Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards


"Janie Rose Whitaker's world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie's. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the "perfect" guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Though she resists getting involved in Roger's complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship.

You will laugh, cry, and crave chocolate as you read this LDS paraody of the classic novel Jane Eyre."

Joan Sowards book Chocolate Roses is a fun, modern re-telling of Jane Eyre. Though the story line mirrors the original in some ways, this new version is lighter in tone. It addresses some serious issues, but Sowards does this with skill and sensitivity. The main character, Jane, is likeble, especially because she isn't written as a perfect, beautiful heroine. She also has a dream job, owning her own chocolate shop. I think she is someone many readers will be able to relate to. I only wish the romance had been built up a little more, but then I'm a romantic at heart. Chocolate Roses will have you searching out a little chocolate to eat while you keep guessing at the ending. I enjoyed this book and hope Joan has more stories up her sleeves.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Fourth Nephite by Jeffrey S. Savage

"Kaleo Steele is starting to cut seminary and hang out with some new “friends”; in fact, he’s not even sure what he believes anymore. When his seminary teacher finds him at the wrong place at the wrong time, Kaleo is in jeopardy of missing his high school team’s regional football game—a game where college scouts will be coming to see him play. But his seminary teacher realizes that much more than a game is at stake, and sends him on a soul-searching quest.
Guided by Ladan, a mysterious old blind man, Kaleo pushes through a battered wooden door only to find himself in Palmyra, New York, in the fall of 1827. Soon he is caught up in a battle between treasure seekers—led by Allaster Blackburn, a necromancer hired to steal the gold plates—and the young prophet Joseph Smith, who is sworn to keep them safe. In his quest to find a key that will send him back to his own time, Kaleo will have to decide what to believe. Before it’s too late." (from Deseretbook.com)

Jeffrey Savage has once again written an action packed adventure that will appeal to both young and old. I especially loved the characters in this book. Kaleo is easy to relate to, as a young man teetering on the edge. He has his doubts about religion and isn't planning on serving a mission, but he hasn't done anything wrong. . .yet. I also liked the portrayal of Joseph Smith and his family. Savage shows them as real people who enjoyed life but were also busy trying to protect the plates and live their religion despite the animosity it created in their community. The historical details were interesting and woven in skillfully so they didn't overwhelm the story but provided the perfect backdrop for it. Kaleo overcomes his doubts about Joseph Smith, not because of heavy preaching, but by just watching Joseph interact with his family and others. My favorite character, in a creepy way, was Allaster Blackburn. Savage always writes great villains and this one was no exception. From the way he looked to the way he spoke, this character gave me chills.

This is a fun book and one that teenagers, as well as their parents, will enjoy. I'm looking forward to the next book.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finding Rose Cover

I finally received a picture of my cover. It is beautiful and the picture really does look like the character. Amy did a great job. Finding Rose should be out this summer. I can't wait.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2009 Whitney Award Winners

Best Romance

Counting the Cost
Liz Adair


Best Mystery/Suspense

Methods of Madness
Stephanie Black


Best Youth Fiction

The Chosen One
Carol Lynch Williams


Best Speculative

Servant of a Dark God
John Brown


Best Historical

The Last Waltz
G.G. Vandagriff


Best General Fiction

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Jamie Ford


Best Novel by a New Author
(tie)

I am Not a Serial Killer
Dan Wells

Gravity vs. the Girl
Riley Noehren


Lifetime Acheivement Award

Gerald Lund


Outsatnding Achievment Award

Dave Wolverton


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2009 Whitney Award Finalists

Best Romance

Counting the Cost
Liz Adair

Illuminations of the Heart
Joyce dePastina

All the Stars in Heaven
Michele Paige Holmes

Santa Maybe
Aubery Mace

Previously Engaged
Elodia Strain


Best Mystery/Suspense

Lockdown
Traci Hunter Abramson

Methods of Madness
Stephanie Black

Murder by the Book
Betsy Brannon Green

Lemon Tart
Josi S. Kilpack

Altered State
Gregg Luke


Best Youth Fiction

Princess of the Midnight Ball
Jessica Day George

Fablehaven IV: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary
James Dashner

My Fair Godmother
Janette Rallison

Bright Blue Miracle
Becca Wilhite

The Chosen One
Carol Lynch Williams


Best Speculative Fiction

Servant of a Dark God
Dan Brown

The Maze Runner
James Dashner

Wings
Aprilynne Pike

Warbreaker
Brandon Sanderson

I am Not a Serial Killer
Dan Wells


Best Historical

Tribunal
Sandra Grey

The Undaunted
Gerald N. Lund

Alma
H.B. Moore

The Last Waltz
G.G. Vandagriff

In the Company of Angels
David Farland


Best General Fiction

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Jamie Ford

No Going Back
Jonathon Langford

Gravity vs. the Girl
Riley Noehren

The Route
Gale Sears

Eyes Like Mine
Julie Wright


Lifetime Achievment Award

Gerald Lund


Oustanding Achievment Award

Dave Wolverton

Unlike previous years, no finalists are being announced for the two overall awards. Instead, the Whitney Academy can choose from any of the eligible finalists in any category. In other words, all of the novels listed above are still in the running for Best Novel of the Year.

Likewise, any of the above finalists that meet the eligibility requirements for Best Novel by a New Author can be chosen for that award. This year, the eligible books are:

  • Servant of a Dark God, by John Brown
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford
  • No Going Back, by Jonathon Langford
  • Gravity vs. The Girl, by Riley Noehren
  • Wings, by Aprilynne Pike
  • I Am Not A Serial Killer, by Dan Wells
  • Bright Blue Miracle, by Becca Wilhite
  • Friday, November 13, 2009

    Across the Endless River by Thad Carhart


    "Born in 1805 on the Lewis & Clark expedition, Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau was the son of the expedition’s translators, Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau. Across The Endless River evokes the formative years of this mixed-blood child of the frontier, entering the wild and mysterious world of his boyhood along the Missouri. Baptiste is raised both as William Clark’s ward in St. Louis and by his parents among the villages of the Mandan tribe on the far northern reaches of the river.

    In 1823, eighteen-year-old Baptiste is invited to cross the Atlantic with the young Duke Paul of W├╝rttemberg, whom he meets on the frontier. During their travels throughout Europe, Paul introduces Baptiste to a world he never imagined. Increasingly, Baptiste senses the limitations of life as an outsider; only Paul’s older cousin, Princess Theresa, understands the richness of his heritage. Their affair is both passionate and tender, but Theresa’s clear-eyed notions of love, marriage, and the need to fashion one’s own future push Baptiste to consider what he truly needs.

    In Paris, he meets Maura Hennesy, the beautiful and independent daughter of a French-Irish wine merchant. Baptiste describes his life on the fast-changing frontier to Maura, and she begins to imagine a different destiny with this enigmatic American. Baptiste ultimately faces a choice: whether to stay in Europe or to return to the wilds of North America. His decision will resonate strongly with those who today find themselves at the intersection of cultures, languages, and customs."

    Though the years Jean-Baptiste spent in Europe are largely undocumented, the author does a good job of filling in the blanks and helping us imagine what it may have been like to be this young man stuck between two worlds. The descriptions in the book are enjoyable and paint a vivid picture. Even though the author seems to know the history and the facts he fictionalized still fit with the story, the book plods along for 300 pages with almost no plot. Nothing every really happens and we see so much of Jean-Baptistes world as if he was just an observer. I began to wonder why the author bothered to write a book about this young man at all.

    In the end, I did enjoy Carhart's writing and his beautiful descriptions, but the characters fell flat for me and in a story like this, the characters just have to shine.

    Tuesday, September 8, 2009

    The Holy Bible and Mormonism by Christopher Mills


    "Critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints often use selective passages from the Holy Bible to assert that Mormons are not Biblical Christians. Some critics simply do not understand how Latter-day Saints can use the Bible as a source for spiritual guidance and hold beliefs that other Christian churches do not. Other individuals do not even realize that Mormons use the Holy Bible.

    This book explains how Latter-day Saints controversial beliefs are Biblical and also examines the references used by the critics and puts them into proper context. After all, proper interpretation of Scripture comes from collective verses rather than selective verses. Christopher Mills has chosen topics that he has personally been confronted with and shares his experiences. He also includes his testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ."

    This is a great little book that would be an asset to any home. Mills quotes passages from the Bible to explain Latter-Day Saint beliefs. He uses easy to understand language to discuss topics such as baptism, the nature of God, temples, eternal marriage, prophets, and more. He does this in a straight-forward and non-argumentative manner.

    Mills doesn't aim to prove any other religion wrong, only to explain what the Mormons believe using familiar scriptures from the Bible. This book would be useful in family home evenings, for Sunday school teachers, and just as a resource to use when non-LDS friends have questions. The book can be purchased here.