Our blog has moved!

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, April 30, 2010

Following the Light of Christ Into His Presence By John M. Pontius

Surprise, surprise...today I am sharing with you about a non-fiction book. I know our "favorite Hillary" is usually the one that is well known in LDSWBR for covering these, but I do read a non-fiction book occasionally.

A few weeks ago I had a friend that let me borrow a book called Following The Light Of Christ Into His Presence by John M. Pontius. She has been aware of the many trials and struggles that I have been facing the past two years. The main reason that she wanted me to read this book, besides the obvious reasons of living in God's presence again someday, was the chapter on "Voices". In today's world there are so many voices that are speaking to us and wanting us to follow them. In the book it tells of how there are three main voices in a healthy mind.

-You hear yourself think. You talk, discuss and argue with yourself. You berate, praise and jabber with yourself all day long.

-The second voice comes from Satan's realm. When we hear a voice from this source it will be cleverly disguised and enticing. This realm plans and plots against us. These promptings will always lead us away from the truth.

-The third source of information in our minds is the voice of the Lord through the Holy Spirit. This voice always entices to do good, to believe, serve, pray and repent.

As we are going through trials in our lives, I feel that we are more vulnerable to hearing that second voice coming from Satan's minions. We also are harder on ourselves and our own thoughts can be very destructive. It is at this time, that we should be the most open to promptings from the Holy Spirit. This dear friend of mine, knew I had been struggling with self doubt and voices from the world beating me down. This book has helped me so much in remembering what is most important. I can feel the peace and comfort that only the Savior can give to me.

Let me share with you the other chapter titles:

Chapter One: Personal Revelation

Chapter Two: The Light of Christ

Chapter Three: Preparing for the Rebirth: Faith in Christ

Chapter Four: Rebirth of the Spirit

Chapter Five: Beyond the Rebirth-Making Your Calling and Election Sure

This book was originally published in hardback in 1997 and republished in paperback in 2002 by Cedar Fort Publishing. You can still purchase this book here at Amazon.com

If you would like to read an except from the book you can go here.

John M. Pontius has a wonderful website called "Follow the Light". You could spend a lot time there reading about him and what he has devoted his life to. At this site you can also see the other four books that he has written, go to his blog from there and contact information is available there. You can also connect with him on facebook.

Will I read this again? I am still reading this and I will be buying my own copy.

Would I recommend this book? Yes!

Would I read other books by John? Yes

Following the Light of Christ Into His Presence Book Description:

This book is the owner's manual we were sent to earth without. Have you ever longed for a clear, precise, unamiguous description of the way to powerful righteousness? Revealed within this book is the grand key. It is the key to receiving answers to your prayers, daily guidance, personal revelation, prophetic understanding, power in the priesthood, rebirth of the spirit, calling and election, unspeakable joy, and much more.

Publisher: Cedar Fort
Author: John M Pontius
Edition Number: 3
Language: English




No. of Pages: 254
Publish Date: 1997-01-31
Binding: Paperback

Survivor: LDS Author Style @ Timothy Types TMI Blog

Would you watch?

Too too funny. Check it out here.

The comments are hilarious!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Peter, Peter, Peter (Peter and the Star Catchers Series)

Shanda told me about this series, and I was intrigued. I love Peter Pan. (It's also one my favorite rides at Disneyland.) It originally was a series of three, but fans wanted more, so the authors released Peter and the Sword of Mercy last year.
The first book is Peter and the Star Catchers. Peter starts his journey in an orphanage. He and a bunch of boys are put on a boat headed to the Rundoon to be slaves to the king. In Starcatchers we are introduced to many key players in the books. And the mysterious starstuff, which carries the plot of Peter's books. Molly Aster, her father Leonard, Fighting Prawn (leader of the Mollusks tribe), Slank, Mister Grin, Smee, and Black Stache (aka the future Captain Hook) are introduced. So many exciting things happen in this book. There are explanations as to the mysteries of Peter, how he flies, mermaids, the Lost Boys, why Peter doesn't age, how Neverland gets its name... Too many to name. And, at the end, a special character is born. There is a little bit of unnecessary language, and references, but not in the others.
The second is Peter and the Shadow Thieves. It takes place shortly after Starcatchers. It's a little darker (which I liked) and really exciting. Peter needs to make it to London to warn Molly of some danger coming to harm her. It takes a couple unnecessary turns that I didn't love. But, during it, Peter runs into a gentleman named James Barrie (the original writer of the Peter Pan story). He gives some directions that are reminiscent of finding your way to Neverland. The villain, along with others, is Lord Ombra. A shadow thief, that steals shadows to get others to do his bidding. I can't really go into too much detail without revealing the plots from this and Starcatchers. The end is so exciting, that I had to finish, even though it was 1:00 am.
The Secret of Rondoon grabs you at the start, and doesn't let go. There is so much action and excitement. Peter is in trouble with The Others, and is wanted in the city of Rundoon because of his "special abilities". In this third book, you find out about Peter's parents, and why Peter survived a certain event that took place in Starcatchers. Molly is back, along with George Darling who helped in the second book. Mollusk Island is in trouble and is taken over by a vicious tribe of savages called the Scorpions. This book is in a slight lead for my favorite, closely followed by the fourth. Rundoon has great action and suspense, we are introduced again to characters that were in the first, but not mentioned again until this book.
Peter and the Sword of Mercy takes place 23 years after Rundoon. An old nemesis is back and causing trouble in the palace. He's after a key to finding more starstuff. We're introduced to the Skeleton, who is a very intense and scary character. Molly and George married, and get themselves in a pickle, so this time around it's Wendy (their daughter) who needs Peter's help. Who can they trust? The police are corrupt and there is danger everywhere they go. Peter is afraid, and seems sad in Mercy. But, creative and surprising things happen on this adventure and old friends are in need of help too. Great ending. I hope there is a Book 5.

What got old for me: In the first three, Lord Aster is, understandably, protective of his daughter and doesn't want her coming along, or getting herself in trouble, but she always does, and helps save the day. I just wanted him to accept the fact that she is capable of helping, and didn't need to be held back.

What I liked the most: Each book have many different sub plots going. Peter's activities, Molly's, the island, Hook. Each plot is exciting and page turning.

Four stars for the series.

I would definitely read it again.

I would and have read others from these guys. Actually, just Ridley Pearson. He wrote The Kingdom Keepers series, which I really enjoyed.

Peter and the Starcatchers/Peter and the Shadow Thieves/Peter and the Secret of Rundoon/Peter and the Sword of Mercy

Authors: Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Publisher: Disney Edition/Hyperion Books for Children

ISBN: Starcatchers 0-7868-5445-6 Published 2004 451 pages
Shadow Thieves 0-7868-3787-X Published 2006 556 pages
Rundoon ISBN -13: 978-078683788-5 ISBN-10: 078683788-8 Published 2007 482 pages
Mercy 978-142312134-3 Published 2009 515 pages


FTC: all books were checked out from the library.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Change it Up- Amanda Dickson

Hello friends! Hillary here-

First of all, let me say that LDS Storymakers Conference was fabulous! I learned so much, and met some wonderful people! If you couldn't be there this year, please seriously consider coming! Okay, enough exclaimation points! You get the idea!

For the first time in a while, I am reviewing a non-fiction. This week, it'll be Amanda Dickson's newest book, "Change it up"

I'll start with my favorite quote from the book:

"Change is inevitable. Except from vending machines." (c'mon, you can't help but laugh)

Amanda talks of change and how it is inevitable. She started by talking about physical change and how a simple change to your hair and makeup and clothes can make a very large difference in your life. To me it's amazing how just buying a cute new shirt, or a well-fitting pair of jeans can do for you. Well, ANY time we can find a well-fitting pair of jeans it's a miracle. Along those same lines, she talks about beauty, but from a totally different perspective. She says that "Beauty, real beauty, truly is in the eyes of the beholder, and not the beheld. The beholder feels beautiful herself because she loves what she beholds" Kind of makes you think.

Sometimes we think that we can't do anything to change the world. Amanda again brings out a good point: "Be the change you want to see". That thought reminds me of a book I read about changing your husband. Really to see the change you want, you have to change yourself (Isn't there a James Taylor song about that?). She goes on to talk about happiness needs change to breathe. Happiness that depends on anything staying the same is not really happiness. It's just some counterfeit contentment that will blow up the second somebody spills the milk.

The only issue I had with the book is that meaning that the writing takes a gender neutral stand, which is actually the same problem I had with her first book. It feels like it should be addressed to women, but in fact stays neutral. I get the purpose of doing that, it's just not my favorite style. I was also semi expecting it to be a bit religious, however there wasn't any mention of religion. It was published by Shadow Mountain (publishes nationally), so I shouldn't be terribly surprised there either. This book is an interesting, quick read, and clearly I liked her style enough to read a second book, so I would say give it a try ! It brought out points about change that I just hadn't thought about, and ideas about simple things I can do any time to embrace change. Overall, I would say give it a read!


Ftc-fyi- publisher supplied copy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

LDStorymakers Conference Day One: A First-Timer's Point-of-View

Head over to the LDS Women's Book Review Podcast website to read my blog post about me, Hillary and Day One of our first LDStorymakers Conference. You'll also get to watch the video they played during the Introduction. You won't want to miss it. It's hilarious.

There is so much more to come. I can't wait to share it with all of you.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Julie Wright & Howard Tayler: Photo Bombers

Dear LDSWBR Followers,

You have so many goodies coming your way. I wanted to give you a peek at the fun that was LDStorymakers Conference & 2009 Whitney Awards. Keep watching this blog and the podcast website for photos and podcasts of the conference and Whitney Awards.

We had a great time at the Whitneys, especially announcing the winner of the 2009 Whitney Award for Mystery-Suspense. I'll never forget the look on Stephanie Black's face when she realized Methods of Madness had won. Congratulations, Stephanie!

(L to R: Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, Sheila, Julie Wright, Hillary, Shanda)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Review by Mindy

Wow, my first review... I picked this book, because it was one that I loved instantly. There was something about it that caught me right away. What I liked most was the humor, and the sweet story. It takes place in 1946, after WWII. A little back ground information: the occupation by the Germans in Guernsey happened during the war, and they stayed for five years. This book is based on those events, just with fictional characters. I loved the creative way in how this is written. It's a series of letters written to, from, and about the main character Juliet Ashton, and others in her life. Juliet is a writer who wrote a collection of popular newspaper articles about the war, that were published into a book. She receives a letter from a gentleman named Dawsey, who lives in Guernsey of the Channel Islands. They share a common like for Charles Lamb's writings. In one of the letters written to Juliet from Dawsey, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is mentioned, and over a series of more letters, Juliet is hooked on the islands history, the people, and a character whose story is told by many who live on the island. Elizabeth is her name, and she's the reason the society received its name and most importantly, how it came to be. During the book, Juliet is pondering on what to write her next book about, and eventually choses to write about Guernsey, and there finds the true subject of her book. So many entertaining things happen to Juliet and her friends along the way as she makes her way to visit Guernsey to tell their story of the occupation.
I could go on and on, but I don't want to give too much away. However, there are some great lines in the book. One I thought was so funny, and one that describes my love of reading. Isola (a Guernsey resident, writes to Sidney Juliet's friend and publisher) writes: "Mrs. Gilbert has always been a nasty one, but now I know that she can't help it--she's got a big pit in her Benevolence spot. She feel in a quarry when she was a girl, and my guess is she cracked her Benevolence and was never the same since." And the part that spoke to me was a line from Juliet when she writes that books have "secret sort of homing instinct that brings them to their perfect readers." Ahhhhh. Love that :)
One of my favorite parts of the book was the end. Isola wrote detection notes because she was trying to figure some things that were happening, and she wanted to be like Miss Marple. I was laughing out loud. I also cried in a spot, but I can't give that away. After you read the book, let me know if you cried, and at what spot, and we'll compare notes.
(There is a couple instances of language in the dang family.)
I hope that everyone enjoys this book as much as I did. I really could go on and on and tell you so many more great things. Read it for yourself. It put a smile on my face, and I always have a smile when I think about it.

My rating: 5 stars

Would I read it again: Absolutely. Many, many times

Recommend it: Yes, yes, yes

Would I read others books from these gals: Already have

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Publisher: A Dial Press/A Division of Random House

Published Date: August 2008

ISBN: 978-0-385-34099-1

Hardcover; 274 pages

Dearest FTC FYI: I received this book as a gift.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Review of "Daughter of Mine: A Novel" By Laura Fabiani

Title: Daughter of Mine: A Novel

Author: Laura Fabiani

Publisher:iUniverse, Inc.

ISBN# 978-0-595-47857-6

paperback 190 pages

I have seen a great trend in romance books lately. More authors are writing what they are calling, "Clean Romances". This basically means that you can read a Romance without having to read graphic sex scenes, that usually are not needed. I recently read a feel-good romance, with a great mystery that needed to be solved by the heroine. Here is what it says on the back cover:

"Tiziana Manoretti is an only child in her late twenties blessed with loving parents, a promising career, and a best friend who fiercely protects her. When her mother falls seriously ill and the relationship between her parents becomes suddenly strained, a carefully hidden family secret is revealed and Tiziana’s seemingly idealistic world is turned upside down.

After discovering she was born in a Naples orphanage and subsequently given up for adoption, Tiziana sets out for the small town of Gaeta in an attempt to find her birth parents. Meanwhile, her best friend Christopher is sending her mixed messages, causing her to wonder if there is more to their relationship than just companionship. As she becomes intertwined with a handful of interesting characters who help her uncover her past, Tiziana needs to decide whether her feelings for Christopher are deeper than she realizes. She discovers herself and others all while her family’s resilience and love for one another is tested when confronted with a shocking truth.

The answers lie in a box found in a closet in Italy, and Tiziana must determine if she wants to embrace the heartache and the pain from her past in order to learn forgiveness and find peace in the future"

The Romantic setting in this story grabbed me from the start. Most of the story takes place in Naples, Italy. The place I want to travel to the most is Italy; specifically, Rome, Venice and Naples. The other thing that drew me into this story was the fact that Tiziana, the main character, was adopted and she is Italian. Guess what? I was adopted and I am Italian. I could relate to the character very easily. Even though there was some predictability in the storyline, I didn't care, because I liked the characters so much. I also enjoyed watching Tiziana figure out things that the reader already had guessed. Laura has one of those writing styles that the words seem to flow easily across the pages. This is a wonderful quick read, and you feel very happy when you are done reading it.

I also loved the descriptions of Naples in the story as she brought to life the beauty of the Neapolitan mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. It made me want to go there even more. Most importantly about this novel are the themes of family relationships, forgiveness, friendship, and enduring love.

I recommend this book to any person that loves a good, clean romance. This would be a great book to read while lazing around on a Saturday in your p.j.'s or a hot, Summer day while sipping lemonade.

My Rating: 4 stars

Read it Again? Yes

Recommend it? Yes, to all of you that want to read a clean romance/mystery

Read more of Laura's books? Yes, I look forward to reading more from Laura.

You can purchase this book at these places:

I want to thank Laura for the review copy of, "Daughter of Mine". I did not receive any compensation for giving this review.

Today I want to introduce to you Laura Fabiani.

Education and Current Activities

Laura Fabiani has a degree in Special Care Counselling and a diploma in Writing for Children and Teenagers. She also translates documents from the French language to English for the medical community since 2000. She is founder of
NouveauWriter.com, an online resource for new and aspiring writers. She blogs about books at Library of Clean Reads, where she reviews books and offers promotional services to authors. Fabiani currently teaches creative writing workshops in English and French.
Interests and Inspiration

Laura Fabiani has been writing as far back as she can remember, making use of poetry and short compositions throughout her youth to express her ideas and feelings. One of her early goals in life was to write a novel. She began several of them, but never brought them to completion… until one day her sister asked, “Laura, when are you going to finish that book you once talked about writing?”

That's when Fabiani finally sat down and began to write where she had left off more than eight years ago, when the idea for
Daughter of Mine was sparked listening to her mother-in-law’s stories of her youth in her native Naples.

Italy has always held a special place for Laura Fabiani because her parents are Italian immigrants. Her father is from the beautiful mountainous region of Pescara in Abruzzo and her mother from the romantic city of Rome. In addition, Fabiani’s maternal grandmother came from a noble family in Gaeta, Naples. Fabiani has traveled several times to Italy and stayed in her ancestral home in Rome with her relatives.

When not writing or immersed in study, she divides her time between taking care of her family and sharing in a volunteer worldwide Bible education program. Of all the literature Fabiani has read, the Holy Scriptures have shaped her life the most. She has deep respect for this book that has influenced some of the world’s greatest art, literature, music and has had a significant impact on law. “It teaches us how to live the best life now and in the future,” she believes.

She is currently working on her second novel. She lives with her husband and two children in Montreal, Quebec.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - April 20, 2010

Don't forget to post your teaser in the comments. We want to know what you are reading!

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:

"You don't have to consume junk food around the clock to put on weight. There are certain foods that are just too darn delish and tempting to resist, and the truth is you probably give in to them just a little more often than you admit to yourself."

Cook Yourself Thin: Skinny Meals you Can Make in Minutes, page 29

Sheila's Teaser:

"If you have time to correspond with me, could you answer several questions? Three in fact. Why did a roast pig dinner have to be kept a secret? How could a pig cause you to begin a literary society? And, most pressing of all, what is a potato peel pie-and why is it included in your society's name?"

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, page 12

Hillary's Teaser:

"Chances are, photographs are the reason you jumped into scrapbooking in the first place. you wanted to do something with that growing pile of photos from your wedding, family vacations, birthdays, and other significant life events."

The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker by Wendy Smedley, page 35

Mindy's Teaser:

"The boy swooped to an easy midair stop, hovering a few feet above the men's heads. He looked to be twelve or thirteen years old; he had red hair, and freckles still visible in his deeply tanned face... and which the men could now see was what looked like a tiny winged woman."

Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, page 39

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hammertime- Vader Style!

I hope you'll forgive me for posting this instead of a book review. It just made my day and I had to share. :)

I'll try to get my book review up later.

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Review of: Fablehaven 5 Keys to The Demon Prison By Brandon Mull

Title: Fablehaven Book Five: Keys to The Demon Prison

Author: Brandon Mull

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published Date: March 2010

ISBN#: 13 978-1-60641-238-1

Hardcover: 593 pages

"Since ancient times, the great demon prison Zzyzx has protected the world from the most dangerous servants of darkness, including Gorgrog, the Demon King. After centuries of plotting, the Sphinx is on the verge of recovering the five artifacts necessary to open the legendary prison.

Facing the potential of a world-ending calamity, all friends of light must unite in a final effort to thwart the Sphinx’s designs and find a safe home for the five artifacts. To this end, Kendra, Seth, and the Knights of the Dawn will venture far beyond the walls of Fablehaven to strange and exotic magical preserves across the globe, where the end of every quest becomes the beginning of another. In this explosive series finale, allegiances will be confirmed and secrets revealed as the forces of light and darkness collide in a desperate struggle to control the keys to the demon prison."

Brandon Mull has done it again. He has written an action packed fantasy novel, with many mysteries that are finally revealed. I have to admit, I was looking forward to this book being released and hating the fact that it was finally being released. I have loved reading the Fablehaven series. I was hooked from the first book. As each book came out the stories became better and more interesting.

One aspect of the Fablehaven books is, once you start reading them it is hard to put them down. It is not any different with the fifth book, Keys to The Demon Prison. One thing that you will notice soon after you start to read, is that Seth and Kendra truly take center stage in this last book. They have grown up and are taking on the roles of hero and heroine.

Many new characters were added to the story this go around. They were essential to the storyline, but I missed some of my old, favorite characters. Tanu, is one of my favorites and he wasn't in this final book very much. Grandpa and Grandma Sorenson were only here and there a few times. Of course we learn many new things about the Sphinx and the motivations behind his actions. Brandon Mull also includes so many twists and turns in this book, it is hard to read without feeling some anxiety! He also really knows how to bring everything together at the end that you have been wondering about. I truly was surprised a few times at things that were revealed.

Do you notice how vague I am being? I am doing it on purpose because I do not want to ruin the book for you.Let's just say, this is a must read for anyone that has read any of the other Fablehaven books. You will not be disappointed at the ending, except for the fact the series is ending. I would have been happy with four or five more books in the series. Unfortunately, I do not think Brandon Mull would agree. He has many great ideas for a new series and other books. I look forward to seeing what else Brandon will create and I will happily dive in to whatever he writes next.

My Rating: 4 1/2 stars (Because I did not want the series to end.) 5 for the content.

-Read it again? Yes, many times in the future.

-Recommend it? Yes, to everyone who likes a great fantasy with lots of action and well developed characters.

-Read more of Brandon's book? You can count on it!

Purchase Fablehaven Book 5: Keys of the Demon Prison here.

You can visit the Fablehaven's website here.

To learn more about Brandon visit his website here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Women of the Book of Mormon: Insights and Inspirations by Heather B. Moore

Title- Women of the Book of Mormon: Insights and Inspirations

Author- Heather B. Moore

Publisher- Covenant Communications

Published Date- March 2010

ISBN# 978-1-60861-007-5

Hardcover; 102 pages

If I could have chosen anyone to write this absolutely wonderful book, it would have been Heather. Having read her Out of Jerusalem series as well as Abinadi and Alma I've really enjoyed the way Heather writes the women in her books. Okay, I like the way she writes her books period. Yet the way she captures what life might have been like for those women in her fictional retellings of Book of Mormon events have been particularly interesting to me.

I can honestly say that reading Women of the Book of Mormon has changed me. I've wondered about the women of that time period, most of whom go unacknowledged and unmentioned, as I've read the Book of Mormon. The women we do read about are usually unnamed and their accounts are brief.

With her first nonfiction book, Heather has opened my eyes to these women and brought me to a new level of understanding of how they spent the days of their lives: their challenges, responsibilities, feelings, and faith - or lack of faith. I've never really thought about these women as my sisters before, and now I feel a strong connection to them.

I was unaware of how young these women were when they became betrothed, usually at age 12 or 13. While the betrothal usually lasted a year, the thought that my 12-year-old daughter would have been engaged and awaiting her marriage if we lived during that time is simply unfathomable to me.

I also didn't understand just how much Sariah sacrificed when she followed her husband, Lehi, into the wilderness. I see why Laman and Lemuel were loathe to leave everything they possessed behind in Jerusalem. With Sariah it meant more than leaving behind a very comfortable life. It meant doing work that you previously had servants to do for you, bearing your children in the sandy wilderness, and wondering how you were going to manage your growing household when food was scarce and unvarying. It meant walking while men and children rode the camels since as a woman you were just a step above a slave. Sariah accepted and bore it all; she is a great example to me.

I've often thought Nephi must have held his mother in high regard and loved her immensely to have included her as often has he did while recounting his experiences. Heather shares examples that prove that though women weren't too high up in social standing, when a woman begged or pleaded on behalf of another it held a lot of power and influence.

Mormon's wife is another account I found fascinating. I'm pretty sure I've never given her a second thought until reading about her in Women of the Book of Mormon. Read the book to learn more about her life as a military wife in dark times.

I've barely scratched the surface of what Heather shares in Women of the Book of Mormon. This book would be a perfect Mother's Day gift, of course. While I was thinking of a couple of women I would point toward this book, it occurred to me that men would really benefit as well from reading Women of the Book of Mormon. If you purchase this book for yourself or as a gift, make a point to share it with the men of your life so they can better appreciate these women and everything they experienced.

Well done, Heather!

Heather has book signings this weekend. Click here to find out when and where.

Visit Heather's website and blog.

Women of the Book of Mormon: Insights and Inspirations is available at Deseret Book and Seagull Book.

My Rating: 5 stars (excellent!)

Would I-
  • read it again? absolutely
  • recommend it? most definitely
  • read more of Heather's books? I can't wait to read Alma the Younger (see the cover HERE)

FTC FYI: I received a review PDF from the author; it had no effect on my review.

Episode 43 - Karen Hoover, Candace Salima & Last Day to Register for LDStorymakers Conference

Recently, Sheila, Hillary and I were able to sit down with Karen Hoover, author of The Sapphire Flute, and Candace Salima, president of Valor Publishing for Episode 43. We had spoken briefly with Karen at the Valor Publishing Book Launch in March, and it was nice to be able to speak with Karen about her book in greater detail. Candace is teaching at the LDStorymakers Conference taking place April 23-24 at the Provo Marriott Hotel.

If you're still debating about attending the LDStorymakers Conference, listen to Episode 43 and learn how much the Conference helped both Karen and Candace in their success as authors.

Today, April 15, is THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER for the LDStorymakers Conference. There are no walk-ins this year, so don't delay- register today!

Introducing Me: Mindy

Before I did my first review, I wanted everyone to get to know me, and the books I like. I'm a 35 year old (today is my birthday actually) mom of three girls. And wife to an incredible guy, who is such a hard worker and supports us with all he's got.

My reading style is mainly YA fiction fantasy/scifi. I also read some JF fantasy/fiction. I do branch out, and am more then willing to do so. But, as you can see from the list below, I am a sucker for series books. I love that there is more to a story. I've put together a list some of my all-time favorites.

If I were asked what my favorite of series was, it would be Twilight. It was, of course, the first, and so addictingly (I know that's not a word, but I don't care) wonderful.
My favorites are The Deathly Hallows and The Half-Blood Prince. I feel that when it comes to Harry, that no further explanation is needed :).

This series is so fun. Artemis is great character. He's a brilliant 12 year old who wants to kidnap a fairy, and gets away with it. So, at first, he's the villain. My favorite of the six books are: The Eternity Code and The Time Paradox

These books are amazing, which also happen to be my favorite movies.

When I first heard of this book, I wasn't too sure I was going to enjoy it, it sounded so violent. Even though it was (:), I loved it. It was fascinating, and such a mind-blowing story. I loved Catching Fire as well and can not wait for Mockingjay.

I am a huge Fablehaven fan. I loved this series. But, this picture is here because it was my favorite. So many surprising things happened, I think I finished with my mouth open in awe.

This book and author is very special to me. I am very honored to be Dorothy Keddington's niece. She is my wonderful "Aunt Rae". So, picking a favorite of hers is hard because they are all spectacular. But, alas, I think Shadow Song is at the top of the list.

I just read this book about a month ago, and it instantly became an all-time fav. The story is amazing, sweet, funny, and tear worthy. I won't go too much into it, because it may show up soon in more detail... hint hint

This is oldie but a goodie. I honestly haven't read it since I was young, but I loved the story. Love and life lasting forever sounded pretty good when I was waiting for those certain boys to call when I was a love-struck teen.

This is another that I have read recently, but loved instantly. It's another story like Hunger Games, not kids fighting to the death, but (what am I trying to say ?) a very different story to swallow. In the future, if a child is "unwanted" when he/she turns 13, their parents can choose to unwind them. But, it doesn't work out the way the creators wanted it to. Gripping story.

I have read everything from this gal, Jessica, and this is my favorite.

As with above, I have read all of Shannon's as well. I love this whole series. Goose Girl and River Secrets are my favorites.

The Maze Runner is another that got me right at the start. I couldn't stop until I knew what was going to happen.

Here's a little taste of the books I love and read. It's funny, when I finished Harry, I thought I would never find anything else to read that I would enjoy as much. When my sister told me about Twilight, I thought the same thing. But, thankfully, I got brave and realized there are numerous amounts of very enjoyable books out there. I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity. When I finish a great book, I want to shout it from the roof tops, and now I get that chance!

Introducing Mindy- Our New LDSWBR Blogger!

LDS Women's Book Review would like to introduce you to Mindy, the newest addition to the LDSWBR Blog. Mindy is the first person to join the LDSWBR team since the book review podcast was first founded in December 2005. The story of how I met Mindy is quite incredible.

Mindy and I have daughters in the same 6th grade class, and while arranging a get-together for a school project, I spoke with Mindy for the first time to give directions to my home. I was delighted to find that Mindy was as friendly and talkative as I am. Not surprisingly we ended up talking for an hour and a half on my daughter's cell phone. In fact, my daughter had a lot of fun teasing me that she found her mom a new BFF :).

During this first conversation, Mindy shared that one day she hoped to work at the new local library that is currently under construction. Naturally I asked if that meant she like to read, and when she answered excitedly that she did I proceeded to tell her about the LDSWBR podcast and blog.

What made meeting Mindy so incredible was where the conversation turned shortly after telling her about LDSWBR. When Mindy said, "You must know my aunt, then!" I followed with "Who's you're aunt?" I was floored when Mindy answered, "Dorothy Keddington!"

Those of you who have been with LDSWBR for a while now know that I'm a huge fan of Dorothy Keddington. I have been blessed to get to know Dorothy through her daughter-in-law who lives in my ward, so learning that Dorothy's niece lives only a few streets away as well seemed like an amazing coincidence. Except I don't really believe in coincidences.

Mindy and I spent the next few days writing longer and longer emails back and forth as we got to know each other. More than once I felt like we had known each other before this life and that we were simply getting reacquainted.

When I first started LDS Women's Book Review, I knew exactly who I wanted to ask to join me. Hillary and Sheila were, and most definitely still are, a perfect fit for what I envisioned for LDS Women's Book Review. After 4 1/2 years, all three of us are excited to welcome our first new member of LDSWBR into the group.

Mindy has happily agreed to take the empty Thursday posting spot. Mindy will share a little about herself and the books she enjoys reading in her first official post today.

Please join us in welcoming Mindy to the LDS Women's Book Review blog!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Episode 42 Part 3 with authors Aubrey Mace and Jessica Day George

While at the Valor Publishing Book Launch in March, we ran into authors Aubrey Mace and Jessica Day George, who had come to show their support. We took the opportunity in Episode 42 Part 3 to talk to them about what they've been working on and they were more than willing accommodate us. Aubrey and Jessica are sweet and funny ladies. You won't want to miss this one!

Listen to Episode 42 Part 3 here, or find us in iTunes and subscribe to the podcast.

We have pictures, of course, including one with author Dan Willis :). Thanks Aubrey and Jessica!

Episode 42 Part 2 - Interview with Candace E. Salima

In Part 2 of Episode 42, we take some time to speak with Candace E. Salima, President of the Valor Publishing Group. Candace shared with us the how and why behind Valor Publishing, as well as some big things that will be happening for Valor Publishing in the near future. Candace had great things to say about the new authors at the March Book Launch, as well as those who have helped make Valor a success. Visit Valor Publishing at www.valorpublishinggroup.com for more information.

You can listen to Episode 42 Part 2 on the LDS Women's Book Review Podcast website as well as in iTunes.

Here are some more photos taken at the Valor Publishing Book Launch on March 16, 2010:

Episode 42 Part 1 - Valor Book Launch Author Interviews

In Episode 42 Part 1, LDSWBR was able to interview each of the five authors whose books were released at the Valor Publishing Book Launch in March. Listen to what Michele Ashman Bell (Summer in Paris), Daron Fraley (The Thorn), Kimberly Job (I'll Know You by Heart), Tristi Pinkston (Secret Sisters) and Karen Hoover (The Sapphire Flute) have to say about their new books published by Valor Publishing. As a bonus, you'll also hear Karen Hoover playing her own sapphire flute in a beautiful performance.

Visit Valor Publishing's website: www.valorpublishinggroup.com for more information.

Visit the LDS Women's Book Review Podcast website to listen to Episode 42 Part 1, or find us in iTunes to subscribe to the podcast.

Here are some photos from the Valor Publishing Book Launch on March 16, 2010. It was a little bit crazy and a whole lot of fun. Congratulations to each of these authors, and we wish you continued success. We'll definitely be at the next Valor Book Launch- we wouldn't miss it!

Belated Teaser Tuesday - April 14, 2010

I took the day "off" yesterday (it was my birthday and I spent it at the spa with my sister getting our first facials- it was so relaxing!) which means that Teaser Tuesday is technically Teaser Wednesday. Enjoy, and don't forget to leave a teaser from your current read for us in the comments below!

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:

"First, we learn that Ishmael had five daughters who were of marriageable age (see 1 nephi 7:6). Second, there was no murmuring like there was on the first journey to retrieve the brass plates. Apparently, bringing back a family full of eligible maidens was much more appealing to the sons of Lehi than imploring Laban for the brass plates (see 1 nephi 7:1–4)."

Women of the Book of Mormon by Heather B. Moore, page 13

Sheila's Teaser:

"Yes child, what is the matter? You look distressed," said Suor Annunziata with concern etched on her forehead.

"I'm fine, but I need to ask you something important to me. Were you at the orphanage when I was born there?"

Suor Annunziatia's face lost it's look of concern and became shadowed. "It was a long time ago cara. What did Madre Maria tell you?"

"Nothing. Absolutely nothing. there may not even be a record of my birth parent's names in the file. Do you remember who they were? Do you know anything about my past that can help me find them?"

Daughter of Mine By Laura Fabiani, page 60

Hillary's Teaser:

"As victims of this be-all, do-all mentality, we have fallen prey to three harmful myths: 1) SUPERMEN and superwomen are real, 2) any job worth doing is worth doing well, and 3) spending time on yourself is a selfish, superficial use of time."

Simply Sane by Debbie Bowen, page 5

Mystery Guest's Teaser:

"And there was that dream she'd had a few weeks ago--she'd been dressed in a ragged wedding gown (a la Miss Havisham of "Great " fame), dancing alone in a dark house, waiting for Mr. Darcy to come for her."

Austenland by Shannon Hale, page 7

Wondering what's with this "Mystery Guest's Teaser"? Come back tomorrow- we'll be making a big announcement!

Hashbrown Winters by Frank L. Cole

Hark! Hillary here. It is Wednesday, therefore I must write.

Just an FYI- For those just DYING to hear/read more of me, I will have my blog, "It's me Hillary", coming soon! It will be a little bit of everything including but not limited to; books I've read, fun craft projects and family stuff/ideas/antics.

This week I read something new and different, for me anyway. I read a children's book (gasp). My second oldest daughter has resisted the sci-fi/fantasy craze, refusing to read about lightening rods or dementors. Due to such resisitance, I have had to do some searching. I found out that she really likes funny, ha-ha books. So the hunt of course led to "Diary of a Wimpy Kid", but there are only four of those, and she read each one in about three hours, so I really had to do some looking. In the process, I happened across "Hashbrown Winters," by Frank L. Cole.

"Hashbrown Winters" is a first novel for Frank Cole. He writes a charming, fun character with Hashbrown. Hashbrown AKA Flinton Deanderbow Winters-but no one calls him that- in fact no one in the school goes by their actual names except the girl he has a crush on, who's name happens to be "Misty", but as Hashbrown puts it "Misty was her real name and her nickname because that's what it felt like whenever she walked into a room." Anyway, so Hashbrown and his pals Snow Cone, Whiz and a bunch of other kiddos, work pretty hard to keep the school bully from beating up Hashbrown when an accident occurs involving the bully/man-child- whose "real" name is actually his name, Hambone, (hmmm, I guess there's two) and laugh out loud, entertaining chaos begins.

Frank tells a fun, cute story. It is a quick read! I read it in under an hour. I was not overly fond of how Whiz got his name and how he continually managed to keep it (I'm sure you can guess) BUT, this is a kid's book, so I imagine kids would find that funny. Oh wait, and I'm not a boy, and we all know that boys AKA men, think that bodily functions are funny. In spite of that, I will probably read the second book, Hashbrown Winters and the Mashimoto Madness. Overall, I think anyone who enjoys the Diary of a Wimpy Kid type book would really enjoy this one.

FYI-FTC- Library

Sunday, April 11, 2010

LDSWBR Episode 41 & Dangerous Connections by Julie Coulter Bellon

LDSWBR Podcast Episode 41 with author Julie Coulter Bellon is now available for download! Search for LDS Women's Book Review in iTunes to subscribe, or you can listen directly through the LDS Women's Book Review Podcast website. We had such a fun time with Julie.

She's been so patient and if I knew where to get some catsup (ketchup??) chips I'd probably buy Julie a whole case! (Podcast joke - listen to Episode 41 and laugh with us about it - you know you want to!) Don't forget to stick around for the blooper reel.

In honor of the release of our podcast with Julie, I am reviewing her latest book, Dangerous Connections, which was released in March. So go start the podcast and then come back here and read my review while you listen ;).

Title: Dangerous Connections

Author: Julie Coulter Bellon

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Published Date: March 2010

ISBN#: 978-1-59811-919-0

Paperback; 206 pages

Dangerous Connections is a spin-off of Julie's last book, All's Fair, and it continues Tyler's story. In a nutshell, Tyler and Isabella must figure out how to stop a terrorist plot while facing double agents and avoiding capture.

As soon as Tyler arrives at his hotel in Paris, things seem a little off. His father is nowhere to be found, but has left a note telling Tyler to return home to the United States immediately. Worried, Tyler opens a message intended for his father, finding only a name and phone number. Tyler decides to wait in Paris until he can figure out what is going on with his father.

When Tyler discovers he is being followed during a visit to the Musee d'Orsay, he uses his military training to incapacitate the man trailing him. Taking a chance, Tyler decides to call the number in the message left for his father, hoping to gather information. Instead he finds an attractive French agent, her wounded brother, and their mission to uncover both a terrorist plot and the al-Qaeda mole (or moles) within the French DGSE organization. Little does Tyler realize how his search for his father will connect him to their mission.

Tyler and Isabella are pursued by both the terrorists and the DGSE. Unsure who they can trust, they come so close to preventing disaster only to find themselves in the worst possible situation: captured by terrorists, surrounded by explosives, and helpless to stop the poisoning of several thousand U.S. troops.

Dangerous Connections is full of suspense and intrigue. Having spent time in France, Julie's knowledge of the locale is apparent throughout the book. Julie's respect for those who sacrifice to serve our country shows in the way she wrote Tyler. It's easy to see that Julie enjoys writing international intrigue.

What worked for me: I enjoy the characters and plots Julie creates. All's Fair and Dangerous Connections are just the right length for a quick, suspense-filled read. The ending was very intense, and I wondered how things could possibly work out.

Julie's heroines are always strong and capable women, which I appreciate. I loved it every time Isabella kicked a little hiney. I liked Tyler and his refusal to leave Isabella to face the terrorists alone. While the focus is on the suspense, there are some tender scenes (and a couple of nice kisses, too).

Tyler comes across The Book of Mormon a couple of times, and while neither Tyler nor Isabella are members, the discussion is centered around finding peace and isn't preachy at all.

What didn't work for me: I like the characters Julie writes, but I find myself wanting to know more about them. I understand that there isn't as much "time" to delve into a character in a suspense novel compared to, say, historical fiction, but if there was one thing I would suggest to Julie, it would be finding a way to let her readers really get to know and connect personally with the characters a bit more.

For example, I would have liked to have learned more about Tyler's father, Craig Winthrop. I wanted to be as concerned about him as Tyler seemed to be, but there wasn't much said about him, so I couldn't relate with Craig enough to care as much as I would have expected considering he was in danger.

On the other hand Isabella's concern for her brother, Marcus, was easier to connect with since he was more often on Isabella's mind, specifically giving insights into the kind of man and brother Marcus was to her. We got to know the character's character, so to speak. Getting to know Craig better through Tyler would have balanced the story out nicely.

Overall, I think Julie did a great job. I enjoyed Dangerous Connections and look forward to reading Julie's next novel.

A little about the author: Julie Coulter Bellon is a sweet and humble woman, mother of seven, basketball coach, teacher of journalism for BYU Continuing Education, blogger on Six LDS Writers and a Frog, and lover of catsup (ketchup?- someone please help me out here) chips :).

Julie will be teaching at the LDStoryMakers Conference. Click here to view the class schedule and to sign up for the Conference. Hurry, only a few days left to sign up!

Visit Julie's website at juliebellon.com. Follow Julie on Twitter: @juliebellon. Dangerous Connections is available for purchase from Deseret Book, Seagull Book and Amazon.

My rating: 4 stars (I liked it!)

Would I-
  • read it again? Yes
  • recommend it? Yes
  • read more books by Julie? That's the plan!

FTC FYI: I received a free review copy which did not affect my review.