Friday, December 23, 2011

Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island by Steve Westover

Goodreads Description:  While visiting his crazy Uncle Bart at Crater Lake National Park, thirteen-year-old Ethan's world collapses when all the adults at Crater Lake disappear, including his parents. Now Ethan must rally his new friends and decipher the legends of Crater Lake to find the key to rescuing his parents from their earthen prison before he's captured too and their captivity becomes permanent.

My thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book!  I love books that are descriptive enough that you feel like you are actually in the book, that you can visualize everything that the characters are going through.

The story follows 5 youth, as they race against time to uncover the mysteries involving Crater Lake.  Everyone 16 and over has been swallowed up in the earth, and it's up to this unlikely group to save them.  I loved the typical sibling relationship between Ethan and Jordan, and loved the interaction between Allie and Ethan.  Jacob and Brady were awesome too, and so opposite, but they were able to work well together.

I loved all of the legend and mystery surrounding Crater Lake, and I'll bet that Ethan wished he had listened more to his "crazy" Uncle Bart.  Che-Tan always had me wondering, and Chief Llao was such a good, bad guy *shivers*.

What would you do to save those that you loved?

Received this book from Netgalley.  It is scheduled to be released in March 2012 by Cedar Fort Publishing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

If I have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's my Prince by Melissa Kantor

If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?

Goodreads Description: 
Wicked stepmother? Check. Evil stepsisters? Check. Miserable life? Check.

Lucy Norton’s life has all the makings of a Cinderella story. Her dad’s always away on business, leaving Lucy with her cruel stepmother and bratty stepsisters. She’s burdened with chores, and has a hard time fitting in at her new school. So when she sees Connor Pearson, the star player on the varsity basketball team, Lucy hopes her destiny has finally changed. With everything else going on in her life, doesn’t she at least deserve to get the handsome prince?

Melissa Kantor’s enchanting novel proves that sometimes the happy ending isn’t quite the one you’d expect. Lucy’s about to discover the truth about finding her real Prince Charming… and finding herself.

My thoughts:  This was a cute story.  Lucy's dad remarried, and then moved her across the country to live with her new stepmom and stepsisters.  Her father didn't die, but he kept his job where they used to live, so he was only with them on the weekends.  When he was home on the weekends, of course he wanted to spend time with his new wife.  Lucy's stepmom decorated the whole house except for Lucy's basement bedroom.  She only had an air mattress to sleep on, but she didn't have a closet or anywhere store her clothes.  Of course, her younger twin stepsisters had everything they wanted.

Lucy didn't have any friends at her new school, but luckily she was really into art, so she did have somewhere to escape to.  She also is very much into basketball, and when she accidently shows her knowledge and enthusiasm for the game, she catches the interest of one of the star High School basketball players.  She then finds herself part of the in-crowd at school.

I did enjoy the book.  It amused me that through most of the book, Lucy felt like she was living in the fairy tale.  I did expect, though, that her new friendship with the popular girls was going to turn out to be some type of a joke or a dare.  I loved the realizations that Lucy had towards the end of the story.

I did not like all the teenage drinking (which was heavy), and the language.  All in all, a pretty good book.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan

Fractured Light

Goodreads Description:  I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.

In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end.

My thoughts:  I really liked this book!  Llona is a really strong girl, with really strong powers.  I felt bad for Llona, just for the fact that she didn't have her mother there (who was also an Aura) to teach her all about her great power and how to use it.

She is being raised by her uncle, who is a great guy, but the first part of the story, he is in a great depression following the death of Llona's father (who was his brother).  I liked when her uncle comes to his senses and starts being involved in her life.  But, even he can't help her with her powers, or her role as an Aura.

The Vykens are major bad guys, and I figured out pretty early in the story who the Vyken was.  That being said, there were still so many people in the book that raised suspicion, and I didn't know who exactly Llona should trust.

I really loved the relationship between Llona and Christian.  There was a lot of conflict there, but towards the end of the story I was able to understand why.

Oh, can I say that I loved May?

Looking forward to reading the next book in the series to see what is coming next!

Received this ebook from NetGalley for review.

Enduring Light by Carly Kelly

Enduring Light

Goodreads Description:  She leaned toward him and rested her elbows on the brass rail at the foot of her bed. “All right, cowboy, just when did you fall in love with me? I’m definitely curious now.”
He regarded her in the moonlight. “I knew I was a no-hoping goner when I caught that ridiculous hat of yours on the platform at Gun Barrel.”

 Julia sucked in her breath. She tried to be severe. “Mr. Otto, nobody falls in love that fast!”
“I did,” he said simply, as he left her room.

Julia Darling is finally able to marry Paul Otto for eternity. But it’s a harsh world for a rancher in turn-of-the-century Wyoming, especially a Mormon rancher. When alienation and threats begin, Julia must prove she’s her husband’s equal in strength and endurance as she learns to let go of scars on the outside and inside.

Bestselling author Carla Kelly has woven a new story of a determined rancher, his wife, and how they discover the depths of love.

My thoughts:  Wow, there were so many things that I loved about this book!  I really loved Paul and Julia, and their relationship!  I always chuckled at their pet names, as my hubby and I still have little names that we call each other even after 25+ years.

The differences in the world's that they lived in were enormous - Julia was from "civilized" Salt Lake City, and Paul from wild Wyoming.  Even though the differences were there, it was great to see how Julia was able to adapt to her new circumstances of wife of a cattle rancher.

Julia was an amazing character!  Her love for her husband, and her faith, helped her so many times!  One of my favorite parts of the book was the cattle drive that Julia was able to go on.  Her adventures with cooking with Cookie were great, except for the "Rocky Mountain Oysters" and sonofagun stew...  yuckyuckyuck.

I haven't read the first book of this series, but now will have to.  I want to see how this great love story started!

Received this ebook for review from NetGalley.

Twilight's Last Gleaming by Laurie L.C. Lewis

Twilight's Last Gleaming (Free Men and Dreamers, #2)

Goodreads Description:  While cannons roar and rockets ignite American skies, disease ravages the upper Connecticut Valley. Few notice the sufferings of the families . . . Of a single child . . . A remarkable lad named Joseph. Attentions are forced elsewhere on the Chesapeake, which guards the entrance to the infant nation's threatened capital. It is the height of the War of 1812. As the beleaguered American forces begin to rally, Britain's military is divided between battlefronts on two continents. Until Napoleaon can be toppled and all of the crow's resources can be diverted to the American campaign, Britain needs a tactical diversion. They attack the Chesapeake Bay! Lieutenant Jed Pearson heads to war, leaving his beloved Willows estate in the care of powerless freed slaves. But soon circumstances will blur the line between adversary and friend, family and foe, British and American. In this second volume of the epic historical series Free Men and Dreamers, witness the saga of five families caught in the tumult of the oft-forgotten war that cemented American Liberty and set the stage for the great work of the Restoration.

My Thoughts:  What a great 2nd book of an amazing series!  Most of the books that I have been reading this year have been YA paranormal/fantasy/dystopian, so this series is definitely out of my preferred genre comfort zone.  Having said that, I love these books!

The characters in these books are so well-thought out and wonderful (hello Jed and Hannah!) that you just get caught up in their story and sometimes forget that the things that they are going through are actual events in our country's history.

I just can't imagine what it would have been like, living back in the infancy of this great nation, but Laurie's writing really makes it come alive.  Would I have had the courage to deal with the slave issue, just as Jed did?

These books have been so well-researched and thought out!  Thank you Laurie, for bringing this pivotal time in our nation's history alive!  I love this quote that is on the back of a postcard that came with this book, "The Founding Fathers' vision of "One Nation Under God" was not left to chance.  But what if yours was the generation tasked with forging that nation?  And forced to defend her once again..."

Laurie was in town a couple of weeks ago, at our local Deseret Bookstore.  I had to stop by and meet her!  I bought this book there and had her sign it for me.  It was nice to have a few minutes to be able to chat with her.  What a neat lady, and what wonderful books!  Thanks again, Laurie!

Monday, December 5, 2011

No Holly For Christmas by Julie N. Ford

No Holly For Christmas

Goodreads Description:  As Brian McAlister struggles to move past being jilted not once, but twice by the only woman he's ever loved, he's all but given up on relationships. Then, on special assignment for the DA's office, he crosses paths with ex-socialite turned social worker, Holly Cavanaugh Winter-and romance blossoms.

Widowed, practically penniless, and reduced to shopping at WalMart, Holly is dreading the approaching Holiday Season. However, her angst isn't due to her husband's untimely death the previous December 25th, but because of a secret that could reveal itself unless she can find a way to avoid the coming Christmas.

Love at first sight quickly turns frigid for Brian and Holly when Holly gets pulled into a manhunt for an accused murderer who now has his sights set on her. His case unraveling, Brian finds himself tasked with keeping Holly and her two daughters safe while bringing an assassin and the powerful man who hired him to justice.

My thoughts:  This was a pretty good book.  I enjoyed watching how Holly and Briand were able to evolve and get past hard things that had happened in their past.  There was also a lot of suspense in this book.

Negatives:  There was a lot of language and some sexual situations in the book.  There was also an attempted rape scene that was a little rough.

Received this book for review.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Variant by Robison Wells

Variant (Variant, #1)

Goodreads Description: 
Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.

My thoughts:  This was a good book.  It was very suspenseful, and had a great twist that I didn't even see coming!  The characters were written really well, and I didn't know, from the beginning, who to trust!

Meerkat Wars by H.S. Toshack

The Meerkat Wars
Goodreads Description:  It s all very well helping a young meerkat who s been poisoned by a scorpion. But when you've made friends with the whole Duwara tribe of meerkats, and you discover that they're at war with the Utongo, you may find yourself involved in that too, even if you re only a little black-and-white cat. And when you realise that the two tribes are fighting because each one believes it lives under The One True Sun, then you may have to undertake a very dangerous journey to help them see things differently. You may have to go through The Gorge.

My thoughts:  I really loved this book!  But then, I really love the Redwall series too!  This was such a good story.  It was about Sheena, a common housecat, that gets lost in the middle of the African wild.

She meets up with, and starts living with a tribe of meerkats.  It's amazing the adventures that Sheena finds herself in, and the plans that she comes up with.  Yikes, scorpions and flesh-eating ants?!!  I loved the personalities of all the animals, especially Sheena, Spickle - the baby porcupine, and Pebble - the Meerkat. 

A wonderful middle-grade book!

Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett

Geek Girl

Goodreads Description:  Jen's life of partying and sneaking out has grown stale. So on a whim, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a goody-two-shoes geek, into a "bad boy." As she hangs out with Trevor, however, she finds it's actually kinda fun being a geek. But when Trevor finds out about the bet, Jen must fight for the things she's discovered matter most: friendship, family, and, above all, love.

My thoughts:  What a great book!  I just couldn't stop reading it!  As much as I didn't want to, I really liked Jen!  You just can't help but really be able to see beneath her tough, Goth exterior.  It's so fun to watch all the characters, and how they interact with each other.  It's sad seeing how some people reacted to Jen and her friends, and really made me think about how I treat others that are different than me.  Oh, and can I say that I fell in love with Trev too?  :o)

This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me say "Awwwww"!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, wherever you are!  I have so many things to be grateful for!  If I took the time to list them, this would be a really long post!  The top things that I am grateful for, are:  my Faith, my wonderful husband (that puts up with me), my 5 beautiful children, and good friends.  I am also grateful that, from a young age, I have loved books.  They truly are my friends!

My family has gone through some hard things the last few years, but things always seem to go better when I take the time to count my many blessings.  May we continue to do that all throughout the year!

I'm grateful to have you all as part of my life!  Have a wonderful Day!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dark Sky At Dawn (Free Men and Dreamers - Volume One) By L.C. Lewis

Free Men and Dreamers, Dark Sky at Dawn, (Vol. 1)

Goodreads Description:  A historical fiction surrounding the years after the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812. Free people who dream and pursue what liberty and independence should be for their families lives.

My Thoughts:  The above description really does not do this book justice!  The book was just packed with information about the founding of our great country.  So much of it, I was not familiar with!  I love how it also highlighted the faith of early Americans.  This book really brought out a lot of emotions, especially when it came to the slave issue.  I wonder how it would have been to actually live in those times.  I really enjoy fiction books that have actual history in them.  It amazes me how authors can weave wonderful fictional characters into actual events!

Now I need to read more of the series.  I really want to see how this leads into the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I won this book in a giveaway.  Thanks Laurie!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blue by Lou Aronica


Goodreads Description:  Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Becky is Chris's fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges to become a vibrant, vital young woman - and now faces her greatest obstacle yet. Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little, a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own and now finds itself in terrible, maybe fatal trouble. Together, Chris, Becky, and Miea need to uncover a secret. The secret to why their worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them. Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed.

My Thoughts:  I really loved this book!  I got really caught up with all of the characters, especially Chris.  I hurt right along with him and wanted things to get better for him.  What great love he had for his daughter Becky!  No matter what his ex-wife Polly threw at him, he wasn't going to let that get in the way of trying to have a relationship with Becky.  It broke my heart when you start seeing the symptoms of Becky's disease returning.

What can I say about Tamarisk?  My hubby used to make up stories for our kids when they were little.  How amazing would it be to be able to visit a world that you had actually created with your imagination?!

A great book about love and possibilities.

Free download on my Nook!

*This book is clean.  There might have been a few swear words, but nothing that stands out.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rearview Mirror by Stephanie Black

Rearview Mirror

From the Back Cover:  On a rainy night eight years ago, Fiona Claridge lost control of her car and crashed, injuring herself and killing her roommate, Mia Hardy.  Now, she strives to keep the painful past at bay by staying burrowed beneath the demands of her job as a college professor in a small New England town.  But when someone starts leaving her gift-wrapped boxes containing malicious reminders of Mia's death, Fiona's guilt and grief come flooding back.

She assumes her stalker is Kimberly Bailey, a disgruntled student, and enlists the help of fellow professor James Hampton.  But when Fiona encounters the angry wife of an old flame, it becomes clear her student isn't the only one with an eye for revenge.  Cruel messages escalate to danger, then murder.  As past and present become horrible  entangled, Fiona struggles to unravel the truth about a determined killer--before she becomes the next victim.

My Thoughts: 
Wow! What a great page turner! From the very first few pages to the very end, the story had me guessing. Could Linda's death have anything to do with what was happening to Fiona? There were so many conflicts and side stories (not in a bad way), that I didn't know who I could trust! The ending was kind of expected but also had a component that I totally did not see coming! Yeah, this story had me so creeped out, that I was even spooked to be in my house in the middle of the day! Great clean, suspenseful book!!

I received this signed book from the author for review.

The Magi by Kevin M. Turner

The Magi

Goodreads Description:  Thirteen-year-old Elijah Hawk has never heard of the Magi. He doesn't know about the secret power they have. He has never been to Savenridge, the Magi city hidden deep inside the northern forests. Most of all, Elijah is unaware of the dangers hunting him, in search for something he has. After one terrifying night, however, all of that changes!

On a quest to solve the murder of his parents, Elijah stumbles upon the land of the Magi. Learning their secrets and training with their power is the least of his problems. In order to find out why his parents were killed, Elijah learns that he must confront the dangers that are hunting him. What's more terrifying is learning that stumbling upon this new world of the Magi may not have been an accident afterall.

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book!  The characters were really well written, and I really liked Elijah and cared about what happened to him.  There were some good bad guys in the story, and the line was really well defined between the good and the evil.  There were, however, some characters that you didn't know if you could trust, but that added to the intrigue of the story!  I definitely want to read the next book in the series to see what happens to Elijah and the rest of the Magi!!

I told my daughter about the book, and she said that she could really see the book as a movie!  She was excited to read the book too.

I received this ebook from the author for a review.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Defending Glory by Anne K. Albert

Defending Glory

Goodreads Description:  Survivor's guilt. Unable to resume his career with the FBI, Mac McKeown moves to northern Minnesota to start over. He discovers the body of his nemesis on Glory Palmer's property, along with a warning for her to leave while she still can and abandon her dream of building a Christian retreat, His past has come back to haunt him. He vows to keep her safe... but how will he protect his heart?

My thoughts:  Romance and Mystery, both together!  This was a really good book!  I really enjoyed all of the characters, they were really well written!  I kind of guessed who the bad guy was pretty early, but it was enjoyable reading the story and watching how it all played out.

A great story of someone rediscovering their faith.  I won this book in a blog giveaway.

Grave Expectations by Charles Dickens and Sherri Browning Erwin

Grave Expectations

Goodreads Description:  Heaven knows, we need never be ashamed of our wolfish cravings. . . .
Bristly, sensitive, and meat-hungry Pip is a robust young whelp, an orphan born under a full moon. Between hunting escaped convicts alongside zombified soldiers, trying not to become one of the hunted himself, and hiding his hairy hands from the supernaturally beautiful and haughty Estella, whose devilish moods keep him chomping at the bit, Pip is sure he will die penniless or a convict like the rest of his commonly uncommon kind.

But then a mysterious benefactor sends him to London for the finest werewolf education money can buy. In the company of other furry young gentlemen, Pip tempers his violent transformations and devours the secrets of his dark world. When he discovers that his beloved Estella is a slayer of supernatural creatures, trained by the corpse-like vampire Miss Havisham, Pip’s desire for her grows stronger than his midnight hunger for rare fresh beef. But can he risk his hide for a truth that will make Estella his forever—or will she drive one last silver stake through his heart?

My thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book!  I have never read Great Expectations (I know, now I have to), so I didn't know what to expect.  I went through the first half of the book being really annoyed with Pip and his attitude.  I almost stopped reading the book!  But I kept going, and was so pleased to see his "transformation".  Wonderful characters in the book.  Now I just have to see how closely the books parallel each other, and how the normal book is without the paranormal creatures in it.

I won this book in a giveaway.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review of Pumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack and iPad2 Giveaway!!

Pumpkin Roll

In conjunction with the release of Pumpkin Roll the author, Josi S. Kilpack, and the publisher, Shadow Mountain, are sponsoring a contest for a new iPad. To enter, leave a comment in the comment section of this blog before November 1, 2011. Winners will be announced and notified November 3rd 2011.

For additional ways to enter, go to

Now on to my review!!

Goodreads Description:
Sadie Hoffmiller is looking forward to spending her favorite baking season of the year making delicious New England recipes in Boston, Massachusetts, with her favorite leading man, Pete Cunningham, as they babysit his three young grandsons. But when the boys insist that Mrs. Wapple, the woman who lives across the street, is a witch, Sadie and Pete are anxious to distract the boys from such Halloween-induced ideas. However, it gets harder and harder to explain the strange things that keep happening, particularly after Sadie learns the eccentric Mrs. Wapple has been attacked in her home. As the unexplained occurrences escalate, Sadie finds herself embroiled in yet another mystery with life-or-death consequences. Can Sadie discover whoever—or whatever—is behind the mystery before anyone else gets hurt? Or will this be Sadie's last case?

My Review:
I LOVE Josi Kilpack's culinary mysteries!!  I love Sadie Hoffman (oops, Hoffmiller, hehehe)!!  This is by far my favorite in the series.  It even passed up Key Lime Pie.

A few of the things that I really liked about the book were:  first, that we got to see a little bit more human side of Sadie's "leading man", Pete Cunningham.  I loved the interaction he had with his grandsons.  It was also nice to see a little more of his past, and a little of what made him how he is today.

Second, this book really creeped me out!  I am kind of a chicken when it comes to "things that go bump in the night", so the things that went on in Pete's son's house honestly scared me.  Yikes!

Thirdly, and by no means the last thing, is the fact that I was totally shocked by the ending.  I like books that I can kind of guess where the story is going, but to be really surprised is delightful!!

Once again, Josi Kilpack has outdone herself, and left me wanting more.  Speaking of more, what is with that sneak peek at Banana Split???!!!!  What?!!!!! And it doesn't come out until next Spring?  Josi, you're killing me!!!  :o)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms, #3)

Goodreads Description:  Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen.

Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it—he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive—and even that might not be enough.

The Gray Wolf Throne is an epic tale of fierce loyalty, unbearable sacrifice, and the heartless hand of fate.

My review:  Ok, what can I possible say about this series?!  I love it!  This has got to be one of my favorite series of all times, right up there with Harry Potter and Twilight.

Ms. Chima's writing just grabs me right into the story.  I love the characters:  Raisa is such a strong young woman, yet has a real vulnerable, human side, I love Dancer and Cat, I didn't see enough of Amon in this book (but guess that that's part of where his and Raisa's relationship is right now), and I can't say enough about Han!  Oh, and then there's the Bayars...  There are so many parts to this story that are just amazing, and so much detail!  There are all the social classes with their dialects, all of the policitics and intrigue going on, and then there's the magic and the romance.

I'll have to say that I had a really hard time finishing the book.  Not for reasons that you might think, but because I know that this book hasn't even come out in the bookstores, and I don't know when the next one is coming out!!  Argh!! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Her Good Name by Josi S. Kilpack

Her Good Name

Goodreads Description:  Chrissy is having an identity crisis. As a single women and convert to the Church, she has always managed to find her place in life- at least until someone else begins using her credit cards, her bank account, and, most important, her name. Now the real Chrissy must prove her innocence against a growing pile of collection notices and unpaid bills. But with no job, no money, a warrant for her arrest, and a closet full of high-heeled shoes, a girl can only get so far.

When Chrissy meets Micah Heet, the other half of a blind date gone bad, the two discover they are facing the same battle and join forces to find the perpetrators. Little do they know that the small semblance of life they have left will be put on the line in the process.

My Review:  A great book! I read it in one day on my day-trip up to Idaho! (Sorry Jana...) Another hit from Josi Kilpack! This was a scary tale about identity theft! It was also a wonderful story about holding on to your faith, even through the hardest trials you could go through! Chrissy was such a fun character, and I just loved, loved, LOVED MMmmmmm. Hahaha, I just loved that. These characters that Josi writes about have so much more courage than I do, it's fun to see what situations they get themselves into. Thanks Josi!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Goodreads Description:  In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

My review:  WoW!! I loved this book! I really want to start it over right away and read it again so I can digest more of it! I can't believe all the hard things that Tris had to go through! It's interesting that they would divide into factions like they did. It seemed that that caused more problems than if they had recognized that they had a little of each faction in each of them. Ooohh, what about Tris's mom?

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Day 2 - Key Lime Pie by Josi Kilpack

Key Lime Pie

Goodreads Description: 
When Sadie Hoffmiller's new friend, Eric Burton, receives word that his missing daughter's body may have been found in Florida, he immediately packs his bags. Sadie is determined to stay home and prove to everyone that she is not a busybody. But when she senses Eric is hiding something, Sadie is compelled to take action. Before she knows it, she's in the heart of Miami, trying to piece together a trail that might just give Eric the answers he's so desperately searching for. In the process, Sadie finds herself in the company of some colorful characters and some good ol' southern cooking. But despite the drama and intrigue, all Sadie really wants is to go home ... as soon as she does just one more thing.
Includes eight new mouthwatering recipes, tested and approved by the official bakers of Sadie's Test Kitchen

My review:  I loved this book! Of course, I love all of Josi Kilpack's culinary mysteries. Sadie has done it again! For some reason, Sadie's adventures scared me a little more in this book than some of the others have. I know that I am not that curious/brave. Thanks Josi for another great book!

I borrowed this book from a friend.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Once Upon a Book-a-thon 2nd book

Odd Girl In

Only my 2nd book read for this read-a-thon!!  Better get reading more!  Another cute middle-school book that my daughter won.

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Day 2 Mini-Challenge

Ok, I'm participating today in the mini-challenge posted on  I'm supposed to make up a false synopsis based on a book cover.  The book cover I am basing it on is Divergent by Veronica Roth.  I'm going to be reading this today, so thought it would be fun!!  Here goes:

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

It is Summer 2012.  A sweltering day in Chicago, IL.  The residents all of a sudden notice a huge ring of fire hovering over the city.  Aliens?  The end of the world?  There are no airplanes or spaceships coming out of the fire, it just stays there.  What should they do?  The military is called in, and they tentatively try firing some of their weapons at it.  Nothing changes.  In a small community outside of Chicago lives an unassuming 14-year-old girl, Talula Boyd.  Without any of her friends knowing, Lulu has been involved in archery for the past 3 years.  She is actually an Olympic hopeful!  Lulu's father happens to work at a company that develops flame retardant products.  With the help of her father, she puts together a compound that will stay on her arrows.  All she has to do is to hit the middle ball of fire.  Will Lulu be able to save Chicago?

Hehehe, this was fun!!

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Day 1 - Entwined by Heather Dixon


Goodreads Description: 
Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

My review:  Beautiful cover and story!  I've had the children's book, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, for many years, and it was fun to read a little more grown-up version of the story.
This is another book I got with my Amazon giftcard that I won.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Read-a-Thon Mini Challenge Answers

Ok, here are my answers for my 1st mini-challenge hosted by

1.  I'm embarrassed to say that I'm not all that familiar with mythology, so I can't choose which type is my favorite!

2.  Just finished Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini, and it was aMaZiNg!!!

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1)

Goodreads Description: 
How do you defy destiny?
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

My review:  Another book that I ordered with my giftcard.  The cover is beautiful, and the story was wonderful!  I don't know too much about mythology, guess I'm going to have to read more about it!  I loved all the characters and their "talents".  I'm so glad that Helen had Claire as her friend!  And what a smart little thing Claire is!!  Great book!

A little bit of language.

Secret Sisters by Tristi Pinkston

Secret Sisters

Goodreads Description:  Ida Mae Babbitt didn't mean to become a spy. But when visiting teaching stats are low and she learns one family under her care is in financial trouble, she'll do whatever it takes to make sure they have what they need. If that includes planting surveillance cameras in their home and watching them from a parked car in the woods, well, isn't that what any caring Relief Society president would do?

My review:  What a fun book!!  I read part of it on a short jaunt our family took, and had to endure all the sideways looks my hubby was giving me as I laughed out loud in so many places!  I definitely need to pick up more of Tristi's books!

I won a $50 Amazon giftcard, and this is one of the books that I ordered.

Pillage by Obert Skye

Pillage (Pillage, #1)
Goodreads Description:  When fifteen-year-old Beck Phillips travels by train to the secluded village of Kingsplot to live with his wealthy but estranged uncle, Beck discovers some dark family secrets. A buried basement, a forbidden wall, an old book of family history with odd references to... dragons? Beck's life is about to be changed forever in this suspenseful tale about the destructive nature of greed and the courage to make things right. Pillage is filled wtih Mr. Skye's signature humor as well as some very intense moments. including a surprising ending, that will keep readers young and old engrossed and entertained.

My review:  My daughter and I loved the Leven Thumps series, so I wanted to try this book. I really liked it, but it seemed to take a long time to introduce the characters and the story, and to lead up to the meat of the book.

The Upside of Down by Rebecca Talley

The Upside of DownGoodreads Description:  "Hmmm," the doctor muttered.
Natalie wrinkled her forehead, almost afraid to ask, and said, "What does that mean?"
"You do know you're pregnant, right?"
Her breath caught in her throat. "Excuse me?"
"You're pregnant."
Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. "I'm what?"

Natalie Drake certainly has her hands full raising a large family, dealing with her difficult mother, and maintaining a relationship with her rebellious teenager. Just when things seem to be going smoothly, she finds out another unexpected surprise--she's going to have a baby. Faced with so many challenges, Natalie must learn to trust in a plan that isn't what she imagined and discover that every situation has an upside.

Beloved author Rebecca Talley carefully creates this touching and heartfelt story that is sure to inspire you. With true-to-life characters and situations, The Upside of Down will reignite your faith and remind you of the importance of family.

My review:  I won this book from LDS Women Book Review blog. I've been wanting to read this for so long! It was the first book on my to-read list. Rebecca didn't disappoint me! What a beautiful book about holding onto your faith, even through all of life's trials. Natalie went through so much, and I could relate to a few things. One of the things I could relate to the most was having a wayward child and figuring out how to love them without liking their behavior. And sweet, sweet Gabby! What a blessing! Thanks Rebecca!!

The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden

The Kiss of a StrangerGoodreads Description:

When Crispin, Lord Cavratt, thoroughly and scandalously kisses a serving woman in the garden of a country inn, he assumes the encounter will be of no consequence. But he couldn't be more mistaken--the maid is not only a lady of birth, she's the niece of a very large, exceptionally angry gentlemen, who claims Crispin has compromised his niece beyond redemption. The dismayed young lord has no choice but to marry Miss Catherine Thorndale, who lacks both money and refinement and assumes all men are as vicious as her guardian uncle.

Trapped between an unwanted marriage and a hasty annulment, which would leave his reputation tainted and Catherine's utterly ruined, Crispin begins guiding his wife's transformatoin from a socially petrified country girl to a lady of society. Their unfolding relationship reveals encouraging surprises for both of them, and privately each of them wonders if theirs maay become a true marriage of the heart. But their hopes are dashed when forces conspire to split asunder what fate has granted. As a battle of wits escalates into a life-threatening confrontation, will it be possible for Crispin and Catherine to live happily ever after?

Review:  I don't read too many romances, but I loved this historical romance!! I loved Catherine, but felt so bad for the life she must have had growing up with her abusive uncle! It was so fun watching her grow. Crispin was great too, and I loved his sister!! A great story!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

GIFTED by Karey White


Description on Goodreads:  Susan and Brent Weller have been waiting for years for a baby of their own. But as Anna grows, her unique gifts become more apparent, and the choices she makes while trying to help others could threaten her family's happy, comfortable life. With a strong message about family and having hope for the future, Gifted is sure to change your outlook on life.

I loved this book! Two things that pulled me in initially was the story of this couple adopting their little girl (our first 2 kids are adopted), and that the little girl, Anna, was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico (I was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico).

What kept me reading is the way this story was so beautifully written. What parent doesn't consider their life changed when they have their first child? What parent doesn't think that their children aren't the most beautiful, talented, and gifted children around? What happens when you learn that your child really is gifted? Do you ignore it?

I could really feel the emotions that Susan, the mom, felt. She wanted to do what was best for her child, wanted her to have a "normal" childhood. It was so hard to sit and read through what happened in Anna's elementary school years. I think that Susan handled it so well though. I'm also so glad that she had such a good, supportive husband.

Beautiful cover, and very beautiful book. Thanks Karey!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

The Skin MapThe Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

Kit Livingstone's great-grandfather has re-appeared with an unbelievable story--the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legends but truly are pathways to other worlds. So few people know how to use them, though, that doing so is fraught with danger.
But one explorer knew more than most. Because of his fear of being unable to find his way home, he developed an intricate code and tattooed his map onto his skin. But the map has since been lost and rival factions are in desperate competition to recover it. What none of them yet realize is that the skin map itself is not the prize at the end of this race . . . but merely the first goal of a vast and marvelous quest to regain Paradise.
Enter the ultimate treasure hunt--with a map made of skin, a playing field of alternate realities, and a prize that is the greatest mystery of all.

I received this book from one of the book blog giveaways that I entered.  I was a little bit skeptical to read this book, a book called the Skin Map?  Hmmm, let me tell you that I was pleasantly surprised!!  I LOVED this book!!

Loved the characters, loved Kit with all his failings, and really liked the relationship that he was developing with his great-grandfather, Cosimo.  Didn't really like Wilhelmina at first, but she really came into her own once she and Kit were separated.  There is even a creepy bad guy in Lord Burleigh.

There is action in this book, mystery, and even some wonderful love stories.

The only complaint I have is that it is part of a series and the next one doesn't come out until September 2011!!  ARG!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I've been "Scorch-ed"!!

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.
In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.
Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.
The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.
Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

I won this book in the BIR2010 blog hop contest. I really like it!! This is the 2nd book of the series, the first is the Maze Runner. I have not read the Maze Runner, but I really want to now!!

This book starts when the Gladers are rescued from the Maze. They think that that is the end of their worries, but boy are they wrong!! From a dorm that is constantly changing every time they open the door, to being out in the open exposed to the blinding, burning effects of the sun, and then having to deal with zombie like people called cranks (reminded me alot of I am Legend), these teenage boys have to rely on each other and their own smarts.

Like I said, I really liked this book. It was a pretty quick read, the chapters were pretty short, and the writing made you want to keep turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. I liked Thomas, the main character. His dreams really intrigued me, and I really got caught up in his relationship with Teresa. I didn't really care for Brenda at first, she was a little forward, but I started to like her as the story went on.

The book had some really good secondary characters too. It's interesting how Wicked tattooed each person with numbers and labels. How often do we go by what others label us as instead of following what is really inside us?

Now I have to read the third one!! I have to know what happens to everyone!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sometimes Friends You Meet Seem so Familiar?!!

The Oracle of Stamboulthe Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas

Description:  Late in the summer of 1877, a flock of purple-and-white hoopoes suddenly appears over the town of Constanta on the Black Sea, and Eleonora Cohen is ushered into the world by a mysterious pair of Tartar midwives who arrive just minutes before her birth. "They had read the signs, they said: a sea of horses, a conference of birds, the North Star in alignment with the moon. It was a prophecy that their last king had given on his deathwatch." But joy is mixed with tragedy, for Eleonora's mother dies soon after the birth.

I entered a drawing on Goodreads, and was sent this book from the publisher for a review. 

Let me say that I LOVED this book!!  One of the reasons that I loved it was because the way that it was written was so James Micheneresque (James Michener is one of my favorite authors)!  This book is also historical fiction.

I loved Eleonora Cohen, the 8 year old that this story is about.  She is so sweet and managed to stay true to herself even when her world fell apart around her.  I was so glad that Eleonora's father loved her so much, and then when her father died, I was grateful that Moncef Bey took her in and took great care of her.

I loved all the intrigue of the story.  How good of a spy was the Reverend James Muehler?  Was the Grand Vizier a good guy or a bad guy? 

I especially love how I was transported to a different place and time.  I could smell all the smells that Eleonora did, see the sights, hear the sounds.

I always know that a book is good when it comes to an end, and I don't want it to end.  This is a book that left me wanting more.  What happened to Eleonora?  Where did she end up?  What did the future hold for her?

This is the first book written by Michael Davis Lukas.  He did a good job.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Long Weekend = A few Book Reviews!!

I had a very productive weekend!  Not only did I get a lot done around the house, spend time with my fam, but I also read a few books that I want to share with you!  A couple were books that I loaded on my Nook (they were not free), and one was an actual fleshy book.

The Mind Readers

Ok, the first one was the book called "The Mind Readers" by Lori Brighton.  This is the description:

Cameron Winters is a freak. Fortunately, no one but her family knows that Cameron can read minds. When Lewis Douglas arrives, he tempts her with possibilities of freedom. Determined to embrace her hidden talents, Cameron heads to a place where she meets other Mind Readers. But when the Mind Readers realize the extent of Cameron’s abilities, they want to use her powers for their own needs.

I liked the premise of this book.  What would it be like to be able to read peoples minds?  For some people, it would be easy to keep this superpower secret.  It wasn't that easy for Cameron.  She and her grandmother had to move every time Cameron got involved in a situation where she made her mind reading abilities public.

I had a hard time getting emotionally involved with any of the characters.  There was little known about Cameron's mother, just that she was a drug addict that left Cameron with her grandmother.  Her father had been out of the picture for a long time, maybe killed?  There were also a lot of characters introduced, and I was really wishing that I could feel something for them, but they all fell flat.

I also had a hard time with the fact that even though Cameron had reservations about leaving with Lewis, she still did, because he was hot.  So many times she went against her gut feeling.  Get a backbone, girl!

I might read the next one, just because I want to see what happens with Lewis, Maddox, and the twist that Maddox brought at the end of the story.

** This book had a little more swearing than I like to read, and some innuendo, and make-out scenes.
The Kind of Friends We Used To Be

Next book I want to tell you about is "The Kind of Friends We Used to Be" by Frances O'Roark Dowell.

Kate and Marylin are smack dab in the middle of middle school-seventh grade-and lately being stuck in the middle is starting to feel like a regular theme in both of their lives. They know that they can never be best friends like they used to be, not after Marylin became the kind of person who cares too much about hair (a.k.a. a middle school cheerleader). But, what if they still kind of want to be friends . . . and what if that's much harder than they ever imagined?

This is a book that my 12 year old daughter brought home from school.  I had it read in a couple of hours.  This was a cute read, and a lot of fun, because this is the stage that my daughter is going through right now.  These 2 girls, Kate and Marylin, have been friends since a young age, and they are now thrust into that big, bad world of middle school.  I enjoyed watching them start to learn about themselves as they were put in different situations, met new friends, and realize that people really didn't have to fit in the molds that they thought they should in order for us to like them.  Lessons we all can learn each day!

Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, #1)

The last book I read (which was also my favorite of the weekend) was "Fools Rush In"  by Janice Thompson.  This was also bought for my Nook.

Bella Rossi's life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding-planning business, Bella quickly books a Boot-Scootin' wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch--she doesn't know a thing about country music. Where will she find a deejay on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his George Strait? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding?

I loved this book for so many reasons!!  I loved the dynamics of this fun, boisterous, Italian family!  A parrot that went from talking like a sailor to talking like a saint?  A broom wielding aunt chasing neighbor kids down the street?  Not to mention the soft spot I've always had for cowboys...  I laughed out loud in so many places in this story! 

If you want a light, fun read, this book is for you!  I did read in a review where the person was offended because she wasn't warned that this book had talk about religion in it.  So, I am "warning" you (haha) that there is some general religious talk in this book (a few different religions), and faith is a big part of Bella and D.J.'s backgrounds.

Now, what are you waiting for???  Go READ!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Giving it a Whirl!!

Ok, my first book review.  Had a house full of sickies over the weekend, so I got some good reading done!

This first book is an e-book that I downloaded onto my Nook.  It was one of Barnes & Noble's Free Friday selections.  (So far the free ones have been pretty good!)

Stuck in the Middle (Sister to Sister, #1)

Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith.  This is taken from the first few paragraphs:

Brrring. Brrring.

From the desk behind the sales counter in the reat of the showroom, Joan Sanderson scanned the empty store.  Fluorescent ceiling lights cast a harsh glow that reflected off the polished wooden surfaces of the furniture artfully arranged for display.  Where was...  oh yes, Rosa would be a couple of hours late this morning, after her daughter's doctor appointment.  She reached for the phone and punched the button for the first line.  "Good morning, Abernathy Sales and Rental!"

"I'm going to kill her."

Joan closed her eyes.  Patience.  I need patience.  "Hi, Mom.  What has Gram done?"

"She alphabetized my underwear drawer."

So starts this light, cute romance!  Joan is in the middle of 3 girls.  She feels like an outsider through most of the story.  Both of her sisters are small, blond, and very outspoken and outgoing.  Total opposites from Joan.  A great story of family bonds, conflicts, and resolutions.  Some great things happen when a handsome, single doctor moves into the house next door.  Be ready for some surprising revelations, and have a fun journey with Joan as she discovers her worth and her faith.

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Adventure

I love to read. Always have. When I was young, we had to drive across the city to go to the nearest library. My mom would get upset at me because I would have read almost a whole book by the time we got home. As I got older, I would hide books under piles of clean clothes that I was supposed to be folding, or under my pillow so I could read at night.

The only time that I did not enjoy reading, was in College. I was taking my freshman English class, and we were required to read The Red Badge of Courage. I had never read the book before and was looking forward to it. I got almost halfway through it, and the teacher informed us that we needed to write a paper on it. This was not a normal "book report". We had to analyze the book, find all the colors that were in the book, and report on the significance of the colors that the author had used. Yeah. Isn't reading supposed to be for enjoyment? for escape? That's what I had always thought. Tearing apart this book (not literally...) was not enjoyable for me. It took a while for me to pick up another book.

Now, I am back to reading for enjoyment and escape. I love just about all types of books, but lately have been leaning more to the YA genre. My favorite authors, you ask? James Michener (not light reads, but so descriptive and informative), Sue Grafton (LOVE her ABC series, gotta love Kinsey Milhone), Tolkien, Louis L'Amour, Stephenie Meyer (The Host is one of my all-time favorite books), Love the Hunger Games trilogy too.

I've been trying to instill my love of reading into my children. Some have caught on, some have not. I enjoy reading the books that they are reading and enjoying. I have always told my kids that "books are our friends", and they need to treat them nicely. Now, I want to introduce you to some of my "friends", some new and some old. Hopefully, you will love them and enjoy them as much as I do!!