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Friday, January 21, 2011

My First EVER blog tour review: "The Star Prophecy" by Joan Sowards

The adventure begins with the blog tour
The StarProphecy by Joan Sowards

We will be giving away THREE copies of The Star

It's easy to enter.
1. Visit the fabulous reviews and leave a comment letting us know why
you're excited to read The Star
. Remember to include your email address.
2. If you tweet about the blog tour, or post about it on your blog or
facebook, leave the link in the comments section and you'll receive an
additional entry.

Good Luck! Entries close at midnight (MST) on January 28.


My husband thinks it’s absolutely hilarious that I don’t like studying American west history or Wyoming history. I mean, I have a degree in history from the University of Wyoming. I live in the American west. But I can’t help that I just like European history and World War Two.
What does any of that have to do with reviewing The Star Prophecy by Joan Sowards? Well, when I read, I have the same problem. I’m LDS, but I hardly ever read LDS fiction. (I’m sort of stuck in a fantasy adventure—I’ll probably have to stay up all night to finish this book rut…) I’ll tell you the truth. I sort of shy away from it and I don’t know why. But The Star Prophecy is a book I’m glad I snuck out of the box to read.

Set only months before the birth of the Messiah, The Star Prophecy takes place in several settings—mostly-wicked Zarahemla, the boat Jerusha Rebekah, and Jerusalem. It tells the story of a young man, Enoch, who dreams of finding the baby Jesus by sailing west across the ocean. He takes with him a crew of friends—some welcome, some not quite so. By relying on their faith, the crew sails month after month, from one adventure to the next in search of the prophesied Messiah.

I received The Star Prophecy at the perfect time. About a week before Christmas. I dove in the same day I got it, eager to get into the Christmas spirit by reading a Nephite Christmas story. Right out of the gate, I realized I’d probably really enjoy it! It combined so many elements that I’ve come to need in a good book—Adventure, some romance, good character development—and some things that I should seek more of—spiritually uplifting with lessons about faith and obedience.

I have lots of good things to say about the ideas and plot development of The Star Prophecy. Liz Adair (author of Counting the Cost) wrote about The Star Prophecy, “[Joan Sowards] begins this adventurous tale with ‘what if?’ and tells it so well that the reader closes the book thinking ‘why not?’” Liz had it right on. With every sentence into the book, I nodded my head to myself and said, “Yeah, that could’ve happened.” Every aspect is imaginative, yet thoroughly researched, making the plot believable. I once heard a writer compare a good plot and characters with the first stages of romance—when you walk away from a kiss or a date and that person stays on your mind. Even when I tore myself away from The Star Prophecy, I thought about Enoch and his friends. What will happen next? Will they make it to Jerusalem? The plot captures you inside and holds you there! The idea is so unique as well.  My only critique of the plot development is that sometimes I felt a little gypped by how quickly some elements move along. There are moments in the story that I wanted to savor, to grow along with the character, but they happen too fast, and we move on to the next thing before I can linger.

Joan Sowards writes an excellent narrative. Another confession: my biggest pet peeve in writing is poorly done voice. That is—too many voices, jarring movements between voices, inaccurate jargon, etc. (If I’ve critiqued your work, you’ve probably noticed, hehehe J) The Star Prophecy has no problem with this. Enoch’s voice is believable, and consistent (only slipping up and using modern phrases a time or two). Though written in third person, Sowards stays with Enoch’s viewpoint throughout the novel, making it even easier to connect with him and the other characters. The narrative also flows well from idea to idea. The characters are lovable (and hate-able at times!). I enjoyed learning about each of them and coming to care for them. Their problems are easy to identify with, even though their trials took place hundreds of years ago.

Through Enoch, and all his friends, I’m sure you’ll love this imaginative tale about a boy with a dream and the lengths—and the places—he’ll go to see it through.


  1. It sounds like a really interesting read. Thanks!

    Chris B.

  2. I've heard so many good things about this book, I'd love to win a copy. I like to read about things that might have happened.


  3. I'm so glad Joan's wonderful story has found a publisher. I read it several years ago in manuscript form, and have thought about it every Christmas since. You're right. It does stay with you.

    Nice review, Ranee. Speaking of voice, you have a great reviewer voice.

  4. For being a first blog tour book review this is fabulous. Thank you so much for reviewing The Star Prophecy and being part of the fun.

  5. I would really like a copy of this book. It sounds very interesting and inspirational, and I'm always on the lookout for a great, new Christmas story. Thanks for the review!


About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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