Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wolf Hall - Book Review

I've long been curious about English History, especially the period of time from King Henry VIII to Queen Elizabeth so the novel Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel captured my attention when it was published a few years ago and received so much praise. I bought a copy with every intention to read it; put it on my shelf and didn't get to it. A few weeks ago, some book review bloggers that I read (The Bluestocking Society and It's All About Books) suggested reading Wolf Hall as a read-along. It sounded like fun so I joined up. The only problem was once I had started, I couldn't put it down and didn't stick to the read-along schedule at all.

From the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, a councilor to Henry VIII, Wolf Hall takes a man who is usually portrayed in histories as the cold, calculating toady to a lustful Henry and shows him as compassionate, sensitive, loyal and wise while also self-promoting. It is a fascinating alternate view of the history. Mantel's writing is engaging, at times funny and tender. The scenes with Cromwell and his family--a collection of relatives and wards--show Cromwell as affectionate and benevolent. He is a man of mercy, loyalty and ingenuity.

While I have always had sympathy for Catherine, the displaced queen, I also have found the history of the break with the Roman Catholic Church an essential part necessary for the reformation of Christianity. Wolf Hall details more of the inner decisions of men working closely with Henry VIII who also wanted reforms and were bothered by the wealth, greed, power and corruption of the papacy. It was a most interesting period of time and I very much enjoyed Mantel's carefully scripted version of events and characterizations of the players.

The reader must work for the enjoyment and enlightenment within, however. It took me at least 50 pages to get used to the unique writing style which rarely referred to Cromwell by his name but rather by pronouns. I found myself reading dialogue sections over frequently to try to determine just who was saying what. Every word is essential to understanding. And really, it was very much worth the work.

Looking forward to the sequel Bring Up the Bodies.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Katherine Nelson CD Give-away - "What's Mine is Yours" (Music Video)

Katherine Nelson recently released a video with her heart rending song "What's Mine is Yours". It's especially dear to my heart as I've been privileged to watch my brave cousin and the joy and the love as she's been blessed to adopt two babies in the last few years. Being with her and her husband as her babies were sealed to them was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life.

With her music, Katherine Nelson is able to capture all that tender emotion. To celebrate the release of the new video we are giving away two copies of  her CD Born Brave which celebrates amazingly strong women with Katherine's beautiful and stirring music.

To enter, leave a comment on this post. You can get additional entries by sharing this give-away on Facebook, Twitter or your own blog. Please leave extra comments for each share.

The contest will be open to entries until Friday, February 1st at 11:59 pm MST. The two winners will be chosen randomly from the comments and announced on Saturday, February 2nd. Contest open to residents of US only.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winner of Tickets to Monster Jam

Good morning! Before I head out for a day of running to Jr. Jazz basketball games with the boys, I wanted to pick and announce the winner of tickets to Monster Jam in Salt Lake City this February.

And the winner is . . .


Congratulations! To claim your prize, please send me an email with your contact information.

Thanks for entering the contest and reading Utah Mom's Life Blog.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Monster Jam Coming to SLC - Ticket Give-away


**Featuring More Trucks Than Last Year
Plus Three Trucks Making Salt Lake Debut Appearances**

Tickets Now on Sale for Three Shows at the
EnergySolutions Arena on February 15 & 16, 2013

For three shows only, motor sports fans will witness EIGHT of the world’s best monster trucks
battle it out in the ultimate event of intense speed, racing and destruction as the Advance
Auto Parts Monster Jam® returns to Salt Lake City. Featuring more trucks than last year’s
events, the 2013 line-up is showcased with appearances by World Champion powerhouses
Grave Digger®, El Toro Loco® and Max-D® celebrating 10 years of car-crushing mayhem
(with new tricked-out truck redesign), plus the Salt Lake debuts of Mohawk Warrior®,
Captain’s Curse and Monster Mutt Dalmation, along with Utah’s own Maverick (driven by Ron
Duncombe) and Incinerator will be electrifying crowds at the EnergySolutions Arena with the
breathtaking stunts and awesome power of the world’s most popular monster trucks.

Ticket prices are $22 and $30 for Adults;
  Kids tickets only $5 each for select seating.

**Above ticket prices are advance purchase only; all tickets priced $2 more day of show. Tickets subject to
convenience, service and handling fees.

Tickets are also available for purchase at the EnergySolutions Arena Box Office, all Smith's Tix
Outlets, online at, or charge by phone at 800-888-TIXX.

Maverik Adventures First Stop is offering a $5 discount coupon at participating Maverik
locations with the purchase of 8 gallons of gas.

One lucky reader can win a FOUR tickets to take his/her family to Monster Jam!

To enter leave a comment on this post. You can receive extra chances to win by sharing this contest on Facebook, Twitter or your own blog. Be sure to come back and leave an additional comment for each time you share. The contest will be open to entries until Friday, January 25th 11:59 pm MST and the winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Saturday, January 26th.

** I am a Feld Family Ambassador and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events. Even though I received these benefits, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine. **

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lake People - Book Review

Utah Dad and I lived for three glorious years in New Hampshire. We spent our weekends driving throughout the beautiful state and marveling at its splendor. Being outsiders, we sometimes laughed as we passed a beautiful mansion in the woods only to discover that the next residence was a trailer with a micro bus welded to the side for an extra room. Just like New Hampshire is full idiosyncratic features, Lake People by Abi Maxwell is an unusual, delightful and peculiar novel.

Maxwell writes a stunning novel that often reads as a collection of short stories about the same person. Some of the stories could be fleshed out to inhabit entire novels. The characters are so real and unique that the novel often feels like a memoir--surely these people, so well described and so interesting, really exist.

Alice Thornton grows up in Kettleborough, New Hampshire with her father on the banks of a lake, knowing so little of her own life. Over time, pieces fall together and Alice learns that she is connected with the town, the lake, Bear Island and the legends of the eccentric woman who once inhabited the island generations ago. While finding herself, Alice finds peace and love and the desire to live.

Quirky and unexpectedly, Lake People was an engaging read.

**I received a complimentary copy of Lake People in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received. ** 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cover of Snow - Book Review

I've been in the mood lately for thrilling mysteries and Cover of Snow the debut mystery from Jenny Milchman arrived just in time to fulfill this desire.

Nora wakes up groggy on morning after a night of passionate love making to find that her husband, a cop in the small New York town, has hanged himself in the attic. Nora is completely shocked by his suicide and wants to find out what would drive her husband to kill himself. But asking questions in his hometown is proving to be more dangerous than she suspected.

Sinister and creepy, Cover of Snow is populated by characters who all seem to be keeping secrets. Nora has never felt completely accepted by her husband's friends and family but now she realizes she is more of an outcast than she thought. Well paced with just enough clues to keep the reader constantly guessing and enough eerie events to keep the reader freaked out, I could not put the book down until I had experienced the dramatic and revealing ending. Without giving anything away, I must admit that I felt several of the characters were flat and the ending doesn't completely satisfy.

Since the characters are experiencing the cold and snow of an upstate New York winter, Cover of Snow was a good book to cuddle up with while sheltering from the subzero temperatures we have been experiencing in Utah lately.

** I received a complimentary copy of Cover of Snow in exchange for my honest review. No additional compensation was received. **

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Snow White Must Die - Book Review

Snow White Must Die was just the kind of thrilling mystery I was looking to read during a recent snow storm that left me housebound. Completely captivating, without too many grisly details, I was compelled to snuggle up and read all day.

Tobias has served his time for the murder of two girls, his former girlfriends, and is returning to the small village where his father still lives. Tobias has every intention of settling back into his quiet life but his mother is pushed from an overpass and is in the hospital. There are graffiti threats on his barn and the villagers taunt him wherever he goes. The police begin investigating the attempted murder of his mother and come across some inconsistencies in the original case. Did Tobias actually murder the girls ten years earlier?

Nele Neuhaus, the international bestselling author, is successful at creating the sinister situation and casting doubt on nearly every character in the village. Adept at sharing the right details, the characters and setting come alive and become more than just stock characters. Even the detectives are alive with details from their personal lives. Well plotted with just enough foreshadowing and clues to keep you guessing until the very end, Snow White Must Die is impossible to put down.

** I received a complimentary copy of Snow White Must Die in exchange for my review. No other compensation was received. **