Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tasty Tuesday - Glopified Muffins

Glopified Muffins for Janitors by Tyler Whitesides
Glopified Muffins

If janitorial supplies can be magical, why not muffins?  In Janitors by Tyler Whitesides, Spencer stumbles into a secret janitor/warlock lair where various mops and tools are "glopified" into magical objects. Using these objects, the Spencer and his friend help defend their school against the creatures and warlocks who would lull the students into passive oblivion. After you "glopify" these muffins in your own kitchen, the batter can be magically kept in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.

1 20 oz box bran raisin cereal
1 cup olive or canola oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 quart buttermilk
5 cups flour
5 teaspoons baking soda 
2 teaspoons salt

Mix all ingredients together.  Store in a covered container in the fridge overnight before cooking. Do not stir the batter.  Use a cookie scoop to portion into muffin tins.  Bake at 350' for 15 minutes.

Book review of Janitors by Tyler Whitesides

Janitors by Tyler Whitesides
The janitors at Welcher Elementary know a secret, and it's draining all the smarts out of the kids. Twelve year-old Spencer Zumbro, with the help of his classmate Daisy Gullible Gates, must fight with and against a secret, janitorial society that wields wizard-like powers.

~Hardcover, 300 pages Published August 1st 2011 by Shadow Mountain

Food to Eat While Reading: Glopified Muffins
Glopified Muffins for Janitors by Tyler Whitesides
Janitors by Tyler Whitesides is a fun, imaginative story that is perfect for middle schoolers (and those of us who also enjoy such a read). Perfect for reading out loud, this book is a great choice for family bedtime snuggling and school reading time. With a boy and girl heroine, both genders will get a kick out of Spencer and Daisy's antics.

The clever theme of being a chameleon is woven throughout the story--everyone tries to make themselves out in the best light, but in the end, everything goes better if they tell the truth.

After I finished Janitors, I went back and read the opening scene to marvel at the way the author incorporated important objects and people in the very first page that play a large role later on. What I thought was simply set up to show what his life before meeting the Janitors actually set up the entire story.

The magic system in Janitors is intriguing.  I'd like to see a bit more creativity in what the Janitors can "glopify". Riding broomsticks isn't a new concept for kids, afterall.  I hope the author pushes the limits of his magic system in the next book.

The ending sets up the next book, Secrets of the New Forest Academy (out Fall of 2012) and promises an excellent adventure.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Persuasion by Rebecca Jamison - Giveaway

Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

I'm tickled to be on the launch tour of this fun novel that releases today! And what better day to review a romance book than on Valentine's Day? Stop by the other blogs on the tourDon't forget to visit Rebecca's website for more news. 

I'm giving away an ARC copy of this wonderful love story.  All you need to do is follow my blog and leave a comment on this post.  If you want to spread the word about this giveaway you will earn another entry for each instance.  Just leave a separate comment for each instance. Winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, February 17th.  

When Anne broke off her engagement seven years ago, she thought she'd never see Neil Wentworth again. But when Neil's brother buys the house she grew up in, it seems fate has other plans in store, and Anne is woefully unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions that accompanies Neil's return. Fans of Persuasion will love this fast-paced, modern retelling of Jane Austen's most romantic novel.

Paperback, 240 pages Expected publication: February 14th 2012 by Cedar Fort, Inc.

Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison is based on Jane Austen's classic novel Persuasion and set in a modern-day Latter-day saint setting.  If you are like me and you have never read Jane Austen, don't be scared away, Jamison's modern retelling is current and you will have no trouble being drawn into Anne and her dilemma.

My favorite thing about Jamison's story is Anne's voice.  She is down to earth, a bit self-conscious and I found it a joy to read about the novel's happenings through Anne's eyes. Her personality and self-doubt make the fact that she thinks Neil could never love her again believable.

The first few chapters of Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale put me off a bit.  The opening scene did not interest me at all, had too much back story and after reading the book, it's my opinion that the first scene does not give a good representation of the rest of the story. I would have cut the first few chapters and sped up the action a bit.

Before each chapter is a journal written flashback.  I found them distracting and I'm not certain that they pushed the story forward or provided any benefit.  In fact, a few times I regretted having to slow down long enough to switch gears before seeing what happened in the current timeline.

The interactions between Anne and her family are fun and endearing.  One of her sisters is always trying to get Anne to take her kids and the other is a total ditz who just generally needs help.  Anne's parents aren't much better--divorced and flighty at best.  Anne is loyal to her family and this helps the reader understand why she could be holding on to the relationship she had with Neil.

After reading the story, I read about the plot of Jane Austen's Persuasion on Wikipedia. It was interesting to see the parallels and I am certain that fans of Jane Austen will enjoy the references that I, in my ignorance, missed. I did wonder, though, why Jamison used some exact names from the original story and other names were completely unrelated in her retelling.

I enjoyed the many interactions that bring Anne closer to Neil.  He is a worthy suitor for Anne who is transposed into a modern society where suitors are not always so, as evidenced by other characters in the book. Neil is kind, loyal, protective, capable and gentle--qualities any woman would look for in a man.

Whether you've read Austen's novels or no, be prepared to be swept away by Jamison's retelling of Persuasion.

Saturday Feb 18--Book Launch Party and Signing at Taylorsville Seagull Book 11-1 ( 5720 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

LDSStorymaker Conference 2012

LDStorymakers Writers Conference

Anyone who writes in Utah also knows that there is an amazing group of Authors here who are supportive of each other and of those of us who are just breaking into the craft. I've even heard that there is a sort of "Mormon Mafia", the godfather of which is supposedly David Wolverton. I'm not sure about that, but I do know that I've benefited from the community that all of these writers support.

The LDStorymakers Writers Conference is one of the best conferences offered and it is held in Utah every year.  The price is great and I can tell you from past experience that the workshops, bootcamp, contacts and networking that are thrown in the package are well worth it.  You can register on the LDStorymakers Writers Conference yourself--you will be happy you did!

You can read about my experiences at last year's conference

Also, you can spread the news about the conference and you may win a spot at the agents' table for dinner on Friday night.  Check out the Show Your Love Contest.