Feb 152016

2015whitneyreadingchallengeThe 2015 Whitney Award finalists were announced last week, which means it’s time for another Whitney Reading Challenge.

LDSWBR is co-hosting this year’s Whitney Reading Challenge with  We’ll be holding weekly giveaways for anyone who reads the finalists as well as Grand Prize giveaways for Whitney Academy members who complete the reading and vote in the Youth, Adult, and ALL categories. Entries for the Grand Prizes can be made on the 2015 Whitney Reading Challenge Rafflecopter page (under the weekly giveaway form) after Whitney voting begins.

Visit for the 2015 Whitney Reading Challenge rules. You can enter there as well. Remember to update the weekly Rafflecopter form often to participate in the weekly drawings. Good luck!

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
 Comments Off on 2015 Whitney Reading Challenge begins!
Jan 272016

Hello again, and how I’ve missed you all! Life took me away for a little while, but I’m back now to let you know how you can support LDS authors on Kindle Scout.

If you are unfamiliar with Kindle Scout, authors submit their unpublished books for 30 days and readers nominate their favorite books. If a book is selected it will be published by Kindle Press.

The beauty of this is that readers have a say in what books get published. Readers can also receive a free copy of the books they nominate (as per the terms found here).

Janette Rallison, Heather B. Moore (under her YA pen name), and Rachelle Christensen are LDS authors who have been successful with Kindle Scout. Listed below are LDS Authors who are currently participating and need your nominations (days left to nominate are as of 1/27/2016):

Two Runs of Stone – Full Circle by STEVEN D. NIELSEN (3 days left)

Orison by BRANDON GRAY (Braden Bell) (16 days left)

Echoes of Silence by ELANA JOHNSON (15 days left)

Wandaful by MICHAEL D. YOUNG (22 days left)

Death Thieves by JULIE WRIGHT (25 days left)

The best thing about the LDS reading/writing community is how supportive we are of each other, so go nominate! You might even get a free book.



Related Posts:

Sep 012015

Janitors5 Heroes of the Dustbin (Janitors #5)

Author: Tyler Whitesides

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published Date:  September 8, 2015

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Hardcover/Audio/ebook: 416 pages

ISBN# 978-1-62972-065-4

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: Received a free Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (

Spencer knew that from the moment the Founding Witches had returned, the Rebel Janitors had begun disappearing. So many schools were defenseless now, the students’ minds rotting from Toxite breath while the janitors vanished without a trace. Then it became personal.

Although their enemies are powerful, their allies few, Spencer and his ream of Rebels are not giving up! But what chance do a handful of kids and one rescued janitor have against the combined evil of the Founding Witches and the Sweepers? Can the Rebels close the source of all Glop and stop the Toxites once and for all—or is the world doomed to fall under the control of the sinister Bureau of Educational Maintenance? This explosive series finale is a griping ride through conflicted loyalties and daring escapes, unexpected alliances and betrayals, and an ending you’ll never forget!


I remember the first time I met Tyler Whitesides, a few months before his new book, Janitors, was due to be released. He told me about his new book, the first in a series, and I thought it sounded like a fun and unique adventure. Fast forward to today, as I review the last book in the Janitors series, and I can honestly say it has been a lot of fun. A little gross at times for the germaphobic, but always an adventure.

Our characters are in dire circumstances as the story begins, reeling after the loss of mentors and the continuing disappearances of allies. Spencer and Daisy must decide whether to trust former enemies and bear the responsibility of rescuing their Rebel allies. Secrets are uncovered that change everything, and their situation seems impossible.

I sailed through the book, anxious to see what happened from chapter to chapter. Tyler did a great job of keeping the pace going, surprising me and, as usual, making me laugh. He knows how to include the details with enough entertainment to keep young readers (and adults like me) engaged in the story. The creative use of every day janitorial items is clever and I still really want a set of magic squeegees.

Spencer, Daisy, and Dez, while still the same characters we know, have also grown both in experience and friendship. They’ve learned to appreciate each other and make sacrifices. Well, at least Spencer and Daisy have, though Dez surprised me more than once. As the story ends, I believe there is hope for him yet.

I found Heroes of the Dustbin to be a fast moving and satisfying conclusion to the Janitors series, and I think other fans will as well. This series is perfect for engaging the imaginations of young readers. I know many middle grade readers have enjoyed Tyler’s books, and I hope many more discover this series as they explore the possibilities that exist in the world of reading.

**Visit Tyler’s website for information on the book launch and signing events on September 4th and 5th.

Visit Tyler:


Find Heroes of the Dustbin:


Related Posts:

Sep 152014

Janitors4 Strike of the Sweepers (Janitors #4)

Author: Tyler Whitesides

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published Date: September 9, 2014

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Hardcover/Kindle/Nook/Audio: 388 pages

ISBN# 978-1-60907-907-9

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: Received a free hardcover in exchange for an honest review

Summary (

The stakes have never been higher, and you’ve never seen squeegees do this before! It is a wild and slightly unsanitary ride as Spencer, Daisy, and the Rebel Janitors find themselves chased by Mr. Clean’s new and terrifying half-breed Toxites—the Sweepers. Time is short. With the fabled Manualis Custodem in hand, Spencer must figure out how to summon the Founding Witches if they ever hope to mop up and save education.


The Janitors series holds its own in the world of middle-grade novels, and this latest release strengthens that position. I read Strike of the Sweepers thinking this was the last book in the series, mainly because the nonstop action and dramatic events made me think we were heading to the big finale. Only at the very end did I realize how wrong I was. There is one more book in the series, and if it’s anything like Strike of the Sweepers, readers will be in for a wild ride.

I think fans of the Janitors series are really going to love Strike of the Sweepers. Tyler knows how to write in a style that appeals to middle grade readers, especially boys, though I know there are a lot of girls who love this series as well. Tyler’s experience in janitorial work at an elementary school adds a dimension to the story that makes the fantastical become possible in the imaginations of young readers.

This might be my favorite book in the series so far. It was fast-paced and held my attention. The descriptions were just right and I could easily picture the settings. I would give examples, but I’m trying to keep things spoiler free. All I will say is dust. You know what part I’m talking about, right, Tyler?

I love the fun and clever little touches that appear throughout the book, from the title of the first chapter (“Pink is not stealthy.”) to character names (Professor Dustin DeFleur), scary bad guys (made out of TP), and awesome defensive capabilities (trash cannon – yeah!).

I admit to being fascinated by Dez as a character. He’s both bad guy and good guy at the same time, annoying yet integral, a bully and selfish yet still somehow a part of the team. In this book, there is a big part of the story where the kids are on their own, dealing with problems and coming up with solutions by working together. I think kids reading Strike of the Sweepers will really enjoy that part of the story. After all, who wouldn’t want to drive a magical garbage truck?

There’s a twist at the end that I did not see coming. All I will say is that it’s going to make the last book very interesting. Also, I wish I had squeegees that worked like that.

Strike of the Sweepers is a fun read and a great addition to the Janitors series. I can easily recommend this book to middle-grade readers who love adventure and magic, and don’t mind a little gross here and there.

Visit Tyler:


Find Strike of the Sweepers:





Related Posts:

Sep 022014

DeadlyAlliance Deadly Alliance (Espionage #3)

Author: A.L. Sowards

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Published: April 2014

Genre: Historical

Softcover: 317 pages

ISBN# 9781621086901

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: Received a free digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (Goodreads)

When Peter Eddy and his commando team inadvertently upset the Soviets during their most recent mission, they never imagined the diplomatic nightmares that would ensue. They have one chance to redeem themselves: tasked with destroying a bridge in Nazi-occupied Bosnia, Peter and his war-weary team reluctantly agree to drop behind enemy lines. The assignment should be a simple one—were it not for the fact that they are being deployed on a suicide mission.

Genevieve Olivier is devastated by the news of Peter’s disappearance. After all they’ve endured in this war, the determined OSS worker is unwilling to simply let go of the man she hopes to spend her life with. Desperate for information, her work as a courier soon escalates into a counterintelligence duel with a Fascist assassin—and Genevieve is his newest target . . .


Deadly Alliance, the third and final installment of the Espionage series, takes place during the final year of WWII. Peter and Genevieve are the main characters, who both have way more war and espionage experience than any young person should. Almost as soon as they are reunited, the war separates them. Their duties take them far from each other, and one circumstance after another makes it almost certain they will never survive, let alone find each other again.

Peter has several of his closest war buddies with him, but Genevieve is very alone. She stays busy at the hospital, but the war has taken too much for her to feel happy without Peter. He is determined to do his duty for his country and the men that are serving with him. While he hopes to be united again with Genevieve and live the rest of his life by her side, Peter knows that sometimes the only option is to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The story is told mainly from Peter and Genevieve’s points-of-view, with a large focus on events occurring in the fight between the Serbians and Croatians, the Partisans and Chetniks, located in Yugoslavia. The characters encounter several battle scenarios and devastated villages that show the face of war in that area of the world. The author’s style isn’t flowery or roundabout but straightforward, intended for an audience of men and women who enjoy reading WWII fiction and prefer a hint of romance.

Deadly Alliance takes the reader along as the characters move from one seemingly insurmountable circumstance to another. I haven’t read a lot of WWII fiction but I can see that Deadly Alliance and the other books in the Espionage series are well-researched. I follow A.L. Sowards on Goodreads so I see how many WWII books she reads. This knowledge comes through in how easy it was to slip into the time period each time I picked up the book.

I appreciated Peter and Genevieve’s devotion to doing whatever they could to end the war, even at the risk of their own lives. They go through some emotional experiences, however, they have been at war for some time now and witnessed many things no one should ever see. At times they are simply resigned to their circumstances, or hardened by previous events. I was anxious for both the war to end, and to find out what would ultimately happen with our heroes. Just when I thought all was said and done, the author threw in a twist that had me in some serious suspense.

Overall, Deadly Alliance is an enjoyable and satisfying conclusion to the series. I would recommend the Espionage series to anyone who enjoys clean, well-researched historical fiction, particularly WWII fiction. While LDS elements are present, it isn’t a major theme of the book. I look forward to more from A.L. Sowards, and can’t wait to see what she has in the works.

Visit A.L.:


Find Deadly Alliance:



Related Posts:

Aug 112014

LivingintheMillennium Living in the Millennium

Author: Robert L. Millet

Publisher: Deseret Book

Published: August 2014

Hardcover/ebook: 160 pages

Genre: Religious Nonfiction

ISBN# 978-1-60907-914-7

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: Received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (

The Savior taught through the Prophet Joseph Smith that the time will come when “he that liveth in righteousness shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and the earth shall pass away so as by fire” (Doctrine and Covenants 43:32).

What do we know about that day when Jesus Christ will come in glory to cleanse the earth? And what will life be like after He comes to reign?

In Living in the Millennium, the companion volume to Living in the Eleventh Hour, author Robert L. Millet opens the doors wide to show us what life will be like during and after the Millennium. Relying on the words of ancient and modern prophets, he shares what has been revealed about Christ’s preliminary appearances, His return in majesty and power, and His millennial reign—a thousand years of goodness and peace.

Filled with insights, this timely book helps us to understand more fully such eternal doctrines as the resurrection of the just and the unjust, the Judgment, and the many mansions of glory.

Living in the Millennium inspires us to live today as if the Savior were coming tomorrow.


Living in the Millennium is a worthwhile read for anyone who is curious about what life during the Millennium will be like for humankind. The book isn’t long–107 pages of reading followed by Notes, Glossary (which is educational reading itself), Sources, Scripture Index, and Subject Index–but it contains an encompassing overview of revelation regarding the Millennium provided by the scriptures and prophets, both ancient and modern-day.

There are three main sections: Before the Millennium, The Millennium, and Beyond the Millennium. The Atonement, the Second Coming, the Resurrection, Eternal Life, and more are discussed, with several scriptures and quotes, including revelation given to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon regarding the degrees of glory.

I started out notating paragraphs of interest, but was soon pulled into the subject matter and forgot all about taking notes. I will definitely be reading it again to find those areas that provided both warning and hope to me. I think it is an excellent companion book to Living in the Eleventh Hour, and the more powerful of the two, at least for me personally.

Find Living in the Millennium:


About the Author: Robert L. Millet, a former dean of religious education at BYU, is a professor emeritus of ancient scripture. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at BYU in psychology and his PhD from Florida State University in religious studies. He has served as a bishop, stake president, and a member of the Materials Evaluation Committee. Brother Millet is a beloved speaker and the author of numerous books. He and his wife Shauna, are the parents of six children.

Related Posts: