About Me

My photo
I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hurray for Halloween (books)

Yes, I’m afraid it’s true. I love Halloween. I’m not a blood and guts for the sake of blood and guts type of person, but I do love the myths and legends associated with the holiday.

So, in honor of my dark side (I know I seem so sweet-lol) here’s a list of my favorite Halloween-type books. Sorry, I know the Amazon links are a little tacky but simplicity was the order of the day. Sigh.

Goodnight Goon

Wake the Dead

Franny K. Stein: Lunch Walks Among Us

The Best Halloween Ever

Artemia Spooky: My Haunted House

The Great Ghost Rescue

Aunt Dimity’s Death

The Awakening

The Graveyard Book

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (Though I don’t agree with the “I’m so love sick I can’t be a normal, productive human being anymore” philosophy.)

Lily Dale: Awakening

Shadow Land by Meg Cabot

Got a favorite? Let me know, my “to-read” is always looking for a few more entries!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tower of Strength by Annette Lyon

Tower of Strength by Annette Lyon is a sweet love story about a strong woman who is making her mark on the world in an age when women were looked down upon for such things. Tabitha made a wonderful heroine who has to learn that there are times to be strong and there are times when being strong means letting someone else share in your burden. Sometimes that’s a tough lesson to learn and I enjoyed exploring it through Tabitha’s eyes.

True to the nature of her last three books, Annette has given us another “temple” book. I think she’s really found her historical niche. This account takes place during the construction of the Manti temple, mostly in the year 1884. While the temple is not necessarily what the book is about, it is central to her character’s lives. I’ve enjoyed the way Annette is able to weave a good story with the history of our temples, she really puts you not only into the people’s lives but the temple construction site, as well. She gives the readers a sense of personally vested interest in the progress.

Love interest? Of course. I love that he has his own flaws and talents that make him stand out.

A sense history, time and place? Yes. I also appreciated the subplot involving the horse; though a little bird told me Annette has vowed never to write about horses again. I can’t say I’d blame her for making such a promise.

Worth the read? Absolutely. I truly cared about Tabitha and what she could make out of her life.

Do I have any whines or complaints? Sort of.

I had a great time reading the Tower of Strength for the story’s sake. There is no fault to be found with Annette’s ability to tell a great story. But, though I loved the characters and the account, for some reason I did feel the personal attachment in the temple construction as I have in some of the others. Does that make sense? I’m not really sure why I didn’t gain that connection this time. At least for me, the information about the Manti temple seemed very toned down and didn’t really play into the story until the end.

Tower of Strength will go on my re-read shelf. I have a feeling I’m not done learning from it yet.

If you haven’t yet tried this series, I’d highly recommend it. It’s reading time well spent.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gearing Up For NaNoWriMo

Soooo, here’s my dilemma. It’s almost NaNoWriMo time and I still haven’t picked my project. I went through my active files and chose the one I wanted to finish first, but I can’t decide if it’s cheating to start with 12,000 words if you still set a goal of writing 50,000 more.

The whole point is to start with only an idea and a determined spirit and come out the other end of November with a 50,000 word novel. No, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a good one. It’s more an exercise in kicking yourself in the pants and demonstrating that you really can write when you put your mind to it.

I could start something entirely new, of course. But that opens up another Pandora’s Box of decisions. My idea file is quite extensive and more than a handful are screaming “Pick me! Pick me!”

It’s quite a problem as you can see.
What would you do if you were me?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

2010 LDStorymakers' Writer's Conference!


The first notices for the 2010 Writer's Conference have been posted to the LDStorymakers' website. For me, being at this conference is one of the things I look forward to all year long. Even if you've been to other writer's conferences, trust me when I say the Storymaker's conference tops them all. It's a must.

So, go check out the details and save April 23&24, 2010 to come join in the fun!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Speculating on the Whitney Awards

By now I hope you've all heard about the Whitney Award program. I've attended the Awards Gala the past two years and I can tell you that it's a wonderful experience. The room over-flows with love, support and inspiration. Very different than some other types of awards.

The Whitney Awards were created for that specific reason. They celebrate all the wonderful things LDS writer's contribute to the LDS community and the world in general.

Now, I love to be part of the voting for these awards. It's amazing to submerge myself in the LDS community has deemed awesome literature. But, it's also a problem for me. By the time the finalists are announced we have a short time to acquire and read all the titles in order to cast an honest vote. Getting those titles when you live outside of Utah can prove a challenge, so I try to keep my eye out for the titles that are getting the highest reviews and the most buzz. These I try to grab before the Whitney finalists are announced so I'm ahead of the game.

I have an itching to place a new order of LDS fiction. Here's where you come in.
Leave a comment here and let me know that best fiction written by an LDS author you've read so far this year. Let's see if my guesses line up with yours.

Remember: the book itself doesn't need to be specific to the LDS market, just written by and LDS author.

Oh, and make sure you pop over to the Whitney site and cast your votes there as well!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Read Before You Buy: or,

A great way to waste an afternoon.

This week there is no specific review. I just thought I’d point out that there are a lot of ways to preview a title that you’re interested in buying. Yes, if you walk into a bookstore you can flip open the pages and see what catches you’re eye. If you’re like me, whatever it is will be about twice as much as your budget for said trip to the bookstore.

Or, you can go to Amazon and “take a peek” inside whenever that option is available.

Then, there’s another way. Go to the author’s web site. Many will post the first chapter of one or more books on their site for the specific purpose of giving you a chance to read before you buy. They want you to buy, they want to draw you in. What better way to do that then to let you read a bit of the book?

Because I’m such a nice blogger, I’ve provided a list of such authors here for you.

Because I’m also a lazy blogger, please understand that this is by no means an exhaustive list. They just happen to be ones I know about in my tiny portion of the universe. If you have a book in mind, look up its web site. Odds are pretty good you’ll get a nice size teaser to let you know if the book really does catch your fancy.

If you have a favorite author who has their first chapter(s) posted and their not listed here, post it in the comments so we can all go take a peek. My “to-read” list is just about to pass the 1000 book mark so help me reach my goal of wishful thinking. (I’m firmly convinced I’ll get them all read before I’m too senile to remember I’ve read them. At that point I get to start over.)

Happy web browsing!


Shirley Bahlmann

Annette Lyon

Sariah Wilson


Robison Wells


Abel Keogh

Middle grade

Clint Johnson

Tamra Norton

Mystery and Suspense

Julie Bellon

Stephanie Black

Kerry Blair

Christine Kersey

Josi Kilpack

Marcia Mickelson

Jeffrey Savage

G.G Vandagriff

Sweet Romance

Michele Ashman Bell

Kerry Blair

Joyce DiPastena

Marcia Mickelson

Tamra Norton

Suzanne Reese

Rebecca Talley


Marsha Ward

Women’s Fiction

Heather Justesen

Christine Thackeray


James Dashner

Katie Parker

Rick Riordan

Friday, October 2, 2009

By Love or By Sea by Rachel Rager

This week I’m happy to share my review of By Love of By Sea by Rachel Rager.

In case you can’t tell, it’s another one of those sweet romances. Note to self: review a mystery or comedy soon, before I go into sweetness overload. ;)

I was off to a slow start with By Love or By Sea. I liked the introduction well enough; the premise was sound and intriguing in its way. But I can’t say that I got the whole “can’t speak his/her name” thing. It felt rather forced to me, or maybe I’m just dense and clueless to the superstitions of the time. Despite that little hiccup, once all introductions were formally made to the reader I found it much easier to become involved in the characters. By Love or By Sea proved to be an easy, clean, and enjoyable escape for me.

The basic plot line is just what you’d expect: good girl with the wrong guy, enter the right guy. Personal and emotional struggles ensue; you worry and pine with the characters, but know there will always be a happy ending. Rachel Rager definitely lives up to her promise of sweet kisses. I loved the chemistry she managed to portray without being graphic or vulgar. Great job, Rachel!

I also had complete admiration for her heroine, Alice. Despite her tendency to get herself into mortal peril (as every good romantic heroine should), she was spunky, happy, and had a loving, pure heart that let her see good where most would never think to look.

Now for the totally nit-picky whines. Don’t judge the book too harshly for them though because they were totally out of the author’s control and had nothing to do with the meat of the book.

First: I loved the cover, you can't tell so much from the picture, but I thought it was beautiful. Didn’t care for the title.

Second: Every time I came across a new chapter heading I was sure my son’s pet spider had escaped and gotten himself squashed between the pages. The headings were over-the-top loopy and flamboyant. To me, they were distracting. But then again, not every one let’s their kids keep pet spiders in danger of escaping at any moment. . .

See, I told you they were nit-picky. Overall, I found By Love or By Sea to be a very satisfying first book for Rachel. She has a flare for good clean romance that can only get better with future projects. Keep going Rachel, your readers will thank you for it!

Here’s a note from Rachel about her By Love or By Sea blog tour:

“Let your readers know that if they leave a comment on your review, or become a follower of my blog, they will be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of the book. They can comment on more than one review and become a follower and be entered multiple times.”

If you’ve read it, stop by Rachel’s blog or website to offer your own hurrahs! I know she’ll appreciate it. Oh, and don’t forget to leave a comment here, as well, to be entered in the drawing for your own copy!