Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Sapphire Flute by Karen E. Hoover

I just had the pleasure of reading The Sapphire Flute (Book 1 of The Wolfchild Saga) by my friend, Karen E. Hoover. It's a YA fantasy and it's off to a good start.

Here's a teaser:
It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann.

In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother's wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father's secret--a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father's greatest enemy.

At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C'Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls' paths are set on a collision course...a course that C'Tan is determined to prevent at all costs.

Okay, so first off, I just need to say that this is a book I wish I could have gotten my hands on back when Rosehaven was in its heyday. I love YA fantasy and I especially love it when there is a unique and believable world and strong female characters. This story had both.

Karen has created Rasann with a clever and diverse magical system, where each of the gods of the world are associated with a color and an object. In this book, we learn about the Sapphire Flute which creates magic when played.

The Sapphire Flute is the story of Ember and Kayla, both young women trying to find their way in a confusing world with the typical teenage angst and issues compounded by their newly acquired magical powers—all while avoiding the notice and wrath of C'Tan, the villain who wants to take their powers and use them for her own purposes.

Ember's father died when she was an infant and her mother keeps her sheltered from the world of magic. However, Ember soon discovers she's inherited some of her father's magical shape-shifting powers and her journey becomes one of learning who she is, where she came from, and how to wield the magic that is a part of her.

Kayla is mysteriously gifted the Sapphire Flute with the charge to keep it safe from C'Tan, at all costs. A bit impetuous, she must learn to control her impulses and her desire to play the flute, while figuring out what she's supposed to do with it.

Both girls take individual journeys that will eventually (I presume, in future books) bring them together for a final battle against evil.

I think this book will appeal most to readers in the 12 to 14 age range, especially girls who like a good fantasy. Adult readers who love YA fantasy may also enjoy the book.

This is Karen's debut book and I think she's done a good job creating this world and introducing us to characters that live and breathe. I'm looking forward to seeing more of their journey. I loved the plot. I will definitely read book two in this series.

The Sapphire Flute by Karen E. Hoover was released March 16, 2009 by Valor Publishing Group. It's 370 pages, hardbound. Valor Publishing provided me with an ARC in exchange for this review.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Help! I Need a Play List!

This week started the actual training part of my 5K training (as opposed to pre-training, which was walking at whatever pace I could sustain). I did pretty good today but I need your help.

Because my training consists of short bouts of running (er, walking fast) and walking at about 1 to 1 1/2 minute intervals, I'm having to look at my cell phone all the time. It is a pain. I can't tell you how many times I've almost dropped my phone in the road. I never get the timing quite right.

So I was thinking I'd make a play list of faster songs (for the faux running times) and slower paced songs (for the walking times) to help guide me through my workout.

Great idea—except everything on my iPod is 2 1/2 to 3 minutes long. Or more. Which will work great in a few weeks when I've worked up to that. But for now, I need some music suggestions.

So please, please, please, I'm begging.

Check your play lists and see if you have some short songs that:
  • are 1 to 1.5 minutes in length
  • some fast and peppy, some slower
  • are suitable for adult listening (for example, nothing on this list)

I like rock, pop, pop country. I don't much care for the really heavy metal or rap.

Post ideas in the comments.

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Reading Thing 2010

I love Katrina's (Callapidder Days) reading challenges. She does one in the spring and one in the fall.

In the past, I've done summer and winter but something happened and I forgot to do them last year. Maybe I'll start again in June.

Anyway, Spring Reading Thing 2010 goes March 20 - June 2010. You can find info HERE, if you'd like to join.

Here's my list:
  1. The Dark Divine — Bree Despain (4.5)
  2. Wrong Number —Rachelle J Christensen (3.5)
  3. Dangerous Connections —Julie Coulter Bellon (3.5)
  4. My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, 1) — Rachel Vincent (4.5)
  5. My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers, 2) — Rachel Vincent (4.5)
  6. Alcatraz vs the Knights of Crystallia —Brandon Sanderson (4.5)
  7. Farworld: Land Keep —J. Scott Savage (4)
  8. Impossible —Nancy Welin (4)
  9. Wicked Lovely —Melissa Marr (4)
  10. Women of the Book of Mormon — Heather B. Moore (4)
  11. Secret Sisters —Tristi Pinkston (4.5)
  12. The Thorn — Daron D. Fraley (3)
  13. Mr. Monster —Dan Wells (4.5)
  14. Fade Out (Morganville Vampires, 7) — Rachel Caine (4)
  15. Kiss of Death (Morganville Vampires, 8) — Rachel Caine (4)
  16. Grave Peril —Jim Butcher (3)
  17. Lightning Thief, The —Rick Riordan (4)
  18. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo —Stieg Larsson (2)
  19. The Good, The Bad and the Undead (The Hollows 2) — Kim Harrison (4)
  20. Every Which Way But Loose (The Hollows 3) — Kim Harrison (3.5)
  21. A Fistful of Charms (The Hollows 4) — Kim Harrison (3.5)
  22. 33 Habits of a Really Good Man — Yvonne Swinson (4.5)
  23. The Road Show — Braden Bell (4)
  24. Soul Identity —Dennis Batchelder (4)
  25. Soul Intent —Dennis Batchelder (4)
  26. For a Few Demons More (The Hollows 5) — Kim Harrison (3.5)
  27. The Outlaw Demon Wails (The Hollows 6) — Kim Harrison (3.5)
  28. Marked (House of Night, 1) —PC & Kristen Cast (3.5)
  29. Grave Surprise — Charlaine Harris (4)
  30. The Demon Lexicon — Sarah Rees Brennan (4)
  31. Life Expectancy —Dean Koontz (4)
  32. Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake #1) —Laurell K Hamilton (3.5)
  33. Shudder —Jennie Hansen (3.5)
  34. Shadow and Smoke —Tanya Huff (2)
  35. Enchantment Emporium, The —Tanya Huff (3)
  36. Betrayed (House of Night, 2)—PC & Kristen Cast (3)
  37. A Time to Die — Jeffrey S. Savage (4)
  38. Princess of Glass — Jessica Day George (4)
  39. Band of Sisters — Annette Lyon (4)
  40. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner — Stephenie Meyer (3)

So, I didn't do a great job of reviewing these books, but I read a total of 40 for the Spring Reading Challenge. Coolness!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yes, I'm running a 5K

Seriously, I'm doing this. And it's not fun. But I'm doing it anyway.

I know some of you are training for races too. If you'd like to join my support blog, just click the image above for details. Then email me (see profile) and I'll send you an invite.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


#1. Back a million years ago, I was Young Women's president (adult leader in charge of teen girls at my church). Kim was one of my girls.

Kim has a book coming out later this month, and I'll probably, eventually, get around to reviewing it here. But as part of her launch, she's giving away a bunch of cool stuff over on her blog.

Go check it out.

(But don't try to win the bracelet. That's the prize I want.)

#2. I'm going to a lot of book launches this month. Several of the authors involved are doing giveaways and contests or special events on their blogs to help spread the word.

Annette Lyon is giving away books at her Share the Launch Love drawing.

Julie Bellon is coordinating a Water for Warriors
drive to support our troops.

Sarah Eden is doing a Hunting Expedition.

Rachelle Christensen is doing several signings of her new book this month (see her left sidebar).

I'm planning to go to her official launch at the Orem Barnes & Noble, Saturday, March 13th, at noon, because I'm all about the party!

Rachelle is sponsoring The Office Box Giveaway and & Wrong Number Book Launch

Valor Publishing is doing a 5 book "World or Difference" launch on March 16, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 p.m. at the Gateway Barnes & Noble (complete with mini-concert from Shaun Barrowes). (Yes, that's Kim's book right there in the middle.) I'll also be doing book reviews for each of these titles later in the month.

#3. Because I'm such a book person, I spend a lot of my time sitting and reading. Which makes me out of shape and mushy-bummed. To combat that, I started my 5K training yesterday. Yes, I'm doing a 5K in June. (Mom! Stop laughing!) I made a video clip after that first day, planning to post it. But then I decided not to. I look horrid! Anyway, back to the race, I don't care so much about time, as I do finishing. That's my goal. To FINISH the race.

#4. This has nothing to do with books, except that it's part of my anti-mushy bum program. I made a smoothie today. The ingredients were: spinach, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, banana, almond milk, flax oil, and 2 tsps of Splenda to make it tolerable. Don't know what I did wrong. McKenna's smoothies are much yummier than mine. In fact, I had to bribe myself with bites of a protein bar to get myself to finish it.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

You called me a what?!?

Bald Faced Liar? Seriously?

David at Nephite Blood, Spartan Heart gave me the Creative Writer Blog Award. I think the point of it is that winners of this award are full of hyperbole. I consider that a compliment. Thanks, David.

To accept this award, I have to tell six lies and one truth. Then you get to guess which one is the truth. The lying part will be easy. The truth...hmmmm.

  1. I was introduced to the love of my life at a Rolling Stones concert. We've been happily married for 13 years now.

  2. I hitchhiked from Idaho to Las Vegas and back over President's weekend in 1979.

  3. I backpacked through Europe for 3 months after I graduated from college.

  4. I have a tattoo of a rose on my back left shoulder. (Shhh, don't tell my mom.)

  5. I am a certified psychic and I can speak to the dead.

  6. All of my children are named after famous authors.

  7. I won an award for growing the biggest pumpkin when I was in Girl Scouts.

Remember, only one of the above statements is true. Guess which one. (No prizes, just the fun of guessing.) I'll fess up in a few days.

I'm passing this award on to Sandra at The Dance, Jessica at Duck, Duck, Cow, and Jill at Thou Shalt Not Whine. (Not that these bloggers are full of hyperbole, but I thought it would be fun to see what they would post.)

Monday, March 01, 2010

Where the CRUD is Waldo???

Okay, I really don't care about Waldo. But if you've read my blog before, that's probably not much of a surprise.

However, what I DO care about is finding a product that I fell in love with when I went out to KY back in January—and I can't find it here in backwoods Utah Co.


My sister let me try some of this and I loved, loved, loved it! That's saying something because my taste buds are really, really picky.

This is a photo of the new box (used to be pink). It contains 10 packets of powder that you can add to bottled water—which I drink a lot of. I only use 1/2 a packet per bottle and it's the perfect amount of flavoring for me.

I've run out of what I got in KY—and can I find it anywhere?


Even though Wal-Mart claims to carry it, mine doesn't.

Anybody seen it in Orem, Lindon, PG, AF or Lehi?

If you can help me find it, I'll be your BFF forever.

Oh, and while you're looking. . . I also tried two new Atkins products when I was in KY that I can't find here either—the Advantage Caramel Chocolate Nut Roll (totally tastes like a Pay Day dipped in chocolate) and the Advantage Caramel Fudge Brownie Bar (you can taste the soy, but I don't mind it.)

UPDATE: Found the Crystal Lite—AF Wal-mart. Life is good!

Now playing on my iPod: Searchin' So Long by Chicago

P.S. Remember that story contest I entered? I didn't win (but I'm really okay with that). Here's a link to mine.