Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Rapunzel Untangled" - by Cindy C. Bennett

A Girl Trapped in a Mansion

A Mysterious Old Woman

The Boy Who Will Change Everything

Rapunzel is not your average teenager. For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction.

But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is.

Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.

I had the privilege to read an ARC of Rapunzel Untangled several months before it's official release, and as always, Cindy Bennett blew me away. I'm going to admit that I'm not much for fairy-tales, but this is not your ordinary fairy-tale! Bennett completely turned every preconceived notion I had about Rapunzel on its head! This is an amazing contemporary spin on the familiar story of the tower-bound girl with long, golden locks. It'll have you on the edge of your seat right from the beginning. This is a great read for young and not-so young readers (like me!) .

About the Author

Cindy C Bennett was born and raised in beautiful Salt Lake City, growing up in the shadows of the majestic Rocky Mountains. She and her husband - who happens to be her high-school sweetheart - raised two sons and two daughters. She's now blessed with two daughters-in-law as well. She developed a love of writing in high school when a teacher introduced her to the joys of escaping reality for ten minutes each day in writing.

When she's not writing, reading, or answering emails (notice there's no mention of cleaning, cooking, or anything remotely domestic), she can often be found riding her Harley through the beautiful canyons near her home. (Yes, she rides a Harley.)

You can find Cindy at: Blog Facebook Twitter Goodreads

As part of the Rapunzel Untangled blog tour, Cindy is doing a HUGE giveaway including a Nook, an MP3 player, 2 Autographed copies of Rapunzel Untangled, 5 ebook copies, and lots more. 
Click HERE  to enter for your chance to win. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sometimes the smallest things can mean the world to somebody

I had a little something happen the other day that keeps replaying through my mind.

I was at an event with a lot of colleagues, friends, and even some strangers. We'd enjoyed a nice dinner and a little program, then - as is the culture for events of this nature - many of the attendees stayed to help with the clean-up and take-down. In the process of my busyness, I noticed an older gentleman, whom I like to consider my friend, looking a little out of place. It wasn't that he didn't belong at the event, because he certainly did, but there seemed to be an emptiness in his eyes and a "lost" aura about him.

Knowing this gentleman and the troubles he's recently experienced, I offered to pack up some left over food for him to take home. He graciously accepted the offer and I went to work.

Before long, he'd joined me in the kitchen and we chatted as we put together enough food to feed him for nearly a week.Those who know me best will never believe this, but I didn't offer a lot to the conversation. I added small comments and the occasional understanding nod, but it was mostly him who spoke. I was content to listen.

As I handed him the freshly packaged food, moisture glistened from his eyes. And, as he wrapped his arms around me, I realized it wasn't the food he needed, it was simply a sympathetic listening ear.

It got me thinking - wondering, really - just how often I get so busy in my perceived "busyness" and fail to  recognize the "lonely" gentleman standing in my path. How often do I take the time to look around for those who might just be needing an open ear and a caring heart? Service really doesn't take a lot. Sometimes its a simple as a "Hi" and other times it means taking a whole day to help someone out, but in the end, even the most minuscule seeming service can fill your soul overflowing.

I hope I never forget just how much a small act of kindness could mean to someone.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cake, my second biggest weakness - FRIDAY FIVE

Okay, so I've got to confess, I totally stole this idea from my cute cousin Candice - (with permission, of course.) The idea is simple: every Friday I will post a short (hahaha) list of five things. They might be "favorites" or "thankfuls" or even "pet peeves" or whatever else strikes me on any given Friday.

To kick things off, today's FRIDAY FIVE was inspired by the half-eaten box of  various cake slices slowly disappearing (bite by bite!) off my kitchen counter: 


  • 5. Chocolate with chocolate creme frosting 
  • 4. White w/ raspberry filling and whipped creme frosting 
  • 3. Carrot (my mom's recipe is the BEST EVER!)
  • 2. Lemon with lemon creme frosting 
  • 1. German Chocolate... (num, num, nummy! Coconut and pecan frosting... need I say more?) 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

"Tide Ever Rising" - by Mandi Tucker Slack

There's an ever growing stack of books on my bedside table (okay, so some of them are actually on my Nook and therefore not technically stacked, but you know what I mean). Whenever I can squeeze an extra moment out of my day, I escape into one of those books. When I got Tide Ever Rising, it took immediate priority on my list!... And, I was not disappointed. In fact, it was so good I don't even feel bad about the day I checked out of my normal busy life to read it! 
About the book: 
Kadie Reynolds loves to explore old ghost towns. So when she and her sister, Maysha, visit Eureka, Utah, it's just another ordinary trip--until they stumble across an ancient journal and a beautiful pendant hidden in the depths of a crumbling house. Now strange dreams and premonitions are haunting Kadie as she learns more about the keeper of the journal, Charlotte Clark. With her curiosity and good humor intact, Kadie sets out on a journey to find Charlotte's still-living twin sister, Adelaide. Little does anyone know, the journal contains secrets that will plunge Kadie, Maysha, and Adelaide into a world filled with past regrets, and dark unknowns.

If you are looking for a fun, adventurous, clean, romantic suspense, Tide Ever Rising is a great pick. But beware, once you start, you won't be able to put it down until you've turned the last page. 

About the Author: 
Mandi Tucker Slack grew up in Orangeville, UT, where her father worked as a coal miner for eighteen years. In 1987 the coal mines shut down for a time and her father joined the U.S. Army. They were stationed in Hanau, Germany, and she had the opportunity to explore Europe. Mandi’s family returned to Utah in 1992, and they settled in Orangeville once again, where she attended and completed High School. She then attended the College of Eastern Utah, where she studied Geology. Eventually Mandi changed her major and moved on to Utah State University while she completed a degree in Special Education. She then married her best friend, Charles Slack. They have three children, with one on the way, 6 chickens, and a lizard (sometimes several lizards).Their family loves to spend time together. They enjoy 4-wheeling, camping, and especially rock hounding. Her house is littered with rocks and fossils. As a child Mandi spent many weekends with her parents and sister exploring abandoned mining towns and searching for relics among the brick ruins. Her adventures with her family are often the inspiration for her stories. 

To read my review of Mandi's other romantic suspense title, The AliasHERE

To learn more about Mandi or her writing, visit her website at:  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Blog Tour and Giveaway

Few callings strike fear into a woman’s heart like that of being a Girls Camp leader. 
But, there's nothing to fear - Girls Camp doesn't have to be stressful... 

As part of the Everything You Need to Know About Girls Camp blog tour, I will be giving away two great prizes. Enter HERE for your chance to WIN a "Camp Leader Survival Kit" or a signed copy of this must have leader's guide.

For more help and tips to not just survive, but LOVE your YW calling, please visit Serving LDS Youth.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It's a Party! And, You're Invited!

Today is the OFFICIAL RELEASE day of 

Which means, it's now available at:
If you want to read what others are saying about it, you can follow the blog tour that starts today and runs until March 11. 

If you want to come help me celebrate (and get a signed copy), please join me on Saturday for my LAUNCH PARTY! 

Spread the word and come join in on all the excitement! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Serving LDS Youth: Why I Launched Serving LDS Youth

I did a crazy thing today... As if I didn't have enough to do! ;-)

Read about it here:

Serving LDS Youth: Why I Launched Serving LDS Youth: Several weeks ago a friend called me with some questions about theme ideas for her girls camp. Always eager to share my experience, I ventur...

The difference between Scout Camp & Girls Camp

There are two cultural markers within the LDS youth community: Girls Camp and it's more masculine counterpart, Scout Camp. Having spent 8 of the last 10 years at girls camp (and, having been up to my eyeballs in girls camp literature for the past several months... *wink, wink*), I excitedly attended my first ever week long scout camp this past summer.  

After a week of full on sun, dirt, and laughter immersion, I couldn't help but notice several differences in the camping styles and traditions of our young female and their male counterparts. In fact, it took less than 24 hours before the differences started to emerge.  

Upon arrival at our Troop's campsite, we were greeted by not one but two dead animal skulls. Now, I'm by no means dissing the decor, but never - and I mean NEVER! - have I seen a Girls Camp decorated with animal carnage. Which brings me to my first of  three key observations:

1. Camp Decor: 

Young women camps are infamous for their decorations. Themed decor is as rampant at a girls camp as it is at a crazy, colorful, perfectly themed birthday party! Aside from the smiling, skinless jawbone prominently hung for all to see, our scouts didn't invest a whole lot into decor. And, by not a lot, I mean NONE! Not so much as a tablecloth - coordinating or otherwise. Which brings me to my second observation:

2. Sanitation:
Not only would girls never consider sitting down for a meal on a scratchy, paint-peeling, dirty table without a clean tablecloth, they would be absolutely disgusted by the presence of a random pair of dirty socks or a discarded, wet shirt anywhere near their food. Scouts? Not so much. In fact, after failing to be a "fly on the wall" I not only offered up a tablecloth (which was politely declined), but more importantly, by the end of the second day, I'd removed nearly a full load of dirty laundry from the picnic table. Tidiness, however isn't the only sanitation difference. At girls camp we will polish off an entire bulk-sized pump of hand sanitizer and sometimes we'll even break into a second one. Aside from their fascination with it as a fire-starter, the scouts rarely touched the germ-killing wonder gel. Now, I'd like to believe that since they weren't using the sanitizer they were washing with soap and water, but honestly, that too may have been a stretch for some.

3. Entertainment
This is almost a no-brainer, I know, but girls are honestly harder to entertain than boys are! Give a group of boys a simple rope and hours - yes I said HOURS! -  of testosterone infused time passes without a bored soul in sight. Bloody noses, torn up hands, muscle and pride aches, sure. But not a skiff of boredom. Nuff said!

And the girls? Well they've got a little something I like to call "Camp Chic."

That's right, the infamous Girls Camp hair dos... and in some cases hair don'ts! Girls may never find hours of delight playing tug-of-war, but boys will definitely NEVER try to devise creative, striking, and sometimes downright strange creations out of each other's hair.

I think we could go on and on about the differences, sharing stories till we are all blue in the face, but I can tell you this: at the the end of each adventure-filled day, whether it's in the company of the young women or the scouts, when the fire casts shadows on their beautiful, dirty, smiling faces, their is no place on earth I'd rather be.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Going on Tour

There was a time when the words "tour" escaped from an authors lips and suitcases, security checks, and concierge lounges presumably came to mind. (Okay, so maybe only the Steven Kings, Stephenie Meyers, and my cute hubby get concierge service, but I like the idea of all you can eat junk food and a bigscreen tv for my viewing pleasure, so leave my little dream alone... sheesh!)   Anyway, back to my  point, which was... hmmm, something along the lines of a tour? Yes. A tour!

Everything You Need to Know About Girls Camp: The Essential Planning Guide for Leaders (besides having the longest title since  or ) is going on tour! 

What does this mean, you ask... 

Well, essentially for the next 4 weeks I get to do interviews, guest posts, and have my book blogged about and reviewed by some of the most amazing book reviewers, talented authors, and LDS bloggers on the planet. That's all. Better than security checks (which, btw, always end up with me on the frisky side of a wand)? Hello, yes!  Better than lost luggage? Days away from the people I love? And fast food dinners? YES! 

.... Better than concierge lounges? Hmm. Negotiable. *GRINS*

If you want to follow along, here's the calendar. The links will be updated as they become active, so check back frequently.

If you want to participate, email me.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Vegetable Soup - Sugar free

Now that we are one month into the new year, chances are you've fallen off your well intentioned diet plan and are searching for motivation to re-start your efforts. Even after a complete sugar cleanse a couple of weeks ago (seven days without any forms of sugar, including grains, milk products, fruit, and anything processed), the last few gloomy winter days have stolen my motivation and sent me crawling back to my comfort foods. I'm not going to lie, last night we ordered pizza - full fat, full sugar, white-bread PIZZA!

As you can imagine, our little splurge tasted fabulous, but when your body knows different, all those refined sugars sure aren't accepted into your system very peacefully. Long story short - that pizza cost a lot more than the debit on my bank account! Today's menu is a much cleaner one: 

Vegetable Soup - Sugar free, Vegetarian
1 med yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cans crushed tomatoes
3 handfuls chopped Carrots (I know, "handfuls" are very scientific measurements!)
2 handfuls chopped Broccoli
2 handfuls chopped Spinach
1 small Zucchini, chopped
2 stalks Celery, chopped

In large stock pot, cook onion in extra virgin olive oil until clear. Add Remaining ingredients and cook until carrots are tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Option: add 1/2 lb ground turkey to add a little bit of protein and savor.

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