Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kudos & Events

I just have to send a shout out to all those players in the Chandler Gilbert Community Orchestra, including the ringers that volunteered to help us out. What a great concert we had. Everyone worked well together and the performance was wonderful. I hope to see everyone back next semester and many more! Thanks for a great year. :)

Also, I heard about what sounds like a really fun event. Take a look:

Thursday, May 13th at 7:00 pm.

Changing Hands Book Store
6428 S McClintock Drive
Tempe, AZ 85283
(480) 730-0205

Find out what it takes to be a starlet at our red carpet release party for Janette Rallison and her latest, My Double Life. All her life, Alexia Garcia has been told she looks just like pop star Kari Kingsley, and one day when Alexia's photo filters through the Internet, she’s offered a job to be Kari's double. Soon, Alexia makes a startling discovery. Rallison’s superstar fans will experience the paparazzi on the red carpet, pose for pictures taken in front a backdrop of her new book, enter raffles to have your name immortalized in a future book, win a school visit, and more!

Janette Rallison

"Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List" IRA Young Adults' Choices List 2007
"It's a Mall World After All" IRA Young Adults' Choices List 2008
"How to Take the Ex out of Ex Boyfriend" IRA Young Adults' Choices List 2009

So dress on up and head over for what sounds like a really fun night!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book Review

Keys to the Demon Prison
Brandon Mull

What a finish to a fantastic series! The more I read the more the rug was completely and utterly pulled out from under Kendra and Seth. When things got bad, they really got back. I loved seeing how it all ended. The lessons learned, the teamwork that happened, the friendships that were built all came together at the end. I have to admit that some of it was a bit on the cheesy side, but I loved it. He left some unanswered questions but really rounded out the series nicely. I’m sure in several years we might see the fruits of those unanswered questions . . . at least I’m hoping we will!
Previous book reviews for Brandon's books.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book Reviews

So my computer decided to get really sick this week along with working 12 to 14 hour days. Not what I call a fun week. At least I was able to get all the books I'm writing safely off before it died. Hopefully we'll be able to get it up and running again soon. Note to self--backup computer every week rather than every month or every other month or whatever you were doing!

Anywho, here are some fabulous books I've had the priveldge of reading lately. Take a look and let me know what you think!

The 13th Reality: The Blade of Shattered Hope
James Dashner

I have been looking forward to this book for awhile. This series has just been a really fun read. I love how Dashner is able to take characters, put them through the ringer, have them learn, grow and succeed in the task all while having fun in the process, sort of. I’m not sure running for your life and facing monsters is considered fun but it sure does move the story along! The story is wonderful especially the cliff hanger ending. My mind is reeling in all the possibilities to come. I highly recommend it and am ready for the next one right now. Too bad I have to wait for a year!

The Golden Spiral
Jerry Borrowman
I love historical fiction. The only issue I have is you get so attached to the characters that when one of them dies it’s like losing a real friend. These WWI and WWII novels are incredible. The characters are great and I feel like they did become my friends. I lived through the horror and tragedy of war with them as well as the wonderful things in life that happened. Borrowman has done a fabulous job of intertwining these characters into the war so the reader knows what is happening on all fronts. It is a wonderful set of books and I’m excited to read the next two.

Orson Scott Card

This is a fun fantasy with a different approach to Sleeping Beauty. I enjoyed all the locations and the world that was created along with the modern day time that was used. It was fun to see what it would be like to be thrown into another world and how different people react in different ways. Card took Sleeping Beauty and made it his own with this book. There is a scene with marital relations in it, but everything else was very clean.

Anna of Byzantium
Tracy Barrett

My sister-in-law recommended this book and I really enjoyed it. At first I wasn’t sure what was going on. It would have helped to read the author’s note in the back of book first, but once I had things straight in my head it was interesting. I liked what I was able to learn about an era that doesn’t have a lot of written word. It’s amazing how corrupt people in power can be and how much damage can be caused because of jealousy and hatred. This book is a good historical read.

Blue Moon The Immortial Series
Alyson Noel

I still really like this story and concept of immortals that Noel is working with. The characters are wonderful, the idea creative, the storyline fantastic and I’m very intrigued with the twist presented at the end of it. Still, I wish there wasn’t so much alluding to sexual relationships. I know that’s what is popular today but I can’t put this book on my “to buy” list because of how much is in there. Some people I know disagree with me on that, but that’s OK. If you are OK with that content this is a fabulous series. I will keep reading it, I just won’t buy it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book Buzzin'

Here are two books that I've heard about over the last week or so. Both sound like fun books. Take a look!

Mormon Mishaps and Mischeif by D. N. Giles and C. L. Beck is a collection of humorous anecdotes. Here's the blurb from the back cover.

Ward meetings have never been so funny!
This collection of humorous anecdotes from celebrated LDS authors shows off Church members at their finest. From primary pranks to cheeky comments made by Zion’s youth to high priests hijinx, no age group is immune to the potential for humor.

Though it may not be in the official Word of Wisdom, laughter really is the best medicine. Whether you’re a senior missionary, or an eight-year-old graduating to senior primary, you’re bound to get a kick out of these silly stories.

Read about:
*The preschooler who was afraid of being eaten by ‘Sunbeans’
* Establishing Zion in Cougar Stadium
*The ‘oddmonition’ of Paul
*The 14th article of faith
*Doing battle with the “Laman Knights”
*A young women outing that almost landed the class behind bars…and lots more!

Perfect for those long Sunday afternoons, Mormon Mishaps and Mischief will keep your family laughing all week long!

Guise of a Gentleman by Donna Hatch is the second book in her Rogue Hearts Series. Here's an author's interview with Donna.


Q: Tell us about your release, The Guise of a Gentleman, Book Two of the Rogue Hearts Series.
A: Okay, here’s my backcover blurb: The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for freedom and adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret.

A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared accepts one last assignment before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared’s past…or still love him when the truth is revealed.

Q: The cover is gorgeous! Can you tell us a little about how covers come into being? Do you have input into the process?
A: Most publishers don't let the authors have any input, but I was lucky -- mine does. I filled out a questionnaire with character descriptions and a concept of what I'd pictured. The finished result was very close to what I'd imagined, although the clothing isn’t exactly Regency, but I like it very much.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm finalizing the edits on book 3 of the Rogue Heart's Series which isn't titled yet. (Gulp.) Each book is a stand-alone book, about a different brother of the Amesbury family, and the family members wander in and out of each other's books. I’m also starting a new Teen/Young Adult paranormal.

Q: You have a bunch of kiddos, how do you find time to write? How do you balance family with writing?
Yes, with 6 children, making time to write is very challenging. I do much of my writing at night after they are in bed, or during nap time, but when I'm on a roll, I write instead of unimportant things like fix dinner. I haven't dusted since last Christmas and I gave up scrap booking. All my children are in school now, so now I can write after they all leave for school, until I have to go to work every afternoon, so that really cuts into my writing. However, I'm very focused, (or obsessed) so I keep at it at odd times of the day. And night. Sometimes insomnia is a good thing.

Q: What is the coolest thing about being a published author?
A: Justifying my writing obsession!

Q: What has surprised you about being a published author?
A: How excited my friends and family were for me. I knew they'd be supportive, but I had no idea how they'd rally around me and help me promote it like they have. My niece even set up a fan page for fans of The Stranger She Married!

Q: What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
I love to read more than almost anything else. And I love music; I sing, play the harp, and am the choir director for church. I also like to swim, water ski, snow ski, and dance. I have absolutely no hand-eye coordination, so I don’t play any team sports and sports worldwide thank me for it. And, sappy as it sounds, I love to spend time with my husband, talking, walking, playing racquetball, or just cuddling.

Q: If money were no object would you prefer domestic help or would you cook and clean yourself?
A: Are you kidding me? I’d LOVE to give the job of cooking and cleaning to someone else! Can I have them do the laundry, too?

Q: If you could go back in time, with whom would you like to spend a day?
A: I’d love to spend the day with Jane Austen, not only because she was so witty and clever, but I’d love to clear up a few historical mysteries about that time period. And I’d probably want more than just a day.
A: If you could trade places with one person, who would it be?
A: Hmmmm, how about Hugh Jackman’s love interest? (Just kidding, honey) Actually, I’d love to be Julia Quinn, or Candice Hern – you know someone who is already a best-selling Regency Author. Not that I’d want them to take my place with my husband…

Q: Have you been told you look like someone famous?
A: Oh, yeah, I’m a dead ringer for Faith Hill. Ahem. Okay, not really. Actually no one has ever said I look like someone famous. But in the morning with my frizzy hair sticking out in all directions, I greatly resemble Medusa. Good thing I’ve never turned anyone to stone!

Q: Where can we find your book?
A: The Guise of a Gentleman by Donna Hatch is available at, Amazon, and all Barnes & Noble Locations (some stores may have to order it for you, but that costs the same as if it were on the shelf)

Q: Tell us about your contest:
A: Okay, now how to win your free copy (and you have four chances if you do all four):
1. Leave a comment in this blog, then send me an email at and put “free book” in the subject line
2. Follow my blog, then send me an email at, telling me you're now following me and put "free book" in the subject line
3. Friend me on Facebook, (!/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1053967713) then send me an email at, telling me you're now my friend on Face book and put "free book" in the subject line
4. go to my website and then find out what is the name of the hero, then send me an email at, telling me the answer to the question and put "free book" in the subject line
Remember, for each thing you do, you have another chance to win. Good Luck!!!
Q: Thank you for visiting today.
A: Thanks for having me!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Book Reviews

The Maximum Ride Series (The Angel Experiment, School’s Out Forever, Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, The Final Warning, Max, Fang) James Patterson

I enjoyed this series more so toward the end rather than the beginning. At times it seemed to have more of a tree hugger agenda, but the characters are all fun. There were enough twists and turns that kept me wanting to read. I like the idea of having wings and being able to have some of the avian abilities while depending on your family, whether they are blood or not. However, I’m not sure how I feel about the end of Fang. There are definitely issues that have not been concluded and I’m curious to see where Patterson takes it from there, but I really have mixed feelings about it. I'm finding I've grown attached to some of the characters and it's hard when life happens to them. This series is good for all ages and I would recommend it to most kids.

Anthony Horowitz

Throughout this entire book I felt like I was reading a movie. I still can’t place my finger on what movie it was, but the plots are exactly the same. It’s a good read but I’m not sure I’m interesting enough to read the rest of the story. Although I have seen boys eat it up. Maybe I’ll have to give it another shot later on.

Farworld Land Keep
J. Scott Savage

This series is a lot of fun. I enjoyed this second book as much as the first. I liked how choices and sacrifices had to be made. The characters really grew a lot, learning about their own weaknesses and how their personal strengths can help others. They also learned that they can change and make weak things stronger. I’m excited for the third book to come out, whenever that may be.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Book Releases

Two books were released today that I'm really excited about.
James Dashner's 3rd book in his 13th Reality Series, and
Kelley Armstrong's The Reckoning. Take a look, let me know what you think and I'll let you know my opinion as soon as I read them!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Book Buzzin' and Contests

There are several things I wanted to post about today. The week's flown by and I'm finding less and less time to get the things done that I'd like to get done. But . . . here I go. First of all I have found a few fun contests other people are doing. Rachel Renee Anderson has a fun guess the number of jelly beans one. Become a follower and you get one guess then post about it on your blog and facebook and you get two more. Take a guess and see how close you get!
Another book give away is going on by Lynn Parsons. There are several ways to enter that one. One is to tweet and/or facebook about the preorder of her book (Dis) Abilities and the Gospel and provide a link. Not too hard to do. So hop on over and take a look at her site to enter or her publishers site. and the preorder link to the publisher

The next contest is to win a free copy of a book that was just released this week. Donna Hatch's Queen in Exile

Rumors of war hang over Princess Jeniah's peaceful country of Arden, a land that shuns both magic and warfare. Following a lifelong dream, Jeniah forms a telepathic bond with a revered creature called a chayim, who is prophesied to save her kingdom. But when a Darborian knight, Kai, comes upon Jeniah with her chayim, he sees only a vicious monster about to devour a maiden, and he slays the beast.

Devastated by the loss of her chayim, and fearing that her own magic is evil, Jeniah doubts her destiny. When an enemy invades Arden City, they slaughter the people, storm the castle, and execute the entire royal family except the princess. Rescued by the knight who slew her chayim, Jeniah is now heir to the throne of Arden and the only hope for freeing her people.

On the run and hunted by enemy soldiers, Jeniah must place her life and the fate of her kingdom in the hands of this trained killer. Torn between embracing her destiny as queen of Arden, and her love for a mere knight, she must ultimately rely on her magic to save herself and her people from death and tyranny.

It sounds like a fascinating book that I'm excited to get to read. It has an amazing cover that I've tried to post with this but for some reason I have not been successful at putting pictures here. If anyone has any ideas, let me know! I'd appreciate any help I can get!

Take a look at Donna's blog and site

Here's an interview with Donna. At the end of the interview are directions on how to enter her contest.

Q: Donna, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Donna: I guess I should say right off the bat that I’m a certified loon. Not only am I an author, which means I hear voices in my head and my characters are more real to me than most “real” people, but I am also the mother of six children. And yes, I did that on purpose!

Q: Tell us a little bit about your fantasy, Queen in Exile

Donna: The last surviving member of her family, a princess must place her life, and the fate of her kingdom, into the hands of a trained killer. But accepting her destiny and her own dark powers will mean losing the man she loves.

Q: Where does your inspiration come from?

Donna: Inspiration can come from anywhere, a song, a movie, a secondary character in another book. Sometimes I can’t trace where the story actually began; it often just starts as a seed of an idea and then expands. I’ve yet to have started a story based on a dream, though ;-) But for Queen in Exile in particular – this is going to sound super lame – (cringe) but I actually was inspired in part by a game of Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, I was one of those geeks who played that game. I’ve always been a fantasy reader, and I’m so glad technology is up to the level needed to produce a truly spectacular fantasy movie. The story itself for Queen in Exile came from somewhere in my heart, but the setting is more of a Tolkien-type world.

Q: Some writers say that they have a story that has to be told, others say that the characters come to them and demand that their story be told… how does it work for you?

Donna: Both ways, I suppose. A character usually comes to me and tells me the main idea of their story, and then I go to work fleshing out both the plot and the characters. Once or twice, I’ve started with a concept, or a problem, and then found characters to deal with it. Really, my characters drive the story; the plot, or the problem, is just a hardship for them to overcome so that they can really grow and shine and ultimately triumph.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Donna: Be persistent. Most people have dreams of writing a novel, but never finish one. Most people who finish a novel never submit it, and most who submit, give up after a few rejections. Those who submit over and over (and maybe go through some revisions) will eventually get published.

Q: What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

Donna: I love the happily ever after. If a book doesn’t have a good ending, I feel like I’ve wasted my time because I read to escape my problems. I want to know good always triumphs over evil and love conquers all – not be bummed because all was lost. I also love watching the romance unfold and, of course, the euphoria of falling in love.

Q:Okay, now for the power round:
Favorite food? Pasta
Favorite dessert? Cheesecake
Jeans and T-shirt, or designer clothes? Um, how about designer jeans and T-shirts?
Guilty pleasure? Chocolate! Okay, anything sweet and decadent. I have an equal opportunity sweet tooth.
One word that describes you? Cheerful
Favorite flower? Pink rose
Favorite sport? Does snorkeling count as a sport?

Q: Tell us about your contest:

Donna: You can win a free copy (and you have four chances if you do all four):
1. Go to my website and then find out what is the name of the hero of Queen in Exile (hint, read the backcover blurb underneath the book cover), then send me an email at, telling me the answer to the question and put "Queen in Exile for Free" in the subject line
2. Follow my blog, then send me an email at, telling me you're now following me and put "Queen in Exile for Free" in the subject line
3. Leave a comment in my blog, Then send me an email at and put "Queen in Exile for Free" in the subject line.
4. Friend me on Facebook, (!/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1053967713) then send me an email at, telling me you're now my friend on Face book and put "Queen in Exile for Free" in the subject line.
That’s it!
Remember, for each thing you do, you have another chance to win. Good Luck!!!
Thank you, Donna for joining us. You can find Donna’s book, Queen in Exile, at Amazon, Costcos across the country, any Deseret Bookstore, all Barnes & Noble, and Borders. If you don’t see it on the shelf, be sure to ask them to order it for you and they’ll ship it to you with free shipping.