The Quick Silver Project by J A Lightender


The technology associated with the internet has trickled down into many different areas changing the way we do things. When my husband and I were first married we bought an expensive set of encyclopedias. An investment in our children’s future the salesman told us. Less than five years later, these books were so useless, we had them propping up furniture. Who needs to haul out a heavy leather bound volume when at the touch of a few key strokes, all the most up to date information in the world can be staring out a monitor at you.

The book industry is no exception.

For years and years, reading a book required three things, a – a book, b – the ability to read and c – a few minutes of quiet time. Not anymore.

The advent of books on cassette was exciting, until the bulky players were replaced by CD players. You could actually exercise with one of those in your pocket. Except for when you jumped too hard and they skipped. Then the MP3 came along. As small as a pocket watch, and no bump problems.

In the mean time Amazon introduced its Kindle, followed rapidly by almost every other major electronics company and cell phone manufacturer. A small tablet size electronic devise could hold hundreds of your favorite books and allow you to read them in bed or on the plane without the bulk of a hundred books.

A third type of book currently available is known as e-books. These are books written for and published on the internet. Often in a pdf format, these offerings are usually much cheaper than traditional hard and soft cover books and can be read right off the computer or printed up. Authors of various genre’s are hopping on the e-book bandwagon and readers are following in ever increasing numbers.

One e-book reader made the switch during a week of heavy storms last winter. Unable to leave her house, she was able to find books online, purchase them with her credit card and download the text in a matter of minutes without stepping foot into the cold.

E-books aren’t just for adult genres but many talented children’s writers are using this same method to more effectively reach their target audience. Take J.A. Lightender whose new series Forbidden Portals is available at Jewel’s World website for $3.99.

Her first book, The Quicksilver Project follows Renny a thirteen year old boy who receives an unusual gift for his birthday. Lou is a beautiful Dalmatian with one rather extraordinary feature, he can talk. Lou is on a mission to save pets everywhere and in order to do it he needs the help of Renny and his new friend Quinn.

What follows next is an exciting adventure that leads the trio through a very strange pet store, into hidden alley’s in the city and ultimately to a magical island.

The Quicksilver Project is a book that will tempt the most unenthusiastic reader. The pace is fast and the characters are easy to relate to. Lightender manages to pack a lot of excitement into a book with a length that is perfect for a middle grade reader.

If you’re looking for a fun summer book for your kids, consider The Quicksilver Project.

Review of Imprints by Rachel Ann Nunes


I’ve always had a taste for the unusual in my fiction. I like authors who can come up with a twist on a common genre and make it fresh and unique. For national writers, there’s a lot more freedoms to experiment but within the LDS market, the boundaries are fairly rigid. Certainly there are good reasons for this. Vulgarity, sexually explicit scenes and bloody violence have become the norm in much of the world’s fiction. We don’t want those same vices to taint our LDS novels, however, there are other ways to shake things up without lowering the quality or spirit of the fiction we all love.

Rachel Ann Nunes, author of over twenty novels recently published a book that is something of a first for LDS readers. Nunes calls Imprints a Paranormal Women’s Fiction, I call it a fast paced romantic thriller with something extra. However it may be labeled, this is a book you won’t want to miss.

The heroines name is Autumn Rain. The adopted daughter of charming hippie parents, Autumn is raised as a child of nature. She runs an herbal shop/antique store, refuses to wear shoes and will not allow anything into her mouth that isn’t natural and organic. Oh and one other thing… when she touches objects, belongs that mean something to their owners, she gets visions.

These visions aren’t always pleasant nor are the emotions connected with them, yet as word spreads of her gift, people searching for lost family members come to her, begging for help. One such situation pulls Autumn into a commune where things are not as they appear. Danger is everywhere and soon Autumn is fighting for her life against an enemy who will do anything to protect his secrets.

I loved the addition of this psychic power into a genre that is hugely popular with LDS audiences. It adds kind of a fantasy twist that is both exciting and intriguing. A luscious love triangle accents but doesn’t take over the story or slow down the suspense.

If you’re looking for something a little different to read this summer, then Imprints by Rachel Ann Nunes is your book.


Gravity vs. The Girl by Riley Noehren


Next week LDSBookcorner will be running 2009 Whitney Award winner Riley Noehren’s book Gravity vs. The Girl. Noehren’s book tied for Best Novel by a New Author with Dan Well’s book, I Am Not A Serial Killer.

I find that some of the most unique and intriguing books by LDS writers tend to fall into the Whitney’s General Fiction category, and this year was no exception.

Though the cover of Gravity vs. The Girl is relatively simple, the title caught my attention immediately, and it was the first book I read after the finalists were announced last winter.

The premise is distinctive as well. Samantha Green has just spent the better part of a year in her pajamas sleeping away her life after going through an emotional breakdown. It’s time for her to wake up and get on with her life, but she is still traumatized and weak. To assist in the healing Samantha encounters four ghosts, phantoms of her former self. A young child who’s just lost her mother, a teenager trying to figure out who she is, a collage aged young adult with a rebellious streak and a thing for drummers and a high powered lawyer who doesn’t want to let go of her massive shoe collection and beautifully decorated condo.

As Samantha slowly creeps back to life, dealing with the powerful and often poignant influences from her former selves, it’s clear that her future will be a lot different than the past she’s left behind, but how and in what way remains to be seen.

I loved this book. I found it fascinating to read in a strange and sort of hypnotic way. Noehren pulls you into a world where there are no sign posts, and no sense of direction. Yet despite that confusion, the reader can’t wait to dive in deeper. There are profound truths hidden in these lines and a perspective of life I hadn’t considered before. At the same time I was highly entertained.

The characters feel very real, and the pace is quick enough to keep the reader's interest. There is a tendency for books with a message to get a little preachy, but this is not the case with Gravity vs. The Girl. Instead it is revealed through the characters, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions.

I would highly recommend this book, especially to those readers who are looking for a little depth and sophistication in their summer time fiction.

A Must Read This Summer - Awakening Avery by Laurie Lewis


What could be more appropriate for a long hot summer afternoon then curling up with a book set on the beach front at Anna Maria Island in Florida? Even the cover looks cool and refreshing. Like most readers, I put a great deal of stock in book covers. If I haven’t read the author before, I usually study the cover and then flip the book over and read the teaser on the back.

On first read, the back cover text was confusing. It talked about a family vacation spot in Anna Maria Island and then in the next paragraph referred to the family’s waterfront condo in Baltimore. Further down colorful characters from the Ringling’s Ca d’Zan mansion was mentioned, and I’m thinking clowns, acrobats in sequin costumes and maybe a lion tamer. None-the-less I was intrigued and anxious to see how author Laurie Lewis could actually pull all this together.

This isn’t Lewis’s first book. She’s the author of a historical series called Freemen and Dreamers, a series of novels based around the time of the American Revolution. However, Awakening Avery is a complete departure from that genre.

Awakening Avery reminded me of an LDS version of the Shell Seekers by Rosemund Pilcher. It has that same sense of realism, with characters that are complex and a plot that is sweeping in its emotional honesty. It’s a book that entertains, inspires and makes one stop for just a moment and consider the fragility of life… before going back to being entertained.

Avery, the main character is a woman in her late forties. She’s a successful writer, the mother of two sons and one married daughter, and recently widowed by the death of her husband after a long battle with health issues resulting from years of unchecked diabetes. She is angry, depressed, lost and like a typical LDS woman, she’s doing her best to hide it from everyone, especially her children. But it isn’t working, and they feel that they are losing her as well.

The family owns a condo in Baltimore, Maryland, near Avery’s family on the east coast, and Avery decides to travel from her home in Utah, to the condo and sell it, thus erasing another painful memory of happier days. Upon arriving she meets Teddy and Rider, an x-rodeo couple who are now successfully running a real estate business.

Avery and Teddy become close friends and it is through them that she learns of Gabriel, a man on Anna Maria Island who is looking to trade his house for the summer with someone who lives near Washington DC.

Anna Maria Island was a favorite family vacation spot, and Avery imagines it might be just the place where she and her family can heal.

Gabriel, a widower of many years has messes of his own he’s trying to deal with. Two beautiful but headstrong daughters have become dependent on him, refusing to take responsibility for their own lives. He’s hoping that by forcing them out of the nest, so to speak, they will find their own wings.

When I read a book, I want to feel like I’m walking beside the characters, seeing what they see, smelling what they smell. On the other hand, I don’t want pages of unnecessary description to stop the flow of the plot. Lewis has done an excellent job of balancing the two. From the water taxi in Baltimore, to the overwhelmingly opulent Ca d’Zan mansion, once home to the famous Ringlings, and now a museum, I not only felt like I was experiencing these places first hand, but that I wanted to actually go there myself.

The story caught me up right from page one, and was difficult to put down. At 344 pages it wasn’t a straight through read, but it was one of those stories that stayed with me, urging me back to the characters and the plot every chance I could get.

This book has humor, inspiration, romance and heart break, but it does not have any lion tamers. It does have a great recipe for fruity pancakes with a surprise ingredient… but if you want to get the recipe… you’re going to have to read the book.