Archive for December, 2011

Here’s the blurb:

Mandy Steenburg thinks her doctorate in education has prepared her to run any school district – until she tangles with the moonshine-making, coon-dog-owning denizens of a tiny district in Pacific Northwest timber country. She’s determined to make a difference, but the local populace still looks to the former superintendent for leadership. When Mandy lands in the middle of an old feud and someone keeps trying to kill her, instinct tells her to run. And though she has to literally swim through perilous waters, she finds a reason to stay and chance the odds.

At first I thought, hmm. A romance? Not usually my thing. The main character is a school district superintendent? Sounds hard to form a connection.

But, I really liked this book. The writing is skillful. I admit, I’m a grammar snob, and adverbs and point-of-view shifts get my knickers in a bunch. None of that stuff here. I was left to enjoy the unfolding of the story without such distractions.

I’m from Washington state, so I immediately loved the setting. I never met any moonshiners during my years in the Northwest, but things felt realistic and believable.

Although some plot points felt predictable, there were still enough surprises to keep me happy. Plus, it’s squeaky-clean enough to buy for anyone without fear.

One thing that bugged me: the main character gets teased/bullied by the students she’s put in charge of, since they preferred the previous superintendent. I sort of scratched my head at that, because as a kid I had zero interaction with the district superintendent. I wasn’t aware of that layer of administration at all. I checked with my high school daughter, and she agreed. Perhaps in a small district, in a super small town atmosphere, this sort of thing could happen. Still, it stopped me.

I recommend this to anyone who likes a clean romantic suspense full of great descriptions and interesting locale.


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Disclaimer: Author Christy Monson is one of my best friends. But I can say without any qualms that her new middle-grade novel, Texting Through Time, is a great little book, and I’m not saying that because she twisted my arm. Honest!

Actually, I begged for the privilege of being on her blog tour.

Some phones are smarter than others.

In the new book, “Texting Through Time,” published by Cedar Fort, Micah and Alicia’s phone is so smart it can take kids back in time. The siblings accidentally trigger the experimental time-travel app and land at Brigham Young’s side.

In order to get back to their own time, the kids must figure out how to use the phone and then journal about what’s happening by sending text messages. Their adventure takes them to key scenes throughout President Young’s life, from his 11th birthday party to excitement along the pioneer trail to his later years as a prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Today’s kids will love reading about interesting and often little-known details about President Young’s life. With modern-day Micah and Alicia, they’ll learn what it was like to be a kid in New England, go on the trek West, and live in frontier Utah.

“Texting Through Time” is skillfully written by first-time author Christy Monson. Details are thoroughly researched, but Monson never forgets to keep the young reader in mind. The characters and dialog feel realistic and will make it easy for kids to relate to the story. There are spiritual lessons to be learned as well, and Monson keeps these moments age-appropriate and never preachy.

Charming illustrations by Rosalie Ledezma add fun and interest to the pages. (ahem from Proud Margot…Rosalie is my daughter) See some cute previews of these drawings at Confessions of a Logophiliac.

The pre-teen crowd would love finding this delightful book under the Christmas tree. Find more information about it at or

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“Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” –C.S. Lewis



(I’ve looked for the source for this beautiful image…if anyone bumps into it, please let me know. I’d love to see it larger.)

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