Defensive Tactics, A Thriller by Steve Westover

I’m pleased this week to review an exciting book Defensive Tactics from a talented new author Steve Westover. Westover writes this exciting suspense thriller, my favorite genre, with the skill of a long time author. His characters walk the narrow line between the expectations of the FBI and their standards as members of the church.

This is a tricky balancing act in this kind of a novel. If the writer gets too churchy then the thriller aspect of the FBI doesn’t work, but if they get too deep into the darker world of crime and violence you lose the uplifting aspect of the gospel. Westover’s characters manage to be believable both in their careers and in their spiritual life. Well done!

Paul, a career FBI agent out of the Kansas City office has everything going for him. He’s good at his job, has a really nice apartment and is dating a beautiful new girlfriend.

Like Paul, Emily works for the FBI as a field agent and is an active member of the church. She is asked to participate with a group of agents’ that are investigating a judge suspected of illegal activities. Her job is to use her looks to seduce and trap the suspect – especially challenging considering her values as a member of the church. But things get dangerous quickly when it’s discovered that someone on the inside is passing along vital information, information that could cost Emily her life.

Jimmy has endured a horrible family tragedy that has pushed him away from the church and his life. Paul and he were friends in high school and he approaches Paul using their previous association to get a free bed for a couple of nights. However things turn out a little different than he anticipated and Jimmy gets more than he bargained for in several ways.

In between mysterious information leaks, shoot-outs and double crossing agents, Westover manages to teach some profound lessons about the atonement and repentance. Yet, as I said before, he does so in a way that feels natural rather than something one has to trip over in before returning to the plot.

Definsive Tactics is a great read for both male and female readers. There is a definite romantic aspect but it blends well with the twists and turns of the suspense. Westover knows his stuff when it comes to keeping his readers on the edge of their seat. I really enjoyed this book and I think you will too.

ps We will be running Defensive Tactics by Steve Westover in the Daily Chapter next week!

Some Secrets Hurt, A Story of Healing by Linda Kay Garner, Illustrated by D Brandilyn Speth


I don’t usually review children's books for several reasons. First off, they are always so good. It’s like movie reviews for Disney films are almost guaranteed a five star rating. Secondly, LDSBookcorner doesn’t carry children’s books and the Daily Chapter doesn’t spotlight them. However, when I read Some Secrets Hurt, A Story of Healing by Linda Kay Garner, I decided to make an exception

There is nothing more frightening to a parent than the thought that someone might be physical or emotionally molesting their child. And unfortunately, no matter how many times a mom or dad sit down and try to teach the importance of sharing such crucial information, it’s not at all unusual for a child to suffer in silence.

As horrible as the thought is of a molested child, the idea that they might feel alone with the burden or guilty themselves is almost unbearable. Which is why Garner approached such a serious topic in a child’s picture book.

Despite the subject matter, this is not a threatening or graphic book. In simple easy to understand language Garner explains and teaches the importance of letting parents know when something bad is happening in a way that is both reassuring and empowering.

D. Bradilyn Speth’s beautiful water colors illustrate most of each page. Maggie, the main character is a charming child and the “stranger” that Maggie knows and trust is tastefully depicted as a dark human shaped shadow.

Years ago, when I was working in a church children’s organization, it came to our attention that one of the children from the neighborhood had been displaying behaviors that could signal abuse. We spent hours coming up with a presentation that could not only approach this problem, but also warn the other children under our care. How I wish Some Secrets Hurt had been available at the time.

Garner does school visits from Preschool up to High School and her thoughtful presentations have been well received by both students and teachers.

If you are a parent, a grandparent or have a child that you love, this book has got to be a part of their personal library.

Visit Linda Kay Garner at her website Some Secrets Hurt.

Trapped is a Captivating Summer Read

Last year I had the opportunity to run a novel by new author Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen on the LDS Bookcorner Daily Chapter. It was a book titled Missing and told the story of a young BYU student on tour with one of the schools performing choirs when she spots a young girl who’s been missing for months. I knew then that we would be seeing good things from this author.

Earlier in the spring, Hinrichsen released a second novel. Trapped is an interesting combination of fantasy and mystery. Set first in Florida and later in the mountains of Austria, this book takes you on a ride that includes romance, treachery, and other worldly magic.

Emi Warren awakens to a burglar prowling through the condo where she has been staying by herself. She manages to take refuge in the house of her elderly next door neighbor, but once the police arrive we realize that this was no common break in. The intruder wasn’t so interested in stealing valuables as setting up strange little shrines in various rooms of the house, and leaving a letter that would shatter Emi’s world and lead she and her friend Daniel half way around the world to uncover a secret curse that has haunted her father’s family for generations.

The settings, especially those in Austria were authentic and well written, and her bad guys were evil and slightly unhinged. Emi makes a strong female heroine who, despite her own insecurities and weaknesses, manages to solve the mystery and rise to the occasion when quick thinking is necessary.

It took me awhile before I realized the fantasy element in the story, and I wished I’d gotten that sooner, but the story was impelling, and I was drawn into the building suspense.

At 293 pages, this is a great summer read for women and girls of all ages. There is plenty of romance but it doesn’t over power the story. And Hinrichsen manages to keep the twists and turns coming, so hang onto your seat.

Click here to purchase Trapped through

A Forged Letter, A Golden Vial, An Ancient Curse...

Filled with family secrets, intrigue, and romance.

The blog tour (August 9-August 24) for Trapped by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen will
have it all.

Her expression remained somber, but excitement crept into her voice. You are the Firstborn She...You must go to them. You want me to act as bait? Not bait, Emi. A spy. Our Trojan horse.

When Emi Warrin wakes one night to find a thief in her mother's house, she has no idea the intruder has planted a trap - a mysterious letter that will change her life forever. Lured to the Austrian Alps with Daniel, the man she loves, Emi is thrown into a perilous, mafia-like world of feuding families and a devastating curse that spans generations. As the Firstborn She - the only firstborn female in hundreds of years - only Emi can free her family from the curse
that will soon afflict her as well. But for Emi to break the curse, she must delve into evil designs.

As Emi struggles to understand her destiny as the Firstborn She, she learns that everything isn't as it seems and that all choices have consequences. Can Emi break the curse before it's too late?

We will be giving away THREE autographed copies!

All you have to do is leave a comment (along with your email address if it isn't on your blog profile) and answer the following question:
Which Austrian city would you most like to visit?

The more blogs you comment on the more entries you'll receive.

All comments must be left by midnight MST on August 27 to be eligible.

August 9
Heather Gardner

August 10
Jewel Adams

August 11
Mary Greathouse
Teri Rodeman

August 12
Lynn Fowlstone
Christine Bryant

August 13
Valerie Ipson
Sheila Stayley

August 16
Deanne Blackhurst

August 17
Connie Hall
C.S. Bezas

August 18
Kimberly Job
Tristi Pinkston

August 19
Karen Hoover
Nichole Giles

August 20
Alison Palmer
Jessica Williams

August 23
Joyce DiPastena
Laurie Lewis

The Fourth Nephite by Jeffrey S Savage


Jeffrey S Savage is a talented writer with multiple books under his belt. He’s the writer of the Shaundra Covington Mystery Series, of which the third book was released earlier in the summer and will be spotlighted on the Daily Chapter next week. He’s also the author of a middle grade fantasy series Farworld (Water Keep and Land Keep) under the name of J Scott Savage that has a large and faithful following. However his newest book which will be released the end of this month, combines the best of both his mystery and YA skills with a dose of church history tossed in.

I recently received an advanced reading copy of The Fourth Nephite to review. And I was curious. An action packed, faith promoting, young adult thriller (with a little romance thrown in) is not the easiest book to write and I was anxious to see how Savage would handle it.

The story begins with Kaleo Steele a senior on the football team with high hopes for a future that includes football scholarships and perhaps a career in the NFL. What his future does not include is a mission. It isn’t that Kaleo doesn’t want to take two years out of his life; it’s that he doesn’t believe the church is true. He’s convinced that there were no golden plates and that the Book of Mormon was a creation from the imagination of Joseph Smith.

The night before the big game, Kaleo is spotted with a beer in his hand on school property by his seminary teacher. Despite the fact that he didn’t drink any, that’s a guaranteed ten day suspension which would not allow him to play before the college scouts the next day.
Brother Mortensen offers him a way out. If Kaleo will go into Salt Lake and look up a guy by the name of Ladan, Bro. Mortensen won’t say anything to the school authorities.

Thus begins an adventure like none other. Kaleo eventually finds himself in Palmyra, New York in the fall of 1827, a point in history where tensions are high. Joseph Smith has retrieved the golden plates but must keep them safe from the evil men who will stop at nothing, not even murder, to get their hands on the “treasure”.

Savage uses his modern day protagonist to bring a fresh perspective to a familiar time in church history. I found the pace exciting grabbing me right from page one and not letting go till the very last page. The characters are complicated, and the antagonist is a very frightening man who’s evilness seemed to jump off the page. As Kaleo searches for a way back home, he’s also trying to discover what he believes. There is nothing preachy about this book as the reader follows along the path of Kaleo’s self discovery.

This is a great book for any reader, but especially for the pre-teen and teen set. So if you’ve got a gift giving occasion coming up, you can’t go wrong. It’s also a wonderful book to read together as a family at FHE or before bed. I am neither a pre-teen nor a teen myself, but I loved it.


Welcome to the Chocolate Roses Blog Tour

This is the second opportunity I have had to participate in a blog tour. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a blog tour is a devise used to spread the word about a new book. Boggers, such as myself, are invited to participate by reviewing a certain book and posting those reviews at about the same time. For more information about the blog tour and the opportunity to win some cool prizes, check out the details at the end of this review.

Chocolate Roses. When I first heard the name of Joan Sowards newest book I knew I wanted to read it. It sounds decadent and sweet and romantic. And when I saw the cover, a partially opened box of chocolates, well I was hooked.

This sweet inspiration is an LDS parody of the classic novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Janie Rose Whitaker is a chocolatier, a candy artisan and an expert in all things related to cocoa. In her shop Chocolate Art Forever, Janie controls everything about her creamy concoctions, from hand roasting and grinding the beans to designing the clever molds that make her confections so unique. By far their most popular offering is the single chocolate rose, resting in a long tissue filled gift box just like a real long stemmed rose.

It is, in fact, the chocolate rose that brings Roger Wentworth, a handsome man without a wedding ring, into the shop every Tuesday morning.

Janie is single, and has, over the past few months, fallen head over heels in love with Roger. But despite her ardent feelings, she has yet to start up a conversation with the man who orders a single chocolate rose each week to be delivered to the mysterious Winnie at the local mental institution.

If you’re familiar with the original story, you can take it from there.

Soward adds a lot of fun characters her version. Take Flo for example, a huge Great Dane who shares Janie’s single apartment. And all the employees of Chocolate Art Forever who are unique and full of personality. And if Jane Eyre had been LDS her relief society would have been very much like the one in the nosey ward Janie attends.

Chocolate Roses is a fun read, just like Soward’s popular ghost mystery Haunts Haven that came out last year. The novel runs 225 pages, and packed with humor, suspense and romance. Plus there is the chocolate. In fact, I recommend you make sure you have some on hand before you even open the first page.

Love chocolate? Love Jane Eyre?

Then you're going to love the blog tour (July
26-August 6) for Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards.

Janie Rose Whitaker's world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie's. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the "perfect" guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Though she resists getting involved in Roger's complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship.

You will laugh, cry, and crave chocolate as you read this LDS parody of the classic novel Jane Eyre.

We have two great prizes up for grabs!
Win either a copy of the book (2 winners) or this fabulous apron created by Joan!

All you have to do is leave a comment (along with your email address if it isn't on
your blog profile) and answer the following question.

What's your favorite type of
chocolate: white, dark, or milk?

The more blogs you comment on the more entries you'll receive.

All comments must be left by midnight MST on August 8 to be eligible.

July 26
Nichole Giles--Random-ish by Nichole
Joyce DiPastena--JDP News

July 27
Deanne Blackhurst--Annie Speaks Her Mind
Tristi Pinkston--*Tristi Pinkston

July 28
Taffy Lovell--Taffy's Candy
Alison Palmer--Tangled Words and Dreams

July 29
Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen--The Write Blocks
C.S. Bezas--For the Love of the Written Word

July 30
Sheila Stayley--Why Not? Because I Said So!
LDSWomen's Book Review

August 2
Kerry Blair--Now & Here
Marsha Ward--Writer in the Pines

August 3
Kaylee Baldwin--Kaylee Baldwin
Amy Orton--Amesbury Reads

August 4
Anna del C.--Anna del C. Dye's Blog
Laurie Lewis--A View from the Other Side

August 5
Valerie Ipson--Of Writerly Things
Anna Arnett--Insights and Ramblings from Anna Arnett

August 6
Lynn Parsons --Danyelle Ferguson--Queen of the Clan

Chocolate Roses can be purchased
from Deseret Books, and of course your local LDS bookstore.

All's Fair by Julie Coulter Bellon


It’s funny how sometimes when you meet someone you know right off that they are someone you will have an instant connection to. Julie Bellon is one of those people.

I met her at a book signing and learned that she lives within walking distance of my house. We both have large families, we both write books and we both even have birthdays a few days apart in November. However she is evidently still in her twenties while I am pushing the big half century mark.

Visiting her website at I was amazed at even more similarities. Julie was born in Canada and married an American. I also married an American. Julie has travel extensively throughout the world with one of her favorite destinations being Athens. I'm sure I would love Athens. Julie met Princess Diana and I watched Princess Diana’s wedding on TV from my college apartment at three in the morning. She loves to read and take bubble baths. Hey… me too!

Julie is the author of six books and specializes in the genre of international thrillers, including All’s Fair the book I’m reviewing today and her most recent release Dangerous Connections. I once asked her how she came up with such sweeping plot themes covering multiple countries and thier governments. Julie explained that she teaches college classes in journalism, a subject she’s always been interested in. Following the news as closely as she does gives her the opportunity to watch patterns and trends, then ask the question… what if?

All’s Fair is like reading two novels packaged into one. Novel one is the story of Kristen Shepherd, daughter of well known General Shepherd and a political campaign expert in her own right. Hours before her high profile wedding to the son of a wealthy and prestigious family she learns that her fiancĂ© has been trying to transfer money from her bank accounts to the Middle East. Her attempt to unravel this mystery throws her into the path of Ryan Jameson, her first love and her first heartbreak.

Book two is set in Iraq where Kristen’s brother Dr. Brandon Shepherd, an Army doctor, has recently converted to the LDS faith. In an emergency mission to save two wounded soldiers before a sand storm overtakes them, Brandon finds himself and beautiful fellow doctor Rachel Fields prisoners to a group of zealous terrorists. His faith and courage are put to the test as he is forced to make a decision that could change his life and the fate of the war.

All’s Fair is the perfect summer read at a little over one hundred and eighty pages, and every page packed with excitement. The plot moves quickly, abd Julie has done her homework, so the story is fresh and accurate. There’s enough romance thrown in to spice things up, but it doesn’t interfere with the suspense.

A lot of couples are discovering the benefits of reading a book out loud together, and this is a book that would appeal to both men and women.

Finally, if you’re a family that likes to listen to a book on CD while driving, this is your book too. I recommend All’s Fair which can be purchased at Amazon for about $4.00 by clicking here.


Just One Wish by Janette Rallison


I always love to read Young Adult novels despite the fact that I am long past qualifying for that age moniker. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books as much as my children did. A Wrinkle in Time is a favorite, and one summer I read everything I could find at the library by its author Madeleine L'Engle. There is something fresh about authors who write for the young and young at heart. And considering they are in competition with video games and movies on demand, these authors have to bring a lot to the table to stay in the game.

I discovered Janette Rallison two years ago when I read her book My Fair Godmother. Her characters were so believable and the plot so exciting, I read it in one sitting. My Fair Godmother wasn’t her first book by any stretch of the imagination. Rallison is the author of more than ten YA books. Most recently My Double Life which was lately spotlighted in Seventeen Magazine, and is on my must read list for the summer.

Just One Wish is a story of seventeen year old Annika Truman’s quest to fill the wish of her younger brother Jeremy who has cancer. Jeremy wants to meet Robin Hood from the hit TV series Teenage Robin Hood and Annika has less than a week to make it happen.

With her best friend in tow, Annika heads out to Hollywood to track down Steve Raleigh the hearthrob actor who plays Robin Hood and talk him into return to her home in Henderson, Nevada. She is willing to do just about anything to make her sick little brothers wish come true.

This story is laugh out loud funny, with Annika managing to get herself into and out of some zany situation. Steve is everything one would want in a celebrity heart throb and his Hollywood girlfriend is as superficial and stuck up as any ambitious starlet on Entertainment Tonight.

This is a great read for those both young and old, but would make a particularly fun ‘read-together’ book for a mom and daughter. There’s nothing objectionable and a whole world of great bonding fun perfect for these long summer evenings. I whole heartedly recommend Just One Wish.