Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Golem and the Jinni Book Club and Book Review

A few weeks ago I got to host the most amazing group of girls at Delicious Reads. We read The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. This historical fiction/fantasy book sent us back in time to 1899 New York and also across the globe to the Syrian Desert. In honor of the Jinn, from Helene's book, I transformed my house into a "Little Syria". With some beautiful fabric provided by my mom and some props borrowed from Delicious Reads members, my house became an Arabian dream. Syrian food and golem-making made this night worth remembering!

Decor for The Golem and the Jinni Book Club
I transformed my house into "Little Syria" for The Golem and the Jinni Book Club 

Ice Cream Bar in honor of Ice Cream Saleh
I love ice cream and had so much fun creating this ice cream bar in honor of Ice Cream Saleh in the book.

To see more pictures from our amazing book club and get ideas on what activities and recipes I used to recreate your own Arabian Nights Party, check out it out at Delicious Reads (Part I and Part II). And a special thanks to them for spotlighting my upcoming book, Remembrandt, coming in October!


Book Cover of The Golem and the Jinni

Book: The Golem and the Jinni
Author: Helene Wecker
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year: 2013
Pages: 496
Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Adult, Magical Realism, Historical Fiction

Summary: An immigrant tale that combines elements of Jewish and Arab folk mythology, The Golem and the Jinni tells the story of two supernatural creatures who arrive separately in New York in 1899. One is a golem, created out of clay to be her master’s wife—but he dies at sea, leaving her disoriented and overwhelmed as their ship arrives in New York Harbor. The other is a jinni, a being of fire, trapped for a thousand years in a copper flask before a tinsmith in Manhattan’s Little Syria releases him.
Each unknown to the other, the Golem and the Jinni explore the strange and altogether human city. Chava, as a kind old rabbi names her, is beset by the desires and wishes of others, which she can feel tugging at her. Ahmad, christened by the tinsmith who makes him his apprentice, is aggravated by human dullness. Both must work to create places for themselves in this new world, and develop tentative relationships with the people who surround them.
And then, one cold and windy night, their paths happen to meet.
My Opinion: A fantastic look at 1899 New York through the unlikely eyes of a creature made of clay and a genie. 

Four and a quarter out of five stars
4.25 out of 5 Stars
This book was a little bit fantasy, a little bit mythology, a little bit historical and a whole lot of different. Helene's knowledge of New York right before the turn of the century was seriously astounding! I loved the little bits of history that filled the pages while we experienced the story of the Chava and Ahmad.
When I think back on everything I read, I still can't believe all the events that took place. From Chava's creation and trip to America to Ahmad's reawakening and flashbacks to his life in the desert, you never really knew where the story was going to turn next--which would have been annoying if everything wasn't so interesting. It wasn't just the history that grabbed my attention (Why do people of the same heritage gravitate towards one another? How much did language barriers shape our culture over hundreds of years ago?). The mythological elements had me thinking for days (Do Golems have souls? Can the Jinni have kids? Why is Ice Cream Saleh seeing bones where flesh should be? What if evil souls were reincarnated over and over, only to have the same goal/outcome in each life? What would it be like to know everyone's wants?).
(Possible spoilers) I wasn't sure where the story was going when the Golem was first created. I wasn't sure I would come to have a connection with this character who didn't have her own desires and goals. In the end, she ended up being one of my favorite characters because she grew into this woman who had to chose which desires she could fulfill and which ones she didn't need to fill. Though things didn't quite turn out as I would have liked between her and Michael Levvy, I think their relationship kept me on my toes.
The same goes for Ahmad and Sophia. I didn't love how things turned out (Poor Sophia!), but I think that is part of the reason this novel is so different. You have these two magical characters--the Golem and the Jinni--and they have to interact with humans. I like that their relationships twisted and turned in different directions, eventually ending up where they could both help one another.
My only wish, if Ahmad could have granted it, was that I hoped Chava and Ahmad could have found each other sooner. I would have loved to see more of their interactions!
Overall, this was one of those reads that wasn't just for entertainment. I felt culturally enriched. The historical elements interested me and I learned fascinating details about a society that has been forgotten. No matter what walk of life you come from, The Golem and the Jinni is one of those novels worthy of a read.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Cover Reveal: Remembrandt

It's here, people! It's cover reveal time. Remembrandt will be coming to a store near you Fall 2014. Since you are my loyal friends, you get to see the cover first before it hits the shelves.

Drum roll, please . . . 

Stay tuned next week for an in depth look at how the cover came to be, all the mock-up covers we came up with, and why the publisher finally decided upon this one. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Scripture Study for Dummies

I was going to entitle this post: 

Scripture Study for the Busy Moms of Five Kids who Have a Hard Time Getting Them all to Put Two Shoes on Before Church 


Scripture Study for the Scripture Genius Who Took all 4 years of Seminary, Every Religious Class BYU Offered, and Has Read the Book of Mormon at Least a Hundred Times EXCEPT Doesn't Know How to Change Things Up


Scripture study for the Single Adult Who Has Made the Time to Study but Still Finds that Something is Missing When They Read the Gospel Works

BUT, I decided to go with:

cover of pretend scripture study for dummies
Sorry, not an actual book :) - source.

Now that isn't to say that we are all unintelligent (the fact that we are all reading this shows how smart we are in spiritual things and that we value Christ in our lives and our commitment to doing what we can to return to Him), but that maybe we need to get back to the root of things, the basics of why and how we should do something like read an ancient book about a people who didn't have to deal with the plethora of things we deal with today.

Now I could tell you all about how my family recommitted a few years ago to reading the scriptures and made it nearly six months without missing a day. Or I could tell you about how we slowly got caught up in the world and our study drifted until we were only doing it all together once a week. Instead of talking about me and my successes or failures with scripture study, let's GET REAL. 

1.) There's an app for that 
         A. LDS Scripture Mastery App - fast ways to memorize scriptures
         B. - have a scripture texted or emailed to you everyday
         C. LDS Daily Verse App - read a verse a day
         D. LDS Daily Conference Quote - read a quote from conference everyday

Check out these FREE apps/websites to help you get your scripture study done. With all these new electronic programs, we really have no excuse right?

Consider what Richard G. Scott said in October 2014 General Conference 

"Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!"

Yep, you read that right. Scripture study is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. No excuses.

2.) Keep it in the open - Most of us have the electronic option for scriptures and I think it's great! Sometimes, though, we don't get that reminder because we use our phones and tablets for other things.  I like to keep a large set of scriptures in our living room where I see it everyday and we use everyday. Other options: Scriptures by your bed, on your kids' nightstand, on the coffee table, in the bathroom, etc (tape a scripture to your mirror).

3.) Commit! - Make a chart or bookmark for yourself or for you and/or your kids or spouse fill in together. Put in on the side of the fridge or out in the open so you can mark off what you have read. MAKE GOALS, even if that is just to read one scripture or talk about one story every day. Read the New Testament cover to cover. Read the lesson before church each Sunday. One conference talk a week.
Book of Mormon Reading Chart/Bookmark from The Idea Door

4.) If you continue to think as you've always thought, you continue to get what you've always got - Change it up, my friends! If you always read a chapter, do something different like pick a word for the week and read everything you can on that word (read this article I wrote about my marathon training and choosing inspirational words). Only read the Book of Mormon? Give the New Testament a go of it. The Ensign is a great place to read scriptures and get messages from latter-day prophets. 

Here's a little method I like to use to keep things interesting:

making scripture study easy and inspiring every day of the week

5.) Give yourself credit - Daily scripture study does not necessarily mean sitting with the scriptures open on your lap with your family sitting around you holding their red colored pencils and a copy of Preach My Gospel next to them. That is great and should happen often. But some days, daily scripture study can be asking your child to say an article of faith before bed, reading a verse at the dinner table, acting out a scripture story at FHE, reading a picture scripture book before bed, watching a conference talk, or listening to the scriptures on your phone while you cool down from a run. 


Life is HARD. Anyone who tells you differently has yet to LIVE.

The scriptures carry with them stories about other people's lives, commandments to live by, knowledge, and people to follow. These things are all important and help us grow as Latter-day Saints and just good all round people. 

We read the scriptures to show Heavenly Father our commitment to Him and the covenants we have made. We read to learn from other's mistakes. We read to come together as families or companions. We read to learn about our heritage and history.

In the end, the most important part of scripture study is how it changes us. It makes us FEEL. We are not perfect. We never will be in this life, no matter how many minutes we read, how many scriptures we have memorized, or the general authorities we can quote. We CAN, however, grow closer to our Heavenly Father. Reading the scriptures is how Heavenly Father talks to us, how we get to know Him. We read to gain a testimony and to strengthen the one we already have. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Remembrandt Cover Reveal . . . A Sneak Peek

Here's a partial glimpse at the cover of my book, Remembrandt, which will be coming out this fall:

Partial cover reveal of Remembrandt by Robin King

Yeah, I bet you were hoping for something more. Sorry. I have to keep you all guessing.

Stay tuned because the OFFICIAL cover reveal for Remembrandt with be August 8th! Put it in your calendars and shout it on the rooftops because I am so excited for you to see what the publisher and I have come up with! See you next week.

XoXo, Robin