Friday, September 28, 2012

A change in direction

Have you ever had those times when life sends you on a tailspin? When the direction you think you were heading toward has changed and you’ve had to reprioritize things? Life hit the fan for us in August—a change in employment topped off with a new school year for the kids and more homework. All my plans to write more intensely were tossed out the window in a rush to find employment. God blessed me with two great jobs at BYU and UVU. Now I’m restructuring my life.
It’s funny how changes initially upset the balance of our life. I fought for nearly a month to wonder why I couldn’t tap into my creative juices and write. Obviously my available time decreased, but I’m a master at stuffing things into a limited time. I questioned my ability…had I run out of gas or hit a wall? Ironically, the answer hit me once I’d accepted the change. I was sleeping at night.
Sounds odd, but those minutes, sometimes an hour as I struggled to go to sleep each night was my muse time. I imagined the next chapter and couldn’t wait to see it blossom on the page. That technique helped me to sleep and brought to life multiple novels. Changing my schedule to accommodate my early course I teach at UVU meant less sleep. Rushing about wore me out. The two combined made for one exhausted gal and no reason to plot my next scene.
It’s sad, but a stage in life. I’ve acknowledged and accepted it. Besides, I’m young! I can write years down the road when the kids are gone and I need less sleep. You won’t find me complaining about old age…it’s the perfect time to write. So the moral...I'll post when I can...when inspriation flattens me and I ache to share it. In the meantime, love life and let love grow. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Choosing Charity Blog Tour Giveaway&Review

One thing that stands out in Terri Ferran's trilogy is the growth in Kit’s character. When first we meet Kit in Finding Faith, she is struggling with being transplanted from California by her father’s job to Utah. Fortunately she is introduced to the Bridger family, establishing a good friend in Janet and the love of her life, Adam. Yet this strange Mormon culture presents challenges that will test her. Adopted after abandonment at birth, Kit depends little on God, but her love for Adam requires her to rely on faith. It was delightful to watch her growth in exploring a relationship with God and religion. Terri did an amazing job of portraying the conflicts and questions most face when considering conversion. Kit’s growth as she relies on faith is precious, especially considering the trials that accompany the challenge.

In Having Hope, Terri takes the reader away from a happy ending with Adam’s return from his mission and hands the lovers a separation that will test their outlook on their future. Kit travels to Romania to assist in a hospital/orphanage. Although spurred on by a prompting, Kit is tested at every corner—from her faith to her confidence in her relationship with Adam. The key is grasping hope in the future, not falling to present attacks.

The conclusion of this trilogy, Choosing Charity ends with a bang. Grounded in her beliefs, Kit is challenged as she looks outside of herself. Married and muddling through work and Adam’s schooling, Kit is unprepared for her birth mother to come forward. With this kink in her plans, comes an additional challenge as she deals with the ramifications of her parents’ divorce. Of all the struggles we’ve experience with Kit, I enjoyed this growth in her character the most. She is able to use her strengths and knowledge to assist others, allowing her to become an admirable character.

Giveaway Info:
As part of the tour, Terri is generously offering a grand prize giveaway of the Faith, Hope, and Charity trilogy, including hard copies of Finding Faith, Having Hope, and Choosing Charity. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post or any of the other stops on the tour. (Visit the tour page for the full tour schedule.) The more stops you comment on, the more entries you have into the contest!
Launch Party Info:
The official launch party for Choosing Charity will be held on August 11th from 3-7 PM at Seagull Book in The District in South Jordan. Terri will be joined by three other authors: Diony George, Carla Kelly, and Wendy Paul. Prizes and refreshments will be offered so come join the fun!

Relationship Time Outs

A night out a solution to bumps in your marriage? Hear me out...

Men and women are so different-we think differently, act differently and share few emotions.  Once you take out the sparks and romance you get strong contrasts. Now remove personality quirks that both genders share. What you are left with is a need for someone who understands you.

Out with your girlfriends or hanging in the man's cave, life becomes less complicated. You can talk (women) or not (men). You get all our gossip and grunts in, relate on such complicated levels (sports or fashion). Do the activities that suit you rather than compromising. Whine about your spouse...his laziness, her complaints...and then feel renewed.

The best part is coming home. You've vented and related and now you are back where you are cherished. You can dress you own style and keep your size without judging yourself.  Your physical prowess isn't tested. Away from comparisons, your love blossoms...until the next needed reminder. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Elusive Sleep

What makes sleep elusive for some and instantly achievable for others?
More particularly, why is my spouse the opposite? I toss and turn much to the chagrin of my husband, while his head hits the pillow and he is sound asleep.  It's my opinion that having both sexes the same would be great.  Can't sleep...let's watch a movie.  

My problem comes down to an active mind and body.  Between planning out my next day or the next chapter in my novel sleep hides from me. In fact, if I don't imagine the next scene I'm listing my chores the next day. Sometimes I irritate my husband by talking. be overwhelmed
with sleep.

I've tried different mattresses, allergy medicine, I never take naps in the afternoon.  What's missing in the equation? Any secrets out there (on a budget)?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cold Justice Review/ Blog Tour

There are two things that make a book stand out—characters and plot. Can the characters wrap you into their struggles? Can you envision yourself beside them on their route to a triumphant conclusion? Kathi has done a wonderful job of with each of her characters. You easily cheer beside them as they unravel the mystery. Too often the story dips in the middle, lulling you to sleep, or ends far before the last page. Kathi wraps you into the story from beginning to last word. Not once do you want to put the book down or lose interest.

I was fortunate to meet Kathi Oram Peterson at an Author/Blogger Lunch and found her delightful. She has answered a few questions for us.

Lydia:  Where did the idea for this book come from?

Kathi: My editor actually asked if I could do a second book using the characters from River Whispers. So I thought about the characters in that book and decided part of Samuel's Alaskan past would become central to this second novel.  I was also able to tell more of Wakanda's story. Even though she is a secondary character, the life she'd led and her history was fun to use in this adventure. Plus, I loved really testing Regi, one of the main characters. I worked hard to make Cold Justice a stand alone book so people didn't feel they had to buy River Whispers to understand what was going on in story line.

Lydia: What research did you do to keep the events factual?

Kathi: Oh my stars. I did a ton of research. You should see my file. I had to research traveling to Alaska by boat and by plane, what would happen when crossing the border between Canada and the US. I also did extensive research into the different Native Alaskan tribes. I borrowed some customs from many and made a fictional clan. I had to research law enforcement in Alaska, what US Marshals would do, the FBI, and tribal counsels. As recent as 2011 there was a new law passed by Congress allowing the tribes to do a lot more self governing. And, of course, I had to study the weather. Alaska during February and March can be extremely cold, but it all depends on where you live in Alaska. There were other things I researched, but to tell it all I'd have to write another book.

Lydia:  What is your favorite part about writing a novel?

Kathi: My favorite part is once the rough draft is written going back and filling the book with color: adding more visuals, developing more characterization for each character that makes them ring true, and smoothing out the writing with intense editing. I know for some writers the fun part is creating the story. That's fun too, but for me it's going over the story and breathing life into it.

Lydia:  What is something unique your readers do not know about you?

Kathi: Hmm, I love going to good movies. I'm becoming more selective, but there's nothing like seeing story come to life on the big screen. I've written a screenplay of An Angel on Main Street. I don't know if it will ever be made, but I was lucky enough to see the book published, so it's possible.

For those who love to read mysteries and soak up knowledge about culture and geography at the same time, Cold Justice is the book for you. It’s captivating and cleverly written. Check out the following for ways to win and learn more.
·  Leave a comment below for a chance to win an adorable bear from Build-a-Bear-Workshop.  Must be posted before July 1st, winner announced July 3rd.
·  Return to Kathi’s blog each day this week and check out other review of Cold Justice, and a wonderful book trailer.
·  Check out Goodreads where Kathi is having a drawing to give away two copies of Cold Justice.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Queen of Evasion

I’m often amazed at the level of subterfuge Mothers go through to endure.  Since summer break began survival mode kicked in. It’s enough that I have to give up my peace for the constant pattering of feet, but now I’m pestered with requests. We’ve worked past “I’m bored” with threats to clean despicable places and progressed to “When can I?”

In preparation for the long summer days, I booked our daughters into summer movies, play dates in the park and each has a summer class. Between that and meal time, I insist that they find something to do. The problem is their idea versus mine.

I think the pile of toys and neighbor kids as adequate entertainment, but they have come up with requests, usually “take me somewhere”. When they ask when the next time they can go ______, I’ve turned into a recorder and say “Some time.” Noncommittal is my defense. Unfortunately I only get away with it half of the time. They shrug and walk away or torment me for a specific time. Then I pull out the guns—“I’m not sure when.”

It’s only been a week. Can I survive? How do mothers endure? Must we resort to lying and dodging? I’m determined to be strong. There must be a line between caring for our children and being their source of entertainment. I once read “If a mother’s place is in the home, why am I always in the car.” I will fight that scenario. Oh, to have lived ages past when kids were self entertained…

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I had an epiphany this morning as I lay in bed cringing at each clink and bang in the kitchen as my husband got ready for the day. Two actually—I have Superman hearing and my irritation over the noises my husband created is really my own fault. It would be unfair to criticize or place the blame on his shoulders. My annoyance is merely a reflection of my own quirks--a skewed perspective.

How many times do we find faults in our spouse that result from our finicky natures? Do we find issues with things another person would shrug off? I thought about writing down all my complaints about my husband’s nuances and then I pictured him doing the same and tossed the idea out. The word petty came to mind and I’m feeling guilty.

Perhaps a mental list would work. I’ve already started on mine—the exhuming of fumes in front of me…just my super scenter in overdrive, the clothes strewn on the floor…just a reaction to my voiced impatience to have him by my side. No, it’s not all my fault, nor should he be excused from details, but could I be more tolerant. YES. And maybe if I tossed out the annoyance at his quirks I might find some missing sparks. PerhapsJ

Monday, May 28, 2012

Daughters of Jared Review

Daughters of Jared by H.B. Moore is an incredible novel. Instantly, you step into the world of the Jaredites, engulfed by culture and the importance of heritage. Moore’s ability to incorporate the factual events into her novel deserves acclaim, especially with the reference of daughters only mentioned in a few versus in the book of Ether. Her ability to weave a tale that captures your heart and imagination is brilliant.

This story came to life through many themes, particularly that of the strength of sisters. Naiva’s determinedness to stand beside her family despite their incorrect actions can be both applauded and cringe-worthy, yet it endears us to her, knowing that we are guilty of similar actions. The sweet love story of Naiva and Levi entwined amidst controversy establishes the importance of love from the heart and not for convenience or power. The distinctions of right and wrong are painted so vividly the reader has no choice but to cheer on tireless doers of righteousness and willingly curse those who choose evil.

Step into this Book of Mormon story to experience the scriptures come to life, so tangible they speak straight to your heart. Be prepared to devote a day as Daughters of Jared will capture you entirely.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Survive with Laughter

Life is difficult and love a challenge, so my recipe to survive and succeed in both is laughter. The process comes in many forms:

·         Chuckle—what may start as a sympathetic laugh can offer the chance to reflect on happiness
·         Snort—the perfect response when we’re tossed something ridiculous. It’s far better than a scoff
·         Guffaw—a challenge to life to throw us more, we can handle it.
·         Giggle—when we just encountered the most awkward or disastrous situation, a laugh of embarrassment rather than allowing tears to flow
·         Snicker—our reaction to other struggling, which should help us know we aren’t alone.

When life throws poop on us, I believe we need to choose laughter as our response. Standing straight or doubling over, let joy bubble up rather than despair bring us down. When love gives us the same challenge, can we respond to our differences with laughter? Perhaps find the humor in the ridiculousness of our battles?

Take my silly challenge and let laughter fill you up. Remember that you are not alone in life’s woes and a good laugh of any sort gives the best remedy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Regency Revival

I love the Regency Period, so heavily influenced by Jane Austen. The simplicity of life, manners abundant and moral nature has drawn me into its clutches. If I could find a worm hole to transport me back all present concerns would be dropped in an instance.

Since handed my first copy of Georgette Heyer as a means to surviving bed rest with my twins, I have been hooked. Unfortunately I’m a voracious reader and easily swallowed her books. In my search for similar content I have been sadly disappointed until recently. Four authors, all thought not all of them are new, have revived me. Each has a different style and approach, but all are equally delightful.

Julie Klassen’s writing is an encyclopedia of knowledge. Each novel delves into a different and not so common aspect of Regency England. Although deep in content, her characters are engaging. You are immersed in their trials. When you reach the final page, you can officially label yourself well educated.

Patricia Veryan takes us back a period to Georgian times, and allows us to see the events that  influence the Regency period. Her novels are characteristically in series and I highly suggest reading in order, not for content but to follow the characters lives. She is equally educating her readers and provides a delightful balance of romance and intrigue.

Sarah Eden brings a wonderful humor to Regency. She has captured the nuances and applied them in a comical and endearing manner. Her characters are easily loved and her wit makes each chapter come alive. Rather new to the collection of Regency, she adds the perfect balance of love, reality and laughter.

Heidi Ashworth has captured Heyer’s writing of the perfect battle of wills between the hero and heroine. The twists and turns incorporated in the story draw you in eager to resolve the latest quarrel and misunderstanding.

As I devour these authors’ treats, I will never stop my endless quest to read more about the perfect period. I hope you will discover these amazing authors and once again step back into a Regency.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Summer Scramble

As summer approaches, free time for mother of school age kids disappears. Those precious moments of shopping without requests, lunch of leftovers without picky eaters, and even nap time will never be the same. At least for three months. Of course, on the positive side the homework disappears as well.

I find myself dreading the last day of school and the beginning of “I’m bored” time. Fortunately, I have young kids who can be easily entertained with toys. Heaven forbid turning into a mom who shuffles kids from one arena to another just to keep them happy. Somehow, my moments of school time peace must be captured. Errands must be endured.

So for the past few months I have been working on THE PLAN. This process has been tested and so far it’s worked. INCENTIVE- I’ve posted all the fun activities--each individual toy to crafts mixed in with playdates and paid activities. Most don't require my presence.  DETERENT- I’ve pulled out the dreaded chore list and on the top is Clean Trash Cans (those with colorful stains and stuck-on unknowns at the bottom).  PROCESS- With a few reminders in the beginning when they state “I’m bored” to look at the list followed by the threat that more comments will mean cleaning garbage cans. So armed with my plan, I hope to succeed and squeeze out a few moments of mommy time.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dates? Romantic torture or success

While writing my latest novel, I've .realized that I truly have no experience in the art of dating. Dinner and a movie hardly qualify as a true date (Sorry, sweetheart. It works now, but would have got you nowhere:)

My claim to three boyfriends seems contradictory since I found them at dances and then hung out for a few months until things fizzled (shocker, I know). My husband and I met online, courted through emails and only have a few dates prior to our wedding as the 1000 miles between us proved a hindrance.

So, dear readers, I'm interested in your dates...past or present, failures and successes. . No hanging out stories--I've mastered that! What made it successful, and what caused it to flop? I'd like reality to spin into my writing. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

The last five days, my husband has been out of town visiting a terminally ill relative. From his absence, my mind has pondered the meaning of the phrase, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Certainly I missed my husband, yet in his absence we ate simple child friendly meals earlier and got to bed on time. Did I miss his presence or was there more?

As much as I missed his company in bed, what I yearn for most was his influence on our home. All of us are more jovial when he is around. He makes me relax more, smell the roses. I’m not run by a clock, instead I flow and smile. Our daughters laugh more. They have a playmate at the table and a companion to share goofy cartoons.

I suppose it reflects on his presence, but I would venture to change the saying to such—“Actions make the heart grow fonder”.  How often have you sat in the same room, completely content to go about your own duties? It isn’t your companion’s presence that completes you. What about when a love one dies? Do you mourn their absence over their actions? Would you be content to have their body in the room and say, now all is well?  I think not.

It’s their actions, the way they affect us and everything around us that we miss the most. We feel a void without their example, their kindness, and love. If this is true, then it presents a challenge—can we create an influence through our actions that will leave a mark, cause others to remember us tenderly? If so, forget leaving to insure that you won’t be forgotten. Complete an act of service and your deeds will be remembered far longer than your presence will be missed.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Queen in Exile Review & Contest

Queen in Exile by Donna Hatch

Rumors of war hang over Princess Jeniah's peaceful country of Arden, a land that shuns both magic and warfare. Following a lifelong dream, Jeniah forms a telpathic bond with a revered creature called a chayim,
who is prophesied to save her kingdom. But when a Darborian knight comes upon Jeniah with her chayim, he sees only a vicious monster about to devour a maiden, and he slays the beast.

Devastated by the loss of her chayim, and fearing that her own magic is evil, Jeniah doubts her destiny. When an enemy invades Arden City, they slaughter the people,
storm the castle, and execute the entire royal family except the princess. Rescued by the knight who slew her chayim, Jeniah is now heir to the throne of Arden and the only hope for freeing her people from tyranny.

On the run and hunted by enemy soldiers, Jeniah must place her life and the fate of her kingdom in the hands of this trained killer. Torn between embracing her destiny as queen of Arden, and her love for a mere knight, she must ultimately rely on her magic to save herself and her people from death and tyranny.

My Thoughts

Donna Hatch as the uncanny ability to weave a story with suspense and romance equally entwined. Few can truly develop a romance that begins with innocence and grows with a natural pace. Kai and Jeniah’s love is sweet and passionate the two wrapped with perfect skill. The growth of their characters pulls the reader on cheerfully.

I am not one to read many fantasy novels because the complications surrounding the development of another world, yet Donna has defied others and created a world that is believable and easy to envelop. Her ability to describe her surroundings is enviable. What stood out the most was that the story of Jeniah and Lai held you captive, not the environment they were placed in.

I was hooked from the first page. It flowed with an ease of a master, not one contriving each scene. Never once will you attention waver. All other duties and desires will fade away once you sit down to read Queen in Exile. I enjoyed the Guise of a Gentleman, but this one surpassed it. If I wait I can, I give the story six out of five stars.

Want to win one of three copies of Queen in Exile? It's easy.

1. Visit the fabulous reviews and leave a comment letting us know why you're excited to read Queen in Exile. Remember to include your email address.
2. If you tweet about the blog tour, post about it on your blog or facebook, or become a fan of  Romance Author Donna Hatch on Facebook, leave the link in the
comments section and you'll receive additional entries.

March 7-Peggy Urry
March 8-Janette Rallison
March 9-Lydia Lindsey
March 12-Anna Arnett
March 13-Barbara White Daille
March 14-Valerie Ipson
March 15-Valerie Steimle

All entires need to be left by Midnight
MST, Sunday, March 18, 2012. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Say Yes

Recently I've found my thoughts dwelling on a phrase Marjorie Hinckley once said about parenting--"whenever possible say yes, they are only kids once!"

Something about that profound, yet simple statement has resonated within me. I have felt a great desire to follow those simple guidelines. Each time my children have asked for things I've stopped before I say the typical "No" since we as mothers assume that anything they want will mean more work for us. Instead, I pause and weigh the request...does it really hurt for them to do that?

For example  my middle child asked me one night while we were attending a delightful color guard competition and were waiting for the scores, "Mom, can I run across the floor and back?" I'll admit I said something to blow it off, but thank goodness she persisted. I'll never forget looking into her eyes and seeing that simple desire to do something. Not only did I give her a gift by saying "Yes", but a felt thrilled. She ran across a few times and then sat down content. No harm was done, no one cared, but she had been given a chance to do something I was ready to push aside.

Just that experience alone has me enthused to say "Yes" more often. If what they request will harm no one but our own convenience, I say let them do it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Alias, by Mandi Tucker Slack

Jacey Grayson is an average, young, divorced mother struggling to build a new life for her son, Blaze. But when the FBI discloses some disturbing information about her ex-husband, Jacey's life becomes anything but average. At the risk of losing her identity, her future, and her heart, Jacey and Blaze flee to Utah, hoping to hide and start over once again. But no matter how far she runs or who she pretends to be, her past is always lurking nearby, bringing old fears with it.

There is nothing better than a book that pulls at your heart strings. Mandi Slack did an amazing job with The Alias. From the beginning you are tied to the characters. Their emotions become your own. What Mandi does is pure talent. There have been a few times I have discarded a book because a character rubbed me wrong.  Not so with this book. In Jacey I found a friend and a sister.

Beyond her ability to wrap you up in the lives of her characters, the story The Alias is captivating. From the beginning to the end you are anxious for a solution and yet caught up in the sweet day to day details of the farm. The romance between Kale and Jacey is perfect. The right balance of tension followed by resolution.

You will not go wrong by devoting a day to this sweet novel. It only took me that long to devour it and forget completely about my laundry. Four and half out of five stars.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Boy meets Girl

I am astonished at the perception many associate with meeting the right one. In my mind there exists no true pattern. How we find love is unique and oft times very simple. As an avid reader of romance novels, I am surprised by the blueprint for finding love. First there must be tension or a conflict to overcome. When the climax arrives love is truly acknowledged, they get married and live happily ever after. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m one of those writers. I’ve fallen into the trap of deciding what dramatic event will bring my two love interests together. And as a reader the draw to reading such novels is to be thrilled and swept away.

The reality is so strikingly different. Love comes in a variety of packages. There is the simplest form when boy meets girl—the high school sweethearts. The college romance where you spot each other across the library or bump into each other at a party. At times it’s the forbidden work romance, or in my case—love online. I love the stories from our grandparents who met at a community dance. We mustn’t forget the blind dates, where rationale was tossed out the door when we agreed, yet fortunately this time someone matched you right. And I admire those whose marriages were arranged and loved each other through dedication.

Whether these are your stories or something similar, I doubt we look back and think—“Thank goodness I survived that catastrophe…oh, and found my love.” Finding your mate isn’t easy, but it rarely involves a dangerous episode or devastating situation.

When all is said and done, I appreciate reality. That lack of flair and excitement was actually there with butterflies in your stomach and the ever questioning “Is this real?” Your bravery was taking that leap of faith to press on, and even more, being strong and wise enough to keep love afloat. You survived doubt and daily conflict to earn your lovers heart.

So I offer a toast to love today, Valentine’s Day. Remember that your love story holds just as much merit as the ones told in books. You tasted that first nectar of love and are proof that your spouse is still your favorite flavor. I applaud romance for the strength it gives us—to stride in life with support by your side and someone to cuddle with during the normal everyday aspects of life.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Honeymoon Heist Review

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Honeymoon Heist. I am a true blue romantic who devours romance novels by the gallon. There is something about the road towards ultimate love that has me captivated—whether it’s tumultuous and full of battles or a sweet romance that builds with tenderness. When I read the back cover to find the couple already married I was slightly reluctant. “They already had their blossoming courtship,” I sighed. But I indulged myself and figured as a married woman there has to be love after the whirlwind romance?

Anna Jones Buttimore has done what few have accomplished in my opinion. She flipped the situation around by giving the characters a brief courtship and then a honeymoon with more twists than Lombard Road in San Francisco. The honeymoon becomes the romance on a real stage—reality. Too many times we are susceptible to Hollywood’s portrayal of romance, yet there is so much more. Life happens after marriage as the real discovery of who you married begins. Rodney and Clair Hewlett are on the epitome of self discovery in marriage.

I loved how their romance wasn’t perfect. He’s too plain, she too beautiful and of course her past with it ex-husband. They still dwell on the others imperfections, but their admiration for each other grows by leaps and bounds. Rodney makes mental notes of what Claire likes and dislikes and guides his future actions by those observations. Claire moves beyond seeing Rodney’s ordinary appearance to perceiving a capable man who achieves more than her handsome ex even could. They are true to life characters who fight as all couples do, but the endearing part is how much they adore each other afterwards. Their trials during this crazy adventure suit them perfectly. It pulls Rodney out of his shell into a less precise man and makes Claire rely on him more and recognize his worth.

My favorite scene is when Claire describes how holding hands during their courtship spoke volumes about each other. “As though they were desperate to touch each other as much as possible, they had held hands almost constantly. Claire found it amusing that they could almost communicate through their intertwined fingers. A squeeze could mean anything from ‘I found that funny’ to ‘I love you’ or even ‘I’m scared’.” Even a slight movement of their clasped hands could direct the other around.

I would highly recommend Honeymoon heist for two reasons. The heist, which takes you from underground caves to hiding away in cars in such a delightful and amusing way filled with comedy and action. But most importantly, to witness the growth of affection between to polar opposites creating a stable relationship in place of failed expectations. Note: This is an LDS novel, but the only religious references are to marriage lasting for eternity. Who wouldn't want that?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rearview Mirror Review

I have always read Stephanie Black’s novels with some hesitation. Perhaps it’s how well she writes her thrillers—compacted with such description to make you believe you are there in the room watching things unfold. Yet determined as ever to put my fears aside I curled up with her latest Rearview Mirror.

What a delight. Fear lurked in every corner, but instead of pulling the covers over my head I was presented with a gift. Stephanie distracted me with her whose-done-it scenario. I felt as if I was playing the game Clue, crossing off possible suspects only to add a new one to my list. Although I still winced at the gory scenes, jumped at the unexpected turns, I was captivated by my role to help solve the mystery.

In perfect fashion the story captivated you until the very end. Bravo, Ms. Black for trilling us readers with the best mystery I’ve ever read. I would highly recommend Rearview Mirror to all—squeamish or not.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Mother with Multiple Hats

As a survived another frantic morning before school began I found my mind counting up the number of hats I’ve worn within a ninety minute timeframe.  After dragging myself out of bed and rushing through my own preparations, my time had to be put to the side in favor of my children. First I put on the helmet of a drill sergeant and entered our three daughters share bedroom blaring the mommy alarm—loud singing, stripping of blankets, tickling toes and tummies, turning on the radio to an obscene level of annoying music and last but not least flipping on the lights.

After instituting the wake up call, I replaced the helmet for a floppy chef’s hat.  Orders were flying as quickly as minds became alert. Scrambled eggs and toast was the standard issue today, but in typical fashion I ended up with three different orders—“hold the cheese”, “no toast, please” and “can I have something more?” Deftly doling out the meals as the kids dragged in, I put my helmet back on and stated dishing out orders. They were the standard ones—pack your bag, brush your teeth, comb your hair and make your bed—but either they lacked the ability to be fully aware in the morning or they mentally preferred being barked at. One girl is spot on, another marches to her own tune and one plays deaf.

As the troops march about, sometimes to the tune of “about face” to keep them in the right direction, I shift my role to running a beauty salon. This is why I get up earlier than my kids—every hairdresser I’ve met looks glamorous instilling in their patrons a desire to look only half as good. Pulling out my weapons of choice—hairdryer, detangler spray and brush—I am ready to get to work. Kids line up in stations (my drill techniques still in place). First it’s washing hair at the sink, followed by hair drying and some semblance of styling. That too depends on the child—the typical headband, a strange position for a ponytail and whatever mom chooses.

While we are playing salon, I shift to being resident dentist placing my mask over my face and reminding them to brush back and front as well as the choppers. Then its pins in my mouth as I play the local seamstress and pin up this or that. Oh…the cafeteria needs to be opened again, lunches have to be made. Placing the rumpled chef’s hat back on my head I take orders for lunch. Its tuna fish, but like breakfast it comes with different specifications—“pickles”, “no pickles” and “can I have my in a container since I don’t like bread?”

By the time we have marched to our rooms, made our beds and put away our PJ’s I feel as if I’ve run a marathon. Kids are ushered out of the house, dressed in warm clothes despite the whines and I finally get to shift to being just a mother. With a kiss on each forehead I sigh as my grown up kids head off to be instructed and drilled by another.

But my duties are done yet, I still have to pull out my calculator and be the family accountant. I’ll bite my nails as I balance the check register and wonder for the third time why I bought that item. Success and relief are not always the result of this task, but I move on for my day is yet to begin. I’m a garbage woman, the maid, sometimes the sous chef making dinner preparations or the tireless gofer running endless errands. At other times I’m the resident nurse and always a guidance counselor.

I know I’m not alone out there. Many of you, mothers, grandmothers or sweet singles all wear multiple hats. As I’ve dwelled on this fact two things came to mind.  I hope I am appreciated for my duties and thank goodness women were blessed with boundless drive. So tell me, what are your hats?