Friday, December 7, 2007
Since this book's release, I was interested to read it. I've read several of Rachel's book, but this one is written for the national market--published by the Shadow Mountain imprint by Deseret Book.
Compared to her other novels, Rachel really delved into the characterization in this book (which I really like). I think many LDS genre books are way too short--too short to hold an intriguing plot and too short to fully develop more than one character.
The story is about a woman, Liana, who was adopted as a child by her relatives. She doesn't why she continues to have nightmares and flashes of memories about her childhood. Her parents were both killed in a plane crash in India.
At first glance the premise was interesting, but I wondered what could really be so shocking when she goes to her parents gravesite. Well, I was very surprised and didn't see the twist coming.
I also enjoyed the descriptions of the country of India--in fact Rachel did all the descriptions very well, from Las Vegas area to a farm in Wyoming.
There are no obvious LDS characters in this book, no conversion story to God, but it is one woman's story of coming to grips with her past and finally accepting where she came from.
Here’s the blurb from the back of the book. I couldn’t put it better myself, so I’ll just copy it here.
Tracking hackers and crackers for the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center looks like a vivid video game to an outsider, but the outcome of the play is deadly serious. Through her online feline avatar, Sekhmet, Sue Anne Jones stalks the V-net, the ultimate virtual-reality interface, in pursuit of evil in all its online forms. Her partner, ex-cracker Loren Hunter, provides synical commentary along with his expertise in the V-Net’s shadier alleys.
Their days of busting routine identity thieves and insidious corporate spies end when they get a new assignment: Hunt down a cyber-terrorist calling himself Gideon. Gideon has infiltrated the financial system, rerouted supply lines, and murdered the supervisor of an automated factory. Now Gideon is sending taunting messages, quoting scripture, and warning Sue that she must join his crusade or suffer – along with the rest of the virtual world – when he takes total control of the V-net.
Written by the author of the Seventh Seal last-days adventure trilogy, Hunting Gideon is a near-future cyberpunk novel with an optimistic Mormon twist. Incorporating elements from the hard-boiled detective novel, film noir, and postmodernist prose, much of the novel’s action takes place online in cyberspace, blurring the borders between actual and virtual reality. Hunting Gideon sends Sue and Loren on a wild chase as they scramble to avert the ultimate online disaster.
I’m not exactly a computer geek, to put it mildly. I can turn it on, use Word, find my favourite websites, and occasionally access some of the other features available online. (This last consists mostly of trial and error along with tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth.) So I was amazed at how easily I was able to follow the action in this story from the very first paragraph. My mother, on the other hand, who occasionally dusts off her home computer without ever actually switching it on, said she needed a few pages to get into the book, but then she was caught up in the action as well. And speaking of action, there’s definitely a lot of it in this book. A lot of it is shown on the V-net through Sekhmet’s eyes. “I let out a yowl as I was abruptly jerked through the back of the cabinet. I made a three-point landing, all claws extended, my free hand brandishing a tangling to entrap an opportunistic assailant.” Who would have thought the net could be this exciting? But Sue’s life in the real world isn’t boring, either. “I leapt out silently and whacked him with the rolling pin, substituting self-defense enthusiasm for finesse.”
My favourite combination with action is humour, and there are plenty of things to grin or even laugh out loud at in this book. For instance: “Aarrggghhhh,” I said, or an exclamation to that effect – gutterals are so difficult to spell.” Or when Sue is thinking about the Sunbeam class that she teaches on Sundays. “They’d quite liked my earlier lesson on lies, which included getting tied up in soft clothesline. Pity I couldn’t work that into more lessons.”
I like Sue. She’s got a touch of attitude, but wisdom to go along with it. I like the way she’s attracted to her partner Loren, even though he’s not a member and they often spar about God and the scriptures. At one point she tells him, “We’re saved by grace after all we can do – though sometimes it probably looks like we’re saved in spite of all we do,” and then she follows it up with, “And by the way, you’re not fooling me one bit – if you truly didn’t believe in God, you wouldn’t get so mad at him.” I like the way she does Tai Chi and watches television at the same time, although she knows her sensei frowns on it. “Fact is, I’ve never been able to concentrate on something as profoundly dull as exercise without something else to distract me.” I like her attitude towards the subconscious. “I’d always pictured it more as the conduit to extra processing power, the part of the soul that doesn’t have to use logical or rational methods to find answers. It was the part of my brain that went deeper than the monkey mind chattering away on top and the part that could hear and understand God’s Spirit, if I put myself in the right attitude and stayed quiet enough to really listen.”
The character of Loren is complex and fascinating. At the beginning of the book, Sue describes him as “the Black Knight brought out of Darkness to serve the Light,” and that’s exactly what he is. He was brought up Catholic, an orphan, and “had devoted his considerable smarts and skills to finding and exploiting the holes, bugs, and hidden features in the complicated software that ran the worldwide V-net itself.” Once caught, however, he was given a choice between being charged with a felony and joining the “evil empire” of the FBI. Sue had a special part in helping persuade him to choose the right, and they’ve worked together ever since. After Sue told him about the church, he’s been half-interested and half-sarcastic about it. “Is that an example of what you learned in the last mini-class at Home / Personal / Community / Social Propaganda Meeting – how to diagnose antisocial personality disorder over e-mail?” Sue knows that he can be a rascal, but she’s also sure that he cares too much about fairness and people in general to actually carry out any of his cyberthreats. Because of his past, and some of his actions in the present, not to mention his knowledge of the scriptures, Loren becomes a suspect in the Gideon case.
I was fascinated by the depiction of the V-net in this book. It had detail in such depth that I truly felt the author was describing an actual thing, and not just a speculative future. For all I know, there is such a thing already, or perhaps Jessica Draper is creating it in her free time when she’s not writing. According to the “About the Author” page, she has an extensive background in the wired world. There, I also read the statement that there will be a prequel to this book coming soon. Because I enjoyed Hunting Gideon so much, I’ll be keeping my eye on the Zarahemla Books website, looking forward to any news of Dancing with Eddie D’Eath. In the meantime, I can heartily recommend Hunting Gideon to any reader who will not be put off by the “cyberpunk” tag, but who likes adventure, mystery, sly humour, and that kind of male/female banter that signals slow but sure movement down the road of romance.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Liza's adoptive parents change her name to Celia and try to erase all traces of her past. Widowed after a brief marriage in which she had a son, Jack, she remarries a young lawyer. Celia is happy until, on her birthday, he presents her with a gift — the house where she killed her mother. On moving in, they find the words LITTLE LIZZIE'S PLACE - BEWARE painted in red letters on the lawn. When the real estate agent who sold the house to her husband is murdered, she becomes a suspect. As she struggles to prove her innocence, Celia and her little son are being stalked by the killer.
The ends of Laman's mustache twitched, but his eyes remained devoid of any real surprise. "You plan to fish in the deep swells?"
Exhaling, Nephi shook his head. "The Lord has commanded me to build a ship to take us to the Promised Land."
Laman stared at Nephi. "A ship to take us where?
With characters you will both love and loathe, H.B. Moore streams one suspenseful scene after another as she weaves well-researched facts with a wealth of imaginative detail. More than any other work of fiction, Out of Jerusalem brings the journey of the prophet Lehi's family to life in a way that will forever move your soul.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
I've read a lot of financial planning books and I consider myself pretty well-educated in matters of finance. I've even published articles on managing finances. So I wondered if this book had anything new to offer. In concept, it doesn't, but in presentation it does. And any time you take a moment to evaluate the health of your finances, I think it's time well spent.
Of course knowing that Richard Paul Evans is a self-made successful author and businessman, I was even more intrigued.
I read a couple of chapters, then went in search of a pencil. Doing that means there are things I don't want to forget. One of my favorite chapters is titled, "Keep a Portion of Everything You Earn." I tell my kids constantly. "Do you want to spend your birthday money on making the PlayStation2 Executives even richer by purchasing a $50 game? Or do you want swap games with your buddies?"
One of the quotes in the book really struck me. "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." I'm raising my hand, because I am guilty.
I also loved Evans' example of how to win within the margins. I think that's what impressed me the most. Of course we all want to use our talents and skills we already have to expand our financial net, but Evans gives some excellent examples of how to do exactly that.
I highly recommend this book because of its simplicity, its undaunting brevity, and its structure based on tried and true principles.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Review by me, Emily
Deliciously Clean Reads
Here's the description from the jacket flap:
"When her daddy is sent off to fight Hitler, Ann Fay Honeycutt puts on the blue overalls he has given her. Now, at thirteen, she's the "man of the house," in charge of tending the large vegetable garden and watching out for her younger sisters and brother. It's hard work, but Ann Fay is managing until a polio epidemic strikes. At first she relies on the newspaper for information about the disease, but all too soon she knows its devastating effects firsthand. As the challenges grow, Ann Fay's resourcefulness and toughness grow as well."
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Spires of Stone is the third book in Annette Lyon's "temple series". Ironically, this book takes place chronologically before her other temple books. Fans of House on the Hill and At the Journey's End will love the cameo appearance of Abe Franklin--as a young boy.
In the author notes, Lyon mentions that the plot is loosely based on the Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing. So I went to her website to see if she expounded on it. And of course she did. It doesn't follow the play precisely, but there are fun elements that you will recognize.
Spires of Stone is centered on the building of the Salt Lake Temple. It's filled with rich historical details of both a slice of time in the temple-building process (remember it took 40 odd years to complete) and an epilogue scene that ties everything together so the most avid historian will be satisfied.
But what I liked best were the characters. Essentially there is a romance thread between two brothers and two wome--who happen to be sisters. Most fascinating is the Ben and Bethany match. They absolutely despise each other in the beginning because of a terrible misunderstanding that took place before Ben's mission. The second pairing is really a love triangle (one of my favorite plot elements in any romance) between Hannah, Claude, and Phillip. Will the good guy get the girl in the end? I'll let you read it to find out.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I enjoyed this novel. It is an easy read that left me uplifted. If you enjoy it, you may also like Christmas Jars by the same author, For One More Day by Mitch Albom, and Letters for Emily by Camron Wright.
Review by Emily
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tally thought they were a rumor, but now she's one of them. A Special. A super-amped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.
But maybe being perfectly programmed with strength and focus isn't better than anything she's ever known. Tally still has memories of something else.
But it's easy for her to tune that out—until she's offered a chance to stamp out the revels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carryout the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.
Specials are scary beautiful, very strong with reflexes so fast they're almost unbeatable. Tally and co. are sent to bring down the New Smoke and almost start a world war in the process. But as they hunt down the location of the New Smoke, the wild works its magic on Tally again. It changed her once; it's changing her again.
We revisit the cycle of friendship and betrayal between Shay and Tally, explore the relationship between Tally and Zane, catch up with David, and visit another city that is very different from Tally's.
I love this trilogy. For a more in-depth review, visit my blog.
Oh wait. Did I say trilogy? There's a fourth book out now. Look for my review coming soon.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
This is Annette Lyon's second historical temple book. The story begins in Snowflake, Arizona where we meet Maddi Stratton and are reintroduced to Abe Franklin. This book centers on the St. George Temple, and while it's already completed when the story opens, we learn some of the legendary events that surrounded its construction. At the Journey's End carries over a character from her previous book, House on the Hill. I'm so glad she wrote this book because I really wanted to follow that particular character.
Maddie Stratton has undergone tremendous heartache. She lost her beloved finance and doesn't know if she'll ever find love again. Considering a marriage of convenience and security, she meets Abe Franklin. They become friends, but Maddie can't let herself feel anything more for him because of a great divide between the two of them. She is a devout Mormon, and he doesn't know if he believes.
A romance, an adventure, and a tale of love and loss . . . all rolled into one. I'd recommend this to YA readers and Adult readers alike.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Fast-paced and carefully researched, best-selling author H. B. Moore delivers a heartpounding and thought-provoking novel that is sure to delight fiction and history lovers alike.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Recently I read Anne Bradshaw's latest release: Please, no zits! a collection of short stories. The stories are about LDS youth and the many challenges they face. I enjoyed each story, from fifteen-year-old Gabe participating in a Primary Nativity much to his chagrin, to Cody who faces the consequences of cheating, to Kimberly who finds a useful way to spend her time while “waiting” for a missionary.
Unique to these stories is the setting. They take place all over the world: Scotland, England, Utah, Connecticut, Ireland, etc. The author has a great writing style (being from England herself) and has a talent for developing characters that draw you in immediately.
Without being preachy or hitting you over the head with moral advice, Please, no zits! is a great read for teens and adults alike. The stories are inspiring and true to life. I love the frank way that the author approaches difficult topics like a non-member boyfriend, a non-supportive father, and coming back from drug-addition. You’ll find lots of humor, some sadness, and plenty of inspiration.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
This is the first book of Jennie Hansen's that I have read and I very much enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading more of her books.
Macady Jackson has never been in so much danger. When she saddled up her horse, she never could have imagined that her pleasant ride would end up with someone shooting at her. But unknown to Macady, she had wandered into a forbidden zone -- a drug runner's airstrip.
When deputy Aaron Westerman hears the gunfire, he knows the risk involved in the investigation of the remote area has suddenly spread beyond just him. Scanning the valley, he sees someone clothed much like himself. He was supposed to be the target! Now it's up to Aaron to keep the innocent stranger alive. But he soon finds out that the "stranger" is someone he hasn't seen in years --and their accidental meeting has resurrected feelings he had thought were long dead. Can two people who have both been deeply hurt by love learn to trust again? A romantic mystery where the heroes aren't all good and the villains aren't completely evil, Macady has enough twists and turns to grip you from beginning to end.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Annette Lyon is one of my favorite LDS authors, so of course I've read all of her books. She has written a historical temple series of a sort (although you can read each book seperately). Her first temple book is House on the Hill. The story takes place in the 1870's, Logan, Utah. Part of the story centers on the building of the Logan temple, so the reader learns all kinds of interesting facts.
The main character is Lizzy Sullivan. As the story opens, Lizzy is doused in the refiner's fire, literally. Her house burns down, and it seems no matter how much faith she tries to muster, her little brother keeps getting sicker and sicker. Her family has to move in with another family until they can get back on their feet. During this time, Lizzy meets a young man--not of her faith. But, her best friend from her childhood tries to court her, and suddenly Lizzy is confronted with the most difficult choice of her life--choosing between the two men she loves.
I love historical fiction, but even more, I love it when I'm so pulled into the story that I don't realize I'm reading "historical" fiction. This book has some romance, some history, but most of all, solid characters that draw us back into a time where we might think life was more simple.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Terracotta Summer, the first book in Anne Bradshaw's series about the British O'Shea family, is a very interesting read. I love to learn about other cultures and countries, so it was intriguing to read about the LDS O'Shea family--their struggles and triumphs are universal. The characters are very fresh and I immediately liked them. The family starts out in Manchester, England, then life disperses them to Scotland, Northern Ireland, and America.
Of course after reading Terracotta Summer, I wanted more of the story, so I was happy to learn about the sequel, Camomile Winter. This novel focuses on Patrick, who gets mixed up in the Irish Republican Army. I found the political insights very interesting, and I also enjoyed the continuation of Rosie's story--and how she finds closure to her troubled childhood.
The most compelling aspect of these books are the way they are written--in true British style. The different language usuage and culture idiosyncrasies are quite fascinating. From what I understand, these books have been out for awhile and the best place to find them is from Amazon.com or the authors site: www.annebradshaw.com
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I really enjoyed this book. Shannon Hale is a well-known middle-grade author, having won a Newbery Award for her book, Princess Academy. Austenland is Hale's first book written for adults. If you're a fan of Jane Austen, specifically of Pride and Prejudice (the book or the movies), I guarantee you'll find Austenland delightful. Publisher's Weekly had some not-so-complimentary things to say about the depth of characterization, but I picked it up anyway. And I was pleasantly entertained.
So on to the story. Thirty-three year old Jane Hayes, is seriously addicted to Mr. Darcy, more specifically Colin Firth in the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Upon the death of a wealthy aunt, Jane inherits a trip to Pembrook Park, Kent, England, to a resort where guests pretend to live in Jane Austen's era. From the conversation, the mannerisms, the dress, the food . . .
Jane Hayes is looking for her Mr. Darcy. Ready to give up on dead-end relationships altogether, Jane struggles with overcoming her personal obsession and finding a "real" relationship in the twists and turns of Austenland.
This novel is unpredictable and quite funny, with a main character who's quirky at times, but easy to relate to.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Another great read by Dee Henderson. This is the 1st book in the O'Malley series and kept me hooked from start to finish (for the second time).
FBI agent Dave Richman from Danger in the Shadows is back. He's about to meet Kate O'Malley, and his life will never be the same. She's a hostage negotiator. He protects people. He's about to find out that falling in love with a hostage negotiator is one thing, but keeping her safe is another.
Introducing the O'Malleys, an inspirational group of seven, all abandoned or orphaned as teens, who have made the choice to become a loyal and committed family. They have chosen their own surname, O'Malley, and have stood by each other through moments of joy and heartache. Their stories are told in CBA best-selling, inspirational romantic suspense novels that rock your heart and restore strength and hope to your spirit.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
It's hard to review this book without giving spoilers . . . I can't talk about any main plot element without giving away something . . . so I'll just tell you some of my favorite things:
1. Bella goes through a period of depression. When she gets to the depths of despair, the months pass without her remembering them. The author tracks the passage of time with the name of each month on a blank page. Very creative.
2. I loved the Romeo and Juliet tie ins--they were a fun addition. Some reviewer somewhere will probably criticize this as being cliche. But it was perfectly fitting to the story and perfect for the genre.
3. The ending leaves you questioning (and hoping) that the two main elements of the first two books in the series will be tied up in book three.
4. Read the author's acknowledgements at the end. It's great to catch such a personal glimpse.
5. This is my own warning: When I read New Moon, I decided to read Twilight again. It was better the second time because I wasn't racing through it to find out what happens at the end. I was able to enjoy all the foreshadowing to New Moon and really appreciate the obsessiveness between Bella and Edward.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
I really enjoyed this book. Getting into Kathy Colton’s mind was enlightening and thought provoking. Following her development through the story arc was totally absorbing. I found myself reading when I should have been writing or sleeping. In fact, this book is two for the price of one because the story of Kathy’s dead brother, Brett, came alive for me even though told through journal entries. I thought that might be boring, but it’s the opposite—tender and so real.
I put this at the top of my YA book list so far this year, and can’t wait to read more of Kay Lynn Mangum’s work.
Book Description from Amazon.com
Kathy Colton can’t stand her brother, Brett. Her family talks as if he were perfect! All Kathy knows for sure is that Brett is dead. He died of leukemia when he was sixteen and she was only two. But when Kathy turns sixteen, she discovers her brother’s hidden journal – a journal written especially for her - and learns about the brother she never knew. At the same time, Kathy is mortified by an assignment to tutor the popular high school quarterback Jason West, a football jock who, even worse, is a Mormon. Author Kay Lynn Mangum brilliantly weaves the dual stories of a dying brother and a coming-of-age sister who learn the importance of loving our family and our friends and nurturing our faith.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Title: ChaosAuthor: Jeff Downs Publisher: Covenant CommunicationsGenre: MysteryYear Published: 2007Number of Pages: 247Binding: Soft coverISBN: 978-1-59811-158-3Price: $15.95
I read this book in a week, while I was away from home. My home away from home was a university dorm room on a very quiet campus. Why am I giving these seemingly insignificant details – read on.
The novel begins on an ordinary day when teacher Jason Harrington picks up his school mail. He almost dismisses an odd note that said “I found you, Musor. Now you will die.” When Jason arrives home he found his apartment had been trashed. Was it a robbery? A phone call told him it was something worse. “I am the one who destroyed your place and when the time is right I will be the one who kills you.” The phone call concluded with an ever more sinister announcement. The mysterious caller had framed Jason in the killing of four policeman – call the law won’t get Harrington the help he needs.
Jason took off, not knowing where to go – except as far away from his home as he could. Once Jason was on his own – there was no one he could turn to for help. The police will stake out his parents and friends. How can he prove himself innocent when he doesn’t even know the evidence against him?
Eventually Jason phones the only person he can think – his ex girlfriend Kelly. After splitting up with her two years ago he had met up with her at a gas station last week. They had arranged to have dinner to catch up - now he needed her – because he knew the police would not be monitoring her.
The plot thickens as Jason and Kelly try to escape the rogue agent of the Russian mafia and try to prove Jason’s innocence. The rogue agent was the ultimate terrorist taking pot shots at Jason (and Kelly) whenever he could – knowing full well he could finish them off whenever he wanted to.
Whenever I took a break from reading and wandered down the quiet corridor of the nearly deserted university dorm – I began to look over my shoulder. There aren’t any rogue agents here are there? Make sure the door is locked and dead bolted. Is it safe to take a shower – what if a secret agent comes upon me I will be utterly defenseless?
The sign of a great book is if the reader feels like they have been there. Jeff Downs succeeded (probably more than I really wanted considering I was alone in a far away city…)
With less than 100 pages to read I had to finish the book before I went to sleep – hoping it had a happy ending and that I could go to sleep knowing that Jason and Kelly were not longer being chased by the agent.
I would encourage anyone who likes a fast paced mystery to read this book – if you want to really experience the book do it in a strange city where anyone you see could be a rogue agent looking
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
You can read my full review here, but the thing I'm most concerned about is that this is advertised as a children's book/movie. In my opinion, it is definitely NOT for children. It is dark and brutal, features violence against children, has a very detailed description of a fight between two humanized bears, and then it goes off on a religious tangent that is both ridiculous and disturbing.
I'm not saying don't read it, because it has some good writing—but be prepared. And definitely read it before letting your children and teens read it or watch the movie.
I'd be interested to hear if others who've read it feel the same way as I do, or if they have a different perspective.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect. Perfectly wrong.Pretties ends with another cliff hanger, making you want to run right out and buy the next one. Overall, I liked the book. Looking forward to seeing how Westerfeld wraps it all up.
Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted.
But beneath all the fun—the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom—is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.
Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life—because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive.
For a more in-depth review, visit my blog.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I greatly enjoyed this book. It did get a little preachy but as a Christian novel that is to be expected. Towards the end I couldn't put the book down and had to find out what happened.
Two bodies, one spear gun, and a murder suspect. But did Morgan Cleary's husband really kill her parents?
A brutal double-murder has struck fear into the heart of the peaceful Cape Refuge community. The crime weapon belongs to the victims' son-in-law, but Police Chief Cade remains unconvinced that his best friend took the lives of Thelma and Wade Owens. The Owens' ministry, a halfway house, shelters individuals far more questionable than Jonathan Cleary. Now people are concerned that it may house a murderer who could strike again.
Shattered by her parents' deaths, Morgan Cleary struggles to keep Hanover House running while her husband sits in jail. Her sister, Blair, is no help. Blair wants no part of her dead parents' ministry or their Christian faith. She wants to sell the house -- until her determined search to find the true killer uncovers some startling findings. A lethal race against time ensues for Morgan, Blair, and Cade, with far more than Hanover House at stake.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
By now, I hope you've all heard the announcement of the Whitney Awards, a new awards program designed to celebrate and encourage excellence in fiction by LDS authors.
The LDS Booksellers Association Convention, scheduled for mid-August, is fast approaching. This is the biggest event of the year for LDS publishers and retailers, and this is the time when we need to roll out the Whitney Awards in a big way to attract the attention of industry professionals.
In order to do this, we need funds. If you feel the Whitney Awards are a valuable program that will benefit LDS literature, we would appreciate your help. Donations of any size will be gratefully accepted. Even a donation of a couple of dollars can buy a handful of convention buttons.
Donations can be made via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org or via snail mail to:
PO Box 468
Orem UT 84059-0468
You donations will go a long way toward helping launch the Whitneys this August and making this program a success. For details about the Whitney Awards, including the official rules, FAQ, and a nomination form where you can nominate your favorite books released in 2007, visit the Whitney website at www.whitneyawards.com.
Thank you so much!
Saturday, July 7, 2007
This is the second book in the Fablehaven series and it is even better than the first. This is a children's novel that adults will also enjoy as I couldn't put it down. Volume three is due out in 2008 and I will be in line to get it.
A New York Times Bestseller!
At the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother, Seth, find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures. Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists- a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper- to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power. Time is running out. The Evening Star is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world. Will Kendra learn to use her fairy gifts in time? Will Seth stay out of trouble? Can they overcome paralyzing fear? Find out in book 2 of this bestselling series.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Wilson skillfully depicts the villain, Corahan, as a man who didn't intend to plunge into evil like he did, but whose greed, moral weakness and lust for power (and for Kiah) lead him deeper into darkness until by the end he's lost all humanity. I also enjoyed the character of Shabana, Kiah's sister-in-law, opposite and nemesis.
Wilson has obviously studied her Central American setting in great detail; she paints vivid images of the city and the jungle surrounding it and gives readers a fascinating picture of life in Book of Mormon times. I recommend Secrets in Zarahemla.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
At the beginning of the summer I read Counting Stars by Michele Paige Holmes. It's billed as an LDS romance, but really it's so much more than that. The main character is Jane, who just turned 30. She's single and has had up-and-down relationships with men. But the story is not just about girl meets boy and falls in love, it's about real life, family, forgiveness, survival, romance . . . well, the back cover says it best:
Jane was hoping for a date---maybe even a boyfriend. What she wasn't expecting was Paul Bryant's completely original and sincere pick-up line: Hi. I'm Paul. I have terminal cancer. My wife was killed in a car accident, and I'm looking for a woman to raise my children.
It was never Jane's plan to fall in love with a dying man and his two infants. But her seemingly simple decision to date someone outside her faith leads to one complication after another. With the stakes this high, is choosing to help Paul a choice to be alone forever?
And how can Paul feel so confident that this woman---who's never managed to keep a checking account for more than six months---should be the one to raise his children?
How can something that seems so unbelievably insane feel so completely right?
Sometimes love is found in the least likely places, and the greatest blessings are discovered while counting stars.
Try out this new author, I know you'll love her book like I did.
Friday, June 29, 2007
The display in Salt Lake carried several similar books--all award winning in previous years. A String in the Harp, by Nancy Bond, won a Newbery Honor, and several other awards in its time. It was first published in 1976. This latest edition was published by Aladdin Paperbacks in May 2007. It was written for ages 9 - 13.
I suggest the need for avid readers because the book tends to be a little long winded in places when compared with today's material. Having said that, I have to admit I’m engrossed. Mind you, it is set in Wales, UK--a hop and a skip up the road from Caernarvon, the town where I was born, so I guess I am a little biased.
When I was young, my family often traveled the long coastal road from Aberystwyth alongside Cardigan Bay on our way to a Welsh holiday destination. I can see in vivid detail every description Nancy writes.
The story tells what happens to three American children, unwillingly transplanted to Wales for one year, when one of them finds an ancient harp-tuning key that takes him back to the time of the great sixth-century bard, Taliesin.
To quote from the book blurb, “When fifteen-year-old Jen Morgan flies to Wales to spend Christmas with her family, she’s not expecting much from the holiday. A year after her mother’s sudden death, her father is preoccupied by the teaching job that has brought him and Jen’s younger siblings to Wales for the year. Her brother, Peter, is alternately hostile and sullen, and her sister Becky, misses Jen terribly.
"Then Peter tells Jan he’s found a strange artifact, a harp key that shows him pictures from the life of Taliesin, the great bard whose life in six century Wales has been immortalized in legend. At first Jen doesn’t believe him, but when the keys existence – and it strange properties – become known to the wider world, the Morgans must act together against a threat to the key and to their family."
I recommend this book because it not only transports the reader to another country and brings the place to life, but it also dives back in time and turns an adventure into a fascinating history lesson in disguise. And it's clean, to boot.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Recently I read Sheep's Clothing by Josi Kilpack. The main character, Kate, was someone I could relate to and that's probably why it made the story a little eerie. When her daughter, Jesse, starts to chat online with a child predator, things start escalate.
What parents wouldn't be horrified if they found out their child was being solicited by a 40+ man posing as a 13-year old girl?
The book takes you through 16-year old Jesse's journey of insecurity and how she turns to a friend "Emily" who she meets online. We also catch a glimpse of Kate, Jesse's mother, who is trying to be the "all" for her six children, her husband . . . but essentially falls short when she doesn't pay close enough attention to the changes in her daughter's life.
Of course it can happen to anyone. And it does. So that's why I really appreciated the Author Notes that Kilpack added at the end of her book. They detail resources that parents can use to help prevent internet predators from infiltrating their homes.
I definately think Sheep's Clothing is an excellent book for parents and teenagers to read together. It will open up the line of communication of becoming educated about internet predators.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Chaos is a fast and exciting read. Downs plunges you straight into the action and keeps up a brisk pace throughout the novel. The characters are sympathetic and Jason's dilemma will set your mind spinning as you wonder why anyone would target this nice-guy junior high teacher and how Jason is going to get out of this alive.
I'm a fan of Jeff Down's work and am always intrigued when he releases a new novel. Chaos is an excellent book--in fact, my favorite of Down's books so far. I'm looking forward to his next novel.
Monday, June 25, 2007
With a long list of suspects, and a short supply of experience, Samantha must accept the help of an antagonistic and reluctant policeman and the eclectic staff at Nightshade to solve the case and keep her uncle's beloved firm from disaster.
Filled with the twists, turns, and thrills of classic detective novels, along with a generous helping of humor, readers will enjoy sleuthing the crossword clues in this exciting, frothy mystery.
Scrolling through the Children's Literature section, I saw several other Peter Pan stories. I haven't read those, but I enjoyed reading Peter and the Starcatchers this past weekend.
It's by two authors, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. I haven't read anything by Pearson, but I've enjoyed Barry's humor columns over the years. At the beginning of the book, Pearson thanks his daughter who asked the question: How did Peter Pan meet Captain Hook?
And of course everyone's question: How did Captain Hook lose his hand? You'll have to wait until the end of the book to find out, but in the meantime Peter and the Starcatchers is a fun adventure. It opens with an orphan boy names Peter, who is sent away from England on a ship. He meets a girl, Molly, and they become friends. But Peter soon learns that Molly is no ordinary girl and she holds a fantastic secret. And it all has to do with a mysterious trunk that was loaded onto the same ship.
Unbeknownst to Peter, some pirates have learned about the treasure inside the mysterious trunk, and the chase begins.
If you or your children enjoy pirate adventures, this is a great summer book. It's a fun read and as I read it, I thought it would be a great book to read aloud to my children. The descriptions and setting is vivid--definite material for a movie.