Monthly Giveaway for November: Aurelia

I can't believe it's already November! This means, of course that it's time for a new monthly giveaway. This month up for grabs is a paperback copy of Aurelia. You can read what I thought of this series here.

Aurelia (Aurelia, #1)Aurelia
by Anne Osterlund
YA Fantasy
April 17th 2008 by Speak

Goodreads Summary:

An impressive debut, equal parts commercial appeal and literary prowess.
Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king's former royal spy and one of Aurelia's oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line, her life, her kingdom, her heart, Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.

You have until November 30th to enter. Good luck!

Please note that you must be at least 13 years old. This giveaway is open to US entrants only. Please ensure that you correctly enter your email (and check your junk mail folder if I'm not on your contact list) so that I have a way to contact you. You can read my giveaway policy on my policies page. Void where prohibited by law. Enter via the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Favorites #21: Melanie Jacobson

Friday Favorites is a weekly meme hosted here, that spotlights a favorite author, book, series, publisher, cover, blog, etc. Basically whatever bookish thing that you love, recommend, and want to tell others about. Just pick one and link up to my post each Friday to share. You can use the graphic I used above, the other one here, or your own.

So my meme, Friday Favorites, is back! Have you guys missed it at all? Those of you who are new followers may not know much about these. This meme is exactly what it says and appears to be: a way for me to share my favorite bookish things and an invite for others to do the same.

Today I'm going to do something a little different. I'm going to talk about a favorite author and review her recent book, so lots of info today. Want to know who? Well, here you go...

I want to share with you one of my favorite LDS author's, Melanie Jacobson. Even if you're not LDS, I would recommend her books. The one I'm reviewing today, Second Chances, I would recommend to anyone who likes chick-lit and contemporary romance, especially with plenty of humor.

Why I love Melanie:

Well, she cracks me up. I can't help smiling or chuckling through most of her books. Such as in Second Chances, I think I couldn't keep a grin off my face for the entire first 2/3 of the book. The last 1/3 was a little bit more serious, but there was still humor there. Her characters have real lives and deal with real problems, but oh the sarcasm and wit. I just love it!

There is also always a great and gorgeous man somewhere in the picture at some point as well. A lot of times he is someone that the MC doesn't think is a possibility, so that adds some great drama and dialogue too. The guy isn't normally perfect (who is or should be looking for that in a partner), but is pretty close or doing his best, or is just the right man for her. There are also always great side characters, such as family, roommates, co-workers, or friends.

I always love her characters. I can't remember one character ever getting on my nerves that wasn't supposed to. I have loved her heroines and swooned over her heroes. I have felt heartache and a desire to cheer these characters on. I have related to them and the lives and choices they face. I have wanted them to find happiness and love. I have loved all of their journeys - seeing them change and learn and grow.

I would love to have a conversation with or hear Melanie speak. I think she would be lol funny and fantastic at teaching some important concept at the same time. You know like those great teachers who have you laughing and then the next second you could hear a pin drop when they share something that moves you or the audience just connects with? I think she is that kind of person.

I have two more books of hers that I have yet to read and I am planning on getting to them soon. Most of her books I just can't put down, so they end up being one-day/night reads. They also bring some lightness to my life and to the books I read. When I've been reading books a little on the heavier side, it's nice to have a book like hers sitting by to make me laugh and lift that tension. Definitely try her books if you haven't!

About the Author
(from her website)

Melanie JacobsonMelanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and romance novels. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed houseplants. Melanie is a former English teacher and a popular speaker who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time (ha!), she writes romantic comedies for Covenant and maintains her humorous slice-of-life blog. 

10 Things About Melanie
  1. I own a lot of shoes. A LOT.
  2. I could live on French fries and ranch dressing.
  3. I read super fast.
  4. I love reality TV. But the kind where people have to be good at something.
  5. I drink a lot of Kool-Aid. The real kind, not the metaphorical kind.
  6. I'm allergic to crafts.
  7. I own five pairs of glasses and can rarely find a pair when I need them.
  8. I'm fluent in sign language.
  9. I have ridden a camel around the Great Pyramids.
  10. I have an addiction to playing Scrabble online that will probably require an intervention soon.
You can find Melanie here:

Second ChancesSecond Chances
by Melanie Jacobson
LDS Romance
March 2013 by Covenant

Goodreads Summary:

After walking out of a thankless job at a prestigious marketing firm, feisty California entrepreneur Louisa Gibson is going into business for herself. Lou's pioneering venture, The Mormon Bachelor, is a reality dating web series sure to be fabulous advertising for her new marketing firm. And as a bonus, she can solve a problem close to home: while Huntington Beach is crawling with eligible, sun-bronzed Saints, they've forgotten the vital skill of dating. Lou hopes the reality show will finally inspire this group of hangout enthusiasts to pair off. But shortly before filming begins, the unthinkable happens -- Trentyn, a.k.a. The Bachelor, gets a girlfriend. And Lou needs a new leading man -- fast.

Enter Nick, Lou's devastatingly handsome ex-boyfriend. He's the stereotypical actor: shallow, self-serving...and perfect for the job. A whirlwind of dating ensues, with Nick at the center of it all. Things are going according to plan -- that is, until Lou is forced to step in as a substitute bachelorette, becoming an unwitting cast member on her own show. Despite Nick's attempts to reestablish their friendship and the growing spark between them, Lou is determined to keep her distance. The show must go on -- but what's a girl to do when the Mr. Wrong of the past just may be the Mr. Right of the future?matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.


My Review

I forgot until I started reading this that it was a Mormon take on the popular reality TV show, The Bachelor. I have read three other books, Reality Check, The Reluctant Bachelorette, and Count Down to Love, with similar themes in the past year. I was curious how this one would compare to those. (Look for a full comparison of these books in the future.) I have to say that Second Chances was definitely my favorite of them all!

I pretty much knew what the outcome would be and who would end up with who. However, I began to doubt myself a little towards the end. I also wasn't sure how we would get to the happy ending. I loved the way the plot moved through the various dates, editing, and interactions between the characters. I loved, loved the humor! The author just writes humor so well. I couldn't hide the grin on my face as I read about the trouble Lou had gotten into and then her meeting with her ex-boyfriend, Nick. The plot just continues to thicken and Lou faces some challenges.

I loved the characters! Of course, I loved Nick! I could see how much he had changed and how vulnerable he was allowing himself to be. He was a really great guy and such a good sport to do what he did in playing the bachelor for Lou. I loved Lou and how she wasn't perfect. She originally thinks her break-up with Nick was all him, but then she gets a new perspective. I loved how she interacted with Nick, with the production team, and with Molly. I loved Molly. I think she added so much to this story. I also loved the other roommates, friends, and family who made appearances. It was great how all the characters used slang, which completely fit in with their ages and where they lived, in a hot beach town in California.

This was just such a fun and sweet book with great characters, charm, and some great moments! If you read LDS Romance then this is a must! If you like the Bachelor or Bachelorette, then definitely grab this! If you enjoy chick-lit and contemporary romance, then you would enjoy this! Can you tell that I really loved this book? I'll definitely be keeping this on on my shelf and re-reading it in the future!

Content: Clean
Source: Bought

Here is the information about the rest of Melanie's published books:

Dystopian Giveaway Hop

Dystopian Giveaway Hop
The Dystopian Giveaway Hop is hosted by My Shelf Confessions and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and goes from November 1st through November 7th.

What can you win? These are the options for US entrants (physical book or ebook for Kindle or Nook):
For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1) Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2) The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1) Never Fade (The Darkest Minds, #2)
INT entrants can choose any of the books above in ebook format for Nook or Kindle or a paperback copy of For Darkness Shows the Stars or The Darkest Minds from the Book Depository.

Please ensure that you correctly enter your email (and check your junk mail folder if I'm not on your contact list) so that I have a way to contact you. You can read my giveaway policy on my policies page. Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Thanks and good luck!

Blog Tour: Snow on the Tulips

Snow on the TulipsSnow on the Tulips
by Liz Tolsma
Christian Historical Romance
August 2013 by Thomas Nelson


A stranger's life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she's endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia's doorstep, their lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia's faith won't let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit's intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.


My Review

I knew after reading the first chapter that I was going to enjoy Snow on the Tulips. The story takes place during World War II, a time in history when the world was in turmoil. This is the first book that I've read taking place in the Netherlands. Sometimes I forget about so many of the smaller nations that were devastated by the war. I really enjoyed getting to know more about the situation in that country, but more so, I really enjoyed reading Cornelia and Gerrit's story and the stories of those around them.

The pacing was perfect. It allowed me time to become absorbed in the lives of the characters and the turmoil of their country. I also appreciated that though there is death and violence that has affected and continues to affect these characters, it wasn't too descriptive. I was able to enjoy the story, but understand the situation. There were so many terrible things that happened to so many people during that time. There were several times when the characters were in danger and I wasn't sure how things would turn out or if the two main characters would be together in the end. Through all of that I felt that the point of this story was on the choices of the characters or the roles they would choose, how those choices/roles fit into their Christian lives, and if they could find love and happiness through it all. 

I enjoyed the multiple points of view (POV's), which allowed me to get to know each of the characters and their inner struggles. Some of them did feel removed at certain points, such as Ankia's husband Piet who continued to state the same position and came across as a little cold to his wife. All of the characters are at different stages of life and have different challenges. You have Anki who is a young wife expecting her first child with a husband who holds telling the truth and abiding by the laws higher than helping someone from the Resistance. Anki is torn between being truthful with her husband and helping her sister and brother, and an injured man. You have Johan, Anki and Cornelia's little brother, who is 20-years-old, but basically has to hide away. He so desperately wants to do something to fight for his country, but his sisters won't let him. 

Then there are the two main characters: Cornelia and Gerrit. I loved them both. They meet under such trying circumstances and have very different personalities and backgrounds. Cornelia has watched from the sidelines as her family, village, and country have been torn apart. She has pledged to never lose her heart again because she feels it is too dangerous to do so. She does have moments when she overreacts about some things, but she also lives under very stressful circumstances and has suffered great loss. Gerrit has been fighting in the Resistance. He believes in doing something to help free his country and that he can't wait around for someone else to do it for him. He lives a very dangerous life, one he is willing to give to the cause. He was betrayed in the past by one who was very close to him, so he is also a little hesitant to trust his heart. Cornelia and Gerrit complimented and challenged each other quite well.

The title is perfect. I loved how it was worked into the story, such as these two conversations where Gerrit is challenging Cornelia:
     "Maybe revenge, maybe not. I am asking you to quit acting like a tulip covered in snow. Don't hide in this house until the Allies free you. They may not come for a while." 
                                                                                                                      p. 58
     He wore away her resistance like rain wears away the snow... 
                                                                                                                       p. 77

And here where the tulips are trampled: 
     The Nazis marched across the yard and out to the street. On their way, they trampled her tender tulip shoots....
     "They trampled the tulips when they left."
     "The shoots will come back. They always do." 
                                                                                                             p. 169, 171
I especially loved Garrit's response, that they would grow back. Faith and love are like that as well - they are very resilient.

The characters lean on their faith during the terrible times that they face. They are a Christian nation, although some of them have different ideas of what that means. They all believe in God's will, but some go along with the Nazis believing they will be okay or that what will happen is His will and it is the right thing to do. Then others hide away and fight against the Nazis because they believe they should not support what they are doing and that they are obeying God's will when they do so. Each side has their own arguments for why they believe as they do. 

Overall, this was a story of faith with characters who were determined to follow their convictions, and in some cases, their hearts. If you enjoy reading inspirational historical fiction, then I would definitely recommend this. It is, in a few words, just a very good book.

Content: Clean (There is some violence and some mature references, but in the context of this story and for this genre, I would consider this clean.)
Source: I want to thank LitFuse Publicity Group and Thomas Nelson, the publisher, for my free review copy, which did not affect my review in any way.

Liz TolsmaAbout the Author

Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. Add a dog and a cat to that mix and there's always something going on at their house. She's spent time teaching second grade, writing advertising for a real estate company, and working as a church secretary, but she always dreamed of becoming an author.


Liz Tolsma is celebrating the release of her novel, Snow on the Tulipsby giving away an Amazon Reading Pack to one lucky winner. Find out what readers are saying about the book here.


One winner will receive:
  • A $50 Amazon gift card
  • Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma
Enter today by clicking on one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 18th at Liz's blog.


Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Liz's blog on the 18th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox! Just enter your email address on the left sidebar of her blog.)

Blog Tour Launch: Dead Dreams

On Tour with Prism Book Tours...

The Excerpt Tour
Each day will reveal another piece of Dead Dreams...

10/29: Launch
10/30: My Seryniti - Excerpt #1
10/31: My Devotional Thoughts - Excerpt #2
11/1: Mel’s Shelves - Excerpt #3
11/4: The Bookish Fairy - Excerpt #5
11/5: My Love for Reading Keeps Growing - Excerpt #6
11/6: Tressa’s Wishful Endings - Excerpt #7
11/7: Nocturnal Predators Reviews - Excerpt #8
11/8: The Pensive Chronicler - Excerpt #9
11/10: kimberlyfaye reads - Excerpt #10
11/11: Min Reads and Reviews - Excerpt #11
11/13Buried Under Books - Excerpt #13
11/14: fundinmental - Excerpt #14
11/15: Bookworm Lisa - Excerpt #15
11/17: Sylv Jenkins Author - Excerpt #16
11/18: The Wonderings of One Person - Excerpt #17
11/19Colorimetry - Excerpt #18
11/20: Grand Finale

About the Author

Emma RightEmma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast. Besides running a busy home, and looking after too many pets, she also enjoys reading aloud to her children and often has her nose in a book. Right was a copywriter for a major advertising agency during her B.C. years. B.C.meaning “Before Children,” which may as well have been in the B.C.era, as she always says. Please feel free to contact Emma. She’s always happy to hear from her readers.

Website * Goodreads * Pinterest * Twitter * Facebook  * Blog

Dead Dreams (Dead Dreams, #1)Dead Dreams
by Emma Right
YA Suspense
August 26th 2013
Kindle ebook, 250 pages


Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines, an heiress for a roommate, and dreams that might just come true. Big dreams--of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself. She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.

Dead Dreams, Book 1, a young adult psychological thriller and mystery


Each Stop Reveals another section of Dead Dreams

Follow the tour and START READING NOW!! 

First up: 


They say each dead body, a human corpse, has a scent all of its own, a sweet-sour smell. A cadaver dog picks up the odor as clearly as a mother recognizes a photo of her child. 

Of course, I wouldn’t know, for I am no dog. I might as well have been, the way I'd stooped to yield to my basic instrincts. My mind wandered to her, what her unique small would be when, and if, they ever were to find her.

After what happened, I decided to write out the events that led to that day and details in case I'd missed something, or might need it for defense, or in case they found me dead. My relatives might need to piece together the things that had spiraled out of control, if they wanted to put me to rest, to foget me altogether. That would be least painful for them. I nodded to myself as I sat in the car. I thought of my most favorite girl in the world: Lilly. At least Lilly'd have my dog, Holly, to remember me by.

My friends used to call me Brie, short for Brianna. But, I could hardly count anyone a friend any more. I'd have to resort to back-watching if I wanted to survive.


Read each excerpt as it is posted!

Book Trailer

Tour-Wide Giveaway

October 29 - December 3
Paperback Copy of Dead Dreams (US Only)
5 eCopies of Dead Dreams (Int'l)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blast: Impossibly Love

Impossibly Love
by Shane Morgan
NA Contemporary Romance
October 29th 2013 by TSW Books

All Moya Douglas wants to do is study hard, maintain her scholarship, and make her mother proud while attending college. She doesn’t have time for a boyfriend or going on dates arranged by her best friend. Moya doesn’t believe in love. And she has no intention of ever finding it.

Branden McCarthy is determined to change her views.
A selfless romantic who’s had his heart broken in the past, Branden is fascinated with Moya’s personality and hopes to develop something real with her-a connection so strong it’ll open her heart. But just when things start to work between the two, Branden’s secret threatens to get in the way.

Will Moya finally do the impossible and give love a chance with Branden, or will fear keep them apart?

Rated G for everyone. No strong language. No raunchy sex scenes throughout. This is a New Adult novel about finding love and oneself.

You can see the book trailer here.

Add to Goodreads and purchase for $1.99 for your Kindle!


The first kiss – Branden’s POV

     Moya’s eyes widened when I spun her around to face me. It was obvious what I was about to do and I knew very well she wouldn’t let it happen without a fight. Her attempts at being freed were futile as my hold increased the more she squirmed in my arms.
     “Let go!” she demanded.
I blew hard, eager to drown myself in the sweetness of her lips. Dismissing her protest—and the little voice at the back of my head telling me not to—I shoved my mouth to hers and kissed her hungrily.
     Moya lifted her hands to my chest and pushed tentatively, and just as fast they began to lower. I knew she couldn’t resist the deep passion evoking between us. Finally, she yielded, and I wrapped my arms even tighter around her as Moya parted her lips and allowed me to enter.
     We groaned as our tongues collided, touching each other wildly as if the kiss was not only our first but our last. Moya placed her hands on my lower back, touching me sensually with her fingertips as she worked her way up my spine. She caressed the back of my neck, and then combed her fingers seductively through my hair.
     By the time the kiss ended, we were both panting, trying to breathe steadily.
     Moya wobbled as she backed away. “I have to get to class,” she whispered shakily as if under a trance.
     I released her with regret and watched as Moya turned and started up the path, staggering along the way.
     Afterwards, I dragged my thumb lightly along my lips, eyes fastened on Moya as she walked away. I could still feel the heat of her skin on mine, giving light to a fire of pleasure that threatened to make my hands shake in memory of her taste.
     Motivated by the promise of her presence, I walked up the path as well, following behind the girl I was indisputably falling hard for and fast.

About Author Shane Morgan

Shane Morgan is a lover of "interesting" books. Her imagination is always running wild so it's best to collect and organize them into separate stories.

Shane's love for writing started the moment she picked up a Nancy Drew book. At a young age, she began writing short stories, delving into a variety of genres: from comedy and drama, to horror and contemporary romance. Shane's quite intrigued by the otherworldly or things otherwise deemed "impossible." Well, in her opinion, people never really grow up, do they? 


Blog Tour: Friends and Traitors

I am very excited to be a part of the Friends and Traitors' tour, hosted by Heather @ Fire and ice. I recently interviewed the author, C.J. Hill AKA Janette Rallison, and am giving away one of the Slayers' books, so go check that out here!

Friends and Traitors
by C.J. Hill
YA Paranormal
October 15th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends                


The Slayers – teens who have powers to fight dragons—are back by popular demand in this high-octane sequel, now with a new cover package!

Tori is at a White House dinner party when she hears a horrifying sound: dragon eggs hatching. It means in less than a year, the dragons will be mature and dangerous. The Slayers are well-trained, but their group is not yet complete, and Tori is determined to track down Ryker Davis, the mysterious Slayer who has yet to surface.

What Tori doesn’t bargain for, however, is the surprising truth about her powers: she isn’t a Slayer after all, but a Dragon Lord, with a built-in predisposition to protect dragons, not kill them.

How will she overcome this to save the lives of her friends?


My Review

I read the first book in this series, Slayers, some time ago and have been eagerly anticipating this second book ever since. It was the first book I've read that had dragons presented in such a way: as these ferocious monsters who can be controlled by a dragon lord. The dragons aren't romanticized at all, nor do they shape-shift into human form.

Friends and Traitors pretty much picks right up after Slayers ends. They have been training more and have a better idea of what they're up against, but they also don't know quite a few things. Some secrets will really tear them apart and endanger them all.

I really loved the characters in this series! I loved Tori who is still figuring out who she is. Is she the pampered and rich congressman's daughter or the slayer who now has strong bonds with the others like her? Can she be both and how does she merge her two worlds? I loved her interactions with both Jesse and Dirk. I also really liked both of them. 

Jesse is a pretty straight-forward good guy. He plays by the rules even though Tori tempts him not to. He is best friends with Dirk. Oh, Dirk. Dirk definitely plays the bad boy role rather well. He is very charming, gorgeous, and knows all the moves. I was quite upset with both of these boys at different times, as well as Tori. I'm not normally into love triangles, but this one actually works for me. I'm not completely sold on either guy, although I'm definitely leaning in Jesse's direction. He just is loyal and makes the right choices for the most part. It's just at the same time I want Dirk to make the right choice and to be rewarded for it, but I don't know if that's in his future or not. Don't people always cheer for the underdog?

The plot began at an easy pace. We get reacquainted with some new characters as well as the characters from the first book as they finish up their summer camp and go home. The pace continues, for the most part and then it begins really picking up. There is an intense action sequence towards the end that I really got into. Even with the steady pacing for the first half of the book I basically could not put this book down once I picked it up, reading it in one day. A lot of things happen that force the characters to change them. People choose sides. 

I don't know exactly what will happen in the final book. I'm just hoping that I don't have to wait more than a year for it to be released. If you love YA paranormal, contemporary, and action-adventure with some romance, I would definitely recommend picking this up!

Content: Clean

Source: Publisher/tour host, which did not affect my review in any way.

Book Trailer

About the Author

CJ Hill is a pen name for a YA author who is best known for writing romantic comedies. (Slayers will be her 18th published book.) Her writing has shifted away from the romantic comedy genre, so her editor thought a pen name would be a good idea. (New books will include: dangerous dragons, time travel to dystopian worlds, and flesh-eating beetles.) Since the publisher refused to let her have the pseudonym : The Artist Formerly Referred to as Princess, she chose a name to honor her mother. CJ Hill was her mother's pen name, or at least it would have been if her mother had published. Her mother wrote a few children's books and a middle grade novel but was taken by cancer before she had fully learned the craft.

(Most writers' first novels aren't publishable. CJ Junior's first novel wasn't, but somehow was published anyway. Now, even though it is out of print, it remains forever available on Amazon, where it taunts her with its badness. This was another good reason to use a pen name.)

CJ Hill has five children, three of whom like her on any given day depending on who is in trouble. She has lived in Arizona for the last half of her life, but is still in desert denial and hopes that one day her garden will grow silver bells and cockle shells or maybe just tomatoes

You can follow along on the tour on Fire and Ice's blog.