This Week in Mormon Literature, June 10, 2011

Glenn Beck announces a new book imprint, and sells and promotes Mormon authors.  Also more reviews of 17 Miracles, and a new nationally published YA Speculative Fiction author. 

News and blog posts

Glenn Beck has announced his production company Mercury Radio Arts is partnering with Simon & Schuster in launching a new book imprint, Mercury Ink. Its first project with be a Richard Paul Evans young adult speculative fiction/thriller, titled Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25, which will be released on August 9th. The company will also publish a new novel by Beck, called The Snow Angel, in October.

 In other Beck/book news, sales of Chris and Ted Stewart’s non-fiction The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World (Shadow Mountain) spiked after Glenn Beck interviewed Chris Stewart on his radio show and endorsed the book.  Beck said, “This is one of the best history books I’ve ever read.”  Chris Stewart authored the last days series The Great and Terrible for Deseret Book.

 The Mormon Artists Group starts a new Summer Book Club, reading significant novels by Mormon authors. The June book is Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. Go and leave your comments.

Deseret Bookshelf app available for iphone and ipad, others coming. More than 1,400 e-books are available through the bookstore, which are built into the e-reader app.

 Tyler Chadwick interviews the poet Karen Kelsay at A Motley Vision.

 Q&A with Anneke Majors on her second novel, The Year of the Boar, at A Motley Vision. A postmodern novel, based on stories from Majors and her family’s own lives, including her experiences as a missionary in Japan.  Written while she lived in Taiwan, and infused with Chinese culture, and illustrated with her own artwork.  Wow!

 Theric, in a post titled “It’s fun to see the Mormons at the Zoo” discusses how media outlets like NPR’s Fresh Air are willing to talk to non-Mormons about Mormonism, but not actual Mormons.

 A Deseret News article on the CONduit science fiction convention in Salt Lake City, with Dan Wells, Larry Correia, and others talking about monsters.

 First-time author Cindy M. Hogan’s novel Watched was one of 250 finalists in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest.  The self-published young adult thriller got a distributor, and was featured in a Deseret News story.

 I had not noticed that the AML put up mp3 audio files of the 2011 Annual Meeting.

New books

Possession, by Elana Johnson.  Simon & Schuster. Dystopian young adult.  A girl lives in a society where super powers abound and the leaders brainwash the population.  First novel. Deseret News has a feature story on Johnson.

 Tiger’s Quest, by Colleen Houck.  Splinter.  YA Fantasy. Second in the trilogy of books on a girl and a shape-shifting tiger/Indian prince. The first volume was on the NYT Children’s bestseller list for two weeks earlier this year.  The series is also being released in the UK by Hodder.

The Forgotten Locket, by Lisa Mangum. Shadow Mountain. YA Fantasy Romance. 3rd in The Hourglass Door series.

Perdition’s Gateway, by Terrance S. Drake. Cedar Fort. Speculative thriller. Cryonic preservation. A doctor volunteers to be dead for a year, has to fight for his soul. First novel. 

Flames of Redemption, by Michelle Thompson. Cedar Fort. Young adult. A 15-year old leaves an abusive foster family, starts with a new one. Will she cling to old resentments, or be reborn?  Second novel.


Possession, by Elana Johnson, reviews:

Kirkus Reviews: “This debut dystopia succeeds at suspense and tension but fails at moral complexity . . . Unlike speculative fiction that successfully questions whether eliminating wars and providing adequate food for everyone might be worth losing cultural freedoms, this tale manages neither nuance nor ambiguity . . . Revelations come hard and fast but don’t feel meaningful, due to thin worldbuilding and sketchy details . . . Moral subtlety loses out to breathless pacing; the ending is derivative of Scott Westerfeld’s superior Uglies.”

Publishers Weekly: “Johnson’s writing is solid, and if her plot unfolds a bit too schematically (the precise orchestration is supposedly due to the perfection of the villain’s control), Vi’s rebellion and process of change ring true. Some readers may question Vi’s acceptance of some fortuitous events along the way, but most will be drawn in by the love triangle, revelations about Vi and her family, and a dark twist ending that maintains the faintest glimmer of hope.

Squeaky Books: 4 flowers out of 5.     Deseret News review

River Whispers, by Kathi Oram Peterson. Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine.  Favorable. “From one of the most dramatic and appealing covers to appear so far this year to a gripping tale that will keep readers turning “just one more page” [this] is a novel not to be missed . . .  She handles not only personality traits well, but various forms of dementia too, along with the twisted emotions left behind by betrayal, abuse, and lies. The setting feels comfortable and real. The plot moves quickly and is filled with plenty of unexpected twists, turns, and psychological surprises that will keep the pickiest reader happy and glued to the pages.”

The Forgotten Locket, by Lisa Mangum. Deseret News, favorable.

Impractical Grace, by John Bushman. Deseret News.” This book is a motivational Sunday School lesson in story form. Bushman shares dozens of scriptures and quotes from modern prophets and apostles to teach the principles his story contains. Through object lessons and even simple illustrations, Bushman creates a venue for quiet understanding.”

Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George. Squeaky Books.  5 flowers out of 5.

The Princess and the Snowbird, by Mettie Ivie Harrison. Squeaky Books. 3 flowers.

Magazines and Short Stories

 Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 2011 (44:2) is available. It is a special issue on Mormonism and the Environment, edited by Steven L. Peck.  Among the literary offerings are an essay by environmental non-fiction author George Handley, as well a review and a personal meditation on Handley’s recent book Home Waters.  It also includes two short stories, “The Birth of Tragedy” by Hugo Olaiz, and “American Trinity” by David G. Pace, as well as poetry.  Theric reviews the two short stories, and is pleased.  

 The June 2011 issue of Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show (Issue 23) includes Eric James Stone’s short story “Into the West”.  The teaser indicates it is about the destruction of much of the United States. Also, Eric at his blog debunks the notion that the Nebula Award winners this year lack cultural diversity, by talking about his Argentinian background.


17 Miracles did well on its first week at the box office, taking in 53,200 gross on its opening weekend, and an excellent per-screen average of $3229 on twelve screens on Family Home Evening Monday night. The film will be spreading to 15 screens this week.

KevinB at LDS Cinema Online gives 17 Miracles a strong B+ is this detailed review. His main reservation is about the film’s historical courage.

Cody Clark at The Daily Herald, on the other hand, gave the movie only a C-. He goes into greater detail about what he did and did not like about the movie on his blog (“did not like” includes the poorly done humorous moments and the heavy-handed music). The Ogden Standard-Examiner gave it 2.5 stars.  Meridian Magazine interview of director T.C. Christensen. Mormon Heretic on 17 Miracles, MH talks about both the movie and the history.

Daily Herald article about Utah Valley filmmakers, including WWJD filmmaker Davey Morrison Dillard, seeking to fund their projects through Kickstarter.

Utah increases incentives for local films.


A video of James Arrington and Mahonri Stewart’s 2008 play March of the Salt Soldiers, written for the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Utah War, is now available at Gashler Media.


New York Times Bestseller lists, June 12th    

 Trade Fiction Paperback

#20 HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, by Jamie Ford (53rd  week) ↓. Down from #16.

 Mass Market Paperback

#25 THE WAY OF KINGS, by Brandon Sanderson (1st week). Co-winner of the Whitney Award for Novel of the Year comes out it paperback.  It spent five weeks on the hardcover list in 2010. 

#30 SAVAGE NATURE, by Christine Feehan (4th week)  ↓.  Down from #16.

ONE MAGIC MOMENT, by Lynn Kurland.  Fell off the list after three weeks. 

Children’s Chapter Books

#7 THE TWILIGHT SAGA: THE OFFICIAL ILLUSTRATED GUIDE, by Stephanie Meyer (7th week). ↓ Down from #5. 

Deseret Book LDS Fiction Bestsellers this week

1 Shadows of Brierley, Vol. 2: A Far Horizon, by Anita Stansfield  ↔

2 The Undaunted: The Miracle of the Hole-in-the-Rock Pioneers  by Gerald N. Lund ↑

3 Shades of Gray by Rachel Ann Nunes   ↔

4  The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill  ↑

5 Foggy with a Chance of Murder by G. G. Vandagriff  ↑

6 The Butterfly Box, Vol. 3: The Perfect Fit by Michele Ashman Bell  ↑

7 The Great and Terrible Six-Volume Set by Chris Stewart ↔

8 Attack the Lusitania! by Jerry Borrowman  ↑

9 Shadows of Brierley, Vol. 1: The Wanderer by Anita Stansfield

10  Blackberry Crumbleby Josi S. Kilpack   ↓

11 Messiah: A Novel by Toni Sorenson

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One Response to This Week in Mormon Literature, June 10, 2011

  1. Th. says:


    Is it just me, or is the acceleration of Eric’s career crazy exciting to watch?

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