Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Back to the Books Giveaway Hop! A big thank you to Kathy @ I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Heather from Buried in Books for co-hosting this hop!

There are 300 blogs each signed up to host a giveaway.  This hop runs from September 1st to 7th.

The winner of the giveaway on my site will receive a $10 gift card to Amazon! Use it to buy one of my two books (Adventures with the Word of God or Family Home Evening Adventures), or anything else you like.

To enter:

1. Follow this blog
2. Like my author page on Facebook (here)
3. And leave me a comment about one of the chapter topics in either of my books that interests you most (click on linked titles below to read more about my books - see under book description for some chapter topics listed):

Good luck!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 68:25-28

Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Review: Matched

I recently hosted a book club meeting where we discussed Ally Condie's book Matched. I had bought an ebook version of this while in Yellowstone this past summer - we were staying in Snow Lodge and had a wonderful time relaxing, enjoying nature, and reading (of course). I finished this book in a day or two because is was imaginative and had a quick moving plot. What was particularly interesting was Condie's ability to take good ideas and turn them bad through the use of extremism and a dysfunctional society (qualifying this book to be part of a new genre called 'dystopian'). I look forward to the upcoming two books of this trilogy.

From the back of the book: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Read additional reviews of Matched on Goodreads here.

A few other books by Ally Condie include: Freshman for President
Crossed (second book in the Matched trilogy)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Check It Out

Here is a link to the latest article I have had published by the Deseret News. Enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Smile for Your Weekend

I majored in advertising in college, so I love to look at funny ads. Here are a few fun print ads (taken from here) that made me smile. Enjoy!

Tires That Grip the Road

Cafe Rico, an Intense Wake-Up Call

Rowenta: 2100 Watt Vacuum Cleaner

Folgers: For Mornings Less Complicated

Duende Azul Costumes

Never Let Their Toys Die

Scripture of the Day: Mormon 8:23

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ask The Editor #2

My DH kinda got me hooked on these Merriam-Webster Ask the Editor videos. I have learned something from every one I have watched, and have even begun using some of this new-found knowledge in my writing. So, I thought I would start sharing some of them with you. Enjoy!

This installment is about ending sentences with prepositions, a problem we all worry about :-). I love the quote attributed to Winston Churchill at the end!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 26:1

Monday, August 22, 2011

Book Review: The List

Some of you may recall that The List by Melanie Jacobson was on my list of books to read for the summer. I bought the Kindle version to read on my iPad and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I would have to say this is the best LDS romance I have read in a while! (I confess I have already read it three times, it was that good.) And i am so looking forward to Jacobson's new book being released next month.

But back to The List - I was impressed with the dialogue. I read on Jacobson's blog that she is a fan of Gilmore Girls, which I love as well. If you love quick witted, fun banter, then this book will impress you. And the use of IM-ing was a nice touch, as well.

The main character in The List, Ashley Barrett, was a more complex character that I typically find in LDS romance. She was very well rounded and was motivated by factors many relate to. As for the male lead, Matt Gibson, I loved his grand gesture to win over Ashley's heart (a la Pride and Prejudice).

From the back of the book: Ashley Barrett doesn’t want to get married. At least, not anytime soon. She doesn’t care how many of her friends and family members and fellow churchgoers had weddings before they finished college—the last thing she needs in her fun-loving twenties is the dead-weight of some guy. And that’s why she created The List. By the time she completes all twenty-five goals—from learning a language to skydiving to perfecting the art of making sushi—she’ll be more ready to settle down. Maybe.

This summer in California is a prime time for Ashley to cross two items off the list: learn to surf (#13) and have a summer romance (#17). And Matt Gibson, the best surf instructor in Huntington Beach and the most wanted guy in the singles ward, is the perfect man for the job. Ashley hatches a plan to love him and leave him before heading off to grad school in the fall (#4, get a master’s degree). But when Matt decides he doesn’t like the "leaving" part, Ashley’s carefully laid plans are turned sideways. Now Ashley faces an unexpected dilemma: should she stick to the safety of The List, or risk everything for a love that may tie her down—or might set her free?

Read additional reviews of The List on Goodreads here.

Also by Melanie Jacobson: Not My Type

Scripture of the Day:  Mosiah 13:11

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Preparing LDS teens for seminary

Hi all! Here is the link to my latest article picked up by Deseret News. And a huge thank you to my friend Lori for contributing - she was a lifesaver!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hate that Autocorrect

This morning on Good Morning America they showed some funny text autocorrect gaffes that got me laughing. After checking out the website I thought I would share a few. Too bad the website these are pulled from isn't cleaner - I would check it out more regularly. As it is, I will not likely go back. But, here is a laugh to get you ready for the weekend.

Scripture of the Day: Deut. 6:7

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The missing website

Thanks all for checking out my article on Mormon Times - it had over 9000 hits! Here is the website that was edited from the article. I had blogged about this site several years ago. But I still think it is worth a second mention. Variety is definitely the spice of life when it comes to family scripture study.

Have you ever wanted to see a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon in person? The next best thing is already available online at This site has page-by-page digital images of a first edition available for viewing. Why not also use it for some of your family scripture reading? If it feels like your family has read the story of Nephi and the brass plates one too many times, try reading it from this online first edition Book of Mormon. It feels like a whole new experience.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 9:8

Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Review: A Better Reason to Fall in Love

On a recent boring Friday night I bought an ebook version of Marcia Lynn McClure's book A Better Reason to Fall in Love.This was the first book I have read by McClure and my lackluster evening was certainly brightened by her fun-loving, humorous style. I loved her incorporation of the six-degrees of separation as related to Kevin Bacon - a clever device I have never seen used in a book before. McClure's main characters were charming, although I kept waiting for a roadblock or challenge to overcome in their relationship; it never came. So, although it was a bit idealistic, I will likely be reading more of McClure's work in the near future. {Sadly, I have a lot of humdrum Friday nights to fill.}

Book Excerpt:
“Boom chicka wow wow!” Emmy whispered.
“Absolutely!” Tabby breathed as she watched Jagger Brodie saunter past.
She envied Jocelyn for a moment, knowing he was most likely on his way to drop something off on Jocelyn’s desk—or to speak with her.  Jocelyn got to talk with Jagger almost every day, whereas Tabby was lucky if he dropped graphics changes off to her once a week.
“Ba boom chicka wow wow!” Emmy whispered again.  “He’s sporting a red tie today!  Ooo!  The power tie!  He must be feeling confident.”
Tabby smiled, amused and yet simultaneously amazed at Emmy’s observation.  She’d noticed the red tie, too.  “There’s a big marketing meeting this afternoon,” she told Emmy.  “I heard he’s presenting some hard-nose material.”
“Then that explains it,” Emmy said, smiling.  “Mr. Brodie’s about to rock the company’s world!”
“He already rocks mine…every time he walks by,” Tabby whispered.

Read additional reviews on Goodreads here.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 88:118

Friday, August 12, 2011

Back to School

This past Wednesday the kids started back to school. I always have mixed feelings about this--it makes me sad to see them getting so mature and grown up (I miss my babies!). But they are always so excited to start back that it is contagious. And I have to admit I love having a cleaner house and some more quiet personal time.

Here is Patch (middle) with his friend (and friend's sister). This year Patch starts high school and is going to the same HS I attended. Honestly, this makes me feel OLD! I love how his expression in this picture reads, "Get it over with already, Mom!" He is such a teenager now.

And here are Kitty and Sweetie Peach. Kitty starts sixth grade while Sweetie Peach is in third. Sweetie Peach is wearing her bling-ed out tennis shoes, which Patch said had "too many sprinkles" on them. Kitty has been wearing t-shirts she got from Justice these first few days of school, including this hedgehog one. I'm not a fan of Justice, but the girls love their t-shirts.

This should be a good year of school. I have an easy go of carpool this year and kids in only two schools. Next year, though, I will have kids in three different schools - YIKES! I won't worry about that today though (so the Scarlett O'Hara in me thinks); I will think about that next year.

Scripture of the Day: Mosiah 13:11

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ask The Editor #1

My DH kinda got me hooked on these Merriam-Webster Ask the Editor videos. I have learned something from every one I have watched, and have even begun using some of this new-found knowledge in my writing. So, I thought I would start sharing some of them with you. Enjoy!

This first one is about pluralizing the word 'octopus.' It is nice to know there is more than one right answer for this mystery. Although, octopolese (sp?) sound kinda cool...

Scripture of the Day: D&C 90:15

Monday, August 8, 2011

Deseret News Article

Last week I had an article accepted for publication on Deseret News' online site. It went live this morning, so here is a link for you to check it out. Be sure to leave me a comment!

PS, They actually cut out one of the websites listed in the article (originally it was six). Next week I will publish my original draft of the article here on my blog so you can get the full effect.

Book Review: Montana Summer

My good friend Jen let me read this book, which was written by her relative Jeanette Miller. Montana Summer, published by Covenant Communications, is an LDS romance that addresses breaking up an engagement more seriously than any other book I have read previously. The author handles the challenging emotions of the situation in a believable and morally-grounded manner. And the emotional quality of the writing was potent without being overwhelming. I was pleasantly surprised by this debut novel and look forward to seeing more from Miller.

From the back of the book: "Life has never looked so promising for Shelby Hamlin. After weathering a lonely childhood, her father's death, and her mother's rejection for joining the Church, she is now engaged to someone who appears to be the ideal man: Brad Thompson, an ambitious BYU student who's stalwart in the gospel. And when Shelby travels alone to Brad's hometown in Montana while he's in California, she's warmly embraced by her future in-laws--with the exception of Cameron, Brad's resentful brother whose own engagement recently ended in bitter scandal. But as Cameron becomes Shelby's increasingly frequent companion in Brad's absence, their initial sparks of irritation become the glowing beginnings of a complicated romance. And as the two explore the breathtaking scenery of Big Sky country, Shelby's heart pulls her away from her carefully laid plans. Can she have the love she's always wanted without destroying the family of her dreams?"

Read additional reviews on Goodreads here.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Timothy 2:15

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lighten Up!

I am saddened by the news of the passing of Sister Chieko Okazaki today. Sister Okazaki made a tremendous impact on my life during the time I transitioned from young women to Relief Society. I remember looking forward to her talks and feeling her optimism.

I am one of many who purchased and read her book Lighten Up! In fact, it still sits on my bookshelf, dust jacket in near perfect condition, despite my use of her book in a number of talks and thoughts. I am sure I have read it two or three times, but I think maybe it is time to read it again. Here is one of my favorite quotes from her book:

"Let's remember that charity begins at home. Let's focus on loving our children for who they are right now and eliminating the feeling for them that they have to compete and struggle and achieve to be good enough. Let's focus on loving ourselves for who we are right now. We don't need to compete with an image of impossible perfection. Let's focus on letting love flow to our sisters and brothers. Let's accept and rejoice in their diversity. Let's offer the gift of understanding and acceptance. We don't need to judge. We don't need to compare. There's room for all of us. Let's allow our love for Jesus take the form of simple kindness and courtesy whenever we see a need."

Just a few weeks back a friend brought me three boxes of books she was getting rid of, and there among many others was Lighten Up! I remember thinking, "Oh, how could anyone get rid of such a great book?" But, she did.

So I have an extra copy of Lighten Up! In honor of Chieko Okazaki's memory I thought I would pass it on to any of my readers who might be interested. Leave me a comment telling me your thoughts and memories of Sister Okazaki if you would like this free copy. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Scripture of the Day: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What? A new blog post by who?

Yeah, I know it has been a while. Let's just call it a summer vacation.

Truthfully, what really happened was burn out. Last month I finally turned in a manuscript--after pushing quite hard to wrap it up. I decided to take a break for a few days, but it ended up stretching into several weeks. I was just worn out, sick of writing. So it was totally unintentional that my little vacay would last so long. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, though!

But I think I am ready to get back into my writing. I have been working on my fiction manuscript, debating what to do as my next big project, and even wrote an article (which has been accepted-yay!-but not posted yet) for Mormon Times. And now I am back to my blog.

It's good to be back.

Scripture of the Day: 3 Nephi 11:15