BOOK REVIEW: Icefall by Matthew Kirby


In his middle grade novel, Icefall, Matthew Kirby demonstrates his talent for storytelling at its finest. This story shines! No wonder it received such recognition as:

Nominee: 2013-2014 Utah Beehive Book Award for Children's Fiction
Winner:   2012 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery
Winner:   2012 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Children's Literature
Winner:   2012 Judy Lopez Memorial Award
Finalist:   2011 Agatha Award
Winner:   2011 Parents Choice Gold Medal

Icefall is the perfect title for the book and the cover is beautiful; it depicts a critical point in the story. Matthew does a great job with steady pacing that builds the story up to the cover's crescendo.

I have Scandinavian ancestry and appreciate the setting of the story. I could envision the mysterious backdrop of the glacier, mountains, and steading. The description of the hall, daily drudgery, characters, and scenery, all helped to make me feel like I was there, experiencing the drama with them. It was exciting to learn about Norse legends and mythology.

The story held my attention with the tension, betrayal, sabotage, and intrigue, as I was steadily lead on the journey with the young Norse princess, Solveig. Her relationship with Hake, the fearsome captain of the berserkers guard, was fascinating. Throughout the story Solveig discovered her various talents of being brave, honest, loyal, strong, noble, and compassionate. She gained confidence and wisdom. I would love to see a sequel to learn if Solveig ends up as Crown Princess, or even Queen. I felt that she exhibited more royal ability than did her siblings.

At the end of each chapter Matthew captivated me with the beauty and language of Solveig's stories, so poetic and lyrical. I found myself looking forward to those monumental pages.

Icefall is a wonderfully crafted story and I enjoyed the time I spent in the incredible world that Matthew Kirby created.

June 17-21 I attended the Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers Conference, held in Sandy, UT. I met Matthew and his literary agent, Stephen Fraser. It was enlightening to read the book that they are both passionate about. I really enjoyed the book and I appreciate the time and effort spent to create it.

Add Icefall to your summer reading list and get ready for an adventure!



A New Book to Read

I have a new book to read!
I am so excited to get started!
Guess what? It's not literally new.
I saw this book at a book store last week and had to have it.
I couldn't afford the $60.00 cover price so...I came home, checked on Amazon, and voila!...I had a used copy of the book on its way...straight to my house.
I received the copy on Wednesday. It took less than one week. Way to go Amazon seller!
Now to start reading. I'm going to pace myself, I want to savor every last bit of this book. I really expect this to be a summer-long experience. Oh, the joy of having such an adventure on the horizon...sigh.
Are you intrigued yet? What is this book that has Crystal so excited? It's a coffee table sized book titled: BARBRA STREISAND My Passion for Design.
I was in awe as I glanced through the book at the book store. Barbra Streisand is a wonderful actress, singer, director, and Broadway star. I am now impressed with her accomplishments as a photographer and designer.
The first thing to catch my eye was the exquisite cover's gorgeous! I love the color of her clothes and the sofa...the exact match to her astonishing slate blue eyes.
Then when I opened the book there were pages upon pages of glorious pictures.  I'm so excited to start reading about her design dreams and to have a "private tour" through her California estate. The architecture is fascinating and I'm looking forward to seeing what she did with her yards and gardens.
I think it's time to read a few pages in My Passion for Design...sigh.



Here it is...My 2013 Summer Reading List

                                        * After Hello     (Lisa Mangum)
                                        * A Great and Terrible Beauty     (Libba Bray)
                                        * The Alias     (Mandi Tucker Slack)
                                        * Divergent     (Veronica Roth)
                                        * Enthusiasm     (Polly Shulman)
                                        * Everneath     (Brodi Ashton)
                                        * Friends and Foes     (Sarah Eden)
                                        * The Maze Runner     (James Dashner)
                                        * The Mortal Instruments / City of Bones     (Cassandra Clare)
                                        * Regally Blonde     (Heather Horrocks)
Here is my list of "want to read" books for this summer. I've listed them in alphabetical order. I want to allow myself some flexibility to select my next book depending upon how I feel on the day that I'm ready to start another book. This summer I am leaning towards young adult fiction. I'm giving myself until August 25th to finish the list. We'll see how I do with the ten books listed. It will be great if I can add to the list before my deadline arrives. Can you tell which book I'm starting with? What will you be reading this summer? Have you made your own "Summer Reading List?"
You should. Anytime I finish a list I feel a sense of accomplishment. I hope you have a fun summer, full of great books and adventures!
Happy reading!

IRIS: Plant of the Week (#plantoftheweek)



The garden with its little gate of green,
Invites you to enter, and view mysteries unseen,
Its vine laden bowers and overhanging trees,
The air filled with sweetness, the hum of the bees,
The flagged walks with Iris galore,
Of most beautiful coloring, unknown before,
Pink, white, purple, yellow, azure blue,
Mixed and mingled of every hue,
You come away wondering, can more beauty be seen
Than in the garden with its little gate of green.


"The iris poem is from an old catalog of "Green Gate Gardens 1931" which used to be in Bennettsville, South Carolina. The owner’s name was Gabrielle Drake McColl."
I found this poem at the web site for the Canadian Iris Society. Iris are amazing plants that come back each year from rhizomes. Their colorful flowers add depth to the perennial garden. I love the irises in my yard; each year they seem to grow taller and the flowers are more beautiful. Do you have iris growing in your garden/yard? If not, it's time you added some. Iris is my Plant of the Week.
Happy gardening!

BOOK REVIEW: Longing for Home

Book Review: Longing for Home by Kathryn Springer

Longing for Home is a very good, clean, romance story. I enjoyed getting to know the main characters, Kate Nichols and Alex Porter. I enjoyed their arguments, Kate's spunky spirit, and Alex's arrogance. It was fun to watch as Alex changed his priorities and fell in love.

My parents own a Bed & Breakfast establishment, so I could relate to that part of the storyline. I loved the small-town setting near a lake. This was a fun story and I was disappointed to finish reading it; I didn't want the adventure to end! Now I need to read the other books in this series.