Thursday, February 27, 2014

LDS BOOK REVIEW: Living in the Eleventh Hour by Robert L. Millet


ABOUT THE BOOK

Just as the scriptures teach us that the Second Coming of the Lord will be "at midnight" (Matthew 25:6), so the signs of the times teach us that "midnight" is close at hand.

In Living in the Eleventh Hour, author Robert L. Millet points our minds and hearts toward the future—to the glorious day that lies ahead. This encouraging work not only assists us a Latter-day Saints to recognize and better understand the signs of the times but also reminds us of our individual responsibilities as we prepare ourselves and the world for the much-anticipated return of Jesus Christ.

Filled with uplifting quotations from Church leaders, insightful scriptural texts, and engaging personal experiences, this timely book inspires us to live today as if He were coming tomorrow.

Brother Millet's faith-building message is clear: Steadfastly doing the small things that allow us to live each day with faith, rather than fear, builds our trust that the Savior's return to earth to rule and reign will be a glorious and welcome event.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert L. Millet, an Abraham O. Smoot Professor and former dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University, is a professor of ancient scripture and a lifelong scholar of the last days. After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BYU in psychology, he earned a PhD from Florida State University in religious studies. He has served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a seminary teacher, bishop, stake president, and member of the Materials Evaluation Committee. He and his wife, Shauna, are the parents of six children.

REVIEW

One of the things that I have always loved about Robert Millet's books is how readable they are, how well he explains complex doctrines for the lay reader. In this book, he takes on a complex and rarely understood topic: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  I found it interesting that he starts the book by discussing his own attitude toward the topic, how as a child he was terrified of The Second Coming, but as he's grown and experienced life, he's learned to look forward to it.  I also really appreciate how he uses scriptures to make his points about preparing for a day in the near future that only God Himself knows for sure. I love how he focuses on the greatest need is for us to be SPIRITUALLY prepared, to repent and access the blessings of the Atonement in our lives. A truly inspiring look at a challenging and sometimes scary topic that relates to all of us. Highly recommended.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Three Time Out for Women Classics!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Remember the phrases it seemed like your mom said every day when you were a child? "Wash your hands" was a frequent instruction in John Bytheway's home, along with "Clean up your room," "Help your sister," "Go ask your dad," and others.

In Everything I Need to Know I Learned at Home, John Bytheway makes an inspiring and insightful connection between everyday phrases spoken at home and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Using examples from his childhood and from raising his own children, he demonstrates how parents—especially moms—can use simple things to influence their families in profound ways.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Bytheway is an instructor at the Brigham Young University Salt Lake Center. He served his mission in the Philippines and earned a master’s degree in Religious Education at BYU. He has published dozens of books and audio programs and lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Kimberly, and their six children.

REVIEW

In my opinion, mothers and fathers are the most amazing creatures on earth and yet there is no more challenging role on earth than being a parent. And when one takes on the most challenging job on earth, one is bound to get overwhelmed and discouraged on a regular basis. It can be a thankless and never-ending task.  While a book like this can't take away the challenges, I believe it can help remind the reader of the great importance of what he/she is doing and they are doing more than they realize to help their children progress. Brother Bytheway takes some pretty common phrases that mothers say and explains how they very much apply to spiritual growth and development as well as mortal growth. I think my favorite section was where he took the statement, "Go ask your dad" and applied it to going to our Father in Heaven to ask for help and guidance.  He reminds us that God will "run to" us and help us all he can. An inspiring and comforting read.

Making_it_through_the_middle_detail
MAKING IT THROUGH THE MIDDLE:
Hope and Help When the Journey Seems Long
by Emily Freeman
Deseret Book, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-60907-822-5
$10.99
Source: publisher for review
ABOUT THE BOOK

"Have you ever noticed that when people talk about their trials in a public setting, they tend to focus on what happened at the end?" writes Emily Freeman. "They talk about the miracle, the promise, the way it all worked out. It isn't often that people talk about what happened in the middle of the trial."

Sometimes we can't imagine there will be an end to a hard time. But we can find hope and help even when the road seems long and dark. Using examples from her personal life and from the scriptures, Emily shares six lessons that can help all of us make it through the middle moments of our lives.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Freeman took her first creative writing class in high school and has loved writing ever since. She finds great joy in studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Her deep love of the scriptures comes from a desire to find their application in everyday life. She is the author of several books, including The Ten Virgins; 21 Days Closer to Christ; and The Promise of Enough. There is nothing Emily enjoys more for breakfast than a bowl of vanilla ice cream, raspberries, and chocolate chips. Other favorites include parades, vacations, firework displays, and going for a long walk with a good friend. Emily and her husband, Greg, live in Lehi, Utah, with their four children, whom she adores.

REVIEW

When I read books like this I sometimes feel like they are written for me. Emily Freeman addresses a topic that interests me greatly.  She's right when she mentions that most people talk about trials in the context of the 'end' of the trial, but it's usually the middle that's the hardest part and enduring it can be very difficult. I know for me, sometimes the end is impossible to see. That's when faith is the most important. I really enjoyed this book and the recommendations that she makes.  She suggests:
  • Turn to the scriptures (she has some that she specifically references)
  • Wait patiently, tomorrow will come
  • Recognize and remember His mercy
  • Rely on the Atonement
  • Continue to minister
  • Trust God's heart

ABOUT THE BOOK

Our Father's plan for us is often referred to as "the great plan of happiness," but we sometimes struggle to feel as happy as we'd like. Are there really some simple things we could do to feel happier?

You may not have thought that such suggestions as "Don't even try to get motivated to exercise" and "Stop hoping to find friends" would show up in a book on happiness, but those are just a couple of the "habits of happiness" Dr. Wendy Ulrich invites readers to consider.

This perfect blend of scientific research, engaging anecdotes, and practical advice that you might not have expected can help you discover new ways to feel a little better about life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wendy Ulrich, Ph.D., M.B.A., was a psychologist in private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan for almost fifteen years before moving with her husband to Montreal (where he presided over the Canada Montreal Mission), then Alpine, Utah. She founded Sixteen Stones Center for Growth, which offers seminar-retreats for LDS women (sixteenstones.net). She is a mother and grandmother, a columnist for Deseret News, a former president of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapist, and a business consultant with The RBL Group. Her books include Forgiving Ourselves, Weakness Is Not Sin, and national best seller The Why of Work, co-authored with her husband, Dave Ulrich.

COVER REVEAL: GOLDEN DAUGHTER by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

GOLDEN DAUGHTER 
by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Coming November 25th 2014 from Rooglewood Press

ABOUT THE BOOK

BEYOND THE REALM OF DREAMS IS A WORLD SHE NEVER IMAGINED

Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.

But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave—possessed of his own strange abilities—to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?

For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.

If you’d like to learn more about Golden Daughtervisit the book page for interesting articles, illustrations, and more!

AUTHOR BIO:
  
Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood series, adventure fantasies told in the classic Fairy Tale style. Her books include Christy Award-winning Heartless and Veiled Rose, and Clive Staples Award-winning Starflower. She makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration and English literature at Grace College and Campbell University.

BOOK COVER: The cover illustration was done by Julia Popova. Visit her website to learn more about her and her fantastic work!


GIVEAWAY: 

The author is offering any two of the first six Goldstone Wood novels as a giveaway prize! Winner’s choice of: Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, Dragonwitch, or Shadow Hand.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



EXCERPT from Chapter 3 of
GOLDEN DAUGHTER


Sairu made her way from Princess Safiya’s chambers out to the walkways of the encircling gardens. The Masayi, abode of the Golden Daughters, was an intricate complex of buildings linked by blossom-shrouded walkways, calm with fountains and clear, lotus-filled pools where herons strutted and spotted fish swam.

Here she had lived all the life she could remember.

The Masayi was but a small part of Manusbau Palace, which comprised the whole of Sairu’s existence. She had never stepped beyond the palace walls. To do so would be to step into a world of corruption, corruption to which a Golden Daughter would not be impervious until she was safely chartered to a master and her life’s work was affixed in her heart and mind. Meanwhile, she must live securely embalmed in this tomb, waiting for life to begin.

Sairu’s mouth curved gently at the corners, and she took small steps as she had been trained—slow, dainty steps that disguised the swiftness with which she could move at need. Even in private she must maintain the illusion, even here within the Masayi.

A cat sat on the doorstep of her own building, grooming itself in the sunlight. She stepped around it and proceeded into the red-hung halls of the Daughter’s quarters and on to her private chambers. There she must gather what few things she would take with her—fewer things even than Jen-ling would take on her journey to Aja. For Jen-ling would be the wife of a prince, and she must give every impression of a bride on her wedding journey.

I wonder who my master will be? Sairu thought as she slid back the rattan door to her chamber and entered the quiet simplicity within. She removed her elaborate costume and exchanged it for a robe of simple red without embellishments. She washed the serving girl cosmetics from her face and painted on the daily mask she and her sisters wore—white with black spots beneath each eye and a red stripe down her chin. It was elegant and simple, and to the common eye it made her indistinguishable from her sisters.

The curtain moved behind her. She did not startle but turned quietly to see the same cat slipping into her room. Cats abounded throughout Manusbau Palace, kept on purpose near the storehouses to manage the vermin. But they did not often enter private chambers.

Sairu, kneeling near her window with her paint pots around her, watched the cat as it moved silkily across the room, stepped onto her sleeping cushions, and began kneading the soft fabric, purring all the while. Its claws pulled at the delicate threads. But it was a cat. As far as it was concerned, it had every right to enjoy or destroy what it willed.

At last it seemed to notice Sairu watching it. It turned sleepy eyes to her and blinked.

Sairu smiled. In a voice as sweet as honey, she asked, “Who are you?”

The cat twitched its tail softly and went on purring.

The next moment, Sairu was across the room, her hand latched onto the cat’s scruff. She pushed it down into the cushions and held it there as it yowled and snarled, trying to catch at her with its claws.

“Who are you?” she demanded, her voice fierce this time. “What are you? Are you an evil spirit sent to haunt me?”

“No, dragons eat it! I mean, rrrraww! Mreeeow! Yeeeowrl!”

The cat twisted and managed to lash out at her with its back feet, its claws catching in the fabric of her sleeve. One claw scratched her wrist, startling her just enough that she loosened her hold. The cat took advantage of the opportunity and, hissing like a fire demon, leapt free. It sprang across the room, knocking over several of her paint pots, and spun about, back-arched and snarling. Every hair stood on end, and its ears lay flat to its skull.

Sairu drew a dagger from her sleeve and crouched, prepared for anything. The smile lingered on her mouth, but her eyes flashed. “Who sent you?” she demanded. “Why have you come to me now? You know of my assignment, don’t you.”

“Meeeeowrl,” the cat said stubbornly and showed its fangs in another hiss.

“I see it in your face,” Sairu said, moving carefully to shift her weight and prepare to spring. “You are no animal. Who is your master, devil?”

The cat dodged her spring easily enough, which surprised her. Sairu was quick and rarely missed a target. Her knife sank into the floor and stuck there, but she released it and whipped another from the opposite sleeve even as she whirled about.

Any self-respecting cat would have made for the window or the door. This one sprang back onto the cushions and crouched there, tail lashing. Its eyes were all too sentient, but it said only “Meeeeow,” as though trying to convince itself.

Sairu chewed the inside of her cheek. Then, in a voice as smooth as butter, she said, “We have ways of dealing with devils in this country. Do you know what they are, demon-cat?”

The cat’s ears came up. “Prreeowl?” it said.

“Allow me to enlighten you.”

And Sairu put her free hand to her mouth and uttered a long, piercing whistle. The household erupted with the voices of a dozen and more lion dogs.

The little beasts, slipping and sliding and crashing into walls, their claws clicking and clattering on the tiles, careened down the corridor and poured into Sairu’s room. Fluffy tails wagging, pushed-in noses twitching, they roared like the lions they believed themselves to be and fell upon the cat with rapacious joy.

The cat uttered one long wail and the next moment vanished out the window. Sairu, dogs milling at her feet, leapt up and hurried to look out after it, expecting to see a tawny tail slipping from sight. But she saw nothing.

The devil was gone. For the moment at least.

Sairu sank down on her cushions, and her lap was soon filled with wriggling, snuffling hunters eager for praise. She petted them absently, but her mind was awhirl. She had heard of devils taking the form of animals and speaking with the tongues of men. But she had never before seen it. She couldn’t honestly say she’d even believed it.

“What danger is my new master in?” she wondered. “From what must I protect him?”

Thursday, February 20, 2014

FIRST WILD CARD TOUR: Sadie's Secret by Kathleen Y'Barbo

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2014)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of fifty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad and nominations including a Career Achievement Award, Reader’s Choice Awards, Romantic Times Book of the Year, and several Romantic Times Top Picks. A proud military wife and tenth-generation Texan, she now cheers on her beloved Aggies from north of the Red River. Find out more at www.kathleenybarbo.com.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

18054664Louisiana, 1890--Sarah Louise "Sadie" Callum is a master of disguise, mostly due to her training as a Pinkerton agent but also from evading overprotective brothers as she grew up. When she takes on a new assignment with international connections, she has no idea her new cover will lead her on the adventure of a lifetime.

Undercover agent William Jefferson Tucker is not looking for marriage--pretend or otherwise--but his past is a secret, his twin brother has stolen his present, and his future is in the hands of the lovely Sadie Callum. Without her connections to the world of upper-crust New Orleans, Jefferson might never find a way to clear his name and solve the art forgery case that has eluded him for years.

Only God can help these two secret agents find a way to solve their case and uncover the truth about what is going on in their hearts.

Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Series: The Secret Lives of Will Tucker (Book 3)
Paperback: 347 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0-7369-5215-6

REVIEW

Sadie's Secret is a delightful tale of romance, mystery, and family.  Sadie and Jefferson make a great pair and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about their encounters. Sadie, a Pinkerton agent, and Jefferson, a detective with the London Metropolitan Police meet when Sadie arrives at the Louisiana prison where Jefferson has been mistakenly imprisoned in his brother's name.  An immediate connection is established but both Saide and Jefferson are determined to hold to their careers and solve the cases they are working on.  When it turns out that the cases intersect they work together to solve the case and perhaps answer the questions about their relationship and what they really want. Beautifully written and developed I can heartily recommend this for those who enjoy a good Christian mystery.


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

May 10, 1889
Louisiana State Penitentiary
Angola, Louisiana
Detective William Jefferson Tucker of the Criminal Investigations Division, London Metropolitan Police, stepped across the threshold of the sewer pit known as the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola with one purpose in mind. To see his brother, also named William.

William John Tucker.

His twin. His polar opposite.

With his first order of business being an explanation of exactly what John had done this time, he turned toward Major Samuel James’s office. When in doubt, go to the top, that was his motto. And Major James was the top dog around here.

“Hold on there,” someone called. Jefferson turned to see a uniformed guard coming toward him, one hand on his holster and the other pointing in his direction.

“Just paying a visit to the warden,” he said with all the charm his mother had taught him. “Nothing to get upset about.”

“We’ll just see about that,” the guard said as he nodded toward the other end of the dimly lit hall. “Just come on back here and sign in, and then we will see if the warden’s interested in visiting today.”

Shaking his head, Jefferson tried not to show amusement at the man’s pompous behavior. While he had seen the other side of a jail cell on many occasions, it had always been in the position of arresting officer and not prison guard. To spend day after day in this place would cause anyone to own an ill temper.

When the papers were produced, Jefferson signed them. “Anything else you need?” he asked as politely as he could manage.

“Any kind of proof you are who you say you are would be appreciated,” he said in a tone that just barely toed the line between polite and sarcastic.

“Gladly.”

“And I will be needing your weapon.”

Routine procedure in prisons, and yet Jefferson hated it. Reluctantly, he removed his revolver and handed it to the guard.

“That all you got?” He gave Jefferson a sweeping look. “Nothing else you can hurt anybody with?”

“Just a folding knife.”

“Hand that over too.”

Jefferson offered up his knife and then reached for his identification, carefully selecting the papers that would not give away his current undercover role in London. Placing what he had on the rough slab of wood that served as a desk between them, he stood back and waited while the guard examined the documents.

“And what brings you here?” The guard took in an exaggerated breath and then pretended to cough. “Sure can’t be the fresh air and sunshine.”

Jefferson played along, pretending to find the gag amusing. “I am here to see my brother.”

“Your brother?” The guard clutched the papers as he looked up at Jefferson. “And just who would your brother be?”

“John Tucker.”

“John Tucker,” the guard echoed as he opened an oversized leather book that sent a cloud of dust into the already rancid air.

The odd idea that this process was beginning to feel very much like checking into a hotel occurred. Jefferson decided he would keep that thought to himself.

“Don’t see any John…”

William John,” he amended, irritated not for the first time that his father had insisted on giving both his sons the same first name and then calling them by their middle name.

The guard’s grimy finger paused below a line of scribbling. “Tucker. Well, here we go. William J. Tucker.” 

He looked up at Jefferson, his face now unreadable. “Wait here.”

Without another word of explanation, he hurried off down the hall, Jefferson’s credentials still clutched in his hand. A door shut somewhere off in the distance and then opened again.

“Initial for your property here,” he said when he returned.

Jefferson noted the date and the items he had just surrendered and then placed his initials on the line beside them to indicate agreement.

“All right. Come with me, Mr. Tucker,” the guard said, not quite making eye contact.

Detective Tucker, he almost said. Instead, Jefferson kept silent. Better not to make enemies of anyone in this place. “Yes, of course.” He followed the guard past the warden’s office and around the corner, stopping at an unmarked door.

“Right in there,” the guard said as he used a key from his vest pocket to open the door.

The room was dark, but a lamp in the passageway sent a weak shaft of light across what appeared to be a table and a bench. “I would be much obliged if you would turn on a light in here,” Jefferson said, the last of his patience with the ridiculous situation disappearing fast.

“Just go on in and a light will come on.”

He was about to protest when the guard shoved him inside and turned the lock.

“Open this door!” Jefferson demanded. “This is not funny. I demand to see either my brother or the warden immediately.”

“You just wait right there, Tucker. You will see the warden for sure.”

Jefferson felt along the edge of the wall, his fingers sliding across a combination of dirt and slime held together by something so foul smelling he refused to contemplate its source. A moment later he found the bench and managed to sit.

Outside the door footsteps approached and then halted. He heard voices arguing, their words indistinguishable through the thick walls.

Finally, the door opened and a man whose attire told Jefferson he might be the warden stepped inside. The guard shadowed Major James, as did another underling of some sort.

“Look,” Jefferson said, “all I wanted was to see my brother. Is this how you treat all your visitors, Major?”

“The major isn’t here today, but I am the man in charge. You can call me Butler. Won’t need any name other than that. And as to your question, no. This is the way we treat those who belong inside a cell.”

“Inside a cell? What are you talking about?”

Butler thumped Jefferson’s credentials with his free hand. “These here papers say you are Jefferson Tucker. Is that correct?”

He gave the man a curt nod. “It is.”

“So what you’re saying is that you are indeed the man whose name you have given to the guard?”

“Yes,” he said, this time with far less respect.

“And that you have a brother currently incarcerated in our fine facility.” When Jefferson nodded, he continued. “And what is that inmate’s name?”

“His name is John Tucker,” Jefferson snapped as he sensed a shakedown of some sort in the offing. It was time to tell them who he really was. “William John Tucker. Look, I know how these things work, and I am not someone you can play around with. I have credentials that prove I am a detective with the London Metropolitan Police.”

The man’s eyes narrowed. “I’m not sure I would believe that. You certainly don’t sound like no foreigner, so I suggest you change your tune and own up to the truth.”

“Here’s the truth for you. Either let me see my brother or the warden, or you can give me the reason why.”

Butler chuckled. “Oh, we will do better than that.” He nodded to the two men, who approached Jefferson. Though he tried to resist, they slapped handcuffs on him. “We are going to put you in his cell.”

“What are you doing?” he demanded as the two men jerked him out into the passageway.

“Taking you to where you belong, Jefferson Tucker,” said the guard who was still in possession of his revolver and the folding knife.

“I do not belong in a cell!” Jefferson protested even as he was being dragged through the doors into a cellblock that smelled worse than it looked. And that was saying something.

Instantly a deafening noise began as prisoners shouted and banged whatever they could grab against the iron cell bars. The guard took out his pistol and fired one shot.

Silence quickly reigned.

Up ahead a door swung open. “Looky here, Tucker,” the other guard sneered. “Your room is ready. Welcome home.”

“Wait,” the man in charge said. “Let’s let these boys say their howdys first.”

A prisoner stepped out of the cell. He was dressed in clothing so dirty that Jefferson could not discern a color or what kept it from shredding into rags. Legs shackled, the prisoner shuffled toward them. And then Jefferson knew him.

“John? Is that you?”

His brother heaved himself against Jefferson. Though the smell caused Jefferson’s eyes to water, he stood his ground as John held him tight.

“What have you done, John?” he said to the man who, under different circumstances, would be nearly a mirror image of him.

“Just what I had to,” was John’s quiet reply. “I hope someday you will forgive me, Jeff, but I wasn’t built for a place like this.”

“Neither of us were. And rest assured Mother has no idea her boy’s in trouble. It would kill her if she knew.”

“She always did see the good in me,” John said.

“She still does.”

“Even though she never could see to give me Father’s gold pocket watch when I asked for it first.” John looked down at Jefferson’s vest. “I see you’re wearing it now.”

He glanced over at the man calling the shots. It took Butler only a moment to reach down and rip the watch from Jefferson’s pocket.

“Neither of you’ll get it now.”

“The major will hear about this,” Jefferson said, earning him a punch in the gut that took his breath away.
The warden’s underling fixed John with a glare that shut him up quick. “All right, Will Tucker,” he said to Jefferson. “Are you verifying that this man is your brother, John Tucker? And that he is your twin?”

“I am,” Jefferson said through the pain in his gut as he took in the sight of his always well-groomed brother with streaks of dirt on his face, his hair coated with grease and, from the look of this place, thick with lice.

“Well, I believe that is proof enough for me.” Butler tapped John on the shoulder. “You were right in saying you were not Will Tucker, John. On behalf of the state of Louisiana, I hereby declare you to be a free man.”

John grinned like a fool and then nudged the bully. “Does that mean I get the watch that is rightfully mine?”

“Don’t press your luck, son. Just get yourself out of here while I am still in a mood to let you. Major James might insist on a trial to settle the facts, and you know how long those things take.”

“I know when I’ve been bested, so you can keep the watch.” John shuffled off behind the guards without so much as a backward glance.

A moment later, the cell door clanged shut behind Detective Jefferson Tucker of the London Metropolitan 

Police, leaving him once again in the middle of a mess his brother had created.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

CD BLOG TOUR W/ GIVEAWAY: Stephanie Boyd Touching Sky


Touching Sky
TOUCHING SKY 

With a fresh and energizing sound, Stephanie Boyd’s debut album Touching Sky will put a smile on your face and a skip in your step. Unique lyrics, heartfelt vocals and top quality production will inspire and uplift you. With brand new original songs and a novel take on some favorite hymns, this CD will stay with you every day of the week.




MUSIC SAMPLER

 

MUSIC VIDEO

 

StephanieABOUT THE ARTIST

Growing up in New York, Stephanie was drawn to the power of music from a young age. While she was originally trained in classical singing, Stephanie always gravitated towards more upbeat and modern music. With her debut album, Touching Sky, Stephanie combines her love of traditional messages with fresh music. Since moving to Utah, Stephanie has worked closely with well-known artists including Jenny Phillips, Tyler Castleton, and Michael McLean. She was also featured soloist with Sally DeFord. She has a master’s degree in environmental science she and her husband have enjoyed building and selling businesses together. Stephanie is married with four children (and one on the way!) and likes to read, garden, run and bake fun birthday cakes.  



REVIEW

Touching Sky is a delightfully upbeat album that I thoroughly enjoyed. The music is refreshing and is made up of some catchy tunes. I can only recommend that you give this a try. I think you will enjoy it.  Stephanie Boyd reminds me of Hilary Weeks in the style of music and presentation.


BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/9/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate


There is a mystery in Wildwood Creek's history, a mystery that affects Allie's present...


Wildwood CreekWildwood Creek
by Lisa Wingate
Christian Romance
Paperback, 384 pages
February 4th 2014 by Bethany House Publishers

Allie Kirkland has never been one to take wild risks. But when she’s offered a costuming assistant’s job on a docudrama in the hills near Moses Lake, she jumps at the chance. She’s always dreamed of following in her director-father’s footsteps, and the reenactment of the legendary frontier settlement of Wildwood is a first step. The family expectations will have to wait.

But in 1861, the real Wildwood held dangerous realities. Town founder Harland Delevan held helpless residents, including young Irish schoolteacher Bonnie Rose, in an iron grip. Mysterious disappearances led to myths and legends still retold in the folk songs of Chinquapin Peaks. Eventually, the entire site was found abandoned.

When strange connections surface between Allie and the teacher who disappeared over a century ago, everyone in Wildwood, including Allie’s handsome neighbor on the film set, Blake Fulton, seems to be hiding secrets, and Allie doesn’t know who she can trust. If she can’t find the answers in time, history may repeat itself . . . with the most unthinkable results.



Lisa Wingate Author PictureLisa Wingate is a journalist, inspirational speaker, reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, and the author of over twenty novels.  Her novels combine elements of history, romance, mystery, and women's fiction with nuggets of Southern culture, from the sublime to the humorous. She is a seven-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, a Christianity Today Book Award nominee, an Inspy Award nominee, and a two-time Carol Award winner. Her works have been selected for Booklist’s Top Ten List in 2012 and in 2013. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.



REVIEW

I quite enjoyed this book, the characters, the plot, the mystery, everything really.  Allie and Bonnie Rose are both sympathetic characters with some tragedies in their past that make it hard for them to see their own worth. I especially enjoyed how the author interwove the two stories together. Allie, living in the present day, must contend with leftover feelings from her father's death, a mother and stepfather who want to control her life, and a new boss who hates her.  Bonnie Rose, living in 1861, must deal with the loss of her family and the horrid memories from 10 months as a captive of a group of Comanche as well as take care of herself and her little sister.  The two stories intersect around the town of Wildwood, a boom town that disappeared amidst much speculation and mystery. I found myself very much rooting for both Allie and Bonnie as they faced unkind treatment while pursuing a dream, holding on to hope despite everything. Recommended for those who enjoy a story of mystery and love.

Tour-Wide Giveaway
February 10 - March 2nd  US Only
See Rafflecopter for restrictions.

1 Winner, 1 Amazing Prize Pack:
   $50 Amazon Gift Card
   Print copy of Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate
   Handmade-by-author Prayer Box with notepads


Grab Our Button!
Are you a blogger and want to receive information about new tours? Go HERE.
Are you an author or publisher and would like to have us organize a tour event? Go HERE.

Monday, February 3, 2014

LDS BOOK REVIEW: In Tune by Gerald N. Lund


ABOUT THE BOOK

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are all teachers. Not only do we have a glorious mandate to "teach all nations" the gospel (Matthew 28:19), we also have numerous charges to "teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom" (D&C 88:77). In formal and informal settings, as parents or leaders or friends, we are constantly teaching and learning.

Not only has the Lord commanded us to teach, but He has taught us what we are to teach and how we are to do it: diligently and by the power of the Spirit. But how do we know if we're "doing it right"? What signs can we watch for that the Spirit is actually present in a teaching setting?

In this insightful companion volume to Hearing the Voice of the Lord, bestselling author Gerald N. Lund brings his decades of experience working in the Church Educational System to the topic of teaching and learning by the Spirit. He discusses common misconceptions, important questions we should ask about our teaching, and the role of the Holy Ghost in the process.

"The Lord has given the responsibility to save His children to teachers," writes Elder Lund. "The charge is clear. It is specific. It is inspiring. And, gratefully, the Lord blesses us greatly when we strive to carry out His will."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elder Gerald N. Lund received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in sociology from Brigham Young University. He also did extensive graduate work in New Testament studies at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California, and studies Hebrew at the University of Judaism in Hollywood, California.

During his thirty-five years in the Church Educational System, the author served as a seminary teacher, an institute teacher and director, a curriculum writer, director of college curriculum, and zone administrator. His Church callings have included serving as stake president, bishop, and teacher. Elder Lund served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2002 to 2008.

Elder Lund is a prolific author; his novels include the Work and the Glory series, the Kingdom and the Crown trilogy, Fire of the Covenant, and The Undaunted. He has also written several books on gospel topics, including Hearing the Voice of the Lord and Divine Signatures.

He and his wife, Lynn, are the parents of seven children. For more information, please visit Gerald Lund’s website (Click Here)

REVIEW

Elder Lund really has a way with words. In this book, he teaches the reader about teaching and learning through the Holy Ghost and the vital role it plays in the gospel plan.  He starts by sharing a number of scriptures that emphasize the importance of every member of the church being a gospel teacher among each other and the world at large.  He goes on to discuss the major role the Holy Ghost plays in teaching, how His help can be gained and the benefits it provides.  A wonderful book that shares insights and helps especially for gospel teachers.  One I can truly recommend.

Romance through the Ages only $0.99!

deal of the day  
For anyone who loves clean romance like I do... Don't miss out on this great deal! Romance Through the Ages   
  Romance through the Ages brings you SEVEN NOVELS from 7 bestselling authors (including New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestsellers). Join us for a fabulous collection.   *7 Romance Novels, 7 Bestselling Authors, 1 Amazing Price*
99 cents
99 cent Romance Boxed Set for a limited time only!  

Running Barefoot by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Amy Harmon!— Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings.  

Masquerade by Janette Rallison, who has sold more than 1 million books!— It's hard for a woman to keep up the masquerade when her boss is as handsome as Slade Jacobson and the job takes her to Hawaii with him. In between handling his whirlwind four-year-old daughter and dealing with a whole cast of Hollywood personalities, Clarissa has to keep a tight hold on her heart.  

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson, Amazon Bestseller!—Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town's charity event, Shelter’s Bachelorette, Taycee Emerson is in for the ride of her life. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers—not her—to decide which bachelors stay or go.  

Pride and Precipitation by Heather Horrocks, Amazon Bestseller!— Breezy Jones is crazy about the weather, rain or shine, which makes her job as the local television station’s meteorologist perfect. That’s before she meets the attractive new general manager, Noah Drake, who is determined to repackage everything—including Breezy’s down-home delivery.  

 My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White, Amazon Bestseller!— Lizzie falls hard for Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy character and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. When she meets two men, Chad—a science teacher, and Matt Dawson—who looks and acts like Mr. Darcy, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.  

She Owns the Knight by Diane Darcy, Amazon Bestseller!— Why does Gillian Corbett have to travel seven hundred years through time to find a decent guy?... Why can't Sir Kellen Marshall find a lady who is obedient, submissive... or at least not trying to kill him?  

Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore, Amazon Bestseller!— A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want? Except for maybe her life. When Eliza discovers that Jonathan Porter’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.

Grab your copy for just .99 cents!

 
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Beautiful Moments kit by Newlife Dreams