Friday, August 28, 2009

Week 3 highlights for Illuminations of the Heart

I can't believe that we are now half way done with Illuminations of the Heart blog tour! Where does time go?

Musings for an LDS writing mom


Joyce has a way of bringing the locations to life with her descriptions and deep research. . . . The characters draw you into the story and make you want to read to the end so that you can figure out how everyone gets out of this impossible situation. grin. I don't want to give it all away...but you got to read it. Especially if historical romance is your cup of tea. Really!


Queen of the Clan

My very, very favorite part of Joyce's new book, is the romance. OK - I know you were all waiting for me to say that! . . . Joyce weaves a wonderful story, creates an attraction and tension between Triston and Siri, and never once do I have to skip sentences or flip pages. I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that I can read such a powerful romance book and never cringe. I can safely keep reading and enjoy every single one of those melt-my-knees kisses without worry it's going to lead somewhere my eyes, mind, and imagination don't want to go. I have so many friends and teenagers who raid my library of books and am so grateful I don't have to give any "disclaimers" before lending out of Joyce's books. THANK YOU, JOYCE!

I highly, highly, highly (I can add about a dozen of those!) recommend both of Joyce's books for the romance addict in your life - no matter if it's you, your teenager, or your wife (guys - you're lady love will give you lots of kisses and hugs after receiving this gift!). So, if you're just dying to get your hands on her books and can't dash out to the nearest store, simply click on the Amazon links below and you'll have your books in just a few days!

Write Bravely

This story is filled with rich characters and setting. As Tristan learns to cope with his anger and his guilt, the depth of his personality shines through. Siri was likeable and I found myself rooting for her. What really impressed me was the complexity of the plot and how there would always be one more twist even when I Thought everything had been figured out. . . . I couldn't put the book down. If you love clean romance with lots of excitement read this book.

Dreams of Quill and Ink

Illuminations of the Heart is a historical romance set during the middle ages. Lest you think it’s all swooning and kisses, let me illuminate (pun intended) some things I particularly enjoyed about this book.

The story is woven seamlessly with the time period. It is so organically done that one almost doesn’t notice—though the attention to detail and fact is there. I learned things about history that I didn’t know but in such a way that it didn’t feel like it intruded on the story.

As if that wasn’t enough, this romance is blended with mystery, suspense, and action. The plot doesn’t just move forward, it propels. I couldn’t stop reading.

The characterization is rich and satisfying. The characters live and breath from the page. Their histories, individual stories, and interactions blend in such a way that one would not be surprised to discover that they actually lived long ago.

Week 1 Highlights for The Route

I look forward each morning to reading each new review and seeing what they said. The following are just the highlights from some great reviews so check them out. And don't forget to leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a free copy.

The Book Nest

Carol was a sensitive narrator and I could empathize with her as she took these elderly folks their meals and slowly became a part of their lives. I think part of what made me want to keep reading this book is my own dearly-loved grandparents - I saw little pieces of them throughout. . . .I think anyone who has worked with or loved anyone who is in this stage of life will find something to appreciate in this book.

Mormon Hermit's Mom Book Habit

Get a box of tissues, ladies. This one plays your heartstrings like a master on a Stradivarius. The author takes us with her to deliver lunches to the elderly, the infirm, the isolated members of her community. The kaleidoscope of personalities dazzles and depresses, inspires and intimidates, comforts and chills us.. . . I heartily recommend you get this book for yourself or for someone who doesn't feel "needed". There are so many possibilities for service if we are open to them.

Boojoos and Apricots

[The Route] is actually a quite funny, very heartfelt and honest account of a woman stepping out of her comfort zone to help those who need it, who (as is often the case) end up helping her so much more. Told in the first person, we get voyeuristic insight into Carol's mind- the good thoughts, the bad, the sometimes soapboxish (this was the part that I wasn't so fond of), and the downright judgmental and ugly (how refreshing!). I got attached to the people on her route (also good, bad and downright unlovable) right along with Carol, feeling at times like I was her driver- waiting in the car for her to come back with that day's status report.

Of Good Report

I don't think that the elderly are represented in books and movies nearly as much as they should be. It's a shame the way they are often treated in this country, neglected and forgotten by their families, often seen as a burden. I used to visit an older woman regularly and I loved to listen to her talk about her childhood in rural Alabama on a cotton farm. I felt that I had a lot to learn from her experiences as the youngest of 10 in a poor rural Southern family. Reading The Route reminded me of the time I spent with her. . . . At first Carol sees her volunteer work as doing something good for the senior citizens on her route but along the way she realizes that they bless her life too as she gets to know and appreciate each one of them. Some of them are harder to appreciate than others, tending to be rather cranky, others are sweet, and still others are fun. Even the cranky ones touch Carol's life and she finds her feelings towards them changing.

Blog the Day Away


I finished reading this book and immediately went on Amazon to order two more as gifts. This is exactly that kind of book. I would compare it to a perfect dinner party. Carol is our host, sweet and funny- she reminds me of that favorite aunt everyone has. Her guests are each so quirky and lovable that it’s no wonder she wants all of us to get to know them. I fell in love with them just as much as Sears wanted me too, and then some. There are so many wisdom nuggets in this book that I’ll warn you, I had to tear myself away to go and find a pen. It’s a very quick read, that will warm your heart. Laura

The characters’ endearing personalities and fascinating experiences eclipsed their problems, and I found myself wanting to know more about each one of them (there are quite a few on her route). Not only are the old folks lovable and realistic, however. The narrator, Carol, makes the journey utterly enjoyable thanks to her own honesty, compassion and ability to laugh at herself. I loved how strong and real her voice was. Julianne

Service

As part of Gale Sear's blog tour for her latest novel, The Route, Gale has been giving daily service tips. I've been grateful for the daily reminders of looking beyond myself and making my actions more like the Saviors. Today, I came across this story and couldn't pass up the opportunity to share it.

President Monson when asked what he wanted for his 81st birthday last year he replied, "Do something for someone else on that day to make his or her life better. Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely and do something for them. That's all I would ask."

The article then goes on to describe some of the service that people had offered, or received, as part of his charge over the past year.

President Monson in my mind epitomizes someone who has made service such a part of his life and I was grateful for this reminder that the best gifts are those where I move beyond myself.

We would love to hear your experience with service.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Week 2 highlights

Here are just some of the highlights from the second week of Illuminations of the Heart blog tour. If you haven't checked out the full reviews, you should.

Of Writerly Things

First, can I say, Joyce DiPastena knows her medieval stuff. She majored in it in college no less, receiving a degree from the University of Arizona. She is true to the time frame throughout her story, introducing the reader to terms like "crenellated," "portcullis," and "primogeniture." You may have thought "mail" was something that showed up in a box outside your home or on your computer, as in You've got it but no, it's "a flexible armor made of small, overlapping metal rings." (I got that from a glossary in the back of the book.) . . . I highly recommend it. -Valerie

Frespa Fan

DePastena weaves a thrilling tale of swashbuckling sword fights, sweet love scenes, and political intrigue. An understanding that could have been a satisfying ending occurs a hundred or more pages before Triston and Siri finally battle their way through several challenging complications to more complete fruition. . . . This is a very good read, to which I give my highest praise of five stars. -Anna

Of Good Report

I do love a good romance, and I mean a good romance novel. Illuminations of the Heart is clean . . . What makes it even better is that it is a historical romance novel which, in my opinion, is the best kind. . . . Through many twists and turns and thrilling chase scenes and, of course, romantic scenes, the book ends in an exciting and unexpected way. Appropriate for adults and teens, I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good romantic novel! -Kimi

Rachel Rager

If you love a good romance book, this book is clean and beautifully written. The characters come alive on the page as the vivid images of the summer 1179 are brought to life. Joyce has done a stunning job at weaving a masterful tale and sharing it with the world. . . . If you loved Loyalty’s Web, you will love this too! -Rachel

We want you to come along for the ride


Gale Sears newest book, The Route, is the story of Carol and the lessons she learns while delivering Meals-on-Wheels. Over the next three weeks we will be zipping all over the web, stopping at great blogs along the way. Was that to cheesy of a way to say that we are having an online blog tour for Gale Sears' latest novel? But the whole imagery of the automobiles and driving that this title invokes somehow made it seem fitting. :)

Want a free autographed copy of this book? It's simple. Just leave a comment on the reviews. The more comments you leave on different reviews, the more times you are entered. So comment away!

Be sure to check out Gale's blog daily as well because she will be posting great ideas on service, how to serve, different service organizations, stories from people she met during her time serving Meals-on-Wheels, and other great stuff.

August 24
The Book Nest

August 25
Mormon Hermit Mom's Book Habit

August 26
Boojoos and Aprilcots

August 27
Of Good Report

August 28
Blog the Day Away

August 31
Reading for Sanity

September 1
Lu Ann's Book Review

September 2
*Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author

September 3
Amesbury Reads

September 4
Tangled Words and Dreams

September 7
Labor Day

September 8
Not Entirely British

September 9
Jewel's World

September 10
Rebecca Talley

September 11
Of Writerly Things

September 14
Walnut Springs Press

And if you want to purchase the book, it's easy. Just click here
Amazon
or here Desert Book

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Article about Crystal Godfrey in the Mormon Times

A couple of months ago, Crystal was contacted by the Mormon Times about doing an article on her and her book. She wasn't sure exactly when the article would come, but it's finally here.

Photo from Mormon Times, taken by Jason Olson

It's a great article, just look how cute this picture is. :) If you've never checked out her blog, now is the time to do so.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reviews of "Under a Lakota Moon"

We like it when people review our books and two blogs recently reviewed Under a Lakota Moon by Deborah L. Weikel. You should check out their blogs for full reviews, so I'm just going to peak your interest here.

Reading for Sanity
I will most reluctantly confess that my heart did indeed beat faster at some of the more, erm, descriptive parts. If I were a proper lady I would have fanned my face and perhaps swooned. But I’m not—so I just sat back and enjoyed the escape. If you’re in the mood for an clean, easy-to-read . . . but all-out romantic novel then you’re in luck. --Mindy

The author told a sweet story of patience, courage and love; and how they can help heal a person who has suffered from abuse or bigotry.--Chris

A . . . clean romance with a sweet message and endearing characters. --Kari

Allison Palmer

What will you find in Under a Lakota Moon? Romance, faith, lessons in living without prejudice, family values, and more romance under a Sweetheart’s moon in the 1870’s version of Minnesota. If those things are up your alley . . . it’s probably worth getting your hands on a copy of Under a Lakota Moon.

Don't these reviews make you want to read the book? :) Remember to check out the rest of the reviews and you can do so here and here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What's being said about Illuminations of the Heart

Here is what has been said about Illuminations of the Heart so far.

Mormon Hermit Mom's Book Habit

Set in the Middle Ages, there are roving bandits, palace intriques, court politics and rare chivalry aplenty. The plot twists had me wondering how Siriol was going to manage avoiding marrying the churlish knaves calling themselves knights or how she could persuade the brooding Triston to let go of his past and to see her for herself and not as the ghost of his late wife. It was hard to put the book down.

Amesbury Reads

I was so excited to get my hands on Joyce DiPastena's second novel, Illuminations of the Heart. I throughly enjoyed reading her first, Loyalty's Web, and had high expectations that not only did she match, but exceeded. The first line "Donna Siri, cover your head" drew me in and I found myself just devouring the pages. What originally started out as an hour before bedtime read turned into a "I have to finish this before I can sleep read." Somewhere in the early morning I did, only to begin it the next day. I will only read books I love a second time. In fact I would put this book in the top ten of books I've read this year.

Heather Justesen

I love a good historical romance. I love them even better when I don't have to worry about steamy bedroom scenes. Joyce Di Pastena's second historical Illuminations of the Heart has it all: fevered kisses, sword fights, betrayal, kidnapping, rescues, death-defying feats and bandits. . . . Joyce's writing is vivid, her characters likeable and realistic, her dialogue fresh, and her descriptions make the scenes breathe.

Rachelle's Writing Spot

If the book would’ve been 200 pages longer, I would’ve kept reading—yes it was that good.

Cami's Books

I don't remember the last time I've enjoyed a book so much. . . . From the first scene I was sucked in and cheering for the heroine, Siri. Siri is one of those heroines who you'd want for a best friend. She's warm, beautiful, and loyal. And she's not afraid to pull a knife and force a man to back off. Loving the tough girl! . . .

Speaking of the plot, it was extremely well-done. I loved all the twists. I never wanted to put the book down. And it's a big book. My family were not happy boys.

I would definitely recommend Illuminations of the Heart to anyone who enjoys clean romance, riveting suspense, and a story that will touch your heart.

Jewel's World

Searching for a great historical fictional romance? I've got just the book for you.
Joyce DiPastena's book Illuminations of the Heart is the perfect blend of mystery, action, and above all, romance. I totally loved this book. The cover is absolutely beautiful and portrayed the heroine perfectly. . . . This story definitely left me with a sigh:-)

Interview with Emily Halverson, author of Life-Changing Moments

Emily Halverson was interviewed on Segullah about her recent title, Life-Changing Moments. Check out the interview to read more about this book and to learn more about Emily.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Author Interview with Gale Sears

Last friday, popular LDS author Michelle Ashman Bell interviewed Gale Sears, author of The Route.

Gale

Here's a highlight of the interview, but you will want to read the whole interview and can do so here.

M.B.: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

Gale: I liked writing stories and reading them to my mom (a captive audience) when I was eight or nine. Later in life, I became intrigued with the theater, and began writing plays. This inclination lasted into my adult life. As I neared middle age several stories began bumping around in my head, and the content of these stories seemed to fit more neatly into a novel rather than a play.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Online Book Release Party

To kick off the blog tour for Illuminations of the Heart and to celebrate her book being finally appearing in bookstores, Joyce is hosting an ONLINE party TOMORROW, Fiday August 7, on her blog. Joyce will be giving away fabulous prizes and will be available to "chat."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

LDSBA Convention

It's hard to believe that it's already August and another LDSBA Convention just opened. Getting ready for the convention is always a lot of work. Publishing lists have to be finalized, covers created, blurbs written, and catalogs put together,etc. that it's is almost a sigh of relief when all of the prep is over and we can just enjoy the actual convention. The convention is fun because it allows us to catch up with friends and booksellers and to see what is going on in the LDS book market. Plus it gives me the perfect opportunity to tell everybody about our upcoming titles which I get so excited doing because I feel that we are doing so many wonderful books and think that they should be in every bookstore and read by everyone that comes in. The convention does provided some good entertainment. I would be lying to say that it doesn't bring out some interesting characters and products, it does. But it is this uniqueness that makes it remarkable. If you are coming to the convention, stop by Brigham Distributing and say hi.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Illuminations of the Heart Blog Tour

We are excited to announce the upcoming blog tour for Illuminations of the Heart, by Joyce DiPastena.

We've got some great blogs participating and are so excited that they were willing to be a part of this.

As part of the blog tour we will be giving away a FREE AUTOGRAPHED copy of Illuminations of the Heart. Anybody that leaves a message on a review will be entered to win. Best part is that you can enter multiple times by commenting on the reviews on different blogs.

August 10
Mormon Hermit Mom's Book Habit
August 11
Amesbury Reads
August 12
Heather Justesen
August 13
Rachelle's Writing Spot
August 14
Cami's Books and Fit Mommas
August 17
Jewel's World
August 18
Of Writerly Things
August 19
Frespa Fan
August 20
Of Good Report
August 21
Rachel Rager
August 24
Boojoos and Aprilcots
August 25
Musings from an LDS Writing Mom
August 26
Queen of the Clan
August 27
Write Bravely
August 28
Dreams of Quill and Ink
August 31
*Tristi Pinkston
September 1
Vicissitudes
September 2
Tangled Words and Dreams
September 3
Random-ish by Nichole and LDSwritersBlogck
September 4
Seriously… and latterdayauthors
September 7
Lu Ann's Book Review
September 9
Reading for Sanity
September 10
Taffy's Candy
September 11
The Write
Blocks

September 16
Why Not? Because I Said So! and LDSWomensBookReview
September 15
Ink Splasher
September 16
Romance Old School
September 17
Blog the Day Away
September 18
Walnut Springs Press