Joan Soward’s New Novel CHOCOLATE ROSES

Love chocolate? Love Jane Eyre?
Then you’re going to love the blog tour (July 26-August 6) for Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards.

Janie Rose Whitaker’s world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie’s. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the “perfect” guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever.

Though she resists getting involved in Roger’s complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship. You will laugh, cry, and crave chocolate as you read this LDS parody of the classic novel Jane Eyre.

Recently I received a free copy of Chocolate Roses to review. I was wondering what my response would be upon reading it. Why? Because romance is one of the few genres I avoid. I’m not a big fan of it. Not sure why, but there you have it. So I was pleasantly surprised to find once I began Chocolate Roses, I really wanted to know how it ended. I felt very wrapped up in protagonist Joanie’s life.

The greatest enjoyment from the novel? Janie was NOT a knock-you-dead-gorgeous female. Far too many stories seem to have larger-than-life women who are more beautiful than is realistic. One of the reasons I found Chocolate Roses fun to read was because Janie felt like “Every Woman.” If Janie could have the happy ending Chocolate Roses offers, there really is hope for the rest of us!

Chocolate Roses does have some difficult and sad moments in the story line, which is to be expected (being based on Jane Eyre). But if you are looking for a unique and quick read, something fun for your free time in the next few weeks, pick up Chocolate Roses. It really is a quite creative and fun read!

We have two great prizes up for grabs! Win either a copy of the book (2 winners) or this fabulous apron created by Joan!

All you have to do is leave a comment (along with your email address if it isn’t on your blog profile) and answer the following question: What’s your favorite type of chocolate: white, dark, or milk?
The more blogs you comment on the more entries you’ll receive. All comments must be left by midnight MST on August 8 to be eligible.

July 26

Nichole Giles–Random-ish by Nichole

Joyce DiPastena–JDP News

July 27

Deanne Blackhurst–Annie Speaks Her Mind

Tristi Pinkston–*Tristi Pinkston

July 28

Taffy Lovell–Taffy’s Candy

Alison Palmer–Tangled Words and Dreams

July 29

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen–The Write Blocks

C.S. Bezas–For the Love of the Written Word

July 30

Sheila Stayley–Why Not? Because I Said So!

LDSWomen’s Book Review

August 2

Kerry Blair–Now & Here

Marsha Ward–Writer in the Pines

August 3

Kaylee Baldwin–Kaylee Baldwin

Amy Orton–Amesbury Reads

August 4

Anna del C.–Anna del C. Dye’s Blog

Laurie Lewis–A View from the Other Side

August 5

Valerie Ipson–Of Writerly Things

Anna Arnett–Insights and Ramblings from Anna Arnett

August 6

Lynn Parsons & Danyelle Ferguson–Queen of the Clan

Chocolate Roses can be purchased from Deseret Book, Amazon, and of course your local LDS bookstore.

BOOK REVIEW: Hanging By The Thread

I have found a new favorite author. The discovery came when I received a book for free, sent for me to review. The book is called, Hanging By The Thread. The author, Donald B. Anderson, debuts well in this political suspense novel.

Here is the back cover copy:

For ten years, a secret society has risen to power. They have infiltrated every facet of the federal government. They are powerful. They have extraordinary access to public funds and government technologies. The Constitution stands in their way.

They have sought to destroy economic freedom, amass power to the federal government, and create mass dependency. They call themselves THE THREAD. And now, they are poised to rise to power.

But, on the eve of their burst into power, a copy of their plan falls into the hands of a young man in the Utah State Capital building. And now, the race is on. Time is short and a small group must struggle to preserve their lives, their nation, and freedom itself.

This book has already received positive reviews, but I’m never convinced until I’ve read the thing myself. So I opened to the first chapter a bit suspiciously to see if it–for me–would live up to the press it’s received thus far.

By the end of the book, my hands were sweating and I was astonished. It held my attention and kept me guessing throughout the read. In fact, it was one of those books I really, really did not want to be interrupted at all. You know those kind. You tell yourself, “It’s not like the ink will fade before morning. The story will still be here. Get some sleep.” But some books have a certain urgency; you cannot stop until you know the end of the story. This was that kind of book.

I do not want to read very many books twice. This book now joins a coveted group of:

1. I must read this again.

2. My friends need to know about this book!

3. This is a book I’d take with me to a deserted island.

When I turned the final page of Hanging By The Thread and reluctantly closed the book, I had an instant desire to tell every friend I had that this was a “must-read” book for this summer. That’s why I’m sharing that thought with you.

So get this book. If you’re going on vacation, it makes the perfect read. If you’re spending a day at the park, this is the perfect read. If you’re staying home, it is the perfect read.

The flaws in the book are so tiny as to seem immaterial (i.e. two transition scenes could have been smoothed).

I highly recommend Hanging By The Thread. Not only might it make your hands sweat like it did mine towards the end, but you’ll pick up a few fun economic facts along the way!

Here’s the link to the book’s trailer where you can get an idea of its flavor. And here’s where you can get your own copy. I think you’ll be glad you did. Soon you may be like me, perhaps recommending it to everyone you know!

Food Combining Rocks!

Have you heard about food combining? It’s the science of digestive enzymes up-close-and-personal. :0)

In other words, fruits need different enzymes to be digested than, say, proteins. Here is an excellent explanation of the techy stuff behind it all. Kind of cool, don’t you think?

As to other news, I’m finalizing the balancing of the meal plans in my current manuscript, a cookbook! I’m totally psyched. I’ve had this manuscript on my computer for a long time, working on it throughout the years, combining the research I’ve combed through to find the healthiest possible meals plans for you and for your family!

I may or may not mention the cookbook specifically in future posts. But as I come across additional research to verify my approaches throughout the cookbook, I’ll be sharing them here with you! (And maybe some samplings of healthy, yet oh-so-tasty, recipes.)

Bon appetit!

Musings: Opposition in All Things

I’ve been thinking a lot recently on or about contrasts. Without contrast–or opposites–it is difficult to get your point across. In paintings, it is oftentimes the dark segments that cause the lighter segments to “pop” visually. In literature, it is the force against which the hero must fight –  for us to truly believe her success in the end.

And so it is with music. If all is bland, if all is repetitive, or if the musical line just meanders, where is the enjoyment? It is in opposition that light and darkness are revealed and the power of a piece is exposed.

I remember being a music major sitting in theory class one morning and my professor came in with great energy. He posed the following question with a mysterious look on his face: “Class, which of all the notes is the most powerful?”

We puzzled on that for some time. One student daringly said, “F-sharp.” The professor’s wry little smile got even bigger. “No.” Another class member called out, “E-flat?” The professor gave his head a little shake and waited. But we were stumped. He finally grinned, but spoke quietly. “Silence,” he said. “Silence is the most potent note. It makes all the others stand out.”

Pretty profound, I thought at the time. And that class interchange has remained with me through the years. Now when I go to compose, I ponder that question of “Class, which of all the notes is most powerful?” And as I write I am continually seeking the best, most fluid balance of opposition. Of light and dark. Of silence and sound. Because without those contrasts,  all becomes milk-toast-bland.

Musings: Amazing Mothers

I had been feeling discouraged for the youth of the world. As I look at what they encounter on a daily basis, I wondered how they could cope and lift themselves above the media influences around them.

I suddenly feel much better.

First, I must say that two experiences in less than 24 hours does not a world make. But it was enough that I feel encouraged.

I met two mothers just yesterday alone who are quietly toiling alongside their children, raising them in gentle patience and love, who for right now are seriously content in that experience.

When I asked the first what hobbies she had, she laughed and said essentially right now her hobby was raising her sons. Oh, and cleaning her home. Her eyes were rested and the peace palpable.

Later in talking with a different mother–and when I asked her what her hobbies were–I was stunned to hear the same thing. This second young mother looked me straight in the eye and said, “Right now I’m raising my children.”

These are articulate ladies. These are women with immense talents and quality. And these are women who have grasped the ethereal, eternal nature of women of God. These are women who are not second-guessing their role as the “raisers of the future.”

Children who are raised in love, with steady boundaries, and by parents who (although not perfect) strive to listen to their cares with honest hearts, are children who are steadied enough to walk through this life with balance.

Do some children go off the deep end, creating ruckuses in spite of excellent parenting? Of course. But studies have shown, and I presume will continue to show, the impact of parenting style on children. Resent parenting and I presume children sense it. Savor parenting and I presume children sense it.

For example, a recent study came out indicating families that do outdoor-fun, recreational events/activities with their teens (at least weekly) help teens resist drugs and alcohol, simply by spending time with them. Another study has shown that families who eat dinner together nightly help children avoid binge drinking.

I had been worrying: “Are mothers getting their importance? Do fathers understand how important they are to their children?”, I now feel encouraged. I have seen fathers “getting it” and now I’ve encountered two mothers just in the past 24 hours who get it, and in fact celebrate the time they have with their young children. Without regret. Without resentment. And in fact, with a whole lot of love.

These ladies toil in our society quietly and peacefully in their God-given glorious role as today’s shapers of tomorrow’s leaders. Why would anyone criticize the power of motherhood? And now that I’ve met these two amazing young mothers, in short sequence of one day, I am encouraged that there are many more.