Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Review Discussion: Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani

Book: Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani
Genre: YA Mystery
Rating:★★★☆ ☆
For: Utah Book Month
From: Bought at the launch party at King's English

Short Synopsis: When Claire discovers a letter hidden away addressed to her new dad, from her old dad (who is dead), she thinks, what is up? She had no idea that her fathers knew each other. She starts looking into it, asking questions, making phone calls and generally digging into things she's not supposed to. Pretty soon, her life is being threatened and she's not sure what the connection is. Just that there is one. Her brothers and her best friends that are boys help her along the way.

My Response: So, I really enjoyed the character bits and the relationships and the connections in this one. I enjoyed all the boys. Boys are awesome. I really love boys. These guys reminded me of the crowd in the Raven Boys books. Only different. But similar. Anyway. But the mystery aspects of this story had me glazed over. You know I'm not a big mystery fan! And yeah, it shows when we have our characters looking up stuff and trying to figure out stuff and I'm all, yeah, okay... on with the story!!

Bottom Line: If you love mysteries, especially ones laced with a bunch of cool Japanese culture, you'll dig this book. If you love boys working with one strong girl,  you'll also love this book! Put the two together and you have it made!

Let's Talk About: What's your take on the whole mystery genre? Are you a fan? Or do you find yourself bored by the solving of the thing? I hate that I do that, but that's just how it is for the most part.

Other Reviews:

Fast paced and bursting with quirky guys, this story has a lot of incredible detail, From Finding Wonderland

So the mystery is combined with a romance, and readers will enjoy following the trail of clues along with Claire and her brothers and friends. From Charlotte's Library

The story was fun and very suspenseful. I thought I knew what was going on and then when it all came together, I found out I was way off, even though I did guess one thing right. From Jenni Elyse

Get it soon, especially if you like stories about uncovering family secrets. From Rich in Color

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review Discussion: Unraveled by Julie Daines

Book: Unraveled by Julie Daines
Genre: YA Historical Romance
Rating★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Utah Book Month
From: Bought at Storymakers this past year

Short Synopsis: The book opens when Bronwen and her mom are visited by night witch/fairy. She gives a present for Bronwen... magic shoes. Bronwen was left lame after a sickness swept through her family, but when she puts these shoes on, her legs are made whole again. She and her mom decide this means Bronwen can finally present herself to the king. Preparations are made for the event. Well. When she sees the king, it's actually the prince, and the prince takes an instant liking to her. And now she has to keep the secret of her legs from him. Things get very very complicated. Not mention that the captain of the guard is a former worker at Bronwen's farm and knows all about her secret. Very very complicated indeed!

My Response: I really enjoyed this one! What a cute and fun romance. Also a sweet lesson to be learned about being who you really are, and embracing all your weaknesses. And trusting in old friends. The setting (old time Wales I think) was awesome. The whole thing has a wonderful romantic fairy tale, princes and princess feeling. Perfect for a quick summertime read!

Bottom Line: Yes, if you love fantasy and magic and princes and you enjoy romance hitting you from unexpected places, you'll love this one.

Let's Talk About: What is it about magical fairy tale stories that we love so much? Seriously, I don't think we'll ever get enough of them!

Other Reviews:

A fabulous read full of faerie legend and folklore. From LDS Women's Book Review

this was SOOO GOOD I didn't want it to end! I wasn't ready I wanted MORE, more story, more character development, more everything! I loved it all! From Awesome Book Nut

I’ll just say that I found myself smiling and re-reading different sections that reminded me what it feels like to be sixteen and falling in love. From Reading For Sanity

It reminds me of the fairy tales that I grew up with and loved. This is a story that I would love to revisit and share with my daughter. From Bookworm Lisa

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review Discussion: Eleanor by Johnny Worthen

Book: Eleanor by Johnny Worthen
Genre: YA paranormal
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Utah Book Month
From: bought at LTUE this past year

Short Synopsis: Eleanor is just trying to be a normal, ordinary high school student. She takes care of her mom who is dying of cancer. She loves a boy that has just returned after living away for a few years. But as the story goes along, we learn gradually and bit by bit that she is anything but ordinary. When this boy, David, is threatened by a bully at the school, Eleanor takes matters into her own hands. Rumors began to fly about her. First she is shunned, then she is revered. The community basically doesn't know what to think of her. But things just keep getting worse until she feels like she has no choice but to run away.

My Response: I'm not sure I have words to describe this reading experience. The story is quite slow-moving and yet it doesn't take long for you to feel attached to this girl. For much of the story we get clues that something strange is going on with her, but it's not until nearly the end that the whole truth comes out and I can't say what that is without spoiling of course, but let's just say I was fascinated! Like, of the wait, what? variety! And the boy in this story is simply awesome. What a fabulous kid he is! The writing is very simple yet powerful. Emotional without being in your face and over the top.

Bottom Line: I wasn't sure how this book would go down, but in the end, I loved it. There's a sequel called Celeste which I'm anxious to get my hands on and a third book will be out next year called David. I will be reading them all.

Let's Talk About: What do you think about the slow reveal? Leading the reader on and  making them guess stuff until the very end? Do you like this, or does it make you crazy? In this book, I liked it.

Other Reviews:

I spent a morning reading Eleanor in one delicious gulp; yes, it’s that good. From Lehua Parker

I can honestly say that Johnny Worthen has created in Eleanor one of the most multi-faceted (on a few levels one might not suspect), conflicted, and beautiful characters that I have ever read. From Fiction Vortex

If you like weird and amazing stories with a lot of twists and turns, and if you want to feel the emotions that your characters are going through, this is the book for you. From The Book Bird

It’s not a sweet and sappy love story, though there are romantic elements to it – and has a lovely level of creepy scary to it, just enough to keep the reader guessing. From All Things Urban Fantasy

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Utah Books 101

I know this list is more than ten, but I thought for Utah Book Month it would be fun to list all the Utah Books I've deemed worthy of five stars... at least since I've been on Goodreads, these many years. So, if you were to take a class from me on the most awesome Utah Books, this is probably what our syllabus would look like!

Something About Love by Elana Johnson
Defy by Sara B. Larson
The Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne
Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Fragments by Dan Wells
The Hollow City by Dan Wells
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Transparent by Natalie Whipple
Jabberwocky by Daniel Colman
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Everneath by Brodie Ashton
I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells
Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Entwined by Heather Dixon
The Clockwork Three by Mathew Kirby
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale and Nathan Hale
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Ah, what a pile of awesome books! Have you read any?

For more fun syllabus lists, be sure to check out The Broke and the Bookish today!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Utah Book Month 2015: Utah Books I've Read This Year

One of the biggest parts of celebrating Utah books month is reading only books by Utah authors during the month of August, but I tend to read Utah authors all year long. Here's a list of books by Utah authors that I've read this year, since last year's Utah Book Month celebration, with blurbs and links to my review:

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur: What would happen if you could store your memories in tangible objects and then what would happen if those objects got stolen?

Begin Again by Brittney MullinerAubrey moves in with her brother to escape a harrowing event that happened in her life.

Something About Love by Elana Johnson Olivia has to get beyond some issues with her mom before she can be with the guy she loves.

Atlantia by Ally CondieTwo sisters live in a city under the ocean. One is sent Above and one stays Below where she uncovers some knowledge that could destroy their beautiful city.

The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison: Linda, a Mormon bishop's wife, gets involved in a neighborhood mystery.

Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick:  Oakley is spending a few months away from home to help her deal with the recent death of her brother Lucas. But what helps her the most are the letters he left behind, just for her.

Shutter by Courtney Alameda A group of ghost hunting kids (most of them descended from the likes of Van Helsing or Bram Stoker) are infected by a deadly entity and must find the ghost that did it before it's too late.

Ignite by Sara B. Larson: Alexa is now guard to the king, who she loves, even if she's told him she doesn't. When his brother is kidnapped, she runs to his rescue and in the process she is forced to fess up to her true feelings.

The Eternity Key by Bree DespainThe continuation of Daphne and Haden's adventures as they try to find the key that will let them into Hades so they can stop the war.

Remake by Ilima Todd: When Nine has to choose her gender, she's not sure what to do. But then an accident happens and she is left with no choice. 

Not in the Script by Amy FinneganWhat happens when the guy you've crushed on for years is suddenly your co-star? And what happens if he doesn't turn out to be at all what you thought he was? 

Paranoia by J.R. JohanssonThe continuation of Parker's story where he finds out much more about his Nightwalking powers and what actually happened to his dad all those years ago.

Stay tuned for what I hope is another big pile of Utah books read this month! If you want to pick a Utah book and read it, be sure to link up your review here on the official Utah Books official blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Currently: Feeling Lazy

Listening: I've been loving Spotify's "Discover Weekly" thing these past few weeks. That's where every week they give you 30 songs that they think you'll like, based on stuff you listen to and surprisingly, they get it pretty spot on! It's been very fun finding new music. Here's one of them. It's probably from a video game or something right? It's crazy, but I love it:

Watching: I've been watching episodes of Last Tango in Halifax, but it's starting to go down a path that I'm not really sure about. I don't know if I'll keep watching. And then yesterday I discovered Poldark. Guys! Seriously! Why have you not told me about this one??? I've been watching episodes on YouTube, which isn't the best quality, but at least they are there and I can catch up.

Aidan Turner as Poldark
Reading: As you know, I'm working on my Utah books stack. This week I'll be catching up with reviews, so fair warning. I hope you enjoy. Meanwhile, I've got a pile of "normal" stuff waiting as soon as I'm done! So many books!

Writing: I'm revising like crazy! I've made good progress, though it's slow going and I get interrupted so so much when I sit down and think I have hours ahead of me. Anyway. I'm immersed. I'm doing it. It'll happen! I'm starting to get excited about another Nano looming. I have a sort of idea, but it needs some major developing before I can actually write something. That's sort of freaking me out a little. And I read some of my last year's Nano stuff and I smiled. I thought it was really stupid last year, but really, after all this time, when I read it, I actually think it's kinda fun!

Blogging: We are in the middle of Utah Book month. It's been fun. But frustrating too I must say. And next month is another Bloggiesta! I need to get in the mood to get that going too!

Health Watch: I'm losing some weight, without exercising or eating less. Well, I'm eating crappy, but still. Anyway, it's because of massive anxiety that's going on. I hate so bad feeling this anxious about things, but I kinda love that is seems to sap something from my body and take pounds away! I'm hoping though that I can get back on the Zumba routine. Maybe Zumba plus anxiety will make the pounds FLY off! Ha! But, I still haven't quite figured that one out like I was in the spring. But we'll see.


  • School started for the one kid still in high school at our house. College kids start this next week and the next.
  • One kid plans to move out in a week. That will leave only one kid left at home.
  • One kid is pregnant!!!!! Do you know what this MEANS??!!?? AHH!!!!
  • I would kiss the tomato plants of one of them decides to finally give me a nice ripe red tomato. Seriously. What is wrong with them this year?
  • I'm looking forward to fall and cooler temps. Not a fan of the heat. 
  • We celebrated a wedding anniversary this past week. Twenty eight freaking years! I read the journal entry to my Sunday School kids where I fell for my husband. That was an interesting way to celebrate and remember! They thought it was awesome and all sorts of funny. Even the one boy in the class got into it. I'm not sure they'll ever look at me the same way again though. It may have just been a little TMI perhaps. 

Okay. I really have to turn this thing off. See you around!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Utah Book Month Week Three Wrap and What's Coming Up

Here's what's been going on this week, in case you missed it.

Some stuff I posted:

Author Spotlight: Sara Zarr
Ten Utah Authors I Auto-Buy
Utah Author Event: Dressing the Naked Hand
Utah Bookish Places: BYU Bookstore
Utah Book Readalong Part Two and Amy Finnegan Book Club

Twitter Chats:

We enjoyed three chats this week with Sara Zarr, Courtney Alameda and in impromtu one with J. Scott Savage. Coming up this week we have:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. MT - Jessica Day George
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. MT - Sara B. Larson
Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. MT - Julianne Donaldson


Our annual IRL party is this week! On Friday the 28th at 7:00 p.m. I hope we'll see some of you there! Check out the details and location here. 

Mini Challenges:

We have a new challenge going on this week. See if you can guess these Utah book covers over at Kami's Library Thoughts! Also, you can still enter the character challenge at Jenni Elyse's and the first line challenge here.

Stay tuned for yet another week of Utah Books, this time... it's... all about books! 


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