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Dear loyal LDSWBR follower:

Happy News - LDSWBR has a new home! Please come visit us, tell us what you think, and let's talk books. Happy reading!

- Shanda, Sheila, Mindy, and Hillary

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Counting Blessings: Wit and Wisdom for Women By Kerry Blair

I have been forgetting an important lesson in my life, I need to remember to count my blessings. With all of the struggles we experience in life, we often times get boggled down with feeling sorry for ourselves. It is wonderful when we can read something that is a gentle reminder to slow down and celebrate our life. I love how at the beginning of the book, words from the Hymn "Count Your Many Blessings" is quoted:

"So amid the conflict whether great or small, Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey's end." -Johnson Oatman Jr, "Count Your Many Blessings," Songs for Young People, 1897

Kerry Blair has written a short book,comprised of inspiring stories and essays. It is small enough to slip into your purse, computer bag, etc. and pull it out to read a chapter. Even with all of the many huge novels I have been reading lately, this book is like a close friend to comfort me after a hard day. It is split into three parts with smaller chapters found in each part.
-Part One: Counting Blessings
-Part Two:Counting the Best of Now and Here
-Part Three: Counting on the Promises

One chapter that touched me so much is called, "A Bequest of Wings". This is how it starts...

"Bad things do happen to good people. Sometimes the worst things happen to the best people. Right now, a handful of the best people I know are facing the most difficult things I can imagine-cancer, the serious illness of a parent, abandonment and divorce, and the death of a child. I wish I knew what to say to them. "

Kerry then wrote of when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She couldn't understand why God was letting this happen to her. She goes on to explain some wonderful, healing things that she read. The thing that I loved reading the most was this, a quote by Margery Wilson in 1917, as the world contemplated the War to End All Wars:

"Though life seems to challenge us harshly at times, to make us eat bitter bread with the sweet, nevertheless, if we will stop wailing and look we will see a sustaining arm across our shoulders, the arm of infinite love-and if we listen we can hear a voice whispering, 'Deep within you is the strength to bear anything, the nobility to be willing to do so, and the intelligence to create magnificently and beautifully, come what may."

I know sweet Kerry has been through many challenging things in her life, but she is still smiling. I know that her trials probably wear her soul down, but she is still so loving and kind to those around her. You can just feel this love when you are in her presence. I can assure you that reading this book, "Counting Blessings" will lift your spirits high and give you the strength to carry on day after day. I have felt this lift the past few weeks as I have pondered the words in this book.

This is Kerry Blair's first full-length work of non-fiction (published in 2008) and has eight published novels with Covenant. She lives in Arizona and I know that she would love to hear from you.

Here is her website http://www.kerryblair.com/books.php and her blog is here

You can e-mail Kerry at kerrylynblair@aol.com

Thank you Kerry, for sharing your wonderful humor and joy with the world through your writing.

This is Kerry at last years Whitney Awards Gala, after winning the lifetime achievement award.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Catching Fire

Hello dear ones-

It's your favorite Wednesday blogger here. Today, we'll chat a bit about "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins, book two of "The Hunger Games" series.

After our last podcast (this past Friday), we had a bit of a discussion of "Catching Fire" and what we thought of it. I had just finished it, so we had some stuff to say about it:

Here's what Shanda said:

"I think Peeta is hotter in the second book"


"Katniss's hair is boring in the second"


"Literarily speaking I would say that Suzanne achieved the climax of the series (so far) in book one and book two takes an unreasonable amount of time for it to reach interest for the reader"

Okay. So it didn't really go that way at all.

So what really happened was more like this:


"I liked book two even more than book one"

to which Sheila and I stared at her for a second and said, "really?"

Shanda, you'll have to post here what it is you liked more about book two more than one, because quite frankly I didn't go to bed until 4am, so I don't have a clear recollection of that night.

Sheila and I both agreed that book two started out really slow, and seemed really predictable. Now, remember slow is not always bad, it's just slow. Predictable is bad, which is why I actually did put it down for about two weeks until my husband finished it and said,

"Cinna has really cute costumes in this book, I think you'll like it."

Okay. That's not what he said. He said, "I think you should finish it. It has a totally surprising ending." I said " well, okay." He wanted me to add that there are little details that if you catch give you clues as what's to come, but frankly sometimes I am a bit too impatient for little details.

And about two hours later, I had the book finished. I stopped at chapter 14, ironically about the time when it really picks up, and as my hubby was grumpily doing our taxes, I was done.

I actually am not going to say much more about "Catching Fire" because I think it would give too much away, I will just say this. If you really, really really liked book one, be patient and don't give up on book two because there are some HUGE surprises and it REALLY makes book three look appealing and I can't wait for it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - February 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

Shanda's Teaser:

He twisted a strand of her hair around one long finger. "But be advised, my beautiful Nitalya - if he does not do all I require, then I will immediately come for you. And if you ever return to the Russian zone, you will never again leave my custody."

Tribunal by Sandra Grey, page 224

Sheila's Teaser:

"Why are they doing this?" Henry asked, not fully understanding what he was seeing with his own eyes.

"They arrested more people last night. Japanese, all over the city...People are getting rid of anything that might connect them to the war with Japan. Letters from Nippon. Clothing. It must all go. Too dangerous to keep. Even old photos. people are burning photos of their parents, of their families."

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, page 73

Monday, February 22, 2010

Abish: Daughter of God by K.C. Grant - Book Review

Abish: Daughter of God

Author- K.C. Grant

Publisher- Covenant Communications

Published Date- January 2010

ISBN#- 978-1-59811-567-3

LDS Women's Book Review was privileged to have K.C. (Kim) Grant, author of Abish: Daughter of God, join us this past weekend to record Episode 40 of the LDSWBR podcast. We had a wonderful discussion and the podcast will be available soon at www.ldswomensbookreview.com. In the meantime, I'd like to share a brief review of K.C. Grant's first novel, Abish: Daughter of God.

Not much is known about Abish, one of only a few women mentioned by name in the Book of Mormon (see Alma 19). K.C. Grant has taken what is mentioned, coupled with months of research, and written a detailed story of what Abish's life experiences may have entailed.

As I've read the Book of Mormon through the years, I have often wondered what every day life was like for the Nephites and Lamanites in the Promised Land, especially for the women and mothers. Reading Book of Mormon historical fiction like Abish offers a glimpse into what life was possibly like for them and I find those possibilities fascinating.

During the podcast, K.C. Grant shared with us how she first became interested in telling Abish's story, her time spent studying in Mexico, the months she spent researching, as well as what she is working on for the future. We had a great time and want to thank K.C. (Kim) for joining us on the podcast.

Learn more about Abish: Daughter of God on K.C. Grant's website: www.kcgrant.com as well as her blog: Writer's Corner by KC Grant.

Watch for Episode 40, coming soon!

Friday, February 19, 2010

American Girl Books: The Feelings Book and The Care & Keeping of You

Since I have been figuring grades, doing report cards and Parent Teacher Conferences, my reading has been at a minimum. I am in the middle of reading six different books that are Whitney nominated books. So, I really did not have a finished book to review. Instead, I wanted to share with you a series of books that help Tween Girls between the ages of 9-12. The books are from the American Girl company. I love their motto:

" American Girl celebrates a girl's inner star-that little whisper inside that encourages her to stand tall, reach high, and dream big. We take pride and care in helping girls become their very best today, so they'll grow up to be the women who make a difference tomorrow."

The other day me and my daughter had a disagreement and I lost my cool and yelled at her. About 2o minutes later, she came downstairs with her "The Feelings Book: The Care & Keeping of Your Emotions" in her hands. She had turned to the chapter about anger and a section called, "Keeping Your Cool" and said, "Mom I think that you need to read this." Here is what the book said, "It might help me stay calm if you would___________ (not point your finger, stop and listen to what I'm saying, ask how I am feeling) I have to say I was very impressed! She had found a way to explain how she was feeling and what she would like me to do. This is why I love this book!

Some of the great chapters included in this book are

-The Brain, the Body & Butterflies: In this chapter it discusses Brain Power, Why You Cry, Feeling out of Control and Holding it All In.

-How Do You Really Feel? : This chapter talks about What's Your Reaction, Sorting it Out and Talking it Out.

-The Voice Inside: This chapter includes Thinking Smart, Learning Who You Can Trust and Clearing away the Clouds.

-Help!: This chapter is the best. It includes, I'm Scared, I Feel Anxious, I'm So Jealous, I'm Angry, I'm Lonely, I'm Really Sad, I've Been Disrespected, I'm Grieving and I Don't Feel Safe.

-Feeling Positive: This includes The Good Stuff, Look Around and Keep it Up.

This book has colorful illustrations, small chapters and sub-chapters and is an easy to read format. You can pick the book up and open to any section and find what you are looking for without having to read it straight through. This book is so valuable in that it helps girls understand their emotions and handle them in a positive way. I learned also it is a good tool for parents to learn from our kids and how to help them.

The other book I bought my daughter was ,"The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls." This “head-to-toe” guide answers all a girl's questions about her changing body, from hair care to healthy eating, bad breath to bras, periods to pimples, and everything in between. " It makes talking about the facts of life an easy job for parents.

My daughter has been reading this book a lot the past two years. She has been up to date on all of the changes her body has been making. She comes to me often to discuss things and ask questions. We have had some wonderful talks together.

This series also includes the "Care and Keeping of YOU Journal" This journal is a sensitive, interactive companion to The Care & Keeping of You. It includes a period tracker and mood recorder, plus tips, quizzes, and checklists to help girls keep in touch with their changing bodies.
There is also , "The Feelings Journal" that girls can write in.

If you go to their website you will see many other books that could help your daughters/granddaughters. Todays world is a much harder place to grow up in than what we had to deal with. I feel any good resource, such as these books, are beneficial in assisting parents as they raise their children. There are also many books out there that help your boys learn about their changing bodies. Head to Amazon.com to see what books are available.
Good luck with any "tweens" in your life.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Hey Kids!

Sorry I didn't get this up last week. As Shanda said, it was a nutsy week for the three of us. So, today I am going to chat with you about "Crossfire", Traci Hunter Abramson's new book.

I found out a a year or two back when we read "Undercurrents." After reading it I found that I really enjoyed Traci's style of writing, quality and likeability of the characters, and plus I have a crazy fascination with the secret service. I think it's cause it's a secret. What made her writing even more intriguing was the fact that she worked for the secret service, and because it's a secret. again:) It also didn't hurt that she threw in a group of Navy SEALS, which in my head and in her writing, are quite good looking. (What is it about a guy in uniform?)

Speaking of our hubba hubba SEALS, this one happens to be about Seth. If you've read "Lockdown" or "Freefall" you will know the stories of a couple of the "Saint Squad." Crossfire takes place in the Caribbean (I like to say it CaribBEan- how do you say it?) and it involves Vanessa Lauton, a CIA agent deep undercover with a powerful and dangerous crime family. She gets a bit of a surprise when her long ago love (Seth) resurfaces after a six year hiatus to help get her out of the country when things get a bit dangerous. Instead of a quick pull-out, they get pulled in deeper and as a result a whole lot of action and suspense ensues.

I love that the book is fast paces, action packed and has the romance. It has been a lot of fun reading the love stories of the "Saint Squad." I love how though the places and the circumstances are unlikely, Traci is successful in making the stories believeable, and entertaining all at once. I love the close calls the characters get into, and the quick thinking and intelligence that they all possess. I especially love that none of the main female characters are weak. They have weaknesses, just like anyone else, but they themselves are not weak. They keep up with the men and refuse to be left to be behind waiting to see what happens. LOVE THAT!

My favorite part of the book is that Vanessa had learned how to fly planes, just not land them. Can't help being reminded of one of my favorite action heroes, good ol' Indiana Jones.(If you remember "The Last Crusade"- one of my favorite movies of all time) As they are riding off into the sunset...

"I like being Indiana" (he says to his father)

"We named the dog Indiana" (father says)

"I've got a lot of fond memories of that dog" (Indiana says)

okay- enough of a tangent. If I were to give this book a down side, it would be that in some situations, the realistic factor does tread close to "would that really happen", but like I said, the way she writes it, even if I'm thinking that, I am quickly seeing the next turn. Overall, Traci hits another one out of the park with this book. I highly recommend it!

ftc-fyi- publisher produced copy

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - February 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

Shanda's Teaser:

"Abish wasn't sure, but she thought she saw a look pass between the two older boys and something of a smirk. She wouldn't have been surprised if they'd laced the meat with some nasty tasting plant the way they were grinning."

Abish by K.C. Grant, page 226

Sheila's Teaser:

He warned them about the nature of the meals, about the possibility of rain, rattlesnakes and scorpions. ..."Be prepared for very stiff legs and a numb bottom, because we will be spending about six to eight hours in the saddle on average a day."

"Stop!" Molly laughed. "Are you trying to change our minds?"

He grinned, "No, I just don't want you to have any illusions."

The Undaunted By Gerald Lund, page 216

Hillary's Teaser:

"If we are to be truly happy, if we are to reach our full potential, I believe we must create a place for the Savior in our lives."

21 Days Closer to Christ by Emily Freeman, page 7

Devil's Food Cake by Josi Kilpack - Book Review

Title: Devil's Food Cake

Author: Josi Kilpack

Publisher: Deseret Book

Published Date: 2010

ISBN#: 978-1-60641-232-9

I first met Josi Kilpack in a hallway all dressed up in a dark blue gown and waiting for the very first Whitney Awards Gala to begin. Sheila, Hillary and I introduced ourselves as LDS Women's Book Review and interviewed her for the first Whitney Award podcast.

Since then, Josi's been hard at work writing her culinary mystery series that began with Lemon Tart, which is currently a 2009 Whitney Award finalist. English Trifle, the second book in the series, took us "across the pond" and gave us all a craving for crumpets and scones while trying to figure out whodunit. I thoroughly enjoyed both Lemon Tart and English Trifle, and though I anxiously awaited the release of Devil's Food Cake I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Sadie.

I was not disappointed in the slightest.

Sadie has been back from England for several weeks and is struggling to stick to her diet after making several Devil's Food cakes for the library fund-raiser. When the agent of a former-resident-turned-famous-author is murdered on stage during the fund-raiser, Sadie really does want to let the local authorities handle the situation. When she starts noticing details that the police are overlooking, Sadie tries to inform them but due to her previous meddling several members of the police department, including her date, Detective Pete Cunningham, are reluctant to listen and Sadie is told to leave.

Before Sadie has the chance to gather the remaining Devil's Food cakes and leave for home, an encounter with a person-of-interest in the case leaves Sadie with questions that can only be answered with a little investigating of her own. Sadie soon finds herself, as well as her son, Shawn, on a road filled with risks that will lead them to answers but at a cost that Sadie finds she may not be able to live with.

Devil's Food Cake is full of fresh material and new twists. We are introduced to Sadie's adopted son, Shawn, an impressively-large, Polynesian young man who is more than willing to jump into the fray. Some additional new characters are introduced, including a certain someone I hope we will see again.

What worked for me: I love all three books in this series so far and each one is just as good as the others. I've rarely read a series where I've liked all the books equally. There are usually a few in the series that I don't care for as much. Not so with Lemon Tart, English Trifle and Devil's Food Cake. I love how Josi writes Sadie, and the story never fails to grab me from the start and keep me turning pages. You've done an amazing job, Josi. Best of luck at the Whitney Awards!

What didn't work for me: Waiting for Key Lime Pie to be released, though I will wait, because there are only going to be so many books and I don't want to rush the end of the series. (Heather, I am SO jealous! I'm seriously "key lime" green with envy!)

Rating: 5 out of 5
Would I read it again? Definitely!
Would I recommend it? Absolutely. To everyone.
Would I read more of Josi Kilpack's books? That's the plan!

FTC FYI: The copy of Devil's Food Cake that I reviewed was a free review copy sent by the publisher and did not affect my review in any way.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Good Clean Romances

With it being Valentines weekend, I wanted to post something having to do with romance. Since I have no romance in my life right now, I can always find romance in a good book. If you are wondering where to find some good clean romances, I want to share a resource with you.

On Goodreads.com, one of my favorite authors, Joyce DiPastena, is the moderator of a group called, "Clean Romances". Here is the reason they give for having this group:

"This group is dedicated to building a up a list of clean romance books. Not "Christian" or "Inspirational" (there are other groups for those), but good old fashioned love stories, without the sex scenes. They're hard to find these days, but not impossible. If you have written such a romance, or have read romances that fall within this category, past or present, you are invited to join this group. Please feel free to add your favorite "clean romances" to our group bookshelf, so that all interested readers may benefit from authors they may be unfamiliar with!"

I am a member of this group and I have found many good book suggestions here. Anyone can join this group and it is free.

Joyce found a quote that defines the group she said, "I just found the perfect quote for our Clean Romance Group! Of course, the fact that it's from a medieval poet in no way prejudiced me to choose it. ;-) "

"Through their kisses and caresses they experienced a joy and wonder the equal of which has never been known or heard of. But I shall be silent...; for the rarest and most delectable pleasures are those which are hinted at, but never told." Chr├ętien de Troyes

Other things I love about this site is there are lists for.....
-Suggestions for good Young Adult Books
-Review Sites for Clean Romances
-All Time Favorite Clean Romances
-List of Clean Romances on Goodreads.com

So, if you are interested in reading some clean romances and are a member of goodreads.com, come join the group. We are 241 strong at this point.

Enjoy your Valentines weekend; even if it means spending it with a good clean romance.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tardy Teasers & General Insanity

This week life has kicked into full gear. With Sheila grading papers like a crazy woman, Hillary being forced to work overtime with all the snow back east, and me planning a big baby shower while putting together activities for class parties this Friday, we've been unable to post much this week.

Now that shower invitations have been delivered, I have a brief moment to post our teasers. (Thanks for missing us, Joyce. You are so sweet!)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

Shanda's Teaser:

"Despite the introduction of physical and spiritual death and its consequences, the Fall is seen as the commencement of Heavenly Father's plan of salvation. This commencement is a great blessing to all of mankind. This blessing included the obtaining of physical bodies of flesh and bone, the prospect to choose between good and evil, and the opportunity to take full advantage of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ."

Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest by Eric Shuster, page 65

Sheila's Teaser:

"What has happened to me? Where am I? What is all this?" Constance raised her hands in the air.

Liz spoke slowly. still hoping this was a joke, but her heart pounded with the knowledge that, though something weird was happening, it was a real something weird. "You're in the- future. 1852 was like a gazillion years ago..."

Eyes Like Mine by Julie Wright, page 30

Hillary's Teaser:

Damon leaned forward. "What are you hiding from me, Maggie?"

She glanced quickly back at Damon. "What do you mean?" she said, trying to sound puzzled and look innocent.

He frowned and shook his head. "Don't ever lie to me, and don't try to keep anything from me, little sister."

Pursued by Lynn Gardner, page 96
Hello my dears!

Due to mandatory overtime today with my job (gotta love snow storms), I will be posting my review tomorrow.

Thanks! Hillary

Monday, February 8, 2010

Josi! What has Shawn done?!?

Hi everyone! Shanda here-

I'm supposed to post my book review today, but my life is bordering on insanity right now and will be for the next few days. So, my review of Devil's Food Cake by Josi Kilpack will be posted on Thursday instead.

As of right now, I have no idea how Devil's Food Cake is going to end, but at the moment it isn't looking good at all. Poor Sadie! And Shawn just- I mean how could he be so casual after- aaaaah!

If you'll excuse me now, I need to get back to my reading!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Whitney Finalists Announced!!

The announcement came out early this morning around 7:15. Here is the official press release....




Robison Wells, President, Whitney Awards




SALT LAKE CITY, UT: The Whitney Awards committee today announced the finalists for the 2009 Whitney Awards, a program which honors the best novels by Latter-day Saint writers.

To be eligible for consideration, a book must have received at least five nominations from its fans. More than one hundred works by new and established authors in both the LDS and national markets met the preliminary criteria. Once a book is nominated, juries of authors and critics narrow the nominees down to five finalists per category.

This year’s nominees are listed below in alphabetical order by author:

BEST ROMANCE: Counting the Cost, by Liz Adair; Illuminations of the Heart, by Joyce DiPastena; All the Stars in Heaven, by Michele Paige Holmes; Santa Maybe, by Aubrey Mace; Previously Engaged, by Elodia Strain.

MYSTERY/SUSPENSE: Lockdown, by Traci Hunter Abramson; Methods of Madness, by Stephanie Black; Murder by the Book, by Betsy Brannon Green; Lemon Tart, by Josi Kilpack; Altered State, by Gregg Luke.

YOUTH FICTION: Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George; Fablehaven IV: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, by Brandon Mull; My Fair Godmother, by Janette Rallison; Bright Blue Miracle, by Becca Wilhite; The Chosen One, by Carol Lynch Williams.

SPECULATIVE: Servant of a Dark God, by John Brown; The Maze Runner, by James Dashner; Wings, by Aprilynne Pike; Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson; I Am Not A Serial Killer, by Dan Wells.

HISTORICAL: Tribunal, by Sandra Grey; The Undaunted, by Gerald Lund; Alma, by H.B. Moore; The Last Waltz, by G.G. Vandagriff; In the Company of Angels, by Dave Wolverton.

GENERAL FICTION: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford; No Going Back, by Jonathon Langford; Gravity vs. The Girl, by Riley Noehren; The Route, by Gale Sears; Eyes Like Mine, by Julie Wright.

This ballot now goes out to members of the voting academy, a select group of LDS publishers; bookstore owners, managers, and employees; LDS authors; print and online magazine publishers; reviewers; and others working in the field of LDS literature.

Unlike previous voting, this year the academy can choose from any of the thirty finalists for the overall award, Best Novel of the Year. Similarly, any of the finalists who meet the eligibility requirements can be chosen for Best Novel by a New Author. (Those eligible this year: John Brown, Jamie Ford, Jonathon Langford, Riley Noehren, Aprilynne Pike, Dan Wells, and Becca Wilhite.)

Winners will be announced at a gala banquet on Saturday, April 24 at the Marriott Hotel in Provo, Utah. Tickets are now on sale at www.WhitneyAwards.com.

Special awards will also be presented that night to two persons whose bodies of works and tireless efforts have made a significant impact on the field of LDS popular fiction. Gerald Lund will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dave Wolverton will receive an Outstanding Achievement Award.

For more information on the Whitney Awards, visit www.whitneyawards.com.

For a more colorful view of the nominees/books you need to go to www.WhitneyAwards.com

I am thrilled that I have already read 18 of the books that are nominated. I only have 12 more to read. I also want to add, I think that this years group of nominees are the best we have ever seen! Every category has excellent books. The final voting is going to be so hard.

I want to congratulate all of the nominees for this years Whitney Awards. I can't wait for April 24th, when the winners will be announced. If you have never been before to the Gala, you need to be there this year. There is nothing else like it, to be able to rub shoulders with some of your favorite authors. The food is really also very good and it is fun to dress up for the evening.

Once again, check out the list of nominees and get reading. I promise you that you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Hunger Games

Hey kids!

Today I am blogging about "The Hunger Games." by Suzanne Collins. A little back story, Shanda and Sheila both read this book last year, told me I needed to read it, so I put it on my list, and then forgot until about 3 weeks ago. So, I picked up the book from the library, and my daughter stole it from me. She didn't give it back until about 4 days before it was due. I thought for sure I wouldn't get it done until I actually started reading it. 6 hours later (3am) I got it done, and it made my top-ten of all time favorite books!

Suzanne Collins writes compelling, engaging and engrossing characters. She has written other books, a series called "The Underland Chronicles", and she has the "Hunger Games" trilogy. I am currently reading book two called "Catching Fire." The third book, "The Victors" is due out this spring.

The premise of the story takes place in post-apocolyptic America. (I usually hate post-apocolyptic stories. They're too depressing. But this one is wonderful) There is a group of people that form the Capital, and then there are 13 districts. Early in the formation of the country, the districts try to break out on their own, and are squashed by the Capital. As a form of punishment/or as a way to remind people of their place, each year the Capital forces each district to have a girl and a boy between 12-18 years old compete in "The Hunger Games" which is a game to the death. Last one standing wins, and provides a better life for their district. The main character, Katniss Everdeen ends up representing her district at the hunger games, and with a lot of adventure, a bit of romance and a lot of intense moments, an amazing story is told!

I would HIGHLY recommend this book. Highly. Really good writing, really great depth of characters, really creative and unusual story line. Very well done.

FTC- FYI- library

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - February 2, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

Shanda's Teaser:

He looked at her hand on his arm and then up at her face, making her wonder if he was as hungry for physical touch as he was for home-cooked food. He didn't speak, but just nodded and picked up the chip again once Sadie removed her hand.

Devil's Food Cake by Josi Kilpack, page 148

Sheila's Teaser:

"In fact, it's possible he was in fear of his life."

Luke frowned. "Uncle Foster wasn't easily intimidated, and he didn't fear anything - except the IRS. He was terrified of them."

Luke fixed me with a penetrating gaze. "You really think someone killed Uncle Foster?"

Murder By the Book by Betsy Brannon Green, page 90

Hillary's Teaser:

"It means we're on your side."

That's what Bonnie said. I have people on my side? What side? Am I unwittingly the face of the hopes- for rebellion?

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, page 150

Share your teasers with us in the comments below- we'd love a peek at what you're reading!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jayhawk by Dorothy Keddington - Book Review


Author: Dorothy Keddington

Publisher: Granite Publishing

Published Date: originally published in 1978, rereleased in 2010

ISBN#: 978-1-890558-39-0

From the back cover: To Angela Stewart, a summer on a Wyoming ranch with her college roommate's family seemed like an ideal vacation. For Jay Bradford, his return to the Triple J Ranch involves a potentially dangerous quest and the search for an answer to a 26-year old mystery. Jay and Angela's chance meeting on a lonely road at dusk, marks the beginning of their unforgettable journey into danger and love.

Many years ago, in junior high, my good friend Hillary let me borrow one of her mom's books. It was Shadow's Song by Dorothy Keddington. I read the rest of Dorothy's romantic-suspense novels in the following years: Jayhawk, Return to Red Castle, Flower of the Winds, The Mermaid's Purse, and as an adult, Aisling of Eire.

I've read each of her books at least half a dozen times or more over the years, and even though I know the story, the enjoyment has never faded. Each of Dorothy's novels are written in her classic first-person style and never fail to draw me in.

Those of you who are faithful listeners of our podcasts have heard Sheila, Hillary and I mention several times over the years how much we wished for a new book from Dorothy and how great it would be to have her previous books rereleased. They've been out of print for years, and used copies were selling for, well, a lot of money.

Imagine my excitement when I discovered one of my good friends in our neighborhood was Dorothy Keddington's daughter-in-law. I was soon introduced to Dorothy. We talked about the new book she was working on (I had read the manuscript thanks to her daughter-in-law) and I let Dorothy know about the large number of fans we'd heard from wondering how to get their hands on her books. We spoke about what it would take to get her books rereleased and the excitement of that possibility filled the room.

The Fairy Thorn was released in December 2009. The only thing that topped the release of a new book from Dorothy was the news that Granite Publishing would be rereleasing her older books in the coming months as well.

Jayhawk is the first of Dorothy's romantic-suspense novels to be rereleased. Despite the fact that Jayhawk was first published in 1978, the story doesn't feel dated (except for the absence of cell phones, but they are on a ranch in the middle of Wyoming). The suspense is well done and keeps the reader turning pages to the very end.

What makes the romance in Dorothy's novels so effective is that it doesn't take a significant portion of the book for the hero and heroine to get together. Instead, the reader gets to experience the excitement and anticipation of a new romantic relationship and watch it grow and strengthen as the hero and heroine struggle for survival through the action and suspense.

Dorothy has a way of describing actions and surroundings without disrupting the flow of the story, giving just enough detail and trusting in the reader's imagination to fill in the blanks. The romance is toe-curling but doesn't cross the bounds of propriety and the suspense remains effective through numerous rereads.

Jayhawk and The Fairy Thorn are available for purchase from Granite Publishing and Amazon.com.