Today I'd like to share a few thoughts on my friend, J Lloyd Morgan's book, The Hidden Sun. This was an interesting, delightful read in many ways. The characters are fun, endearing, intriguing, calculating, and despicable as needed to provide many surprising twists and turns.
The story takes place in a kingdom called Bariwon. The Hidden Sun is the first of a trilogy featuring the Bariwon Chronicles. Book 2 and 3 are titled The Waxing Moon and The Zealous Star respectively. They are already published, so if you fall in love with The Hidden Sun, there is no waiting to see how the Bariwon Chronicles end, always a plus for readers.
As well as the main characters, I fell in love with the kingdom of Bariwon itself. Bariwon is governed by ancient rules established in the kingdom's infancy called the Tome of Laws. A book created by many founding fathers AND mothers of the kingdom hoping that as Bariwon's royalty and common citizens follow the rules in the Tome of Laws, all in the kingdom could live together peacefully. I really liked the angle that women's opinions were respected as much as the men's.
Bariwon has some unique laws dictating how the kingdom changes hands. Instead of a king leading the kingdom until he dies, then his firstborn son taking over, the kingdom switches hands every time the firstborn heir of the reigning king or queen turns twenty-one. The firstborn son or daughter marries soon after their twenty first birthday, and the reigning king and queen become advisers to the new king and queen. This ensures that changes can be made if the reigning royalty are failing to put the good of the people before their own desires.
Of course, those royalty who do not have the best interests of the people in mind play whatever cards they have to ensure they stay in power for as long as possible and try to up the odds that the future king and queen will continue their traditions, but the theory is that every twenty-two years or so, new management can take over and guide the kingdom the way they want.
Because I enjoyed the kingdom of Bariwon, I used the name Bariwon (with J Lloyd Morgan's permission) as a heroic character defending the downtrodden in a chapter in my new book: Being West Is Best. (Kindle edition to be available soon). The name seemed perfect to me.
I still need to read the next two books, but they are on my list.
Borrowed Angel is the poignant story of a mother who lost her first child to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In this captivating book, the author describes her journey through the gauntlet of grief and reveals how hope can be found, even amid tragedy. Weaving spirituality with a practical approach to healing, Borrowed Angel reflects on motherhood, the grieving process, and the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
March 14, 2014 marked the 22nd anniversary of my second son's birth. Unfortunately, he had died 13 days before. David's birth brought full circle the reality that the child my husband and I had planned and prayed for would NOT be ours to raise in this life. While waiting to go into natural labor, I cycled through many ups and downs, trying to deal with the new reality that wouldn't result in a sweet, playful, noisy bundle of joy straight from heaven.
I remembered reading a book called "Gone Too Soon: The Life and Loss of Infants and Unborn Children" by Sherri D. Wittwer shortly after losing my first child, a baby we named Promise. "Gone Too Soon" brought me a lot of comfort when I could swear my heart was literally breaking. So, when asked if I would review the book "Borrowed Angel: Coping with the Loss of a Child" I didn't hesitate to volunteer.
Books like: "Borrowed Angel: Coping With the Loss of a Child" by Erica Keifer resonate hope and inspiration that one dealing with such a devastating loss needs to find ... and maybe even cling to for a while. To know there will someday be peace, light, and understanding again while trying not to succumb to hurt, sorrow, anger, and numbness is a HUGE blessing.
Erica and her husband, Dan, navigated through the choppy, undesired waters of losing their son by clinging to one another, their friends and family, and their Savior, Jesus Christ. They share their struggle for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is a memorial to their angel baby, Ty, and his memory, bringing clarity for themselves, and helping other parents going through the same pain and loss.
Time does soften the pain and heartache, but will never erase the longing that things had turned out differently. Borrowed Angel deals with Erica's and Dan's journey through infertility, to conceiving their sweet son, Ty, to their adjustment as new parents. And then ultimately, finding him lifeless in his crib--a victim of SIDS--and dealing with the reality that their son would no longer be a part of their daily lives. Borrowed Angel deals with their journey to accept this harsh reality. The emotions Erica and her husband experience mirrored my own, raw at times, including grasping and clinging to whatever scrap of hope offered them through someone's hug, kind words, or thoughtful act.
Erica and Dan coped differently with the loss of their son, and yet managed to strengthen one another when they needed it most. Both parts of this equation--recognizing that grief manifests itself differently for each individual AND choosing to allow each person to find their way while making an effort to strengthen the other are important keys to maintaining a good relationship and keeping the paths of communication open. Often, the loss of a child leads to the loss of a marriage-- a doubly tragic blow to many couples.
Borrowed Angel is an uplifting story that inspires others while dealing with the very real devastation of losing a child. It offers hope, understanding, and most importantly--it acknowledges that there is no one right way to grieve and "deal with" such a horrific loss.
I highly recommend reading Borrowed Angel if you have experienced the loss of child or know someone in such a position, if only to gain insight and understanding.
was born on Christmas Eve in Southern California to an American father whose
ancestors arrived from Europe during colonial times and a Thai mother who moved
to the US during high school. Adding to her rich and varied heritage, Erica
grew up living abroad in Asia, including Taiwan, Fiji, Thailand and Indonesia.
She gained a great respect for the beautiful mosaic of cultures found in
various parts of the world. After graduating from International School Bangkok,
she attended Brigham Young University in Utah, where she earned a degree in
Recreation Therapy. Her career as a Recreation Therapist has allowed her to
work with at-risk youth since 2007.
Erica made the
best decision of her life by marrying her husband in 2005 and is currently a
mother of three, one of whom awaits her in heaven. Erica also loves singing,
reading, writing, and satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies.
Playing collegiate rugby was one of the most memorable experiences of her life,
book is titled Lingering Echoes, which was published by Clean Teen Publishing
in November, 2013. Rumors, the prequel novella, closely followed. Borrowed
Angel is Erica's third published work.
forget to check out the GIVEAWAY at the bottom this post
chance to WIN a $25 Amazon
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Aaron was chosen to save their world, but it might come at the cost of
losing his own.
into an old lady’s basement was supposed to reward 13-year-old Aaron with new
friends. Instead he finds an enchanted amulet that transports him to another
world—one at war with magic. Before he knows it, he is accused of witchcraft
and invited to a bonfire—where he’s the main attraction. If that’s not bad
enough, a goblin army shows up and toasts the town...literally. The good news:
Aaron escapes being charbroiled. The bad news: the goblins are after him. They
want his amulet and will stop at nothing to get it. Battling to find his way
home, Aaron teams up with a not-so-magical-wizard and learns it’s his fate to
destroy the amulet and save this new world. But is he willing to sacrifice his
Check out what these talented authors
are saying about it:
“The Stone of Valhalla is one of those
books that only comes along once in a great while. Brooks doesn't just create a
world, he puts you inside of it, allowing you to experience the wonder in a way
that only he can. His characters are likable and fun. His twists leave you
asking ‘Why?’ Treat yourself to an exciting adventure through a beautiful new
land. Make new friends and be a part of the magic. This is a book that you will
not be able to put down!”
author of Ragesong: Awakening.
Stone of Valhalla drew me in from the get-go. Aaron’s journey is
reminiscent of Dorothy’s trek in The
Wizard of Oz. Magic, sword fights, danger, and more danger, sprinkled with
humor and unexpected twists. This is one of the ‘best’ fantasy adventures I’ve
McChiller, author of The Monster Moon
“The Stone of Valhalla is a riveting
mystery revealing true friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. Brooks engages the
curiosity of middle graders and older sleuths alike, until the very end.
author of The Andy Smithson series.
Excerpt From: Chapter Two: The Penalty of Witchcraft
Aaron thought he’d been transported
to some kind of renaissancefair. People milled about in the street, all dressed like
they belonged on the set of some medieval movie. Most of their faces were stained
with dirt, and they wore soiled clothing. Large, wooden buildings, held
together by plaster, loomed overhead and all around him. Some had signs
announcing specific trades and goods. The sweet smell of bread came from one
shop, clearly a bakery. A rotund man stood out front, arguing with an old man
who had a silvery- white beard and a long, purple cloak. He was telling the
baker that the rolls he had purchased tasted ‘day-old’ and he required a
Several passersby gave Aaron odd glances. One little girl
with a group of women dressed like nuns pointed at him and giggled. He thought
he heard her call him a buffoon, but she was quickly shushed by one of the
women and pulled into a shop.
This is so unreal.
Aaron couldn’t figure out what had happened.
How did I get
here? Who are these people?
Aaron waited for someone to jump out and yell, “Surprise,
you’re on camera!”
It never happened.
The seconds drew on like hours, and Aaron stood unmoving
like a statue in the middle of the dirt road. The sweet smell from the bakery
was drowned by the stench of a sweaty mule pulling a cart packed full with what
had to be manure. The wind blew and the wafting smell of poo filled Aaron’s nose.
He coughed and tried to cover the reek with his shirt.
“Witchcraft! Witchcraft, I say!”
Aaron turned around to see a middle-aged woman with only
three teeth shouting hysterically. She pointed directly at him. He looked over
his shoulder to ensure no green-skinned, broom-commandeering, warty-faced lady
in black stood beside him. There wasn’t anyone there. The noise on the street
stopped dead except for the woman. She grabbed a small wooden crate from a cart
filled with fresh flowers and stood on it. “Fetch the constable! Don’t let him
get away, or he’ll set a curse on our town.”
Five large men formed a group behind the woman and advanced
toward Aaron. He didn’t know what to do.
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Exclusive price for the eBook
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And only $9.99 for the paperback!(List Price: $12.99)
On April 12th
2014 the price will return to the List Price
online launch party will take place on Thursday, April 10th at 4pm
(MST). The party will run for 2 hours and you’re invited to drop by anytime.
The longer you stay the more chances you have of winning prizes! We have slew
of eBooks to giveaway, as well as a Stone of Valhalla necklace AND a $25 Amazon gift card! It is hosted by
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What’s that? Another Party!
right! If you’re local to Utah you don’t want to miss this kickin’ party. We
are having a launch party to celebrate the release of this awesome new book. Of
course there will be plenty of giveaways there too, but what’s even better are
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About Mikey Brooks:
is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing
the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown
up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures
and Bean’s Dragons as well as the
middle-grade fantasy-adventure series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. His art
can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to
daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the
imagination of children can create. Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah
State University and works fulltime as a freelance illustrator, cover designer,
and author. As a member of the Emblazoners,
he is one of many authors devoted to ‘writing stories on the hearts of
children’. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank
Podcast. You can find more about him and his books at: http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/.
Enter the giveaway below to be entered to win one of the following
When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, an adorable granddaughter, a son-in-law, three cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of several books and plans to write many more.