Wednesday, March 28, 2012


There is a great feeling that comes from accomplishing a goal (especially ahead of schedule). Just in case you missed it, here is a visual representation of my completion of the "Read 'em All" challenge.

If you followed any of my 2011 Whitney Award Finalist reviews, you'll see that I didn't love all of the books. But, the majority of the books were well written, even if they weren't a genre I cared for. I was happy to discover some authors to keep my eye on (and a few to avoid-although that wasn't a happy thing, but rather something helpful to know).

I am excited to hear who wins each of the Whitney Awards.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


SlayersSlayers by C.J. Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dragons are not just mythical creatures. There are a few still alive and an evil man (a descendant of a Dragon Lord who inherited his powers to control dragons) is waiting for a few more eggs to hatch in order to take control of the United States government.

A select few pregnant women who carried descendants of the knights who fought the dragons years ago came near the eggs and the powers to fight dragons was awakened in the babies. These Slayers have been searched out and trained to help save their country.

Slayers focuses primarily on one Slayer, Tori. She's the daughter of a wealthy Senator, and has lived a privileged life. She has no idea why she is so interested in dragons, but jumps at the opportunity to go to a dragon camp one summer. It is at the camp that she learns who she really is, and the revelation is anything but the relief she hoped for.

This was a fun story with enjoyable characters, suspense, action, and some romance. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Alloy of Law

The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4)The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This is a tough book to rate. It took awhile to get into the story (not too surprising since I was a bit lost diving into this sequel to a trilogy I was unfamiliar with). The descriptions of Allomancy and Feruchemy and how they worked was somewhat lengthy and confusing at times. But, the story of a man returning to his home and responsibilities after living as a lawman in the Rough (like the Wild West) eventually drew me in. The characters were great, especially Wax and Wayne (except for some of their language).

I was hoping for more closure, but the book was left open. I'm not sure if a sequel is in the works or not though.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Acceptable Loss

Acceptable LossAcceptable Loss by Anne Perry

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

William Monk, commander of the River Police, has a new murder to solve. Criminal Mickey Parfitt's strangled and bludgeoned body washed up, and although it's widely agreed that everyone is better off with him dead, Monk can't ignore the need to find the murderer.

This is my first Anne Perry book, and it will be my last. The crimes that were being committed (child pornography and prostitution) really bothered me, but I imagine each Monk novel has different subject matter. What I was really turned off by was the swearing (especially the numerous times the Lord's name was taken in vain). Knowing that Perry is LDS makes this even worse.

Oh, and there was also that bit at the end where a new crime was committed and you don't find out who did it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Night of Blacker Darkness

A Night of Blacker DarknessA Night of Blacker Darkness by Dan Wells

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a hilarious story about a banker who discovers that a little forgery could land him 90,000 pounds . . . until he's double crossed and ends up in prison. Follow Frederick and the funny cast of characters (John Keats, Mary Shelley, Jane Austen) as he escapes from prison and tries to get the money while running from the law, ghouls and vampires.
My favorite quote in the book was:

"You want to die by way of death? I didn’t know there were any other options.” 

“Of course there are! It’s called ‘a long and pointless existence,’ and it is the leading cause of people not being alive."

Other than some drawn out silliness and a few swear words, the book was entertaining.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Miles from Ordinary

Miles from OrdinaryMiles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If I could only use one word to describe Miles from Ordinary it would be depressing. No child should have the sole responsibility to care for their mentally ill parent, but that is the situation we find fourteen-year-old Lacey in. She longs for freedom, but love keeps her bearing the daily burden.

I wouldn't be surprised if I had nightmares about this book. Mental illness is just so difficult to read about. There were moments of light, and the ending was definitely happier than the beginning, but it was still so dark.

This is not my kind of book, and I wouldn't recommend it because it is so depressing. But, it was well written and (horrifyingly) realistic.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sean Griswold's Head

Sean Griswold's HeadSean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every once in awhile I come across a book that I can relate to. It is typically unexpected, and Sean Griswold's Head was no exception. I definitely didn't think I'd relate to the book based on the title, or the excerpt from the back (although that made me laugh), but I did relate and I really enjoyed it.

Honor student Payton Gritas is blindsided when she discovers that her dad has multiple sclerosis, especially that she's the last to find out. Her mom makes her talk to the school guidance counselor, who assigns Payton to have a focus journal. Trying to pick an object that won't let her think about her dad's deterioration, she decides to focus on the thing right in front of her . . . Sean Griswold's head.

This book takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride. I really appreciated that there were a lot more ups than downs, even in a difficult situation.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tuesdays at the Castle

Tuesdays at the CastleTuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really cute story about a magical castle that is alive (always building rooms and moving things around) and the royal family that lives there. When half of the royal family is attacked and disappears, 11-year-old Celie and two of her siblings must keep the bad guys from taking over.

I think my 2nd grader will really enjoy this.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


BloodborneBloodborne by Gregg Luke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dr. Erin Cross is working on a vaccine that could save millions of lives world wide, but she suddenly finds herself on the run. People are being killed, and she is a target. Sean Flannery, ex-Special Ops, tries to protect Dr. Cross while fighting his own demons.

For the most part I really enjoyed this book. The chapters from Erin and Sean's points of view were great and filled with suspense. I didn't find much beneficial from the chapters told from Magnus' pov (many of the details in these chapters didn't move the story along). Dr. Krantz's chapters were ok, but I'm usually not a fan of the soap opera jumping around style. It was nice when everything came together.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Smokescreen (Saint Squad, #5)Smokescreen by Traci Hunter Abramson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Taylor cuts her stay in Paris short after her hotel room becomes a crime scene. Upon returning to the US it appears that the incident in her room wasn't random. She reconnects with Quinn, a Navy SEAL she was dating before she left to paint in Europe, and they have to sort through their feelings for each other while trying to figure out why Taylor's art seems to be bringing trouble.

This was a pretty enjoyable story. Some of the situations seemed pretty unrealistic, but I read that the author used to work for the CIA, so maybe it was more realistic than it seemed.

Friday, March 16, 2012

No Angel

No AngelNo Angel by Theresa Sneed

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

No Angel is a story about guardian angels and their assignment on Earth. It was very interesting to follow Jonathan, a bitter angel who does not want to be back on Earth. Although lengthy at times, it was a fun story.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

With a Name Like Love

With a Name like LoveWith a Name like Love by Tess Hilmo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Olivene Love is thirteen and the oldest of a traveling preacher's 5 daughters. She longs to put down roots and stay in one place for more than 3 days. The opportunity comes when they stop in Binder, Arkansas, and Ollie finds a boy around her age that needs help. Jimmy's mom is in jail for the murder of his dad-a murder she did not commit. Ollie is set on saving her new friend from being sent to live with an aunt he's never met.

This youth fiction is a touching story about love and kindness.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fires of Jerusalem

Fires of JerusalemFires of Jerusalem by Marilyn Brown

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a novel about the Biblical prophet Jeremiah. It appears to have been well researched, but it just didn't draw me in. I tried several times, but couldn't get into the story.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Daughter of Helaman

Daughter of HelamanDaughter of Helaman by Misty Moncur

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daughter of Helaman tells about a young woman who desires to join a militia with her brothers to help fight for their religious freedom. Although an unlikely tale, I was caught up with Keturah's battle. I liked her strong character and couldn't help rooting for her.

I really enjoyed this debut novel of Misty Moncur's . . . right up until it ended. It's not that it had a bad ending, it just didn't end (such a disappointment when you aren't expecting that). Hopefully there is a sequel in the works.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Letters in the Jade Dragon Box

Letters in the Jade Dragon Box: A Historical NovelLetters in the Jade Dragon Box: A Historical Novel by Gale Sears

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This was an interesting and moving story, although slow, that tells about life in China and Hong Kong during the reign of Mao Tse-tung. It follows Chen Wen-shan, a teenager who was sent to Hong Kong when she was five. She has suppressed the memories of her first few years, but learns about her past by reading letters from her mother that were smuggled out of China.

I had no idea about the oppression caused by Mao Tse-tung. Such a sad time in history, and it wasn't all that long ago.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

If I Should Die

If I Should DieIf I Should Die by Jennie L. Hansen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Kallene's friend and running partner disappears, her life is altered forever. Normally comfortable in her home, she's now suspicious of her neighbors. The disappearance brings unexpected romance into her life, and she's forced to decide who to let in.

This was a pretty creepy story that kept me guessing. Parts were intense and I wanted to keep reading, and other times I could walk away from it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Romance Category Finished!

Borrowed Light marked the last book I needed to read in the Romance category. Assuming I can get my hands on a copy of all of the 2011 Whitney Award Finalists, I think I'm going to make this goal by the "Read 'em All" deadline!

*And, if anyone was wondering, this challenge has effected my resolution of reading as a reward after I accomplish other things. At least I still remember that I set the goal, right?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Borrowed Light

Borrowed LightBorrowed Light by Carla Kelly

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Julia graduated from a fine cooking school in Boston and finds herself home in Salt Lake, engaged and unsure about her future with her stuffy fiancé. She sees an ad in the newspaper for a cook wanted for a Wyoming ranch, and jumps at the opportunity. Mr. Otto, the rancher, isn't who she expected, but she commits to staying for a year. Her life at the ranch is a huge adjustment, but she learns a lot about herself.

It took me a little while to get into this story, but it was enjoyable. The characters were fun, and I liked learning about ranch life in Wyoming in the early 1900s.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Emerald City Winner

The Emerald City ebook winner is . . .

Congratulations Ashlee! Cedar Fort will send the ebook to you via email. Let me know which email address you want it sent to, and if you'd like it sent as a PDF or Kindle version.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. Keep checking back for other giveaways.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Captive Heart

Captive HeartCaptive Heart by Michele Paige Holmes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn't drawn to this book by the cover, and I honestly had no idea what it was about. I just read it because it's a Whitney Award Finalist. But, I am happy to say that it was really good!

It tells about a single Bostonian woman heading West to become a school teacher (and to avoid a marriage her father wants for her). Her train is stopped by robbers, and she is picked to go with them. She fights hard to avoid being taken, but ends up being pushed from the train. Her abductor isn't who she thought he was, and she's faced with being taken to the Black Hills to teach.

Such a fun and entertaining story that I didn't want to put down (I shouldn't have started reding so late last night). A good, clean romance with some interesting insights into early life in the Black Hills.

Final Day to enter the Emerald City Giveaway!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for the Emerald City ebook. The contest closes at midnight, and the winner will be announced tomorrow. It is open internationally.

To enter, follow LiteraryTimeOut by clicking the Join This Site button in the upper left. Then, comment on the Giveaway Post letting me know you want to be entered for the giveaway.

I'll announce the winner tomorrow.

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Lost Gate

The Lost Gate (Mither Mages, #1)The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Danny doesn't fit in with his family of mages and longs to be a part of the rest of the world. Then he discovers that he has magic after all, although it is the kind that means death if his family finds out. He sets out on his own to figure out how to use his newfound magic.

This wasn't my kind of book. I did find Danny's situation somewhat interesting, but was really turned off by the language and crude scenes (especially because it is in the teen section of the library).

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Caller ID Blog Tour: Interview with Rachelle J. Christensen

The blog tour for suspense novel Caller ID is in full swing! I was able to read and review an advanced copy of Caller ID back in December, and today I am very happy to share an interview with author Rachelle J. Christensen.

*Who is your favorite character in Caller ID and why?  

Courtney. She’s strong, yet vulnerable. She has weaknesses and it was fun to watch her grow throughout the process of writing the book.

*What was the process being published by Cedar Fort (or its imprints) for your 2 novels and 1 non-fiction book? 

 I’m going to cheat here and give you a link to a timeline I blogged about. It’s a good insight into the process.

*Are you currently working on any other novels? 

You bet! I have two more written and I’m fine-tuning, as well as brain-storming two more.

*What is the best and worst part of becoming a published author? 

Hmm. Best part? Holding my book in my hands and hearing from readers who loved it. Worst? Deadlines and pressure to succeed since I’m pretty hard on myself already.

*Do you have any dreams as far as your career as an author goes?  

I want to keep writing books I love that readers love to read.

*Why do you write?  

I don’t have a choice. The words pound through my head, make my fingers tingle, invade my dreams, until I write them down—it’s a good feeling.

*Being a stay-at-home mother of four must keep you very busy. When do you find time to read and write?  

I’ve learned the magic of a minute. Seriously, I work in snatches and I read in snatches and I read pretty fast. My husband says I’m always busy and I don’t know how to relax. But that’s just because I have to be crocheting or sewing if I watch a movie with him. It is a priority for me too, and that makes all the difference. It’s important for me to find time to read and write because I love it.

*What is your favorite book?  

This is the hardest question for me! It shouldn’t be so hard, but I tend to love whatever book I’m reading at the moment.

*Do you enjoy seeing books you like made into movies? What is the best and worst movie adaptation you've seen?  

I do, as long as I go into it thinking, “I know the book will be better, and that’s okay.” One of the best movie adaptations I’ve seen lately is “The Help” although they changed a few things that had me scratching my head. One of the best/worst was “Twilight.” I loved how the actors were speaking lines right out of the book, but I hated how ugly Edward turned out. Sorry, don’t throw tomatoes—they got Jacob right!

*Your website says you are a farm girl from Idaho. Did you help with the famous potatoes Idaho is known for, or was your farming the animal variety?

Potatoes! Moving pipe, picking potatoes on a conveyor belt while riding the harvester, and then inside the cellar. Man, I used to close my eyes and see potatoes.

Special thanks to Rachelle for taking the time to answer my questions! You can follow Rachelle on her blog and on Facebook.

To celebrate the release of CALLER ID, Rachelle is hosting a contest for a new Ultra Flip Video Camcorder (4GB memory, Records 120 minutes Value $149.99) and other great prizes. You can enter to win between now and April 14, 2012. Winners will be announced and notified April 16, 2012.

For how to enter, click here.

Join the Book Bomb effort taking place Thursday, March 22nd. Click here for details.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

General Category Finished!

I thought I'd post an update about my progress with the "Read 'em All" challenge.

Having sick kids for over a week was really bad (high fevers and coughs), but since there was a lot of laying around, I was able to get a bunch of reading in. Having a deadline makes some of the reading more of a chore than a pleasure, but I have found several really enjoyable books.

There was a recommendation to read one category at a time, but I've been all over the place (availability of books has been a factor). The Evolution of Thomas Hall marked the final book for me in the General Category though, so I'm happy about that.

One disappointment with the Finalists has been that I expected all of the books to be clean, and some of them aren't. When I know an author is LDS, I expect more from their stories (morally). Part of "being in the world, but not of the world."

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Evolution of Thomas Hall

The Evolution Of Thomas HallThe Evolution Of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Thomas Hall is an extremely talented artist who is also very worldly and conceited. He is offered a job painting a mural for the children's wing of St. Marks Hospital. It is a job he doesn't want to take, but when his other projects fall apart he finds that he needs the work in the Healing Place, and not just for the money.

This is a touching story that focuses on the changes in (or evolution of) Thomas Hall. The story jumps around a bit in flashbacks, and at times is very verbose, but it is heart warming. I would have enjoyed it even more without the swearing and if it was more concise.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Emerald City Blog Tour: Author Guest Post & Giveaway

I am very excited to help kick off the Emerald City Blog Tour. The tour runs through the end of March, so be sure to check out the other stops for great information about the book and the author, Alicia K. Leppert.

When I read the following description for Emerald City on, I immediately requested to read it.

One city of 600,000 people.
One broken girl.
One mysterious boy.
One fateful night,
Two worlds collide....

Sounds great, right!?! It is, and you can read my review here.

I am honored today to have a guest post by Alicia K. Leppert on finding balance in life.


Being a mom and having a career is always a challenge, and, although being a writer doesn't take me out of my home, it still definitely forces me to find that balance between career and motherhood. I am blessed in the fact that my kids are older, so sitting and writing all day doesn't affect them at all, while they're at school. I have a quiet, empty house to myself all day to sit and write in at my leisure. When my kids come home, the writing stops, and I become Mom again. Cleaning, cooking, carpooling, etc. Then, when my kids are in bed, I sit down to write again, which works out really well because my writer brain seems to come alive at night. The only time I am forced to hand over the mom duties to my husband completely and lock myself in a room when my kids are home in order to write is when I have a deadline coming up. Fortunately I have an amazing husband who is incredibly supportive and two wonderful kids who...try really hard to be patient and understanding. Needless to say they don't love deadlines!

Learning to balance motherhood and a writing career is like anything else: finding what works for you. Making time for what you love, whether it's writing, reading, crafting, baking, etc. but not neglecting your responsibilities, especially when it comes to your family. I believe that if it's something that's important enough to you, you'll make the time to do it. And there's always a little time, right?

Thanks so much Alicia. You can follow Alicia on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads. And, you can pre-order Emerald City on Amazon.


One lucky LiteraryTimeOut follower will win an ebook copy of Emerald City from Cedar Fort. Once you've become a follower (by clicking the Join This Site button in the upper left) just comment letting me know that you are following and want to enter.

You can earn additional entries by sharing the giveaway on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Make sure you come back here and comment with the link for each additional entry.

The giveaway will be open through March 7th. The winner will be selected via a random number generator, and will be announced here on March 8th.

Good luck!

To learn more about Emerald City and other books published under Cedar Fort, Inc. visit their pages on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.