Book Review: ANGELS AT THE TABLE by Debbie Macomber

As a First Reads winner I received my free advance copy of Angels At The Table from Library Thing. This is the second Debbie Macomber book that I have now read (I plan to read more!). I really enjoyed this book. It is a delightful Christmas story about prayers getting answered in God's time frame not ours.
Mischievous Prayer Ambassador angels Shirley, Goodness,and Mercy are joined by an apprentice angel, Will. During an impromptu visit to Earth on New Year's Eve, Will helps two strangers meet. When Lucie Ferrara and Aren Fairchild "bump" into each other, at midnight in Time's Square, neither was actually searching for romance. In fact according to head angel, Gabriel, they were scheduled to actually meet one year later. Lucie is a chef who has recently joined with her mother, Wendy, to open a restaurant in Brooklyn. Aren is a food critic recently hired by the New York Gazette newspaper. When Aren is sent on assignment to critique the new restaurant, Heavenly Delights, he has no idea that it's Lucie's restaurant, with Lucie cooking his meal. Aren's meal has several problems (due to the shenanigans of those mischievous angels!) Aren writes a scathing review for the paper. Lucie is furious and worried that the review will destroy her business. When Lucie eventually finds out that Aren is the critic known as Eaton Well, she is hurt and finds it difficult to forgive him; even after Eaton Well gives the restaurant a second chance and writes a second, favorable review. Lucie and Aren both have to search their hearts and extend forgiveness to the other while their relationship hangs in limbo.
I really enjoyed the interaction of the angels with the humans. The story helps to remind us that even though we say our prayers, often God waits to give us answers. Debbie did a wonderful job in writing a compelling and romantic story with believable and interesting characters. Pick up this book for a fun read for a holiday weekend!

Libraries are...

Libraries are wonderful places!

I love spending time in a library... any library.I am constantly amazed at the new technology being used by libraries in the Salt Lake area. It's very convenient to be able to just scan my library card at a self check out, stack my books on the check out screen thingy, get a receipt, and hurry on my way. I use the library computers to search for books and I have even taken advantage of the computer room at my local library. Being able to look up books or place a hold on books, from my computer at home, is a bonus!

My local library is Bingham Creek Library in West Jordan, UT. If you've never been to this library, you should visit soon.Here is a list of some of the things that I love about "my" library:
  • It's only about a 2 minute drive from my house (so convenient).

  • It isn't very old (everything still looks pretty nice).

  • It's always clean (even the bathroom).

  • The employees are very helpful (and knowledgeable).

  • The building is really nice (even the grounds are kept up).

  • The parking lot is great (I've never had any problem).

  • It has an incredible selection of books, movies, games, music, and periodicals.

  • I can get any book, in the Salt Lake system, delivered to "my" library location.

  • Did I mention that it's only about 2 minutes from my house!
What aspects of your local library do you enjoy most? Which library do you visit regularly?

Authors Libba Bray & Shannon Hale event

(My Friday post is early this week...enjoy)

Did you know that October is National Book Month? The state of Utah supports this by hosting the 15th Annual Utah Humanities Book Festival. The festival is running for five weeks, Sept. 22 - Oct. 31st. During the festival 120 free events are scheduled all around the state. Go to to check for events being held in your area. I was privileged to be able to attend one of the sponsored events last Saturday, Oct. 13th. I attended the "Libba Bray in Conversation with Shannon Hale" event held at The Viridian Event Center in West Jordan, UT.

Libba Bray is the New York Times bestselling author of the following books: A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, The Sweet and Far Thing, Going Bovine, Beauty Queens, and The Diviners (her latest release). She has contributed to several anthologies: 21 Proms, The Restless Dead: Ten Original Stories of the Supernatural, Up All Night, Vacations From Hell, Half-Minute Horrors, Eternal Kiss: 12 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire, Geektastic: Stories From the Nerd Herd, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 6, Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories, and Zombies vs Unicorns. Libba lives in Brooklyn, NY.

As you can tell from this list, Libba is an accomplished and successful author ( Why is it that I haven't read any of her books yet? I just discovered her! I'm looking forward to reading some of her stories and seeing how her incredible personality drives her stories. From what Shannon Hale said, Libba has some stories that will not just scare me...they will really scare me! It's the perfect time of year for that, isn't it?

Shannon Hale is a local author who lives in South Jordan, UT. She is also a New York Times bestselling author. She wrote several books for young readers, the Newbery Honor book: Princess Academy, Palace of Stone (I'm currently reading this), The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, Forest Born, and Book of a Thousand Days. Shannon co-wrote two graphic novels with her husband, Dean Hale (he attended the event also): Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack. Shannon wrote three books for an adult audience: Austenland (being made into a movie), Midnight in Austenland (my favorite!), and The Author and the Housewife. Shannon is an effortless storyteller who is incredibly talented with improv comedy(

These two ladies were hilarious! They were so entertaining and are gifted with off the cuff jokes, stories, and responses (I loved the tiaras!). It was an ad-lib presentation that was delightful to witness and they fed off each other seamlessly. Even my 14 year old daughter enjoyed their banter. I was so glad that I made the effort to attend. After an hour presentation the ladies did a Q & A time then had people line up for the book signing. It was a great afternoon and I laughed sooo hard!

Have you been to any of the Book Festival events? What did you think? Were you impressed also?

Book Review: REALITY CHECK by Karen Tuft

I thoroughly enjoyed this romantic story about new college graduate, Lucy Kendrick, and millionaire entrepreneur, Ethan Glass. I found the main characters to be likeable and engaging; the supporting cast came across as quite believable. Lucy wasn't stuffy or overbearing. She was pretty, intelligent, competitive and adventurous. Just the type of girl that a handsome millionaire would want to settle down with. I appreciated how both main characters interacted with their families, and the wisdom that the family members shared. Even though the time that Lucy and Ethan had together was limited, they each felt a spark.  The plot advanced with good pacing and I found the book hard to put down. I was excited to pick it up again and continue on the journey with Lucy and Ethan. The plot was interesting and I enjoyed the different locations used for the reality show settings. I found myself cheering every time Lucy stayed true to her values and religious beliefs. I was surprised and anxious about some of the plot twists. Several times I caught myself laughing out loud (that doesn't happen very often for me) and crying in empathy (that doesn't happen very often for me either). The ending was a sweet surprise for me and I thought it was refreshing. I caught myself skimming forward a couple of times because I was so anxious to see how things were resolved. Now I need to reread the book to savor all the details!

Mule Deer in Our Midst

Last Sunday my family took a drive up Butterfield Canyon. I was anticipating the pleasure of seeing the beautiful colors of fall leaves. I was pleasantly surprised to see the doe and fawn that crossed the road (one in front of our car and the other behind our car). On our return trip back down the canyon we came across them again.     They stopped and nibbled at something on the side of the road. Madison marveled at how near they were to our car and that if she reached out the window she could probably touch one! It was amazing that they didn't appear frightened by us at all.
Several times this week I thought about those deer. I'm still not sure what they were nibbling at, all I could see was gravel on the side of the road. I have seen Mule Deer in several urban areas: West Jordan, South Jordan, Herriman, Sandy and Draper. I know people sometimes struggle with the damage that deer do to plants in their yards, fields, and gardens. I remember seeing helpful information in various plant catalogs and decided to look up some plant suggestions for gardeners.
If you have deer visiting your yard here are some plants that, Deer-Resistant Landscape Nursery states deer tend to avoid: Barberry, Bleeding Hearts, Boxwood, Butterfly Bush, Daphne, Ferns, Foxglove, Hardy Geranium, Hellebore, Jacob's Ladder, Lamb's Ear, Lavender, Mint, Oriental Poppy, Peony, Privet, Shasta Daisy, Smoke Bush, Spruce, Thyme, and Yarrow. Many of these plants are poisonous for people so it's not surprising that deer would avoid them.
This is a good time to plant perennials. The roots of the plants can get established well during the winter and come next spring you will have some fantastic plants that the deer won't touch! Even though it is fun to see the wild animals visiting, we hate the damage that they leave behind!
Have you had deer visit your yard? What deer-proof plants have you planted?