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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.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meg's Melody by Kaylee Baldwin

Meg's Melody' by Kaylee Baldwin is a sweet and satisfying romance. However, it wasn’t a “fluff” story either. Yes, we know who will ultimately end up together, but the journey to get there has more substance than, “Do you like me? Check yes or no,” types of details.

Meg seems to have the worst luck in men. She seems to attract the ones who don’t want to treat her very well, and worse, she begins to believe that’s all she should expect. Is it any wonder she has a hard time recognizing a good man, and the potential for a beautiful, uplifting relationship when it comes along?

I could understand exactly where she was coming from, and I think most young readers will be able to as well. The situation she finds herself in is a common one. Sometimes it felt like she was overcoming her problems a little too easily, but mostly the accomplishments were appropriate and believable.

I highly recommend Meg's Melody' for the older teen/young adult scene who are beginning to take a closer look at what they’d like in a future mate. This book offers some non-confrontational food for thought wrapped up in an engaging love story package.

Kaylee is running a contest! Whomever comments a the review post on any of the blogs in the tour, will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Meg's Melody.

January 10th
Shanda at LDSWBR

January 11th
Tristi Pinkston

January 12th
Jolene Perry

January 13th
Shaunna Gonzales

January 15th
Taffy Lowell

January 17th
Heather at Fire and Ice

January 18th
Marsha Ward

January 19th
Alison Palmer

January 20th
I am a Reader Not a Writer

Rebecca Talley
January 21st

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Peasant Queen by Cheri Chesley

After what felt like a slow start in the first few chapters, I had a great time reading The Peasant Queen by Cheri Chesley.

Take a beautiful, intelligent girl from a farm in the middle of nowhere, add a far off kingdom at war with its neighbor and you’ve got the basic plot of a dozen fantasy novels. That said, The Peasant Queen is a romantic fantasy that can definitely hold its own among the most popular of those YA titles.

Krystal is a farm girl whose family has betrothed her to someone who is in no way her equal. In a desperate attempt to figure out how to get out of the marriage she considers running away. But the tables are turned slightly when she’s kidnapped instead. She’s not really sure why she’s there or what will be come of her. The reader isn’t sure either, but the whole attitude with which Krystal faces this unexpected challenge made the whole book for me.

Despite the nature of her arrival in the new kingdom, Krystal is anything but a victim of circumstance. She is a heroine extraordinaire and the kind of girl I’d want my own girls to learn a thing or two from. She’s strong, capable and determined. There’s no damsel in distress in this story and I loved that about it.

Did I have any issues? Eh- I’m one of those that take issue with having a heroine that every male character alive seems to fall in love with. Cheri did a good job of weaving it together in a believable scenario, but I would have been more comfortable if the bad guy’s motivations were more clearly self-love and wanting what he couldn’t have rather than showing actual *love* for her. Yes, it made him more human and all that good writerly stuff, my skeptical mind just didn’t want to buy into it. Sigh.

I’d highly recommend handing The Peasant Queen off to a tween or teen girl in your life. For the good story, but more importantly, for the positive messages about what it can mean to be a woman of strength come what may.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Who's at the Door? by Dan Harrington

I have to say I found Who’s at the Door? by Dan Harrington veeerrrrry interesting. This is a memoir about Dan’s time coming to know the Mormon missionaries and the messages they share. I truly enjoyed his perspective and seeing things from an “outsider’s” point of view. I’m grateful for people like Dan Harrington who have a healthy craving for spirituality as well as an even healthier esteem for religions and their benefits to all walks of life. Who’s at the Door? was well-done, respectful and spiritually uplifting.

I pray every missionary can have a “Dan” experience. There are people out there who are ready to hear the gospel for many different reasons. Not all of those people will end up in the waters of baptism. There are even more people out there who have no interest in learning about our religion and some of them aren’t very nice about it. I hope there are enough good people that our young men meet along the way that treat them with respect, friendship and love even when they are agreeing to disagree.

Who’s at the Door? makes a quick Sunday afternoon read and great food for thought in a Family Home Evening. It’s an interesting look at how what we say and do as we share our beliefs with others affects both ourselves and our friends. We tend to fall into two categories where missionary work is concerned. We’re either very skittish about the whole thing or completely zealous about it. This is a great way to find a happy medium and remember the most important part of missionary work—love, friendship and acceptance for those we talk to.

Who’s at the Door? is one of those books that had me thinking about who I knew that I could recommend it to the minute I finished. That earned it a few extra bonus points as well. Anything I didn’t particularly like? No, surprisingly it didn’t have many whiny complaints from me. I actually would have liked it to be a little longer and go more into some of Dan’s experiences sharing his interest and concerns about the church with others as well as what he learned investigating other churches along the way.

Thank you, Dan, for sharing your insights and beautiful spirituality with the world.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Star Prophecy by Joan Sowards

Have you ever had a “feeling” about something, or known a secret that seems to just bubble up inside of you and take over every part of your life until you see it through? That’s the dilemma Enoch, from The Star ProphecyThe Star Prophecy by Joan Sowards, faces. He knows something with every fiber of his being and is compelled to do something almost everyone around him laughs at him for.

Enoch has heard the prophecies about the coming of the Savior, the signs surrounding His birth. But it’s not enough for Enoch to wait for the prophet’s words to be fulfilled when the Savior will come to visit the Nephites. Enoch is determined to return to Jerusalem to welcome the new born Jesus Christ himself. It’s his life’s dream and he will see it through even if it costs his life.

From the back cover:

Most people laugh when they hear of Enoch's dream of returning to Jerusalem to find the infant Messiah. Even Enoch's future father-in-law mocks him when he asks for a postponement of his long-awaited wedding to his beloved Rebekah. A few take Enoch seriously - the shipbuilder Omnihah, Enoch's teacher David, and the prophet Nephi.

Five years before, a Lamanite named Samuel had stood on the wall of Zarahemla and prophesied that "five years more cometh" and the Christ would be born in Jerusalem. Time is running out! Enoch knows he must set sail across the great waters in search of his dream - to see the face of the Messiah.

What an amazing tale of faith and love for the Savior. Joining Enoch on his journey of faith was a beautiful experience. Though the ending was fairly obvious to me from the beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed the reading ride it took to get there. Oh, and I love the cover, too. Don't you?

Any whiny moments? A couple of places where I felt the story “jumped” ahead, rather than flowing through a smooth transition to the next scene. Not anything negative, just moments where I found my brain saying, “wait, I wasn’t done here yet,” or “what? Did I miss something?” I guess I just wanted a little more to the story.

Yes, The Star Prophecyhas a Christmas theme but it isn’t overwhelmingly or sappily (yes, I’ve decided that’s a word) so. It’s just a beautiful story that you’ll find appropriate for any Sunday afternoon, Christmas season or not. This is one that will appeal to young and old alike. Thanks, Joan Sowards, for bringing this tale to life.

The adventure begins with the blog tour
The Star
by Joan Sowards

We will be giving away THREE copies of The Star

It's easy to enter.
1. Visit the fabulous reviews and leave a comment letting us know why
you're excited to read The Star
. Remember to include your email address.
2. If you tweet about the blog tour, or post about it on your blog or
facebook, leave the link in the comments section and you'll receive an
additional entry.

Good Luck! Entries close at midnight (MST) on January 28.

January 10
I Am A Reader, Not A

January 11
Totally Tina

January 12
Peggy Urry

January 13
Tangled Words and Dreams

January 14
Kaylee Baldwin

January 17
Of Writerly Things

January 18
Writers Mirror

January 19
Bonnie Gets a Say

January 20
The Blessing of Family

January 21
Anna del C. Dye's Blog
Renee S. Clark

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One More Chance

If you are still looking to get your hands on one of my novels, you can pop over to my friend Karlene's blog and enter to win one. Tons of other cool prizes offered today but that's the catch- you only have until midnight to get entered so go! go! go!

Remember, you can read the first chapter of both novels here.


Happy blogaversary Karlene!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Winning Mr. Wrong by Marie Higgins

Well, Winning Mr. Wrong by Marie Higgins was a cute little book. Don’t expect any deep thought, only a light romance with a couple of giggles thrown in for fun.

Charley seems to be very unlucky in love. Try as she may, she doesn’t appear to be able to get a guy to stick with her for more than a few months. Sometimes she blames them, sometimes she blames herself. But one thing is clear: she needs to change her approach to love if she wants cupid’s arrow to stick forever.

Enter Max and Damien. Max is an old high school crush who seems perfect for Charley. Damien is the typical playboy next door neighbor: Italian and very cute but very much not what Charley is looking for. Funny how he always shows up and saves the day though. . . .

When Charley runs across an internet article on how to get a guy to like you, she’s all for it and knows just the target. Max will be head-over-heels in love with her before he even knows what hit him. Probably literally.

So what’s this magical “get your man” advice? It involves:

Dark chocolates
Hard-to-find gifts
A night on the town
Tall buildings
Funny movies
Mending his clothes
Surprise intimacy
Great memories, and
I love you in a note

Now, I must admit, I rolled my eyes when I saw the list. Maybe it would actually work, maybe not, but I’m not exactly married to the typical male so it seemed a little out there to me. You’ll have to judge that for yourself.

How was the actual story line? Light and fluffy-the way a good romantic comedy should be. It was an okay read for me, but I suspect if I handed it to my almost 17yo the house would rock with giggles. That’s actually who I’m going to recommend Winning Mr. Wrong for. To me it really spoke to those teenage angst years of wanting to catch a certain guy’s eye only to find out he wasn’t such a good catch anyway, and learning who you really are before you can really be part of a solid relationship.