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My Progress:

13 / 30 books. 43% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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35 / 51 states. 69% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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29 / 50 books. 58% done!

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Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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11 / 25 books. 44% done!

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17 / 26.2 miles (2nd lap). 65% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

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30 / 100 books. 30% done!

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74 / 104 books. 71% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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50 / 52 books. 96% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

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84 / 165 books. 51% done!
Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mormon Mentions: Rae Carson (Part II)

If you're not sure what a Mormon is, let alone a Mormon Mention, allow me to explain:  My name is Susan and I'm a Mormon (you've seen the commercials, right?).  As a member of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or LDS Church), I'm naturally concerned with how my religion is portrayed in the media.  Because this blog is about books, every time I see a reference to Mormonism in a book written by someone who is not a member of my church, I highlight it here.  Then, I offer my opinion—my insider's view—of what the author is saying.  It's my chance to correct misconceptions, expound on principles of the Gospel, and even to laugh at my (sometimes) crazy Mormon culture.


In the first chapter of Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson, Lee and Jefferson talk about going to Mormon Island for supplies.  The name, which I'd never heard before, naturally made me curious.  I did a little Internet research and this is what I discovered:

In March of 1848, three former members of the Mormon Battalion stopped at the confluence of the north and south forks of the American River near Sacramento, California. There, they found gold.  Their discovery brought other settlers to the area.  A town grew up on the site; by 1853, more than 2500 people lived on Mormon Island.  It had a school, motels, saloons, a winery, a post office, and other small shops.  That population dwindled as the Gold Rush waned.  When a fire burned down much of the town, it was never rebuilt.  By the 1940s, only a few families remained.  In the 1950s, the remains of the town were razed to make way for the Folsom Dam.  What's left of Mormon Island is now under Folsom Lake.  When the water there is very low, however, building foundations and other artifacts from the outskirts of the early settlement can be seen.  

*Book cover image from Barnes & Noble; Mormon Lake photos from website for the Folsom Lake Marina

Second Gold Seer Novel Almost as Good as the First

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Like a River Glorious, it might inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Walk on Earth a Stranger.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

After a perilous journey across the United States, 16-year-old Leah "Lee" Westfall is glad to be rooted in one place again.  She and her small band of friends have chosen to settle in a spot that keeps Lee's gold sense buzzing.  There's plenty of precious ore to be had in California; if she's careful to conceal her mystical prospecting methods, she can keep nosy miners away from her treasure-filled mountains.  Of course, her nefarious Uncle Hiram hasn't stopped hunting her.  And "luck" as good as Lee's can't really be kept secret.  It's not long before strangers come sniffing around, eager to get their hands on her prize.

Naturally, Hiram catches wind of his niece's success.  Desperate to use her special skills to his advantage, he kidnaps Lee and Jefferson, imprisoning them both at his sprawling camp.  Lee will do anything to keep her friends safe, even witching for her hated uncle.  She's escaped Hiram once, she can do it again.  All she needs is time to figure out a plan.  She doesn't have much in the way of advantages, but there is something Hiram doesn't know—Lee's powers are growing, becoming stronger every day.  The gold rush inside of her is so powerful she's not sure she can control it anymore.  

With everything that matters to her at stake, can Lee save herself from her uncle's clutches?  What will it take for her to be free of him—forever?

Like the first book in Rae Carson's Gold Seer Trilogy, the second—Like a River Glorious—is an action-packed adventure full of danger, daring, and drama.  Lee continues to be an admirable heroine, awash in bravery, loyalty, and heart.  I don't always love second installments in series, but this one doesn't feel like a filler book.  The development of Lee's magic adds significantly to the plot, which already has lots to offer.  Like a River Glorious isn't quite as good as Walk on Earth a Stranger—still, I enjoyed it.  A lot.  The final book in the trilogy comes out later this year and I can't wait to see what happens next in this excellent series.

(Readalikes:  Walk on Earth a Stranger and Into the Bright Unknown [available October 2017] by Rae Carson; also reminds me of Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee and Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and vague references to prostitution

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Like a River Glorious from the generous folks at HarperCollins via those at Edelweiss.  Thank you!
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