Posts Tagged: deseret book

Becca Wilhite Author Interview & Giveaway

14 Dec, 2010 by in book giveaway, my ridiculous romantic obsessions 6 comments

My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions
Becca Wilhite
Published by: Shadow Mountain

Book summary: Sarah Howard’s first year at the university is everything and nothing she expected especially when a very cute boy named Ben in her Art History class starts to show interest in her.

Sarah feels like she’s an average, normal, everyday girl. So, when Ben (to whom she secretly refers as Adonis because she thinks he could be a Greek god) begins to take interest in her, Sarah is in denial. For one thing, last year she was deeply crushed and humiliated by Jesse James a guy who she thought liked her.

She’s determined not to get burned again. But in her heart of hearts, what she really wants is a Jane Austen kind of romance. Ridiculous, right? That kind of romance doesn’t exist anymore . . . or does it? Sarah is smart and fun to be around and even pretty, despite her Medusa-like red curls. She even plays the guitar. (So does Ben!) Yes, Sarah is everything Ben has wanted. He’s crazy for her, but Sarah is just not getting it. She’s playing hard to get, and if she’s not careful, she’s going to lose a real hot gentleman — her 21st-century Mr. Darcy.

Thank you so much to author Becca Wilhite for joining our BIR2010 giveaways and answering a few interview questions! And thank you to fellow blogger Kathy for passing these on…

What do you do when you are in-between books?
Start writing something new. Watch a movie in the middle of the day. And cook a lot.

Where is your favorite place to read/write?
I have a red leather reading chair that sits beside the fireplace. That is a great winter reading spot. In summer, I love to read outside in the sunshine. (I know. I know. I have read the warning labels. But I love the sun.) I write in the kitchen when the family is all gone. That so does not work when anyone is home.

What is your guilty pleasure?

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I bought leather living room furniture. So when I see it, sit on it, dust it, vacuum around it every day, I remember that I’m a real writer. (You have to say it like Pinocchio would – “I’m a real writer!”)

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I loved “The Secret Garden” – but I didn’t discover it until I was 14 years old and working in the public library. I fell so in love with the illustrations by Tasha Tudor. So gorgeous.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Remember Joe Jackson? How about “Be My Number Two” for Bright Blue Miracle.

What do you find so appealing about the genre you write for? Would you try writing for a different genre?
I love writing YA, because I am totally intrigued by the learning phase of life. I love the “firstness” of YA themes – discovery and understanding, growth and messing up. I love to do contemporary YA comic fiction, because I think real life if pretty darn funny. And I have recently started writing a few short chapter-books, for those early-reader types. That’s fun, too.

See our review of Bright Blue Miracle here
and My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions here

Becca has donated one copy of My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions to our readers and we have one to add as well! Click here to enter. Two chances to win.

Music Review: Nearer

02 Dec, 2010 by in mindy gledhill, music, YA music Leave a comment

Audio CD
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Shadow Mountain
5 stars
In a first of its kind release, Nearer: A New Collection of Favorite Hymns is a fresh, current take on the hymns that are most loved by young adults. Keeping in mind a reverence and respect for these hymns, such artists as Kalai, Mindy Gledhill, Benton Paul, Sarah Sample, and others help young adults feel more in touch with the Lord through their music.

As a rule of thumb, I am very picky about the music I listen to because I have found what I tune into really affects my mood. Music speaks to my soul. This CD has changed me. It is incredible. The first thing I love is the jewel case cover….simple but serene. Some of my all-time favorite singers are on this album, notably Mindy Gledhill and Sarah Sample. They add a folky twist to traditional hymns while still keeping them close enough to their foundation. I recommend adding Nearer to your Christmas wish list and gifting it to Young Adults you know. It’s been played over and over in my home and I can’t say enough about it to those I love. Favorite track: Be Still My Soul, which is breathtaking. Absolutely five stars to a CD that rooted itself within my heart. Thank you so much to Deseret Book for sending this to me; I may never have found it on my own.

Listen to sample tracks from Nearer on Amazon here or Download the songs at Deseret Book here.

Book Review: The Water is Wide by Marianne Monson

26 Nov, 2010 by in marianne monson, mima journals, water is wide 3 comments

The Mima Journals
The Water is Wide
by Marianne Monson
Published Oct. 5, 2010
by Deseret Book
231 pages
4.5 stars

When Mima’s mother meets a pair of LDS missionaries in the small English town of Wood Box in 1844, Mima prays that the townspeople wont’ treat them any differently. But when her mother chooses to be baptized, Mima’s worst fears are recognized. Even her best friend refused to stand by her. So when her mother decides to leave for America, Mima is faced with some hard decisions. Should she stay in London with her brother, or face the journey to America with her mother and her strange new religion? Book one of three, The Water is Wide, begins the beautifully written adventure of a teenage girl who experiences the life of a pioneer as an outsider.

The Mima Journals Book One is an incredible historical fiction piece based on the author’s great great great Grandmother, Jemima (Mima). It begins in Wooden Box, Leicestershire England in January 1845 as Mima’s mother has decided to accept the Mormon faith and be baptized. Mima and her mother are at odds with each other because Mima cannot comprehend how their Anglican roots could so easily be left behind. Soon after her mother’s conversion the family is forced to leave their home, Providence House. Both board the Parthenon a ship headed for Nauvoo, leaving behind all they have ever known to join the Mormon settlement in the United States.

Aboard the ship Mima meets and befriends a young mother who herself is not a Mormon, traveling with her husband and they strike up a deep relationship. Questions of belief and loyalty are out in the open and Mima grapples with the weight of her mother’s decision to join the Saints. She also meets a handsome fiddler named Will Fardon. Mima must find her voice while sailing the treacherous seas and learn to sing again though she feels an outsider. The scenes with Will are my favorite tidbits of the story as he and Mima make harmony amidst unrest.

Part Two of The Water Is Wide is set in Nauvoo, Illinois in May 1845. Tension in the area is high when Mima and her mother arrive in “Zion.” Camps and towns are burned, mobs descend and homes are lost. Ultimately, the duo is uprooted and leave behind business, a promising singing career and the few friends they have made to travel West as pioneers. There are a few more stops along the way in parts 2 and 3, plus a certain someone who joins in their travels.

Marianne Monson’s writing is immersing and beautiful. Years of research and stories give life to the main character Mima and the trials she and her mother must endure. I really like that this novel was written from the daughter’s point of view as she is not a member of the new faith. We see the questions and persecutions converts and family members faced in England and on the Frontier. Mima’s singing and passion for music is a strong undercurrent, and her beginnings of belief are inspiring.

“Music is like water,” I said, drawing close to him.

How so?”

“The melody is like the surface of the water, easily seen. The notes and rhythm are like the hidden currents, the sandbars, and the murky depths below. But the whole thing pulls you forward in one direction leading you on a journey.” p. 210

Poetic passages with bits of actual songs made the story so much more alive for me. I will treasure it as an example of how family history meets fiction to create an ancestor’s masterpiece. Book One will be enjoyed by both members of the Mormon church and those not of the Mormon faith. Anyone intrigued by vocal music, or family history will be swept away in The Water is Wide. It’s foundation is solid and beautifully laid out. I am anxiously awaiting book two and thank Deseret Book for forwarding this one one to me. You’ll want to be introduced to Marianne Monson’s Mima and her fiddler friend Will.

To learn more visit

Review-The Fourth Nephite by Jeffrey S. Savage

10 Nov, 2010 by in the fourth nephite 24 comments

Hardcover, 263 pages
Published August 4th 2010
by Deseret Book Company
ISBN 160641657X
4.5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads…”Busted. Football star Kaleo Steele is caught under the high school bleachers with the wrong group of friends. Even worse, he’s caught by his seminary teacher, Brother Mortensen. If Kaleo gets turned in, he’ll be in jeopardy of missing the regional championship game. It doesn’t help that Kaleo has been cutting seminary class. But what’s the point? Mumbo jumbo stories about angels and gold plates and Joseph Smith? Brother Mortensen decides Kaleo is ready for an extraordinary “field trip” – one that could alter the course of his life and his heart.

Reluctantly, Kaleo meets with Ladan – a mysterious old blind man – and unknowingly begins a quest through time, landing in Palmyra, New York, in the fall of 1827. Soon, Kaleo and a nineteenth-century girl named Jennie are caught up in a battle between treasure seekers – led by Alistair Blackburn, a necromancer hired to steal the gold plates – and the young Joseph Smith, who has sworn to keep them safe.

In his quest to find a key that will send him back to his own time, Kaleo will have to decide for himself what to believe and who to trust. Before it’s too late.”

Every once in a while a book takes me completely by surprise and I close the pages with a smile on my face. The Fourth Nephite Series is one I now have my eye on, awaiting book two. Here are a few of the many reasons I loved the first book, The Fourth Nephite:

1) The cover. The top half of the front page is gold metallic paper with rusty holes, resembling golden plates. The rest of the cover illustration fits the plot within perfectly.

2) The author. I have met Jeffrey and his wife and two book signings and decided it was time to read his books. They are wonderful people who sit together at their booths and engage fans.

3) The scenes are places I’m familiar with. It’s fun to hear of tunnels beneath Salt Lake City and travel back in time to the thick woods of Palmyra where we visited as a youth and an adult.

4) The message is positive and interesting for both teenagers and adults. Common questions and doubts about the early history of the Mormon church are answered through Kaleo’s adventures. He learns that knowledge and faith must work together as a key.

5) The author’s notes were my favorite part of The Fourth Nephite. I love that Jeff uses real historical facts and names in his scenes. I wish he would have written more. When Joseph Smith speaks his own story to Kaleo, end notes or footnotes would be a useful reference for teens or others not familiar with his quoted words.

6) The writing mixes fantasy with reality in a tasteful way. I am one who usually runs far far away from series like this. But I was drawn in to Jeffrey’s writing, his characters and the quest of Kaleo. I will be reading the entire series and one day when my children are a little older we’ll read it together.

7) The journalistic pages written by Kaleo at the beginning of each chapter bring us back to the present thoughts of an every day average teenager and show the changes in his personality as he learns the truth for himself.

Well done Jeffrey Savage! I enjoyed his writing so much I picked up the first book in another one of Jeff’s other series called “Far World.” Learn more about it here and The Fourth Nephite Series here.

To enter to win your own copy of Far World: Water Keep another title by J. Scott Savage, simply comment below. Giveaway Ends December 10, 2010.

Mom’s Monday- Pingo by Brandon Mull

08 Nov, 2010 by in pingo, Shadow Mountain 20 comments

Illustrated by Brandon Dorman
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 5th 2009
by Shadow Mountain
ISBN 1606411098
5 stars

Description from Deseret “What happens when your imaginary friend turns into your imaginary enemy?

New York Times bestselling author Brandon Mull and No.1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Brandon Dorman team up in this new children’s picture book that explores the meaning of friendship and imagination.

Like many kids his age, Chad has an imaginary friend. His friend was Pingo. The two would fight ninjas, brew magical potions, and float in zero gravity. Each day was a fun-filled adventure, until Chad decided he was too old to have an imaginary friend. But Pingo wasn’t ready to leave Chad alone, and started tormenting him and causing all kinds of mischief. Can this once inseparable duo ever be friends again? Paired with charming illustrations, Pingo is a delightful read-out-loud picture book for children ages 3 and up.

Meet Pingo… complete with devil horns and polka dotted boxers. And get used to him because he’s not about to leave. He’s an imaginary friend turned to the dark side after being unsuccessfully dismissed by his owner. Pingo comes back playing pranks and leading Pirate raids in nighttime dreams. As Chad grows into an old man, he misses his side kick and they begin a whole new set of travels together. You’ll be giggling along with your children as the mischief is never ending!

Pingo has swiftly become a family favorite. How clever it is to see the floating Fablehaven book in Chad’s room during Zero gravity fun. Brandon Dorman’s illustrations are out of this world! Pair his talent with Brandon Mull’s writing and you have a winning combination. My children were entranced with this little troll and his bright yellow cover.

Enter to win a hardback copy of Pingo for your own home by leaving comment below. Contest ends December 8, 2010.

Book Review: My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite

05 Nov, 2010 by in my ridiculous romantic obsessions, new YA fiction, Shadow Mountain 2 comments

Paperback, 176 pages
Published March 3rd 2010
by Shadow Mountain
4 stars

Sarah Howard’s first year at the university is everything and nothing she expected especially when a very cute boy named Ben in her Art History class starts to show interest in her.

Sarah feels like she’s an average, normal, everyday girl. So, when Ben (to whom she secretly refers as Adonis because she thinks he could be a Greek god) begins to take interest in her, Sarah is in denial. For one thing, last year she was deeply crushed and humiliated by Jesse James a guy who she thought liked her.

She’s determined not to get burned again. But in her heart of hearts, what she really wants is a Jane Austen kind of romance. Ridiculous, right? That kind of romance doesn’t exist anymore . . . or does it? Sarah is smart and fun to be around and even pretty, despite her Medusa-like red curls. She even plays the guitar. (So does Ben!) Yes, Sarah is everything Ben has wanted. He’s crazy for her, but Sarah is just not getting it. She’s playing hard to get, and if she s not careful, she s going to lose a real hot gentleman — her 21st-century Mr. Darcy.

Becca Wilhite’s Bright Blue Miracle is one of the first books I read this year. I enjoyed, this, her second book even more. My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions is a fun light hearted, completely clean YA read. I found myself laughing out loud and smiling through most of the story.

Sarah is a college freshman dropped off by her completely self-absorbed neglectful parents to an apartment for her first experience living away from home. Roommate one is missing a face because it is constantly stuck to her boyfriend and roommate two does not talk. Good thing there’s her art history class…the reason she came to school in the first place. Best friend Chel forwarded her phone pics of the perfect TA last year and Sarah is convinced he could surely be her story book hero. So when Ben, aka Adonis, starts to show interest Sarah is confused. Surely things couldn’t be as they seem. Is he or isn’t he flirting?

The main heroine has flawed self-esteem and can’t seen to see what is right in front of her face, which I found funny up until the very last chapters, then it got to be a bit much. She is described as smart, but sometimes I wondered. I love that Sarah is not a picture perfect Barbie doll type. She has curves, out of control curls and a quirky personality. Ben, the main male isn’t perfect either, but he IS kind and genuine. I have to give him kudos for his honesty and for walking away when his affections and efforts weren’t reciprocated. He is sincere and down to earth. I found myself pulling for him.

Becca Wilhite kept me thoroughly entertained and her books are titles I will gladly pass on to my daughters. Thanks so much to Shadow Mountain and Deseret Book for sending me a copy of the book for review.

We are giving away My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite for you to enjoy. Simply fill out the form below to be entered. Ends December 5, 2010.


Review: Being Sixteen by Allyson Condie

02 Nov, 2010 by in YA contemporary 1 comment

Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 3rd 2010
by Deseret Book Company
ISBN 1606412337
5 stars

Juliet Kendall has been looking forward to her sixteenth birthday for what feels like forever. At first, it seems like being sixteen will be as perfect as she dreamed—she has great friends, a cute almost-boyfriend, a spot on the varsity girls’ basketball team, and even a car of her own. But, as the year goes on, she discovers that her sister Carly is hiding a secret, and realizes that, in fact, being sixteen may be her hardest year yet.

Being Sixteen is a coming-of-age story about two sisters and their different struggles. It addresses what it means to have a testimony, what it meant to be a friend and a sister, and what’s involved in the dealing with and overcoming an eating disorder.

The first time I saw this book on the shelf at Deseret Book I have to admit I put it back. I just wasn’t sure I was ready to read another book dealing with eating disorders. Then after reading Matched I decided I wanted to delve into more of Ally Condie’s past titles. Being Sixteen resonated with me on so many levels. It hit deep within my core and is now one of my top three favorite books of the year. I found myself in tears several times while reading. The overall message breathes truth and hope. Allyson Condie takes on eating disorders with grace and style. Her voice is poetic, and real. Here’s one of my favorite passages from Juliet, who struggles with isolation and disappointment in the wake of her sister’s disorder.

“On one level I was ashamed of how weak I was, of how I’d do anything to avoid feeling hurt. But on another level I felt almost strong, a little proud of the way I’d cut off the parts of my life that made me feel too much sadness.” p. 124

This is a book I would wholeheartedly recommend to every Young Woman I know as well as her parents. Many crucial facets of diagnosis, treatment and the long road to recovery from anorexia and bulimia are addressed. Two sister’s struggles and growing pains are woven beautifully into the pages showing that even those from strong functional families have life altering problems.

Being Sixteen explores the effects of an eating disorder on loved ones and family as well as how easily faith in Heavenly Father can dim, to later be rekindled. Thank you so much to Deseret Book for sending me this book for review. It is one that I will forever remember. Five stars plus.

In My Mailbox #19

29 Oct, 2010 by in book giveaway, saundra mitchell 47 comments

In My Mailbox is a bookish meme originally started by The Story Siren. Every week we’ll post about what books we have received that week (via your mailbox/library/store bought). The idea of In My Mailbox is to bring books to the attention of our blog readers and to encourage interaction with other blogs. This week here’s what’s in my mailbox….

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs purchased from the Book Depository
The Invisible Order Book One: Rise of the Darklings by Paul Crilley sent by publisher for review
Lifted by Wendy Toliver purchased from Fire Petal Books
Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell purchased from Fire Petal Books
Hanging By A Thread by Donald B Anderson received from author for review

And Mr. Fed Ex delivered a box of items for reviews and giveaways from Deseret Book. They were so kind and generous!

Mission To Be Happy by Michael McLean
Imprints by Rachel M Nunes
The Fourth Nephite by Jeffrey S Savage
The Water is Wide by Marianne Monson
Being Sixteen by Allyson Braithwaite Condie
Pingo by Brandon Mull and Brandon Dorman

Look for reviews on all of these titles coming soon. And thanks again to all of the publishers and authors who sent mail this week.

I’m giving away an author signed copy of Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell to our readers! Simply comment below with the title of a book you have on your wish list and you’re entered to win. Contest ends November 30, 2010.

Ladies’ Night Author Signings

03 Oct, 2010 by in Heather Gardner Photography, utah authors 2 comments

Saturday October 2, 2010 Deseret Book stores hosted Ladies Night with giveaways, live music and book releases. We were able to meet these local authors as they signed:

G.G. VandagriffPieces Of Paris
Nancy AndersonLeaning Into The Curves
Sheralynn Pratt- City Limits
Wendy Paul101 Gourmet Cupcakes and Cookies
Heather B. MooreOut of Jerusalem Series
Merrilee Browne BoyackStrangling Your Husband Is Not An Option
Heidi S SwintonTo The Rescue: Thomas S. Monson biography
Brenda L HopkinLion House Pies
Catherine Rae Purves & Tuesday Mourning- Libby Boom
Gale Sears
The Silence of God
Laura F. Willes Christmas With The Prophets

View the photos one by one on Twitter at
All rights reserved Heather Gardner Photography

Thanks so much to Deseret Book for hosting an amazing night!

Pieces of Paris by G.G. Vandagriff

28 Sep, 2010 by in pieces of paris, Shadow Mountain 23 comments

320 pages
To Be Published October 13th 2010
by Shadow Mountain Publishing
ISBN 1606418386

Is it possible to forget who you once were?

Annalisse and Dennis seem to be living the American dream until Annalisse’s secret past threatens to destroy their family. This skillfully crafted novel from Whitney Award winner G. G. Vandagriff explores the long-term effects of personal tragedy in haunting flashbacks of Annalisse’s former life–flashbacks that are interwoven with a passionate romance to reveal a person entirely different from the woman Dennis thought he had married. But as Annalisse struggles with long-buried memories, Dennis’s investigation of a toxic waste incident ignites the wrath of a former political ally and an industrial firm that will go to any lengths to cover up a shocking crime. Can Annalisse reconcile her turbulent past with her present life before it’s too late? And can Dennis find a way to save his family and the town they’ve called home?

This is the first book I have read by G.G. Vandagriff though I’ve met her briefly a couple of times at Authorpalooza events. So first off, special thanks to her and Shadow Mountain for letting me take a sneak peek at her newest novel for women.

Told through the eyes of a married couple and from two alternate points of view, Pieces of Paris opens with Annalisse, a woman in her twenties, living on a farm in the Ozarks. She is pregnant with her second child and suddenly finds herself being haunted by the past. Her stable life with husband Dennis, a local lawyer, begins to crumble as she can’t shake memories that come in the way of flashbacks. Meanwhile, Dennis is battling with a case which stirs up controversy and puts their family in danger. His lifelong dream of an escape to Eden and a peaceful life are threatened by Annalisse’s sudden change in behavior and the hot bed of unrest in his town. The two of them pull apart for the first time as a couple and both begin to wonder if their marriage is not at all what they wanted or expected. Can Annalisse salvage the passion and talent she once felt without losing herself to the past? Can Dennis love her as she really is?

Pieces of Paris does a masterful job of weaving a captivating story with real life issues like manic depression and the true definition of love. It’s a book that is likely to evoke strong emotions for anyone with experience with mental illness or PTSD. She pushes buttons on some hot topics: racism and environmental clean up as well as small town politics. The book has some very tough and graphic moments as Annalisse learns she has to move through the pain or her past in order to overcome it. However, in the end the overall message is one of hope and finding a center that can’t be lost. It was evident from the detail in Pieces of Paris that Ms. Vandagriff is a highly intelligent, cultured person with a deep knowledge of psychology. (We’re excited to interview her soon!) 25 years in the making, Pieces of Paris is a glimpse of her talent. Visit her website at to learn about her other published works and upcoming events.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a Paris necklace from our shop.

Giveaway ends October 28, 2010 and is open internationally.