Friday, August 28, 2009

Farworld: Land Keep by J. Scott Savage

Farworld: Land Keep
By J. Scott Savage
Release Date: October 2009 (Shadow Mountain)

—Reviewed by Heather Moore

Category: YA Fantasy

“Water. Land. Air. Fire. Together, the balance of Farworld they keep.” Kyja and Marcus are on a quest to outdo the Dark Circle by convincing the four elementals of Farworld to work together. In the first book of the Farworld series, Water Keep, Marcus and Kyja were able to get the water elementals to cooperate, but now they have to travel to find the land elementals. Problem is, no one can tell them precisely where they are since they’ve been missing for thousands of years.

In this second installment, Land Keep, the captivating adventure continues. Marcus—a boy with magical powers, and Kyja—a girl who wants magic more than anything. The two soon find out that they each have to trade what’s most dear to them in order to survive.

Since Marcus’s birth, sacrifices have been made in his behalf that he is only now beginning to realize. But the longer he stays on Farworld, the faster his health declines. In a race against time, the characters must outsmart the Keepers and determine who is really on their side.

The plot is far from simple, but the complexity is rich and satisfying as questions proposed in Water Keep are answered in Land Keep. A clear picture of this new world emerges as the characters discover that things are not necessarily as they seem. Land Keep is highly visual, fast-paced, with multi-layered intrigue. But most importantly, the characters breathe life into the pages, pulling us into a magical realm. One that is truly powerful.

To preorder, go here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Methods of Madness by Stephanie Black

Methods of Madness
by Stephanie Black
Covenant Communications, Aug 2009

Reviewed by Heather Moore

2008 Whitney Award winning author, Stephanie Black, is back with another fantastic mystery. This suspense novel is not what you'd expect. There's not one, but two murders to solve, and a strange disappearance that continues to haunt Emily Ramsey.

Even years later, after the death of her sister and the disappearance of her fiance on the same night, she still struggles to overcome her fealings of guilt. What if she hadn't held the bridal shower at her future in-laws? Then her sister wouldn't have been outside tying balloons to the mailbox where she was fatally hit by a car. Or what if she'd leant her more reliable car to her fiance, and his car didn't break down at the shopping center, only to never be seen again?

But a second chance has presented itself in the form of Zach Sullivan. The relationship grows slowly between Zach and Emily, but it is as real as anything she's known for a long time. yet, it seems that almost as soon as they announce their wedding plans, things go awry. Threatening letters are sent to Emily and she can only assume they are from Monica, Zach's former girlfriend, who is suddenly interested in Zach again.

Just like Black's previous novel, Fool Me Twice, it took me until nearly the end to discover "who-dunnit". The story was tightly-plotted and the characters intriguing. I congratulate the author for another job well done.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Holy Bible and Mormonism

Review by Heather Moore

In his introduction Christopher Mills clearly states that he is not an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his work is for the express purpose of explaining to members and non-members how to “understand Latter-day Saint beliefs . . . from a Biblical standpoint.”

What follows is a selection of topics that often come under criticism from those outside of the LDS faith. Most members of the LDS Church know the answers because they have learned them throughout Primary, Sunday School and Gospel Doctrine classes. But I found that putting them into a single volume and walking through the relevant scriptures in the Biblical text brought the message and the explanation of the doctrines to a very manageable level.

Topics such as why the LDS people believe that faith and works are inseparable, and why we are baptized by immersion are clearly outlined. The chapters are compelling and not to be read in one sitting. The chapter on the LDS beliefs about eternal marriage was especially interesting, since I’ve found myself in similar conversations with non-member friends.

The chapters on the Priesthood and the Prophets and Apostles are fervent reminders of the importance of the restoration of the Church in the latter days.

Overall, the tone of the book is diplomatic and matter-of-fact. The author is careful to share both sides of the argument, then explain how LDS doctrine, does indeed, fit into the scriptural text found within the Bible. An interesting compilation and a helpful reference for any student of the gospel.
To order this book, visit Christopher Mill's website.