Friday, November 28, 2014

Blog Tour - Being West is Best

About the book: Twelve-year-old BFFs, Ginnie West and Tillie Taylor, are matchmaking geniuses. Together, they maneuvered Ginnie’s widower-dad into proposing to Tillie’s divorcee-mom. Sweet! Certain they are well on their way to sisterhood, each girl is floored when Tillie’s lousy-excuse-for-a-father puts in an appearance after a six year absence. Too bad “lousy dad repellant” doesn’t come in a can. Even though Tillie’s dad has sobered up and is determined to make amends, Tillie would rather he just disappear again. If he stays, “Operation: Secret Sisters” may need to be renamed “Operation: Not Gonna Happen.” 

If that’s not bad enough, the biggest bully in seventh grade comes over often and wishes he could call the West’s farmhouse “home.” When the bully’s abusive dad shows up as well, Ginnie thinks it’s time to change her family’s motto from “When you’re here, you’re family” to “There’s no more room at the West’s.”

Book snippet: Calliope shied backward.
“So do we.” Ginnie stroked her horse’s neck. “This is private property. We don’t want trouble.”
He glared at Ginnie. “If your uncle keeps interfering with my family, you’ll have plenty of it.”
Remembering that Uncle Ben and Uncle Jake were in the field—and not here to help—burrowed panic into Ginnie’s belly the the termites happily feasted on it.
Mr. Owens ignored her and strode with determined steps to the farmhouse. 
“Hey!” Ginnie clicked at Calliope and rode in front of Mr. Owens, wheeling Calliope around and stopping him in his tracks. “You should leave. Get a grip and come back when you’ve calmed down. They’ll still be here.”
“No, they won’t, girly.” The snarl on his face froze Ginnie in her saddle. “I’ll make it so this is the last place they ever come.” He shook his fist and then slashed his hand through the air, pointing an angry finger at her. “You and your family have meddled enough.”

My Review: Wow, I loved this book! I love the way that Ginnie is not afraid to stand up for herself or for others. But what I really loved is that in this book Tillie is able to stand up for herself as well. In their other adventures, Tillie has always kind of taken a back seat to Ginnies dominant personality, but in this one Tillie is able to stand up for herself and sort of channel what Ginnie would do. I loved that she is able to see her past, not for what she remembered as a small child, but for what actually happened and is able to move on from that. The characters in this book are great, I love that they are able to show how to live old fashioned values, things like honesty, treating others with respect and civility, in this modern world. I also really liked the plot, I was glad to see the way that both Ginnie and Jasper reacted to the bully in this one. Such a great ending! This is a series that all pre-teens should read!

Check out my reviews of the other books in this series: The Secret Sisters Club, Trouble Blows West, Simply West of Heaven

About the author: When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy
the journey that is her life.

She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, an adorable granddaughter,  a son-in-law, three cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of several books and plans to write many more. You can find more about Monique and her works at:

Monique Bucheger (author of The Ginnie West Adventure Books)!/MoniqueBucheger

Blog Tour Schedule
November 17
November 18
November 19
November 20
November 20
November 21
November 22
November 23
November 24
November 25
November 26
November 27
November 28
November 28
November 29

November 30

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Amazing New Titles From Deseret Book, and Shadow Mountain and Giveaway

One of my favorite things about the last year is the opportunity I've had to work a bit more closely with Deseret Book and Shadow Mountain. A few weeks ago, I was invited to an amazing bloggers event where we were shown some of the fun new titles and Christmas things that would be coming up. Today I wanted to tell you about a few of them and give you an opportunity to win a few free Christmas gifts for yourself.

This is a shot of all of the amazing things that they gave me, notice the wrapping paper in the front. This is a new product that Deseret Book will be carrying. It's wrapping paper made from rocks, it's pretty amazing. They told us that it cuts really nice and that it's supposed to be really nice when you're using it. I personally have no wrapping talent. At. All. So I thought try it out just to see if this paper really is any better. 

Here's the shot of the present I wrapped with it, and I was really amazed with the paper. It folded just how it should have with no extra creases where you didn't want them. It almost made me look like a professional wrapper. Must be a miracle worker! I have seen several different prints in the store and I think they are all amazing. You can check it out for yourself in stores. 

Now for some awesome books.

It Is Better to Look UpWe all love to be taught with stories. The Savior shared many in his ministry, and His prophets and other Church leaders have often emulated that great example. Gospel lessons come alive when they are presented in this way.

It Is Better to Look Up gathers more than fifty of the most memorable personal experiences shared in general conference over the years and pairs them with stunning photographic images. The result is an irresistible volume filled with remarkable true accounts of God's hand in our lives.

You'll love browsing through such gems as "In Harm's Way," by President Thomas S. Monson; "Man Down!" by President Henry B. Eyring; "Lift Where You Stand," by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf; "You Stupid Cow!" by Elder Mervyn B. Arnold; "Worldly Promises," by Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson; and dozens more. These short pieces are perfect for a quick moment of inspiration in a class, a home evening, or personal devotional time. Each one is presented with a scripture to complement the gospel message.

Featuring stories from every member of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, plus many additional leaders past and present, this beautifully illustrated book will soon become a family favorite and a precious keepsake.

I've already reviewed this one, you can check that out here.

Stars Were Gleaming: Christmastime is filled with thoughts of family, friends, and faith. It is a time to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday and to celebrate the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ. Stars Were Gleaming is the perfect way to set the tone for your holiday celebrations by pairing inspirational poetry, holy scripture, and uplifting quotations with original artwork by renowned artist Greg Olsen.

The centerpiece of the book is a new painting, created especially for this book, that features the most holy of nights, the evening of Jesus's birth. Gathered around the manger are the familiar faces of Mary and Joseph, the wise men and the shepherds, and peeking through the window is the bright heavenly star gleaming in the night sky. This beautiful book will be a treasure for many seasons to come.

Greg Olsen is an amazing artist and this book is one I'm super excited about. This book would be an amazing Christmas gift for anyone to give or receive. The artwork is beautiful and the message that goes along with each piece is amazing too.

Fire and Steel Volume 1: A Generation Rising: The strongest steel is forged in the hottest flames. From master storyteller Gerald N. Lund comes a new blockbuster series chronicling the lives of two families who will face some of the most turbulent times in history as they are tried to their very cores. Will they be tempered and strengthened by the hammering blows, will they bend to the point of breaking, or will they completely shatter?
As volume one begins, life could not be more promising for the Eckhardts. They finally have a son, Hans, the male heir they have longed for and a child of such brilliance and promise that his success seems certain. But as youthful Hans’s ambition takes him away from his family and their small Bavarian village, the winds of unrest in Europe are about to erupt into the greatest war the world has ever known.

Kicking off a story that will cross generations—and continents—the Eckhardts must brace themselves to weather the storms and turmoil that lie ahead. Only through sheer determination and fortitude will they be able to pass through the refiner’s fire and come out stronger and more united than ever before.

This book is one that I am so excited to sit down with. I was first introduced to Gerald Lund's fiction when I was 12 years old. Since that time I've read everything of his that I could get my hands on. I have to admit that his historical fiction is my ultimate favorite. I've learned many things about Church History and the life of the Savior through his amazing fictionalized accounts. This book is scheduled to come out on Black Friday and you won't want to miss it! 

Ites: Meet the ites! From Aaron to Zoram, get to know the prominent people in the Book of Mormon. Whether known for fearless faith or dastardly deeds, each "ite" teaches a lesson that will help your family make good decisions and follow the Lord.

Packed with fun facts, insightful lessons, and unique activities, this exciting book will help each member of your family better understand just who's who in the Book of Mormon. Delightful illustrations bring each man and woman to life in vivid color.

The book contains 52 separate entries, each with its own lesson and activity, so it makes the perfect resource for planning your weekly family night or for quiet Sunday reading and learning. Become acquainted with the ites, and find out just how much their experiences can help us in our lives today!

I'm also way excited for this one. I can't wait to use it for some of our Family Home Evenings. I love that you can learn about all of the characters of The Book of Mormon from this book. Each page has a fun and unique picture of the character, there are scripture references, descriptions and an activity to go with each. What a great reference!

And finally the Shadow Mountain book, Sam's Christmas Wish"We don't need no charity," insists Big Sam Edwards. It's bad enough to have lost his job a few weeks before Christmas; the thought of "do-gooders" meddling in his business is more than he can bear. "I'll be watching if anybody comes around trying to leave anything at the door!" he warns.

But the mystery of a pile of gifts left anonymously, without any tracks in the snow, works a change in Sam's heart. The spirit of Christmas fills his home with joy.

Over the years, Sam becomes one of the most generous men in town. Yet his fondest wish goes unrealized: "I wish I could do something good and do it in secret so nobody would ever know."

And then one Christmas, he gets his chance—his secret act is even more gratifying than he ever could have imagined.

This book is one that I can see becoming a must read book each and every Christmas. I'm way excited to share it with our kids and watch them enjoy the fun illustrations and learn from the story.

Wow, if you've read all of this you definitely deserve a chance to enter the giveaway! I'm giving away two of the books I've talked about here, It Is Better to Look Up and Stars were Gleaming. I'm also giving away a copy of Dining with the Prophets a really fun recipe book with recipes from the Lion House. 

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Monday, November 24, 2014

CD Review - Redeemer

About the CD: The latest album from the Nashville Tribute Band focuses on Jesus Christ by way of fourteen new songs composed as a tribute to the Savior. Each song presents a unique perspective on Christ through the eyes of those who walked and talked with Him, including John the Baptist, a blind man on the street, the woman taken adultery, the soldier and the thief at the Crucifixion, and the Apostle Peter. Several songs are written to be stand-alone numbers that focus on the big picture of Christ's ministry, and other songs are tender portrayals from unique individual perspectives.

Track List

  • He Is Coming - Featuring John Cowan
  • John's Song - Featuring Troy Johnson
  • What Manner of Man Is This? - Featuring Jason Deere and Chad Truman
  • Blind - Featuring Alex Boye
  • The One - Featuring Due West
  • Tears on His Feet - Featuring Cardin Lopez
  • What a Saint Should Be
  • Pilate's Wife - Featuring Katherine Nelson
  • Soldier and the Thief - Featuring Jason Deere and Ben Truman
  • Peter (Wide Awake) - Featuring Diamond Rio
  • He Is Risen - Featuring Nathan Pacheco, Kassidy Osborn, SHeDAISY and John Cowan
  • Apostles - Featuring Jason Deere
  • When the Son of Man (Come Again) - Featuring David Archuleta
  • The Greatest Story - Featuring Ben Truman

  • My Review: I saw in the newspaper the other day that this CD was number 10 on the Billboard Christian chart and it's easy to see why. I loved every one of the songs. I liked the unique way that the Bible stories were portrayed on this CD, I never would have thought to have wondered what someone like Pilate's wife would have been thinking for example. I loved the fun country sound to the songs, there's even one that almost has a rap/country sound that I found interesting at first but really grew on me as I listened to the words and the meaning of the song. I felt like this whole CD is really capped off by The Greatest Story, I really loved this one and it has a really amazing message. This is the first CD by The Nashville Tribute Band I've listened to, but I'm definitely going to find their previous CD's when I get a chance and listen to the rest. I loved this one, go check it out for yourself!

    I was given a CD in exchange for an honest review.

    Purchase: In stores where Christian music is sold - Amazon

    About the authorAward-winning songwriter and Nashville record producer Jason Deere regularly invites a revolving cast of talented artists and musicians that he calls the Nashville Tribute Band to join him in touring the world performing the stories and songs from the albums Joseph: A Nashville Tribute To The Prophet, Trek: A Nashville Tribute To The Pioneers and THE WORK: A Nashville Tribute To The Missionaries. Over the years Dan Truman (of the Grammy Award-winning country group Diamond Rio), Brad Hull, Matt Lopez and Tim Gates (of the country group Due West), entertainer David Osmond, actor and recording artist Katherine Nelson, country artist Billy Dean, Ron Saltmarsh, pop artist Mindy Gledhill and Dyer Highway are all among those who have often joined the stage with the band. The band has done over 500 shows for audiences in the U.S., Canada, Australia and China since 2004. They have performed in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City as well as several performances in the Tabernacle on Temple Square.

    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Blog Tour - Amazing Hairstyles

    About the book: Tired of bad hair days? Popular hairstyle blogger Rebecca Porter teaches you the basics of braids, buns, and twists, and helps you combine them to create amazing hairstyles for any occasion. Go from drab to fab at any age with the easy, step=by-step tutorials in this essential guide.
    My review: I'm always looking for new ways to do our daughter's hair. This book is a really great resource to have. I loved that she talks in the very beginning about the tools that you should have and she gives some explanation of some of the terms she's going to use when telling you how to do the styles. Very helpful. One of the best parts about this book is the way that each and every style has multiple color pictures so that you can see exactly what's happening. This is a must have book for every girl and her mother!

    About the authorBecky Porter is the hands behind the hairstyles. Since starting her blog, in 2008, she has been making the world a prettier place, one head of hair at a time. Besides having a passion for doing hair and teaching hair classes, she loves music, baking, and spending time with her family. She lives in Utah with her three amazing daughter’s and one patient husband.

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Twist of Fate

    About the book: **This story was first published in the All I Want holiday romance anthology** 

    When a postcard meant for Kenzie winds up in Ty's mailbox, Ty's faced with a decision. Should he tell her that her fiancé is breaking up with her and let it ruin her favorite holiday, or should he do what he's wanted to do since he met her - make a move and hope that he can win her over before she discovers there won't be a wedding after all?

    My Review: It's not very often that I get a chance to re-read a book, but this is one I was completely happy to re-read. I love the premise, Tyler McKenzie and McKenzie Tyler live in the same building one floor apart. Their mailman is constantly getting their mail confused, with good reason. I love the way that Ty tries to save Kenzie's Christmas by not letting her know that her fiancee is not going to be coming home to marry her. What a sweetie, I love how he sees that it's his chance to finally win her for his very own. But as she's falling more and more in love with Ty, Kenzie feels terrible, knowing she's already planning to marry someone else. This book is such a sweet, cute romance. I love the characters, I love the plot. Make sure you read this book, it's super cute, and it's a quick read too!

    I was sent an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    Blog Tour - Decieved

    About the book: A storm rages outside the unassuming Los Angeles house, while within, something sinister lurks. A murderer stalks his victim, unaware of a witness to the horrific crime: awakened from a deep, drug-induced slumber, Tara Kelly hears voices in the next room. Struggling to focus through her sleep medication, the young woman helplessly observes her aunt's murder. Now she's a look end the killer cannot ignore ...  A family friend helps Tara as she does the only thing she can: disappear. Fleeing to the security of a remote Idaho ranch, Tara finds herself under the guard of handsome rancher Joseph White Eagle. Her unwitting protector takes his role seriously, going as far as claiming that Tara is his fiancee. But even as their relationship deepens, Joseph struggles to see past Tara's similarities to his late wife. When a series of accidents threatens Tara's life, it becomes clear that her attempt to outrun danger has been in vain. The killer will stop at nothing to find her, and Joseph will do anything to protect her—even if it means unraveling secrets that will have devastating consequences for them both.

    My review: I really loved this book. The characters in this book are amazing, I loved the charming Tara. It was interesting to me the way that she seemed so confused about what had happened to her aunt. I also really loved Joseph, he was so loyal and caring of his family, but also willing to be the same to Tara to protect her in any way he can, even to the point of alienating his family and friends when he announces her as his fiance. The plot line of this one will leave you guessing to the very end. I loved the way that the murderer is revealed little by little until you know and the character has no idea. It's fun to be on the edge of your seat and want to yell, "No don't trust them!" Kathi Oram Peterson is able to write suspense at it's best. Make sure to check out this great book!

    Purchase Link: Amazon 

    About the author:  Kathi Oram Peterson loves to write edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense and young adult time travel. The constant thread she sews in both genres is faith in a higher power. She works hard to entertain her readers with clean, uplifting stories. Her path to publication took a detour as she raised three children. During those years, Kathi read all the how-to books on writing that she could find. When her last child graduated high school, she went back to college and earned her BA in English. She was fortunate to do an internship for the University of Utah’s Continuum magazine, where she learned to edit and write articles in the “real” world. Shortly after graduation, she was hired by a curriculum publisher to write and edit concept and biography books for children. She worked shoulder to shoulder with artists and computer programmers as she watched her children’s stories come to life. But the desire to write full-length novels called to her. Leaving the workforce, she devoted herself to writing fiction. You can contact Kathi through her website,, and her blog,

    Blog Tour Links

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Saving Grace

    About the book: From Whitney Award Winning Author, Michele Paige Holmes, comes SAVING GRACE, a regency romance from the Hearthfire Romance series: 

    After the death of her grandfather, the Duke of Salisbury, Grace Thatcher wants nothing more than to live quietly in the country with her younger siblings. Her father’s debts thwart those plans, and to protect her sister, Helen, Grace must marry a man of her father’s choosing. 

    As each suitor proves less than desirable, Grace comes up with clever schemes, causing each to reject her. While staying at the mysterious Sutherland Hall, a middle-of-the-night mishap sends Grace into the arms of a stranger, Nicholas Sutherland—and provides inspiration for her grandest plan yet—one that will leave her reputation in tatters yet free both her and Helen from all possibility of marriage. 

    Too late Grace regrets her rash actions when her father’s last choice, Mr. Samuel Preston, proves to be a gentleman and a friend. But Samuel is the sworn enemy of Nicholas Sutherland, the man responsible for her “ruin.” Now instead of being free, Grace is caught between two men—each with his own agenda.

    My review: I'm glad that I didn't have to live in the Regency time period. I've always thought that it seemed romantic, but after reading this one I realized that in that time period that fathers could basically sell their daughters to suitors for money. Crazy! I really loved the character of Grace and I thought she showed a lot of spunky personality. It takes a lot of spunk to make each man reject you just to save your younger sister from being sold to an even worse husband by their own father. And to make matters worse, she ruins her own reputation and has her own servants gossip about her. I didn't particularly like Nicholas at the beginning, but he did grow on me as he kind of woke up and learned to love and care for Grace. But Grace is determined that she will be the mistress of her own destiny and is constantly pushing him away. The plot at first was kind of slow moving for me, but by the end I didn't want to put it down until I found out just what would happen to Grace and Nicholas. Don't miss this great book by a great author!

    I was sent an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.