Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

What Would the Founding Fathers Think: A Young American's guide to understanding the mess our country is in and how we get out
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel
Captive Heart
Cobble Cavern
Caller ID
Promises
Protected,
Summer of Secrets
On Little Wings
We Lived in Heaven: Spiritual Accounts of Souls Coming to Earth
Christ's gifts to women
A Woman's power: threads that bind us to god
Scary School
Hope's journey
Blue
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
Venom
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head


Sheila's favorite books »

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Whitney Award Nominations End on December 31st

It is that time again, when you must get your nominations in by Thursday, December 31st 2009, to nominate your favorite novel for a Whitney Award. The Whitney Awards are given to outstanding LDS authors, who have written fiction novels. This will be the third year that the "Whitneys" have been awarded.

Every year, the Whitneys have gotten bigger and bigger and more prestigious. If you would like to see a list of books, written by LDS authors that have been catalogued, go to this site LDS Publisher.blogspot. This site is not officially connected with the Whitney awards. On occasion, you may find a book listed there that does not qualify as a Whitney nominee. Before nominating a book, check the official rules for Whitney Award eligibility.

I know that that many of you have read a lot of books this past year. If you really liked something that you read, please nominate the book and author. Spread the word to your family and friends about the Whitney Awards. You can also attend the Whitney Awards Ceremony in April. It is a fun evening to dress up, eat a fabulous dinner and mingle with your favorite LDS authors. Go to the official Whitney Awards website to find more information about getting tickets to the dinner/ceremony. You can e-mail someone there that could help you. I look forward to the Gala all year long!!

PLEASE remember that you only have a few more days to nominate your favorite books,before midnight on the 31st, so don't forget!

books1.jpg


I hope that all of you are enjoying yourselves and getting some great reading done. I know I have done a lot of reading the past several weeks, so I will have more things to blog about in the future.

Thank you for supporting me and my blog this past year of 2009. If you haven't done so yet, please become a follower of my blog.

Also, if you are an author or publisher that would like me to read and review your books, please contact me here. I love to promote good fiction and non-fiction that is being published. By our good example of reading and writing, we will help our children and grandchildren to become proficient at these skills and gain a love of reading.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Review of Farworld: Landkeep by J. Scott Savage

Farworld, Book Two: Land Keep Farworld, Book Two: Land Keep by J. Scott Savage

My rating:
5 of 5 stars

What a fantastic second book in the Farworld series! Landkeep added a new dimension to Farworld and it's characters. I was once again amazed at the unique and wild creatures that J.Scott Savage continues to create in Farworld.

The story line is deeper and richer in this second book. There is added tension in the relationship between the two friends, Marcus and Kyja. They both are changing and growing as they mature and learn new things about each other.

The best scene in the whole book takes place at the very end. Wow! It is so well written, that you feel like you are watching a scene from a movie and forget that you are reading a book.

Landkeep is the second book in a five book series. You have to wonder how he can write anything better than Landkeep? I know, that J.Scott Savage will write an equally great book in the third book of the Farworld series, as Marcus and Kyja continue in their quest to save Earth and Farworld. View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Worldwide Ward Cookbook: Christmas Crunch

I am sharing with you today another recipe from The Worldwide Ward Cookbook by Deanna Buxton. Today I chose something a little sweeter...Christmas Crunch. This recipe was submitted by Charlee Farr, Riverton 2nd Ward, Riverton Summerhill Stake, Riverton, Utah.

This recipe would be a fun thing to make with your children or grandchildren. You can take this to parties or give as part of a Christmas Treat tray.


Christmas Crunch
8 C. square corn or rice cereal
6 C. square graham cereal
2 C. flaked coconut
1 C. almonds. slivered or sliced
1 C. light corn syrup
1 C. sugar
3/4 C. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, combine cereals, coconut and almonds. Set aside. In a medium saucepan combine corn syrup, sugar and butter. Bring to boil on medium-high heat and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well until all cereal is coated. Pour mixture out onto a buttered surface or waxed paper; let cool for about 1 hour. Break apart and place in an airtight container. Warning! Highly addictive!

Well there you go! Another fun recipe from the Worldwide Ward Cookbook. Remember that you can purchase this book at Deseret Book and Seagull Book. I also saw it for a good price at Walmart. The Worldwide Ward Christmas Cookbook is also available for purchase.


Monday, December 14, 2009

My review of "Missing: An LDS Mystery Novel" by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen




Missing




"Missing: An LDS Mystery Novel" is Ronda's first published novel. Missing is a book you need to set some time aside to read. Once you start reading it, you will have a hard time setting it down and will feel compelled to finish as quickly as possible. Here is a synopsis of what Missing is all about.

"A BYU-Idaho choir tour in British Columbia turns out to be anything but ordinary when soloist Stacie Cox spots a kidnapped child from Rexburg during a performance. Before Stacie can alert the authorities, the little girl disappears. Stacie vows to find and rescue her, a choice that forces her to deal with her guilt-ridden past and another little girl that haunts her dreams. When the handsome Matt Brennan helps Stacie in her search, she tries to resist the attraction she feels for him. Yet as he gains her friendship and trust, her resolve to never fall in love begins to crumble. And after a series of harrowing events, Stacie must decide if she is willing to sacrifice her life — and a possible future with Matt — to save a stranger."
Missing is a fantastic first novel. I continue to be surprised by authors getting their first books published. There is such terrific talent out there. Ronda is no exception, she does such a great job with this novel. You will find a little bit of everything in this book: Some romance, loads of mystery, humor thrown in throughout the pages and of course the heartbreak associated with Stacie's past experiences and the utter turmoil shown by the parents of the missing girl. I felt like I had a lot in common with the main character Stacie. I am a singer who also sang with a choir while attending "Ricks"...(Yes that dates me)...many years ago and I am originally from Idaho. Now granted, I never took off in the middle of a concert, but given the chance to help someone find a missing child, I probably would have. LOL! Stacie also wears her heart on her sleeve and let's her emotions and impressions lead her. This in the long run, IS a good thing, but I know this also tends to get you in trouble with authority.

Now, since this novel was more of a mystery than a romance, I secretly wished that we could have seen more romance developing between our two main characters Stacie and Matt. Though in the end...Well I do not want to give it away, you need to read this yourself.

I highly recommend this book for readers that love a good mystery, those that enjoy angst in their stories and those that are also looking for a light romance that could/should/may probably does...happen. I am NOT telling, it is a secret. This would make a wonderful Christmas present for teen girls, and older girls. ;)

If you would like to learn more about Ronda go to her blog here at http://thewriteblocks.blogspot.com/

You can purchase this book at Amazon.com or Deseret Book

I want to thank Walnut Springs Press for sending me this free review copy of Missing.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Worldwide Ward Cookbook: Breakfast Cake

I have recently been reading and using a new cookbook, called, The Worldwide Ward Cookbook
by Deanna Buxton.

There is also another cookbook, by the same author, called The Worldwide Ward Christmas Cookbook. I would love to get the Christmas cookbook.

These books are huge, with many recipes and great illustrations. The thing I like most, are the stories from church members around the world, that have been included with many of the recipes. I wanted to start highlighting some of the recipes that may be of interest to you. Deanna gave me permission to share many of these recipes with my readers.

The first recipe that I wanted to share is called, Breakfast Cake, submitted by Stephanie Driscoll, Lakeview Ward, American Falls Stake, Aberdeen, Idaho. This recipe looked like a perfect one to make for those busy December mornings or even to make on Christmas morning.

Breakfast Cake:
1/2 C. shortening
3/4 C. sugar
1 egg
1 C. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Sugar-cinnamon mixture

Cream together shortening and sugar. Add the egg, then the sour cream and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Pour into 9x13-inch pan. Sprinkle sugar-cinnamon mixture on cake. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Deanna, can be reached at worldwidewardcookbook.blogspot.com About the Author
Deanna has written many other cookbooks that you might be interested in. This book was published by Covenant Communications and can be purchased at Deseret Book or Seagull book.

There will be other recipes shared again here soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Living with an Author: My interview with Jen Savage, wife of J.Scott Savage




Many of you that read this blog are either authors, aspiring authors or readers. So this blog truly pertains to all of you in some respects. I wanted to introduce you to a great lady, Jen Savage. Jen is married to J. Scott (Jeff) Savage, the author of the young adult Farworld series. His latest book in the series,
Farworld: Landkeep, came out this fall. I am reading it right now and it is fantastic! It has even more excitement and mystery than the first book.

I wanted to see who was behind Jeff's great success. He will freely admit that he could not do everything he does without his wife's help. Last year, Jeff was in charge of the LDS Storymaker's conference. It was a fabulous writers conference! I noticed though, quietly behind the scene, was a woman who was working and getting a lot done: that would have been Jen. She was helping in every area to make the conference run smoothly. Jen, in the red, is there putting together things to give to the conference participants.

What does it take to be a spouse to a writer? From what I have seen, it is an incredible amount of patience and encouragement that is needed. While the author is out there in the spotlight doing book signings, book tours and locking themselves away from the world in order to write, the spouse is quietly holding everything else together.

I first met Jen ,when she came with Jeff, when he recorded a podcast with us... the women of LDS Womens Book Review. She sat back and listened with a smile, but then we were able to get her speaking a little after James Dashner left. We had a great time with the Savages.

When I interviewed Jen, I asked her for a picture of the two of them together. She said she didn't have one, but I found one from the conference last year.

Without anymore discussion from me, here is my interview with Jen. I hope that you enjoy her answers as much as I did. Warning...Jen has quite the sense of humor and you will be able to tell this from her answers.






1. What is it like being married to an author?

It's exactly like being married to a normal person, except for the imaginary people he thinks about all the time. And the writer's block. Can you imagine an accountant going to his client and telling him that their tax forms "just aren't working"? Or a doctor having trouble "getting into the flow"?



2. What has been the best way to support your spouse as he is pursuing his writing dreams?

Every relationship is different, and what has worked for us isn't necessarily going to work for other people. But I try to run interference for him so he can devote blocks of time to writing without having to talk on the phone or handle stuff that can wait. I read everything he writes and give him honest and specific feedback. And I try remember that talking things through helps him with his story, even when we're having a romantic dinner.


3. How do you feel that you have contributed to his success?

You mean, other than booking his school visits, going with him on his school visits, and being his first and last editor?

He would die without me. I tell him every day. He wouldn't bother to eat. His commas would be all wrong. Chaos would ensue.


4. What has been the hardest part of having your spouse pursue his writing career?

Getting paid every six months is difficult. Trying to keep track of which manuscript pages can be thrown away is even harder.


5. What would be your best advice for others who are married to an author or an aspiring author?

Learn from your spouse what he or she would like from you in the way of support. Not everybody wants to be critiqued by a spouse, and not every spouse feels comfortable giving honest feedback, so you have to be able to find a balance that works for you. Some authors want suggestions, others feel like you're a back-seat driver if you give input.

Also, keep a calendar and write down important things. Sticky notes are useful, because they can be put on a monitor. Big ones. In the middle of the screen.


6. What has been the most exciting part of Jeff’s writing career so far?

We've had the opportunity to visit a lot of schools, and the best thing in the world

is when a parent comes up to you to thank you for getting their child excited about a book, or a teacher e-mails you to tell you that a students started spontaneously writing stories for fun, or a student tells you that you've inspired them to discover their own magic.


7. What are your hopes and dreams for Jeff in the coming years?

I want him to succeed at a level where he can keep doing what he loves doing, which is writing cool and exciting stories, and getting kids excited about reading and writing.. Having a "normal" life is so overrated!


Thanks so much Jen for talking to me and my readers. I hope that continued success is in your futures, you and Jeffs!

If you have not read any of Jeff's books yet, get to it! His Farworld books make great Christmas gifts for kids ages 8-15..or above, I love them!! Jeff has also written mystery books for adults; The Shandra Covington series. They are also great books. I especially love, "Dead on Arrival" in the series.

You can find Jeff/J.Scott here at his blog:

His website: about Farworld

You can buy his books here at Amazon.com or Seagull Book

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"School House Rock" Really does Rock!!


Ok, taking time out to blog about one of my kids favorite DVDs...All right I admit, it also is one of my favorites! School House Rock really does rock!!

In the mid-70s, ABC TV aired these short cartoons, which taught a generation about government, history, grammar, science, and math. I think most of us that watched them in the 70's still remember many of the lyrics. I know they all came back to me as we have watched them over and over again.

The other thing that struck me funny was, guess what? We really DID learn great things from these short little cartoons with jazzy tunes.

"As your body grows bigger
Your mind grows flowered
It's great to learn
'Cause knowledge is power!

It's Schoolhouse Rocky
That chip off the block
of your favorite schoolhouse"

Here is one of my favorite School House Rocks Videos: "Conjunction Junction"


Here is a website where all of the lyrics for all of the songs are listed.

Maybe it is time for you to share these with your kids and grandkids and travel down memory lane.
We have the Special 30th Anniversary Edition of School House Rock. We ordered ours at Amazon.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Countdown to Christmas Contest at LDSWBR Blog


I wanted all of my readers here to know about a fun contest going on over at the other blog I post at. As you know, I am a member of LDS Womens Book Review. Throughout the month of December, the LDSWBR blog will feature Holiday Posts by different LDS authors every day until Christmas. Each author will share their holiday traditions, what books are on their Christmas wish lists and what books they've purchased as gifts for their loved ones. We've got some great authors lined up and we'll be sure to include links where you can purchase their books as gifts for those on your Christmas list, or for yourself- you deserve it!


***Countdown to Christmas Contest***

LDSWBR will hold a drawing on Christmas Day for a $25 eGift Card from Deseret Book, as well as a variety of books being offered by some of the LDS authors that will be featured on the blog. Simply post a thoughtful comment on the Countdown to Christmas author posts to enter. Here are the rules:

  • LDSWBR reserves the right to decide what determines a "thoughtful" comment.
  • Only one comment per person per "Countdown to Christmas" author post will be entered into the drawing. This allows the potential for 24 entries per person at the end of the contest. Feel free to comment more than once per post if you'd like, but only one comment will be accepted as an entry.
  • Drawing winners will have until 12:00 Midnight MST on December 31, 2009 to claim their prize. After that time, another name will be drawn to receive the prize.
  • Book prizes can only be shipped within the contiguous United States.
Books that have been generously donated by the author for drawing prizes:
  • Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena
  • Hidden Branch by G.G. Vandagriff
  • Altared Plans by Rebecca Talley
  • A Modest Proposal by Michele Ashman Bell (includes a bonus copy of Michele's Christmas booklet, A Candle in the Window)
I hope that you will go visit the LDSWBR blog throughout the month of December and have your chance to win some fun prizes. Here is the link...http://ldswbr.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 30, 2009

My review of "An Angel on Main Street" by Kathi Oram Peterson


Micah Conners promised his mother he would be good in his new town. But with Christmas being only three days away, being escorted home by the sheriff does not bode well. Can the towering office be trusted not to tell what happened? Perhaps the ramshackle stable that has appeared on Main Street will side track him from spilling the day's events--or maybe his interest in Micah's widowed mother would do the trick. The last thing Dawn Conners needs is to hear her son is in trouble. She has enough to worry about with her husband gone and her daughter, Annie, ill.
Even though Micah has told his sister the rustic structure in the middle of town is simply part of the town's decorations, Annie is sure that unseen angels are building the crude stable--which means baby Jesus is coming, and He can make her better. Terrified that his little sister might die, Micah vows to find the baby Jesus for Annie, even if it is only a plastic doll. But as Micah gets nearer to his goal he finds that angels are closer than he ever would have believed.


I am always looking for some new Christmas stories to get me in the Christmas spirit. When I was asked to review Kathi Oram Peterson's new book, "An Angel on Main Street", I jumped at the chance. I had read Kathi's first book and I know what a good writer she is. I was not disappointed at all in this book. The book is a short, quick read. My Mom also read the book and enjoyed the story.

This book is full of emotion and yes, I was in tears at the end. Even though the story is centered around a troubled youth, he has had to mature in ways most teens never do. With a widowed mother and a very sick little sister, Annie, Micah has to learn how to "take care" of the family. Micah struggles throughout much of the book. He learns how to open up his heart to others. Micah also learns a great lesson in unselfishness.

The miracles of Christmas are also at the forefront of this book. This time of year we all want to have more faith and hope in our lives. Kathi brings this message out so beautifully in the book. One of my favorite characters in the book, besides Micah, is the town's Sheriff who befriends Micah and helps him along his journey of healing and growth.

I really don't want to say more, because it would give too much away. I want you to read this 100 page book from Covenant Communications and be touched as I was at the ending. This book would make a great Christmas gift for others or a great gift to yourself.


Kathi is hosting a contest through December 15th.


“To enter, write about an experience you’ve had with someone who became an angel in your life. This contest celebrates the selfless, kind acts performed daily, many times unnoticed. If you are like me, many people have helped you through times of trouble. Let’s face it, small acts of kindness shown to us by others needs to be remembered and celebrated especially during the holidays. Christmas brings out the best in people and I wanted to give others the opportunity to thank those who have touched their lives in a profound way. Hopefully this contest will remind us of the angels in our lives” (Kathi Oram Peterson.)
You can enter by emailing Kathi here. The winner will be announced on Kathi’s blog, and both the winner and their “Angel” will be awarded a gift certificate to either Seagull Book or Deseret Book.





Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Review of "The Ball's In Her Court"

She's got a great job, a loving group of family and friends and basketball skills like you wouldn't believe, but Denise DeWalt's life is far from perfect, and she's about to come face-to-face with a past she hoped to leave behind forever.

Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her former life. As Denise's search leads her closer and closer to the one person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize that her future depends on just one person--herself.

This emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of unexpected twists and turns--especially when it comes to facing your demons, fighting for love, and finding happiness for the future.


I was so happy to receive a review copy of "The Ball's In Her Court". At first glance you think that this is going to be another lighthearted LDS Romance. I am here to say, nothing could be further from the truth. This story is one that tugs at your heart strings and also makes you take a second look at the foster care system.

This novel also explores how hard it is to heal from traumatizing events in our lives. It not only can take many years of love and support from those around you, but it also requires you to turn it over to the Lord. Denise struggles throughout the novel allowing others to love her. Denise also faces the hard task of forgiving her birth mother. Many of us have a hard time with forgiving others for small things; just imagine trying to forgive your birth mother for the abuse she allowed to happen to you as a small child.

This book was an interesting read for me for one huge reason, I was adopt
ed after I was born. It made me think of many things such as my own birth mother and whether I have half siblings out there somewhere. Personally, I have never felt the desire to search for my birth parents. I have been blessed with the most wonderful parents in the world and they are my best friends. The only reason I would pursue contact with my birth family would be to acquire a medical background. This novel still brought so many feelings to the surface for me. I was very happy for Denise as she found members of her birth family, but I realized this needed to happen for her as she pursued her journey of healing.

The Romance in this story...Oh my! Yes, the romance is fantastic! Rich is a man that any woman would love to have in their life. One other reviewer of this book mentioned, that Heather really knows how to write a great kissing scene. I want to also add that YES she does! Rich truly hangs in there and fights for Denise. How many men would do that? Hopefully there are men out there that have done that.

I also wanted you to know, that Heather is very qualified to write this story about the foster care system. Heather and her husband have foster parented fifteen children. What loving people they are to so unselfishly help and love these children. One more thing, this is Heather's first published novel and she has done a very fine job.

If you would like to learn more about Heather and her books she is now working on,visit her blog or website at...

http://heatherjustesen.blogspot.com/


http://www.heatherjustesen.com/


I want to thank Cedar Fort Publishing for sending me this free copy of "The Ball's In Her Court". You can purchase this book at their website at www.cedarfort.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

Winner of the Contest, New Moon and Fablehaven 4

[Women+of+Virtue.jpg]
Sorry about the lateness of announcing the winner of "Women of Virtue". I ended up having an unplanned root canal this week and it threw me off my schedule. Now that I am out of pain and out of money, I knew that it was time to blog.

Let's start with the winner of the contest. The person who won the copy of "Women of Virtue" is...
JoAnn Arnold. Congratulations to JoAnn you will receive your copy soon. Please e-mail me your address so I can send you your book.

Last night, along with 100's of other people, mainly young and older women, went to see the movie "New Moon" What an experience! There were so many people there at the District, you could hardly breathe. It was a fun night that I was able to share with my daughter and my friends. The movie was good and much better than the first movie, Twilight. The new director really made a difference in the quality of film that was made. I also think that they were given a lot more money because the special effects were outstanding.
Twilight - New Moon Poster
The downside to all of this, we didn't get home until almost 3:00 in the morning. It is amazing, having only had 3 1/2 hours of sleep, I have done very well today. I taught today and wasn't as tired as thought I would be. By the way...I am on Team Edward, though Jacob looked pretty darn good last night. Go see New Moon, even if you haven't read the book. It is worth the price of a ticket.

I just recently finished reading "Fablehaven 4: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary". Once again I was taken in with the magic found in a Fablehaven book. This book is another wonderful addition to the series. Now that Kendra and Seth have grown up so much, they both are becoming incredible and powerful characters. I know that the recommended reading age for this book is 9-12, but seriously folks, this is an exciting read for all ages. It sucks you in until the very last page. Speaking of the last page, in fact the last sentence, it ends with a huge shocker! There are many things that take you completely by surprise. This is a series that has continually gotten better and better with each installment. It is exciting, it has great bad guys and monsters, wonderful dangerous places the characters visit etc. If you have not taken the opportunity to read the Fablehaven books, you should. I have read them by myself and also with my kids. I give "Fablehaven 4: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary" 5 stars.
Cover Image

Coming soon on my blog, an interview with the wife of a fantastic writer, Book tour reviews for Kathi Orem Peterson's new Christmas book, "An Angel on Main Street", and "The Ball's in Her Court" by Heather Justesen. I also will be giving you my suggestions for your Christmas Book giving. I will try and give you some ideas for people of all ages and genres. There were so many great books released this past year, this list may be a long one. So please come back again, because there are many fun things planned for the next several months on my blog. Happy Reading!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Review of "Dragon Spear" by Jessica Day George


Wonderful ending to a great series; I just wish that there were more. I do feel that Jessica left everyone, including the dragons, in a good place. Anyone that has read "Dragon Slippers", must read "Dragon Flight" and "Dragon Spear". It is a fun journey, reading the trilogy, watching Creel grow up and fall in love. It also is satisfying getting to know the dragons better throughout the course of the series. Personally, Shardas has been my favorite from the beginning. I think that if I had been Creel, I also would have grown the closest to Shardas. I grew to love Velika more in this third book.

This book is a must read for dragon lovers and readers who yearn for happy endings. Jessica is such a talented writer. I love the way she weaves so much excitement into her stories. I have also enjoyed, how these books, have created a strong bond between me and my daughter. We both have loved reading these books together.

I always look forward to the next book from Jessica!

Don't forget to enter the drawing for a chance to win a copy of the book, "Women of Virtue" by Jodi Marie Robinson. This will be a great addition to any family library and to those who are raising daughters or are involved in the Young Women's Program. You have until Tuesday night to enter the drawing. For more information, read the post below.

View all my reviews >>

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Review of "Women of Virtue" by Jodi Marie Robinson. Enter to win a copy of this book.











On the front cover of this book it says, "True beauty is felt more than it is seen." This is a message that too few women/girls hear or believe in.

Jodi quotes President Gordon B. Hinckley:

"Of all the creatures of the almighty there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so."

Jodi has written a book that we should share with our children; especially our daughters. Today, more than any time in history, we need to spread the word why virtue should be something that we strive for in our lives. I love that this book outlines the many facets of virtue; much more than just sexual purity. For example, here are some of the chapter titles...

-In the World But Not of the World
-The Virtue of God's Word
-The Beauty of Purity, Not Perfectionism
-The Greatest Virtue is Charity
-A Modest Women is Beautiful
-The Body is Sacred and Divine
-Walking Away From Vanity
-The Beauty of Working Together as Sisters in Christ

I wish that I could share with you the many things I felt were written for me to specifically read. Every time I turned the page, something jumped out that made me stop and ponder, "Be happy living your not-so-fairy-tale life." Sad, but I do need that reminder some days to try to be happy while I am "enduring" my trials. I also learned a fabulous new idea, to put together a "Scripture Basket", to help my family try to do a better job with scripture reading.

Believe me when I say, that whatever you are looking for concerning any of the principles related to virtue, it can be found here. I wish that this book could be a companion piece to the Young Women's' manual, now that "Virtue" has been added to the Young Women Theme. This can be found on LDS.org...

A Return to Virtue
"Now is the time for a return to virtue!"

The attribute and value of Virtue has been added to the Young Women theme. "Virtue is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards. It encompasses chastity and moral purity."

The time has come for the young women of the Church to lead the world in a return to virtue. This is the time to be pure and to qualify for the guidance of the Holy Ghost. In the coming year, it is our desire that all young women and their leaders focus on the meaning of virtue, what young women can do to accept and act upon this value, and how this attribute can strengthen young women as they prepare to be worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and receive temple ordinances.


This all means more to me now that my daughter will be turning 12 soon. I want so much for her to have a happy life and I know that the road to the future is not an easy one. I want her to learn to believe in herself. I want her to learn to love herself. I want her to learn the value of living a good life. I know that I will be using this book for many future discussions that we will be having as Mother and daughter.


I hope that you will read "Women of Virtue". This book is written so you can pick it up and read any chapter that you want, in any order. Jodi's style of writing is easy and free flowing. I also loved how many personal stories she shared throughout the book.


As you read this book, you will feel as I did, that Jodi was inspired from above in writing every page of this book. Jodi Marie Robinson


Feel free to go visit Jodi's blog at http://www.jodimarierobinson.blogspot.com

Her book can be purchased at http://www.cedarfort.com and at http://www.amazon.com .


This book would make a great Christmas present for any women that you know. If you would like a copy of this book before Christmas, enter the drawing to win a copy at "Why Not Because I Said So" blog spot or at "LDS Womens Book Review" blog spot. There is only one copy available and the name will be drawn from the entries placed at both blogs. All that you need to do is comment on this post and you will be entered into the drawing. Good luck! You will have a week to enter the drawing and a winner will be chosen next Tuesday, November 17, 2009.


I want to thank Cedar Fort publishing for sending the free copies of "Women of Virtue" for me and the one lucky winner.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Review of "Am I Not A Man" by Mark Shurtleff


I have heard of and knew the basic story of Dred Scott. Now, after reading "Am I Not A Man?", a historical novel, by Mark Shurtleff, I know the man behind the name. Dred Scott was more than a black slave from the 1800's, who wanted his freedom. If we left that definition to the name, we would be missing tremendously on who this man truly was. He was a man of courage, great faith, loyalty and love. Dred Scott fought for the things that we take for granted these days; the fact that we are free to be who we want to be and live like we want to live in a free land.

For those, who are not familiar with Dred Scott and his historic court battle, here is a summary found on the back of the book.

An illiterate slave, Dred Scott trusted in an all-white, slave-owning jury to declare him free. But after briefly experiencing the glory of freedom and manhood, a new state Supreme Court ordered the cold steel of the shackles to be closed again around his wrists and ankles. Falling to his knees, Dred cried, "Ain't I a man?" Dred answered his own question by rising and taking his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dred ultimately lost his epic battle when the Chief Justice declared that a black man was so inferior that he had "no rights a white man was bound to respect."

Dred died not knowing that his undying courage led directly to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation proclamation.

Dred Scott's inspiring and compelling true story of adventure, courage, love, hatred, and friendship parallels the history of this nation from the long night of slavery to the narrow crack in the door that would ultimately lead to freedom and equality for all men.

For those who are not familiar with this famous case here are the facts (found on this site at http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/score_lessons/evolution_of_civilrights/dred.html)

DRED SCOTT VS. SANFORD 1857

In 1846, Dred Scott, a slave, sued in a Missouri court for his freedom from his master. Scott argued that his service for Dr. Emerson in Illinois, a state from which slavery has been excluded by the Missouri Compromise, made him a free man. Eventually, the case reached the Supreme Court made of nine judges who interpreted the Constitution in regards to cases. At that time the court reflected the attitudes of the time and in a 7-2 decision ruled against Scott. The most important point in this case was that blacks were not considered people but property and since they were property they could not petition for rights. Chief Justice Taney wrote that it was "too clear to dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended" by the men that signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 to be included as citizens of the nation they sought to establish.

Scott lost the case but this further separated the northern and southern states. Slavery was the foundation of southern economy and society. The north was effected by the growing abolitionist and universal movement against slavery. The Dred Scott case only added to the growing anti-slavery movement and divisions between the two regions of the United


I need to say right here,before telling you more about the book, even though this book is told in narrative form, it is still a book chock full of history. For someone like me who loves to read about historical events, ( I did take 40 hours of history classes in college) this book was very satisfying. If you have never been a fan of history, this book might not be your favorite read. After stating this fact: everyone should read this book. It brings to the forefront of our minds the importance of fighting for something that we believe in. It shows how man's spirit, even when beaten down, can still rise and fight another day. There were many people, not only Dred Scott fighting for the freedom of the slaves, but Dred's friends, the Blows, all the way up to President Abraham Lincoln.

Another fact about this book, it is very well written. Even though it is his first published book, Mark Shurtleff did an amazing job! Throughout the telling of Dred's story, you become emotionally involved as you read of the heartbreak of this man's life. You can't help but feel great sorrow about how families were broken up because of slavery. Mark Shurtleff not only told an important story, but he was able to write the emotion into the story that changed our nation.

Dred Scott died, having never won his freedom; but his heroic fight forever changed our nation. With this historic case, it led to the election of another great man, President Abraham Lincoln. The American Civil War eventually led to the end of slavery.

Quoting Jordan McCollum, from her wonderful blog post/review on this book she reminds us:
http://jordanmccollum.com/2009/10/man-dred-scott-story-mark-shurtleff-review/

"
Ultimately, the Supreme Court reversed this decision, relegating the African Americans to the status of property, not human before the law in 1857. Although later freed (because his widowed owner remarried to a prominent abolitionist Congressman), Dred died before the beginning of the bloodiest war in American history, the 13th Amendment (which abolished slavery—not the Emancipation Proclamation, folks!), and the 14th Amendment (which made former slaves full citizens—well, the men, anyway. While the 15th Amendment gave freed slaves the right to vote, women would wait another 60 years for the vote.).

Let's just say,
as I am needing to end this post, I am grateful to have received a free copy of this book from Valor Publishing to review. This book, once again, made me stop and think about myself and this great country that I love. It reminded me, that all of us must continually fight, for the freedoms that have been ours. It also reminded me of the great people that have and continue to make, The United States of America, the greatest country on Earth.

Read this book and I promise you, that something inside of you will forever be changed. Thank you Mark Shurtleff, for writing such a compelling book!

You can purchase this book at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.



ABOUT MARK SHURTLEFF

Mark L. Shurtleff attended Brigham Young University, University of Utah College of Law and University of San Diego School of Law. He lived in Peru for two years, absorbing the culture and living amongst the Peruvian people.

Mark began his legal career by serving four years in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG), then was a lawyer in Southern California.

Mark was a Deputy County Attorney and a Commissioner of Salt Lake County. He then became an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Utah. He was elected Attorney General in November 2000, and was re-elected in November 2004 and again in November 2008. He is the first Attorney General in Utah to win re-election for a third term.

Mark is married with five children. He is an Eagle Scout, fluent in Spanish and this is his first novel.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Review of "The Route" by Gale Sears


When you first pick up "the Route", the cover is very deceiving. You see a beautiful, middle age woman, with a happy smile on her face; but don't let that carefree smile fool you. Little do you know, as the reader, there is a wonderful journey to be taken within these 184 pages. It is not always a happy, carefree journey either; but one that has it's ups and downs. I can tell you from the first page until the last, it is a fulfilling trip.

Here is a little blurb from the back cover of "The Route...

Zipping along life's highway . . .

Fifty makes you think. Thirty makes you morose, and forty makes you panic, but fifty makes you think. Half a century, and what is my life? Does it resemble anything I dreamed at sixteen, or expected at twenty, or hoped at twenty-five? What am I doing here? . . . I thought of climbing to the top of a high mountain in Tibet to consult a wise man, but I like vacations where there is indoor plumbing and vegetation. Since I already attended church, I thought perhaps I could pay closer attention. Maybe I'd been missing a great fundamental truth. Well, come to find out, I had been missing something. . . . Carol, a middle-aged wife and mother, is pondering the meaning of life. On a trip to the grocery store to find some energizing dark chocolate, she sees a sign asking for volunteers to deliver meals to the elderly. When Carol decides to take a chance and help out, she's in for a life-changing and route-altering experience.


This book made me think about my life, the present and the past. I have always loved older people, especially my own grandparents and neighbors. I was raised to show love and respect for my elders. I know how my life has been enriched from knowing and loving older people. The main character, Carol, also has this same experience. As she meets and serves the elderly assigned to her, she begins to find new things about herself. There were many things Carol learned, that I marked along the way as I read. Some readers may think of these things as "preachy", but I saw them as things I needed to remember in my life. here are some examples:

-
"Don't compare yourself to others because you'll always come out better or behind. Better will make yourself feel superior and entrap you in pride- behind will make you feel inferior and entrap you in doubt. Big philosophy."

After Carol sees how a selfish daughter cares more for her personal possessions than her own Mother, this is what she is thinking,...
"I scold myself for judging a situation I know only a little about. As my dad would say, Take care of your own lawn before you mow the neighbor's."

This novel has a way to make you laugh and cry in the same chapter. As Carol visits her elderly friends, their lives are not always easy and she is there to witness the pain, suffering and loneliness they are living through. This next part made me question myself and how much I do for others.

"Life is suffering. What I don't understand is why some people have to deal with so much suffering. Are these weary wounded just not receiving the care and kindness they need because the rest of us aren't doing our jobs? Are we lost in television or computer games, caught up in money and material possessions, too busy with schemes and aggrandizement? I wonder what message the prophets. Buddha , the Man from Galilee. or Mohammed would bring to us in the twenty-first century? Probably the same message they preached thousand of years ago. The route hasn't changed, only the walkers."

After reading this wonderful book I wanted to interview Gale Sears. Here are the things I asked her about and her great answers.

1.Can you please tell my readers where you found your inspiration to write your book, "the Route"?

Several years ago I had the great good fortune to be a meals-on-wheels delivery person. The people on my route made me laugh, cry, and wonder about life.


2. Are the characters in the book actually based on real people you have known in your life?


Yes. And not just people from my past, these were the actual, zany, amazing, lovely people I discovered on the route.


3. Who have been your favorite "elderly" people in your life? Of course, for most of us it has been our grandparents. Would you concur?


My grandparents on my mother's side were very good people, but sort of boring. The real characters were the Great Uncles on my father's side of the family. They were part of a huge clan of Danes, and let me tell you, these people were loud, fun- loving tricksters. They were also big time huggers, eaters, and gamblers. Actually my Uncle Louie was the only gambler. We called him "
Lucky Louie!"


4. "the Route" is only 184 pages long, but it is full of enough wisdom and down to earth good advice, it reminds me of a quote by Maya Angelou...



"In those homely sayings was couched the collective wisdom of generations". As I read, I kept bookmarking pages of my favorite lines/quotes said in the book. There were so many lessons for the readers to learn in the book. Was this part of the reason you wrote, "the Route"?


I think it was part of it. I didn't start out to intentionally write a book laced with philosophy, it's just that these wonderful older folks had so much wisdom to share that it just kept seeping into the story.



5. One of my favorite quotes in the book was, "Life is life, and we have the choice to ignore, endure, influence,bemoan, or enlighten the process. Our choices make the route apparent." That was just so meaningful for me.


Thank you, Sheila. It does have a lot to do with the approach we take to life, doesn't it?


6. Why do you write? Have you always wanted to be a writer?


I've always liked to tell stories. I was kind of renowned in my neighborhood in Lake Tahoe for making up some pretty far fetched whoopers. I guess I figured I'd just write some of them down. I read the tall tales to my mom, and she always made a big deal out of my meager efforts. Her positive response made me think that someday I might aspire to a little bit of greatness. (Moms can do that, ya know.)



7. What are your writing dreams for the future?


I've just had a children's picture book published...Christmas for a Dollar. The illustrations are by Ben Sowards. He's a fabulous illustrator, and I was so captivated by the wonder created by combining words and art! I would love to do another children's picture book.


8.Do you have some favorite authors and books?



I seriously love many of the fine LDS authors we have now-a-days. I love the Cadfael series by British author, Ellis Peters. I love Amy Tan. I love the Mitford series by Christian writer, Jan Karon.


9. Share some good advice for aspiring writers. What can they do to get published some day?


Don't write to be published. Write because you love to tell a story. Make that story shine by rewriting it and polishing it. And I know aspiring writers hear this a lot, but I'm going to say it any way because it's true...READ. The more you expose yourself to words, and how other writers manipulate words to make them talk, the better you'll be at analyzing your own writing.


Gale, I truly loved this book. Thank you for letting me review it.


Thank you so much, Sheila for the interview. I admire the work you three do at LDS Womens Book Review. I'm so glad you liked The Route. It was such a joy for me to be able to round-up these characters into the pages of a book. I learned so much from their exquisite lives.


I want to end this blog post with one more quote from the book that I needed to hear right now in my life. I felt like this book came along right at a time in my life when I needed this wisdom the most.

"A lot of people, when they think of God, see him as a serious purveyor of commandments. Mary and I see him as a loving father who gives us rules to keep us safe, and then places beauty and comedy along the rough road to keep us smiling. The key is to look up and see the beauty and comedy and not just down at our feet trudging along the rough road."


If you would like to know more about Gale and her work, go to her website at

www.galesears.com


((This book was published in 2009 by Walnut Springs Press, who were kind enough to provide a free copy of this book for my review.)






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