Monday, December 31, 2012

LDSPBP: Brandon Dorman

Pirates of the Sea by Brandon  Dorman
The lively crew of Cap’n Bones sets off upon the sea to enjoy the pirate life, but soon discover they are low on cash. The pirates are in luck because Cap’n Bones is in procession of a treasure map but the sailing life full of peril. Finally they crew arrives at Great Skull Rock and begins the search for their treasure. This fun little story is full of charming characters, bold adventure, and the hunt for buried treasure. In short it is a typical pirate tale, but I like the unique way that the author shows individual characters of the crew and their unity on the ship. This happy pirate tale will leave you grinning more than once with its clever quips and enthusiastic crew members.

Santa’s Stowaway by Brandon Dorman
One Christmas a curious elf asks Santa after all his work is done why exactly they work so hard all year making toys. In order to discover the answer for himself he hides on Santa’s sleigh. As he follows Santa down the chimney and into the home of one family he discovers for himself why Christmas is so special. This is a cute little story with beautiful pictures and such a clever perspective for a children’s book. I never thought about how the elves discovered why Christmas is important.

End of the year note

2012 Year in Review and Goals

I read a lot of novels this year. So many that I am sort of surprised that I was able to squeeze in so many. I did not keep up a list of the picture and board books I read this year. I did not read as many as last year but I probably read one or two new picture books a week at the very least.

I am very happy that I got to read more LDS fiction titles this year also. Huzzah! Last year I was not really happy with my reading list, but I feel like it is more balanced out this year. However, while I do like romance I feel like I read a lot of it this year.  This next year I hope I can read a wider array of genres.

I am also really proud of my LDS Picture book Project. I featured twelve LDS picture book authors and had a lot of fun along the way. This would not have been possible if Rick Walton had not emailed me an article he wrote about LDS authors in the picture book industry. I still refer to this article on a monthly basis and use it for my posts. I plan to continue this series next year but I’ll probably half my goal and try to only focus on six LDS picture book authors.  Every single book in these posts were checked out at the library, except for the review copy of I Believe in Jesus Too by Mark Nielsen.

In my personal life this year was quite eventful, as my husband and I moved from Texas to Pennsylvania.  We live close to family now and have been excited about the things we have accomplished this year. Kindal independently published 5 book titles since last December. Wolfhound, Badger, Iron Angels, The True Adventures of Hector Kingsley, The True Adventures of Hector Kingsley: Murders in Whitechapel.

I was a finalist in the Mormon Lit Blitz and Four Centuries of Mormon Lit contest. That was such a surprise and such a joy. I have never won any recognition for anything I have written so it was nice to get positive feedback on stories I had written.  I loved participating in the contest and reading all the entries of my fellow writers. 

I also worked on some black and white board books and put them up on kindle. This year I drafted two novels that I hope to independently publish next year, but I don’t want to say too much about them. I am so nervous that I will fail at this goal, but I have been working really hard.  

Our little daughter is a bundle of energy and is so funny and so sweet. She runs around the house saying, “tickle, tickle, tickle.” This is what she says when she wants to play. She has a little stool she carries around the house so she can reach places up high. She likes to use this stool to get cookies off the counter, brush her teeth at the sink, and recently to watch herself eat food in the mirror. She is a darling little munchkin and a master of mayhem and we are so grateful that we have her in our family.

List of Books Read in 2012

Books read in 2012

Someone Else’s Fairytale by E.M. Tippetts  (Review Copy)

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (Gift)

The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh (Library Copy)

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (Purchase-library sale)

Olivia by Julie Wright (Review Copy)

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale (Purchase)

The Princess and the Horse by Mette Ivie Harrison (Purchase)

Desert Intrigue Linda Weaver Clarke (Review Copy)

Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (Purchase)

Friends and Foes by Sarah M. Eden (Purchase)

Bah, Humbug  by Heather Horrocks (Free on amazon)

The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden (Purchase)

Partials by Dan Wells (Purchase)

Daughters of Jared by H. B. Moore (Purchase)

Glamour and Glass by Mary Kowal Robinette (Library copy)

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (Purchase)

Dreamless by Josephine Angelini (Purchase)

Daisy by Josi Kilpack (Review Copy)

The Goddess of Yesterday by Caroline Cooley (Library Copy)

Augustus (Library)

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi (Library Copy)

Clockwise by Elle Strauss (Free on amazon)

Variant by Robison Wells (Purchase)

Letters in the Jade Dragon box by Gale Sears (Purchase)

Zero G by Rachel Ann Nunes (Free on Amazon)

The Hidden Branch by G. G Vandagriff (Purchase)

Paige by Annette Lyon (Review Copy)

Freshman for President by Ally Condie (Purchase)

Castles on the Sand by Emily Mah Tippetts (Review Copy)

Everneath by Brodi Ashton (Library Copy)

 Illusions  by Aprillynne Pike (Library copy)

Mrs. Drew Plays her Hand by Carla Kelly (Review Copy)

Before I say Goodbye by Rachel Ann Nunes (Purchase)

Sky Breaker Kenneth Oppel  (Library book sale)

Star Climber by Kenneth Opple (Library copy)

Catching Fire by Susan Collins (Borrowed)

Mocking Jay by Susan Collins  (Borrowed)

Parakeet Princess Jandy Branch (Free on Amazon)

The Guy Next Door by Kate Palmer (Review Copy)

Witch Song by Amber Argyle (Review Copy)

A Timeless Romance Anthology (Review Copy)

The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume (Review Copy)

A Christmas Home by Greg Kincaid (Review Copy)

The Mark of Athena Rick Riordan (Purchase)

Athena by Heather B. Moore (Review Copy)

The Wanted Child Aneeka Richins (Beta Reader)

The True Adventures of Hector Kingsley: Murders in Whitechapel by Kindal Debenham (Beta Reader)

The Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George (Review Copy)

All Fall Down by Julie Coulter Bellon (Review Copy)

Not Your Average Fairy Tale by Chantele Sedgwick (contest prize)

Jars of Clay by Elle Strauss (Free on Amazon)

Nutcracker by ETA Hoffmann (Review Copy)

Dead Running by Cami Checketts (Review Copy)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Library copy)

The Winds and the Waves by Dean Hughes (Gift)

Top Four Novels read in 2012

Star Crossed by Josephine Angelini

Friends and Foes by Sarah M. Eden

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

The Winds and the Waves by Dean Hughes

Top Four Board Books read in  2012
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Duck and Goose Find A Pumpkin by Tad Hills
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Salina Yoon

Top Four Picture Books read in 2012
I Believe In Jesus Too by Mark Nielsen

Duck and Goose by Tad Hills
Bedtime for Bear by Brett Helquist
The Everything Book by Denise Fleming




Friday, December 28, 2012

Princess of the SIlver Woods by Jessica Day George

Princess of the Silver Wood by Jessica Day George

The Princess of the Silver Woods, the third book in Georges retold fairy-tale princess series, continues the stories of the twelve sisters introduced in The Princess of the Midnight Ball. In this book princess Petunia the youngest of the sisters is kidnapped by Oliver, the leader of a bandit gang called the Wolves of Westfalian Woods. Oliver discovers that she is a princess and realizes that his life of crime has gone too far. Forced into banditry to feed his people when the King gave half of his lands to another man after his father died, Oliver has done his very best to be the leader they need.  He escorts Petunia to her original destination, the home of the Grand Duchess Volenskaya intending to leave her there and walk away. Then he has to avoid being captured by the Duchess’s son Grigori and finds himself hiding on the grounds. As he makes his escape off the property in the middle of the night he sees shadow men crossing the lawn, climbing to Petunia’s window.

Knowing that the princess is in danger Oliver decides to turn himself in and tell her father what he saw. Oliver’s observations prove useful as Petunia’s sisters all suspect the same thing. That the King Under Stone wants them back, determined to have them as brides for his court. His report leads them all on a mission to save Petunia and rid themselves of King Under Stone once and for all.  

I enjoyed returning to this world again. Petunia is such a strong characters and I really came to like her. I thought the author did an excellent job of bringing back King Under Stone and working him back into the plot. The added details about the origin of King Under Stone’s sons made them even creepier and made the world feel more fleshed out. Galen also plays a major part in trying to bring Under Stone down again and I loved reading about him again. He is such a Heroic character because he cares so much for Rose and all of the sisters; he is willing to give up everything in the book to see them free. I thought all the threads of the story in this book wove together gracefully to make a really compelling, page-turning read.   
I'm very grateful that the folks at bloomsbury sent me a review copy so I could be a part of their blog tour.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Christmas Home by Greg Kincaid

A Christmas Home: A Novel by Greg Kincaid

“Todd McCray, hero of A Dog Named Christmas, is now twenty-four years old and working at a local animal shelter, where he meets and quickly becomes best friends with Laura, a young volunteer. Laura, like Todd, has disabilities of her own, but her struggles are more physical than developmental. Their friendship is sealed when Todd—with the help of his trusted companion, the tenacious Labrador retriever named Christmas—trains a beautiful dog named Gracie to help Laura with the day-to-day life tasks that are difficult for her.
Life seems good for Todd, but all is not well in his hometown. Struggling families unable to make ends meet are abandoning more and more dogs, and the shelter is swelling to capacity. The local government is struggling to meet its obligations too, and in early December, on the cusp of another holiday season, Todd’s boss delivers the bad news. Due to funding problems, the shelter will close its doors before the end of the year. But what will happen to all the animals?
As the Christmas holiday approaches, Todd has limited time to find homes for all the dogs. Not to mention that he needs to secure a new job and figure out what to do when his friendship with Laura takes an unexpected romantic turn. All this seems overwhelming unless you’ve got a loving family, dedicated friends, and a couple of very special dogs behind you. In which case, nothing is impossible.” (book jacket summary)

The folks at Crown publishing sent me a copy of A Christmas Home for review. The plot focuses on Todd, a young man with learning disabilities, that has found a niche training dogs. He is employed by the town’s dog shelter, but his life is thrown into crisis when the mayor announces that a lack of funding has made it imperative for the shelter to close. Todd has to work together with his friends at the shelter to find homes for the dogs before they are sent away to kill shelters. I found that I really liked Todd’s character. He defied the typical stereotypes of a hero and I admired his dedication as he worked with dogs and the skills he developed as he trained them. There is a cute sweet romance story between himself and a girl named Laura. I sometimes felt like the plot depended too much on the dog shelter conflict and that there needed to be more to the story, but this was still a unique and enjoyable Christmas story. Also, it has a happy ending! Usually Christmas story matched up with dog equals depressing but I found this tale to have a satisfying and uplifting ending.

Visit the author's website.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

e-book Steals and Deals I just had to share

The Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George is $1.59 on the Kindle. I have no idea how long this promotion will last. It is probably to celebrate the fact that the last and third book in the series, The Princess of the Silver Wood is out today. So if you want this book in e-format or haven't tried it out yet do not delay!

Same as above. $1.59 Screaming Deal. This means you could by all three of Jessica Day George's princess books on your kindle for a little over $13.00 or the price of one of these books in hardback. Huzzah!  

Masquerade by Janette Rallison was published quite a while ago in print. This is a re-release in e-book format and only $2.99. This is one of my faves from Rallison. A cute, clean, hilarious, romantic comedy. I was so excited to see it up super cheap in kindle format.

Aura by Rebecca Cornish Talley is .99 this week.

Olivia by Julie Wright is .99 right now. I have no idea how long this will last, but this is a great book. Some of Julie's best work. Go grab it.

LDSPBP: Brett Helquist

Brett Helquist moved to New York City shortly after graduating from BYU. His first job was an internship. He started showing his portfolio around and started taking jobs for newspapers and magazines. After years of working in area of the market Helquist made an effort to get into children's publishing. His first contract was to illustrate the Lemony Snicket series. The editor of that project invited him to send her a children's book manuscript if he ever had one. Helquist submitted the manuscript of Jolly Roger and has published several picture books following that.  


Bedtime for Bear by Brett Helquist              

At the very beginning of winter bear is getting ready to sleep for the winter but his friends are making it difficult. They urge him to come out and play, but he needs to get to bed. They sure do make a racket out there though and bear goes out to ask them to be quiet but instead is pulled into one last day of winter fun.  A fun-filled story about playing in the snow.

This is illustrated version of the old Charles Dickens classic. The illustrations remind the reader of a cold Victorian era winter with detailed historical clothing and surroundings. This book would make a nice addition to the library of Dickens fans or those wanting to share this classic story with their children.

Roger, the Jolly Pirate Pirate by Brett Helquist

Roger is not very good a being a pirate. He is too jolly, too friendly, and not very scary at all. In fact they hide him away where there is any real pirating to be done. That is until Roger saves the day when the pirate crew is attacked. In his honor they fly a new flag called the Jolly Roger.  Roger the Jolly pirate creates an origin story for the iconic Jolly Roger pirate flag. With a lively illustrations and a lovable character pirate loving children are sure to enjoy this story about heroism and the pirate flag.

Grumpy Goat comes out on January 12th and is currently available for pre-order on amazon.
Read the publisher's weekly review

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Athena by Heather B. Moore

Athena by Heather B. Moore

This volume in the Newport Ladies Book Club focuses on Athena, a single woman from a Greek family who tries desperately to get her married. Athena has never been comfortable with the idea of marriage, and is a commitment phobic, workaholic. Her casual boyfriend wants to move their relationship up to the next level and when Athena resists he accuses her of caring too much about her work. She can’t even remember the last time she read a novel, which is proof to him that she needs to reprioritize her life. Athena is stung by his comments and the end of their relationship. To prove to herself that work doesn’t have to dominate her life she goes to a used bookstore and meets Grey. Athena is immediately charmed by his kindness and ends up joining a book club advertised in the store. Athena tries to return to life as usual but discovers that she just can’t keep away from Grey, she keeps coming up with excuses to visit his shop to see him. They build a tender but fragile romance and then Athena’s mother dies unexpectedly in a car accident, leaving Athena responsible to care for her Father with Alzheimer disease.  The support of Grey and her new friends from the book club carry Athena through this dark period of her life.

I really loved this book. I thought that the romance between Athena and Grey was so sweet. It was also nice to see Athena grow as a character and resolve some of the issues that held her back from wanting to start a family. It was fascinating to watch Athena discover more about her mother’s life and how she had to readjust the judgments she had made of her as a child. I found this conflict so very relatable and I sympathized with Athena as she struggled to find answers about her mother after she died. I really felt for her as she cared for her aging Father and had to figure out what she had to do to take care of him.  Overall, I found this to be a very satisfying read, a sweet but thoughtful romance. 
Visit Heather B. Moore's blog
Visit Heather B. Moore's website
Visit Newport Ladies Book Club Website



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

LDPBP: Christmas Books

A Christmas Dress for Ellen by Thomas S. Monson

The Christmas Train by Thomas S. Monson

The Missing Christmas Treasure by Gale Sears

A Christmas Carol by Brett Helquist

The Twelve Bots of Christmas

The Light of Christma by Richard Paul Evans

The Christmas Candle By Richard Paul Evans
Santa and Me by Erik Jon Slangerup

Santa's Stowaway by Brandon Dorman 

 Bunny Christmas by Rick Walton

A Candle in the Window by Michelle Ashman Bell

 The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck

Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner

The Christmas Pups by Teresa Bateman 

C is for Christmas by Tonya Skousen Arenaz