Saturday, December 1, 2012

Star Cursed by Ashley Lavering Cover Reveal

Star Cursed

Second Book in the Curse of the Beast Series

By Ashley Lavering

Book Description:

Chel finished tying me to the chair and stood. “This is crazy.”

I ignored her comment. “Go down to the basement.”

“Now, I know you’ve lost it.” She folded her arms. “How will this prove that your giant dog is the hot guy that got in your van?”

“I’ll explain later. Just trust me.”

One of her eyebrows rose.

“Please?” I waited for her to nod. “Once you’re down there, I want you to whisper something. Then come back up.”

“Whatever.” With an eye roll, she left the room.

I focused on her feet thumping against the wood stairs and heard the change when they slapped across the tiled kitchen floor. Once the basement door closed, I strained to hear her, but all I caught was a beetle scuttling across the kitchen. Nerves tangled in my gut. Had I missed it?

“If this doesn’t work, I’m calling the loony bin, Tay.” Chel’s voice rang so loud that I jerked back, toppling the chair. I hit the floor with a thud.

Beast’s airy chortle resonated from outside the window.

“Shut up. This isn’t funny,” I told him.

Chel walked through the door. “Geeze, what happened?” She hurried to me. “Are you okay?” She righted my chair with a grunt.

“That depends.”

“On?” She cocked an eyebrow at me.

“On whether or not you’re going to untie me.”

“Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry.” She scrambled to untie the knots.

My hands slipped free and I rubbed my bruised arm. “What kind of friend are you?”

“What?” She startled.

I shook my head at her. “I can’t believe you’d commit me.”

“Wait, you heard that?” Her eyes widened.

I repeated it word for word.

“Whoa, that’s, like, creepy and awesome at the same time. But I still don’t understand how this proves your dog is a werewolf.”

The dreaded moment had arrived and nerves attacked my stomach. “Because, Chel—he bit me.”

Seventeen-year-old Tayla will never forget Beast’s fiery-venom spreading through her body like an infection. Now, with her best friend Chel’s help, she must find a human true love before the last petal falls from her enchanted rose or the full moon will transform her into a wolf forever.

But Tayla never expected that her biggest obstacle would come from inside—a wolf presence threatening to take her very soul. At every turn, the she-wolf exploits Tayla’s weaknesses and gains enough control to sabotage her dates. Tayla struggles to control her unruly wolf and her forbidden attraction to Beast. But can she resist his southern charm, the she-wolf’s attraction to his alluring scent, and still fall in love with a human?

Tangled in a web of wills, Tayla must risk everything to break the Curse of the Beast. With failure and possible death looming overhead, Tayla will do anything to find true love. But will one moon cycle be long enough to conquer her wolf and remain human? Or will she become a permanent member of Beast’s pack? Find out in the second installment in the Curse of the Beast series.

Star Cursed coming February 8th, 2013! Add it to your To-Be-Read List.

Help Ashley celebrate her release that same day on Facebook with the fabulous Release Day Diva. There will be lots of fun games, prizes and other fun stuff you don’t want to miss! Blog Tour details coming soon on her blog and on Amber’s Supernatural & YA Reviews.

You can connect with Ashley here:
Her Blog: Creative Thoughts
Curse of the Beast Facebook Page

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Review--Athena by Heather B. Moore

Athena by Heather B. Moore

As much as I enjoyed reading Paige, I think I enjoyed Athena more. Not only do we get to know each of the book club members intimately with all of their idiosyncrasies and heartbreaks, we also get to see how they are viewed by each other. How often do you get a glimpse of yourself through someone else's eyes?

With each book, it seems like the problems escalate, when in reality, each character had the most devestating problems for their personality types--problems designed for their own individual growth. Each of us comes with our own package of problems to work through.

The ladies of the Newport Book Club work through their problems by supporting each other.

Athena is a bright, work-aholic, who falls in love, in spite of herself. She uses self-imposed work expectations to avoid family and relationships.

Follow Athena as she discovers what makes her tick. You'll enjoy her journey.

Visit their Blog: The Newport Ladies Book Club

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Review--Saving Savanna by Sara Fitzgerald

Saving Savanna by Sara Fitzgerald

Saving Savanna is a sweet and tender Christmas story that reminds us what Christmas is all about.

It is a reminder that the saving Grace of our Savior is for all of us, the wounded as well as the sinner.

It belongs in every Christmas short story collection. It only took minutes to read, yet I was caught up in the lives of this family.

Sara Fitzgerald

You can find Sara's book here on Amazon!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Book Review--The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen  YA fantasy

This has been on my TBR book pile for a while. I had to get a lot of other things out of the way first, but so worth the wait. Let me tell you about it.

Sage and three other boys, about fourteen to fifteen years of age, are collected from orphanages around the country by a nobleman with less than noble motives. (This story reminded me a lot of 16th century England and the scheme-after- power-hungry-scheme various nobility attempted to dethrone Queen Elizabeth. They did it in the name of religion but most wanted to retain the power for themselves.)

Sage becomes part of a deadly competition to see who will come out on top and win the role of Prince Jaron, long lost son of King Eckbert and Queen Erin.

One problem with winning is Sage doesn't care enough about winning to kill for it. He's a rebel. He doesn't care much for titles and appearances. If he does win, he does so at the cost of the other boys' lives. All losers must be killed to ensure the secrecy of this plot.

Another problem with winning is Conner, the less-than-noble-nobleman. Whoever wins will be nothing more than a pawn in Conner's pocket. The winner would never win his freedom. Sage values freedom above riches, and death begins to look like the best alternative.

Why I liked this book:
1) The book trailer is way cool.
2) The characters are very believable.
3) Even though I figured out parts of the plot, there were plenty of surprises.
4) It had a satisfying end although it's the first of three in the series.
5) It was a lot of fun to read. I had a hard time putting it down. I can hardly wait for the next two books.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--The Odd Life of Timothy Green

The Odd Life of Timothy Green  by Disney Rated PG  It's a fantasy.

This is a bittersweet story of a young couple, played by Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton. Unable to have children of their own, they write out all of the talents and attributes they want in a child. They carefully place all of their hopes in a wooden box and bury it in their garden.

A ten-year-old boy (CJ Adams) comes to them "home grown" and changes their lives forever. He manages to change the lives of everyone in their small hometown.

This movie is filled with love, life lessons, and tender moments. Take a box of tissue with you when you see it. It is a very enjoyable, and worthwhile family movie.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris PG 13 directed by Woody Allen

A charming story of a writer, Gil Bender (Owen Wilson) who dreams about the "golden age of Paris". Re-thinking the course his life is taking leads Gil to walk the magical streets of Paris at night. 

When the Cathedral's clock strikes 12 midnight, he finds himself taken back to the Paris of the 1920's. He meets some of his favorite authors--F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and artists Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

It reminds me of a coming of age tale where the main character gets the chance to examine his life before it's too late. Gil learns something from a beautiful woman he meets in 1920. Her idea of the "golden age of Paris" was the 1890's. When the two of them get to the 1890's they meet men who think the "golden age of Paris was thirty years before that.

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, "If only I'd lived back then?" This is a wonderful movie for anyone who loves to live in the past--like me.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thursday Book Review--The Lost Stones by Paul Rimmasch

The Lost Stones by Paul Rimmasch

This book was so much fun to read! It has everything--adventure, Book of Mormon archaeology, and a wee bit of romance.

Ammon's seemingly innocent question regarding the sixteen stones the Jaredites used leads him into the adventure of a lifetime. He gets to meet some very interesting people and some dangerous people. He is pushed beyond what he thinks his physical and spiritual limits are as he tries to keep up with his new friends, John, and his daughter Sariah. It turns out to be a good thing they had Ammon along for the ride.

I've always been fascinated with Book of Mormon archaeology--who isn't? I learned new things without feeling like an info dump. This book combines an exciting mix of real research, folklore, and a conspiracy theory (which I like to believe in myself). I sometimes wonder how much farther ahead mankind would be if it weren't for conspiring men.

I'm in total awe of all the research that went into this endeavor. Research is Eternal and the author has definitely done his homework. I can't wait to read the next in the series!

Check out the Book Trailer here:

The Lost Stones

There is a link for purchase info at the Author's website here:

He's also on Facebook:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Author Spotlight--Paul Rimmasch, author of The Lost Stones

Welcome to author Paul Rimmasch author of The Lost Stones

About this author

Paul Rimmasch was born and reared in the Salt Lake Valley. He graduated from Weber State University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminalistics and a minor in Photography. Paul has spent the last fourteen years working as a Crime Scene Investigator for Weber-Metro CSI and is active in Forensic Science education and Law Enforcement training. He lives in Ogden Utah with his wife and three children and is an avid hiker and gardener.
Paul has parlayed a life long interest in Book of Mormon Archaeology and LDS Church History into his first novel, The Lost Stones.

Thanks to Paul for letting me review his book. You can find my review on this blog tomorrow morning,, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

The Interview

 Of all the research you've done, whose work influenced you the most?
        The late Henriette Mertz and her book called The Mystic Symbol: Mark of the Michigan Mound Builders. Without the amazing discoveries detailed in that book I doubt The Lost Stones would ever have gotten off of the ground.

Aside from the Book of Mormon, what is the one book everyone should read?

        A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I read it every December. It helps remind one of what Christmas, and essentially life, is all about.

If you could time travel within the Book of Mormon, who would you most like to visit with, besides the Savior, of course?

        That is a hard question. There are so many obvious answers. I guess I will have to say Teancum. His mixture of obedience and rashness has always fascinated me.

Do you have any other works in progress or research projects at the moment?
        The sequel to The Lost Stones is already completed and I am currently in the research and early writing phase of the third Ammon Rogers adventure.

Thank you for consenting to this interview. I know this reader is anxiously awaiting book #2. Stay tuned tomorrow for my review.

Check out the author's website:
and book trailer:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Book Review--Turning pages by Tristi Pinkston

Turning Pages by Tristi Pinkston YA Sweet Romance

First off--the cover is beautiful, and I love titles with double meanings.

Picture Massachusetts in the fall . . .
Addie Preston has already suffered the loss of her birth mother when she was a baby. Recently, she lost her father in a car crash and her step mother is recovering from the same accident and hasn't been able to work.

Addie is majoring in Library Science with the dream of spending her life in this work. Along comes Blake, handsome, a bit arrogant, and unknowingly takes Addie's promotion right out from under her. Not only that, but the City Council has decided to tear down her beloved, historical library to build something bigger. The old library holds so many memories of spending time with her father that it breaks her heart when she gets the news.

Next, she finds out that her step-mother has to sell their home and buy smaller. On top of it all, the boy she's loved her entire life not only does not reciprocate her feelings, but has used her thoughtlessly as the "backup".

Addie chronically locks her keys inside her sometimes working car and is in constant need of rescue. Enter Blake again to save the day and add to her humiliation.

Addie's plate is overflowing with all kinds of stresses (there's more that I haven't mentioned), yet her story is written with humor, hope, and a hint of Jane Austen (it's not just a re-write of Pride and Prejudice, either).
All together, it makes for a delightful weekend escape. I would've liked the last chapter to last longer and go slower, but then I never like to leave Tristi's books when I get to the end.

You can buy Turning Pages here:

Turning Pages

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation--My top 8 Whys

Why is it:

8) that good guys or bad guys think they can aim and shoot while running or riding horseback?

7) that no one seems to notice the guy sitting in the car on a stakeout, trying to look nonchalant?

6) that chasers don't follow at a discreet distance and chasees don't notice until it's too late?

5) that people don't carefully peek around corners before exposing their fully-extended gun arm, enabling the bad guy to karate chop the gun out of their hands?

4) that people run out in the open when being chased by cars, instead of off to the side where they can dodge at the last minute?

3) that gorgeous female cops and detectives always run in high heels?

2) that the person being chased always runs UP? Up stairs, Up mountains, Up everything. Where are you going to go when you run out of UP?

1) that the bad guy can't resist the urge to show everyone what a diabolical genius he is by divulging the entire plot?

There are some exceptions to these ponderings, but most TV crime dramas, and mysteries end up making the same mistakes. It didn't work out in the last movie, but wait, maybe it'll work out the next time.

Make it a good Monday!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursday Book Review--Paige by Annette Lyon (#3 of The Newport Ladies Book Club)

Paige by Annette Lyon

Paige is a young, single mom who has moved from Utah to Newport Beach with her two "little men" seeking a new life.

Injured by the heartbreak and injustice of an unfaithful husband and friend, Paige learns that giving service and support to a group of new friends found in a book club, brings strength into her own life.

As the only LDS member of the group, Paige has an objective understanding of the Atonement that she can strengthen others with, but has yet to apply it in her own life. I liked how Paige was not afraid to learn wisdom from women of other faiths.

Although we feel Paige's soul-rending heartbreaks, the tone of the book is lighter and more hopeful. It ends as it should, though I'd like to jump a few years into the future.

I think all of the authors have done a tremendous job blending their voices to give us a seamless story. This series would make a lovely movie.

If you enjoy women's fiction, you'll enjoy reading this.

Meet the authors:
Josi Kilpack, Annette Lyon, Julie Wright, Heather Moore

Here is their website:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--Brave

I have to say that I loved the soundtrack and the scenery of the 10th century Scottish Highlands. The animation made me feel as if I was surrounded by forests, cliffs, and the ocean.

I loved the character voices. I could've listened to their accents all day. Kelly MacDonald was Princess Merida, Emma Thompson was her mother, Queen Elinor, and Billy Connolly was her father, King Fergus. Other talents include Robbie Coltrane, Craig Ferguson and John Ratzenberger (they can't do one without him).

I loved the female heroine, Princess Merida. She's beautiful, tough and a cunning archer. I also enjoyed the mystical magic of the will o' the wisps.

But. . . the plot fell. To me it was Little Mermaid recycled. What a shame to waste all of that beautiful imagery and animation on a not-so-original story.

The thing that bothered me the most, however, was not the plot, nor the cruder-than-usual humor, but the scene where King Fergus and his cronies climb down from the tower using their pants tied together for a rope. The next thing you see are a bunch of naked butts running.

Yes, I realize this was only an animation, but it is not the sort of thing I want my grandkids to see and get the idea that it's funny or okay to do that.

I have always felt safe taking my kids and grandkids to Disney/Pixar movies. I hold them to a higher standard and they let me down.

Part of it was my fault. I assumed it was rated G, like most Disney/Pixar movies (the only exception is The Incredibles, probably for violence). Brave is rated PG. Next time I'll pay more attention to the rating.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

A friend of mine recently commented that her husband, a new writer, had a hard time with new ideas distracting him from his current work in progress.

How do you deal with that?

I am surrounded with notebooks and journals of ideas that creep up behind me seeking to thwart my concentration. My mind runs away with them from time to time.

My solution?

I keep a section in my planner called "The Bookshelf". In this section I keep a list of TBRs. I have quite a stack and I need to write reviews on most of them, so it's important to keep a list in order of when they are due.

But, the most important thing I keep in my bookshelf are my ideas. There are hundreds of them waiting in the pages for me to remember them and give them life. I write down the dreams I can still remember by morning. I write down every little nagging thought that begs to be heard.

If I don't, those little voices just about drive me crazy, all clamoring for my attention. I find that once I put them down on paper they seem willing to quiet themselves for now and patiently wait for another day. Then I can get back to my wip.

Voices in my head? Yep, don't be so surprised. I've heard it said that "writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." ~E. L. Doctorow

How do you deal with the voices in your head?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thursday Book Review and Giveaway--Curse of the Beast by Ashley Lavering

Curse of the Beast by Ashley Lavering  YA Paranormal

Just another werewolf story you say? Au contraire. This is a unique weave of legend, myth and fairy tale into suspense.

The main character, Tayla, definitely has her share of conflicts and struggles, more than the average teen--and that's her normal life. She is the iconic hero, injured but has untapped strength.

The climax builds upon question after question. Just when I think I know where the story is headed another twist surfaces.

We're left at the end with a lot of unknowns to be answered in Book 2. Some of my questions were answered, but I had the feeling a lot was left unsaid.

Aside from a sprinkling of typos, I found it to be a fun read. I enjoyed the plot and the characters. I look forward to finding more answers in Book 2 which comes out in about six months.

Oh, and did I mention a giveaway?! Ashley is doing lots of giveaways. To win a free ebook copy, leave me a lovely comment about your favorite scary fairy tale, along with your email address, by midnight August 6th (MDT). Thanks!

Check out the author's blog
Meet the Author
Ashley Lavering
Curse of the Beast   Blog Tour Schedule:
Wednesday, 1stEnchanted Writings
·        Character Interview
Thursday, 2ndThe Stubby Pencil
·        Book Review and free ebook
·        Author Interview and Giveaway a free ebook
Saturday, 4thWhy not? Because I said so!
·        Book Review
Sunday, 5thCreative Thoughts
·        Giveaway of a Signed Paperback copy of Curse of the Beast and swag bag
Monday, 6thEpilogue
·        Character interview and Short except from Star Cursed book 2
·        Author Interview
Wednesday, 8thOnce Upon a Twilight
·        Book Review and giveaway
·        Book Review and Giveaway a free ebook.
Friday, 10thFire Star Books
·        Author Interview and Giveaway a free ebook and a swag bag.
Saturday, 11Read Between the Lines
·        Book Review and Giveaway of a free ebook, a deck of Curse of the Beast playing cards, and a swag bag.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation--Blogger Beware!

yep, it's mine
If you scroll through my archived posts, you might notice that I removed all of the pics that I'm not sure about. I naively assumed that if a photo was copyrighted, it would have one of those watermarks and I wouldn't be able to download it. Apparently, that is not the case.

I recently read a shocking article by Roni Loren about her experience getting sued for using a copyrighted photo on her blog. It really opened my eyes. It was painful to read her experience and realize any of us could be in the same boat.

I don't want to infringe on another's work and second of all, it's just not the honest thing to do.

The author lists a few sites for finding images to use. I looked at Creative and didn't find it very user-friendly. I did like It shows you what type of license the image has so you know how to use it.

So, forgive me for the lack of photos while I try to do this right. I'll be using a lot of my own pics from here on out. Feel free to help yourself to my pics (anything not attributed to someone else).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 2011 rated PG-13 129 min

From the jacket:
Believing that his father left him a message before dying in the 9/11 attacks, young Oskar Schell embarks on an emotional odyssey through New York City to find the lock that matches a key he finds among his father's belongings.

We watch Oskar work through relationships with his mother and grandfather as he struggles through the grieving process. He feels entirely alone. With the exception of his father, Oskar's absolutely convinced that no one else in the entire world thinks like he does. Now that his father is gone, no one understands him. Only his grandmother comes close.

We are shown the varied effects of loss, coupled with the burden of guilt on each member of Oskar's family. I became emotionally invested in their lives. I missed Oskar's father, even though we are only exposed to him through flashbacks. What a great father, what a tragic loss.

This movie is very touching and emotionally draining. I think the content would be too difficult and confusing for smaller children, but teen-agers could handle it. Another wonderful Tom Hanks movie. I think everything that man touches turns to gold.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation--My Legacy

Charcoal by Leo Gestel 1937
not my 8th great grandfather's farm,
but what I imagine it might've been like.
My Legacy

Sometimes I wonder what I've done with my heritage. Have I squandered it on meaningless, time-consuming activities? Have I done anything to make life a little easier for the generations to follow? My sacrifices are so minute compared to those of my ancestors.

At this time of year, I usually think about my Mormon Pioneer ancestors, but today I'm going further back. My 8th great grandfather, Abraham. His family immigrated to America in 1636. He was the fifth generation to be born here.

Supplies were scarce during the winter. One of his sons would warm cow or ox chips and stand on them to keep his feet warm while he chopped wood. At one point, Abraham got word that the British were marching from Canada to Saratoga. Their route lay right through the settlement where Abraham lived. He had a pair of oxen and a sled (the other settlers called him "the rich Dutchman"). He loaded his wife and children and supplies into the sled and hid them in a place of safety. He went back to his house and took his gun and ammunition  and started out for the Battle of Bennington on foot. By the time he got there the battle was over. That was a blessing. If he had died in that battle, his family would have starved that winter.

Abraham must've enjoyed hard, physical labor. As soon as he cleared 100 acres, he'd sell it and clear another farm.

I can't even imagine suffering that kind of exposure. I sit back in a cozy home where my biggest sacrifice might be the lack of immediate gratification. Generations later, I have comfort, freedom, and opportunities my ancestors couldn't even conceive.

I feel I owe it to them not to waste the gifts they spent their whole lives working for. If Grandma gave me her best apple pie, I would never sneer at it or push it away. I would enjoy every mouth-watering piece. I would appreciate her efforts, and she would smile upon me.

I can never repay past generations, and I think they wouldn't want me to. I think they'd tell me to leave my own legacy for those who come after me. So what kind of Legacy will I leave my posterity?

How about things like the value of hard work, honesty, staying out of debt, serving others, doing what I can to further my education, and avoid complaining about minor inconveniences? I haven't any money, or a big fancy house to leave my family. All I can leave them are good memories and a good example. That's what I need to focus my time and energy on.

What is your Legacy?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review--Carnival Girl by Sonja Herbert

Carnival Girl by Sonja Herbert   A Memoir  Published by Cedar Fort

This is a very well-written memoir of the childhood of a young girl born in the aftermath of WWII Germany, raised in a carnival.

I've always been fascinated by WWII history. The author's mother, half Jewish, ran away to the circus to evade the Nazis. She fell in love and married a man who worked in the circus. They left the circus together with the beginnings of their own caravan. They added to it a little at a time as they added to their family.

Their entire living depended upon and confined to this small caravan that traveled from carnival to carnival in central Germany.

The arduous task of eeking out a living, and their daily routines were so well described I pictured myself in the background viewing the crowded living conditions, the author going for water, and fulfilling her chores. I felt the cold winters and the awkward feelings of "the new kid" every time she attended a new school.

Contrasting this to my own childhood, I can't help but feel blessed. Though no one's life is perfect, my basic needs were met in a warm, cozy home with running water. This was a wide eye-opener for me.

In spite of her challenges, or perhaps because of them, Sonja recognized the hand of the Lord at an early age. She had a strong desire to learn of her Heavenly Father and an appetite for education. And then, she met the missionaries.

At the beginning of most of the chapters, the author draws us back to the present where her mother is paying her an extended visit. This serves two purposes. First, while Sonja and her mother relive the past together, she learns some of the reasons for her mother's behavior, memories she'd previously seen through a child's understanding. Second, although a bit distracting, the present serves to bring the past into sharp contrast. All in all, this memoir is an honest glimpse into another time, another world. It's an enjoyable read.

Meet the author: Sonja Herbert

Sonja Herbert and her five siblings were raised in a caravan, traveling the carnival circuit from town to town in post-WWII Germany.
Sonja converted to the LDS Church, served a mission, married an American soldier, and immigrated to the USA. She received a BA at SUU in Cedar City, and an MA in Language Acquisition from Brigham Young University, taught high school, German, and ESL for many years, and is now a full time writer. A mother of six and grandmother of thirteen, she resides in Provo, Utah. Contact her at,, or

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Meet The Author--Sonja Herbert

Meet the Author of Carnival Girl--Sonja Herbert


My father raised his family in a tiny carnival, traveling the small towns in central Germany right after WWII, to keep his rapidly growing family fed.

I was the second child of six, all of us crammed into a small caravan which my father pulled with a tractor from town to town. I remember the devastation, both physical and spiritual, which the German people lived with after the war was over. Ruins and unexploded bombs littered the cities, and lost and orphaned children overwhelmed the orphanages. Food was hard to come by, and education was almost non-existent, especially for us carnival children, since we traveled from town to town every week or two.

My mother rejected religion and never taught her children about God. However, when I was eight, I had a vision and developed a strong desire to be in a church, to live in a house and to have God love and approve of me. I had to hide such feelings from my family, because they made fun of them.

As I grew older, Germany, along with our family, became more prosperous. At fourteen, I met the LDS missionaries. Against my family’s ridicule and the overwhelming odds of living in a traveling carnival and having to work every Sunday, I converted. My family ridiculed me for being religious, and my parents humored me, telling me I could get baptized the next year, if I still wanted to.
Unexpectedly, my parents divorced, and through the divorce God’s loving hand worked the miracle I needed to reach my goal of living in a real house and being able to go to church on Sundays instead of having to run a carnival attraction.

My mother, at 91, still disapproved my decision to join the LDS Church.
Can you envision living that way? Read Carnival Girl, and you’ll discover a new world!

The Caravan

The Carnival
Caravan and children

Aren't these awesome windows of the past? Thanks to Sonja Herbert for sharing these with us!
Visit Sonja at

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--War Horse

War Horse   rated PG-13  146 minutes
directed by Steven Spielberg

Set in Dartmoor England 1914, it is the story of the strength and courage of a horse named Joey and his best friend Albert.

From the cover--To his wife's dismay Farmer Narracott buys a thoroughbred horse instead of a plow horse. Narracott's teen-aged son, Albert trains the horse to take a plow and earn his keep. The two become inseparable in their hearts.

When their crop fails, Narracott sells the horse to the British Cavalry. As Albert says goodbye to Joey, he promises him that he will someday find him again.

It is a very touching story with beautiful cinematography, but many scenes are difficult to watch--the realities of war are a little too real. I would not recommend this movie for small children. However, many lessons are taught throughout the story--courage, loyalty, determination, endurance, and the importance of all who enter our lives at different times and seasons.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday Book Review--Hang 'Em High by Tristi Pinkston

Hang 'Em High by Tristi Pinkston     A cozy mystery.

Ida Mae is off on another galloping romp when she accepts an invitation to her son's Dude ranch in Montana. She goes for the chance to 'mend fences' with her son. She brings along Arlette and Tansy just for fun.

But when her son, Keith, loses one of his prize studs, the girls get to work and call in reinforcements--Eden, Arlette's granddaughter, her friend Kevin, and George, Ida Mae's boyfriend (the mere mention of him still makes her blush). Plus we get to meet George's son.

With the skill of delegation, that only former Relief Society presidents can wield, the gang gets to work. Keith's ranch seems to be a haven for suspects. Ida Mae overhears suspicious comments from her own son, and things just don't add up.

Perseverance and a sleepless night pay off. Ida Mae will get to the bottom of it! The image of Ida Mae galloping off in her pajamas is hilarious and dangerous at the same time. I love being able to tag along with the girls on their adventures. On to the next . . . Targets in Ties, and I'd better hurry--the last installment comes out in August--Till Death Do Us Part.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation--A Call to Arms

A figurative call to arms--As our Constitution teeters on a precipice we wonder what we can do that will really make a difference.

For years I've heard co-workers lament that "one person doesn't make a difference," and "my vote doesn't count. Why bother?" Okay, so what can we do? Here are some of my thoughts:

First, STAND UP! When the flag passes by, don't just sit there. Show respect to the flag. Show (don't tell) your children how to respect the flag. Show our military respect and gratitude for their sacrifices. Show those watching from heaven that we remember them and what they did for all of us.

Second, STAND UP for truth and right wherever you find it. There is good all around us, but sometimes we're afraid to defend what we know to be right.

Third, STAND UP and be counted--go VOTE. There really aren't a lot of excuses anymore. Did you know that in Salt Lake County you can register to vote by mail? They send you your ballot in the mail a month ahead of time so you don't have to wait in lines. It's so easy to google candidates and issues and vote as you see fit. Many died to give you that right--and it's not just your right, it's your responsibility. Freedom isn't free.

Fourth, STAND UP and serve whenever possible. It doesn't have to be something big and mighty. You can help out a friend, take care of your neighbor, donate your time to something you feel passionately about. A lot of power is found in the little everyday things you already do. I know a lot of writers who find ways of donating to increase literacy here at home and around the world. A lot of power is found in good books.

Fifth, PRAY. Whatever your faith is, exercise it. Pray for the leaders of our country and our local leaders that they will make good choices for us, that they will have the strength to stand for the right, that they won't just look the other way when it comes to corruption.

Sixth, "You cannot help the world by focusing on the negative things. As you focus on the world's negative events, you not only add to them, you also bring more negative things into your own life. Instead of focusing on the world's problems give your attention and energy to love, abundance, education, and peace."
~Rhonda Byrne and The Secret 

Disclaimer--I've declared my political neutrality in the past. I consider myself a conservative Patriot. These are my opinions. That's all they are--opinions. It's okay to disagree with me. That's what is best about our country. But, I have experienced rather hateful and angry disagreements from people when I've dared to disagree with them in the past. We can agree to disagree. So feel free to leave me a respectful comment.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--The Three Musketeers (2011)

The Three Musketeers (2011)

Generally speaking, I prefer to post positive reviews. In this case, I feel a moral obligation to warn those of you who haven't yet seen it to not waste your time or money.

How could you possibly go wrong with a timeless classic?

First, never make up your mind about the direction the screenplay should take, follow the classic story line or be a spoof. All the script accomplished was an attempt at spoof where it ripped off other movies. It tried to pull off something like A Knight's Tale, but fell flat on lame anachronisms.

The writers ripped off, almost word for word, classic lines from other versions of the musketeers, and The Princess Bride.

I kept asking myself, "How did this get funding for production?" My bet is the names they brought in, names like Orlando bloom and Matthew MacFadyen, actors who did the best they could with a script far beneath their abilities.

So save yourself some time, money and disappointment. This one's a turkey.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday Book Review--Hym and Hur by Phillip Frey

Hym and Hur by Phillip Frey  ?YA Paranormal

This is a fun, quick read about a young couple. They read like adolescents, young and innocent with a penchant for mischievousness. They are immortal so who knows how old they really are. They have a lot of time on their hands, and when they get bored they like to mess with mortals.They have the potential for spreading joy and good will as much as wreaking havoc.

I've had those kind of days where I could swear someone was messing with me. We've all had those days.

In this adventure they make a deal with Death. He is amused by their proposal so he goes along. But you know somewhere down the road there's going to be hell to pay.

This story is an excellent example of characterization. As I read along, I collected various abilities that Hym and Hur exhibit. I was shown, not told what they could do. Death is drawn with many layers and is more interesting than most Death characters I've read. He surprised me here and there.

This is a short story and feels like a prequel. It  gives you just enough to whet your appetite and leaves you with even more questions. Where did they come from? Are they extra-terrestrial or just extra-dimensional? Are they immortal or are they another life form with a really long life span?

At the time of this posting the author hasn't planned another book or short story, but I can feel a lot of short stories spinning off these two characters. There is a lot of potential here because the author is deft at not sharing all of his secrets yet. There are the occasional formatting issues, but generally well edited and well written. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

You can take a look at Goodreads and you can purchase it at Smashwords. Here's the author's website:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday Book Review--Daisy by Josi Kilpack Book #2 in The Newport Ladies Book Club series

Daisy by Josi Kilpack #2 in The Newport Ladies Book Club series

Daisy is not at all what I expected. I'm not sure what I expected. She is a very complex character with a lot of back story. She is so well drawn that I really didn't like her. In the beginning of the book, Daisy is very self-absorbed, and the center of her own little universe. I soon realized that Daisy's annoying frailties were the result of the author's finely crafted character development. I wasn't told Daisy was self-absorbed. It was shown through her actions.

Somewhere around chapter 34, I found myself not only sympathizing with Daisy, but tears actually welled up in my eyes with each problem she faced.

I didn't think I would like her mother very much because of Daisy's perception, but once I met her, it was another example that there is always more than one side to every story. I realized Daisy still hadn't grown up, even though she is 46.

With a character like Daisy, it's easy for me to believe that her reality is the only one that counts. By the end of the book, I knew Daisy still had a rough road ahead of her but she had grown up some and I was left feeling hope for her.

So Olivia, Daisy, Paige, and Athena are written, but what about Ruby? As the matriarch of this little group, she is the most complex character of all. Who is going to write her story? I hope the series will continue for another year, so we can get to know them all.

Here's the link to their blog. Check it out.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday Book Review--Agent in Old Lace by Tristi Pinkston

Agent in Old Lace by Tristi Pinkston 2009

Shannon Tanner has it all, a perfect family, a perfect job, and a perfect boyfriend--or so she thinks.

Turns out he's not all that. Shannon's in for a roller coaster ride of fear and emotion. Just when she thinks she's safe--Bam--something else happens.

She's got a lot on her plate to deal with as it is. Suspense lurks around every corner.Will the handsome FBI agent rescue Shannon in time? Will Shannon be able to trust her own feelings again? What will become of her father? How will she rescue her best friend, Tate?

Suspense seasoned with humor and a wee bit of romance builds to a satisfying resolution--or does it? This made for a rollicking, weekend read. I enjoyed it. I think you will too!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation--Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It started from women of the South decorating the graves of fallen confederate soldiers. After the war, the North also decorated the graves of their fallen. Each region had their own date in late spring when they decorated. It was seen as more of a reconciliation than of harboring old wounds.

It became a time to remember our fallen heroes of each war by decorating their graves. To let them know we will never forget their sacrifice.

As a child, I remember my mother called it Decoration Day. She'd cut fresh flowers from all over our yard. She filled buckets of water to hold all of her clippings. We'd put them in the back of our car, hoping they wouldn't tip over. I liked going to the cemetery with my mom in the morning. If we went early it was quiet and peaceful. Later on, it would get busy. I learned respect for the dead as we cleaned around the headstones and decorated all of our family graves along with the military graves. I learned proper flag etiquette. I learned respect and gratitude for all who passed before me. They all sacrificed to make life better for me.

I loved Decoration Day. To a kid, it meant school was nearly over, and all my cousins would get together in the afternoon for a barbecue and volleyball. My chore was cleaning off the patio with the hose--my favorite chore because I could get wet.

I don't think I truly appreciated the sacrifices of those lost and fallen until I became an adult. Last year I had the opportunity of visiting the Washington Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Viet Nam memorial, and the WWII Memorial. I felt the sacredness of the area. I knew it was hallowed ground and that the Lord respected their sacrifices. This is where I truly gained reverence and awe for all the sacrifices made in my behalf.

May you enjoy the day with family, but also please take time to remember the cost and those who paid it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday Book Review--Million Dollar Diva by Tristi Pinkston, Brett Kitchen & Ethan Kap

Million Dollar Diva:The Smart Woman's Guide to Getting Rich Safely by Tristi Pinkston, Brett Kitchen, and Ethan Kap

I was very curious about this book when I first saw it on the author's blog. I've struggled with finances for over thirty years. Money management is not a required course to graduate high school or even college, but it should have been.

I've read a handful of financial self-help books in the quest to be debt free. Some I understood and others not so much. Million Dollar Diva is a quick and easy read with easy to understand principles.

These are the reasons I liked this book:
1) It's written as a narrative with dialogue, so it reads like an interesting story about Tristi's life, and I'm just along for the ride--learning as Tristi learns.

2) Tristi drew me into the story immediately. She used a gentle sense of humor and kept the tone positive throughout the book.

3) Tristi's courage--I wouldn't be able to display my private life like this, but Tristi's honesty and openness showed me that everyone struggles--I'm in good company.

4) A Common Sense Approach--Suggestions are made to lower your interest rates and drive down your debts. This process will take time but it left me feeling like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This method is very similar to the method the LDS Church suggests to extinguish debt.

5) Teamwork--Tristi and her husband, Matt are on the same page. They are using their talents and strengths to facilitate each other's dreams. They will grow closer together rather than further apart, and this will rub off onto their kids as they teach them. We all know life is work, but it is a blessing to love your work.

6) We get to watch Tristi's progress online. Her family is just getting started, but over the next three years we'll be able to see this plan in action. We can do what she does.

The only thing not mentioned (and most likely not mentioned so this plan would appeal to a broader audience), but the main thing I feel essential in any financial plan is making room for the Lord. Paying tithes and fast offerings may seem counter-productive or at least counter-intuitive, but it goes to Karma and the Law of Attraction. If you pay in faith more than financial blessings return. It allows the Lord to bless you even more, but you don't have to be LDS to give to other churches or charities. Giving back says that you are grateful for what you have and more things to be grateful for come to you again and again.

I'd give this book 4 out of 5 stars for clear, concise common sense. It is hopeful and empowering. It would make a great gift for newlyweds!

If you buy the book from the website you can get the book for just the cost of shipping until May 15, 2012. Here's the link:

After May 15th you can purchase it here:

Brett Kitchen, Tristi Pinkston, and Ethan Kap

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Book Review--The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle  Paranormal Romance

Shapinsay is a Scottish Island in the North Sea. This is a very unique romance between a human, Kait, who doesn't care for the land lovers, and Eamon, a Selkie--a seal when he is in the ocean and a man when he comes up on dry land.

Their bitter-sweet romance is told from both of their points of view, set against a backdrop of a superstitious village in 19th century Scotland. It definitely has an ethereal feel to it like Middle Earth; and not just because of the descriptions of time and space--but also because of the narrative language used. I thoroughly enjoyed the author's use of vocabulary because I love Scottish/English history. And what is familiar to me may be a stumbling block for others.

I liked both of the main characters because they were each strong in their own ways, able to swim against the tide of expectations. Kait's brother and fiance are oafish and ridiculous, just as the author meant them to be. Tipper is definitely my favorite character. She is quirky, and we don't find out why until nearly the end.

Although the author does not go into lurid detail regarding their physical relationship, there was enough references to his constant nakedness, and 'humping' to be offensive if you're expecting a truly clean romance. I'm betting the author used the term as the most logical choice for a seal-man to describe the act--that term would come natural to him. Nevertheless, I wouldn't be able to recommend this as a YA novel.

Overall, I found this to be a very enchanting story, and definitely alluring. I'd give it 3 1/2 stars.

Check out the book trailer. It is one of the best one's I've seen:

You can find Krista's book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Movie Review--The Adventures of Tintin

The Adventures of Tintin  rated PG 2011  1 hour 47 minutes

From the jacket: Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson team up for this 3-D motion capture adaptation of Georges Remi's classic comic strip, centered around the adventures of a fearless, young journalist Tintin and his trusty dog, Snowy.
Featuring the voice talents of Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Mackenzie Crook, and Cary Elwes.

It's an action-packed, fun adventure for the whole family. It's set in the 30s and 40s. The comic strip was a little before my time but I really loved the film version--very reminiscent of Indiana Jones, with plenty of room for more episodes, definitely lots of fun. Snowy totally steals the show and my heart.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Movie Review--Dreamer

Dreamer  Rated PG 2005  1 hour 46 minutes

Dreamer is loosely based on actual events. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It is a wonderful movie the whole family can enjoy. It is a good movie to teach determination and perseverance, love, and belief in yourself and your dreams.

From the jacket: Down-and-out horse trainer (Kurt Russell) gets an equally broken-down (but once great) racehorse as severance pay. But it will take the unwavering faith of his daughter (Dakota Fanning) to bring the two damaged souls together in a quest to win the Breeders' Cup Classic.

I'm a big fan of Dakota Fanning. Her character brings life to this story. She helps more than two damaged souls and herself in the process. I found it very uplifting and definitely worthwhile. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Review--Intangible by J. Meyers

Intangible by J. Meyers   YA paranormal

I usually don't go for paranormals unless the characters drag me into the story.

Sera and Luke do exactly that. I liked them and was intrigued by them from the beginning. They teased me into their story. I found that they were very well developed and I had to read on. I couldn't help but sympathize with them.

A lot of paranormals are dark and negative, but this story was absolutely delicious. It was a very entertaining surprise with fresh ideas regarding the paranormal, but used the power of the myth.

There are dark components and scary parts but it was not written by a heavy hand. The world-building components are drawn line upon line so I could take one step at a time.

I enjoyed the twists and turns. There are elements that are being saved for the next book in this series. All in all, I found this story to be fun, imaginative and satisfying. I look forward to reading the next book.

Just for fun, you should read the short story, Intuition. it is a pre-quel sort of introduction to Luke and Sera. I got it for FREE at Barnes and Noble for my nook color.

From the author:
For an even better introduction to my main characters and premise, you can check out my free bonus short story "Intuition" which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Would you like to know more about the author? You can visit her website at:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Book Review--Promises by Carolyn Twede Frank

Ever made a promise that you doubted you could keep?

One thing I appreciate about my husband is that he wouldn't make a promise to our children unless he was certain he could keep it. He grew up in a broken family with a father who constantly made promises and then forgot about them. So when my husband promised to build a treehouse, he did it. It is a wonderful treehouse and the kids helped him build it. Twenty years later, it still provides lots of fun for
our grandkids.

Promises is a middle grade to YA story about a young girl who makes promises to herself.

Eleven-year-old Hattie Adair has a problem speaking up for herself. She is painfully shy and her family expects probably the hardest thing for a timid girl to do--they leave their home and friends in Orderville and move to the smaller town of Tropic, Utah near Bryce's Canyon.

They move into a less-than-adequate home. As the family works on making their new home more comfortable, Hattie finds things that belong to the young girl who used to live there, someone she feels a great bond to, their lives are connected. Hattie promises herself that she will find this other girl and return her belongings, no matter what. This is the very reason Hattie's family was meant to move to this house.

Hattie has made other promises to herself--promises to stand up for herself and speak up, which at the beginning she finds it easier to give in than speak up. Every time she does, another mistake is made, and they are hard lessons to learn.

In this process of learning, Hattie does make a few friends. She learns that her family can be her best friends. She learns to speak up for herself by speaking up for others.

Fate, or the hand of the Lord, moves Hattie one more time. She is so resistant to another move, but I think the Lord knew Hattie was the one who could and would truly make a difference in the life of that other young girl, Mae. When Hattie does find Mae, their lives become complicated. It builds to a suspenseful climax.

I enjoyed this story and the descriptions of Bryce's National Canyon. I felt as if I was there seeing it for the first time. I'll have to make the trip again someday.

I wasn't ready for the story to end. I would like to know more about these people, like an epilogue, or maybe there will be a book two?

Carolyn Twede Frank
Would you like to know more about this author? You can visit her here:

Watch the Promises book trailer:

Enter to win a full-sized puppet stage and puppets, value of $290 by participating in Carolyn’s blog tour giveaway. Check out her website or blog for more details.

 Visit the blog tour of Cindy Hogan's new release Protected.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

"Be yourself, no base imitator of another, but your best self."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Over the years, this has been shortened to "Be yourself, but be your best self."

My bishop used this quote over the pulpit a week ago last Sunday. It rings true to me. I have a friend who stopped coming to church for a while because she felt like she didn't "fit the mold", the stay-at-home, minivan-driving, soccer-mom mold. She didn't think like everyone else.

She didn't feel that she would be accepted into the fold if she was herself. At the time, I really had no response for that.

I remember feeling that way when I was younger. I felt excluded so I did what I saw others do--I tried to wear expensive fashions, uncomfortable shoes, and pantyhose that would never fit. Let's face it--my feet were too wide for cute shoes, and my legs were too long for pantyhose (back then there was not the variety of sizes there is now). I didn't fit anyone's mold.

One of the benefits of growing older, for me anyway, is that I really don't care about that stuff anymore. I dress for comfort. My personality and behavior are still odd, but I really don't care.

I've come to realize that "molds" are man-made. They certainly didn't come from Heavenly Father or He would've made us all look and act the same. I think most of the struggles we have in this world are because we don't accept these differences in each other, or even worse, we try to make others fit in our molds.

But, and this is the important part, this doesn't give us any excuses to behave in ways less than our "best selves". My regular self can be negative, selfish, or unkind. My best self will remember I can still be me, but kinder and more grateful.

So be happy in being yourself by being your best self.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

Okay- I admit it. I've been watching Once Upon a Time. I think it's not the usual crime drama/sit com we usually see. It's unique.

Last night I gleaned a little gem from the dialogue between Emma and the Mad Hatter.

Mad Hatter: People in this world want magical solutions to their problems, but they won't believe in magic.

Profound, don't you think? I find myself falling into that category. I want instant answers and immediate remedies--the kind I don't have to put any effort into.

The fact is I do believe in miracles. Unexplainable things happen all the time. Problems always have a way of working themselves out for the best. I believe that we need to work like everything depends on us and have faith like everything depends on the Lord. We are capable of making our own magic with a little help.

I especially believe in the kind of magic I see when I look through the eyes of my grandkids when they see something for the first time. Their eyes are full of wonder and awe at little things we take for granted.

Where do you find magic?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Book Review--Olivia by Julie Wright

Olivia by Julie Wright

Olivia is the first book of the series The Newport Ladies Book Club.
This is a unique series in that, each of the books are written by a different author, from a different character's point of view.

This book introduces the members of the book club from Olivia's point of view. It's almost like being a part of the club. Each member of the club has contrasting backgrounds and similar needs. They need to be needed and they need support from each other.

Olivia's story feels very real--almost too real. The first couple of chapters were difficult for me to get through for two reasons. First, the author nailed the passive-aggressive tendencies a lot of women share, me included.

Secondly, I related a little too much to Olivia. I think most wives and mothers let themselves get used. Instead of saying "no" when we're already overloaded, we find ourselves doing something we really didn't want to do, then resenting it down the road.

Olivia has some heart-wrenching events to deal with. I thought it was interesting that her burden became lighter when she turned outward to help other members of her book club.

Olivia is like going to lunch with a friend--someone you can really share your feelings with. I look forward to getting to know the other members of the club as well as I now know Olivia.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Author Julie Wright

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--An Unfinished Life

An Unfinished Life  Rated PG-13  2005 1 hr 48 m

The movie opens just after Jean Gilkyson (played by Jennifer Lopez) receives a beating at the hands of her boyfriend. When he leaves the house, Jean's daughter, Griff, convinces her that enough is enough. They pack up and leave right then.

They journey back to Jean's hometown in Wyoming, to the ranch of Jean's father-in-law, the grandfather Griff didn't know she had, Einar Gilkyson (played by Robert Redford).

Einar still blames Jean for the accidental death of his son, Griffin. You'll see how ironic this becomes when the rest of Einar's secrets are revealed.

When I first saw Griffin's grave marker, with the inscription, an unfinished life, I assumed the title referred to Griffin's life being cut short, but I soon learned it refers to everyone but Griffin. The one exception is Morgan Freeman's character. He has learned to forgive, but he has demons of his own to face.

This is an excellent family movie, very poignant. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

"Triumph is born out of struggle, faith is the alchemist." From Bruce Almighty

Considering the amount I continually struggle to learn how to write, my triumph will be spectacular!

This is, by far, the hardest thing I've ever attempted. I know that I won't progress unless I struggle, and I know that I have to put my characters through this as well. I'm always amazed by the things I learn about gospel principles because of my struggles in writing. I learn the same principles I've always known about through a whole different perspective.

Enjoy the struggle!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Book Review--How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell (book 2 of the How to Train your Dragon series)

How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell  Book 2 in the How to Train Your Dragon series.

How does this first page grab you?
Thor was seriously annoyed.
     He had sent a mighty summer storm to claw up the seas around the bleak little Isle of Berk. A black wind was shrieking across the wild and angry ocean. Furious thunder boomed overhead. Lightning speared into the water.
     Only a madman would think it was the kind of weather for a pleasant sail.
     But, amazingly, there was one ship being hurled violently from wave to wave, the hungry ocean chewing at her sides, hoping to tip her over and swallow the souls aboard and grind their bones into sand.

I'd love to be able to write like that. I love the quirky drawings and the inventive names. It's the stuff middle grade humor is made of.

The whole idea of this series of books is exciting and unique. Hiccup became the bravest and the strongest of Viking Kings, but he was not always the bravest nor the strongest. The author claims to have come upon Hiccup's journals that tell of his humble beginnings and has merely translated them for us.

Each book is its own story so you don't have to read them in order. They are:
1 How to Train your Dragon
2 How to be a Pirate
3) How to Speak Dragonese
4) How to cheat a Dragon's Curse
5) How to Twist a Dragon's Tale
6) A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons
7) How to Ride a Dragon's Storm
8) How to Break a Dragon's Heart
9) How to Steal a Dragon's Sword

Although I'm a big fan, my ten-year-old grandson was not that impressed. I asked him what he thought of the first book, How to Train Your Dragon and he said "it was okay but not as good as the movie." Now he's not addicted to video games and he is an avid reader with good reading skills--he just didn't seem interested in reading anymore books in the series. I thought he would at least appreciate the humor. But what do I know?

It'll be interesting to see what the new live-action film will be like.