Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Silence of God by Gale Sears

The Silence of God is a historical novel set in Russia in the early 1900's.  It follows the story of the only LDS members (or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in the whole country of Russia at the time of the revolution where anyone with any religious beliefs was suddenly a suspect.  It was a fascinating read.  The trials people suffered as one government crumbled to the next and then to the next were heart wrenching.  It was the beginnings of a very long and difficult time for a great nation and its people.  Russia has a special place in our family's heart because it is where my husband lived and served a mission for the LDS church for 2 years in the 90's.  This book was extra fascinating for me because of that fact, and now my husband is reading it.  Reading this makes one so very glad that we live in a time where we can worship how, where, and what we please, and we are free to think and speak as we wish.  Those are freedoms we should never take for granted.   It was a wonderful story to make you think about what great blessings you have and see how faith helps others through unbelievable trials. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack

Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack
This is an adult culinary mystery that I really enjoyed.  Usually murder mysteries are not my thing, but this was great.  Sadie is a widow, mom of 2 college age kids, a busy volunteer in everything in her small Colorado town, and she loves to cook.  She lives in a cul-de-sac, and one day 2 police cars pull into one of the houses in her loop.  It is the home of a young, single mother named Anne.  She is found murdered in her back yard, her little 3 year old is missing and a Lemon Tart is cooking in her oven.  The recipe to the lemon tart is found after chapter one.  This kept you guessing who did it until the end, and when she talks about certain recipes that she is making in the book (like baking brownies to apologize to a neighbor for not being able to watch her kids because she was at the police station giving a statement), the recipe is listed at the end of that chapter.  Her brownie recipe is divine.  I tried it this past weekend.  So if you want a fun, clean, mystery, I would highly suggest this one.  It was a lot of fun, and I am looking forward to reading her other titles Devil's Food  and English Trifle.  So if you need a good read and some new recipes, please check this out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Wide-Awake Princess

The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker
This is the story of Sleeping Beauty's younger sister who when she was born the fairy blessed her that no magic can affect her--good or bad, so when Sleeping Beauty touches the needle of a spinning wheel and puts the whole castle to sleep, it doesn't affect her sister.  So the wide-awake sister sets out to find the true love of Sleeping Beauty to break the spell and wake everyone up.  Along the way she meets several other fairy tale characters--the frog prince, Hansel and Gretle, the bear from Snow White and Red Rose, and a few others.  It is a fun adventure to save her sister and her kingdom and maybe find own true love also.  Loved this!  It was as lot of fun to read.  My 10 year old daugher also read and enjoyed it. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

E.D. Baker's The Frog Princess Series

Been some slow reading weeks, see here for details if you are interested, just normal crazy life stuff, anyway, I am currently reading The Wide-Awake Princess  by E.D. Baker.  I really like her stuff and thought I would spotlight her Frog Princess Series.  There are 8 books in this series.  Number 8 just came out in September and is called A Prince Among FrogsThe Frog Princess is the first book in the series and a great fractured fairy tale.  Now I have seen and read that Disney's Princess and the Frog was based on this book.  I would say very extremely loosely based, and I would never have made the connection if I hadn't read it, and the first time I did read it was based on this book I didn't believe it because they are just not the same.  There is a boy in both movie and book that turns into a frog, and when the girl (a princess in the book, not a princess in the movie) kisses said frog she does turn into a frog, but all similarity ends there.  I couldn't even compare them beyond that, no other similarities because they are such totally different stories.  Not a fan of the movie, but love the books.  Each book in the series continues the tale of the Frog Princess and her children, grandchildren and on, and one is a prequel about her mother and grandmother.  All very entertaining.   If you love a good fairy tale, which I always do, these are great reads.  My girls have all liked them, and they are also entertaining for adults.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Star Garden

The Star Garden by Nancy E. Turner 
This is the 3rd installment in the Sarah Agnes Prine series that started with These is My Words.  I wasn't too thrilled with the 2nd, but the 3rd I enjoyed more than the 2nd, but not as much as These is My Words.  In these books the main character is Sarah, and she is a very strong woman.  She battles Indians, outlaws, tornadoes, a drought, attends college, nurses sick babies.  She does it all and is a very strong character.  My only problem was that the author makes her so strong, but then this whole book she goes back and forth over the question of marrying a guy she obviously loves.  She can shoot an Indian without thinking twice, but it takes her almost 300 pages to decide to marry a guy?  That just didn't seem to fit her character and got kind of old after a while.  It was nice to see what finally happens with Sarah and her family.  Life is rough, really rough for Sarah and her family, and at times I thought "again?  they have to go through this again?", and I thought some of the author's references needed more background and explaining (like the war in Mexico part was confusing), but it was worth the read, and now I am ready to move on from Sarah.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sarah's Quilt

Sarah's Quilt by Nancy Turner.
This is the sequel to a book that I loved!! These is My Words and I blogged about that book here.
This one I didn't love near so much.  I was super excited to find there was a 2nd and even a 3rd to this series, but I just finished the 2nd last night and am now not as excited.  It was good, but just didn't even compare to the first.  After I finished the first one I immediately e-mailed a friend and wrote, "You have got to go to your library and check this out right now!"  With this one I would just say, check it out when you have time :).  It continues Sarah's story, her many, many, many trials about her land, family, and the area which she lives.  This book covers one year 1906, and she even goes to San Francisco to witness the devastation of the earthquake there to help out her brother.  I just didn't think it had the power, emotion, or strength of characters that her first book had, but if you have read the first you just want more, and this will give you more just not as good as the first. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Klipfish Code

I met Mary Casanova in April of this year.  She came to our county's Young Author celebration.  She talked about this book, and I just had to get it.  It is historical fiction set in Norway during WWII.  Did you know Norway was occupied by Germany during the entire war?  I didn't.  This story follows a sister and a brother as they are separated from their parents because of the danger of the war and bombing in the cities and sent to live with their grandfather on a small island.  I have read several books about WWII, studied it in school, watched documentaries on it, but I am continually amazed to find there is so much I don't know about it.  I had no idea what the Norwegians went through and how brave they were to try and fight back.  How their teachers protested when the Germans told them they had to teach the "Nazi" way and how the country suffered.  War is always a hard thing to read about, but also amazing stories of love, selflessness, courage, and true devotion to a country you love come out in these stories also.  So maybe there is some bring light in the huge shadow that war casts over people.   War can bring out the worst in people, but it can also bring out the best. 
Mary Casanova is a juvenile chapter book writer.  She  was a joy to meet and visit with.  Here she is with my oldest girl.  She has also written a Dog Watch series that my 8 year old loves.  She has written some novels for the American Girl series, which my 10 and 12 year old girls enjoyed.  I would recommend any of her books.  Enjoy!