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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: GLIMMER OF HOPE by Sarah M. Eden (Covenant, 2013)

From DeseretBook.comStunning Miranda Harford once had the world at her feet. She was young, carefree, and desperately in love. But when her new husband left for London without her, her world fell apart. Devastated by his abandonment, Miranda fled their home, taking residence at her husband’s rarely visited countryside estate. For three years, she lived alone. But now, as the holidays draw near, an unexpected visitor arrives . . .
Carter Alexander Harford, Seventh Viscount Devereaux, is a man driven to succeed. His work is his life, and the position of Prime Minister of England is within reach. But in truth, Carter is a man haunted by lost love. Estranged from his beautiful wife, Carter is shocked to find Miranda—the woman he loved and who he believed left him—in residence at his country home.
As plans for a holiday party move forward, the uneasy couple realizes that to avoid further scandal, they must keep up appearances in a charade of marital happiness. Thrust together by fate, it quickly becomes clear that they have both been living beneath a conspired cloud of misunderstanding. As family, career, and social pressures threaten to keep them apart, can love have even a glimmer of hope?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lessons In Storytelling from a Three-Minute Viral Video

I've seen this video around a lot the last few days, but usually when I'm checking out social media, I'm popping in for a minute or two. I scan statuses, tweets, whatnot, but I don't always watch the great videos people post. This one was absolutely worth is. Watch it. Then let's discuss how it shows excellent storytelling in three short minutes. (Don't worry. It's in Thai, but there are subtitles. Not that you'd need them actually...)

This video is three-minutes long and tells an excellent story. Why?

1. No long explanations
In three minutes, the makers of the video didn't have time for long-winded back story--there is still back story and setup, but we're shown exactly what we need and no more. The little boy needed medicine. The man paid for it and the boy runs away. We see by his giving the homeless man food too that this man regularly gives back to others.

2. The characters are relatable
The storytelling makes us care about the characters--about the little boy who's so desperate to help his mom he will steal medicine; a kind man and the daughter who would do anything for him. Two and a half minutes with them is all it took to make me cry.

3. The story has a familiar structure
First we have the brief set-up, followed by the catalyst (the father's illness) that moves the story into the second act (how will the daughter pay for the bills?). It seems like she will lose everything to save her father (conflict, something to fight for). Then the story resolves as the twist is revealed--the doctor is the little boy the kind man helped out all those years ago.

In three minutes. Stories don't have to be long, sweeping tales to be epic. This video proves it.

Review: THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown & Co., 2010)

From StephenieMeyer.com: 
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away.
Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.
When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
Wanderer probes Melanie's thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer's mind with visions of the man Melanie loves—Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

No Reviews?!?

This is so strange for me! I've had reviews scheduled out a month in advance all summer. Lots of great reading and all that jazz. So what happened? I'm not sure...it might be that I'm moving to Alaska in a month and a half and I've been trying to figure all that stuff out. That my husband had minor mouth surgery over the weekend. Just stuff going on, you know.

So today? A recipe. Because I love treats.

It came from this blog and I made it this weekend for my birthday. The best part is that my husband, still recovering, can't eat it. So I'm eating it all and trying ever so hard to save a piece for him.

It's Ice Cream Sandwich Cake. I've actually had this at my aunt's house before, so when I saw this pin, I obvious jumped all over it. Delish! And super easy. Here's how I made it.

First, I halved the recipe. It's just my little family, and while I would LOVE to stuff my face with a 9x13 pan of ice cream sandwiches and whipped cream, it's probably not the best idea.

So, to make a 9x9 pan.
12 ice cream sandwiches
1 16 oz tub of whipped cream
1 or 2 of your favorite candy bars (I used twix.)
1/2 jar of caramel

Layer 6 of the sandwiches in the bottom of the pan, then half the whipped cream, half of the candy bars crushed or cut up and half the caramel. Repeat the layers. Freeze for a few hours then pull out about ten minutes before you want to eat. I'm not sure if it's my freezer or what, but I pulled some out yesterday, cut it and ate it.

Enjoy! Almost as good as a great book! ;)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review: STEALING THE PREACHER by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House, July 2013)

Publication Date: July 2013

From Bethany House's websiteA cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw's daughter who wants to change his mind.
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape--which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.
For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?
With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart.

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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