Thursday, 27 August 2009

Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce dePastina

He spoke the name on a breath like a prayer. Then he lowered his head and kissed her.

Her heart is lost in that first embrace, her world shaken to its foundations. There is just one problem: her name is not Clothilde. It is Siriol de Calendri. Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, Siri is directed by her late brother’s will to the county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brother’s friend, Sir Triston de Brielle. Once in Poitou, Siri hopes to find employment in an illuminator’s shop—until Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.

Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guilt he carries for the death of his late wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Or does she? Her merry laughter and twinkling eyes are very different from his late wife’s shy smiles and quiet ways. Yet when he gazes into Siri’s face, all he sees is Clothilde.

Then Triston’s past returns to threaten them both. Will his tragic life with Clothilde be repeated with Siri? Trapped between the rivalry of the king’s sons on the one hand and a neighbor out for vengeance on the other, Triston realizes it would be safer to send Siri away. But how can he bear to lose her again?

Siri is determined not to be cast off and not to live in another woman’s shadow. She has illuminated many a priceless book with pen and paint. But can her own vibrant spirit illuminate the darkness in Triston’s soul and make his heart beat for her alone?

This story is filled with rich characters and setting. As Tristan learns to cope with his anger and his guilt, the depth of his personality shines through. Siri was likeable and I found myself rooting for her. What really impressed me was the complexity of the plot and how there would always be one more twist even when I Thought everything had been figured out. Sometimes I did feel like the two characters took too long to resolve some of their issues, but still, I couldn't put the book down. If you love clean romance with lots of excitement read this book. Check out Joyce's blog and the Walnut Springs Press site.

You can get a copy of the book here or here. There is a contest with this blog tour as well. I realized that the email about the contest came while I was on vacation without my laptop, so I'm a bit late posting it. Comment on this review or the review on any of these other blogs for the chance to win a copy of Joyce's book. Good luck!

August 10
Mormon Hermit Mom's Book Habit
August 11
Amesbury Reads
August 12
Heather Justesen
August 13
Rachelle's Writing Spot
August 14
Cami's Books
Fit Mommas
August 17
Jewel's World
August 18
Of Writerly Things
August 19
Frespa Fan
August 20
Of Good Report
August 21
Rachel Rager
August 24
Boojoos and Aprilcots
August 25
Musings from an LDS Writing Mom
August 26
Queen of the Clan
August 27
Write Bravely
August 28
Dreams of Quill and Ink
August 31
Tristi Pinkston
September 1
September 2
Tangeled Words and Dreams
September 3
Random-ish by Nichole
September 4
September 7
Lu Ann's Book Review
September 9
Reading for Sanity
September 10
Taffy's Candy
September 11
The Write Blocks
September 14
Why Not? Because I Said So
September 15
Ink Splasher
September 16
Reviews by Jaimey
Romance Old School
September 17
Blog the Day Away
September 18
Walnut Springs Press

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Another Milestone

Last Tuesday was one of those days this mother has dreaded and looked forward to all at the same time - my oldest daughter got her driver's licence.

Just before school got out for the summer she got a job at a movie theatre in the city. Her other options were limited since our little town has emplyment opportunities for very few youth. But this job meant a 30 minute drive there and back every time she had a shift.

So I've spent my summer driving her to work, then hanging out at my mother-in-law's and then driving her home again. I've enjoyed the relaxing evenings away from home but it has really cut into my summer plans and time with the rest of the family.

As with most teenagers, she got her licence and then immedietly thought she should be able to drive everywhere. I let her drive a few places around town just so she could get used to being in the vehicle by herself, butI still drove her to work a few more times so she could get some more practice night driving. Friday evening was the real test. Rick was camping with the scouts and I didn't feel like going to town another time. So I surrendered my keys to her along with a few words about safety and then let her go. I think I held my breath for the next six hours thinking about my baby, my sixteen-year-old, sweet, innocent girl out late at night on the dark highway by herself.

She did well and I hope the next time it will be a little easier to let her go. I don't think the worry ever goes away though, and I wonder how often my mother worries about me. Maybe I should ask her. . .

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Good Morning

My dad and step-mom took my husband and me to see a theatre production of Singin' in the Rain tonight. It was thoroughly enjoyable. The man playing Cosmo Brown stole the show and had the whole audience in stitches. As I watched the show I got to thinking about how music from the movies and from musicals has influenced my life.

Whenever I'm a little down, or a little bored an old musical is bound to cheer me up. All of my children have learned to enjoy the old movies and will curl up with me to watch them. My oldest daughter loves to listen to Broadway soundtracks and sings along at the top of her lungs - a habit she picked up from me I'm afraid.

Somewhere along the line I began singing the song "Good Morning" to my children when I wake them up in the morning. I watched the movie Singin' in the Rain with my kids last week and when this song came on, my youngest daughter looked at me in surprise. "You didn't make that song up!" Nope. But I'll keep singing it. And since I am once again blogging in the almost morning hours I've decided to share it with you. Not me singing, but the amazing Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Conner. Enjoy!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction by Laura Berman Fortgang

Laura Berman Fortgang has written a timely book that I enjoyed reading. She discuss the process of making life changes and finding the life you really want in a concise way that has inspired me to take a new look at my own life. Using the same methods that have worked for hundreds of clients, she helps the reader take a step by step approach to discovering what is missing in your life and then what steps to take to realize your dreams. I read the book quickly for this review, but I'm starting it over again and following the steps she outlines. The following article by Fortgang summarizes some of the ideas in the book. Enjoy.

10 Tips to Creating a New Life Direction
By Laura Berman Fortgang,
Author of Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction

1. Make a list of all you can't stand about work/life
Those who are really stuck may complain that they don't know what they want. Not true. Make a list of all you do not want or like about your current situation and you will find on the flip side, something you DO want! Write it down.

2. Recognize that ALL change (good or bad) means loss
The 'evil' we know is sometimes less scary than the 'evil' we don't know. It is normal to be afraid to make a change because of what you stand to lose. However, the only way is forward, so you might as well accept whatever perceived loss of status, money or identity and realize that more happiness awaits. In fact, if everyone else is telling you you are crazy for making a change, you are on the right track!

3. Reframe 'I can't!' to 'I can!'
"I'm not good enough." "I'm too old." "I'm not qualified." NOT TRUE! Look for examples in your life, your surroundings, in the media or in books of people who have done things against the odds and use those examples as symbols of what's possible for you. Change your vocabulary and watch your results change.

4. Understand how the past got you stuck today
Many of us make vows when we are young that get us stuck as adults. "I'll never be like my parents!" "I won't be poor!" "I'll show them!" Whatever it is, the motivation you chose at some early point worked but is no longer working now. Determine what your old motivation for your life was, decide if it still serves you and if not, CHANGE it. Fast!

5. Realize that discovering your 'purpose' does not have to be hard or grand
Many people, when searching for direction in their life may also be putting their life's purpose into question. Most make the mistake of thinking they have to have a Mother Teresa-level of purpose to rate. It's just not true and that likely keeps you stuck or suffering. Who you are everyday and what you do naturally (whether it fits your job description or not) is your purpose. How you affect others positively is your purpose. What you contribute that is uniquely you is your purpose. It's right under your nose. Recognize it and try to make it central to whatever you do next.

6. Gain a criteria for happiness
Most people know they are not satisfied but really lack clear criteria for what will make them happy. Humans feel satisfied when their needs are met and they don't have to compromise their values. Write down what you truly need (emotionally, not financially) and value. Do you need stability? Honesty? Recognition? Do you value spirituality? Adventure? Education? These are not optional. Get purposeful about getting these things in your life and new directions become clear.

7. Research ALL that interests you
List all fields, jobs, careers, or areas of interest. Choose no more than three at a time to research. Besides the internet, try to talk to people who will let you have an informational interview or give you the real scoop on the areas you are interested in. A process of elimination will begin and one particular area may get traction through luck and coincidence that starts to feel like the front-runner.

8. Tell the truth about your money life
Money is usually the first thing that stops people from pursuing what they truly want. Don't let it stop you. Get straight with your money. Even if it's painful to see, know what you have and don't. Don't let it stop you. Moonlight, borrow or barter to move toward your new direction.

9. Put Yourself in Opportunity's Way
It's time to push the envelope. Take risks, get out of your comfort zone and get out there. See opportunity where it is -- everywhere -- and don't be shy about asking for favors or things that seem pushy. There are great rewards out there when you put yourself on the line.

10.Create a Plan and Get Support
Make a timeline for how you are going to cross over into something new. It usually takes 1-3 years to fully transition into a new direction. Don't fret. Make a monthly plan and get plenty of cheerleaders around you. No naysayers! Hire a coach or get a group of like minded folks around you and you will be settled in a new, satisfying direction before you know it.

And note: Unbearable situations seem more bearable when you know you are on your way out. Hang in there!

©2009 Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction

Author Bio

Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction, is a pioneer in the life-coaching profession. A renowned speaker and the president and owner of InterCoach, Inc., a full-service life-coaching business that works with individuals, small businesses, and corporations, she is also the author of The Little Book on Meaning, Living Your Best Life and Take Yourself to the Top. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

You can find the book here.

For more information please visit

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Am I Not a Man: The Dred Scott Story

Utah State Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s ground-breaking new novel, “Am I Not A Man: The Dred Scott Story” is now available for preorder at a reduced price.
An illiterate slave, Dred Scott trusted in an all-white, slave-owning jury to declare him free. But after briefly experiencing the glory of freedom and manhood, a new state Supreme Court ordered the cold steel of the shackles to be closed again around his wrists and ankles. Falling to his knees, Dred cried, "Ain't I a man?" Dred answered his own question by rising and taking his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dred ultimately lost his epic battle when the Chief Justice declared that a black man was so inferior that he had "no rights a white man was bound to respect."

Dred died not knowing that his undying courage led directly to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation proclamation.

Dred Scott's inspiring and compelling true story of adventure, courage, love, hatred, and friendship parallels the history of this nation from the long night of slavery to the narrow crack in the door that would ultimately lead to freedom and equality for all men.

You can order your sale-priced, signed and numbered limited edition copy of “Am I Not a Man” by visiting before Labor Day. There are only 5,000 copies of this special edition being printed and once they’re gone, they’re gone … and the sale price ends on Labor Day. You can request that Mark personalize your inscription, and your book will be mailed to you before the stores even get their copies. For more information, visit
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