Friday, March 26, 2010

"The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters" by Frank L. Cole

I've met Frank Cole before, but it wasn't until last weekend when we were part of a large group filming a music video that I really understood why this bookstore-manager come author writes books for kids--his zany sense of humor and willingness to try almost anything (even if it meant going home with bruises and strained muscles) showed that he's definitely still young at heart. Also, when he does signings, he gives away these pencils that are heat sensitive and change color where you're holding them--how cool is that?

The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters is Frank's first book, though the second one, Hashbrown Winters and the Mashimoto Madness was released recently as well.

Here's the backliner for the first book:

There I stood, hiding next to the vending machines, disguised as a potted plant. I brushed the plastic leaves from my face and stared down the hallway toward the front double doors. Snow Cone always said one day this ridiculous costume would come in handy.

Fifteen minutes had passed since the last student left for the buses, but I wasn t about to take any chances. Not with my life hanging in the balance. Leaning forward, I peered around the corner just as the sound of footsteps echoed down the hallway. Was this it? Could this be him? Was I about to be pulverized by Hambone while wearing an emergency disguise I had just pulled from my locker?

Hashbrown Winters and his treehouse club of buddies are well known around Pordunce Elementary, especially after Hashbrown's seminar last year on how to give the best show and tell performances... er, presentations.

But when Hashbrown accidentally crosses Hambone Oxcart, the death dealer of Pordunce, he'll need more than just the support of his friends to survive Hambone's wrath.

Join Hashbrown, Snow Cone, Whiz, and the rest of the gang in Frank Cole s hilarious debut novel of the trials and tragedies of fifth grade life. The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters will keep kids and parents alike laughing out loud, groaning in sympathy, and turning pages until well past bedtime.

You can learn more about Frank and his books (and twisted, crazy humor) on his blog.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Bands of Gold" by Shirley Bahlmann

Shirley Bahlmann is one of the funniest ladies I know, and you're guaranteed to have a good time if she's part of the group. She's the author of 17 published books, including Bands of Gold, which I'm highlighting today. Shirley is six foot tall, and the mother of several sons, including the talented Bron Bahlmann, whose first book was released last summer, though he's only now old enough to take driver's ed. First the backliner:

It couldn't be a worse time for Mattie Jones' ex-husband to show up. Not only was he unexpected, but he's got a broken arm from a car wreck with a pregnant passenger he swears is a stranger.

Mattie's already dizzy from what she thinks is the flu, so is grateful when her fiancé offers to let her ex-husband stay at his house.

The next morning, her fiancé's livelihood is nearly destroyed.

Soon Mattie is enmeshed in serious problems with her eccentric neighbor's conniving niece, the return of her old anti-Mormon high school buddy, her daughter's scary boyfriend, a missing son, and the unexpected changes in her ex-husband's behavior. What's a girl to do?

You can learn more about Shirley's books (written in a variety of genres, time periods, and lengths) on her website, and stacks about her zany life, writing, and her family on her blog.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"The Ball's in Her Court" by Heather Justesen

I'm surprised to realize how long I've been running this blog and have yet to feature my own book, and since the second one is being released this spring, I thought it high time. Some years back my husband and I did foster care, and before we started fostering I spent hundreds of hours online learning about adoption and all of the issues that arise from it. The Ball's in Her Court was written as a way for me to explore those feelings and relationships.

Here's the backliner:

She's got a great job, a loving group of family and friends and basketball skills like you wouldn't believe, but Denise DeWalt's life is far from perfect, and she's about to come face-to-face with a past she hoped to leave behind forever.

Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her former life. As Denise's search leads her closer and closer to the one person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize that her future depends on just one person--herself.

This emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of unexpected twists and turns--especially when it comes to facing your demons, fighting for love, and finding happiness for the future.

You can read the first chapter of this book here. Also, below is the book trailer. You can also learn more about me on my other blog, or my website. The second book (a spin-off so the books can be read completely independent of each other), Rebound, will be released in May. You can see the new cover, backliner and read the first chapter to it on my website as well.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Dawn's Early Light" by Laurie C. Lewis

Laurie C Lewis is the author of the Free Men and Dreamer's series of three books--all surrounding the early years of the newly formed United States. Volume 1 Dark Sky at Dawn, a

nd Volume 2 Twilight's Last Gleaming cover the years from 1781 to the beginning of the third book, Dawn's Early Light. Here's the backliner:

In the spring of 1814, a temporary calm settles along the Patuxent. While the British Navy skulks in the Chesapeake Bay, the Willows' families and their neighbors enjoy a brief season of peace.

That is until Napoleon is subdued.

Britain's navy re-enters the Patuxent, prepared to loose her triumphant European conquerors on America, even as peace negotiations commence in Belgium.

But weeks of relentless British attacks along the waterfront soften the will of the American militia and citizenry, leaving the voracious British military confident that victory is within their grasp. And their primary target? Washington D.C.!

While attentions turn to the defense of the Capital, Sebastian Dupree and his band of mercenaries strike the Willows. Not everyone survives, despite former enemies becoming allies, with the Willows' freed slaves to defend their homes and families.

Mere miles away, the Capital lies in peril, its defense now resting primarily upon citizen soldiers like Jed Pearson, and a most unlikely Naval force--Commodore Joshua Barney's rag-tag fleet of barges called the Chesapeake Flotilla--and the courage of Markus O'Malley and the men who built it.

But Britain's house is also divided over the war, and as the cost mounts in blood and money, rifts widen in her families and government, wearying the mind of the Earl Of Whittingham, and threatening to destroy Arthur Ramsey.

Experience the pain and passion of five families--American, slave and British--as they endure three of the darkest days in American history--the week Washington burned!

Laurie is an incredibly sweet person, and is looking forward to the publication of her fourth book, Awakening Avery, which appears to be a contemporary romance, and is being released in April. You can learn more about Laurie's books (including entering her contests promoting her new release) on her blog or her website.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Life's Alphabet Soup" by Terri Ferran

I met Terri for the first time (in person) at an Authorpalooza at Barnes and Noble this past February (though I had 'met' her online before), where she was signing this new book as it had just barely come out. Here's what she has posted about the book on her website:

Life's Alphabet Soup has 26 chapters starting with Allowance and ending with Zoomph. Each chapter begins with a Dr. Seuss-like poem as an intro. It's a glimpse into the life of a sometimes "working" and "non-working" mother of six who loves Dr. Seuss and chocolate, that will cause you to empathize, sympathize or just be thankful you are not her.

Take a break, grab some chocolate, a beverage of your choice and spend some time relaxing and chuckling at what life sometimes spits out for us to clean up.

Remember--they will grow up, move out, and give us a short window of opportunity to change the locks before they come back!

This is Terri's third book, but her first non-fiction title. Her fiction titles are Finding Faith and Having Hope. You can learn more about Terri and her books on her website or her blog.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Deadly Treasure" by Jillayne Clements

"Deadly Treasure" is Jillayne Clements' first novel, though she has a cook book coming out shortly.
Here's the blurb:

A treasure map. A locket. Murder. Deceit.

None of these things are on Lexi's mind when she returns home to Park City, Utah, for her grandfather s funeral--until she stumbles across an old diary while cleaning out his attic.

Soon Lexi's head is filled with tales of hidden treasure buried deep in the Uintah Mountains.

When the diary is stolen and Lexi realizes her life is in danger, she decides to find out if the stories are true. She heads to the Uintahs in search of the secret mine, with her handsome friend Brad by her side. With surprising twists around every corner, expect the unexpected in this thrilling tale of adventure and romance.

You can learn more about Jillayne, her book, and her cookbook on her website.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Simply Singing Time" by Allison Palmer

Have you ever searched for a book to help you planning sharing time, singing time, or other Primary activities? Allison Palmer has been producing books to help parents and Primary teacher and leaders with these things for years. Simply Singing Time is her latest volume.

Teach your children the values they need in a way they'll never forget. With these 24 fun-filled lessons you'll be singing and laughing together in no time.

This delightful new resource makes it easy for leaders, parents, and teachers alike to reinforce the lessons children are learning at church this year and helps everyone remember the songs of the gospel.

With a variety of fun activities and lots of songs to choose from, you'll never be bored by the same old songs again.

This book is available through Deseret Book, Amazon, her publisher Cedar Fort, and many other places where LDS books are sold. To learn more about Allison's collection of primary-related books, check out her website.

Friday, March 5, 2010

"The Route" by Gale Sears

Unlike the previous authors I've highlighted this week, Gale Sears is no newcomer to the world of publishing. Her new book, The Route, is only one of seven books, which includes both novels and picture books. The fifth finalist in this genre is Julie Wright's Eyes Like Mine, which I posted about here.

Here's the blurb from her website:
Zipping along life's highway . . .

Fifty makes you think. Thirty makes you morose, and forty makes you panic, but fifty makes you think. Half a century, and what is my life? Does it resemble anything I dreamed at sixteen, or expected at twenty, or hoped at twenty-five? What am I doing here? . . . I thought of climbing to the top of a high mountain in Tibet to consult a wise man, but I like vacations
where there ís indoor plumbing and vegetation. Since I already attended church, I thought perhaps I could pay closer attention. Maybe I'd been missing a great fundamental truth. Well, come to find out, I had been missing something. . . .

Carol, a middle-aged wife and mother, is pondering the meaning of life. On a trip to the grocery store to find some energizing dark chocolate, she sees a sign asking for volunteers to deliver meals to the elderly. When Carol decides to take a chance and help out, she's in for a life-changing 'and route-altering' experience.

“Absolutely delightful! The Route shows all the depth and talent of Sears' previously published masterpieces in a witty, fun-filled romp full of warmth and humor. This is a book to read in one sitting 'and then run out to buy for all your friends!' ” Kerry Blair

There is scads of information about Gale, her books, and what's coming up in her life on her website.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gravity vs The Girl by Riley Noehren

Gravity vs The Girl is the first of Riley Noehren's novels, and also up for Best General Fiction.
From the back cover blurb:

Samantha Green has just spent an entire year in her pajamas, and she is beginning to regret it.

What's more, she is haunted by four ghosts that are former versions of herself. First up is the overachieving and materialistic attorney, who is furious with Samantha for throwing away the career she worked so hard to build. Second is the lackadaisical college student who is high on life but low on responsibility. Next is the melodramatic teenager, who is consumed with her social standing, teal eyeliner and teased bangs. Finally, there is the scrappy six-year old, whose only objective is to overcome gravity so that she can fly.

Samantha's ghosts alternate between fighting with each other, rallying around Samantha's budding sanity and falling in love with a string of good-for-nothing drummers. Despite her reluctance to do so, Samantha must rely on these spirits from the past to repair the present and ensure her future.

You can learn more about Riley on her website or her blog.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"No Going Back" by Jonathan Langford

First, my caveat--this book deals with the difficult subject of a teen who is same-gender attracted and his struggle to deal with those feelings without going against the principles he had been taught growing up in the LDS Church. I know several people who read it with some reluctance, but found it a wonderful read and very well done. I haven't read it myself.

Here's what it says about the book on Jonathan's website:

A Coming-of-Age Novel About What It Means to Be Teenage, Mormon — and Gay

front cover

A gay teenage Mormon growing up in western Oregon in 2003. His straight best friend. Their parents. A typical LDS ward, a high-school club about tolerance for gays, and a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment to the state constitution. In No Going Back, these elements combine in a coming-of-age story about faithfulness and friendship, temptation and redemption, tough choices and conflicting loyalties.

You can learn more about Langford and his book, including a sample chapter on his website.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is Jamie Ford's first full-length novel. It's the first of the Whitney Award Best General Fiction finalists that I'll be highlighting this week. He also has some short fiction on his website and contributed some of the script for the graphic novel, Secret Identities.

Here is the book blurb posted on his website:

In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.

You can learn more about Jamie's books, read his blog, and learn about his upcoming titles on his website.