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Showing posts from July, 2013
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V is for Virgin

Valerie is a senior in high school. She's always known that she will not have sex until she get's married, but her boyfriend Zach has planned the perfect romantic evening and she knows just what will be coming at the end of it. Sure enough, they start kissing and he suggests moving to his bed. Valerie knows that she has to stand tough and stand up for her standards. She's just sad that it has to happen this way. Zach doesn't even try to understand, he just dumps Valerie and moves on. Monday at school, Valerie finds him in the lunchroom kissing the "biggest skank in Orange County." She also finds out that he's telling everyone that he dumped her because she was terrible in bed. Val has had enough. She stands up on the lunchroom table, and she tells everyone that she is a virgin and will be a virgin until she gets married, no matter what. Unfortunately for Val, in this day of electronics, someone takes a video of her diatribe and posts it to YouTube. She…

Blog Tour - Rising Sun, Falling Star

Tour Schedule

Rising Sun, Falling Star Different eyes and skin Mock me from the mirror’s light Enemy am I. Dec 7, 1941 Today my life changed forever . . . I am no longer considered American, but by shear heritage I am now the hated enemy . . . The lives of Kenji and Aiko Onishi and their American-born children are about to unravel when the United States is thrust into war with Japan. Confronted by insurmountable prejudice and fear, the family is ripped from their California home without just cause by the American government and sent to an assembly center “for their own protection.” Forced to live in deplorable circumstances, every aspect of their lives regulated and controlled, the Onishi’s freedoms are stripped from their grasp as they struggle to survive behind barbed wire. It isn’t long before the mind-numbing confinement and feelings of helplessness begin to pit the family against one another. When sent to a relocation camp in the center of the Utah desert, they’re beset by ever …


The Society is coming to an end. Cassia, Ky and Xander know that it will be soon, but none of them know just when things will start to happen. Xander notices it first, he's been warned about the plague that's coming to start the Rising, including the symptoms. So when he sees a young boy with those symptoms he knows it's begun. Cassia is living in Central city doing what she does best, sorting. She has been told that the Rising would start when she did a certain sort, so she realizes quickly when it was starting, but at the end of the sort, her superiors make her take a red pill. She's pretty sure that she's not immune, so she's come up with a way to tell just when she's had to take one, and hopefully if she knows that she's taken a red pill, she can remember why she did. Ky is a pilot, he's been in training to help the Rising in any way that he's needed. He's been in little contact with Cassia, but he's hoping to meet her really soon. U…

Drops of Gold

Mary Wood has been hired as the new governess at the Meadows. But Mary has a secret, Mary isn't really her name, and she doesn't really have any credentials to be a governess, but her father has died leaving her all alone in the world and she doesn't see any other way she can make it. As she's on her way to the Meadows, Mary is cautioned not to go there, but she really feels as though her life there will be almost... idyllic, how could it not be at a house named the Meadows. When she arrives, though, the door is slammed in her face and she's told that a governess would not have been hired. She soon discovers why, as her charge, Caroline Jonquil is only 4 years old, quite young for a governess. Caroline is a sweet child, but she's been treated very unkindly by the nurses that she had previously had, and she quickly extracts a promise from Mary to never leave her. Mary never intends to leave such a sweet girl, but she realizes quickly that that decision may be ta…

Blog Tour - Mormon Mama Italian Cookbook

Summary from Cedar Fort's website: Italian cooking has never been easier, nor more delicious! From her mother’s meatballs to easy but authentic pasta dishes, focaccia bread, and simple truffles, Shannon’s recipes will excite even the pickiest eaters. Bring your whole family together for a little taste of Italy with this delightful and entertaining cookbook!

I was super excited to be able to review this cookbook. I've actually looked at it at Costco a time or two and was excited to actually be able to sit down and read it. This cookbook is organized in kind of the normal way with appetizers, side dishes, desserts...etc. I liked being able to read where the dishes came from and I really enjoyed the cute quotes that were interspersed with the recipes. This is a really fun cookbook, I can't wait to try some of the authentic Italian recipes! 

Buy your own copy of this cookbook: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Deseret Book

About author Shannon M Smurthwaite: Shannon McClary Smurthwaite…

Women of Fath in the Latter Days: Volume 2

This book is second in a series of seven. It doesn't really matter what order you read them in, because it's not really in a story form. Each of the women featured in this book has a chapter that is written about them, including a picture, information about childhoods and most times there is something the women wrote themselves (usually journal entries or letters). I really enjoyed getting to read about these amazing women. I was amazed at the hardships that a lot of them had to deal with in their lives, but they were still faithful and true to the end. I was way excited to read this book, because one of my great-aunts was talked about in this volume. I loved learning more about Patience Loader, Jane James, Bathsheba Smith and more amazing LDS women, through other's eyes, and in their own words.  I was able to borrow this book from my local library, but have seen it on sale in stores like Deseret Book.

Blog Tour - Lifestyles of the Great and Spacious

Over 2000 years ago, Lehi had a dream, a dream that would relate so well to our time that we could then use it to apply to the world in which we live. This book by John Bytheway, one of the best author's and speakers for teens, tells us that story. It's written in a way that will speak specifically to teens about life and the world around them. It will teach them to always want to clutch tightly to the Iron Rod that Lehi saw, and to be able to avoid listening to the mocking voices of those hanging out in the great and spacious building, pointing the finger of scorn. 

I've read Lehi's dream from the 8th chapter of 1st Nephi in the Book of Mormon countless times. But I've never thought about the story the way that this book helped me to think of it before. I love the way that John Bytheway is able to teach the things that he has learned from the scriptures in a way that is quick, easy and fun to read. It's easy to see why he's one of the most popular speakers …

Spinster's Folly

Marie Owen has just seen her best friend marry her older brother, so she's already wondering about her own future. When her younger sister tells her that she's a spinster at 18 that's the final straw. She goes to her father and practically demands that he find her a husband like he did for all of her older brothers. She does end up betrothed to a man, but she doesn't realize that Tom Morgan would be so unkind and even forward before their engagement is even officially announced, and she wants out of it right away. But Marie knows that she must go through with this wedding because of her demands of her father. When things become unbearable with Tom, she sees a way out with a mysterious stranger, so she takes it. Marie runs away to get married to a man that she believes will be kind and take care of her, but she couldn't have been so wrong. Will her family be able to find her and save her in time, or will it be too late for Marie?

I had no idea when I started reading …

Blog Tour - Heaven's Just a Prayer Away

s Summary from “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let they heart be full of thanks unto God.” –Alma 37:37

Before we came to earth, we lived in heavenly realms. We knew our Heavenly Father. We walked and talked with Him. We heard His voice. We felt His love. In Heaven’s Just a Prayer Away, beloved author Diony George teaches us how to reestablish that relationship with Him here on earth. With the help of this book you will:

• Learn that nothing is too small or unimportant to discuss with Heavenly Father
• Find peace and contentment through daily communication with God
• Gain a better understanding of why some prayers seem to go unanswered
• Develop a greater knowledge of the power of prayer
The inspirational and enlightening experiences found within these pages will change your life forev…


Nikki Beckett has just woken up in the Everneath where she went to The Feed. Cole, the Everliving who tricked her into going to the Feed wants her to stay and be his queen. But Nikki knows that there is one face on earth that she hasn't forgotten the whole hundred years that Cole has been feeding on her emotions. She knows that she has to go back for Jack. Jack's face is the one thing that she can remember from her life before the Everneath. She also knows that she only has six months to be on the earth before the Tunnels come for her. Six months to make her disappearance of 6 months before up to her grieving dad and brother. Six months to work at going to school. Six months to make it up to her friends, people who now think she's a druggie because of how terrible she looks. And most importantly, six months to make things okay with Jack before she has to leave again. But Cole is not ready to give up, he's going to fight with every bit of tenacity he has to get Nikki to…

Daddy's Gone a Hunting

Kate's not sure why her dad won't sell the unprofitable family business, or just why he insists that she and her younger sister, Hannah, call him Doug. She wants to find out though, so one night she calls a close friend, Gus, a man who used to work at the family business and asks him to meet her there at 4:30 am. When they go in, something is wrong, there's a bit of an off smell. Kate knows they must get out and fast. But it's too late. They are caught in the explosion. Kate manages to drag Gus's inert form from the building just before she herself collapses into a coma that leaves her fighting for her life. Hannah is distraught. Just why was Kate there at that time of day anyway. Did she cause the explosion, or did Gus? No one knows and there is no way they will no until Kate wakes up, if she wakes up. 

Mary Higgins Clark is definitely the "Queen of Suspense." Everyone of her novels that I've read keep you guessing right till the very last minute. I r…

Summer Kindle Fire Giveaway

Blog Tour - Penumbras

Connor Dell, his twin sister Lexa and her best friend Melanie Stephens are great friends and they all happen to be Magi. Their lives have not been the same since they all Kindled at the same time. They are on the annual seventh grade science trip to Alabama, hoping for a normal and fun time. The Darkhands have a different idea though. Both Lexa and Melanie are asleep, a bi-product of the long bus ride they had to go on to get to the science trip. But Connor and his roommate, Pilaf, are both wide awake due to the naps they took on the bus ride. Trying to entertain Pilaf and mask the fact that there are shadow monsters in their room, Connor starts to make hand shadows with his hand and a flashlight. But when he makes a wolf hand shadow it actually comes to life and starts chasing him. Connor knows that he's running for his life, and that he must run faster than he ever has in his life. Running that fast is exhilarating, and pretty soon he's blasted through the front doors of the…

Living with Enthusiasm

I don't know that I've ever seen anyone with as much enthusiasm as L Tom Perry. I remember last fall at General Conference when he jumped up out of his seat and practically ran over to the microphone and proclaimed that he had just turned 90, I was thinking really, he sure seems a lot younger than 90. This book is a collection of talks that he had given prior to about 1996 about how to live with enthusiasm and joy and get the most out of life. I really enjoyed reading everyone of these talks. As I read them, I could hear Elder Perry's voice speaking those same words. A few of the stories that he shares in these talks were familiar to me, but a lot of them weren't as they were given when I was a child and thought that Conference was boring. I highly recommend reading this great book!

Sudden Darkness

Amelie is happy with her life. She has a predictable pattern of school, family and playing her beloved piano. Her best friend Zack lives next door and is always trying to get her to come a little more out of her shell by doing things like going to assemblies at school. She has just started a new job that she thinks she will love working for musician Ryan Cook. But things change in an instant when the power mysteriously goes out all across the country. At first, it seems like a normal power outage, but soon everyone in the small town of Zillah, Washington realizes that the power is out everywhere and the nuclear facility is not far enough away for comfort. To make matters worse Amelie's father is away on business for the Church and no one knows where he is. The leaders of Amelie's stake call everyone together to let them know that they are going to be as the pioneers and walk to Salt Lake City, there's no cars because of an EMP that took out all the computers in newer cars …

Blog Tour - Motive for Murder Review and Interview with the author

Erica Coleman is visiting her best friend Wendy in Florida. Wendy's son, Brandon, is going to be baptized and knowing that Wendy has had a hard time with her Church activity she decides that she needs to support her for his baptism. But when Erica goes out for a forgotten bag of ice and returns to find a dead body in her best friend's driveway, Erica's natural curious tendency comes out in full force. She's been a police officer and is currently a private investigator, so she knows just how to get information and can get more information than police a lot of times, because she's not quite as scary. Who was this man? Why was he killed in her best friend's driveway? Who is the killer? These questions must be figured out before it's too late. Will Erica be up for the task?

I really enjoyed reading this book. I like Erica, she's flawed, like real people are. I thought that her OCD tendencies were endearing. I like Wendy, she's made some bad choices, but …

Emily of Deep Valley

Emily is about to graduate from Deep Valley High School. She has friends, but she's never really felt as though she fits in, and as she gets ready to graduate, she feels even further away from the other girls. The other girls are getting ready to go to college and Emily knows that even though she would love to go to college and learn, not socialize like the other girls, she can't. She must stay with her elderly grandfather and help him to navigate the world. She feels a bit sad, and even gets depressed at first, but soon she realizes that she can either be sad, or she can do something about it. So she comes up with her own way to get an education, Deep Valley style. Soon, the sadness is gone and Emily is ready to move on with her life and conquer anything that comes her way.

I really enjoyed this book. I love Deep Valley and the feelings that it brings. I really enjoyed Emily's character, she's so responsible and always wanting to be learning something. I loved how moti…

Heroes of the Highest Order Series

This is a first for me, I'm going to do a review of an entire series. The Heroes of the Highest Order series is a series of books written by R K Hinrichsen. In this series our heroes Dan and Page have been moved to Utah from their childhood home of Florida by their parents. Dan especially is not happy with the move, he's used to being the fastest boy in his class. But his mom tries to help him to be happy and show him the park that both she and his father used to play at. She seems especially interested in having him try out the swings for some reason. When Dan and Page try out the swings they find themselves magically transported to a hidden kingdom that's full of kids like them learning to be real heroes. Will Dan and Page be able to get back to their parents, or are they going to be stuck in the Hidden Kingdom forever? 

In the second book of the series, Dan and Page have discovered that their parents are also
Heroes of the Highest Order, and their whole family is in dang…

Deep Cover

Kelsey Weber has been undercover so long with her job at the CIA that her family hasn't known what to think. She was unable to share with them where she really was or what she was really doing, so it just looked as though she didn't care to spend time with her family. But things are about to change. Her cover as a tutor for Salman Nassar's daughters is about to be called into question. Kelsey escapes with her life, but she has a bullet wound to show for it. Hoping to have a chance to recover before going back into her false identity, Kelsey heads to her childhood home - only to find it empty. Her parents are on a mission and won't be home any time soon, they've also set up their home to have plenty of renovations while they're gone. The home will be getting a new roof, a new kitchen, and even a new master bedroom. Enter Noah Cabbot, neighbor and almost adopted son to her parents. They've trusted him with watching the house and making sure all of the renovat…

The Healing Spell

Happy 4th of July! Hope you have a great day with your families!

11 year-old Livie's Mamma has been in the hospital, she has the sleeping sickness (she's been in a coma), and Livie knows that it's all her fault. She hasn't ever really gotten along with Mamma very well, and she knows that she isn't as good of a daughter as her older sister, Faye, or her younger sister, Crickett. Now the doctors have said that there isn't anything more they can do for Mamma, they'll just have to wait and see what happens. Today is the day that Daddy is going to bring Mamma home from the hospital for the family to take care of at home. Livie knows that Mamma is still there, but just inside herself somewhere, still she can't bring herself to try to touch Mamma or care for her in any way. Leaving all of Mamma's care to Faye is Livie's plan. Livie must learn some important lessons about faith and forgiveness, and hopefully by then Mamma will wake up and life can go on …

Feedback (Variant #2)

Benson Fisher has escaped from Maxfield Academy with a very injured Becky, but just what is beyond the fence? They are not sure, but know that it's probably going to be a really long walk to get to a safe place where there will be someone to care for Becky's injuries. They stumble across a small fort where all of their friends from Maxfield Academy are living. But are these real people, or are they more androids like the kids at school? That question is answered rather quickly with a box cutter and the arms of the kids. The kids living here are the real kids, and they are paranoid too. Anyone coming in must submit to having a box cutter shoved into their arms multiple times to be sure they aren't switched with any androids. These kids have been able to tell what their androids in the school are doing, they call it feedback when that happens. But they aren't totally safe in the fort, Iceman and Ms. Vaughn search the fort regularly, so Benson and Becky have to be super c…

Safe Haven

Susanna Thayer's life has changed since her father died. She knows that she, her mother, and her younger brother Georgie won't be able to live for very much younger on the little bit of money that they have left. She feels that the only option they have is for her to marry her friend from her childhood days Jonathon Burnley. He had proposed to her on her last birthday, so she sends him a letter telling him that she will happily accept his proposal. Unfortunately, his response is not a favorable one. He lets her know that he will be marrying a distant cousin to him very soon. Susanna has no idea what her small family will do, but one day she's given a flyer discussing women working in clothing mills, and she determines to "take life by the horns" and work in the mills to support herself and her family. In the mills she makes some good friends, including Jane, a young woman with no family left. Susanna and Jane become like family to each other, and risk the ire of …

Through Cloud and Sunshine

It's 1842 in Nauvoo, Il and Will is hard at work trying to support his pregnant wife Liz and build her the home he promised her father to build her. Liz on the other hand would love to just have Will home for awhile rather than constantly working on this or that. Things are getting better for them in Nauvoo, they are finally living on their own land in a cabin they built with the help of some friends, they have produce coming from their garden, good friends and neighbors and a new baby to look forward to soon. It becomes all too apparent just how much they have when a family arrives from England with nothing, looking to live in the small cabin Liz and Will lived in the year before. 

In present day Nauvoo, Jeff and Abby's baby is born with the predicted heart defects. They want to have faith and no that all will be well with baby Will, but sometimes it's hard to know what Heavenly Father wants you to do, and it's also hard to remember that he will always keep his promise…