Thursday, August 18, 2016

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: The Moses Chronicles #3: Exodus by H.B. Moore


ABOUT THE BOOK

Let my people go ...

A plea has been made in behalf of the children of Israel. Now comes the epic climax years in the making—the final showdown between two of the most powerful men in history—one fueled by pride, the other guided by the world of God. Moses has received an extraordinary call from the Lord: he is to lead the exodus of the Hebrew people out of Egypt, ending generations of bondage. And he must return to the land of his birth to boldly petition a man he does not want to challenge ... or lose to: Ramses—pharaoh of Egypt. Ramses, harboring years of feeling betrayed by his best friend, is determined to stop Moses no matter the cost. He will not yield, even as a dark veil of plaques and pestilence descends over the land of Egypt.

What follows is a powerful chronicle of the struggles of the children of Israel as they traverse uncharted territory, both physically and spiritually. Amid the horrific catastrophes devastating their land and through the dramatic evens that follow, the Hebrews must face their fears and their faltering faith. For even in the darkest of times, there are manifestations of the Lord's constant care to inspire their hope for a bright future.

REVIEW

The story of Moses is one of the most powerful in the Bible as well as the Pearl of Great Price.  I admire Heather's willingness to attempt to tell that story in novelized form.  A fictionalized version of Moses' story makes sense because the scriptures leave some rather significant gaps.  I also appreciated the author's taking the time to explain some of the changes she made to the timeline in order to move the story along.  When I read historical fiction, it's always nice to know what's been changed for the sake of the story.  Still, Moore has created a compelling, powerful story of a man who was called to do what the world would say was impossible.  Challenging one of the most powerful men of the time, Moses calls on Pharoah to let the Hebrew slaves go free.  Unsurprisingly, Pharoah refuses, but the Lord isn't taking no for an answer.  But Moses refuses to go away or give up and under the Lord's direction continues to obey.  I felt like H.B. Moore did a fabulous job of creating a picture of what Moses' life may have been like and just what it took for him to follow the Lord.  A great conclusion to the trilogy, but definitely not an end to Moses story, as the trilogy focuses on the exit of the Hebrews from Egypt, thus, the years in the wilderness are not covered.

GIVEAWAY

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

COZY MYSTERY: Read to Death by Terrie Farley Moran


ABOUT THE BOOK

The national bestselling author of Caught Read-Handed revisits Fort Myers Beach, Florida, where the proprietors of a local bookstore café occasionally take a stab at solving murder...

At their seaside Read ‘Em and Eat bookstore café, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield offer fresh scones, great books, and excellent detective work…

With their book club season wrapping up with The Florida Life of Thomas Edison, Sassy and Bridgy decide to take their group on a day trip to the beautiful Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Hiring driver Oscar Frieland, who’s known for his colorful stories and love of the café’s Robert Frost fruit tartlets, the bibliophiles set off for a day of sunshine and history.

After a lovely excursion, the club returns to the café for lunch and a book discussion, but the group falls silent after Oscar is found dead in his van. The sheriff’s deputies have some questions of their own for the group, and if the ladies don’t find some answers soon, the next book they read might be from a prison library.

REVIEW

One of the things I like best about cozy mysteries are the entertaining characters and their unique characteristics.  In this Read ´em and Eat series, Sassy and Bridgy are the two main characters who run a bookstore/cafe together.  In this third book in the series, just after returning from a field trip with a book club, Bridgy discovers the driver dead in his car with a pair of scissors in his ear.  Unfortunately for Bridgy, being first on the scene makes her the prime suspect, which means that Sassy is on the case.  Despite Lieutenant Frank Anthony and Deputy Ryan telling her to stay out of it, Sassy can´t bring herself to do so with her friend´s freedom on the line.  Once again, I enjoyed relaxing with the characters for a time as they run the cafe, the book clubs, and welcome their mothers for a visit.  The interactions between Bridgy´s mother and Aunt Ophie were certainly entertaining as well as Sassy´s mother Sage and her talk of ¨auras¨.  Another fun read with just enough tension between Lieutenant Anthony and Sassy to add just a brief touch of romance (although I am sure that Sassy would deny it).  I do hope something more happens between those two.  I look forward to reading future volumes in the series.

Monday, August 8, 2016

A STEAMPUNK PROPER ROMANCE: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border.

Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Could Miles himself be to blame for the deaths?

Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

REVIEW

While I am not normally a big fan of werewolves and vampires, when I heard about this book I was intrigued.  And I was not at all disappointed.  In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think my favorite parts were with Lucy and Miles as they got to know each other, but I also found the steampunk fantasy world that Allen created rather interesting.  Lucy is my favorite kind of heroine, courageous and intelligence, more than willing to do what it takes to help those she loves.  Which is of course why she ends up at Blackwell Manor in the first place.  She arrives to help her cousin who is not feeling well and has recently married the heir to Blackwell Manor.  But things turn out to be much more complicated than she expected, especially when she meets the lord of the manor who is called the ¨Beast of Blackwell Manor¨.

What Lucy does not expect however is the appearance of Miles´ sister as a ghost who clearly has an agenda that involves Lucy.  Attacks by a vampire on herself as well as the secrets that Miles himself is keeping and Lucy wonders if she is in over her head.  But as she starts to care for Miles and the man she sees beneath the gruff exterior, she is determined to find answers and solutions to the many problems she is encountering.

I enjoyed reading about the changes that Lucy brings to Miles rather dark world full of fears and burdens and sorrows.  Lucy is not the kind to back down when faced with challenges which turns out to be a good thing.  And I have to admit that I love the cover of the book, it beautifully depicts the characters and their personalities as well as the mechanical aspects of the story.  I can easily recommend this book to those who enjoy a steampunk book with vampires, werewolves, and automotons all playing an important role in the story.  The twists and turns make this an entertaining, unique version of Beauty and the Beast.

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: I Can Forgive with God compiled by Ganel-Lyn Condie


ABOUT THE BOOK

Are unresolved feelings of anger, resentment, and guilt keeping you from living your best life? It's time to let go of the pain and make the life-changing decision to forgive. A stirring new work from bestselling author Ganel-Lyn Condie, I Can Forgive with God features the personal accounts of an incredible group of women who have harnessed the power of forgiveness after enduring the furnace of affliction. from divorce and death to addiction and abuse, these sisters' experiences are linked by one common truth: the power of absolution is available to all through hard work and faithful reliance on our loving Heavenly Father.

The women spotlighted in these stories have come face-to-face with devastating tragedies and trials, ultimately learning to forgive those who have hurt them—including themselves. With the help of this book, you too can find strength in the Lord—the giver of grace—to see your mistakes and others' through the lens of forgiveness.

REVIEW

Forgiveness is a topic that applies to us all.  I know that I've had plenty of times in my own life where I needed to forgive or be forgiven.  Books like this remind me that I'm not alone in that need.  The stories in this book are all true stories although the names for some of them have been withheld to protect privacy which is understandable once you read them.  The ladies who are sharing their stories are revealing some very personal information here about heartache and healing.  The stories cover the following topics:

  • Moments of Truth
  • Marriage
  • Parenthood
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Looking Past the Past
I'll admit right out that I found these stories both touching and compelling.  I even found myself with tears in my eyes at times.  While I haven't experienced anything quite like these women, I have experienced pain of my own and the healing that they talk about can come to any who seek it through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Some of the wounds mentioned here weren't overcome or healed in a day.  In fact most of the experiences shared took years to overcome.  And some pain may take a lifetime to heal.  But as these ladies point out, it is possible through faith in the healing power and love of Jesus Christ.


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*August 11thhttp://empowermoms.net/


Monday, August 1, 2016

LDS BOOK REVIEW: A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose by Dieter F. Uchtdorf


ABOUT THE BOOK

When eleven-year-old Eva is sent to stay with her great-aunt Rose for the summer, she can think of a thousand reasons why she does not want to be there. But as the summer progresses, she discovers that Great-Aunt Rose had learned some things about life that have made her the happiest person Eva has ever known.

The story of Eva's discovery is contained in President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's insightful parable originally delivered at the October 2015 general women's session of general conference. With charming full-color illustrations by fine artist Salvador Alvarez (the creator of Joy in the Journey, the pioneer-girl painting referred to by President Uchtdorf), this modern-day parable will teach and uplift women of all ages and life situations.

REVIEW

While this talk can be found for free on the lds.org website, Deseret Book has done a beautiful job turning the story into a beautiful gift book.  The inclusion of the painting that is mentioned in the story is a particularly nice touch.  The rest of the illustrations in the book are by the same artist as the painting (see cover) and are beautifully done.  The illustrations and decorations make this a truly gorgeous book.  But of course the story told within is what makes the book so powerful.  This is a book that I will read over and over again as I remind myself of the multiple meanings contained in President Uchtdorf's beautiful parable.

Eva is sent to visit her Great-Aunt Rose while her mother recovers from surgery.  Eva is not excited to go and worries a great deal about her mother.  Once things with her mother settle down a bit, Eva starts to notice things about her Great-Aunt Rose that puzzle her a bit.  Gospel principles are shared between Eva and Rose once Eva works up the nerve to ask her the questions that have puzzled her.

This is a wonderful gift book for those who enjoy a more permanent reminder of the wonderful things this parable has to share.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

BIOGRAPHY REVIEW: The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling and Brooke S. Passey


ABOUT THE BOOK

Electronic and dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling shares her unconventional journey in an inspiring memoir filled with the energy, persistence, and humor that have helped her successfully pursue a passion outside the box.

A classically trained musician gone rogue, Lindsey Stirling is the epitome of independent, millennial-defined success: after being voted off the set of America’s Got Talent, she went on to amass more than ten million social media fans, record two full-length albums, release multiple hits with billions of YouTube views, and tour sold-out venues across the world.

Lindsey is not afraid to be herself. In fact, it’s her confidence and individuality that have propelled her into the spotlight. But the road hasn’t been easy. After being rejected by talent scouts, music reps, and eventually national television, Lindsey forged her own path, step by step. Here, for the first time, she shares every triumph and trial she has faced until now. Beginning in a humble yet charmed childhood, this book follows Lindsey through a humorous adolescence, to her life as a struggling musician, through her personal struggles with anorexia, and finally all the way to her success as a world-class entertainer. Lindsey’s magnetizing story is at once remarkable and universal—a testimony that there is no singular recipe for success. And a witness that, despite what people may say, sometimes it’s okay to be The Only Pirate at the Party.

REVIEW

One thing I like about memoirs like this one, is how human the person becomes once I see beyond the surface.  For someone who has become as famous as Lindsey Stirling, it's easy to just see the success she has achieved without seeing the struggles she wrestles with.  I think though that the thing I enjoyed the most about this book is how many times I ended up laughing while reading it.  Lindsey's shared experiences reminded me of many of my own growing up experiences, both the good and bad.  I appreciated Lindsey's willingness to share so many of her mistakes and struggles with me as a reader.  That can be a scary thing seeing how judgmental the world can be at times, but as the title of the book indicates, Lindsey's learned to be herself, despite the criticism she's received and how alone it makes her feel at times.  I also found it fascinating to here about how she got to where she is now as well as behind the scenes peeks at what it's like to be on tour, both the good and the bad. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Lindsey Stirling better through this thoughtful and thoroughly entertaining read. Now I need to go check out her YouTube channel.
 
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