Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bloodborne by Gregg Luke & Who's John? Contest

Back Cover Blurb

One ordinary afternoon, research specialist Dr. Erin Cross steps into a local deli to get some lunch and nearly takes a bullet instead. Thanks to timely intervention from a former Marine, she walks away from the seemingly freak incident. But when she returns to find her lab under security lockdown and her apartment ransacked, she realizes the attack was anything but random. Erin can’t make sense of the threat, given her low profile after a disastrous H1N1 vaccine trial. She doesn’t know that her former colleague has used the virus to develop a potent bio-weapon or that her recent research holds a key to his success. And she doesn’t know that his collaborators want her dead before she blows the whistle.

Fleeing for safety with her research in hand, Erin unravels the threats with help from the timely Marine, former Special Ops agent Sean Flannery. But the closer they come to finding answers, the more questionable Sean’s behavior becomes. His erratic moods and suspicious communications are more fitting for an enemy than a friend. And as the crisis comes to a head, Erin can’t be sure who harbors more secrets — the bio-terrorists pursuing her or the one man who can give her protection.

My Review


Bloodborne by Gregg Luke was gripping and freaky. Now remember, I'm a romance chick and only watch action flicks if my hubby is nearby to hide my head in his shoulder during the scary parts. Well, Bloodborne was a book that I definitely needed to read curled up next to my hubby! Right from the first page, I was pulled into a roller coaster of suspicion, murder, and mystery. While yes, the book gave me chills at times, Gregg Luke did a great job weaving in some humor which did wonders to relax my clenched fingers just when they were going numb.  Bloodborne is a medical thriller, but, thankfully, the author knows how to weave in the medical jargon and background in a way a totally non-scientific chick like me can understand. I have to say, Bloodborne is by far my absolute favorite Gregg Luke novel to date.



If you like suspense and mystery, this is most definitely a book you need to pick up! Bloodborne is available at Deseret Book, Amazon, Kindle, and local book stores.



Who's John? Contest

My very favorite part of Bloodborne was finding that Gregg Luke used my hubby's name as one of the characters. Now, there are two John's in the book. Your goal is to find John Ferguson and tell me who he really is in the book.

To Enter:

  1. Follow my blog
  2. Email me at QUEENOFTHECLAN@GMAIL.COM with the answer. Remember, you need to tell me who John Ferguson is in Bloodborne. Your answer must be emailed. If it's in the comment thread, it will be deleted.
The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on October 12th. And what will you win? 

When you read Bloodborne, you'll find a scene where Sean and Erin are hiding at a rustic cabin . . . and drinking yummy hot chocolate. I'm a huge hot chocolate fan myself. So the prize will be a 16 oz Stephen's Gourment Hot Cocoa in either Milk Chocolate or French Vanilla.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Live Interview for (dis)Abilities and the Gospel

At the 2011 LDStorymakers Conference, I was interviewed by Tristi Pinkston about my book, (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. The book had just literally come back from the printer and wasn't even in the book stores yet. That weekend was full of excitement and incredible experiences. And then I was asked to be interviewed. I was shaking because I was so so nervous! Alas, someone had some incredible editing skills because the interview turned out really great! I learned a lot and have practiced my "presenting" skills since then. Whew! Thanks Tristi & LDStorymakers!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Taylor Swift - Kansas City 2011

Saturday was SUPER busy & exciting! I had two book signings with some fabulous awesome authors - Tamara Hart Heiner, Steve Westover, and Stephen Chase - at some fun book stores - Far West Country Store (Far West, MO) & Eden Bookshop (Liberty, MO). Both signings were fantastic! I got to talk to lots of people and sign books - which makes any author happy.  =)

But then . . . then the awesome awesome awesome part of the day began. (Yes, I totally meant to say awesome 3 times in a row.)

I met my hubby after my last signing, nabbed my daughter and off we went to see TAYLOR SWIFT!!!

It was our very first concert. What a fun thing to share together as a mother-daughter team. The concert itself was worth every single cent we paid for the tickets at Arrowhead Stadium. There were tons of fireworks, a snow storm, acrobats, dancers, and a flying balcony, just to mention a few of the cool extreme factors during the performance.Taylor's Sparks Fly video highlights the live concert. Isn't it awesome?



One of the best parts was being in a stadium with 50,000 other people who all sang every single word to every single song Taylor Swift performed. The energy was incredible! We had aisle seats, so we had extra room to dance. And man did we ever dance. And yell, scream, and chant! We were on our feet for the whole two hour concert - dancing and singing together.


 I had t-shirts made for MJ and I just for the concert. On the front it says "LONG LIVE - Remember This Moment" which is from our favorite Taylor Swift song, Long Live. This is definitely one of those mother-daughter moments I'll cherish forever, just for all the fun and laughter we shared.

Thanks for writing such incredible songs, Taylor!















September Blog Hop Winner

Before I log off for the day, I want to announce the winner of the Butterscotch Necklace. Thanks to Random.org for choosing the winner, which was #21 . . .

Laurie LC Lewis!

Please email me your snail mail info and I'll get the necklace out to you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September Blog Hop = Fun Prizes!

Welcome to the September Blog Hop!  

Celebrate the beginning of fall with me and my blogger friends by hopping around, visiting our sites, and entering our contests!  There are no limits - you can enter the contest on every blog.  With over 40 blogs participating, that's over 40 prizes you could win.  Just click on the links below to move on to the next blog.

On my blog, you can win a Premier Designs Butterscotch Necklace.


The lighting wasn't the best for my pictures, but the yellow beads are the darker butterscotch color you see here.


Would you like to win this prize? You just need to do two things.

1. Become a follower of this blog.

2. Leave me a comment in the trail and tell me why you'd like to win this prize.

That's it! You are now entered. The contest ends on Saturday night, September 24th, at midnight MST, and the winner will be contacted shortly thereafter. Please either leave your e-mail address in the comment trail or make sure it's visible through your profile so I can contact you to tell you that you're the lucky winner.



September Blog Hop Participants


1. Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author

2. Joyce DiPastena

3. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

4. Mandi Slack

5. Michael D. Young

6. Six Mixed Reviews

7. Pam Williams

8. Laurie Lewis

9. Kristy Tate

10. Marilyn Yarbrough

11. Stacy Coles

12. Kristie Ballard

13. Lynn Parsons

14. Pushing Past the Pounds

15. Sheila Staley

16. cindy Hogan
17. Jamie Thompson

18. Jaclyn Weist

19. Cathy Witbeck

20. Secret Sisters Mysteries

21. Tamera Westhoff

22. Tina Scott

23. Lynnea Mortensen

24. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan

25. Jeanette A. Fratto

26. Bonnie Harris

27. Melissa Lemon

28. Mary Ann Dennis

29. Stephanie Black

30. Jane Still

31. Janice

32. Laura Bastian
33. Tamara Bordon

34. Betsy Love

35. Maria Hoagland

36. Amber Robertson

37. Debbie Davis

38.

39. Christy Monson

40. Carolyn Frank

41. Rebecca Birkin

42. Melissa Cunningham

43. Emily L. Moir

44. Ronda Hinrichsen

45. Lisa Asanuma

46. Joan Sowards

47. Jordan McCollum

48. Diane Stringam Tolley


Monday, September 19, 2011

Bronze Quill Award & Upcoming Signings in Missouri

This past weekend, I found out that (dis)Abilities and the Gospel received the 
Bronze Quill Publication Award 
in the Religious Book category.

There was a crazy impromptu party & lots of  Happy Happy Dances going on. YEAH! A huge thank you goes out to all the award judges and LUW.


Upcoming Signings

This Saturday, I have two signings with four other awesome authors. If you live in the outer Kansas City, Missouri areas, I hope you'll stop by. There will be coloring contests for the kids, Q&A with the authors, and a used book donation drive for the Caldwell County Library.

Saturday, Sept, 24th
10-12 noon
Far West Country Store
2650 NW State Route D
Cameron, MO

Saturday Sept 24th
2-4 pm
Eden Bookshop
118A North Main St.
Liberty, MO

The Eden Bookshop signing is during the Liberty Fall Festival. Think carnival rides and cotton candy on a gorgeous Saturday with your family. You can't resist that, now can you? 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book Review: Seers by Heather Frost

Book Cover Blurb from Goodreads:

Seers are not just spectators, they are also prey.

For Kate Bennet, surviving the car wreck that killed her parents means big changes and even bigger problems. As she begins to see auras and invisible people, Kate must learn to trust Patrick O'Donnell, a handsome Guardian, or risk her life being overrun with Demons. She soon realizes that both she and her heart are in big-time trouble.

My Review

Do you know what The Vampire Academy, Possession and Seers all have in common? There's a cute girl who falls in love with the bad boy . . . who isn't quite what he seems. 


Another thing they have in common? They are all in my top ten FAVE YA book series!


Now, I read a ton, ton, ton. And it's really hard to make it to my top ten. So that should tell you right there how much I absolutely LOVED Seers by Heather Frost. I had the hardest time putting my Nook down when I needed to do something important - like pick up my kids from school or you know, eat. I was totally pulled in right from the beginning as Patrick lay dying. Then as a Guardian (think Guardian Angel - although Guardians HATE being called that), he meets Kate. And dang, I love the initial mistrust which leads to curious banter and eventually fireworks. Or actually, more like the suspense you get when you're in a big crowd waiting for the fireworks to start. It's awesome! Of course, aside from the romantic aspect of the book, there's lots of suspense as the Guardians protect Kate while the Demons try to get control of her. 

The only thing I think that needs to be tweaked or added into the series, is that in the book blurb, it says that Kate survived a horrific car accident she was in with her parents, who die. And the reason she becomes a seer is because of how close to death she was - but we never get any details about the car accident, other than a few sentences when Kate talks about waking up in the hospital and could see auras. I would have liked a few more details - maybe where they were going, nightmares or something.  Another note, the blurb that goes with the book isn't my favorite. I really like how Fic Talk expanded the blurb


But overall, this book is excellent for anyone who enjoys a good YA suspenseful read with some paranormal elements (assuming you consider Guardian Angels and Demons paranormal).


You can find out more about Seers and read the first few chapters on its website. Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Review: Lydia by Wanda Luce

At six and twenty, the impoverished Lydia Hathaway has endured bleak years of heartbreak, longing for a love that never came. Her deceased father's foolhardiness has left her family bankrupt, and Lydia is eventually left no alternative but to take a position as the companion and governess to Susan Ashcroft of Danbury Park in Surrey. During the first days at her post, Lydia pines bitterly for a life she believes forever lost. Anxious for peace, she rambles one morning across the muddy wilds of the Ashcroft estate where she has a most unimaginable encounter with the notorious Lord Connor Denton. 

As their paths continue to cross, Lydia falls ever deeper in love with the charming rogue while battling against his growing assault on her heart. In spite of his forward attentions, she considers his behavior toward her as nothing less than idle flirtation. And why should she think otherwise? As the wealthy son of an earl, Lord Denton may choose from among the most beautiful women of England's first circles--none to which Lydia claims inclusion. In spite of her indignation over Lord Denton's rakish maneuvering, she anguishes beneath the reality that he is forever beyond her reach. 

Tormented in a relentless battle to suppress a love she cannot overcome, Lydia resolves to leave the Ashcrofts and Danbury Park forever. After all, she is nothing to Denton--isn't she?

My Review

I really enjoy historical romances and was quite excited to review Lydia. But I came to a realization. I like historical novels written with a more modern story telling technique.

Lydia is written in a total Jane Austen style - with wordy sentences, ping pong emotions, and well, more wordy stuff. Just like J.A. Before any J.A. fans start sending me hate mail, I should clairify that I love her stories, but just can't handle her writing. Give me an Austen movie, and I'm a happy chick. I think Lydia would make an awesome historical chick movie! 

So, back to my review. The first five chapters were killer for me to get through, but by page fifty-ish, I really started to get into the story. And the last thirty pages had me wrapped up and wondering how Lydia and Lord Denton would admit their true feelings for each other. LOVED the ending! I don't do spoilers, so if ya wanna know, you'll have to read the book.


My recommendation is if you're more like me and prefer more contemporary historicals (Julia Quinn), then this may not be the book for you. BUT, if you're a die-hard Jane Austen fan, you're gonna love it. I already have friends asking to borrow it!  


More Information





You can purchase Lydia by Wanda Luce at Amazon.com (link to the left) or your local book store. You can also find more reviews on Goodreads.


You can find out more about the author on her blog.



















Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How to Teach Kids About Money

We are a family with four munchkins. Over the past year, my hubby and I have been teaching our kids about earning money. First we started out with earning rewards with a button system. This was a great starting point. The kids were motivated to do extra chores and help each other.

Now we have a twelve year old and an almost 11 year old. Both of these kids are more interested in earning a bit of moolah to either save for special purchases or fun activities. After some talk with my hubby, we agreed that it's time to start teaching the kids the difference between savings, spending money, and church tithing. Soon after this conversation, I left for my book tour. While I traveled, I found these awesome banks - which totally fit we want to teach our munchkins!






While the wording isn't exactly how I'd like it, it works really well. When I showed them to my kids, I told them the fun money is their spending money, tithing is for church, and the mission fund is their savings and can be used someday for college, wedding or church mission. The kids thought it was cool to have a bank with 3 sections, instead of just one big one.

Since then, we've revamped our chores system.  

I write down chores that need done on small Post-It strips, then put them under our calendar in the kitchen. The kids can choose any they want to do - but they can only take one strip at a time. That way no one can hog all the money. But if no one is interested in doing chores because they'd rather play the Wii (or whatever else is distracting them), then the munchkin who is helping can earn more moolah. Some days everyone takes chores, other days just a few do. It all works out.

When a chore is completed, then the munchkin brings me his strip and I go check to see if it was done the right way. Sometimes I need to give a little direction. When everything is done, then I get out the quarter stash. We pay 50 cents for each chore completed. Some chores we pay more - like raking the leaves or shoveling snow. Sometimes two kids decide to work together to complete a chore. Depending on how big the chore is, they either each get 50 cents or they each get a quarter. 

 
 Earned money goes into their baby food jars we used for the button system. Each week we count up their money and figure out tithing, savings, and spending.

We teach our kids that 10% goes to church, 10% to savings, then the remaining 80% is their spending money. For example, if one of the kids earned $5.00 the break down would be like this:

Tithing - 50 cents
Savings - 50 cents
Spending - $4.00

We've seen this system work well for others. One friend in particular had a mother who taught him this concept when he was young. He stuck with it all through his teen and college years. When he eventually married, he surprised his wife with an awesome 1st anniversary gift - their very first house PAID IN FULL. Now that's a gift his wife will never ever forget!

My husband and I use this same system with our finances and it's been a blessing. We hope our kids will grasp onto the concept, too. Next up, teaching our kids how to create a budget with all that spending money their saving.  =)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Choosing a Musical Instrument, Guest Blogger, and a Winner!

Choosing a Musical Instrument

My 5th grader is stuck in the midst of indecision. She finally gets to choose a musical instrument to play in either band or orchestra. She's so so excited. After several visits to the music room and a huge Try It night at the high school (where she literally tried everything!), she's narrowed her choices down to three:
  • Flute
  • Violin
  • Cello
 Dang! Those are difficult to choose from. I played the flute for 13 years - even studied one year in France. I also played the violin for about two years. I would love to learn to play the cello if it didn't mean I had to learn the Bass Clef. In all of my years of musical training, I've never been able to get that one right - which is why I only play the top hand on the piano.  =)

So we've been talking a lot about the importance of music at our house this week. We even went out to You Tube and found some awesome videos. This one is my favorite. It's from the Piano Guys. They did a surprise concert at an elderly home. I absolutely love, love, love the change in attendees attitudes!



Music is awesome! I can't wait to see what my daughter decides to learn.

What are your thoughts about band vs orchestra? If you played an instrument in school, what was it?

Guest Blogger

In the writerly world, I am a guest blogger over at Day Dreamer. The topic of the day: Unique Blog Tour Tips.  Trust me, if you're promoting a book or any other product, you'll discover something new over there.  =)

And Finally, A Winner!

Congrats to Judy for winning the awesome fall purse from the Awesome August Blog Hop! I'll email you and get it sent out next week.

Have a fabulous Labor Day weekend everyone!
Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.