Monday, October 22, 2007

BLUE by Joyce Moyer Hostetter

Review by me, Emily
Deliciously Clean Reads

Joyce Moyer Hostetter sent me a copy of her book, BLUE. Now, I get a lot of books for review. Sometimes I love them. Sometimes they don't really resonate with me for one reason or another. BLUE is one of those books that took me by surprise (because it was so wonderful) and shook me to the core. I laughed. I cried. And you know what? It doesn't even have any fantasy elements in it. My favorite books are almost always fantasy. This is a book about Ann Fay Honeycutt, and what it was like to be a young teen in the forties. Wow.

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."

When I finished reading BLUE, I wasn't ready for the experience to end, so I asked Joyce Moyer Hostetter some questions about it. To read the review, please visit my blog, Deliciously Clean Reads.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Spires of Stone

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

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

You know those novels that are about miracles? Not magic, but realistic miracles that happen every day around the world? The kind of miracle where someone needs a second chance in life and gets it?

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright is that kind of miracle book.

During his entire married life, Jack wrote to his wife every Wednesday. Upon Jack's death, the family reads the letters. The letters take the family through a rollercoaster of dreams, expectations, family, love, secrets, betrayal and forgiveness.

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.

You can read the rest of my review at Deliciously Clean Reads.

Review by Emily

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Specials by Scott Westerfield

Specials by Scott Westerfield is the final book in the Uglies trilogy. I loved Uglies, liked Pretties, and had high hopes for Specials. It did not disappoint.

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

At the Journey's End by Annette Lyon

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.