Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gerald Lund's Latest Novel, Fire & Steel: A Generation Rising, My Review

 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, living in Germany at the onset of WWI, 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?

From master storyteller Gerald N. Lund comes the next blockbuster historical fiction series, Fire and Steel, blending the powerful stories of two families on different continents. While their circumstances are as divergent as their geography, each family must cope with trials that test their courage and fortitude. Spanning more than sixty years, the series follows a German family and an American family through some of the most turbulent times in history, including World War I, the Great Depression, the rise of Nazi Germany, and the Second World War with its devastating aftermath.

In volume one, A Generation Rising, life could not be more promising for the Eckhardts. They finally have a son, Hans Otto Eckhardt—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.
United by their determination to weather the storms of life together with their loved ones, the Eckhardts are destined to ultimately cross paths with an American family and become inextricably intertwined in the newest series.

 Rachelle's Thoughts: This book is well-researched and full of incredible facts from the time of the first World War. The storyline is indicative of Lund's talents as he creates characters that we are compelled to care for. That said, I need to warn you that this book is the epitome of historical fiction. There is a lot of historical facts woven into the story and sometimes it felt a little bit text bookish. Sometimes the characters would spout off essays about historical facts, figures, and landmarks that although Lund worked to interweave, it still felt like an information dump at times. That said, I'm really grateful that I have the opportunity to read and review so many books, in some cases it stretches me and encourages me to give books more of a chance than I would have otherwise. That's how I feel about Fire & Steel: A Generation Rising. I'm glad that I kept reading because it gave me a great appreciation for that time of history and what real people went through who lived at the time.

About the author: 

Elder Gerald N. Lund received his BA and MS degrees in sociology from Brigham Young University. He served for thirty-five years in the Church Educational System, and he served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2002 to 2008. He is a prolific and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction and is best known for his historical novels, including The Work and the Glory series, Fire of the Covenant, The Kingdom and the Crown series, and The Undaunted. He and his late wife, Lynn, are the parents of seven children.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Seek & Find Book of Mormon Stories by Jason Pruett, Review

Today I'm sharing information about a new picture book for members of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Seek & Find Book of Mormon Stories by Jason Pruett

This is a fun new book for kids reminiscent of the old Where's Waldo type books that I used to like as a kid. My kids snapped this up as soon as I pulled it out of the package and I caught them over the next couple days searching and looking at all the details in the pictures. I love the format of this book and how it's such a great opener to discussing Book of Mormon scripture stories that we've been studying as a family. It's fun for the kids to see the illustrations that further bring the characters to life and remind them of the principles they've read about. Each page is filled with about 10 specific things to find along with a scripture reference--what a cool idea! There's so much more to notice in each page as well.
Pruett is an excellent illustrator with a terrific eye for children's art and what attracts their attention. If you're looking for a great picture book to expand your children's understanding and interest in The Book of Mormon, check out this one.


About the book:Search for Nephi, Moroni, and other hidden prophets and characters from the scriptures in this fun picture game book. Featuring scenes from the Book of Mormon, this book will keep kids entertained as they look for their favorite scripture heroes and hidden objects in the colorful illustrations. Perfect for home, church, or on the go, it makes learning the scriptures fun for everyone.

About the author:
Jason Pruett has a BFA in Industrial Design from Brigham Young University and an MFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University. He has created art for games and animation. Jason currently illustrates picture books and the children’s comic book Jimmy Brass, 2nd Grade Detective. He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife. 

I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New Release by Karey White, The Wife Maker & $50 Giveaway

I'm so excited about this new book by Karey White! It's the third and final installment in the husband maker series which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. I've reviewed the first two books, The Husband Maker and The Match Maker and I can't wait to read The Wife Maker and tell you what I think about the rest of Charlotte's story! Wife MakerThe Wife Maker by Karey White Charlotte has spent years as the husband maker, sending every guy she dates off to enjoy marital bliss with the next girl he dates. But things have now changed, and she's determined to use her husband-maker abilities one last time--on herself. And she finally knows exactly who she wants. Angus has loved Charlotte since they were teenagers, but he's tired of waiting for her to realize how good they could be. She's broken his heart one too many times, and it's time to move on with his life. Maybe a position halfway across the country will be just what he needs to get over her. But when Charlotte won't let him go without a fight, Angus has to decide if he's willing to let her in again or if she's too late.
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Karey WhiteAuthor Karey White Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.
  50_Amazon_Paypal   $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/13/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.     a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things Blog Tour & Giveaway

I have a fun treat to share today! My latest book is currently on tour visiting many excellent blogs and there's a giveaway too!
I'm excited to share the details for this blog tour as well as 2 excerpts from my book below! If you like what you see, grab a copy. Email me at if you'd like an autographed book plate. Also, if you want to be the first to hear news on the official release date of book #2 Veils & Vengeance, sign up for my author newsletter here:
diamond rings are deadlyDiamond Rings are Deadly Things by Rachelle J. Christensen Adrielle Pyper knows how to plan a wedding, and she is especially good at pleasing bridezillas. But when her biggest client and best friend is murdered just three days before the wedding, Adri’s world falls apart. She moves to the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and starts from scratch. Thanks to Adri’s impeccable taste and unique style, she lands two celebrity clients, and her business seems headed for success–that is, until someone vandalizes the specialty wedding dresses she imported from overseas. The race is on to uncover a secret hidden within the yards of satin and lace before Adri becomes the next victim. With a delightful blend of mystery, toe-curling kisses, humor, and spine-tingling thrills, Diamond Rings are Deadly Things is a romantic suspense novel that will keep you turning pages long into the night.  


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“I love Rachelle J. Christensen’s stories and characters, and Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things is another thrilling mystery to add to my collection. Don’t be surprised if you have to stay up all night to finish he book!” ~Rachel Ann Nunes, author of Before I Say Goodbye Diamond Rings are Deadly Things pulled me right in from the first page and held me captive until the very end. Great characters, a compelling plot, a surprising twist at the end … Rachelle Christensen knows how to craft a great mystery. ~Tristi Pinkston, author of the Secret Sisters Mysteries A cunningly crafty mystery with just the right mix of romance. Readers won’t be able to get enough of Adrielle Pyper, stunning party-planner turned heroine. ~Nichole Giles, author of Descendant

rachelleAuthor Rachelle J. Christensen

Rachelle J. Christensen was born and raised in a small farming town in Idaho. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and of course reading. Rachelle has an amazing husband, five cute kids, three cats, and five chickens.

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Blog * Goodreads * Craft Website

Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things
Excerpt from Chapter 1
 “Wait a minute.” Lorea ran her hand along each of the gowns hanging in their individual garment bags. “Please tell me I can’t count.”
“Um, math isn’t my favorite subject either.”
Shaking her head, Lorea began pulling all the packing material from the box.
“What’s wrong?”
“There are only nine dresses.” Her chin trembled slightly as she hurriedly recounted the gowns. “One is missing and I think it might be the one with the beaded hemline.”
My throat felt chalky. “The one Sylvia ordered in case she didn’t like her gown?”
Lorea kept pulling packing material out of the box—long strips of brown paper were strewn across the floor. I dropped to the ground and began digging through the box. Then I stood and recounted the gowns.
“Let’s open up each bag and pull them out. Maybe there are two gowns in the same bag.”
Lorea’s eyes lit up with hope. “That’s probably it.”
Neither of us spoke and the sound of plastic and rustling satin covered the dull roar of blood pumping in my ears. We were working against the clock for Sylvia’s wedding and we couldn’t afford to upset her.
“It’s not here. I can’t believe it,” Lorea cried. “Of all the dresses to go missing, it would be Sylvia’s alternate.”
My imagined conversation with the dressmakers took a drastic turn, but I slowly breathed in and out. “You know what? She’s going to love her first choice. You’ll steer her in the right direction. Maybe convince her it would be bad luck to try on the other dress when the first one was obviously designed for her.”
Lorea’s face had red splotches on it and she blinked her eyes to clear the moisture.
I pointed at the gown with the gaping hole. “Let’s concentrate on one problem at a time. I’ll make some calls. You fix the hole. I know you can work with that diva. I’ll back you up.”
I knelt next to the box and began tossing the packing paper back in, but I froze when I focused on something caught in the tape lining the bottom of the box. Leaning forward, I reached for the tiny pearl. Three more beads were stuck in the corner. “Did any of the other dresses have pearl beading?”
“No, it was just that one.”
 “Let’s empty the box completely and see if we can find any more of these beads.”
“Huh?” Lorea studied the bead in my hand and gasped as I picked up the others.
A powdery residue hugged the corners of the cardboard and the packing tape glimmered in the light with the same fine particles.
“What’s this?” Lorea held up a shiny piece of metal.
My skin prickled with goosebumps. “That looks like part of a razor blade.” I closed my eyes, but not before the image of blood trickling down a knife point seared my consciousness. The foreboding sense of discomfort threatening my good mood broke through my dam of positive thinking. A million negative outcomes flowed through my mind and I felt cords of tension tightening my shoulders. Taking a shaky breath, I opened my eyes, commanding myself to stay in the present, and focus on Lorea. “I don’t understand. Do you think our shipment was tampered with?”
Lorea tilted the silver blade. “How fast can you get China on the phone?”


And here's another short excerpt:
Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things
Excerpt from Chapter 4

The bike paths of the Sun Valley area were never lonely, and the paved trails topped my list of reasons to live there. With the ski slopes in view and the lush scent of evergreen forests filling my nose, it didn’t take long for my sluggish body to feel energized.
As I neared the first mile of my run, I couldn’t help but wonder if I might see him again today. I chided myself. Several times in the past few weeks, I had sprinted past “the hottie”—as Lorea had named him. She had been teasing me mercilessly since I told her about my encounter with the sexy, sculpted runner. Denial was my best defense when Lorea asked me why I had been so diligent in my running lately, but I found myself looking for him more than I cared to admit.
And there he was, rounding the next bend with his hat on backwards, chrome sunglasses reflecting the fading light. Maybe he was bald. I had never dared turn around and look for fear he might catch me ogling him, but I secretly hoped he used the hat to keep the sweat out of his eyes instead of to prevent sunburn of a shiny scalp. As he drew nearer and I watched his delts flexing in tandem with his six-pack abs, I decided baldness would be just fine.
When I first mentioned him to Lorea, she said she might have to take up running, if only to stop me from making a fool of myself. Three or four runs a week was enough for me, but I wondered how many nights found him pounding the pavement. Bright yellow running shorts with a black racing stripe sans shirt revealed his muscular body. So hot. My heart sped up as the distance between us disappeared.
I tried to suppress the goofy grin threatening to cross my face by reminding myself that my cheeks were flushed dark red and I hadn’t shaved my legs for two days. Who was I kidding? I was a sweaty mess. All the same, I couldn’t resist staring at those chrome sunglasses as he ran past, wondering what color his eyes might be.
“Great night for a run,” he said between breaths.
“Yeah, it is.” I lifted my fingers in a wave. Inside I screamed, He talked to me! You idiot, all you could say is, yeah, it is?  Oh well, he had initiated conversation. I couldn’t wait to tell Lorea.
I wondered what the chances were that I might bump into him somewhere else in town—fully dressed. The Ketchum/Sun Valley area wasn’t a metropolis—the population was less than four thousand—so it could happen. Calm down, Adri.
I thought about my own appearance. The large black sunglasses I wore covered one of my best features. People always commented on my dark brown eyes, remarking how they contrasted nicely with my honey blonde hair. My soft curls were hidden when I pulled my hair back into a ponytail. There was a chance he would recognize me, but could I pick him out of a lineup? I hoped so. I found myself smiling for the rest of my run.
When I returned home and showered off, my thoughts strayed to Dallas versus “the hottie.” It was nice to think of something besides wedding dresses and I didn’t need to make a decision yet, especially since I’d only been asked out by one of the guys. All the same it was fun to imagine possibilities. The pillow on my bed looked so inviting, but I knew I needed to start unpicking that hemline. Instead of sleeping, I washed my hands thoroughly, gathered my seam ripper, and lifted Natalie’s heavy dress.


25_Amazon_Paypal Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/25/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway


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