Jul 252014
 

 

 

The Dreamosphere

Author: Laura Stoddard

Publisher: Cedar Fort

Published: July 8th, 2014

ISBN13: 9781462114443

Paperback: 208 pages

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

 Book Description:

What if dreams don’t disappear when we wake up? Haunted by her sister’s death, Gwen Stoker takes solace in her web of dreams—the Dreamosphere. But when someone begins destroying it, Gwen must find the culprit—or risk losing all her happy thoughts and feelings forever! Dreams come to life in this fantastical children’s tale!

Sheila’s Review:
 I have always been so intrigued about dreams and what they mean. So this new take on a person’s dreams and where they collect was fascinating. Main character, Gwen, is an interesting 11 year old girl who is quite surly. She seems to be very unhappy and not friendly at all. We soon find out why, as it’s revealed that she feels guilty for her younger sister’s death. The reader also learns early on that Gwen can go to a place called “The Dreamosphere” where all of her dreams are kept. I have to admit that would be a scary thing for me. I don’t like a lot of my dreams that I remember.  Gwen finds out someone is destroying her Dream Orbs, which is making her depressed. It also doesn’t help that she is being bullied at school and being called weird. {One thing that was kind of confusing for me, was that Gwen and the kids at school seemed to be written as teenagers in the way they talk and act with boyfriends/girlfriends and having several different school periods during the day. Gwen is 11 and in Elementary school, so this sometimes threw me off while reading.} One thing I really liked was how this novel subtly deals with some major issues, like death, grief and bullying and I liked the way they were presented and dealt with. As the story moves along, there are some surprising answers to who is messing with Gwen’s dream orbs and her friends. This fantasy suited for tweens and teens  is exciting and sets things up well for another book in the series. I truly liked the ending to this story!

Mindy’s Review

I enjoyed the idea behind this book, someone has been breaking in to her dreams and changing her personality.  I felt bad for Gwen and all that she has gone through, you can tell right away that something is off with her.  I was glad that the author eased the reader into her life.  I liked the mystery behind her “secret” and what happened to her to make her the way she is.  She is having a hard time in school and when an old friend starts to visit her in her dreams to help her, it seemed to me she wanted to be in the dream world instead of the real world.  I did enjoy the events that take place in the story.  I was happy when she started figuring things out, but thought it was wrapped up too quickly, but was glad when this unhappy girl with no friends, starting getting some answers and was able to make friends and be happy. 

 

EXCERPT

 

“What do you think happens to your dreams after you wake up?”

 

Gwen shrugged distractedly, too disoriented by her sudden arrival in the remarkable setting to focus. “I dunno. They disappear?”

 

The unblinking gray eyes of her young companion flashed as she leaned forward. “Incorrect. Every dream you’ve ever had still exists. All of them. They reside in a dimension called the Dreamosphere. It’s where we are right now, as a matter of fact. Each dream basically exists as its own world, or dream-orb. There are thousands and thousands of them, connected like drops of dew on a gigantic spider web. Every dream you’ve ever had, Gwen. They’re all up here. And you can visit them any time you want.”

 

Author Bio: Laura Stoddard was born in Idaho and spent her formative years running amok in the great outdoors. She received her bachelors degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. After being rejected from the masters program for creative writing she decided that she didn’t need a masters degree to tell her she could write, so she started really dedicating her time to finishing the story she’d started months earlier, with the goal of writing a complete novel, and getting it published. The result is her debut novel, The Dreamosphere, for which her own vivid, bizarre, and incomprehensible dreams provided the inspiration. Laura is an adrenaline junkie and will try anything once–or twice–or maybe three times. She can already check whitewater rafting, going down in a shark cage, and skydiving (three times) off of her list. Oh, and getting Lasik. It was five minutes of terror. She enjoys hiking, rowing, reading classic literature, embarking on new adventures and hobbies, volunteering regularly, and spending time with family. She currently resides in Phoenix, Ariz.

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May 112013
 

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem

Author: Melissa Lemon

Publisher: Sweetwater Books/Cedar Fort

Published: December 11th, 2012

ISBN13: 9781462111459

Hardcover: 288 pages

FTC FYI: Received a PDF from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, then purchased my own copy.

Reviewed by Mindy

Inside Book Jacket

Katiyana Whyte’s world is only as big as the apple orchard she was raised on.  She can never leave the home where she grew up under the careful eye of her uncle Barney.  But when life at the orchard suddenly becomes dangerous and her childhood friend Jeremy begs her to flee, Kat finds refuge in the Fluttering Forest with seven dwarves.

Meanwhile, the queen of Mayhem, an evil sorceress, learns through her magic mirror that the daughter she believed to be dead, still lives.  Enraged, she sends a servant to kill Kat, the princess of Mayhem, but Kat finds protection in a spell that causes snowstorms whenever she is in danger, giving her the nickname Snow Whyte.

In the wonderfully imagined Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem, nobody is quite who they seem.  Full of romance and adventure, this is the magical tale of Snow White as you’ve never read it.

My Review

4 of out 5 stars.  I was instantly taken with this story.  I loved the narrator (I won’t say who he is for spoiler reasons, but you find out early on).  I really enjoyed seeing each character through his eyes.  The Queen was awesomely evil.  She truly was a wicked queen, and written very well.  Queen Radiance (as she made her subjects call her) stole the show.  There are so many twists in this great story, and lots of fun surprises.  Kat is a sweetheart.  I enjoyed how her little dwarf friends loved her , and how she loved them.  Jeremy was an unexpected surprise, and his story is so cool!  Again, many twists that are very enjoyable.

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May 082013
 

17401053 Lost then Found: An Aliso Creek Novella

Author: Heather B. Moore 

Publisher: Mirror Press, LLC

Published: May 1st, 2013

ebook: 60 pages

FTC FYI: Received a free review copy.

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads Summary

Welcome to the Aliso Creek Novella series

Liz, Gemma, Arie, Jess, and Drew have been best friends since creating “the Five” at Aliso Creek High School. But that was over ten years ago, and each is still trying to find that perfect someone… if perfect is even possible.

Arie, at the top of her career as VP of an established real estate company, discovers that her success has led to a less-than-successful dating life. But she may have just met the ideal man in work-a-holic film producer, Dustin Jacobs. Seeing each other once a week, or even once a month, is no big deal since they are both ambitious… until Arie realizes she wants much, much more.

My Review

As always with Heather’s book, I was immediately taken into the story in Lost then Found.  Arie is an instantly likable character.  I also enjoyed that we were able to get to know Valentina a bit in this book, as well.  Valentina is an ex-girlfriend of Drew’s that I have been curious about.  I really like the novellas in this series and I have become a huge fan of short stories.  Arie has a lot happen to her in this “short” story and she handles herself well.  Dustin is a high-powered producer who seems taken with her from the start.  Their relationship hits a few snags at the beginning, and one at the end that I didn’t see coming, but enjoyed.  Each of these novellas are unique and are fun, fast reads.  They do not need to be read in order, either.

4 out of 5 stars.  Heather is the author of many fabulous books and short stories.  Read more about her awesomeness here.  The last Aliso Creek novella, One Chance, comes out June 1st, 2013.  Heather is also apart of the Timeless series of short stories.  Summer Weddings came out May 3rd.  Five other authors also contributed:  Sarah M. Eden, Annette Lyon, Melanie Jacobson, Julie Wright, Rachael Renee Anderson.  These are books you don’t want to miss.

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May 062013
 

TIMELESS darker A Timeless Romance Anthology: Spring Vacation Collection

Authors: Josi S. Kilpack, Annette Lyon, Heather Justesen, Sarah M. Eden, Heather B. Moore, Aubrey Mace

Published: February 1, 2013

Publisher: Mirror Press

Format: ebook

FTC FYI: Received an ePub copy in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Mindy and Shanda

Goodreads Summary 

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Spring Vacation Collection. Readers will love this collection of six sweet contemporary romance novellas, centered on a Spring Vacation, all with one thing in common: Romance.

In Moonlight Kiss, a delightful story by Josi S. Kilpack, Sarah is looking forward to the company retreat, namely because she’ll finally meet Clint—the man she’s been Instant Messaging for a few months. As a single mom, Sarah gets out . . . well, never. So adding vacation days onto the retreat so she can spend time with Clint is daring, yet exciting. She just hopes that the suave on-line Clint will live up to the man she hopes to share her heart with.

In Annette Lyon’s charming novella, Chasing Tess, Tess had been patiently waiting through three years of law school for James to pop the question. The night has finally arrived—at his graduation party. But his big announcement turns out to be completely unexpected . . . and devastating. Tess flees the party, promising herself she’ll never let herself waste time on James again. But as she makes a desperate cross-country drive, James makes his own plans on how to win her back.

Dancing at the Flea Market is a sweet romance by Heather Justesen. Mara, fresh out of the cold North Dakota tundra, spends her spring break in Texas with close friend, Anna. When the two women run into Carter, an impatient man with a painful past, it takes hearing Mara’s stunning voice at the local Karaoke club to thaw his heart. But as Mara gets to know Carter, she has to decide if the distance between their lives and homes is worth trying to bridge.

In Sarah M. Eden’s captivating novella, The Best Laid Plans, Madison gives up a vacation to Cancún with her office friends to return home and babysit her mother, who is in another sketchy relationship. The only problem with returning home is running into Derek, her ex-boyfriend who she decided to break up with before he could break up with her—Madison believes in always being one step ahead. When Derek teams up with Madison to investigate whether her mother is dating the right guy, Madison has a hard time ignoring what her heart is telling her about giving Derek another chance.

Picture Perfect, an exciting story by Heather B. Moore, follows Gemma who has never done anything out of the ordinary, until her boyfriend Randy starts to ignore her. But even cutting and dyeing her hair doesn’t get his attention. She decides to join her old high school friends for spring vacation, only to be faced with Drew, her best friend who suddenly seems interested in her as more than a friend. Gemma must determine if her heart is on the rebound or if it’s finally met its true match.

In Aubrey Mace’s enchanting romance, The Science of Sentiment, Rosie will do anything to forget Kevin, his completely perfect kisses, and the fact that he dumped her. When she arrives at her grandfather’s mountain cabin for a spring getaway, she discovers her worst nightmare—Kevin has been invited to stay the weekend too. Since there is only room for one in such a small space, Rosie is determined to kick Kevin out. But Kevin has other plans . . . which might include a reminder of why he’s the perfect kisser.

Mindy’s Review

This is a very enjoyable book full of six well-written and fun short stories.  Each one is very unique, and most importantly, clean romances with awesome characters.  I was quickly taken into each story with their fun plots and spring settings.  As I was reading each story, I was sure it was my favorite, then I would start the next one, and it became my new favorite.  Each story has its share of great kisses.  The kiss in Heather Moore’s Picture Perfect… WOW!

5 out of 5 stars.  As you finish each story, you will be happily wanting more.  I can’t wait for Summer Wedding Collection in May.  

Shanda’s Review

The A Timeless Romance Anthology series has proven that a short love story can still be big on romance. I enjoyed each one, amazed at how well each author packed a full story into a smaller page count without making it feel rushed or incomplete.

My favorite was Sarah Eden’s The Best Laid Plans. I’m going to quote my notes directly: “Sigh (big smiley face). Loved it. Maddi & Derek – great couple. Good story. Nice romance.” I agree with Mindy about the kiss in Picture Perfect. I was pleasantly surprised with the little turn the story took in Chasing Tess. It was happily not what I expected.

If you like a good romance, check out A Timeless Romance Anthology: Spring Vacation Collection. I’m anxiously looking forward to the next installment, A Timeless Romance Anthology: Summer Wedding Collection. I got a sneak peek at Melanie Jacobson’s Love Bytes and, well, I loved it.

 
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May 012013
 

Parenting-with-Spiritual-Power_cover Parenting with Spiritual Power

Author: Julie K. Nelson

Publisher: Cedar Fort

Published: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4621-1168-8

Paperback: 192 pages

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

Reviewed by Mindy

Backcover

“I wish children came with an instruction manual!”

How many times have we heard this lament by a frustrated or overwhelmed parent?  Perhaps we have said these words ourselves.  There are “how-to” manuals for practically anything:  installing a new faucet, building a remote control car, baking an apple pie, refinishing an antique chair, or assembling a bicycle.  Is there a formula or a perfect manual for raising children?  Yes!  The scriptures.

In Parenting with Spiritual Power, Julie Nelson examines the lives of mothers and fathers in the scriptures (the best instruction manual) and the parenting principles we can learn from them.  Discover powerful parenting examples from Adam and Eve, the brother of Jared, and Captain Moroni, along with suggestions for personal application in this essential book.

My Review

Wow!  This book is exactly what parents need for some wonderfully inspired parenting advice.  While reading I thought to myself, yes, I need to do it this way, or this can make it so there may be less contention, etc.  Some things are so helpful, it is almost common sense.  These are lesson that we all can be doing as parents, especially myself.  I loved how the scripture references were used to support each chapter.  I am far from being perfect parent, ask my kids, but I know with the Lord’s help, I can become a better parent.

I took some notes while reading this book that I wanted to share.

  1. Our Heavenly Father is never too busy to listen.  His back is never turned.  (page 12)
  2. Each child’s feelings should be validated.  When resolving conflicts, we need to ask, gather information, and listen, listen, listen.  (page 15)
  3. Catch the child being good…  Focus on the positive we see in our children.  Teach doctrine when guiding and correcting children.  (page 21)
  4. “Parents are never failures when they do their best to love, teach, pray, and care for their children.  Their faith, prayers, and efforts will be consecrated to the good of their children.”  (Elder Robert D. Hales, page 25)

These are just a few of the helpful examples that I found while reading Parenting with Spiritual Power.  You will be lifted up and feel, that even on your worst days, you can do this.  We all need a little help and a spiritual boost.  This book gives you both.

Author Links 

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Apr 172013
 

15877612 The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume

Author: Lisa Rumsey Harris

Publisher: Sweetwater Books (Cedar Fort)

Published: November 13, 2012

ISBN13: 9781462110261

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

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads Summary

With her love of sweaters, goofy hair, and awkward manners—not to mention her family curse—Treasure Blume knows love is not in her future. That is, until she matches wits with Dennis Cameron, a divorced chef with a six-year-old daughter. Full of mischief, mayhem, and laugh-out-loud humor, this is an unlikely love story you’ll want to read over and over again!

My Review

4 out of 5 stars.  This book is a delight.  I thought it was so funny.  I was laughing out loud many, many times.  Treasure is an amazing lady.  I felt bad for her at times, but she is a pillar of strength.  Treasure is a genuinely nice person, who truly wants to help others.  Even if she is cursed.  This book has a great message of kindness and love, with a lot of humor.

Excerpt

Micaela went into the bathroom to change while Miss Treasure stood guard. When she came back, she handed the Ziploc to Miss Treasure who (as agreed) stuck it in her non-descript bag. Together they went back to class. Miss Treasure put the bag in the closet and started math time. She hadn’t even had time to think about the wet-pants episode until right now, with Micaela’s dad staring her down.

“Mr. Cameron, I’m so sorry about the situation with Micaela today. I guess we couldn’t get a hold of you . . .” Treasure started to say, intending to explain that she had handled the situation and that he didn’t need to worry.

But she didn’t get that far before Dennis jumped in. It bugged him that she called him Mr. Cameron instead of Dennis, like he was an old man with a walker. “Well, it’s not like you tried very hard, from what I hear,” said Dennis with heat. “Did you even try to find me? Or did you just hand her off to the office? Bonnie says she was sobbing, and for Bonnie to notice, it hadto be bad.”

Treasure glanced out the glass rectangle in the door. Micaela was absorbed in her lima bean observations, sitting on the concrete sidewalk. “Of course I took her to the office, Mr. Cameron. That’s school policy.”

“I don’t give a flip about policy. I care about my daughter, and obviously, you don’t.”

So that’s the way it’s going to be, is it? thought Treasure. It wasn’t an unfamiliar scenario. People often accused her of their own inadequacies. Projection. Her father had taught her the term.

“She trusted you, and you betrayed her . . .” Dennis said.

At this point, Treasure went icy. Accused of betrayal and buying the children’s affections in the same day? She wasn’t going to apologize for doing her job. And frankly, she was not in need of another verbal beating right now. “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about. I do care about your daughter, and I didn’t betray her, but obviously, you feel that you did,” Treasure said.

“How I feel is none of your business,” said Dennis. He felt his ears turning red. Most likely, they’ ll explode off my head, he thought.

Reacting to his obvious anger, Treasure began to blurt. “And obviously, based on your response time, you must not have thought it was much of an emergency at all.”

Dennis was too mad to speak. He sputtered, trying to begin several sentences, unable to get them out. “Don’t tell me to . . . You have noright . . . Of course I . . .”

Luckily, it gave Treasure time to imagine her mental duck. I am a duck’s back, she mentally intoned. These words roll off me like water.  She drew a deep breath and started to speak in a low tone. “We took care of the problem. You’d know that if you had taken the time to talk to Micaela before you barged in here. Did you even speak to her?”

Treasure looked at him, waiting for him to spit out the venom that was clearly pooling in his throat. She wasn’t angry anymore. Instead she was a little bit sad. She’d liked this man. She always chose his line for lunch, eager to see how he arranged the food on her tray. Based on his plating alone, he was more suited to Kitchen Stadium than the lunchroom.

With a nearly convulsive effort, Dennis swallowed and closed his eyes. He raised his hands and drew them through his surprisingly thick hair. Treasure had never seen it outside of a hair net before. It was nice: reddish brown and shaggy, a bit like the ears on an Irish setter. Then he looked up at her: “I want you to know that I blame you for this.”

Not the first time I’ve heard that, thought Treasure, but instead she drew herself up and mustered all the dignity she could. “For what, Mr. Cameron? For the small capacity of children’s bladders?”

“Yes,” said Dennis, “and for poisoning her against lima beans. If she won’t eat them, I’m holding you accountable.” And with that, he slapped the top of a desk and left the room.

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