Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review of Esther the Queen

In between swim lessons, doctor, and dentist appointments I've been doing some reading. I just finished up another book by one of my favorite authors, Heather B. Moore.

I'm betting that most of you have heard the story of Esther from the Bible--a recounting of a woman with extraordinary faith and courage. Now I'd like to invite you to delve into the story deeper than you could ever imagine. Heather has an incredible work ethic when it comes to research. In Esther the Queen, she brings Persia to life with all of its traditions and conflicts. This isn't a preachy doctrinal book though--this is a fictionalized account of Esther, her marriage to King Ahauserus and the very real threat the Jews faced at the time. Heather writes in such a way that you will experience the romance, struggles, and resolution of Esther.

After reading Esther the Queen, I felt a renewed respect for this woman and her faith in God. If you're looking for an incredible read that is uplifting AND will keep you glued to the pages, get this one.

Learn more about Heather's books here:

Here's the blurb for Esther the Queen:

She is a beautiful young Jewess, content in her life of anonymity.
He is the most powerful king in the world.
When chance brings the two together, the course of history is forever altered.
The glittering court of the Persian Empire serves as the backdrop for one of the most poignant tales of courage in the Bible, brought vividly to life in the pages of bestselling author H.B. Moore’s sweeping saga. And it begins on a dusty road in the Jewish Quarter . . .
An unexpected meeting between Esther and King Xerxes results in an immediate and unmistakable connection. When Esther is summoned to enter the king’s harem—the first step toward becoming his wife—Esther is torn between her desire to be with Xerxes and the knowledge that they will forever be divided by the secret of her Jewish heritage. Encouraged by her family to do what she must to help her people, she deftly navigates her new position in the palace, quickly becoming beloved by all—including Xerxes.
But when a treacherous plan threatens to engulf the kingdom in violence, Esther must choose between love and duty. Is she prepared to sacrifice all that she holds dear in order to save her people from certain annihilation?

I'd love to know what you're reading this summer and if you think this sounds like a book you'd like to add to your to-read list.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cover Reveal for My Own Mr. Darcy!

I'm so excited to take part in the cover reveal for Karey White's new book!

I absolutely loved her book For What It's Worth, you can see an author interview I hosted earlier with Karey here:

I'll be part of the blog tour for My Own Mr. Darcy and I can't wait to tell you what I think of her new book! Here's some info and a contest for you now.

After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

Excerpt 1

Janessa folded her arms and looked at me for so long I started to squirm. “What?”
“I wish you’d look at yourself. You’re ruining your life with this stupid obsession.”
“I’m not obsessed.” I stood up quickly, nearly tipping my chair over. I rinsed my plate and put it in the dishwasher. I could feel Janessa’s eyes on me the entire time, but I refused to look at her. “And just because I’m not interested in this guy doesn’t mean my life is ruined.”
“Let me guess. Was he blond?”
“Knock it off.”
“Too short?”
“He wasn’t short. I’ve got to go.” I left the kitchen with Janessa on my heels.
“Was he too cheerful?”
“Oh brother. I’m not having this conversation with you.”
Janessa grabbed my arm and turned me toward her. “Yes, you are.”
“I’m going to be late for work.”
“Then we’d better talk fast.”
“I don’t have anything to say,” I said.
“Then I’ll talk. You listen. You have to start giving these guys a chance.”
I folded my arms tightly. “I give them a chance.”
“You give them one date, two at the most. But you’re not really giving them a chance because your mind’s already made up before you even go out.”
I was getting annoyed. “I don’t have time for this conversation again.” Janessa was practically reciting word for word what she’d said after my last date. And the one before that.
“Lizzie. If you don’t want to have the same conversation, do something different. Shake things up a little.” She smiled and did a little shimmy. I refused to smile no matter how silly she looked.
“How do you suggest I do that?”
“If this guy… What’s his name?”
“If Chad calls you back, go out with him again.”
“I don’t see the point.”
“Did you get a serial killer vibe from him?”
“No, I got a nice-guy-that-doesn’t-deserve-to-be-led-on vibe from him.”
“Nice guys are good. So you’ll say yes, right?”
“If I’m not interested, it wouldn’t be fair to say yes.”
“Oh knock off the baloney. You haven’t been fair to a guy since high school. You’re just afraid if you get to know a guy, you might like him. And wouldn’t that be awful? Was Chad funny?”
“Yes, he was funny.”
I sighed. “I don’t know if I’d call him handsome, but he was cute.”
“Cute is good. Especially if he was funny. So go out with him again.”
“You act like it’s all up to me.” I walked to the closet and collected my purse. Like a tiger leaping on her prey, Janessa pounced at the bowl on the entry table and grabbed my car keys. “This isn’t funny, Janessa. I’m going to be late for work.”
“Then let’s make a deal. You agree to go out with him ten times before you toss him aside and I’ll give you your keys.”
“Ten times? No way.”
“That’ll give you time to get to know him.”
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
“I’m serious, Lizzie. Ten is a good number. In that amount of time, you can make a real decision. Instead of one based on a stupid movie.”
Now Janessa was skipping through a minefield. “It’s not a stupid movie and I’ve got to go.”
“It’s the stupidest movie in the world if it ruins your life.”
“Nothing’s ruining my life and I’m going to be late. Give me my keys and we’ll talk about this later.” A little tussle ensued as I tried to rescue my keys from her clutches. I almost had them when she darted to the bathroom and shut the door hard and fast, locking it behind her. “This is real mature.”
“I don’t care about mature. You’re my best friend, Lizzie.  I love you and I’m trying to save you from yourself.”
I banged on the door. “Give me the keys. Now.” My voice had become shrieky.
“I’ll give you the keys as soon as you promise you’ll go out with him ten times.”
“I doubt he’ll ask me out again.”
“Why? Were you a jerk?”
“Are you sure?”
I hesitated, knowing I hadn’t been very good company. “I’m pretty sure.”
“If he doesn’t ask you out, you have to ask him.”
“No way am I asking out a guy ten times. No way!”
“You just have to ask him out once. If he doesn’t return the favor you can move on. But you have to be nice to him and give him a reason to want to ask you out again.”
“This is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had.”
“Listen Liz, I’m doing this for you. Give a guy a chance before you give him the old heave-ho.”
I leaned my head on the door. “Just give me the keys. Please.” Now I was whining.
“You’re the one keeping yourself from your keys. And probably true love.”
I looked at my watch. Now I’d have to risk a speeding ticket or get to work five minutes late. I wasn’t sure which was worse—a ticket from a police officer or a tongue-lashing from Delia.
“Fine. I’ll go out with him again if he asks me.”
“If he doesn’t ask me, I’ll ask him?”
“Right. And how many times will you go out with him?”
“Way too many,” I said under my breath.
“I can’t hear you.”
“Ten times. If he asks me.”
The door cracked open. “And you’ll be nice to him?”
“Whatever you say. Now give me the keys.”
Janessa emerged from the bathroom and triumphantly dropped my keys into my outstretched hand.
“You’re an idiot,” I said.
“An idiot that loves you and wants you to be happy,” she said. She turned and headed down the hall. “Someday you’ll thank me,” she sang.
“If I don’t kill you first.” I slammed the door behind me.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I'm Visiting Today and a Great New Cookbook for Kids by Christina Dymock

Today the lovely Angie Lofthouse interviewed me on her blog. If you'd like to see my mostly one-word answers to this fun interview, hop over here:
Then come back and read about the new cookbook that just came out!

I have four little kids who are excited about eating. They also love helping to cook in the kitchen so when I heard about this new cookbook, Young Chefs: Cooking Skills and Recipes for Kids, I definitely wanted to try it out. I received a copy for review from the publisher and my kids ogled over the great layout. Lots of pictures, bright colors, and one of my favorite parts were the cool little facts and quotes included in the cookbook.

 I had so much fun with this cookbook that I invited Christina to guest post over on
Here's a sneak peek of her excellent post on Teaching Young Chefs.

 "Are you one of those moms who prefer to do it herself? Ah, I know you’re out there. You take it all on so you don’t have to redo or clean up someone else’s mess, right? I'm guessing you are also stressed out. Here’s the thing, you can relieve your work load and have fun with your kids in the kitchen. “How?” you ask with a bemused look." 
Read Christina's advice here:

You can also learn more here:

Here's a little more about this new cookbook: Young Chefs by Christina Dymock- Hey kids! It’s time to take charge in the kitchen. Become a young chef as you make your favorite foods and explore new recipes with everything from Game Day Hot Dogs to Lemon Shark Bars. Each recipe tells your parents when help is needed and also includes stories, jokes, and history about the recipes. You’ll be whipping up masterpieces in no time. Let’s get cookin’!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Summer of a Million Gifts

Deseret Book Kicks-off a Summer of a Million Gifts
Prizes include an 8-day cruise, a missionary wardrobe, a wedding reception, and daily gifts


Deseret Book is looking to give back this summer with its Summer of a Million Gifts. The store’s customers can anticipate random daily in-store gifts and an opportunity to win one of three grand prizes.

In June, one lucky customer will win an 8-day Caribbean Cruise with Alex Boye, British-born LDS singer and songwriter, courtesy of Morris Murdock Travel. In July, another will win a missionary wardrobe courtesy of Mr. Mac. And in August, one couple will win a wedding reception courtesy of Temple Square Hospitality.

The giving will take place online and in person at every store throughout the summer months. Each day on Deseret Book’s official Facebook page and in Deseret Book stores, an associate will give a gift to at least one customer a free pass to Lagoon theme park, double Platinum points, a free book at check-out, an act of service, or some other free prize.

More information about the Summer of a Million Gifts can be found online at, on Facebook at, or in any of Deseret Book’s retail locations.
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review of Teaching the Book of Mormon

I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the holy scriptures are a very important part of my life. I study the Bible and The Book of Mormon. I love how the scriptures teach of Jesus Christ and I'm always looking for ways to impart my love of the Savior to my children. This new book that I'm reviewing today is a valuable resource for parents, teachers, seminary teachers, etc. It's written by John S. Bushman, Reed Romney, John R. Manis, & Curt R. Wakefield.

The format is excellent and easy to navigate. I love the large size of the book, about the size of a piece of 8 1/2" X by 11" paper--great manual, easy to jot down notes and work in to bring the meat of the scriptures to those you are teaching.

Teaching the Book of Mormon is full of powerful teaching ideas to change lives. Helpful components include creative object lessons, group activities, discussion questions and more to build an influential atmosphere of learning and interaction. With this all-inclusive resource, parents and teachers will engage their children, their seminary students, or their Sunday School class in powerful learning. It contains creative & powerful lesson ideas and a place for personal notes and the scripture text all in a glance to make putting together a powerful lesson a snap.

Note that this is only Part 1 covering 1 Nephi to Alma 16, so there will be more to come. If you're looking for a great teaching help, a resource that will answer questions and spark discussion, this is the book for you!

 A little about the authors: John Bushman, Reed Romney, John Manis, and Curt Wakefield have been teaching the scriptures for many years to youth and young adults. In this book they are sharing dozens of years of great ideas.
To find out more about Teaching the Book of Mormon and to peek inside, visit us at


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