Well, I didn't make good on my goal to read less and write more. The bad news: my book is still without an ending. The good news: I read a bunch of great books! (My apologies to those of you who are on Goodreads. These reviews will look mighty familiar to you.)
1. River Secrets by Shannon Hale It was okay. Very disappointing portrayal of Enna. I did like Razo's spunk, though. If you have a young reader (maybe 5th or 6th grade) this would be a good bet for them.
2. Austenland by Shannon Hale I've never--really NEVER--been a Jane Austen fan so I'm pretty sure I wasn't the target audience for this book. Still, it was spot-on in it's depiction of the modern woman's obsession with the the P&P-type romance. (Well, if I'm being honest I did sort of like the completely Americanized version of Pride and Prejudice--but only because it was nothing like the book!)
3. Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George I remember enjoying the first book in this series, but this was, I don't know, bleh. It wasn't bad but it wasn't really good either. It failed to move me. Maybe because it is too similar to other young adult fantasy novels?
4. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George I probably didn't enjoy Dragon Flight because I read this one first and it was far superior. You can tell that George is writing about her passion in this book. I loved this Norwegian twist on the Cupid and Psyche myth. I would recommend this to teens and to adults who enjoy YA lit or mythology.
5. Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams Okay, so this one isn't fiction but I read it and I want to discuss it. I started this one for my ecobiography writing retreat and actually found it too intense to finish. Terry Tempest Williams' place in nature writing and Mormon writing compounded by the drama/transcendence of her mother's and grandmother's slow deaths overwhelmed me. I had to walk away from the book. I was glad that I picked it back up and I'm glad I bought it; there was so much to underline! A sample: "To acknowledge that which we cannot see, to give definition to that which we do not know, to create divine order out of chaos, is the religious dance" (196). Oh, there's also a fun story about a run-in her parents had with President Monson when he was in the Quorum of the Twelve. I totally recommend this book to anyone who likes memoirs or nature writing.
6. The Conversion of Jeff Williams I saved the best for last. This book blew me away. One of the best Mormon books out there. It manipulates the tension between LDS faithfulness and earnest questioning with such skill; this has got to be Thayer's best work. I loved this one so much I recommended it over at AMV and bought it for my dad for Father's Day. Everyone should read this book.
P.S. I've read 52 books this year and 22 of them have been Mormon/LDS titles. If I can get these titles so can you! They are definitely worth it.