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
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
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head

Sheila's favorite books »

2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 6 books toward her goal of 90 books.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Today is the day!..Last day to nominate books for a Whitney Award

If you have read any book by an LDS author, whether the story had LDS characters or not, head over today, December 31st, to nominate the book for a Whitney Award.(

Today is the deadline for nominations and then the books, that received 5 nominations will be sent to the judges. (I happen to be one of the judges in the Youth Fiction category. I have loved being able to be part of this great organization.) The judges will then read the qualifying books and then will vote for the top 5 books that were read from the category. From there, the Whitney Academy Voters will read the top 5 books in each category, who then will vote on the best book in each category. The winners will be announced at the 2nd Annual Whitney Awards in April.

I attended the 1st Whitney Awards last year and it was a fabulous evening. Everyone was dressed up in fancy clothes, we had an exquisite dinner in an elegant setting and then the award winners were announced. ( I am planning on attending again this year.

I know that there are many of you out there that have been reading some great books by LDS authors. Remember, the books do not have to take place in an LDS setting, they only have to have been written by an LDS author. It only takes a few minutes to go to the Whitney Awards website and nominate your favorite books that you have read this past year.

The main criteria is:
1. The books must have been released during the current year from January 2008-December 2008.

2.The author must be LDS, whether the book was placed in an LDS setting or not, the author must be a member of the LDS church.

3.The book must be a work of non-fiction books, sorry.

If you would like a pretty complete list of books written by LDS authors this year go to this blog where she has them listed on the right side of her page. ( I
have been keeping track of the books I have been reading this year, by going often to LDS Publisher blog spot.

To end my blog for today I will post some pictures taken at last years Whitney Awards..(sorry if you have seem some of them already, but guess what, you get to view them again!)

Sheila and Hillary with Author Rob Wells

LDS Womens Book Review (Sheila, Hillary and Shanda) with author Jennie Hansen who won a lifetime achievement award.

Shanda, Sheila and Hillary with author Jessica Day George, who won the award for "Best Novel by a New Author" for her book, "Dragon Slippers"

Sheila, Shanda and Hillary with author Brandon Mull who won the award "Best YA/Children's Book" for "Fablehaven 2: Rise of the Evening Star"

Hillary, Shanda and Sheila with author Shannon Hale who won the award for "Best Speculative" fiction with her novel, "A Book of a Thousand Days"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Journey: Book One of the Enchanted Legends Series

The Journey The Journey by Jewel Adams/J. Adams

The Journey is an uplifting and very thought provoking book.In this book we travel with Ciran who starts her journey in a new world and is subjected to the war between good and evil. As she goes through her life, she finds out how easy it is to be beguiled by the bright and exciting things in life. Ciran finds out that not all things are as they seem from the outside. She also learns how we are all blessed greatly, with inner strength, to fight the evil things of this world.

Every teenager and their parents should read this book. The strong point in this book is the reminder that life is about choice: the good and bad choices that we make and how they can change our lives so quickly. I also loved the message that if we do make a bad choice, we can be forgiven, that not all is lost.

Book 2 of the Enchanted Legends series,"A Place In This World" will be coming out in the Summer of 2009. There is a small excerpt from the upcoming book in the back of book one.

I strongly recommend "The Journey" to all. It is a quick but enjoyable read that leaves you feeling good when you are finished...not something I can say about every book that I read and I read a lot. A job well done Jewel Adams!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Interview with Aprilynne Pike, author of WINGS

Aprilynne Pike so graciously agreed to answer some questions for me, after I finished reading her novel, WINGS, that will be coming out on May 5th, 2009. I know that this interview will get you very interested in reading this book. Also, the cover is just beautiful and very fitting to the will understand once you have read the book.

1. I have to say, I loved your book WINGS! The words delightful, intriguing and fascinating came to mind when I was reading the book. When did the idea for the book/story first come to you?

It's kind of a funny story. I read a lot of industry blogs and one day I was reading one that suggested that faeries were expected to be a big thing in YA over the next few years. I have always loved faeries, and I've always loved reading YA. I don't know why I never thought of putting those two together and writing a YA faerie book. But it was like lightning at that moment. I had one thought in my head; I have to write a YA faerie book and I have to do it NOW! And then this tiny snippet of an idea kept me up all night until it started to take a recognizable form.

2. Did you come up with the title? If not, what did you originally want to name the book?

Originally I titled this novel Autumn Wings. But my editor and I decided that we wanted the title to be relevant during the whole year, so we dropped the season name.

3. What was the first Fantasy book you can recall reading? Is there a favorite one now…apart from your own?

Wow, you're asking me to reach a long way back.:) I read a lot of Roald Dahl when I was young. The Witches and the BFG were two of my very favorites! I also watched a ton of fantasy movies. I always liked the idea that you could make up a world however you wanted and then put characters in it and see what happened.:)

4. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Um, is it bad to say I didn't know for sure until the moment I had a deal? I knew I wanted to be a writer the morning I woke up with the idea for the first book I ever wrote. But the morning I got the call from my agent that we had interest in Wings, I had just convinced myself that after years of trying, I needed to give up; I had done everything I could and it was never going to happen. Go figure.

5. There is somewhat of a "gentle" love triangle in WINGS. Will this situation continue in book 2?

Oh yes, you have not seen the end of either David or Tamani. They are both determined little things.:)

6. Your main character, Laurel, is a very likable character. In your words, how would you describe her to someone who hasn't read the book yet?

Laurel is one of those people who is everything most teen girls dream of being, but doesn't know it. She is very down to earth and realistic without being a pessimist. She is also very brave and aware of others.

7. In the 2nd book will the readers be allowed through the gates of Avalon and get a glimpse of the Fairies world?


8. Let's talk about Tamani…I really love this character, will he have a greater role in the next book? (Please say yes???)

In book one, readers have mostly gotten to know David and they've gotten a very cursory introduction to Tamani. That changes in the next book. Both the readers and Laurel will get to know Tamani a lot better.

9.Tamani is such a warm, loving and protective male in the Fairy world, I feel that he is going to become a very popular character with readers. Is Tamani based on someone in real life…maybe your own husband?

*laugh* I think every writer gets this question about their opposite gendered characters. None of my characters are based on anyone in real life. They all just come from my imagination. That being said, David is actually a lot more like my husband than Tamani . . . but neither really fits him exactly. My husband is too perfect to put in a book--my readers would never believe it!;)

10. Now book 2 is already written...correct? How many books will be in the series?

The *first draft* of book two is written, yes. There is still plenty of work to do on it though.:) There will be four books in the series, one released each summer.

11. Are you working on something new that is not related to WINGS?

I am. I am just finishing up a stand-alone project involving a new kid in a posh private school, a klepto ghost, and a cheerleader with a shady past. I am really excited about it!

Thank you, Aprilynne, for sending me an Advanced Copy of your new book. It is one of my favorites that I have read in 2008, even though it won't "officially" come out until 2009. I know that I will be nominating it for a Whitney Award next year! I truly feel like you have written a winner here…nice job!! Thank you also for answering all of my questions and you are more than welcome to come back and talk about WINGS any time that you would like.


Monday, December 22, 2008

The Dashner Dude: The Good News

The Dashner Dude: The Good News

James Dashner just announced some wonderful news over at his blog.
You need to go read his announcement which is something that all writers
hope and pray for.

Congratulations James!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Round #3 of 2009 Book Releases

Here it is...finally... round #3 of more books that will be released in 2009.

The first author, and one of my favorites I might add, is Jessica Day George. She is the author of "Dragon Slippers," "Dragon Flight" and my personal favorite, "Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow".

Jessica newest book, that will be released on January 20, 2009, is "Princess of the Midnight Ball" published by Bloomsbury. This is her version of the tale of the twelve dancing princesses who were doomed to dance every night until dawn. I love this story and was so excited to read this book. I had good reason to be excited, and Jessica has outdone herself once again. She has taken a tale we have all heard before and transformed it into something entirely new.

Here is a quick synopsis of the book:
Returning home from the war, young Galen finds work with his mother’s family in the royal gardens. There he learns that the king’s twelve daughters have a secret: every night they dance their shoes to tatters, but no one knows how or why. When prince after prince tries and fails to find the answer, and the family is haunted by accusations of witchcraft, Galen decides to help. Armed with a pair of silver knitting needles and an invisibility cloak given to him by a strange old woman, he follows the princesses and unlocks the secret of their curse.

The thing I love about Jessica's writing, is that she draws you into the character's lives in the first few paragraphs of the story. I immediately began to care about Galen and his plight and how he would solve his problems.

Another fun addition to Jessica's book is that she has added knitting patterns for a shawl and a chain of black wool that are key to the plot. On her website ( you can find more knitting patterns that correspond with items in the book. What a clever girl! She is an actual knitter in real life, which really impresses me, since I never got the hang of knitting and stuck with crocheting.

Jessica has been busy, besides having a new baby, she has also written the third and final book in her dragon series called "Dragon Spear". This book is coming in April of 2009. This is the last book about Creel and Shardas and no whining and complaining from any of us...the fans...will change her mind. Yes, I have begged and pleaded for more, but according to Jessica, she has so many other wonderful ideas for books that she needs to start working on those.

If you haven't read anything written by Jessica Day George, head to your local book store or public library and I can assure you that you will soon be a fan of her writing.


Next up, is another exciting addition to the world of YA Fantasy writers...James Dashner. He is well known among the 8-14 year old crowd for writing the Jimmy Fincher 4 book saga..."A Door in the Woods," "A Gift of Ice," "The Tower of Air," and "War of the Black Curtain." He has also written one of my new favorite YA fantasy books called, "Journal of Curious Letters" the first book in the 13th Reality series. Now the second book in the series, "The Hunt for Dark Infinity" will be released beginning of March 2009 by Shadow Mountain. I was unlucky and didn't get my name in on time to get an ARC (advanced readers copy) of this book and I am going to have a hard time waiting until March to read the next book in this series. So if there is any one out there reading my blog and you have an ARC of this book that I could borrow, please let me know!!

In the 13th Reality series, we get to go on an adventure with Atticus Higginbottom, as he travels to alternate realities to help save worlds of people. Book one ended with a terrible cliffhanger (Shame on you James! It has been a long wait to see what happens...) On James's website he was very excited about this new book coming out and he said,
"I'm so excited for people to read Book 2! I personally think it's twice as good as Book 1, but I'm biased I guess. We'll see
what you guys think."

When James recorded a podcast in August with us, the women of LDS Womens Book Review, I was able to ask him some questions about "The 13th Reality" series.I asked him if the character Tick was based on someone he knew or strictly made up from the inner workings of his mind. He answered, "Somewhat based on me, but mostly made up."

I also asked him if he had a favorite book out of all of the books he has written. He answered very quickly, that it was his book called, "The Maze Runner' that will be coming out in the fall of 2009. His reasons for picking this book as his favorite was, "It's my best work and very original."

"The Maze Runner" is a dark fantasy about a group of boys trying to solve the mystery of a strange maze in which they have been placed. It is being pitched as Lost meets the Lord of the Flies. The picture shown here will be the cover of the book. "The Maze Runner" is a book that I can see reading in one sitting. After all, I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 11 hours and 15 minutes, so this will be my next book to read in one day. I recall James saying that this book will be for an older age group; older teens/adults. I am sure that there will be many twists and turns along the way in this book...yes that pun was intended. I do foresee this book being a thrilling and imaginative ride. This is something that James Dashner fans have come to expect from him.

Now, I just need to see how to get on the list for an ARC for this book! Then you need to check out his books and his blog and website.



Monday, December 15, 2008

Book's for Gift Giving

I just wanted to write this blog to give you some ideas for books that would be super gift ideas. There are so many books out there, but sometimes it is difficult to know which ones to choose.

If you are looking for books with a Christmas theme, I suggest you buy...

-The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson

-The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck

-Santa's Secret by Christy Hardman and Phil Porter

-A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Everyone should read the original story at least once in their lifetime. Of course we have all seen the many versions of the movie and forget about the wonderful classic words by Dickens)

If you are looking for that perfect gift for your best friend/sister/Mother-in-Law etc. here are some suggestions...

-Love Letters of Joseph and Emma by Angela Eschler, art by Liz Lemon Swindle (I blogged about this several weeks ago if you want to know more)

-Reflections of Christ by Mark Mabry

-Toss the Guilt and catch the Joy: A Woman's Guide to a Better Life by Merrilee Boyack

-The Woman at the Well by Emily Freeman, paintings by Simon Dewey

If you know someone who likes a good mystery/thriller/suspense here are some good books for gift giving...

-Her Good Name by Josi S. Kilpack

-Above and Beyond by Betsy Brannon Green

-Abinadi by H.B. Moore

Books for those Y.A. Fantasy lovers...

-Farworld, book one: Waterkeep by J.Scott Savage

-13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

-Leven Thumps and The Wrath of Ezra Vol.4 by Obert Skye

-Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George

Books for young children...

-The Miracle of the Wooden Shoes by Deborah Pace Rowley

-Mr. Finnegan's Giving Chest by Dan Farr, featuring Dick Van Dyke

-If the Savior Stood Beside Me art by Greg Olsen

-Follow the Prophet: Seek and Ye Shall Find Flap Book by Val Chadwick Bagle

-Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett

-Away in a Manger art by Thomas Kinkade (I bought this for myself last year just because of the gorgeous art work)

I could go on and on and never finish this blog because there are far too many books out there to read. You should see the pile of books stacked up by my bed, by the computer and in my car. The message I would like to share, is please give the gift of books to your loved ones. Yes electronics are exciting, but books can take you and others to places you only dream about going.

Make this year, the year of book giving, to encourage reading in your children's lives.

Happy shopping...(I was finished about 10 days ago!) and make time for yourself this Christmas season by fixing yourself a cup of hot chocolate and reading a good book.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Am A Winner!

I am here to interrupt my 2009 upcoming book releases to say...I am a winner!

( WINNER definition:One that wins, especially a victor in sports or a notably successful person.)
Now before you think that I have been taking any self-esteem classes to make myself feel better, I actually won something.

My friend, Natalie, was having a give away on her blog,"Natalie's Creations"( I entered and my name was drawn. I won a "Vinyl Saying 12 X 24". Now I need to decide what saying I want. Any suggestions?

Natalie does the vinyl lettering and handmade cards. She does a beautiful job and most of us just wish that we were as talented as she is. At least I wish that...don't let me speak for those of you that are also equally talented.

I wanted to thank her for giving me the opportunity to feel like a winner! Don't we all need that every once in awhile?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Round #2 of 2009 Book Releases

Author, Annette Lyon, known for her wonderful "Temple" series (House on the Hill, The Journey's End and Whitney Award Nominee and winner Best of State 2007 book called, "Spires of Stone") has written a fourth book in the series called, "Tower of Strength" which will be released March of 2009 by Covenant Communications. Annette knows so well how to write historical fiction with a twist of romance to flavor her stories. I have always liked how she brings her characters to life where you learn to care very deeply for these fictional characters.

I went to her blog and found one entry where she talked about this new book,

"My next book, titled Tower of Strength, has been accepted for publication and will be released next spring.My fourth temple-related book, it's set in 1884 Manti, a few years before the temple there was complete. Much of the story centers around events (both real and fictional) that took place in and around the city's Temple Hill.I love the title they picked; Tower of Strength can refer to both the temple (the towers are under construction during the story) as well as the heroine. Tabitha really is a tower of strength, and that plays a huge role in the story.This book has been an interesting ride. I loved uncovering the story and characters. I struggled with some of the research. I laughed. I cried.And in the end, I'm excited for my readers to meet Tabitha Chadwick and get to know her for the strong woman she is . . . even if they have to wait almost a year before meeting her!"

Well, you will not have to wait for a whole year to read this book. I always enjoy a book where a strong woman is at the center and where we can garner wisdom from her trials...even if she is a fictional character. This leads me into another book that Annette is working on that will also be released in the Fall of 2009. It is a story about five woman, their friendships, and difficulties while their husbands are deployed in Afghanistan. She is calling it, "Band of Sisters", but is not sure if the title will stick with the publishers. I will anxiously await being able to read this story, which many of you may be able to relate to if you or a loved one have lived this story.


Now for you Fablehaven fans out there...and if you haven't read any of them yet, shame on you! They are fantastic books! Brandon Mull has finished writing Fablehaven 4 which is being called, "Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary." (I couldn't find a picture of the cover for book 4) Now of course it has that word in it that creates great excitement for me "Dragon". Now since I have read the first three books I have an inkling where this is heading and that has me bouncing in my seat! I really liked reading what he said about this book on his website...

"I'm thrilled to have Fablehaven 4 completely written. Now instead of getting the story on paper, I can concentrate on polishing. I think this one might be my best work so far, and am very curious to start getting reactions from some of my early readers."

For him to say that this is his best work so far, and I really thought Fablehaven 3 was his best, I can't wait to read this one. He also said on his blog, "Fans will be pleased and in general, I think the excitement over the series will increase." In my case, I don't know how much more excited I can get and not have a heart attack! Seriously, you will love them and your kids will love them. Fablehaven 4 is set to be released on March 24th by Shadow Mountain. Now if I only knew who I needed to write to get an ARC of this book, that would really make me happy.

Here are the women of LDS Womens Book Review (Sheila, Shanda and Hillary)with Brandon Mull at the 2008 Whitney Awards last March.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Exciting Reads for 2009

2009 will be here before you know it. I am looking forward to next year for many reasons...especially for books coming out that are on my "To Read" list. I wanted to let you know about some of my favorites that are heading to your local book stores in 2009.

WINGS by Aprilynne Pike

Release date: May 5, 2009

published by Harper Collins Teen

I first met Aprilynne at last years Whitney Awards ( She was sitting at our table, where we the women of LDS Womens Book Review were also sitting. As we talked she told us about her first book that she was writing and I became hooked on the ideas behind WINGS.

WINGS is a story about an ordinary girl who discovers she is a faerie and is sent to guard the gateway to Avalon in the mortal world. When she is thrust into the midst of a centuries old battle between faeries and trolls, she's torn between a mortal and a faerie love, as well as her loyalties to both worlds.

This book is right up my fantasy alley. (Those of you that listen to LDS Womens Book Review podcasts know that fantasy is my favorite genre) I am so excited to get my hands on a copy of this book. I have been enjoying getting to know Aprilynne from reading her blog (which you can link to from my blog; it is called "Apparently!") She is this very intelligent woman who is full of spice, and has an absolute love for writing and reading. It really shows when she is talking about her upcoming book which is the first in a series of books. She wrote this first book in three months! That amazes me!!

Here is a direct quote from Aprilynne's blog where she talked about how she wrote Wings and the sequel:

"When I wrote WINGS, I did write it in a flurry . . . actually, I wrote the sequel in a bit of a flurry too. Three months of long days seems to work well for me. I found a story I was passionate about (that's the ingredient that NO book should be without"

It is writers like this that truly inspire me. I will be doing a more in-depth interview with Aprilynne once I have read WINGS. The exciting thing for me is that I am on the list to receive an ARC (an advanced readers copy) of WINGS so I will be reading this book within the month...I hope! My 10 year daughter has already threatened to steal my copy from me because she wants to also read it. Aprilynne Pike is someone whose name you will be hearing a lot of in the future, just like Stephenie Meyer and Shannon Hale. I am glad that I was able to meet her at the beginning of her career while I can enjoy seeing her take this thrilling ride as a first time published author.

Speaking of Shannon Hale....she has been writing the fourth book in the Books of Bayern series. The fourth book is called, "Forest Born". I know many of you are familiar with this series; remember, #1..Goose Girl #2 Enna Burning #3 River Secrets. The tentative date for the release of this book is October 2009...a whole year to wait! On Shannon Hale's website she had the covers (which are new) of the first three books in paperback. It really is a lovely cover and should attract new readers to these stories.

An interesting thing concerning Shannon Hale is that the next book that she has written, coming out before October, is not a "teen" book, but one for adults called "The Actor and the Housewife". It is scheduled for a May 2009 release date. All of my friends know that one of my favorite Shannon Hale Books is "Austenland", which also is geared more towards the adult reader. There has been some controversy about this new book about the friendship that develops between a male actor and a typical housewife. As always, I don't listen to what others say and I like to judge things for myself. I can't wait to read this new book and after I do, I will give you more details about whether there is something there to garner the title of "controversial".

Congratulations also need to go to Shannon for her novel, "Book of a Thousand Days"...which I loved... it won the Utah Book Award for Young Peoples Literature. This is another book, if you haven't read it must! I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. It showcases a humble heroine, Dashti, and mixes in drama and romance. The story is written in a journal writing format which I found intriguing.

Well...that is all for now. I will be posting more about new 2009 releases in upcoming blogs. Some of the authors I will be spotlighting will be Jessica Day George, Brandon Mull, James Dashner and many more.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Twelve New Life Commandments

Every day my inbox fills up with many e-mails I glance at and delete. Every once in a awhile, something comes through that makes me stop and really read and think about what is being said. With the political storm that is rushing through our country at the moment, I wanted to share something that would touch you on a deep and personal level. We all need those moments of self reflection to see how we are doing in this life. What kind of person am I? What choices do I make daily that affect me, my family or the world? Am I happy or I am making my own unhappiness by the things I do? So, here are Twelve New Commandments to observe in your life, that will hopefully make a positive difference in how you live and how you interact with others.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

According to My Kids....

My friend Stephanie had this on her blog and I thought I should try it.

I wanted to try it because I was curious what my kids would say. I also

thought it might give you some added insight into who I really am.

According to my Kids.....

What is something your Mom always says to you?

-my 1o year old daughter: "Put your shoes/clothes away"

-my 6 year old son: "Clean up your room"

What makes Mom Happy?

-daughter: "When we obey"

-son: "Me being a good boy"

What makes Mom sad?

-daughter: "When we fight or if we don't try new foods"

-son: "Not being a good boy"

How does your Mom make you laugh?

-daughter: "When you are tired you are really funny!" {I must have been a real blast the past month being so tired with so many changes in my life and starting a new job!!}

-son: "When you make silly faces"

How old is your Mom?

-daughter: "Forty something"

-son: "20" {Do you see why I love him?}

How tall is your Mom?

-daughter: "6'2" {really??}

-son: "1 inch tall" answer was given with a huge giggle

What is her favorite thing to do?

- daughter: "Read and making us happy!"

-son: "Reading books"

My kids know me well. Just like Belle, my nose is often stuck in a book!

What does your Mom do when you are not around?

-daughter: "Read, clean or you are on the computer"

-son: "Crying for me because I left"

What is your Mom really good at?

-daughter: " You are a good Mom and are good at reading and cooking"

-son: "Helping me"

What is your Mom not very good at?

-daughter: "Drawing and being a bad Mom"

-son: "I can't think of anything" I must be perfect in his eyes! Ha ha!

How do you know that your Mom loves you?

-daughter: "You show us through helping us in things we plain can't do. You show affection

by encouraging us, tucking us in, and so many other things."

-son: "You give me hugs and kisses"

This was very enlightening for me; hearing what my kids thought about me. I can see

the good things that I am doing and ways to improve as a Mom. But I can tell they know that

I love them and will do anything for them. I challenge, you other Moms or Dads, to try this same little experiment; it may surprise you what will come out of your children's mouths.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Love Letters of Joseph and Emma

By: Angela Eschler

Published by Covenant Communications (2008)

I needed to tell everyone about a beautiful new book written by a friend of mine, Angela Eschler. This book is a very moving and inspiring book about the personal correspondence between the Prophet Joseph and his beloved wife, Emma. The illustrations are done by the amazing artist Liz Lemon Swindle. The pictures in this book are some of my favorites done of Joseph and Emma.

The chapter titles give you a brief glimpse at the heartfelt letters that were written back and forth between this great prophet and his faithful wife. The titles are Love and Devotion, Sorrow and Separation, Consolation and Companionship, Faith and Adversity, and Reunion and Peace. This is a short, but heart wrenching read, as Angela covers the span of their 17 year marriage through the happiness and many sorrows that accompanied their lives.

At a recent book signing, Angela told us that the front and back inside covers are her favorite part. She was able to go and view the actual letters of Joseph and Emma. They were given permission to copy the letters and use them on the inside covers of the book. I also loved being able to view the actual handwriting of the Prophet Joseph and Emma.

Angela uses many quotes and scriptures as she recounts many of the trials that decorated Joseph and Emma's lives and how they were strengthened by Heavenly Father to endure the trials and tribulations. One quote that inspired me was about Emma, written by her mother in law, Lucy Mack Smith in The History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, "I have never seen a woman in my life who would endure every species of fatigue and hardship, from month to month, and from year to year, with that unflinching courage, zeal and patience which [Emma] has ever done....It may be that many may have to encounter the same...May they have grace given to them according to their day, even as has been the case with her." These are truely words that all women need to hear in these last days as we work valiantly to raise our own children and endure our own difficulties.

Thank you Angela and Liz for giving the world such a lovely glimpse of such a devoted couple who showed the world, that despite hardships and sorrows, their eternal love stayed strong.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers

Life on the Refrigerator Door
By: Alice Kuipers
Harper Collins Publishers (March 2008)

Every once in awhile I read a book that makes me think, really hard, about my life...this is one of those books. I am the Mother of a daughter,and we sometimes experience rocky roads, as we live our lives together. Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers made me stop, re-evaluate and vow to change how I interact with her. You may question the ability of a book to reform my relationship with my daughter? I have to admit though, it did! Sometimes it is true, that simple reminders, such as those found in a book, can change your life. First let me tell you about the book.

About the Book
Life on the Refrigerator Door is a poignant and deeply moving first novel about the bonds of love and frustration that tie mothers and daughters together. Told entirely in a series of notes left on the kitchen fridge—some casual, some intimate, some funny, some angry—it is the story of nine months in the life of 15–year-old Claire and her single mother. Preoccupied with their busy separate lives, rarely in the same room at the same time, they talk to each other in a series of short snippets that reflect the daily drama of school, boyfriends, work and chores that make up their days. Yet the mundane soon becomes extraordinary when a crisis overtakes their lives—a momentous change that will redefine their relationship and unfold in their exchanges on the refrigerator door.

I read this book in one sitting. It is an easy read because of the format, notes written between the mother and the daughter,and none of the notes are very long. This book is short, but very powerfully written. I honestly had a hard time putting it down to answer questions from inquiring children.

Many emotions were stirred up in me about my priorities and how important it is to spend more time with my daughter and my son. None of us know how long we have left on this earth. I hope that the memories I am creating with my children are good ones that they will cherish. If you have children, whether they are still living at home or not, I highly recommend you read this book. I know that if you love your children, it will also touch your heart, as it did mine. Now excuse me, as I need to go play card games with my children, just as I promised.

About the Author
ALICE KUIPERS was born in London, England, and now lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She is a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University and has had short stories published in literary magazines and produced for CBC radio. Life on the Refrigerator Door, her first novel, will be published in 21 countries.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Winner's from the Farworld Blog Tour!!

Congrats to Jennifer G. and Claudia M. for being the winners from the Farworld Blog Tour book contest! Both of these ladies entries were drawn out by J. Scott Savage. The drawing was done during the LDS Womens Book Review podcast recording. Our guests,Friday night, were J. Scott Savage, author of Farworld: Waterkeep and James Dashner, author of The 13th Reality:The Journal of Curious Letters. Jennifer G. also won a copy of The 13th Reality. Both of our lucky winners had commented on my blog, at the LDS Womens Book Review website. It pays to enter the book contests and make comments on the site.

I will soon be posting my review of The 13th Reality and my Q & A I did with James Dashner. I have some good things to say about this great book and it's very talented author! Until then...Keep Reading and remember that J. Scott Savage's book Farworld: Waterkeep will be out, for all of the rest of you, in September!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back-To-School Time

It's hard to believe, but it's that time of year again. Those of us with year round school get to experience this before traditional schools do.

My kids start back next week. I have had "Back-to-School" on my mind a lot. Between back to school shopping, haircuts, "normal" bedtimes" being reinstated, I have been trying to prepare for the big day. As always, I search the Internet for new ideas to make this season fun and exciting. I did not have to look far when I headed over to a favorite place I search often, They have some fabulous ideas all at one site to get you and your children ready for the new school year.

The first thing that caught my eye was: "Great Breakfasts and Morning Time Savers". I don't know about your house, but mornings are not the most pleasant time of the day. Biggest problem is Mom is not a morning person...but, despite this I am always looking for ideas to get everyone out the door faster and still in a cheery mood. I liked all of the ideas for healthy, but fast breakfasts, to feed your kids. Mine were actually interested in this recipe (believe it or not, and I have picky eaters)

Banana Dog

You won't find this fruity impostor at a ball game or backyard barbecue, but it sure makes a doggone wholesome "fast food" breakfast.Check out other fun ideas for A Better Breakfast.
Whole-grain hot dog bun
Peanut butter
Wheat germ or sunflower seeds
1. Simply spread a whole-grain hot dog bun with peanut butter, sprinkle with wheat germ or sunflower seeds, and top with a whole, peeled banana and a squiggle of jam.
2.Add a side of milk to round out the meal.
Variation: For a Banana Burrito, substitute a tortilla for the bun.

We will also be trying out many of the other recipes that are there.

Another idea that appealed to my "Let's make this year the best one ever" was the section called, "Morning Rush Hour Time Savers". It had suggestions for

- Keeping organized(the best revenge ever)

-Plan Ahead

-Making it Fun

-Keeping track of Things

-Getting the Kids Involved

-Lunch Inspirations

One idea that I am going to try to Motivate my kids in the morning is this woman's idea:

For my girls, ages 5 and 11, I place a cup with 5 quarters in it, one for each day of the week, along with a list of "to-do" items for getting ready in the morning (brush hair, eat breakfast, brush teeth, take inhaler and vitamins, put snacks in backpack, make sure they have lunch or lunch money, make bed, etc.). If they forget something or I have to tell them twice, then one quarter is taken out of the cup. However much is left on Friday morning is all theirs. Some people see this as bribery; I see it as well worth the $2.50 to avoid morning chaos. This worked well for my family all last year. Submitted by: Michele R

Other categories found on the site include, A+ lunches and Snacks, Back to school crafts, Fun stuff to make and wear, School year guide for parents and many more great things that you need to head over there to read.

Hopefully,this has made you excited about the new school year; knowing that there is somewhere you can go to help you make some great new plans for the new year. I for one, am always open to trying new things if it will make my life run a little smoother.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Organized Parent

Book: The Organized Parent: 365 Simple Solutions to Managing Your Home, Your Time and Your Family's Life

Author: Christina Baglivi Tinglof

Publisher: Contemporary Books (2002)

I have been reading a very good non-fiction (yes I do read non-fiction at times) book called "The Organized Parent". I like this title, "The Organized Parent" versus being a "Disorganized Parent". There are many days when I feel more disorganized than organized. Life seems to take over at times and the whole idea of structure at my house falls apart. So I often pick up books that will change my life and turn me into a brand new, super organized, person. Sometimes they help and other times they fall flat with me.


From household chaos to orderly oasis.

{In this indispensable book, noted parenting author Christina Baglivi Tinglof helps busy parents create an organized and efficient home and schedule. By tackling parent-specific organizational problems, Tinglof shows you how to take control of your daily life so you can actually spend time with your kids—and even have some time left for yourself. From conquering morning chaos and messy closets to meal planning and learning to say "no," The Organized Parent offers effective solutions that fit your schedule and your budget. Start with a Quick Fix—something you can accomplish right away with minimum effort and expense—or take on a Major Tune Up—a project that takes a bit more time or cash but has a long-range payoff. Whichever you choose, you'll discover that you can meet a range of challenges, including:

-Controlling kid clutter

-Organizing school papers and childhood memorabilia

-Staying on top of bills

-Making the most of the space you have

-Planning stress-free parties and vacations

-Scheduling appointments

-Simplifying housecleaning

-Creating task zones in the kitchen, bathroom, garage, and attic

-Choosing the best organizing products

. . . And much more
Style Tips, Time Savers, and a resource section listing websites and catalogs help you get organized. Arranged alphabetically, this easy-to-use book will be a lifesaver for parents who crave order in their hectic lives.}

The best thing about this book is how easy it is to read and use. The actual book is so organized, that you can find help for any problem that may be hindering your life. Let's say your closets are a mess, go to the chapter titled closets, and you can find sub-headings such as Key Organizing tips, Quick Fixes and Major Tune-Ups. Any solution is right at your fingertips, so you do not need to search too hard for what you are looking for.

I borrowed this book from the public library. Would I recommend this book to others? Yes! I will probably even buy a copy of this; that is how useful I found this book. The bigger I seeing a difference around my home because of reading this book? Today I cleaned out my son's closet, bagged up two huge sacks of too small clothes, tossed out another large bag of old and broken hangers. Now all of my son's clothes are organized according to pants, long sleeved shirts, short sleeved shirts, church clothes and nice outfits(shirt and pants/shorts together) that are easily chosen for when school starts in a week. I also cleaned out his dresser, adding to the bags of give aways.

The Organized Parent is well worth your time, and I know how precious every minute is as a parent. I would much rather be doing something fun with my kids, than cleaning up constantly. If a book can help me accomplish this, then it scores high with me.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Interview with author, J. Scott Savage for the Farworld Blog Tour

Interview with author, J. Scott Savage for the Farworld Blog Tour

I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend, author, J. Scott Savage on his new fantasy book, Farworld: Waterkeep. Come read all of the great things I discovered about the new book, his writing and if he were magical, what chore would he do using his powers. Read more.....

Farworld: Waterkeep is a book that has two, unlikely heroes, that come together to save Farworld. Master Therapass, a master wizard, clues our two teens in on, The Dark Circle, who want to take over Farworld and beyond. It is up to Marcus and Kyja to face the evil Summoners, who can command the living and the dead, the Unmakers, invisible creatures that can destroy both body and soul and the Thrathkin S'Bae, who are just downright creepy. You travel along with Marcus and Kyja as they search for the mythical elementals-water, land, air and fire- to convince them to help them open a drift between both of their worlds, Earth and Farworld. To quote the back of the book, "Along the way, Marcus and Kyja will discover the truth about their own heritage, the strength of their friendship, and the depths of their unique powers."

This is the first, out of a 5-book series, where Marcus and Kyja will journey across Farworld and Earth having many adventures along the way.I loved this book, not only for the great story written, but the wonderful messages one can gain from the lessons Marcus and Kyja learn along the way. This is the kind of book that you can read as an adult and really like, or read it along with your kids and discuss. I know that your kids between the ages of 8-15 will really like this a lot, but I also feel that anyone that loves fantasy, of any age, will also love this book.J. Scott has used all of the elements that make a fantasy book readable, enjoyable and last through the years. You have your good guys, your bad guys, ugly and scary creatures and an older Master/Wizard that guides his young tutors along the way. There is a new world filled with creatures, plant life and magical qualities you haven't read about before in other books. This is a book that I will read over and over again; especially before each new book comes out in the series.

**Here is the official interview that took place, for the Farworld Blog Tour.
Many bloggers took J. Scott Savage to virtual exotic locations for the interview, not me; I invited him to the virtual location of my kitchen and family room
S: Sorry that we are not going anywhere exotic, we are just meeting here at my house. Things have been busy here.
JS: That works.S: Excellent! Would you like a cheese sandwich like I fixed for my kids?
JS: With mustard please
S: I have loads of's your lucky day!
JS: Cool!
S: I have to say, I have a younger brother that has been in a wheelchair all of his life. It is good to see a character with an outward, "disability" shown as someone so "able"
JS: I wanted to have real characters with real problems. Lots of people see Marcus's disability. But Kyja's is just as real in her world. The thing I want people to understand is that it's not a gimmick. It's a vital part of the story and will have a bigger role as we go on.
S: I know my brother will appreciate seeing a character like this in a novel. Good job!
JS: Thanks! It was funny, because I was told it would be harder to make this book into a movie. But I don't write movies, I write books. And I think Marcus is such a stud that you aren't constantly thinking, oh he is "disabled". No, he is a tough, gutsy kid, who has real issues like all of us. I hope kids get that.
S: You have a lot of "WOW" quotes in your book. Did you set out to write so many meaningful, teachable lessons when you wrote Waterkeep? I have a whole, letter size page of quotes I wrote down as I was reading the book.
JS: No. I didn't even think about that until the published asked me to do a discussion questions section. If you try to write messages into your story it turns preachy. But, if you just write a good story, the messages bubble up to the top.
S: One that I like says, "Sometimes the things we view as our biggest weaknesses turn out to be our biggest strengths." How is this true in your life?
JS: In my experience the things that have come easily I tend to take for granted. The things that come the hardest, end up being the most valuable and lasting the longest. I ran cross country after my mission. When I started out I came in last place every race and practice. But I never advanced so quickly as when everyone else was stronger and faster. I don't know that Marcus and Kyja believe that yet.
S: Hopefully they will learn this as they go along trying to save Farworld.
JS: If they don't, they will be in for a long slow journey. You can learn it the easy way or the hard way.
S: Oh, look what we are watching on TV? The Jetsons on Cartoon Network. My kids like the Jetsons.
JS: I love the Jetsons. What's the name of George's boss? Mr. Quiggly or something like that?
S: The bosses’ name is 6 year old just told me.
JS: Ahh.. Right, Spacely, I should have remembered that! Tell your 6 year old thanks!
S: I was intrigued with the "Aptura discerna"...the all Seeing Eye, how did you come up with that?
JS: It's funny that you ask about the Aptura discerna. When I first started writing that chapter, I wrote that the only light came from a stained glass window at the top of the room. When I got to the part where Kyja would see Marcus, I closed my eyes and just saw the window climb down off the wall. A lot of my stories come together like that. You start to think, am I writing this or just watching it?
S: That is a great I writing this or just watching it? Wow! You have such an interesting mind!
JS: Strange is more like it.
S: My 6 year old wants to know if you want to play Monster trucks with him?
JS: Oh yeah, I am into trucks. Are these the indestructible Tonka's that are plastic?
S: Nope, they are Hot Wheels. Still pretty cool!Do you realize how hard it has been for me to come up with some new questions that haven't already been asked on the tour?
JS: Ha ha! Yeah. Imagine trying to find different ways of answering how I come up with ideas or character names.
S: Will we see Master Therapass again? Please say yes?
JS: Well, if he is dead it would be nice to have a proper funeral, right?
S: Please yes, a nice funeral..But I don't want him to be dead...I can't take anymore more of that, after Dumbledore died in HP 6 and the slaughter in HP 7. This is the reason I really want Master Therapass to be alive.
JS: Okay, this will probably get me in trouble, but I HATED how JK Rowling did deaths. The only one that I thought was done well was Dobby. She either skimmed over them or made them totally inconsequential. If you are going to kill one of my favorite characters, I want them to go out in a blaze of glory with guns blazing. I guess that gives you a small hint that Master Therapass might not be dead, huh? No going out with a whimper.
S: Yes! I like this! There is still hope. I totally agree with you about how JKR handled the deaths....I asked my 6 year old who was on the front cover of your book (which I think is beautiful!! High five to Brandon Dorman) and he said, "Blue people, like the smurfs"
JS: Little known fact, the artist actually based Cascade's picture on me without a shirt...and if you believe that...
S: Trying to type here … LOL!! Sorry... while wiping the tears off of my face!!!
JS: Okay, it wasn't THAT funny!
S: Going on....Will we ever find out about Marcus and Kyja's parents/families?
JS: We will learn more.
S: That was a short answer.
JS: Good cop out?
S: Yes, that was an excellent cop out.Will our two heroes be "jumping" (is that the word?) anywhere fun in the next book? Maybe you could have them show up somewhere exciting like Disneyland or Lagoon?
JS: Hmm... I hadn’t thought of that. More of book two will take place in Farworld, but earth will play a much bigger role in future books.
S: Think how exciting it would be for the bad guys to be chasing our two young friends all over an amusement park, follow them on the rides etc.?
JS: Not to mention the fact that I could write off my tickets. Good deal.
S: Speaking of bad guys/monsters, have you come up with some more strange and yucky creatures?
JS: Oh yeah! I am so pumped about book two. It reminds me a lot of HP, book 4, which was one of my favorites of the series. Lots of new creatures, cool twists and characters you don’t expect to return.
S: I also loved book 4…You did such an excellent job creating the creatures of Farworld, very impressive!
JS: Thanks. I wanted to combine basic earth creatures, farm animals, etc. with creatures that you’ve never seen or heard of before. I like the classical fantasy elements, but by creating brand new creatures (not unicorns, Cyclopes’, etc.) it puts you in a position where you feel like you are exploring a new world; not just visiting one you already know about. With Waterkeep, I hoped to have the reader feel a little disoriented. The elementals should always come as somewhat of a surprise.
S: I think that you accomplished just that, many surprises that made me want to keep reading and want to read more in the next book.
JS: In the first book I wanted to have engaging characters that you cared about. Enough action to pull even slow readers all the way through; and a sense that there is much more to learn and explore. Everything isn’t explained or wrapped up, but you have enough closure that you don’t feel left totally hanging. Just like the Harry Potter, the world get’s deeper and more interesting as you continue through the series.
S: When people mention your book, what do you hope they say about it? Can you think of some key words?
JS: I’d go for: exciting, scary, surprising and fun, with at least a little intrigue. What are we watching now?
S: I liked the words you chose. We are now watching the Flintstones.
JS: Yabba dabba doo!
S: We are reliving our childhood Jeff.
JS: Too true. Is underdog far behind?
S: I don’t think so! JS: Trivia...What was the name of the bad guy on Underdog? (JS gave me the answer, but if you leave your guess here on the site that will count as one entry into the contest to try and win your own copy of Farworld: Waterkeep)
S: If you could use magic to do any job/chore what would it be? Mine would be cleaning the bathrooms.
JS: weeding
S: Who is the character Olden based on?
JS: Another thing I like to do in my stories is play with role expectations. You have here the wisest, oldest tree; Olden. You expect a big, majestic, male tree. Instead, you get this cranky old woman. I think Olden is the woman who always chased the kids out of her yard with a broom. But, if you were really nice, you could sweet talk her into giving you your ball back.
S: Very good, I imagined the same. So is that Dashner Dude going to be showing up in your next book? I think I remember seeing your name in his latest book?
JS: It’s possible. He is definitely a character in my next Shandra Covington book, along with another author, Rob Wells. Funny cops who get into trouble.
S: I love that! It should be hilarious! Are you and Dashner going to behave when you come to podcast with us in a few weeks? Or are we going to have to separate the two of you?
JS: Very unlikely!!! You haven’t seen us together before.
S: I have too…at the Whitney Awards.
JS: Ahh…good point. Then you have a clue.
S: That’s why I asked the question. J JS: J S: Best part of being a writer is….
JS: The tons of money that just comes down on you like rain.
S: Yes that is in your future
JS: But since that never happens…the best part is when someone comes up to you and says “I love the part in your book when…” and you can totally see in their eyes that you made a connection.
S: Worst part of being a writer…
JS: When you have a great idea in your head, but you just can’t seem to get it onto paper with the same power that you saw it in your mind.
S: I can see how frustrating that would be. Man, I should have had you helping me fold laundry as we sat here. You could still make the jello for dinner tonight before you leave? Or would you like some berry cobbler?
JS: I am a terrible laundry folder, but an excellent dessert chef. I actually was a cook in a French restaurant when I was 16.
S: Serious?
JS: Yep.
S: That is a J. Scott Savage/Jeff Savage/ Mr. Savage fact I have never heard before. What am I supposed to call you these days anyhow?
JS: Hey, I am a font of mystery. You can call me anything, but late for dinner.
S: Thanks for coming and it was great to have you here in my home. I know that you new book will do very well. I stick by the five stars I gave it at
JS: Thank you!!! I’ll take the five stars. Tell your 6 year old that we need to play trucks again real soon.
S: I will do that! The drawing for the book give away will take place on the night of the podcast, August 15th. You will get to draw the winning name.
JS: Nice!
S: Live drawing, while we are recording!
JS: Pressure is on now.
S: Thanks so much! We will see you again on August 15th.
JS: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me and I look forward to seeing you at the podcast.
Contest details: Remember, if you would like to win your own, advanced copy of Farworld: Waterkeep,You need to do either or both of the following things#1 Comment on something discussed during the interview; say the answer to the Underdog trivia question. This will give you one entry in the contest. Another way to enter the contest is to........
#2 Leave some questions for J. Scott Savage or James Dashner (who is coming with Jeff for the August podcast). Jeff has written many LDS fiction books and James has written many YA fiction books
Go check out both of their websites, they are both wonderful authors. Back to #2...we will read your questions, for Jeff and James, during the podcast and each question asked will be another entry in the contest. I will have Jeff pick the winning name during the August podcast.So get busy and enter the contest! You only have until 5:00 p.m MST on August 15th, 2008.PS- If you don't see your Underdog answer in the comments below, it's because we want to see how many of you guess it correctly. Your entry still counts so keep submitting your questions and comments!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Review of "The Zookeeper's Wife"

Book: The Zookeeper's Wife
Author: Diane Ackerman
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company (2007)

Being a history buff, I thought that I would like this book more than I did. It is an account of a real life couple that survived WWII, while living in Warsaw, Poland.

They ran the zoo in Warsaw before the war started. I found the Zabinskis, Polish Christians, very interesting and courageous people. They secretly harbored many Polish Jews that might have otherwise been carted off to the death camps.

The author, Diane Ackerman, is a good writer, but I felt like she kept steering off track. I read this book mainly to learn about the Zabinski's experiences, not necessarily other aspects of WWII. When I want to read a book just about the war, I will choose one. I found myself wandering through the pages until the story came back to Jan and Antonina. I did enjoy when she described the many people that stayed with the Zabinskis and how they enriched each other's lives through the harsh realities of WWII.

Jan and Antonina were some of the unsung heroes that saved over 300 lives during the Nazi's cruel reign in Europe.

I recommend this book to all who enjoy reading about history, specifically WWII.I also recommend it to those who want to read about two people, who sacrificed much, for people they didn't even know; that aspect alone is worth the read.

Why Not? Because I Said So!

How many times each day does this come out of my mouth? It really is rather silly, "Just because I said so" Logically this doesn't make a lot of sense to my kids, it's just another way I say "NO".

I think in the future I would rather this phrase mean , "Yes, listen to me because I really know what I am talking about" or "Listen to my point of view to see the idea from a new perspective". My hopes for this blog is exactly that, I want to be able to really say something and have people listen because they believe what I have to say or want to broaden their own horizons on a certain issue.

I feel we all have a lot to learn by listening to each other; and not just listening so we can have a turn to talk. How many times have you been "talking" to someone and you know they haven't heard a word you have said. Instead they were formulating a comeback or story to top what you just said. I quickly get frustrated by having these conversations with non-listeners/talkers.
Is this what is wrong with our world as a whole? We have become talkers instead of listeners? I believe that this is a skill we must all develop in order to effectively communicate with others.

So...why not? Drop on by to listen...because I said so!