her ward? Unfortunately, there were times when it seemed no one was interested in what Ryane was so willing to freely share.

Some of her experiences at church have included those where leaders and others could only see her disabilities. They were uncomfortable around her, didn't know how to respond to her comments and participation, and unfortunately, they were sometimes downright unkind.

But when her leaders were able to see all the abilities she brought to the classroom—her love and acceptance of others, her sense of humor, her deep sensitivity to spiritual things—it not only made her feel welcome, but it uplifted and strengthened the entire class.

And that is why I'm participating in this book tour—because I wish this book had been available when Ryane was younger.

The good news is, it's available now. 

(dis)Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ by Danyelle Ferguson and Lynn Parsons was published in 2011.

In any social situation, and particularly in church meetings and classrooms, caring and informed teachers and leaders can provide an uplifting and inspiring environment for everyone.
Using helpful information, real-life stories, and a touch of humor, the book shares ways for you to effectively teach people of all ages with autism, Down syndrome, bipolar disorder, memory loss, and other disabilities. 
Here are just a couple of snippets from the book:

While it’s important to have a basic understanding of each person’s disability, it’s more important to focus on their abilities. Every child of God has a tremendous future. Parents and church leaders have the responsibility to help everyone reach his or her potential.

Behavioral problems are possibly the most difficult disability to understand. Youth with behavioral challenges may look like everyone else. Behaviors may appear inconsistently. The things you try may work one week and fail the next. Solving these challenges begins with an analysis of the trigger, the behavior itself, and the consequences that follow. Then a system of positive teaching methods and supports can be put in place.

We should never think Heavenly Father values one child more than another.

You can find (dis)Abilities and the Gospel at many LDS bookstores and also at Amazon.com.

Both authors also have new books out.

Lynn Parsons became a teacher because of her experiences helping two of her children with special needs. She has taught special education children at both the elementary and secondary levels. She continues to look for innovative teaching methods that can reach all learners. Lynn now works as an Educational Diagnostician, evaluating children with disabilities.

Lynn's new book, Plain and Simple Truths: Lesson Plans with Hands-On Activities to Teach Gospel Truths to All Ages, is a practical teaching resource that consists of engaging hands-on activities that are used to teach religious ideas. It's like Cub Scout Science meets Religion 101. The flexible lesson plans are appropriate for learners of all ages and those with cognitive and other types of disabilities.

Learn more about Lynn Parson's, her books, and her work at www.ldsdisabilitieshelp.com.

Danyelle Ferguson co-wrote (dis)Abilities and the Gospel because she wanted to help leaders and teachers understand the struggles of her child.  Since its publication, she has focused on fiction. Her clean romance, Sweet Confections, was released in 2014. The second book in the Indulgence Row series, Love Under Construction, will be available this coming September.

Danyelle Ferguson discovered her love for the written word in elementary school. Her first article was published when she was in 6th grade. Since then, she’s won several awards and has been published world-wide in newspapers, magazines and books. She’s grateful every day to work in her dream jobs – author, editor, and nurturing her readaholic tendencies.

Visit Danyelle at her website: www.danyelleferguson.com

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Follow the Tour
To learn more about these two wonderful authors and their books, you can follow along with the book tour:

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March 23

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015 Reading List

New Year. New list of books I want to read!

I love the GoodReads Reading Challenge. Once again, my goal for the year is 100 books. Didn't make it last year, but I'm determined to exceed it this year.

If you'd like to join me, CLICK HERE to be my friend.

Links go to my review site. If I was ambivalent or it just wasn't my thing, I usually don't review or even give a star rating. When I do give a rating, this is what it means:

3 Stars = good; 4 Stars = really good; 5 Stars = AWESOME!

Let me reiterate, 3 stars from me means it IS a good book. Starting this year, I'm rounding up on Amazon and GoodReads because their rating system is different from mine, and a 3 star review actually damages a book. Which is stupid (IMO). So if it's a solid 3 from me, I may not leave a review or stars on those sites, or I may choose to round up if it was a 3 1/2 for me because I'm not going to hurt a book that was good, but just didn't make it to raving status for me.

  1. Discern (Katon University) by Andrea Pearson (YA Paranormal; 4 stars)
  2. Endless by Jaclyn Weist (YA Fairytale; 3 stars)
  3. The Princess and the Prom Queen by Jaclyn Weist
  4. Dangerous by Shannon Hale (YA Superhero; 4 stars)
  5. Contact by Laurisa White Reyes (YA Paranormal; 4 stars)
  6. House of Ivy and Sorry by Natalie Whipple (YA Paranormal; 4 stars)
  7. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (YA Paranormal; 3 stars)
  8. Genesis (The Colony #1) by Michaelbrent Collings (Zombie Horror; 4 stars)
  9. The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (YA Paranormal; 3 1/2 stars)
  10. Tying the Knot (Newport Ladies Book Club #9) by Kilpack, Lyon, Moore and Wright (Women's Fiction; 4 stars)
  11. Infinity + One by Amy Harmon (4 stars)
  12. Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon (4 stars)

  13. Ghost Moon Night by Jewel Allen (Middle Grade Folk Tale; 3 stars)
  14. Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore (Romance; 4 1/2 stars)
  15. Ungifted (Supernaturals #2) by Kelly Oram (3 1/2 stars)
  16. The Time of the Fireflies by Kimberley Griffiths Little (4 stars)
  17. Tomorrow We Spy (Spy Another Day #3) by Jordan McCollum (Spy Suspense; 4 stars)
  18. Blood on the Water (Monk #20) by Anne Perry (Victorian Detective Mystery; 4 stars)
  19. Eve: In the Beginning by H.B. Moore
  20. My Name is Bryan by Stacy Lynn Carroll
  21. Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan (YA Romance; 4 stars)
  22. Spy by Night (Spy Another Day Prequel #3) by Jordan McCollum (Spy by Night; 3 1/2 stars)
  23. The Accidental Apprentice by Anika Arrington
  24. On the Fence by Kasie West (YA Romance; 4 stars)
  25. Drop Zone by Traci Hunter Abramson (Military Suspense; 4 stars)

  26. Lady Emma's Campaign by Jennifer Moore (4 stars)
  27. Painting Kisses by Melanie Jacobson (4 stars)
  28. This Darkness Light by Michaelbrent Collings (4 stars)
  29. Softly Falling by Carla Kelly (4 stars)
  30. An Ocean 'atween Us (We Glovers #1) by__ (3 stars)
  31. A Thoughtful Rain by Elizabeth Petty Bentley (3 stars)
  32. The Glassblower by Petra Durst Benning (4 stars)

  33. Pretty Little Dead Girls by Mercedes M. Yardley (4 1/2 stars)
  34. Nameless by Mercedes M. Yardley (4 stars)
  35. The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler (4 stars)
  36. Thread End (__) by Amanda Lee (4 stars)
  37. Wicked Stitch (__) by Amanda Lee (4 stars)
  38. Chasing Daybreak (Dark of Night #1) by Ranae Glass (4 stars)

  39. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson  (3 stars)
  40. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (3 stars)
  41. Chasing Midnight (Dark of Night #2) by Ranae Glass (4 stars)
  42. Daylighters (Morganville Vampires #__) by Rachel Caine (3 1/2 stars)
  43. Pysched by Juli Caldwell (4 stars)
  44. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (#1) by __ (3 1/2 stars)
  45. Relax, I'm a Ninja by Natalie Whipple (4 stars)
  46. Numbers Game by Rebecca Rode (4 stars)
  47. Bound in Blue by Heather Hamilton-Senter (4 1/2 stars)
  48. Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia (4 stars)

  49. Farworld #4: Fire Keep by J. Scott Savage (4 1/2 stars)
  50. The Song of David by Amy Harmon (4 stars)
  51. Rose Tinted by Shannen Crane Camp (4 stars)
  52. Silver Lined by Shannen Crane Camp (4 stars)
  53. Killer Wedding Cake (__) by Gayle Trent (4 stars)
  54. Case File 13 #2: Making the Team by J. Scott Savage (4 stars)
  55. Case File 13 #3: Evil Twins by J. Scott Savage (4 stars)

  56. The Angel Court Affair (Pitt #30) by Anne Perry (Victorian Detective Mystery; 4 stars)
  57. The Kiss That Launched 1000 GIFS by Sheralyn Pratt (Contemporary Romance; 4 1/2 stars)
  58. The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins (4 stars)
  59. Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin (4 1/2 stars)
  60. The Devil's Only Friend by Dan Wells (4 1/2 stars)

  61. Son of War Daughter of Chaos by Janette Rallison (4 stars)
  62. Clicks by Amy Evans (3 1/2 stars)
  63. All Hallow's Eve (A Timeless Romance Collection)
  64. Kate Unmasked by Cindy Hogan
  65. Witness by Christine Kersey (YA Suspense; 4 stars)