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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, April 16, 2010

Imprints Contest

Okay, I was supposed to announce this yesterday and totally forgot. Sorry Rachel!

Rachel Ann Nunes is holding a fun contest in conjunction with the release of her newest title Imprints.

What is Imprints? A phenominal breakthrough for LDS publishing. Hip- Hip- Hurray for clean paranormal fiction for women (yeah, I suppose men will read it, too).

This is a big step for Deseret Book and both DB and Rachel are on pins and needles praying that it goes well for everyone. So, if you love a good paranormal read pick up a copy of Imprints NOW then read it a join Rachel's contest.

Every day on her blog Rachel will post a trivia question about the book Imprints. Get the right answer and you'll be entered to win some awesome prizes. Every right answer is an entry!

The book is an awesome deal at Amazon- check it out and show your support by grabbing your own copy!

Then, don't forget to let DB and Rachel know how much you appreciate their forward thinking in providing us with awesome stories that don't make us blush. ;)
I've gotten myself a little behind (darn life for interfering with my reading time) but a full review is coming soon! If you've already read it, let me know what you thought.

I'll Know You By Heart by Kimberly Job

Okay, let me first start off by saying:

Whew, I’m so glad to have that off of my chest. It’s been bugging me for days. ;)

I’ll Know You By Heart by Kimberly Job is a heart-breaking and heart-healing story of shattered dreams and the miracles that can come from them.

From the back cover:
Is it possible for love to conquer all? I’ll Know You By Heart is a timeless romance that explores the possibility that relationships span the entire realm of eternity—a story about abuse, hardship, and betrayal—ultimately a story about the healing power of everlasting true love.


Let me tell you, it takes a lot for a romance title to earn a sigh of satisfaction from me. I have a very low cheesy-mush tolerance level. ;) The romantic elements of I’ll Know You By Heart are simple, mature and respectful. They strike just the right tone and didn’t have me rolling my eyes. Well, okay, maybe once. . .

Oh, and I also have to mention—I loved the cover. It caught my attention right away. This is one you want to make sure the cover is showing on the store bookshelves. That image alone will entice many a romance reader to pick it up and find out what the pages hold.

Kimberly Job had me from the first page and never let go of my heart until I’d reached the end. But, be forewarned. This may be a difficult story for some to read: it does deal with some very serious and hurtful abuse issues. On the flip-side it could also be a healing experience and a glimpse of hope for those who have found themselves in similar situations.

Did I experience any whinny moments while reading? Eh, not much. I did notice some inconsistencies between the way the abuse was described and the abuse that was shown. But on the whole the descriptions and situations were accurate and true to life. If nothing else, read it for the understanding it can give you. Take note of the way Stephanie acts, what her environment is like, the way she looks. You may know a Stephanie without even realizing it. It’s a situation every woman should be aware of because there is no excuse, none whatsoever, which justifies a Daughter of God being hurt in such a manor.

If you’re a fan of Rachel Ann Nunes and Anita Stansfield, you’re about to become a fan of Kimberly Job. She has a powerful, passionate voice and I expect to see great things from her in the future.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Thorn by Daron D. Fraley

The Thorn by Daron Fraley certainly explores an interesting premise: the thought that there are other worlds, other places that have a belief in Christ and knowledge of His gospel. What would it be like to believe in Savior that wasn’t even part of your world? What signs would be given or His birth and death? What would the prophets share with the people? It’s pretty good answer for those who’ve ever wondered about the possibility and one that I haven’t seen explored before. The Thorn seems to be a hybrid work consisting of a woven tapestry of history, theology, and science fiction.

From the back of the book:

Three tribes are at war on the planet Gan, unaware that the sign of Christ’s birth on an unknown world – Earth – is about to appear in the heavens.

During a bloody skirmish with Gideonite troops, Jonathan of Daniel spares Pekah, a young enemy soldier, gaining his trust forever. These two distant brothers from estranged tribes covenant with each other to end the war being waged by a self-proclaimed emperor, and soon discover the intentions of a far more dangerous foe named Rezon – a sinister general bent on ruling those he can bring into subjection and destroying all others.

This was an enjoyable first book by author Daron D. Fraley, I think the series will do well for him. However, for me, personally, I don’t think it will end up on my “absolute favorites” shelf. Not because the book is bad, by any means, but only because it’s not a genre/premise I particularly enjoy. I like the scenario and enjoyed it for the story’s sake, but the very elements that will make it appealing to so many caused me a few hiccups. The frequency of scriptural names and similar stories we read within the Bible and Book of Mormon sort of, hmmm, ….. disoriented? ….. distracted? Me. Does that even make sense? Probably not, I hardly ever make sense- even to myself.

Don’t let my weirdness stop you from reading The Thorn. It is time well-spent and I admired the messages of friendship, commitment, devotion and spiritual strength that it carries. Besides, we all know by now that I’m a big old flake. I might pick it up again in a year or two and have a totally different opinion. Have you read it yet? Leave a comment and tell me why you loved it so poor Daron doesn’t think I hate his work or something. I don’t, really! He has talent, I can only see the series getting better as it goes along.

So, here’s a flip side for you. One odd thing that usually gives me a moment’s hesitation deciding whether or not I’ll read a book didn’t at all with The Thorn. I know, I know, I’m so wishy-washy. See, I’m not fond of books that have to add huge character lists at the beginning of the story. If the story’s not good enough for me to care about the characters enough to remember their names and how they fit in the story, then they probably didn’t need to be there. If I have to stop the story to refer back to the list and figure out who someone is, you’ve lost me. My poor brain just can’t handle that kind of taxation. Did the character list in the front of The Thorn bother me? Well, I eyed it with suspicion. Then I looked closer and loved the way it was done. The definition part of the tables really appealed to me. Maybe it’s because I’m one of those people who will peruse through a baby book for no other reason than to see where names came from and what they mean. ;) Did I have to refer to the character list to keep people straight? Nope. Hurray for characters with substance and purpose! Now, if I just could have kept from trying to put them in my scriptures instead of the planet Gan . . .

Who do I think this book will appeal to? Those who enjoyed Orson Scott Card’s Homecoming series, definitely. Fans of alternate realities, yep. People who like a lot of action in their fiction, yep. Teenage boys, probably.

Heck, don’t take my word for anything- “test drive” The Thorn for yourself by reading the first part on Daron’s website. Then you’ll know how big of a schmuck I really am. ;) And, if The Thorn really appeals to you, I’d suggest you enter Daron’s contest as well. How fun!

Keep writing, Daron! You’re going to do well.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Secret Sisters by Tristi Pinkston

I was so pleased to be offered a chance to review Tristi Pinkston’s newest title Secret Sisters. She’s such an awesome, uplifting lady that you can’t help but celebrate all the wonderful things she manages to accomplish. Personally, her life wears me out just thinking about it.

Tristi’s first few novels were historically based. They were wonderful and carefully researched, but I have to say that with Agent in Old Lace and the new Secret Sisters series her true colors really show. They’re just plain fun and uplifting.

If you’re a fan of Ms. Marple, or cozy mysteries in general, you’ll enjoy Secret Sisters- the tale of a Relief Society President gone rogue in order to figure out how to help members of her ward.
How did I like it? Well, first off I have to say that Ida Mae is my idol. I could never be like her, but she’s just about the most awesome lady I “know”. She is the ultimate Relief Society President with a heart of gold and someone I’d be honored to know. The world definitely needs more Ida Maes.

All the characters felt real and likable to me. No one was cardboard cutout perfect, but they had distinct personalities, voices, strength and flaws. Spending time with them was a comfortable experience.

One thing that really appealed to me about Secret Sisters was the size. The cover is cute, but I really fell in love with the size and feel of the book in my hand. Weird, huh? It just seemed to show so clearly what you could expect from your reading experience: a solid story, a sweet mystery that was easy to read, a non-taxing afternoon escape. It was about the size of a normal paperback, but with a hard cover, perfect for tossing in a purse on your way out the door to the eternal waiting room at the doctor’s office. Heck, you could probably get the whole thing read before that mythical doctor even graces you with an appearance. (Okay, that was just rude of me. I obviously need to spend more time learning how to curb those unrighteous judgments.) I know, I know, I pick up on the strangest things, but there you have it.

Any whinny bits? Mmmm. The leap from Ida Mae’s curious worry to felony seemed a bit abrupt to me. But then again, I’d probably bend over backwards to jump in with anything Ren suggested. I liked him. ;)

Also, I’m not really sure you could call it a complaint, but I did notice that I was becoming so caught up in the subplots, worrying about all the different dramas in Ida Mae’s ward, that I wasn’t particularly intent on solving the mystery. At times that felt like the subplot.
Oh yeah- and where is Ida Mae’s recipe for sour cream chocolate chip cookies? What’s with these author who think they can just taunt you with good food, then not tell you how to get your hands on it? Or, maybe normal people just don’t fixate on food as much as I do. I’m still mad at another book for getting me craving Ding-Dongs. . .

At any rate, Secret Sisters proved to be a very enjoyable book. Hurray for Tristi and the little things in life that make it so enjoyable!

I believe Tristi is still running her sock drive in conjunction with this release as well. Sooo, read the book, then throw in a pair of socks for Arlette’s favorite cause. (You don’t have to knit them if you don’t want to. ;)