Thursday, June 27, 2013

Armor Up/Suit Up by Various Contributors -- Giveaway

Armor Up

Contributed by:  John Bytheway, Laurel Christensen, John Hilton III, Hank Smith, Anthony Sweat, Brad Wilcox

Publisher: Deseret Book

Published: February 1, 2013

ISBN13: 978-1-60907-317-6

Paperback: 104 pages

FTC FYI: I received a review copy.

Back Cover

Take upon you my whole armor that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand. D & C 27:15

These words of Joseph Smith from 1830 might be more important today than ever before.  You are living in an "evil day", but it's also an exciting day!  You have many incredible opportunities all around you.  Because you face a world of challenges and temptations, you need to be fully armed.  In Armor Up, some of your favorite youth speakers share how to put on the armor of God--and how wearing that armor will help you conquer the difficulties that lie ahead.

My Review

Although the target audience for this book is teens, I found myself relating to many parts.  I loved the honesty, heart-felt stories and life lessons from each contributor.  I especially liked the chapters from John Bytheway and Laurel Christensen.  John's, for his love of Star Trek, while my love is Star Wars, but that wasn't the only reason I loved his chapter.  Brother Bytheway referred to our shields being up.  Shields being our faith.
"Faith, as you know, is the first principle of the gospel, which is another reason it is considered "above all."  There are many kinds of faith--faith that things will work out, faith that the sun will come out tomorrow, faith that a sibling on a mission will be okay.  The most powerful faith, of course, is "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" (Article of Faith 1:4).  The different types of faith we refer to i our gospel discussions all spring from and center in the most critical type of faith--our faith in Jesus Christ." (page 52)
He also says that teenagers equipped with shields of faith are hard to miss.  (page 52)  I think of my three daughters out in the world, and nothing scares me more.  What I've tried to teach them is having faith in Jesus Christ can get you through anything.

Another chapter I enjoyed (don't get me wrong, I enjoyed them all) was Laurel Christensen's on Your Spiritual Sword.  My 8 year old lately has had questions on learning to feel the spirit.  I loved that through this chapter, I was able to help give her some answers that made sense in her 8 year old mind.
"The Holy Ghost is our sword as He guides us in truth, as He guards us in our choices, and as He heals our hearts."  (page 82)
I could quote this whole book, but what is the fun in that, right?  Get this book, not only for your children, but for you too.

Purchase Links

Suit Up

Contributed by: John Bytheway, Laurel Christensen, John Hilton III, Jennifer Platt, Hank Smith, Anthony Sweat, Brad Wilcox

Published: 2013

Publisher: Deseret Book

ISBN13: 978-1-60907-515-6

Paperback: 131 pages

FTC FYI: Received a review copy

Goodreads  Summary

The Lord needs more missionaries and He needs better prepared missionaries. He needs YOU!

From the bestselling authors that brought you Armor Up! this unique little book is intended to help teens get ready for all they will encounter as they embark on the unique adventure of missionary work. There has never been a more exciting time to be alive—and there has never been a more exciting time to be a missionary.

In Suit Up, several of your favorite youth speakers share lessons about preparing for a mission based on the scriptural advice contained in Doctrine and Covenants 4. If you're thinking about a mission, if you've already started preparing, or if you've got your call, you'll benefit from the messages and advice in Suit Up.

My Review

This book is geared towards those who are thinking of going on a mission.  Getting ready to suit up.  I also feels it can apply to us all.  We all are asked to be missionaries.  Each contributor took a verse from D & C 4.  Putting in their thoughts and ideas to help get our youth for their missions.  Again, I will give my "favorite" to Laurel Christensen and also Anthony Sweat and especially Jennifer Platt and John Bytheway.

Jennifer tells of an experience where one of her 18 year old students came to her with questions.  She was wanting to get her temple endowments.  Sister Platt was wondering why she was feeling to go to the temple when she still had 3 years before she could prepare for a mission.  I don't want to give away the story, but it had me in tears.

Again, I could quote this whole book.  This book should be on the top of reading lists for anyone preparing, thinking about, or going on a mission.

I'm giving a copy away of Suit Up! See Rafflecopter entry below. 

Purchase Links

Deseret Book / Amazon / Seagull Book

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Buttersmith's Gold by Adam Glendon Sidwell -- Blog Tour

Evertaster Tour
The Buttersmiths' Gold


Everyone knows the most coveted treasure of the Viking Age was blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffins so succulent that if you sniffed just a whiff, you'd want a whole bite. If you bit a bite, you'd want a batch; if you snatched a batch, you'd stop at nothing short of going to war just to claim them all.

Young Torbjorn Trofastsonn comes from the clan that makes them. He's a Viking through and through – he's thirteen winters old, larger than most respectable rocks, and most of all, a Buttersmith. That's what he thinks anyway, until a charismatic merchant makes Torbjorn question his place among the muffin-makers. When Torbjorn lets the secret of his clan's muffin recipe slip, he calls doom and destruction down upon his peaceful village and forces his brother Storfjell and his clansmen to do the one thing they are ill-prepared to do: battle for their lives.

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About The Buttersmiths' Gold

The Buttersmiths' Gold is a spin off novella in the Evertaster series that tells the story of two Viking brothers and their adventurous past. The Evertaster series (Book #1 released June 14, 2012) is about Guster Johnsonville, who goes searching for a legendary taste rumored to be the most delicious in all of history. Along the way he meets a slew of mysterious characters, including two Viking brothers Torbjorn and Storfjell. The Buttersmiths' Gold is their story. 124 pages. By Adam Glendon Sidwell. Published by Future House Publishing.

My Review

Torbjorn accidentally lets some secrets slide out of his mouth like butter.  His village is in danger of losing everything they hold dear.  Even their lives. 

I really enjoyed this novella from about the two Viking brothers, who learn a lot about each other, as well as a something they can use for their village.  I really don't want to give anymore summary.  Just know there are Vikings, secrets, adventures, trolls, battles and bovines in this delightful story.

4 out of 5 stars.  Scroll down for author info, purchase info, and a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Evertaster, Book #1:

A legendary taste. Sought after for centuries. Shrouded in secrecy.

When eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother’s casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him into the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city they meet a dying pastry maker. In his last breath he entrusts them with a secret: an ancient recipe that makes the most delicious taste the world will ever know — a taste that will change the fate of humanity forever.
Forced to flee by a cult of murderous chefs, the Johnsonvilles embark on a perilous journey to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves. Along the way they discover the truth: Guster is an Evertaster — a kid so picky that nothing but the legendary taste itself will save him from starvation. With the sinister chefs hot on Guster’s heels and the chefs’ reign of terror spreading, Guster and his family must find the legendary taste before it’s too late.

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Book Trailer  
    Author Adam Sidwell In between books, Adam Glendon Sidwell uses the power of computers to make monsters, robots and zombies come to life for blockbuster movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong, Transformers and Tron. After spending countless hours in front of a keyboard meticulously adjusting tentacles, calibrating hydraulics, and brushing monkey fur, he is delighted at the prospect of modifying his creations with the flick of a few deftly placed adjectives. He’s been eating food since age 7, so feels very qualified to write this book. He once showed a famous movie star where the bathroom was. Adam currently lives in Los Angeles, where he can’t wait to fall into the sea.
Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/2/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Prize value $25 US.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White -- Cover Reveal

After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

Excerpt 1

Janessa folded her arms and looked at me for so long I started to squirm. “What?”
“I wish you’d look at yourself. You’re ruining your life with this stupid obsession.”
“I’m not obsessed.” I stood up quickly, nearly tipping my chair over. I rinsed my plate and put it in the dishwasher. I could feel Janessa’s eyes on me the entire time, but I refused to look at her. “And just because I’m not interested in this guy doesn’t mean my life is ruined.”
“Let me guess. Was he blond?”
“Knock it off.”
“Too short?”
“He wasn’t short. I’ve got to go.” I left the kitchen with Janessa on my heels.
“Was he too cheerful?”
“Oh brother. I’m not having this conversation with you.”
Janessa grabbed my arm and turned me toward her. “Yes, you are.”
“I’m going to be late for work.”
“Then we’d better talk fast.”
“I don’t have anything to say,” I said.
“Then I’ll talk. You listen. You have to start giving these guys a chance.”
I folded my arms tightly. “I give them a chance.”
“You give them one date, two at the most. But you’re not really giving them a chance because your mind’s already made up before you even go out.”
I was getting annoyed. “I don’t have time for this conversation again.” Janessa was practically reciting word for word what she’d said after my last date. And the one before that.
“Lizzie. If you don’t want to have the same conversation, do something different. Shake things up a little.” She smiled and did a little shimmy. I refused to smile no matter how silly she looked.
“How do you suggest I do that?”
“If this guy… What’s his name?”
“If Chad calls you back, go out with him again.”
“I don’t see the point.”
“Did you get a serial killer vibe from him?”
“No, I got a nice-guy-that-doesn’t-deserve-to-be-led-on vibe from him.”
“Nice guys are good. So you’ll say yes, right?”
“If I’m not interested, it wouldn’t be fair to say yes.”
“Oh knock off the baloney. You haven’t been fair to a guy since high school. You’re just afraid if you get to know a guy, you might like him. And wouldn’t that be awful? Was Chad funny?”
“Yes, he was funny.”
I sighed. “I don’t know if I’d call him handsome, but he was cute.”
“Cute is good. Especially if he was funny. So go out with him again.”
“You act like it’s all up to me.” I walked to the closet and collected my purse. Like a tiger leaping on her prey, Janessa pounced at the bowl on the entry table and grabbed my car keys. “This isn’t funny, Janessa. I’m going to be late for work.”
“Then let’s make a deal. You agree to go out with him ten times before you toss him aside and I’ll give you your keys.”
“Ten times? No way.”
“That’ll give you time to get to know him.”
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
“I’m serious, Lizzie. Ten is a good number. In that amount of time, you can make a real decision. Instead of one based on a stupid movie.”
Now Janessa was skipping through a minefield. “It’s not a stupid movie and I’ve got to go.”
“It’s the stupidest movie in the world if it ruins your life.”
“Nothing’s ruining my life and I’m going to be late. Give me my keys and we’ll talk about this later.” A little tussle ensued as I tried to rescue my keys from her clutches. I almost had them when she darted to the bathroom and shut the door hard and fast, locking it behind her. “This is real mature.”
“I don’t care about mature. You’re my best friend, Lizzie.  I love you and I’m trying to save you from yourself.”
I banged on the door. “Give me the keys. Now.” My voice had become shrieky.
“I’ll give you the keys as soon as you promise you’ll go out with him ten times.”
“I doubt he’ll ask me out again.”
“Why? Were you a jerk?”
“Are you sure?”
I hesitated, knowing I hadn’t been very good company. “I’m pretty sure.”
“If he doesn’t ask you out, you have to ask him.”
“No way am I asking out a guy ten times. No way!”
“You just have to ask him out once. If he doesn’t return the favor you can move on. But you have to be nice to him and give him a reason to want to ask you out again.”
“This is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had.”
“Listen Liz, I’m doing this for you. Give a guy a chance before you give him the old heave-ho.”
I leaned my head on the door. “Just give me the keys. Please.” Now I was whining.
“You’re the one keeping yourself from your keys. And probably true love.”
I looked at my watch. Now I’d have to risk a speeding ticket or get to work five minutes late. I wasn’t sure which was worse—a ticket from a police officer or a tongue-lashing from Delia.
“Fine. I’ll go out with him again if he asks me.”
“If he doesn’t ask me, I’ll ask him?”
“Right. And how many times will you go out with him?”
“Way too many,” I said under my breath.
“I can’t hear you.”
“Ten times. If he asks me.”
The door cracked open. “And you’ll be nice to him?”
“Whatever you say. Now give me the keys.”
Janessa emerged from the bathroom and triumphantly dropped my keys into my outstretched hand.
“You’re an idiot,” I said.
“An idiot that loves you and wants you to be happy,” she said. She turned and headed down the hall. “Someday you’ll thank me,” she sang.
“If I don’t kill you first.” I slammed the door behind me.

Excerpt 2

It was a busy Monday morning. I was looking out at the line of waiting customers when he walked in. I gasped, shut my thumb in my cash drawer, and then tried not to cry while Mr. Sandoval from a hearing aid store asked me if I was okay.
When I finished Mr. Sandoval’s transaction, I looked at him again. He was taller than anyone in the room. Of course. His hair was dark and a little disheveled. It was hard to see from where I was, but his eyes looked like they were blue. And best of all, he didn’t smile. He looked gorgeously unpleasant and impatient. He looked around the room and his eyes met mine. Still he didn’t smile. My heart was racing. He looked perfect.
I did my best to time it so I’d be his teller. I went a little too fast with one customer and accidentally shorted her a twenty dollar bill. I tried to concentrate as I corrected the transaction. I slowed way down on the next customer, but just when I thought I was finished and would be able to help him next, my customer asked me to break a ten into change. He walked up to Courtney’s window while I counted out nickels and dimes. Furious, I stomped my foot. Not too loudly but enough to release a little of my frustration.
I listened closely as Courtney helped him to see if I could learn anything, but he hardly spoke. He gave a terse nod when Courtney thanked him for coming in and turned on his heel and left. He had excellent posture and a nice, confident stride.
I finished with my customer, and then before anyone else could step forward, I picked up the phone and dialed Courtney’s extension. She glanced at her phone’s display and looked over at me curiously.
            “Who was that?” I whispered when she picked up the receiver.
“Elizabeth, look how many customers there are.”
“I know. Just tell me who that was.” I watched as Courtney picked up her last transaction slip.
“His name is Matt Dawson.”
“Is he married?”
“I have no idea,” Courtney said.
“Was he wearing a ring?”
“I didn’t look. What’s going on, Lizzie?”
“I just need to know about him.”
“Well, I don’t know anything about him and Delia’s watching us. I’ve gotta go.”
Matt Dawson. Matt. Matthew. Like Matthew Macfadyen. Dawson. It was pretty close to Darcy. The only way it could be better is if his name was Fitzwilliam but I’d never met a Fitzwilliam in my life.
Matt Dawson.
This had to be a sign.  

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Selection & The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

Publisher: Harper Teen

Published: April 2012

ISBN13: 978006059932

Hardcover: 327 pages

FTC FYI: Bought a kindle copy.

Goodreads Summary

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

My Review

 4 1/2 stars.  I've had my eye on this book for awhile and finally stole some time to read it.  I am so glad I did.  I loved it.  I thought it was very well written, and the characters were very likable.  I loved America.  I loved Maxon.   I didn't think I would like him, actually.  Is Marlee too good to be true?  Is Celeste really that awful?   The plot is fabulous, and I also liked the mystery of rebel attacks.  I loved the world that the author created.  

Everyone lives under a caste system, and being a five, America didn't think she will stand a chance to catch Prince Maxon's eye.  When they first meet, America yells at him (which I loved), and then they strike up a deal.  They will be friends, and America will give Maxon advice throughout the selection.  What America doesn't expect is her feelings for Maxon, and does she have the strength to make it through herself?  I was glad The Elite was waiting for me when I finished...

The Elite

Author: Kiera Cass

Publisher: Harper Teen

Published: April 23, 2013

ISBN13: 9780062059936

Hardcover: 323 pages

FTC FYI: Received a copy from the library

Goodreads Summary

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

My Review

I really liked this sequel.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  America is now faced with her ex-boyfriend Aspen being a guard at the castle.  Her feelings for Maxon get mixed up when something happens to one of the girls (sorry you will have to find out yourself :).  The rebels are still attacking and America's stay at the castle is getting more confusing, and dangerous.

In the past few days, I've really enjoyed reading these books.  Now I feel the agony of waiting for The One (Book 3) until next year.  Lots of surprises throughout, along with a great ending.  

4 out of 5 stars.  There was a bit of indecision from America, which is to be expected.  I can't say what, but something huge happens and I won't tell who it was with, but it was a surprise and well done.  

Author Links

Website / Goodreads / Twitter

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Insight by Terron Jamee -- Blog Tour

Insight: Beholders Book 1

Author: Terron James

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Published: republished June 1st, 2013

ISBN13: 9780988649170

Hardcover: 430 pages

FTC FYI: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

Rumors are surging through Appernysia that a Beholder has been born, the first wielder of True Sight in over a millennium.

Seventeen-year-old Lon Marcs discovers he has been blessed—or cursed—with this gift. He cannot control the power of True Sight and feels it killing him with each passing day. He realizes that the only people who might possess the knowledge to save his life are the sworn enemies of his king. To obtain their help, Lon would have to journey into exile, leaving behind his village, family, and beloved Kaylen.

Although this is the hardest decision Lon has ever made, it is only the first of many that will test his strength and challenge his interpretation of right and wrong.

My Review

I really liked this book.  There was a lot of building the author had to do to explain the major aspects of the story, and I thought he did a great job.  The characters are enjoyable and each are unique and very important.  As much as I liked Lon and his parents, I loved his twin Mellai.  Her attitude gets her into trouble sometime, but there is a fire in her that will help her in tough situations.  Many things happen to Lon (and everyone for that matter) while he's learning the truth about himself and this power that he has.  There will be four books in this series, and I am eagerly waiting to see what will happen next.  Great ending!

About the Author

Born in the wrong age, TERRON JAMES continually fantasizes of shining steel, majestic stone architecture, thundering cavalry rushes, and opportunities to prove his honor.

James is an English teacher and a member and recent president of the Tooele Chapter of the League of Utah Writers. He currently lives in Tooele, Utah, with his wife and four kids.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Esther the Queen by H.B. Moore

Esther the Queen

Author: H.B. Moore

Publisher: Covenant

Published: April 2013

ISBN13: 978-1-62108-417-4

Paperback: 217 pages

FTC FYI: Received a paperback from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

She is a beautiful young Jewess, content in her life of anonymity... He is the most powerful king in the world... When chance brings the two together, the course of history is forever altered.

The glittering court of the Persian Empire serves as the backdrop for one of the most poignant tales of courage in the Bible, brought vividly to life in the pages of bestselling author H.B. Moore’s sweeping saga. And it begins on a dusty road in the Jewish Quarter . . .

An unexpected meeting between Esther and King Xerxes results in an immediate and unmistakable connection. When Esther is summoned to enter the king’s harem—the first step toward becoming his wife—Esther is torn between her desire to be with Xerxes and the knowledge that they will forever be divided by the secret of her Jewish heritage. Encouraged by her family to do what she must to help her people, she deftly navigates her new position in the palace, quickly becoming beloved by all—including Xerxes.

But when a treacherous plan threatens to engulf the kingdom in violence, Esther must choose between love and duty.

My Review

I loved this book.  Heather's writing is practically perfect in every way (yes, like Mary Poppins).  Heather's telling of Esther's beauty, and kindness was described well.  I looked forward to every page she was in.  Even though he freaked me out, Haman was well written too.  He was downright evil.  Ahasuerus surprised me.  I didn't except to like him as much as I did.  He had a definite presence that I enjoyed.  I loved his and Esther's relationship and thought it was sweet when they were first getting to know each other.  From their first meeting at the well, to the chapter where she is brought to him from the harem, I loved it all.  Esther had a way of brightening any situation.  When she was first made queen, she would walk around the castle, getting to know everyone and trying to make all around her better.  I was happy when she went to the harem to visit Hegai, Nan, and Sarah.  She made everyone around her feel important.

5 out of 5 stars.  Heather is an amazing writer.  She has written many page turning books.  Use the links below to find out more about her.

Author Links

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