Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Two Souls Are Better Than One

Here's the blurb:

Jeremy James Johansen has more than his share of problems. His father has disappeared without a trace, he’s just been suspended from school, and he has the ghost of a dead mage sharing his body. His search for answers will take him across the boundaries of reality, and into another world—a world that has invaded his own small town.           

Christmas morning.  All the presents were unwrapped, the children blissfully playing with new toys, and I decided it would be the perfect time to start Karen Hoover's new book. 

Flash forward four hours.  I am still reading.  Thirteen relatives have arrived to share the wonderful meal that I forgot to put into the oven and I am telling my husband to feed everyone and leave me alone so I can read.

The book seriously sucked me in.  Much like J.J. was sucked into the body of an aged wizard in another world.  See how I did that?  Now that I have brilliantly transitioned into my review, I'll tell you how much I enjoy Karen's writing.  I said the same thing when I reviewed her Wolf Child book.  She is amazing when it comes to character.  I felt a connection with the characters from the first few pages.  I could read dialog and know who was speaking without any tags.  This takes serious talent and Karen has it!

I could imagine reading this book aloud.  It is told in the POV of the main character who is a teenager.  He is hilarious.  I love his character.  I loved the story and every time I thought I knew what was going to happen, I was completely surprised.  The ending was satisfying and at the same time not predictable. 

I would totally recommend this book  for anyone--especially a teen reader.  They would love it.
Great Job, Karen!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2012, Here we come!

Time for a New Year's resolution that I will actually be able to stick with after January 10th.  I'm joining Book Chick City's 100 Books in a Year contest.  If you would like to join with me, just click on the link in the side bar.  Happy reading!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Season of Sacrifice

Here's the blurb:

Sarah Williams is a young Welsh immigrant, coming to Utah to join her sister Mary Ann Perkins. When the Perkins are asked to join the San Juan mission to pioneer a trail through Southern Utah, they take Sarah along to help care for the children. But a six-week journey turns into six agonizing months of hard work and toil as the Saints blast their way through a cliff to bring their wagons through what would become the famous Utah landmark "Hole in the Rock."
Finally settled in the San Juan, Sarah's true hardship begins when Ben Perkins asks her to be his second wife. With their faith and testimonies challenged to the core, both Sarah and Mary Ann struggle to find the true meaning of Christ-like love and obedience. Will they make it through?

I'll admit I was a bit hesitant about this book at first.  Very often, biographical novels tend to drag as the reader is weighed down with facts instead of story.  However, Tristi did an amazing job of bringing these characters to life.  The story was exciting as the group struggled to reach the San Juan valley through the harsh land in Southern Utah.  It was touching as characters fell in love.  Heartbreaking when doing what was right was a sacrifice.  Fascinating when I realized that these were real people and they actually lived these amazing lives.

It was so well done that I read the whole book in a sitting.  I could feel the love Tristi has for her ancestors through the hours and hours of reasearch that she undoubtedly had to do in order to make this account so accurate.  It was truly a "labor of love." (That's a direct quote from the author)

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history, especially Mormon history, or to anyone who just wants a great, uplifting read. 

Here are the purchase links--you can even get it in e-book form.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Faithful, Fit and Fabulous


 Want to get control of your life? Get organized, get fit, get finances
together? In Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, Connie E. Sokol shares
simple-to-use practices with solid gospel principles to tidy up your
life—not to perfection but to a smoother 80% in key life areas.

   As a mother of six, Connie E. Sokol shows you how to tweak your life
to get more joy. Discover how to successfully create small but
significant changes in eight areas: Holy Habits, Personal Life Plan,
Fit & Fabulous, Joy in Womanhood, Balance in Motherhood, Healthy
Relationships, Home Organization, and Savvy Finances.

   Filled with humor and "I can relate" life experiences, Faithful, Fit
and Fabulous is the ideal life boost—no guilt, no feeling overwhelmed,
and no reaching for that pan of brownies. Read it for fun and let the
concepts simmer. Or, jump in and create life changes right now with
eight goals in eight weeks. Faithful, Fit & Fabulous shows you each
step of the way.

   Through gospel principles combined with everyday practices, you can
finally focus on priorities while enjoying the process. Life-improving
has never been more enjoyable or rewarding!

Faithful, Fit and Fabulous is not your typical self-help book.  I dread those with their,"It's not that hard to be perfect.  I have eight kids, a perfect job, perfect house, perfect body, etc. etc."  Connie's book is nothing like that.  She divides our lives up into eight areas and gives ideas for small, manageable goals in each area.  So, ideally, after eight weeks, we have strengthened ourselves in a well-rounded way.

Here's why it's awesome...We've all set crazy New Year's resolutions or started a major diet or whatever and we get pumped up about them, right?  So, if you're like me, after about a week and a half of dieting or trying to coordinate your children's intricate job chart or have an hour of meaningful scripture study every day, or whatever, you fizzle, right?  Then, it's worse than it was before you even started because, not only do you still have the extra weight, no scripture time or disaster of a house, now you have guilt attached to it, because you couldn't handle it.  Does any of this sound familliar?
What Connie does in her book is help set small "baby step" goals that are totally reasonable.  In each area, she gives room for the goals and why we want them.  The chapters are filled with facts, quotes and personal stories (not the kind that make you feel like a loser, more like the kind that make you think, "Oh, she HAS been there) So, a week, we can all handle that, right?  I mean there's an end in sight which makes it sooo much more do-able.

Then, here's the best part: the reward.  When you've reached your weekly goal, you get to treat yourself to something--a bubble bath, movie, whatever your thing is. 

Sounds simple, right?  Well, it is.  Since I got the book a few weeks ago, I have been able to give it a try.  My first try was "Relationships."  I have a little guy here who seems to always get into trouble.  He is just that kid who's a little trying right now.  So, I tried for a week to make an effort to speak positively to him.  And it was like a light switch went on in him.  He's a completely different kid.  Was I just trashing him before?  I don't know, but making it a goal to speak positively to him changed my relationship with him. 

The next week, I tried to make my personal prayers more meaningful.  It has been a wonderful experience as I have found myself growing spiritually for that week.  Hopefully, that is one that can stick.

So, since you are reading this to find out about this book, and not my personal problems, here's the deal-e-o... Faithful, Fit and Fabulous is a motivating, uplifting book for you or to give as a gift.  Two thumbs up!

Here's the purchase link:

And check out the website:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cold River

Here's the blurb:
Mandy Steenburg thinks her doctorate in education has prepared her to run any school district - until she tangles with the moonshine-making, coon-dog-owning denizens of a tiny district in Pacific Northwest timber country. She's determined to make a difference, but the local populace still looks to the former superintendent for leadership. When Mandy lands in the middle of an old feud and someone keeps trying to kill her, instinct tells her to run. And though she has to literally swim through perilous waters, she finds a reason to stay and chance the odds.

Oh honey, if there's one thing I love, it's a good romantic suspense. I love the wondering--will they? Won't they?  Come on!  Can't you see that he's perfect for you?  Lives in peril, Prince Charming coming to her rescue, the smoldering glances, trembling kisses, That sort of thing. 

Liz Adair nailed it.

Cold River has an unlikely heroine.  Truthfully, I wasn't sure I would like her.  School District Superintendent?  That definitely had the potential to cut down on my smoldering glances and trembling kisses.  But, it didn't!  Even with her tons of education and even more uptight, suit-wearing, 'I know how to run a school district' attitude, Dr. Mandy Steenburg turned out to be quirky and fun-loving and hilarious.

There were four--did I get them all?--different potential love interests in the charming northwestern town that Mandy moves into and I held my breath until the very end hoping that she'd pick the right one.  And hoping that he'd pick her.  It was touch and go there for a little while, but there's nothing like attempted murder, a raging river and music to bring two people together.  Sigh.

Oh, and if you're wondering, this book is totally clean, it shines with good Mormon values, so yes, you can give it to your Granny or your teenager and not worry.  Also, they'll love it.

Purchase link:
Liz's blog: