Monday, March 31, 2008

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

I read this a while ago and just realized I never posted the review here.
Jessica Day George won a Whitney award for Best Novel by a New Author.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Review by Emily of Deliciously Clean Reads and whimsy

The difficult thing about reviewing is finding a balance between telling about a story and not giving anything crucial away. I am finding this balance particularly difficult with Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.
If I knew everyone would be intrigued enough to read it with a recommendation that simply said, "I love this book. If you enjoy YA fantasy, such as books by Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, Patricia Wrede, C.S. Lewis, etc. don't pass this one by"...that is all I would write. I enjoyed the journey through this book, not having any clue about the story ahead of time. I have seen reviews since I read Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow that gave away crucial elements of the story that I am glad I didn't know.
Having said all that, here is my review. I know. Finally.

The girl, aka the pika, lives in a place that is always winter. Her family is poor. The girl, though a teenager, remains nameless. Her mother was so upset at having another worthless girl, that she refuses to name her.
Legend has it, that nameless girls are often stolen by trolls...but it isn't a troll that takes the pika away from her safe home and beloved brother. It is an isbjorn, or ice bear. The great white bear takes the girl to live in an ice castle for a year, promising that her family will be wealthy.
Many girls have been taken by isbjorns in the past, but the girl has a special quality that distinguishes her from the others.
She can talk to animals, which certainly helps when you have been taken captive by a bear.
Jessica Day George loved this Norwegian fairy tale and decided to flesh it out into a full length novel. At LTUE, she said she chose the story because it had everything...adventure, trolls, castles, mystery, romance.

You can see a video interview with Jessica Day George here.

Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black

I finished Fool Me Twice yesterday. I absolutely loved it! I rarely give a book a 5 (out of 5) but this one got it. So far, it's my favorite read of the year.

There were so many twists and turns in the plot. First you think one person is manipulating another, then someone else gets involved, then you find out that there's a master manipulator who's been pulling strings for years. It's incredible! You can read my full review on my blog.

Here's the promo from the back:

When it comes to pleasing her twin sister, Megan O’Connor is an easy touch. She’ll do just about anything to gain Kristen’s approval, including trading places with her. After all, Kristen’s plan promises to get Megan out of a dead-end job and make them both rich. It will be a nice reward for a little genealogical investigation--something that couldn’t have happened without the help of Kristen’s new LDS acquaintances. And who could blame the twins for using a tiny bit of deceit to manipulate an inheritance out of someone as demanding as their estranged aunt Evelyn?

All Megan has to do is pretend to be Kristen, move into Evelyn’s house, and take care of the wealthy old woman until her failing health kills her. It shouldn’t take too long. It shouldn’t be too difficult. Megan’s the nice one. Except for the lie, the task is a natural fit. Everything would be perfect if she could just ignore the guilt--a feeling that only grows stronger as she spends more time with the new friends Kristen arranged for her.

But soon Megan discovers there is more to worry about. She’s living in a house of illusions where she isn’t the only one playing a part. Someone has developed a new plotline that ends with a death scene--and in this version, the victim won’t die of natural causes.

Beneath the surface of the sleepy New England town of Britteridge, deceit weaves a deadly web where turnabout is anything but fair play.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Jayhawk & Return to Red Castle by Dorothy Keddington

Dorothy Keddington is one of my all time favorite authors. These are her first two books and they are great. They are romance adventures that will keep you up late into the night wanting to find out what happens next.

Jayhawk is 1/2 Bannock-Shoshoni Indian who wants to find out why his father disappeared a few weeks before he was born. Angela Stewart arrives to visit her college roommate at her family's ranch outside the city of Dust, Wyoming. Together Angela and Jayhawk go on a wild ride to find out the truth.

Return to Red Castle is set in the High Uintas. Melissa is returning to her family's vacation spot for the first time in four years where she finds her best friend (though 11 years older than her) has become a mountain man and where drug runners are in the mountains.

NOTE: Both books are out of print but can be found at

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

And the Whitney Award goes to . . .

Last year, Stephanie Black educated us all on The Whitney Awards--an academy that was developed to recognize excellence in literary achievement by LDS writers. The name for the Whitney Awards comes from Orson F. Whitney, who once said, "We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own."

On Saturday, March 23, 2008, the award gala was held at the CottonTree Inn in Sandy Utah. During the event, three bloggers documented the event live.

You can read about the event as it unfolded here.

The 2007 Whitney Award winners were:

Michele Paige Holmes (Counting Stars)--Best Romance
Shannon Hale (Book of a Thousand Days)--Best Speculative
Brandon Mull (Fablehaven 2)--Best Childrens/YA
Josi Kilpack (Sheep's Clothing)--Best Suspense
H.B. Moore (Out of Jerusalem, vol. 4: Land of Inheritance)--Best Historical
Jessica Day George (Dragon Slippers)--Best New Author
Coke Newell (On the Road to Heaven)--Best Novel of the Year

Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to:
Anita Stanisfield
Dean Hughes
Jennie Hansen

Most of these books (or authors) have been reviewed on this site. I've read all of the Whitney Award winning books and highly recommend each one.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer (Due out May 6th.)
Review by Emily of Deliciously Clean Reads and Whimsy

I never thought an author could make me cry over a dying alien...but that's Stephenie Meyer for you. I mean really, how many authors do you know who could capture the heart of the world through a vampire romance? Well, The Host's plot is every bit as cheesy-sounding. Yet, there I was, crying...enthralled...unable to put it down.

The Host started out a little rough for me. It is written from the perspective of a parasitic alien who has just entered into a human body. At first, I couldn't help but be a little turned off by the sci-fi aspect of the plot...but by about page 40, I was completely sucked in. Stephenie Meyer is talented at taking an out-there plot and making it ridiculously compelling and romantic.

Check out the rest of the review at Deliciously Clean Reads.