Friday, August 28, 2009

Book Giveaway - "Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys"

I am so excited to share my review of my friend, Janet K. Jensen's novel, Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys. Janet has offered to give away a free copy to one of my blog readers. All you have to do is leave a comment with your contact info. I will close out the contest Friday, September 4th.
When Andy McBride met Louisa Martin, he knew he had found the girl for him. There was only one problem: polygamy -- a lifestyle that Louisa could not escape and Andy would not embrace.
Janet Jensen writes about a secretive society in a way that is both fair and thought-provoking. I loved the insights into a polygamous community and the fact that the author showed the bad and the good of this society - the heartbreaking abuse, yet the tight-knit group is full of love and goodness as well. Louisa's own father is a great man and a polygamist.
The hero and heroine, Andy and Louisa, are people I would want as friends. I hoped and cheered through their courtship. When their babies were kidnapped I couldn't stop reading until they were safe.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would recommend it to anyone, in fact I bought a copy for my mom!
Cami: Tell us about your current release and where you got the inspiration for it.
Janet: Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys is my latest release. I have always been aware of polygamy, as there are a number of groups who practice it in Utah. I discovered, after the fact, that I went to high school with the son of a man who was a leader of a polygamous group. Occasionally I would read newspaper stories about him or his family and was fascinated to read about their life. They have since left the clan and he lives with his first wife and their children. He encouraged his wife to get an education at the University of Utah and she was valedictorian of her class. So I began thinking what it must have been like for her to be exposed to so many new ideas and people after living such a sheltered life.
That developed the premise of Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys: what happens when a young woman raised in polygamy has the opportunity to attend college? What if she falls for a young LDS man? Would they be able to deal with their conflicting beliefs? What would they have to sacrifice to be together?
Cami: When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Janet: I’ve always loved to write. It was usually channeled into school projects, though. In my profession (speech-language pathology) I did a significant amount of writing, but it was always technical and clinical. It had to be precise and accurate. Then, as a faculty member at Utah State University’s Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, I supervised and trained students in their clinical work. I taught them to write diagnostic and progress reports, all of which had to be clear and concise.
However, I began to miss writing creatively! There was a definite need that wasn’t being met for me. I began to attend the local chapter of the League of Utah Writers and through several kind and patient mentors, I gradually developed and polished my creative writing skills, which were quite different from the technical writing I had been doing for years.
Cami: How did you think of writing a novel about a polygamous society? How intensive was the research for your novel?
Janet: I read extensively about polygamy. Jesse Embrey of Brigham Young University wrote a fascinating book in which she interviewed people who had been raised in “traditional” polygamy and what life was like for their families. The Los Angeles Times, The Deseret Morning News and the Salt Lake Tribune each did an in-depth series about polygamy in Utah. Dorothy Allred Solomon wrote two fascinating memoirs about growing up in polygamy. I read other books written by people who had left or escaped the lifestyle. There have been numerous TV documentaries aired on the subject.
I also interviewed two people who had been involved in polygamy and then left. In both cases, they took significant risks to do so, as it is a secretive lifestyle and leaders tend to have tight control over their followers.
Then Warren Jeffs became one of the FBI’s Most Wanted. That put polygamy in the international news almost daily. He was the leader of the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints) polygamous sect and was charged with numerous crimes by former followers. The most serious involved performing marriages of underage girls, which the law interpreted as statutory rape. When he was captured and tried in court, there were headlines in Utah papers every day. So the whole subject was actually hard to ignore!
I had started to write my book in about 2000, long before Warren Jeffs became a household word, and before Mitt Romney ran for President of the United States, but all of a sudden polygamy was news. Then, shortly after my book came out, there was a raid on the YFZ (Yearning for Zion) ranch in Texas, where many of Warren Jeffs’ followers had moved. Many children were taken from their parents and it took about a year for the court to finally return most of them to their families. It’s a very complicated subject but also fascinating.
Progress on my novel was interrupted by The Book Lover’s Cookbook, which I co-authored. It took extensive research and also involved developing original recipes, so my novel was put aside for about three years. The Book Lover’s Cookbook was released in 2003. After its release I began to work on my novel again.
Cami: What is your next project?
Janet: I’m writing Gabriel’s Daughters, the sequel to Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys. I’m also writing a novel which explores the effects of illiteracy in our society, and have written the text of a Christmas picture book, which I’m peddling to agents and publishers as we speak.
Cami: Where can we find Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys and more information about your writing?
Janet:, Deseret Book, Seagull Book,, and a lot of other online bookstores. contains many reviews and interviews about the book. My other blog covers various subjects.
My webpage is, where you can read the first chapter of my book.
Thanks all for stopping by. Please remember to leave a comment so you can win your own copy of Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys. I promise you'll enjoy it!
Friday, August 21, 2009

Book giveaway and reviews - The Sister Pact

More opportunities to win a free copy of The Sister Pact. If you already have a copy, you can get a start on your Christmas gift list! (August 21st - September 4th) (now through September 3rd) (August 22nd - September 7th)
Blurbs from the latest reviews of The Sister Pact:
In her search to find the person who hurt her sister, the reader joins Savannah on an exciting ride filled with twists and turns. And in the center of the turmoil lies a ray of light, in the form of a blossoming romance.
I thought the story was heartbreaking, frustrating, heartwarming, and thrilling. I found myself drawn into the close knit, family circle that keeps the Compton family afloat during such a tragic time in their lives. Having a strong relationship with my own sister, I easily identified with Savannah's horror, heartbreak, faith and even anger.
I would definitely recommend this book. It was an entertaining page turner with strong, core characters. What a fun read! - Maryrose Serac, Reviewer
Cami Checketts’s SISTER PACT is a remarkable suspense novel that keeps you on your toes until the very last page matched with spellbinding love and hushed attractions putting the reader right inside the gripping investigation. - Laci Smith, Author
I really liked this book. Although the title or cover didn't grab me at first, my curiosity was peaked when a collegue recommended the story. So I began reading and I was sucked in at the first chapter. The characters were believable and the plot was intriguing and at times intense. I also liked the fact that the author threw in a little romance along the way. A very entertaining story- I highly recommend it. - Rozelle Hansen, Reviewer
If you have enjoyed The Sister Pact I'd love to hear about it.
Friday, August 14, 2009

Illuminations of the Heart - review and giveaway

Today I get to share with you my review of Joyce DiPastena's new book, Illuminations of the Heart. I don't remember the last time I've enjoyed a book so much. As a writer I'm a picky reader. I force myself to analyze and pick apart every book I read to try and improve my own writing.
It wasn't possible for me to pick apart Illuminations of the Heart. From the first scene I was sucked in and cheering for the heroine, Siri. Siri is one of those heroines who you'd want for a best friend. She's warm, beautiful, and loyal. And she's not afraid to pull a knife and force a man to back off. Loving the tough girl!
The hero, Triston, is a troubled man. I fell in love with him, but had a bit of a struggle with his tendency towards violence. Yet at the same time, I've got to give him kudos for restraining himself (most of the time) and this tendency is integral to the plot.
Speaking of the plot, it was extremely well-done. I loved all the twists. I never wanted to put the book down. And it's a big book. My family were not happy boys.
I would definitely recommend Illuminations of the Heart to anyone who enjoys clean romance, riveting suspense, and a story that will touch your heart.
He spoke the name on a breath like a prayer. Then he lowered his head and kissed her.
Her heart is lost in that first embrace, her world shaken to its foundations. There is just one problem: her name is not Clothilde. It is Siriol de Calendri. Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, Siri is directed by her late brother’s will to the county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brother’s friend, Sir Triston de Brielle. Once in Poitou, Siri hopes to find employment in an illuminator’s shop—until Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.
Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guilt he carries for the death of his late wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Or does she? Her merry laughter and twinkling eyes are very different from his late wife’s shy smiles and quiet ways. Yet when he gazes into Siri’s face, all he sees is Clothilde.
Then Triston’s past returns to threaten them both. Will his tragic life with Clothilde be repeated with Siri? Trapped between the rivalry of the king’s sons on the one hand and a neighbor out for vengeance on the other, Triston realizes it would be safer to send Siri away. But how can he bear to lose her again?
Siri is determined not to be cast off and not to live in another woman’s shadow. She has illuminated many a priceless book with pen and paint. But can her own vibrant spirit illuminate the darkness in Triston’s soul and make his heart beat for her alone?
Joyce's blog:
Walnut Springs Press: Http://
Buy the book here -
Don't forget, leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a free copy of Illuminations of the Heart.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Author Spotlight - Marcia Mickelson

I'm excited to share Marcia Mickelson's newest book, Pickup Games with you. It sounds amazing, definitely on my list of presents for my honey to buy me!
Tell us about your current release and where you got the inspiration for it.
Pickup Games is a sequel to Reasonable Doubt. In Reasonable Doubt, Mick Webber, a college basketball player was accused of killing his fianc√©. Five years later, he’s been exonerated, but still picking up the pieces of that tragic time. He is building a career in sports broadcasting and hating to share a new show with his co-anchor, Cara Jones.
I used to be a big fan of college basketball. I don’t have much interest or time to follow the sport, but this book was a way for me to
Is there a particular event that helped you become an author?
I’ve always loved writing and did it for fun. About six years ago, I stopped working full-time and felt like I finally had time to dedicate to writing.
What advice would you give to writers wishing to have their works published?
After you finish your first novel, read as many books as you can about the writing and publishing process. Then, go through your book to spot all the things that are wrong. Then, set it aside and start your next one. Use your first book as a learning process to help you in writing the next one. At least for me, my first book was so bad I won't let anyone read it, and it is nowhere near being publishable, but I learned so much from it.
What is your next project?
I'm finishing up a book about a woman helping to raise her autistic brother.
What other works of your have been published?
Star Shining Brightly and Reasonable Doubt are my two other published books.
Who is your favorite author?
I love Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book and was a great inspiration for Pickup Games. One of my favorite storyline in books involves two main characters who initially hate each other and then end up loving each other.
When Mick Webber gets a new job hosting a college basketball show, he is less than thrilled to learn he will be co-hosting with Cara Jones, a pretty brunette trying to get over her failed engagement. From the start it is clear the two will not be playing nice, and work soon turns into a battlefield. But as the season progresses and the two are forced to work together more closely, they begin to see that first impressions can often be deceiving. In this riveting story about the game of love, you ll find yourself holding your breath to see what the scoreboard says when the clock runs out.
About the Author: Marcia Argueta Mickelson was born in Guatemala but grew up mostly in New Jersey. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and lives in Texas with her husband and three sons Omar, Diego, and Ruben. When she's not writing, Marcia enjoys playing at the beach, reading, blogging, watching movies, and making train layouts for her boys. She is the author of Star Shining Brightly and Reasonable Doubt.
Thanks for being on my blog, Marcia.
Buy link -
Thursday, August 6, 2009

Illuminations of the Heart blog tour

I'm excited to tell you about the upcoming blog tour for a new medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart. This is a fabulous book. I read it on my way to California and enjoyed it more than any book I've read in a long time.
The blog tour will run from Monday, August 10th through Friday, September 18th (excepting the weekends and Labor
There will be daily reviews and the occasional author interview with Joyce DiPastena during the blog tour.
My review will take place on August 14th and if you leave a comment on my review, you'll be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of Illuminations of the Heart. I am including the list of reviewers because you can comment on more than
one review and be entered multiple times to receive the free book.
August 10
August 11
August 12
August 13
August 14
August 17
August 18
August 19
August 20
August 21
August 24
August 25
August 26
August 27
August 28
August 31
September 1
September 2
September 3
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September 7
September 9
September 10
September 11
September 14
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September 16
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September 18

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