What's being said

Sarah M. Eden interviewed Donna Hatch, author of Queen in Exile, for her I Need Friends Friday.

In the interview you'll learn what Donna's favorite ice cream topping is and where she wants to travel next, as well as some great advice for writers.

Tina Scott, recently attended LDSStorymakers and picked up Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards.

"I opened Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards and began the journey. Chocolate Roses is a Jane Eyre parody. . . . I found Joan’s rendition engrossing from the first page. Chocolate Roses, is, of course modernized and Jane is Janie—an aging (meaning in her late twenties) and single LDS woman who co-owns a chocolate shop in downtown Tempe Arizona where she turns chocolate into artistic creations. . . .

Every Tuesday at 9AM, the love of Janie’s life walks into her chocolate store and orders one chocolate rose and has it delivered to a private facility for the mentally unstable, and another, smaller chocolate that he takes with him.

It isn’t until he unwittingly moves into the small apartment next to her that Janie realizes he has a daughter, and it’s shortly after when Janie discovers that he’s married. . . .

Chocolate Roses is beautifully written and I found myself immersed in the characters and their story. My heart wrenched with Janie as she struggled with her emotions and her love for an unavailable man. I heartily recommend it."

Recommended 100%. It's not everyday a book gets that type of recommendation, but Anne Bradshaw gave Laurie Lewis latest book Awakening Avery, just that.

"I opened Awakening Avery by Laurie Lewis with great anticipation because I thoroughly enjoyed reading all Laurie’s other books. I was not disappointed. This is a delightful, thought provoking novel that left me satisfied and uplifted.

Although the main character, Avery, is older than many heroines, two romantic subplots that run alongside the main story make the book one that I’m sure will appeal to both young and old. Laurie has a way of moving readers to laughter, tears, and deep pondering. I recommend Awakening Avery one hundred percent. Let Florida’s sea air transport you to a place where life’s darkest shadows eventually get blown away."

Cindy Bezas said that Missing is a novel she highly recommends.

"Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen has written a novel that I can highly recommend. It is called Missing. If you like suspense novels, I think you may enjoy this one. . . . I enjoyed the first chapter as it introduced us to Stacie as a child. I found the scenario very compelling and believable and I could empathize with this young person who had been blamed for a crime that was not her fault. Flash forward eight years and you now find Stacie aware--more so than the average individual--of children's suffering. This propels us into the story where Stacie now determines to sacrifice herself to try to wipe away the guilt she carried from the experience in the first scene of the book.

I feel that she is a writer that will continue to bring books to bless us all . . . books that will get us to think and help us to stand outside our tiny worlds and consider the world of another.

You just might find yourself more aware of the importance of kindness and courage after reading a book by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen. Kudos to her for writing pleasurable fiction that uplifts and doesn't leave you feeling like you've rolled around in a filthy mud puddle! . . . I cannot wait to read her next book... and that is saying a lot for me."

Jennie Hansen said that the characters in Haunts Haven by Joan Sowards, "are wonderful, even the more minor ones. They're colorful, distinctive, and memorable."

"Another Arizona writer has come up with a different kind of novel readers are going to love. Haunts Haven, An LDS Ghost Story, by Joan Sowards is not so much speculative fiction as it is the kind of story that made the rounds in LDS circles as I grew up. You know the kind; mysterious strangers who suddenly appeared and left no trace of their visit behind. . . Only Callie Wilford doesn't believe in that sort of thing and when she inherits her great uncle's long empty mansion, she determines to turn it into a bed and breakfast in spite of the ghost legends that have protected it from vandals for more than a hundred years.
. . .

The mystery of the Inn's tragic past is quite straight forward and the feud between descendants of the first settlers in the small southern Arizona town is sadly realistic. The ghost is best discovered for yourself, but be prepared to both empathize and laugh. The same can be said for multiple romances in the story; some will bring sympathy and some will bring a burst of laughter. By the way, the major romance isn't the mushy "love conquers all" sort of thing, but one both practical and a bit off the wall.

Soward's characters are wonderful, even the more minor ones. They're colorful, distinctive, and memorable. Each time I expected the cliché, I was surprised. The plot moved along nicely with a couple of great surprises. . . . overall I found Haunts Haven, a fun, easy read. The Arizona border town and surrounding area are shared with love and accuracy. Teens and adults both will enjoy this one."

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