LDS Fiction discussion

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message 1: by Erica (new)

Erica (ericalaurie) | 2 comments Is anybody still checking this group? I've been on goodreads for quite some time, but I have been away from awhile.
I'm LDS,and I love good wholesome books. (Edenbrooke is one of my favorites!)


message 2: by Pam (new)

Pam | 10 comments I wish more people would connect through this discussion. I have two books out there and would love to get more feedback--Living It Down, and What Took You So Long.


message 3: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Thorne (daniellethorne) | 27 comments I keep checking back, but I seldom see any activity. I get the daily digest from Goodreads every day with all my groups' activity. Maybe we can contact the owner/administrator and see if they would like to pass it off?


message 4: by MJ (new)

MJ (The Book Recluse) (bookrecluse) I'm here also. However, I think this is maybe the first activity since I joined.


message 5: by MJ (new)

MJ (The Book Recluse) (bookrecluse) I'm here also. However, I think this is maybe the first activity since I joined.


message 6: by MJ (new)

MJ (The Book Recluse) (bookrecluse) I'm here also. However, I think this is maybe the first activity since I joined.


message 7: by Jennie (new)

Jennie | 13 comments I always read it, but don't often post. I've been kind of busy getting a couple of books ready to submit.


message 8: by Pam (new)

Pam | 10 comments Well, let's get a conversation started. Is anybody reading my new book, What Took You So Long, and what trends in LDS fiction are liking or not liking these days? Go.


message 9: by Erica (new)

Erica (ericalaurie) | 2 comments Pam, can you provide a link to your book?

Jennie, what kind of books do you write?

I would love to connect with LDS writers and readers. :)

I have a manuscript out on submission myself.


message 10: by Nephi (new)

Nephi Jenks | 10 comments I have to say I am an avid listener of LDS fiction but there just isn't enough out there on audiobook. I don't buy the books though, I just check them out from the library, so I don't really feel like I can encourage the publishers to make more.
When I first started listening to audio books I listened exclusively to LDS artists, but I ran out.

I love books by Greg Luke, Chris Heimerdinger, and Tracy Hunter Abramson. I wish there were more LDS themed, action type audiobooks out there.


message 11: by Pam (new)

Pam | 10 comments Erica wrote: "Pam, can you provide a link to your book?

Jennie, what kind of books do you write?

I would love to connect with LDS writers and readers. :)

I have a manuscript out on submission myself."


Erica, both my books have been reviewed on Goodreads--you can find them there.


 The Flipped Page (Susan K) (theflippedpage) | 10 comments Erica wrote:

Jennie, what kind of books do you write?

My favorite book of Jennie's is "All I Hold Dear" Action, adventure, and romance! Loved it!! Good luck with your books! Check out my shelves for LDS shelf. I read tons!!



message 13: by The Flipped Page (Susan (last edited Jul 12, 2015 04:26PM) (new)

 The Flipped Page (Susan K) (theflippedpage) | 10 comments Nephi wrote: "I have to say I am an avid listener of LDS fiction but there just isn't enough out there on audiobook. I don't buy the books though, I just check them out from the library, so I don't really feel l...

Nephi what is hard for me is that I live on the East Coast. So it is always hit or miss if I like a series or not, and hard to want to spend money. Wish I lived where I could easily get it from the library! LUCKY you!! Jennie Hansen's "All I Hold Dear" is one of my favorites of hers! Also Sian Bessey has some mystery/action books if you haven't tried her. There is usually some romance too. So you have to choose her ones that are more action... Mostly female protagonists though...
Good luck! maybe we could start a 'shelf' with mystery, romance, etc.. for lds fiction...??


 The Flipped Page (Susan K) (theflippedpage) | 10 comments Danielle wrote: "I keep checking back, but I seldom see any activity. I get the daily digest from Goodreads every day with all my groups' activity. Maybe we can contact the owner/administrator and see if they would..."

This would be GREAT!! I live on the East Coast and so wishing I could peruse books in the library or somewhere else prior to looking. Love Amazon for that reason, can at least read a few chapters...



message 15: by Nephi (new)

Nephi Jenks | 10 comments My favorite Jennie Hanson books are High stakes and Wild Card. I found the different points of view interesting.


message 17: by Nephi (new)

Nephi Jenks | 10 comments Just finished The Bishops Wife, it was good to read an LDS perspective that was not hyper conservative.


 The Flipped Page (Susan K) (theflippedpage) | 10 comments Thanks Nephi. I will have to look at those. I have read some, but that is the one I love the best of hers. What did you think of "The Bishop's Wife"? I heard the NPR segment on it, and found it in my local library system (East Coast WONDER!)!...on my to read pile...


 The Flipped Page (Susan K) (theflippedpage) | 10 comments RE the Sian Bessey, she really does have some good books...I will find the title that you might like if you enjoy Jennie Hansen...


 The Flipped Page (Susan K) (theflippedpage) | 10 comments Also, my comment to you all, is how can you rate LDS fiction at a 5 when a classic would be a 5, really great writing? Most is a 3 for me, or maybe if well done, a 4. Can you truly give it the 5 rating?? Just curious. I enjoy reading 3 star books too, but some of them, I can't go back and read the stories, you know? They don't stick, and I don't remember them... just some fluff along the path...


message 21: by Nephi (new)

Nephi Jenks | 10 comments I have read some of Sian Bessey and enjoyed them. My understanding of the rating system is that it signifies how much I like it, not how skilled a writer they are. There are plenty of Classic books I don't like, and plenty of stuff an English professor would consider drivel, that I will read over and over.


 The Flipped Page (Susan K) (theflippedpage) | 10 comments Love that! I love her intrigue books, although there is always a HEA somehow!!
I recommended one mystery to you that I recently read.
Do you have a favorite mystery writer? I have read a fe lds ones, but wondered if anyone has a favorite they have read.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

SLK wrote: "Also, my comment to you all, is how can you rate LDS fiction at a 5 when a classic would be a 5, really great writing? Most is a 3 for me, or maybe if well done, a 4. Can you truly give it the 5 ..."

SLK wrote: "Also, my comment to you all, is how can you rate LDS fiction at a 5 when a classic would be a 5, really great writing? Most is a 3 for me, or maybe if well done, a 4. Can you truly give it the 5 ..."

One of the things I love about goodreads is how subjective it is. Sounds weird, but that makes it personal. I look at the rating descriptions, i.e. three stars = liked it, 4 stars = really liked it etc. and I realize I don't have to rate according to the quality of the writing - but according to how I personally felt about the book. Did I like it? Was it okay? Or did I really like it? Was it amazing?

Having said that, I'm pretty stingy with my 5 star ratings. If I give a book 5 stars it's the whole package - well written AND content that really speaks to me OR it made me laugh my head off - that last is a little shallow, I know, but there it is - make me laugh, I give you five stars.

Most of my ratings are 3 stars. Which doesn't mean I hated a book - it means I liked it - that's a positive review. I'm also stingy with one star ratings as well if it's any consolation.

I don't think authors should be disappointed or discouraged by 3 star ratings - it means their book was liked. So when I say I rarely give a 5 star rating to an LDS author I don't think they should be offended.

But let's face it - true five star books are rare. I suspect that people who routinely give LDS authors 5 stars are sticking to clean books and therefore don't have as much out there for comparative purposes.

The only real solution to this is for more people to be writing clean books and while I don't agree with most of those five star ratings I'm not going to discourage them because it helps create a market for clean books!

I'm hoping the genre will mature and some really amazing stuff is to come!


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

SLK wrote: "Love that! I love her intrigue books, although there is always a HEA somehow!!
I recommended one mystery to you that I recently read.
Do you have a favorite mystery writer? I have read a fe lds..."


I have to admit, my favorite mystery writers are not LDS. There are plenty of clean, cozy mystery writers out there but I also would like to know which LDS authors are good. I'd like to support them by buying their books.

Cozy mystery is my favorite genre and mostly what I find by LDS authors is romance and I'm wondering if I'm missing something.

Also, how about books that are written by LDS authors but don't contain conversion stories in them? Who's good at that?


message 25: by Nephi (new)

Nephi Jenks | 10 comments Good LDS mystery writers: Marlene Bateman, Betsy Brannon Green, Stephanie Black, Josi S. kilpack, Jean Holbrook Mathews, and Clair M. Poulson (corny cringe once in a while though). There are plenty of others who write a variety.


message 26: by Nephi (new)

Nephi Jenks | 10 comments I'm not sure if this is where I should put this, but, does anyone know of a writing group near Kearns Utah. One that meets in the morning would be great.


message 27: by J.T. (new)

J.T. Fleming | 3 comments Pam wrote: "I wish more people would connect through this discussion. I have two books out there and would love to get more feedback--Living It Down, and What Took You So Long."

Good to see some activity. I thought the thread was dead, so I haven't checked in for quite a while. I have three LDS mysteries out. It's a series set in Utah in the late 1860's.
I've been reading Martha Grimes. Her Richard Jury mysteries are well written, but I find them a little dark, and somewhat depressing at times.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Nephi wrote: "Good LDS mystery writers: Marlene Bateman, Betsy Brannon Green, Stephanie Black, Josi S. kilpack, Jean Holbrook Mathews, and Clair M. Poulson (corny cringe once in a while though). There are plenty..."

Thank you! There are a couple names here I haven't tried!


message 29: by J.T. (new)

J.T. Fleming | 3 comments After considering my last post, I wouldn't recommend Martha Grimes for those who are looking for a clean mystery.... her work is sprinkled liberally with vulgarities and sexual language and innuendo...
I have to admit, I've found few LDS authors who have written well enough to hold my interest. I have a hard time with stories that involve real people in a fictional account.


message 30: by David (new)

David Hickenbotham | 5 comments I'm curious what constitutes LDS Fiction to some of the other people in this group. There was a bit of correspondence on whether LDS fiction ever deserved a 5 when compared to other literature. Of course rankings are subjective, but it might also depend on what we consider LDS Fiction.

I think there are some novels that are safely in the category of LDS fiction, including those that contain LDS conversion stories or retellings from the Book of Mormon or Church history.

But obviously I think we are considering a wider range of books...

Is being written by an LDS author enough?
Published by of the standard LDS publishers?
Having a character identified as Mormon and behaving as one?
Having an LDS moral or theme?
Being clean as far as language and sex?

Just curious as to what others thought? Because I've read books by LDS authors that I wouldn't consider LDS fiction because of language.


message 31: by Pam (new)

Pam | 10 comments To my way of thinking, LDS fiction is written by an LDS author and has LDS characters and themes. I think we shouldn't be snobbish about that. Some fine LDS fiction is high quality, treats lofty themes, and introduces readers to fine quality characters striving to do good and be good. I don't think we should exclude LDS fiction from being judged as "five star" quality just because it was released last year. There's only one Jane Austen, and some people love her work while other people don't. We shouldn't consider our characters inferior people because we think of ourselves as lesser writers than Shakespeare. What makes Othello more noble than characters of Carla Kelly or Sarah Eden? Characters struggle--as we ourselves often do--with the problems of the daily battle with the natural man inside us. We should develop our own standards of excellence and strive to reach them. I think our standards should be high, but we should be different from the rest of the world, find our own ways of treating noble concepts, and establish our own kind of literature.


message 32: by J.T. (new)

J.T. Fleming | 3 comments Pam wrote: "To my way of thinking, LDS fiction is written by an LDS author and has LDS characters and themes. I think we shouldn't be snobbish about that. Some fine LDS fiction is high quality, treats lofty th..."

Well said...
I really enjoyed... 'Double Exposure' by Blaine M. Yorgason...haven't read it for a long time, but I may have to read it again.


message 33: by Pam (new)

Pam | 10 comments LDS fiction is getting better and better all the time. We're not immune from the occasional clinker sneaking in there, but we are making steady improvement and that ought to be recognized.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

So a book written by an LDS author that is in accordance with LDS values but doesn't have LDS characters or specific LDS themes is not considered to be LDS fiction in this group?

Or it is?

I am confused.


message 35: by Pam (new)

Pam | 10 comments Some people think an LDS novel can't possibly be good because the author doesn't know enough about evil to write about it from experience. That's nonsense. My personal definition is, as stated previously, an LDS author writing about LDS characters and themes is LDS literature, but I don't think you need to agonize and split hairs pinning down a more precise definition--just read and enjoy the good stuff, no matter who wrote it. In a review someone said my novels reminded them of Anne Tyler, and I had never read her books, so I picked one and discovered the comparison to be a high compliment. It could never be mistaken for LDS fiction, but it is excellent writing.


message 36: by David (new)

David Hickenbotham | 5 comments I wasn't in any way trying to disparage LDS fiction. I've just started reading a lot of it myself over the last year or two. I was just trying to figure out which good books specifically we are recommending in this group. Because there are a lot of NYTimes best-selling and award winning LDS authors whose books easily compete with and often exceed the others out there, but are generally considered mainstream even though they are generally clean, have good themes, and might even contain Mormon characters.


message 37: by David (new)

David Hickenbotham | 5 comments A question for the group, since I've seen her name mentioned a few times here. What do you think is the best Josi S. Kilpack book?

I read Fortune Cookie and probably wouldn't have finished were it not being read to me as an audiobook. It had a good ending, but I was having a hard time making it through the middle and getting to the actual mystery, which I felt took too long materializing.

If I wanted to read another one to give her a fair shake, what would you recommend?


message 38: by Pam (new)

Pam | 10 comments We should definitely be inclusive in our reading choices because, frankly, some LDS fiction is better than mainstream stuff. Carla Kelly wrote national best sellers for 30 years before she started writing for the LDS audience. Her non-LDS stuff is a cut above the rest of the historical romance genre because she's a historian who knows the history she's writing about. For example, she writes about veterans of the Napoleonic Wars from the standpoint of what we now know is PTSD. Very satisfying stuff. Josi Kilpack's Sadie Hoffmiller culinary mystery series is an acquired taste for some people. I've read and enjoyed them all. They are what they are. My favorite Josi Kilpack book, however, is Unsung Lullaby, a frank and heart-wrenching treatment of infertility. I hope no one thinks that's a topic of interest to women only! I have a male friend who says men ought to read what women read because it will help them understand women better. A Heart Revealed is also classified as a "Proper Romance," which I find a little offensive, but that just means it's clean. It's also an interesting exploration of two people falling in love in a circumstance that's unique. That's worth a go.


 The Flipped Page (Susan K) (theflippedpage) | 10 comments I have read some Carla Kelly that I had to totally put down because of explicit scenes. Her non-lds published definitely aren't clean, and some of her lds are kind of on the edge for me. Sorry have to disagree with those of you who think she is 'clean'.... I do enjoy her writing, but you have to be careful with her books.


message 40: by The Flipped Page (Susan (last edited Aug 08, 2015 05:24PM) (new)

 The Flipped Page (Susan K) (theflippedpage) | 10 comments I do think for me some of the things I am looking for isn't just LDS (although there are other groups I am part of for that), but LDS values, and uplifting, positive, although can be cathartic, or have problems.
The issue for me that I am avoiding is truly blatant explicit sex, as well as too much of other things that are similar or leading up to it, excessive violence, profanity, etc. I do tend to hope that something has redemptive qualities, i.e. honor, integrity, Christian values, and positive outlook, even in awful situations. I am a hopeful person, so tend to like that. Those are my standards, I understand others may not like that.
Recently in re-reading Jane Eyre, the quality of the writing just struck me so forcefully. Also, just seeing the lack of mastery of language in most fiction is very discouraging. As someone describes a character with their physical characteristics, several times in a trite or cliche manner, that is a HUGE turn-off for me. I rarely give a 5 to any fiction that isn't a classic. 4's are something I reserve for something I will savor and re-read again. 3 is almost always my standard review, and isn't bad. "Liking" something isn't a 5 for me. I think the
over-inflation of ratings is very pervasive, particularly in the 'buyers' market. I keep hoping my reviews are very honest. I hope the writers don't take it personally. Really you can improve on almost anything. The way books are turned out now to 'feed' the market, so few are truly 'crafted' and real 'works'. I think that is particularly true in the LDS market. Sorry for venting!!
I do understand that the 5 does help sell. Just love being 'real'. Thanks though for the replies!!!


message 41: by David (new)

David Hickenbotham | 5 comments This probably isn't the place for this discussion since we're talking about LDS books, but I'll bring it back around.

I don't usually find myself rating classics. People already know about them, and they don't need my review to know that Charles Dickens and Jane Austen knew how to write.

To be honest, with the instruction, editing tools, and understanding of plot and character authors have now, there is a decent chance a "classic" won't be able to compete with some of the best new authors in captivating MY attention, with some notable exceptions. New authors have the benefits of learning from everything that has gone on before as well as often fifteen to twenty years of formal education.

Most Tolkienites would flay me, but the Lord of the Rings is actually quite boring next to a lot of the fantasy today, even the derivative stuff, though he did manage to finish with a very good ending and his world building was second to none. I was blown away my the magic system of Runelords, by LDS author David Farland. And on the sci-fi front, I still think Ender's Game by LDS author Orson Scott Card is one of the best books I've ever read. And I just recently read Steelheart by LDS author Brandon Sanderson, one of the best books of its kind I've ever read.

I haven't read a lot of adult romance, so I couldn't say if there is anything out there that even competes with classic romance, but I'd have to guess there would be, just from the sheer volume of romances.

I can definitely say there are definitely a few teen romances that I would rate a 5. (The nice thing about teen romance is that I usually can avoid the explicit sex. I think that's one of the reasons adult readers have gravitated towards the young adult genre.) And if the beautiful language of the classical prose and the slower pacing is what you like, you could try some Maggie Stiefvater. Her language and command of metaphors was the best I've ever read. (Unfortunately I'm a big fan of pacing, so she wasn't a great fit for me, but she might be a good fit for you.)

Perhaps you should consider your classics a 6 (on a 5 point scale), and go down from there because what I would find really helpful in one of your reviews is to know what you would savor and re-read again. That's a 5 in my book. That's the book I want to try out. It really isn't so much about marketing for me as it is in finding the best books you've read recently. There are so many books out there. I want to know your favorite NEW books.

It's your opinion and your ratings, so you can do what you want, but if you come across any 4's in LDS fiction, works that you would "savor and re-read again", point me to them and mark them as a 5, just so that I understand exactly how much you really loved them. Besides, it'd be a shame if the only authors who could merit a 5 from you are currently in heaven.


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

David wrote: "This probably isn't the place for this discussion since we're talking about LDS books, but I'll bring it back around.

I don't usually find myself rating classics. People already know about them, ..."


I don't savor most current authors. I consume their books, toss them aside, and never read them again. They are like junk food; tastes good at the time, no lasting nutrition. This is why I am stingy with 5 star books.

Current authors know what they are supposed to do to engage the reader and keep the story going. Even the ones who don't know how to write can do that much. But very few treat it as a craft and write truly beautiful things.

Many of today's readers don't have much interest in finely crafted writing. They want to be gripped from page one and want the tension to be tight with no lags in pacing throughout the entire story. They don't ask for much more than that. That is why many of today's books won't endure.

A few will, not saying none will.

But that is exactly why I don't re-read them. My curiosity was the only thing propelling me through the book and once it was assuaged, I had no more interest in it.

I don't blame the authors. That is how they are taught to write, and that is what readers expect. Many readers don't want to have to work for anything.

If anything, the poor writing of today is because line editing is becoming extinct. To save costs, publishers have eliminated it entirely.

As a result, glaring inconsistencies, cheese, redundancies, poor character development, pacing problems and all kinds of other things are not pointed out or corrected that would have been even fifty years ago.

Having said that, not all classics are equally well written. They are not all universally enjoyed. People rate them with one star as well as 5 stars. Readers still have opinions about them. They are still worth rating and being included in today's conversations. Just because something was written a hundred years ago, doesn't automatically make it good.

No, classics are not organized, paced and constructed they way today's books are. But they have something that today's books can't even touch. Beautifully crafted sentences and a command of the English language very few today can emulate. These books are almost poetic in their turn of phrase and those who love the English language and words and the many ways they can be put together love them.

We are all different. We all like different things. Our differences are what make goodreads interesting. What you have posted will help others with your same turn of mind find good things to read. They'll want to look at your book shelf to see what they'll like and they'll think you have incredibly good taste and find some new books they love.

Some people love classics and aren't sure which books written many years ago are worth their time. They'll want to check out the book shelves of someone who loves classics. They'll admire their choices.

The important thing is that our ratings are an honest reflection of what we thought of the books we read from our own perspective.

The point of goodreads for me is finding new things to enjoy that I otherwise may not have been aware of to read. There are current authors that I have thoroughly enjoyed and will read over and over again that I wouldn't have known about if it hadn't been for other people's suggestions. It's worth wading through twenty 'junk food' books, for me, to find that one book that is a real feast.


message 43: by David (new)

David Hickenbotham | 5 comments I don't necessarily disagree with you about the style of writing being published today. In many ways you are spot on. In fact, you are more spot on with new authors than with established authors. Authors with an audience are allowed a longer and more fulfilling setup. New authors have to hook a reader immediately and drag them through the story, including ripping out everything extraneous to the plot. Probably not fair, but that's the way it works.

But that said, I have found some fantastic gems, even among new authors. If someone doesn't give out any 5s, I'm not likely to find them because I'm not really considering an average of a 3 good at all. With so many books on the market, I rarely read books with average ratings less than a 3.8 anymore.

As to the language, I think some of that comes from the way we speak today vs how they spoke before. I've found some beautifully crafted prose from contemporary authors, but I'm not sure publishers think there's much of a market for that. Award-winning books rarely account for sales. With E-books and a decline in reading, publishing is becoming an increasingly difficult industry to be in, and for most of them, it really comes down to what makes more money than it costs to produce.


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, I have to agree with you. Especially about the fact that established writers have more flexibility.

I'm willing to put up with sub par writing because I'm tired of reading trashy stuff and I'm always running out of things to read which is why I like groups like this to help me find more good authors to enjoy.


 The Flipped Page (Susan K) (theflippedpage) | 10 comments First I want to say how much I am enjoying this conversation (thread). Thank you for all of your comments!!
I was reading an author's facebook page comments about how they had written (rather churned out) 4 books already this year. The greed of publishers (perhaps?) forcing writers to 'churn' out is probably part of it. How many novels did someone write in the past? Not as many as seem to be turned out now.
I think one of my favorite authors is Megan Turner Whalen. I didn't really discover her until she had written the 4th book in her Queen's Thief series. She turns out books one every few years. I think it shows in her work. She does some wonderful things with plot twists and surprises. It shows. I keep watching to see if she will get another book out of the series, and hoping one will turn up!


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

I know this, there are authors out there who are skipping traditional publishing entirely because they don't want to have to crank em out the way authors are required to do in that part of the industry. I know several authors who'd rather self publish and only have 3 people read their books than have to deal with publishers. I decided the same thing when I saw what friend of mine had to go through and how crazy her life is in order to keep up with the demands of her publisher. She's hit the New York Times bestseller list, but at what cost? For her, she sees it as worth it., since that was her goal she's fine with it even though she has days she wishes she could give the whole thing up. For someone like me or some of my other writing friends it's made us stop and reconsider why we write. If I can't enjoy writing, I won't continue. For me it's not about book sales it's simply an enjoyable hobby and no one pressures me in any way to write faster and I like it that way. I'll never be on a best seller list but it doesn't matter to me. If it's important to a writer today then they'd better be prepared to churn through them. That's the world we live in. Sad thing is, it does effect the quality of the writing of traditionally published books.


message 47: by Nephi (new)

Nephi Jenks | 10 comments I am reading the new Gerald N. Lund book: The Rising Storm, but it does not seem to be on goodreads yet. Does anyone know how to add it?


message 48: by Anna (new)

Anna del C. Dye | 2 comments Nephi wrote: "I have to say I am an avid listener of LDS fiction but there just isn't enough out there on audiobook. I don't buy the books though, I just check them out from the library, so I don't really feel l..."
I have my first book in the Silent Warrior Trilogy in audiobook. Is called The Elf and the Princess. Book two will be out shortly too. It is an audible.


message 49: by Nephi (new)

Nephi Jenks | 10 comments Sounds great! My second book is coming out on the fifteenth of this month. I can't afford audio yet though.


message 50: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (jsaltal) | 1 comments Hello.


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