Monday, August 31, 2015

August aka. Utah Book Month 2015 Reading Wrap

Well, guys! What a month it's been! I had a great time focusing on Utah authors and books this month, but I must say, I'm glad to get back to "normal" too!

This month we Twitter chatted with 11 Utah authors! That was a blast and thanks to all of them for humoring us and joining in the fun. Three of those authors I spotlighted here:

Johnny Worthen
Sara Zarr
Amy Finnegan

This week we had our annual blogger party. It was fun, after I calmed down from the clash with the group that stole our reserved pavilion! Here's the one picture I took at the event:

Jenni from Jenni Elyse
Jessica from The Bluestocking Society
Penelope from Reading Fever
Jessica from Books a True Story
Kathy from Read This Instead (behind)
Karena from Karena Lapray
Jenny from Alternate Readality
Kami from Kami's Library Thoughts
Toto, who is pondering a book blog with her friend, but in
the meantime has a YouTube channel you can click on

And finally, here are the Utah Books I read throughout the whole month:

Mania by J.R. Johansson: Parker and Jack work together to bring an end to the conflict between Watchers and Takers.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr: A young pregnant girl comes to live with the family that plans to adopt her baby.

Eleanor by Johnny Worthen: Eleanor appears to be a normal, ordinary girl, but as the story unfolds we learn that she is anything but ordinary.

Unraveled by Julie Daines: A pair of magic shoes causes much more trouble than than they are worth.

Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani: Claire is trying to figure out how it is that her dead father and her current step dad knew each other before. 

Lost Without You by Annette Lyon: Brooke is trying to find the right guy, and the cop with the kid just might be the one!

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen: As a slave in ancient Rome, Nic is forced to go inside a haunted cave to retrieve a trinket for a general, and in so doing acquires some magical powers. (review to come this week I hope!)

Usually I squeeze in some non Utah books during August, but this time around, it was ALL Utah books! I felt like I could have done more but I guess this isn't bad. 

Favorites from this list: How to Save a Life and Unraveled.. and Eleanor too I'd say.

Plans for September:

  • Read Bone Gap
  • Read A Mad Wicked Folly
  • Read The Girl on the Train for book club
  • Read Goodbye Stranger
  • Read Fires of Invention
  • And if I still have time, read Station 11

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Utah Book Month First Line Quiz: Answers and Winner!

It's time to wrap up the Utah Books First Line Quiz and announce the winner. Thank you to those of you who entered!

First, here are the answers:

1. Male or female? (Remake by Ilima Todd)

2. Call it reaper's insomnia, but the dead wouldn't let me sleep at night. (Shutter by Courtney Alameda)

3. The Low-Gravity Club pulsed with music and memories. (The Unmaking of Genesis Lee by Shallee McCarthur)

4. "A good trap is like a good story: hidden and leading toward one inevitable conclusion." (Return to Exile by E.J. Patten)

5. "You promised us brides!" (Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George)

6. Everyone tells me funerals help with the grieving process, but I think those people are full of crap. (Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick)

7. I see Jack every night. (Evertrue by Brodie Ashton)

8. "Princess Ailsabet, your father demands your attendance at court this morning." (The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison)

9. I don't like to see children cry, but I couldn't feel much sympathy for the little guy. (The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne)

10. People go to hell for what I'm about to do.(Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani)

From those that entered, Susan from Bloggin 'bout Books got the most right with a score of 8 out of 10! Congratulations! Let me know which one of these books you'd like and I'll mail that too you ASAP. (Here's hoping you don't already have them all!)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Book Review Discussion: Lost Without You by Annette Lyon

Book: Lost Without You by Annette Lyon
Genre: LDS Romance
For: Utah Book Month
From: bought for Kindle (maybe it was free, I can't remember!)

Short Synopsis: Brooke has just broken up with Christopher. And here she thought he was the one. But she learns that he has some pretty big issues and she's so glad she's out. Meanwhile, she keeps running into this other guy, a guy who just happens to be the cop that took down her info when Christopher crashed the car after they broke up. One thing leads to another and before long, they are going out. But all is not still not well.

My Response: I haven't read an LDS romance for so long! I didn't realize that this book was in that genre. And all the same things that have bugged me about them over the years still bugged me, but I overlooked it and enjoyed the story for what it was. . . a sweet, clean romance with a bit of a disturbing twist and ending. One thing is for sure, this Greg guy is most awesome.

Bottom Line: I enjoyed it for the most part, with some qualifications.

Let's Talk About: You know, I really enjoy clean romance, but sometimes it's almost too clean. Know what I mean? How do you define clean and where do you like to draw the line between that and way too much information?

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! 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Utah Book Month Read Along: Not in the Script Part Two Discussion Questions and Pictures from Book Club

We wrapped up our first annual Utah Book Month read along yesterday! The questions for the second half of Not in the Script are up over on the main blog. I loved re-reading this book (for both the read along and for book club, which was last night!) Such a fun romance! Here are my very short answers to the questions:

Not in the Script Part Two Discussion Questions

1. Have your opinions of any of the characters changed from the first half?

I'm a little more bugged at Brett then I was in the first half. But still, I think he can overcome his issues given help and time.

2. Would you watch Coyote Hills?

Yes, for sure!

3. Did everything go down like you thought it would?

Yes, pretty much. But even though it was a re-read for me, I'd forgotten the details!

4. If there's a lesson to be learned from this story, what do you think it is?

Everything is not always as it seems.

5. How do you feel about the portrayal of the parents of these characters?

I'm more aware of parents in books these days. And I actually liked these parents! Even Jake's dad seemed to come around. Emma's mom was annoying, but only because she wants the best for Emma. And she didn't throw a fit when Emma wanted to "fire" her. And then how both her parents were involved in the make up at the end? I loved that. 

6. What parts felt realistic and what parts felt unrealistic?

All the shooting the show scenes feel very realistic. The paparazzi stuff feels realistic. Maybe how good these kids are, well Emma and Jake anyway, a little unrealistic. Not that I didn't like that. How easy Jake's mom takes to Emma, probably a little unrealistic.

7. What was your favorite part?

So many favorite parts! The kiss by the truck for sure. Emma and Jake dancing and no one catches them. When Emma ties Jake's shoelaces together. When Jake and his mom tease Emma about Charlie. Umm.... I guess that's good for now.

8. Who was your favorite character?

Jake of course. Because he makes me laugh.

9. Do you have a favorite quote from the book?

"I've heard that nine out of ten girls pass out when they get this close to you."  LOL! I don't know. I didn't mark the book up so now I can't find them!

10. If you were in charge of a sequel, what major plot would you include?

I would explore Brett's hopeful growth and change more. I would like to see how Jake and Emma turn out, if all really is well. I don't really care much about what happens with Rachel and her TV show. 

We had Amy Finnegan join us for book club last night. She told lots of behind the scene stories from Parks and Rec, and Parenthood. And how she interviewed Chris Pratt (for this book basically) and talked for hours to James Franco on the plane and fangirled a bit over Justin Beiber at the pool. We had a great time! 

The whole crowd.

Jenny, Kami, Kathy, Amy, Jenni and me


Amy brought pictures to show!

If you read along with us, I hope you had fun! I'm guessing we'll be doing more Utah Book Read Alongs in the future so stay tuned!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Utah Book Month 2015: BYU Bookstore

Here's a Utah bookish place we don't hype up very much. . . BYU Bookstore. Or, any university book store for that matter. (I've really only experienced BYU's though.)

I love this store for it's amazing selection of bargain books. And the awesome school supplies section too! Seriously, if you want a cool pen, or notebook, you'll find it here.

But when we went the other day, we browsed the YA section. They had a good supply of local Utah authors, but in general the pickings were a little slim. But, they make up for that in other sections!

I took these pictures: 

I wonder if they took a picture of me taking a picture!

My sister Megs and daughter Toto picking out books.
And this is what I ended up buying that day:

None of them Utah authors, but some awesome books nonetheless, right?

And remember that day we saw David Archuleta there?

Throwback Thursday to 2011: Meeting David at the BYU Bookstore!
Oh, and did I mention they are famous for their fudge. If you ever find yourself here, you HAVE to buy some!

And that's the BYU Book store for you! Maybe I'll see you there some day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Utah Book Author Event: Dressing the Naked Hand by Amy White, Mark Pulham and Dallin Blankenship

I went to another author/book event last week! These three authors/puppeteers have been working on this book forever! And it finally came out this summer. To celebrate, they put on a puppet show for the kids at Orem Library and showed them how it all works.

I haven't read the book yet, but I understand it's the ultimate book on all things puppetry. If you've ever wanted to learn how or to get involved in this art, this book is IT! There's even a DVD included!

Two of these three authors work at the library and I can tell you that they are experts in this field and know what they are talking about. And the shows they put on are so funny. The one they did this particular evening was a Star Wars spoof. Very funny for the kids, but even more so for the adults because they actually got all the plays on words!  Awesome.

Here are a few pictures I took.

Amy White
Enthralled kids

Mark Pulham

Dallin Blankenship

If you or your kids are into puppets, you should totally get your hands (your not so naked one!) on this book!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Auto Buy UTAH Authors

In keeping with the theme of the month, and with prompting from The Broke and the Bookish, I give you a list of Utah authors that I'll automatically buy. Now, you might think I automatically buy them all, which would be close, but no. If I bought them all, then the state of my overflowing book shelves would REALLY be bad! I do narrow it down just a bit.

Ten Utah Authors that I Auto-Buy

1. Dan Wells
2. Julianne Donaldson
3. Ally Condie
4. Sara Zarr
5. Jennifer A. Nielsen
6. Sara B. Larson
7. Amy Finnegan
8. James Dashner
9. Bree Despain
10. Chantele Sedgwick

Shannon Hale and Brandon Sanderson are honorable mentions. While I have bought MOST of their books, I surely haven't bought them all.

And seriously people! If you haven't checked out any of these authors, what are you waiting for? I promise, you'll love their books!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Utah Author Spotlight: Sara Zarr

Tonight we'll be chatting with Sara Zarr, she who writes heart warming, gut wrenching, tear jerking, powerful REAL stories! Believe me. If you haven't read one yet, you really should. And yes, she is a Utah author and tonight, as I said, we'll be chatting with her on Twitter at 6:30 pm MDT using the #UtahBooks hashtag. Do come and join us!

Here's her official bio from her website if you'd like to know more about her:

Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of five novels for young adults, most recently The Lucy Variations, which the New York Times called “an elegant novel.” Her sixth, a collaborative novel with Tara Altebrando, came out December 2013. She’s a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner. Her books have been variously named to annual best books lists of the American Library Association, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, the Guardian, the International Reading Association, the New York Public Library and Los Angeles Public Library, and have been translated into many languages. In 2010, she served as a judge for the National Book Award. She has written essays and creative nonfiction for Image, Hunger Mountain online, and Response as well as for several anthologies, and has been a regular contributor to Image‘s daily Good Letters blog on faith, life, and culture. As of summer 2013, she’s a member of the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Sara also hosts the This Creative Life podcast. In fall 2014, she received a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. Born in Cleveland and raised in San Francisco, she currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Utah Book Month: Week Two Wrap and What's Coming Up

Wow, but it's been a fun and crazy Utah Book Month week! Let me tell you all about it!

Here's some stuff I posted:

Utah Author Photo Essay
Top Ten Utah Authors I've Read
Author Spotlight: Johnny Worthen
Author Spotlight: Amy Finnegan
Utah Book Readalong Discussion Part One
Review: How to Save a Life

And did you try the First Lines Quiz?  I'm guessing you haven't because I have ONLY THREE ENTRIES! Come people! Come give it a try for a chance to win a book!

We had FOUR twitter chats! They were with Amy Finnegan, J.R. Johansson, Johnny Worthen and Bree Despain. All a blast! I've having such fun with this. And this week, we have two more chats for you!
We'd love for you to join us! The more the merrier, as they say! Find us at #UtahBooks!

We've planned a date for our annual summer party! Here are the details:

Utah Book Month Bash
Friday, August 28, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
Wines Park in Lehi, SW Pavilion 

  • Bring a dessert or snack to share; we'll provide plates/forks/napkins/cups/water.
  • We do have a pavilion with picnic tables, but you may also want to bring chairs or blankets for sitting on the grass.
  • Families are welcome - there is a playground for kids.

We'd love to meet our fellow book bloggers and author friends. Come if you can!

Our readalong of Not in the Script ends this coming week with a visit by author Amy Finnegan to book club. We'll live tweet the event and then tell you all about when it's over. (If you are reading along and live locally, please join us. Send me an email for details!)

The theme next week is Utah Bookish Places. Check out the main blog for all the goings on and be sure to link up if you do a post. And then be sure to enter the mega giveaway. You don't want to miss that! Also this week, there'll be another fun mini challenge, this time over at Jenni  Elyse's blog. 

Have you been doing the Instagram challenge with us? I didn't post many pictures this week, but here are a few in case you missed it:




Friday, August 14, 2015

Book Review Discussion: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Book: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Genre: YA Contemporary
For: Utah Book Month and Support Local Authors
From: Bought at the conference the other day

Short Synopsis: This book alternates between the points of view of two girls. One is Mandy, a young pregnant girl. She's handpicked Robin from a website to be the mother of her baby. Robin has agreed to let Mandy come live with her and her daughter until the baby is born. Mandy is desperate to get away from home and feels this situation, with no questions asked, is a perfect one for her. The other girl, is the daughter in this family that Mandy has come to live with. Her name is Jill. She is dealing with the death of her father, the drama with her boyfriend, and now the arrival of this girl who is taking up all her mom's attention. Not to mention the fact that her mom wants to raise and support a brand new baby! Needless to say, life gets interesting for all of them as they come to terms with all these changes!

My Response: Okay, I loved it. I pretty much had it figured out by the end, as to what would happen, and I loved this solution to everything. I loved getting into the heads of both these girls who are so completely different from each and growing with them. It was awesome. There's also a couple of really cool boys that make and appearance, which, you know, is always fun. Anyway, as with all of Sara's books, this one is filled with high levels of emotion and heart felt, gut wrenching issues. I predict a tear or two if you read it!

Bottom Line: A lot people, when they found out I was reading this one, said... "one of my favorites ever." And I have to agree. It will probably be on my list at the end of the year.

Let's Talk About: Don't you love it when you read a book everyone seems to love and then, you end up loving it too? Best thing ever!

Other Reviews:

Sara Zarr's most popular novel lives up to its hype and delivered above and beyond my sky-high expectations, instantly making her one of my favorite authors. Ever. From Ivy Book Bindings

How to Save a Life is just one of those books that engaged me from its first word to its last. It's a heart-wrenching, hopeful novel, one that reminds me why I love contemporary YA so much. From Bloggin' 'bout Books

How to Save a Life is this beautiful near perfect story about the pain we carry around inside us and the way that pain can be turned into something else, something life saving and live giving when we come together as people. From My Friend Amy

This is a compelling novel to be sure. It is emotional. It is well written. From Becky's Book Reviews

Bout of Books!

Since I'm trying to cram as much reading as I possibly can in the rest of this month (you DID see the stack of Utah books I want to read, right?) then I might as well join this party, right? So right!

Yes, it's Bout of Books time again! Here's the official statement from those in charge:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

This is all starting next week and I hope to read at least THREE more Utah books that week. So here's hoping that happens! If you want to join in the fun, sign up here!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Utah Book Month 2015: Utah Authors, A Photo Essay

As you all already know, I manage to get out to a ton of author events throughout the year, most of them being in support of Utah authors. Even though I've posted these all before, I thought putting them altogether in celebration of Utah authors this week would be fun.

So here, once again, are all the Utah authors I've come in contact with since last year's Utah Books Month! Do know that a ton more events happened that I didn't make it to, sadly. But seriously, I can't get to all of them!

Sara Zarr speaking at BYU's Books for Young Readers Symposium in July.

Book launch for Valynne Maetani's Ink and Ashes in June

Charlie Holmberg, Amy Finnegan and David Powers King
at a panel for Storymakers writing conference in May

Jennifer Nielsen speaking
at Storymakers in May

Book launch for Chantele Sedgwick's Love, Lucas in April

Book launch for Bree Despain's The Eternity Key in April

Metti Ivie Harrison, Courtney Alameda, Ally Condie and Shannon Hale
at Writing for Charity in March

Dan Wells at Writing for Charity in March

Chantele Sedgwick, Jessica Day George, Sandra Taylor, Ann Cannon
at Writing for Charity in March

J. R Johansson, Bree Despain, Natalie Whipple
at the mass author signing at LTUE in February

J. Scott Savage unveiling his steampunk dragon
at LTUE in February

Book launch for Courtney Alameda's Shutter in February

Book launch for Sara B. Larson's Ignite in January

Brandon Sanderson and Brandon Mull
at Orem Library in December

Ally Condie, Shannon Hale and Julieann Donaldson
at Orem Library in December

Ann Dee Ellis and Natalie Whipple
at Orem Library in December

Book launch for Shallee MacArthur's The Unhappening of Genesis Lee
at Orem Library in November

Book launch for Ally Condie's Atlantia in October


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