Monday, August 31, 2009

Epicenter by Sonia O'Brien

Epicenter by Sonia O'Brien

This novel starts out with a thunderous, riveting roar!!! McKenna Bradford, Defense Attorney, meets an unwelcome business client for lunch in the top floor of the 40 floor Lincoln Tower. What shocks her is his confessing murder. What is even more frightening is all of Los Angeles is hit by a massive 9.5 earthquake and she's trapped with a cold-blooded killer. Can her best friend James and her father help to save her before the building crumbles?

Can Payson, Hunter and Jax, best friends and roommates at BYU, who travel to LA to find Payson's former girlfriend Gwen and to know why she broke off their relationship. Hunter is getting ready to serve a mission he's wanted ever since he was twelve. Jax has stopped thinking of a mission, not thinking it important. Hunter and Jax are stuck in the parking garage when the massive quake hits.

Anna Stevens, a recent convert, is stuck with the prospect of delivering her baby in an elevator shaft, while her firefighter hubby fights the blazes that are coming ever closer to Lincoln Tower. These stalwart and courageous friends risk life and limb to save lives in this thrilling and heroic novel.

Forever Friends Rating 5 Stars by Teri
Until Next Time, See You Around The Book Nook.

Publisher: Covenant Communications, Incorporated
Pub. Date: September 2008
ISBN-13: 9781598115987

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Please welcome Rachel Ann Nunes, one of our most prolific LDS authors we
have, to the Book Nook today. Remember to make a comment here and be entered to win a copy of her upcoming novel, Saving Madeline.

1. Teri - When did you first start writing and who was your inspiration?

Rachel - I came up with novel plots as early as ten and eleven, but the dream of being a writer wasn't concrete then. The first remembrance I have of really knowing I would be a writer was when I was twelve. I loved reading, and I wanted to make up my own stories. The inspiration at that point was that I devoured so many books but never found the exact one I was looking for, so I decided to write it. I read just about anything and everything, but most of it was fantasy.

2. Teri - When I first read your Ariana series, our daughter Sarah also
read the first book and absolutely loved it, wanting her then boyfriend
and now husband to read it. What inspired you to create such wonderful
characters for this series?

Rachel - Ariana: The Making of a Queen was my first published novel and a lot of heart and soul and research went into it. The storyline was partially inspired by a woman I met while serving an LDS mission in Portugal. I think the most important thing in creating characters is to make them human--with all their beauty, warts, strengths, and faults intact. They need to be someone people like and wish to see happy, and their struggle has to be one we can identify with on some level. I think Ariana spoke to a lot of people that way.

3. Teri - Do you create stories or scenes from dreams you have?

Rachel - Sometimes I will receive inspiration in dreams, but more often than not they are day dreams that I'm purposefully pursuing rather than night dreams. There have been notable times, however, when I've gone to bed thinking about my characters and then dreamed about the plot and it worked perfectly into my story.

4. Teri - What was your first writing assignment?

My first professional writing experience was when I sold a story when I was in college at BYU that would be used to keep foreign students' interest as they learned English. Later I wrote feature articles for a weekly newspaper and a few articles for magazines. Then I decided to work on publishing my novels.

5. Teri - Do you travel to places that you write about to get a feel for the place?

Rachel - With six relatively young children, it's more likely that I'll set a book somewhere I've already visited in the past and then do a lot of additional research to make it feel real. I'm sure I'll be able to do more traveling in the future, but for the moment, the Internet is a great tool. I can choose a location and actually walk down the street, seeing all the buildings as though I were actually there.

6. Teri - Do you ever get writer's block and if so, what do you do to get
the creative juices flowing again?

Rachel - I never have time for writer's block. There simply is too much else I have to do, so I must write when I have the time. On the occasions when I haven't felt the strong urge to write, it's been because I haven't researched enough, I don't know where the story is going, or because I'm under too much stress. These are solved respectively by doing the needed research, making a simple line-by-line list of what I have to include to finish the book, and locking myself in my bedroom for a few days to watch an entire season of 24.

7. Teri - When you were a little girl, what did you write about and what
made you become an author?

Rachel - When I was twelve and in the seventh grade, I wrote my first science fiction story. My English teacher seemed impressed, and I found I had many more stories I wanted to tell. At that moment I decided to become the WORLD'S GREATEST AUTHOR. Ha! At twelve, that didn't sound so daunting as it does to me now. That I remember my teacher's name—Mrs. West—when I don't remember any other teachers at Dixon Junior High goes a long way toward saying what a profound experience this discovery was for me.

8. Teri - Your upcoming new novel, Saving Madeline, is about a
young female attorney working on a kidnapping case. When I noticed this
new book of yours a few weeks ago on Ensign Books website as an upcoming
new release, the synopsis caught my eye, thinking this book would be
something that I would love to read, as it involved a kidnapping case.
Do you strive to write stories that are in the news in order to capture
the reading audience? I know that my top three TV shows are: Without A
Trace, Law & Order: SVU and Cold Case, so knowing the ins and outs of a
case are important to me in a show and in a book.

Rachel - I'd say that most authors do try to stay up on current events. A book is always more noticed if you can hit the market just right. As for Saving Madeline, just such a current event inspired this novel. Several years ago, shock radiated throughout Utah when an infant was found dead after ingesting meth she had found in a plastic bag on the floor of her home. What made this tragic circumstance even more notable and horrific is that weeks earlier her father had forcibly taken her across state lines, hoping to protect her from her mother’s substance abuse.

Authorities found the child, placed her back with her mother, and sent the father to jail for assault and burglary. A little over a week later, the baby was dead and the mother was charged with desecration of a dead body for moving her daughter to cover up the mother’s drug abuse. All charges against the father were eventually dropped.

While my plotline does not follow this real life one, and is completely fictional, the news story definitely got me thinking in that direction. Sadly, in my research, I found many more instances where children have been hurt or killed because of a parent's drug abuse, some of which I’ve written under the Author Comments for the book on my website at

Keep in mind that while I try to portray a realistic story, I also have a feel for what my readers are looking for in a novel. Achieving a good balance makes it all work.

9. Teri - What do you do when creating a new series? Do you know how many
volumes the series will be or do you just visualize this?

Rachel - When I begin a new series, I generally know that I will have more than one book, but I'm not always sure how many the story will take. For instance, I had no idea the Ariana series would turn out to be seven novels. The story changes as you write and sometimes the amount of novels changes to accommodate new storylines. Any author will tell you that it's often hard to make your characters do something they don't want to do, so you may end up writing an entire new book to tell the story they want to live.

10. Teri - Now, for my last question and a question I don't normally see
being asked, and that is with an author like you, what does Rachel do in
her spare moments when she's not writing? I really think our readers
would love knowing what you do when you're not writing, as you do have
other interests and also Church callings and how many children you have
and any grandchildren?

Rachel - TJ and I have six children. No grandchildren yet, though I'm looking forward to having them. My oldest son (19) is on a mission to Japan and my oldest daughter is 17 and just started college at SUU. My other children are 15, 13, 10, and 6.

As for what I do in my free time. Well, there isn't much of that because usually someone wants me to do something--correct homework, make food, run an errand. You get the idea. But what I love to do when I have a moment is to read, go for walks, swim with my kids. I enjoy exercising while I watch a video. I love traveling, always taking the whole family at this point. I enjoy going out on dates with my husband.

I teach Relief Society once a month, I'm a visiting teacher, and I'm the chairman of the activities committee (which, BTW, is a feast or famine calling, and we have an activity this week so I'm pretty stressed). I love my ward and my neighbors. I feel really fortunate in that.

Well, it's been great having you here today on The Book Nook, Rachel.
Look for Saving Madeline in bookstores, Deseret, and Amazon next month.
Her current release, Eyes of A Stranger, is at most LDS
bookstores or online as well. You can also read sample chapters on Rachel's website

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fire And Ice: A Beaumont And Brady Novel by J.A. Jance

Fire And Ice: A Beaumont And Brady Novel by J.A. Jance

This is the second Beau and Brady novel and it went well, but I thought the two would get together sooner than they did in this book. Beau is on a case in the Seattle area that surrounds a missing woman from Bisbee, that has been found murdered in a dense forested area by Cle Elum. The one real break in the case, was that the murderer was afraid of pulling teeth, as the other 5 women were found without any teeth. Because this dead woman was from Bisbee, Joanna is brought in on the case, also because she was related to one of Joanna's homicide detectives. Since Joanna is working on a suscpicious hit and run accident in an out-of-the way ATV Recreation spot, she and her department are thinking the two cases are connected. Then, Joanna gets involved in a hotly contested abuse case at an Alzheimers Home that causes a patient to go missing and a mysterious death to occur. Joanna is certain a couple bodies will be needed to be exhumed to solve this case. I enjoy the humor and quirkiness of the townsfolk in Bisbee that I've come to think of as family, but Joanna's new ME I can sure do without as does the rest of the Sheriff's Department. This is the first book I've read, I believe, where the conversation switches from third person to first person, which can tend to get confusing, but on a whole, I would recommend reading Jance's highly entertaining suspense novels, esp Joanna's and Ali's.

Forever Friends Rating 4 Stars by Teri
Until Next Time, See You Around The Book Nook.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: July 2009
ISBN-13: 9780061239229
Series: Joanna Brady Series, #14
Available in eBook$9.99

More Formats Online Price
Paperback - Large Print - Large Print $20.79
Compact Disc - Unabridged, 9 CDs/10.5 Hours $31.99

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Agent Bishop: True Stories from an FBI Agent Moonlighting as a Mormon Bishop

Agent Bishop: True Stories from an FBI Agent Moonlighting as a Mormon Bishop

Mike McPheters tells a rousing story of a lot of his experiences of working as an FBI Agent. With his over thirty years of working for the Bureau, he never ceases to falter from showing all the integrity of a man committed to serving his Country or his f ellow man, esp while moonlighting as a Mormon Bishop four different times. Mike iscalled as bishop in his first area as anagent while on assignment in Florida, where he worked cases involving dissenter and draft dodgers, Car Rings, plane pirates, drug trafficing, even a wedding bust. Mike worked bank robberies, a famous massacre in St. Croix, working on a SWAT team, extortion in the Everglades, the Jimmy Hoffa case, busting Timber Thieves and bears in Oregon, finding D.B. Cooper's money, the Rajaneesh case, being bishop in Pendleton, Oregon, home of the 3rd largest rodeo in the world, working a big Meth case, a kidnapping in Milton-Freewater, Ore., the Bolivian Crisis, working the Northern Utes, a special spiritual experience as the Bishop Barber, a Telemarketing Tragedy, a big Sheep Showdown, sued by the ACLU, the Montana Freemen, the last transfer to Los Angeles and then transition upon retirement. The last chapter tells of Mike's having the opportunity of helping with food relief in the Pentagon during the aftermath of 9/11 just three years after retiring. This was a most interesting book for me to read, as I learned some little known facts about law enforcement and some of the in's and out's.of an agent's life. I highly recommend this excellently crafted book.

Forever Friends Rating 5 Stars by Teri
Until Next Time, See You Around The Book Nook.

Publisher: Cedar Fort (August 8, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-1599553177
Paperback: 288 pages

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Against My Will by Robyn Heirtzler

Against My Will by Robyn Heirtzler

Carina Dekker is a young 18 year old college student who decides to job early in the morning. She gets forced into a truck by a stranger and is raped up in the mountains, away from any help. She is able to get to her boyfriend Jove's apartment to have him take her to the hospital. She feels totally violated, doesn't want anyone to touch her and even begins to feel guilty about the rape. She decides to move in with Jove, who understands her and wants to protect her, as does her best friend Jennifer. When she finds herself pregnant, she starts feeling she wants to abort this baby, but she decides to go through with the pregnancy, deciding to place the baby for adopotion. With the trial looming ahead, she doesn't feel good about testifying in court. With her parents estranged from her, she feels even more isolated, esp since she wants and needs their support. With having had a daughter that went through a rape on a cruise ship when she was 15 and became pregnant as well, I know and understand the emotions that befall a young woman who has to face this horrible ordeal, esp with having to deal with a pregnancy and placing her baby up for adoption. That daughter she placed for adoption almost 19 years ago, culminated in a wonderful and exciting meeting recently with Lauren and her parents. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has been unfortunate to have gone through this horrific experience or knows someone who has.

Forever Friends Rating 5 Stars by Teri
Until Next Time, See You Around The Book Nook.

Publisher: Cedar Fort, Incorporated/C F I Distribution
Pub. Date: November 2006
ISBN-13: 9781555179878

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Raging Sea by Sonia O'Brien

The Raging Sea by Sonia O'Brien

Kaitlyn Winters is in grief over the death of her sister from an accident and she feels guilty that she could've prevented it. Her best friends, Amber and Gracie decide to help her by taking her on a Caribbean Cruise. Before she knows it, her purse comes up missing and no one knows who took it. Within a few hours, a horrific storm brews, threatening to ruin their cruise, but that's not the worst, as the cruise liner is turned into turmoil and the passengers have to abandon ship, causing more confusion and
mayhem. The three friends and their few fellow passengers need to depend on each other to survive the ordeal at sea. Kaitlyn has feelings for Matthew Wright, their room steward, but she is not the right kind of girl for Matthew, as he doesn't date but LDS girls and she finds his religion too different from hers. If they survive their ordeal, she will have to confront her feelings about death, God and spiritual beliefs. This book has all the excitement of being lost at sea with nothing to eat or drink, but learning how to survive with what they each have, as they learn to use their fight off sharks. I thoroughly enjoyed how the author brings the passengers together to help one another in their weakest hours and how some find strength they never had before to overcome their fears.

Forever Friends Rating 5 Stars by Teri
Until Next Time, See You Around The Book Nook.

Publisher: Covenant Communications, Incorporated
Pub. Date: April 2004
ISBN-13: 9781591564522