Friday, July 31, 2015

Discern Review

Nicole Williams is an Arete—a fourth child with magical abilities—yet no matter how hard she tries, she can’t Channel her power. In fact, she seems to be the only student at Katon University who fails at magic. 

That doesn’t stop magic from finding her. It starts with possessed books and magical currents before moving quickly to freaky shadows and cursed spiders. Nicole turns to her best friend, Lizzie, for help, along with fellow student Austin Young, who is considered by all a magical rarity. He also happens to be the hottest guy on campus and just might be interested in her. 

Nicole soon finds herself competing to be included on a university-led expedition to Arches National Park. She is determined to show everyone, but mostly herself, that she does belong. Yet, to qualify for the trip, she must produce at least a speck of Wind magic, and that appears to be impossible. 

As the competition progresses, Nicole wonders if she’s making the right choice—especially when she learns that the strange fossils they’ll be studying in Arches might not be as dead as everyone thinks. 

Anyone who is a fan of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett will enjoy Author Andrea Pearson’s latest series Katon University. Discern has just the right amount of creepiness (the spiders made my skin crawl for hours after) to make me think twice about turning the lights off at night without the gruesomeness of most horror books. Marketed as a paranormal romance, it is a breath of fresh air in this genre. The Aretes, magical fourth children, and the unique manifestations of their elemental magic definitely piqued my interest.

Although the book follows Nicole, an Arete who struggles to channel her magic, her best friend, Lizzie, and the other characters are just as compelling. I especially enjoyed Austin Young’s character and his interactions with Nicole. He has a lot to deal with himself but when his friend’s needs help he steps up.

The pace of the book was great! It flowed smoothly from one scene to the next. By the end, I saw how everything worked together even though many elements were introduced. The ending was satisfying for a first book but also left plenty of questions to be answered in subsequent books. It will be great to learn more about this unique magical system and the things still haunting Nicole’s every step.

Discern is currently free on Amazon

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Will My Child Be Ready? Review

Mothers have an immeasurable influence and a significant responsibility in raising up young men and women who are prepared to further the work of the Lord. This unique resource includes 12 training chapters for moms of prospective missionaries, all written by mothers who have sent children on missions (and some by mothers who have also served as mission presidents wives). Whether you have young children and are hoping to begin the mission training process early or you have less than a year to pull all the pieces together, here is the good news: the path of preparing a child for a mission begins wherever you are. Chapters on topics such as fostering good daily habits, developing relationship skills, being resilient, and recognizing the Spirit shed light on what future missionaries need to know, what they need to do, and what they need to be.

One of my biggest concerns as a mom of young boys is how to prepare them to one day serve a mission (a two year, unpaid call to serve in the name of the Lord that Latter-day saint boys and many girls serve when they turn eighteen and nineteen respectively) and, when they return, to become good husbands and fathers. It sometimes feels like an impossible task in a world that bombards children with vulgarity and messages of instant gratification. This book offers some great advise on what important spiritual strengths and life skills our young children can develop to help them navigate the pitfalls of life.

I love how this book doesn't dwell on specific ways to teach our children important principles, but rather on pointing out what from these missionary moms experiences are key things all missionaries know or wish they'd known before they entered the mission field. Among these are things I've never considered such as the ability to sew on their own buttons and do basic cooking at least. Guess I better get busy. *smile* However the examples they share of their children developing their own spiritual strength give me hope for my sons and helpful ways I can guide them toward finding their own. For anyone with future missionaries of any age, I would suggest this book that offers both advice and cheerful anecdotes. The scriptures that start and end each chapter tie everything in each section together and help us realize that we aren't alone on this journey to raise youth who know how to be valiant in the face of opposition.


Will My Child Be Ready? is available at Amazon for both Kindle and print.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Diamond Looking Glass Cover Reveal

The third book in The Cleopatra's Legacy series will be out the end of October. For anyone who hasn't heard of this series it is a great middle-grade read that I love for its exciting mix of history, mythology/magic, and cool settings. It is a great series to help kids get interested in history and the rich heritage of places like New Orleans, Paris, etc.

The series follows different young people and their discovery of artifacts left behind by the great Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Each artifact has a unique power that takes the characters on a fast-paced race to find answers and dodge seedy bad guys intent on claiming the powers for their own. If you would like more information on the series check out Dorine White's website here.

For now, enjoy this fabulous new cover. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Summer Book Trek 2015

Anyone who reads my blog knows I love finding new clean books to share with others. I'm super excited to participate in Summer Book Trek 2015! Such a great idea to help make it through the hot July weather. This is a summer reading program for the month of July. You get to discover great new favorite authors and earn points to enter to win some of my favorite things: books!

My reading list this month includes

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
Miss Match by Lindzee Armstrong
Light and Shadow by Jacob Gowans
Bound in Blue by Heather Hamilton-Senter
The Kiss that Launched a Thousand Gifs by Sheralyn Pratt

I'm eager to read the new fantasy books on the list. I hope you all have an awesome summer and join the fun.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What Heaven Feels Like Review

This post features musical artist Calee Reed, and her great new release. I know, a bit different then my normal fare. While few things can beat a good book, I'll admit music has often been a strong source of inspiration and revelations for me. The right song, at the right time, has often humbled or empowered me, depending on the situation. Enough of that though. On to why you stopped by today. 

A native of San Diego, CALEE REED has been writing and singing songs since she was a little girl. Her latest work shows her at her peak vocally and stylistically. She writes songs that capture raw emotion and vivid imagery, helping the listener tune into their own faith journey and find the peace and joy that she points out from her own experience. As a new mother, she makes poignant observations about the depth and meaning of the human experience, with all of its ups and downs. Her latest album is a heartfelt testimony that reflects the joy she has found in her journey.

My Review:
I'd never heard of Calee Reed before this, so when I received a copy of her disc I didn't know what to expect. The songs blew me away! The lyrics, sung like a lullaby in Calee's gentle voice, captured the essence of humanity and its struggles. Her song, I am Enough, spoke to my own inner self-doubts that I'm sure everyone faces at some point and time. A poignant reminder that God loves us, even in our imperfections. I'll definitely add this to my Sunday listening collection.