Monday, March 31, 2014
ABOUT THE BOOK
What difference does it make to have the light of the gospel in your life? To a twelve-year-old girl in post-World War II Germany, it made all the difference.
In this charming book, Sister Harriet R. Uchtdorf reflects on the power of heavenly light in her own life and recalls the joy it brought to her family during a dark and difficult time. "It was like a miracle," she explains as she describes how hope came back into their lives.
Discover how the light we share can make a life-changing difference to those whose lives we touch-as family members, leaders, missionaries, teachers, friends, and brothers and sisters in the gospel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
HARRIET R. UCHTDORF received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in Frankfurt, Germany, and worked with the public transportation department prior to her marriage to Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who now serves as Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has served in many callings in the Church and as an institute teacher in Frankfurt. She and her husband have two children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
This beautiful gift book provides a sweet reminder of the need to look for the light in our lives rather than the darkness. Sister Uchtdorf talks about how she and her husband came to Salt Lake City to serve in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temporarily. When her husband was called to be an apostle, it changed everything. She goes on to discuss why she and her husband were willing to make the changes the Lord asked of them, by sharing the circumstances around her families' conversion to the gospel and the light it brought into their lives. The message here revolves around the importance of sharing the light we have been blessed with and how that can help us adapt to the challenges and changes that God asks us to face. A beautifully decorated and written book that reminded me that despite the darkness in the world, there is still much light available to those willing to look for and share it.
Monday, March 24, 2014
ABOUT THE BOOK
It’s every busy mother’s dream-come-true: dinner that makes itself! With the help of your trusty slow cooker and these healthy, easy recipes like Peppery Cilantro Salmon, Sausage Stew, and Dark Chocolate Mini Cakes, you can put dinner on the table even on the craziest of days. Don’t let the whirlwind of life stop you from feeding your family the food they deserve¾delicious, home-cooked meals straight from your slow cooker.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christina Dymock graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in Public Relations. She has been published in Woman’s World Magazine, several Chicken Soup for the Soul books and is the author of “101 Things to do With Popcorn” and “Young Chefs: Cooking Skills and Recipes for Kids.” She resides in Central Utah with her husband and four children. You can follow their cooking adventures at kidsabletreats.blogspot.com.
I don't normally review cookbooks, mostly because I'm not much of a cook. But this one appealed to me because the recipes sounded simple enough for a cooking amateur like me. And I was right. The recipes are great and many can be prepared in a matter of minutes and then left to cook while you do other things. In addition to the great recipes, the book is beautifully designed with gorgeous photographs that just make your mouth water. Each recipe is easy to read and the personal comments the author provides make for a more personal touch as well as presenting ideas for how she uses the different recipes. As an amateur I also appreciated the safety and care tips at the front of the book. All in all a wonderful cookbook for amateur and professional alike.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Death by the Book
by Julianna Deering
Paperback, 320 pages
March 4th 2014 by Bethany House Publishers
Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest.
Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl's tearful confession point to the victim's double life, but what does the solicitor's murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem--except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin.
Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn't at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?
Murder in general is not the most pleasant of topics. For me, what I enjoy about this sort of story is how the characters solve the mystery behind it. It also helps a lot to have fun characters that I enjoy. This book meets all my requirements for a good murder mystery. The murders are puzzling and seemingly unrelated, except for the messages pinned to the bodies. I loved the British setting, although it took me awhile to figure out the time period, not having read the first book. I really enjoyed all the twists and turns. I also found Drew an engaging, sympathetic character who sincerely cared about those he was trying to help. The romance between him and Madeline was sweet and the interfering Aunt Ruth provided a humorous touch. With plenty of unexpected events and suspicious characters, Death by the Book, provides an entertaining and enjoyable read.
Julianna Derring has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuts with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, Summer 2013) and will be followed by Death by the Book (Bethany House, Spring 2014) and Murder at the Mikado (Bethany House, Summer 2014).
From the author regarding the fabulous GIVEAWAY:
How could one possibly have a cozy mystery
set in an old manor house in the English countryside near a quaint little village
and not have tea?
Drew doesn't usually take lemon or milk in his. He prefers honey,
especially if it's fresh from the hive.
Mrs. Devon, his housekeeper, spoils him terribly and makes sure he has it.
Print copies of The Rules of Murder and Death by the Book and a Tea Gift Basket (US ONLY)
March 10th - 28th
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3/21 - Grand Finale
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Sunday, March 16, 2014
For a limited time only - Six unforgettable love stories
Buy now at Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - iBooks - Google Play
A brand new anthology from six of your favorite inspirational romance authors - no reprints here!
About the novellas:
From New York Times bestselling author Linda Goodnight, historical romance The Rambler's Bride: The kissing cowboy Jericho is bent on revenge, but discovers the truth and falls in love with widow Esther.
From USA Today bestselling author Janet Tronstad, retro romance Lovebirds at the Heartbreak Cafe: Truck driver Buddy wasn't looking for love, but waitress Penny and her quirky family take over the cafe and his heart.
From bestselling author Debra Clopton, contemporary cowboy romance Her Mule Hollow Cowboy: Independent cowgirl Maddie swears she doesn't need help from bull rider Cliff. But the Mule Hollow Matchmakers seem to have other plans...
From bestselling author Margaret Daley, romantic suspense Deadly Hunt: Bodyguard Tess rescues wounded businessman Shane from dying in the wilderness, but can she protect her heart when Shane gets too close?
From fan favorite Camy Tang, romantic suspense Necessary Proof: Reformed ex-con Alex is on the run from those who have set him up to take the blame for a cop-killing. Will tech-expert Jane be able to prove him innocent?
From fan favorite Lacy Williams, contemporary cowboy romance Kissed by a Cowboy: Maddox has given up all his big dreams to care for his niece. When Haley returns to her hometown, will Maddox find a new dream with her?
Special promo - March 17-19 - #SENDAKISS
What readers are saying:
Six amazing books from six different authors. They are all Christian fiction set from the 1800’s to present time. Each is a stand alone book with great settings, story lines and characters. All the books had family and faith. Some of the authors were known to me and some I was unfamiliar with. I really enjoyed each book. I can not wait to check out books from these new authors. - Amazon reader
I didn't know what to expect - I am not a fan of anthologies. Usually I find that the stories are too brief and the plots move too fast and don't go into any detail and don't make a lot of sense. Well, let me tell you that this anthology is not like this, not at all. It is wonderful! I enjoyed each of the novellas immensely. Each one has well developed, thought out characters and detailed plots that move at exactly the right pace. You have suspense, romance - everything in each of the novels. I enjoyed reading each of the novellas and couldn't put the book down. Even though I have about 15 other books waiting to be read - I plan on reading this book all over again in the next week or so - it is just that good. - Amazon reader
A visual look at the collection:
Interact with the authors:
Buy now at Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - iBooks - Google Play
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
ABOUT THE BOOK
Meet Erica Coleman—a gifted and quirky private investigator with an OCD-like passion for neatness and symmetry, a penchant for cooking, (ten terrific recipes are included), and a weakness for chocolate.
In A Death in the Family, the second in the Erica Coleman series, private eye Erica Coleman and her family happily anticipate Grandma Blanche’s eighty-first birthday celebration in the picturesque town of Florence, Oregon. But when the feisty matriarch, a savvy businesswoman, suspects wrongdoing and asks Erica to investigate her company, things get sticky.
Before the investigation can even begin, Blanche’s unexpected death leaves Erica with more questions than answers—and it is soon clear Grandma’s passing was anything but natural: she was murdered. When another relative becomes the next victim of someone with a taste for homicide, Erica uses her flair for cooking to butter up local law enforcement and gather clues.
Erica’s OCD either helps or hinders her—depending on who you talk to—but it’s those same obsessive and compulsive traits than enable Erica to see clues that others miss. When she narrowly escapes becoming the third victim, Erica is more determined than ever to solve the case.
Available at Deseret Book, Seagull Book, and wherever LDS books are sold.
Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they are the parents of seven children.
Her hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including: Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, and Heroes of Faith. Her latest book is Gaze Into Heaven, a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences in early church history.
Marlene’s first novel was the best-selling Light on Fire Island. Her next novel was Motive for Murder, which is the first in a mystery series that features the quirky private eye with OCD, Erica Coleman.
I find I quite enjoy this type of mystery. The characters are appealing and likable, but not perfect. The plot is intricate and interesting to follow and the excitement builds to the often surprising climax. I confess, I did not expect the story to take the turns that it did, but I was glad that things worked out the way they did. In a family story like this the relationships always complicate things and that is certainly the case here. Erica faces the uncertain prospect of trying to figure out who murdered her husband's grandmother and why. And everything points to issues regarding her grandmother's will and concerns about the family business. Investigating can be awkward to begin with, add family to that mix and things get very murky indeed. While the characters are LDS (Mormon) and that effects the feelings and actions of the characters, it does not in any way overwhelm the story and the focus on the murders. Well-written and enjoyable, I can easily recommend this to those who enjoy clean mysteries with plenty of tension.
How did you learn to write?
Learning how to write is an ongoing process. I started in elementary school, did more writing in junior high, and so on. I’ve spent countless hours on manuscripts that were never published, but I don’t count that as a loss, since it helped me improve my writing. I have a bookshelf full of books on writing and every weekday morning, I try to read 2-4 pages. I underline important parts, then type them up, which hopefully, sets the ideas in my brain. When I’m done with the book, I print out up my notes and save them in a master binder so I can look them over now and then.
Another thing that helps me is that I try to pay attention when I read. If I don’t like something, I try to figure out why and then not do that in my own writing! And when I read something I like, I try to think about why it worked so I can use that same technique in my own writing. I also attend a yearly writer’s conference and the wonderful workshops help me learn more about the craft of writing. Anyone can write—as long as they are willing to practice and study.
What made you always want to be a writer, and what was the plot of the first story you ever wrote?
I think a large part of wanting to be a writer came from reading so much. As a child, I was a voracious reader. For three years in a row in elementary school, I won the award for reading the most books. And the prize was: A book! I was delighted, of course. Sometimes I wonder if writers are born, because I’ve certainly always wanted to write. I think one of my earliest stories was about my brother’s blue car, which he parked in the back yard when he went on his mission. I was about ten, and wrote about how sad the car was to be alone, and how birds came and sat on it, and so on. My mother thought it was so “precious” that she shared it with other people, which embarrassed me to death.
Do you write as you go or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?
Since I write mysteries, I have to know how the book is going to end before I can start the first chapter. I write a rough draft of the last chapter, then the first chapter, and go on from there. I have to plot very carefully to keep up the tension and so that all the clues are in place at the right time. Plotting can be hard, but its very important and actually saves time in the end, since you don’t have to rewrite and add important information that should have been there in the first place. Once you get your storyline laid out, you have a structure to follow. A contractor would never begin building a house without plans, and to my way of thinking, a mystery writer would never write without having a basic plot down on paper.
What makes your mysteries standout from the crowd?
I think there are a few different things. First, if you’re considering books on the national level, my books stand out because they are ‘clean’ books, which means no swearing and no gratuitous sex or violence. Second, I like to keep the reader guessing. My novels are ‘whodunit’ mysteries that keep readers trying to figure out who the killer is. Many current TV shows focus on high tech prowess to solve the crime. I focus more on the psychological aspects—why this person did that, why that person didn’t do this. I try to delve into the killer’s psyche and show the psychological aspects that drive their behavior. I like to have a lot of fun and interesting characters. Third, I like to incorporate humor, because everyone likes to laugh now and then. Fourth, and the final standout point, is that I include plenty of intriguing plot twists and turns to keep readers turning the page. Each ending of every book has a surprising, final twist.
Any other books in the works?
I have two books that have been accepted and are awaiting publication. The first is Crooked House but my publisher always changes the titles so I don’t know what they will call it! Here is a short summary:
Someone is trying to kill Liz Johnson, and it is up to quirky private investigator, Erica Coleman, to find out who it is. With an authentic setting in Dover, Delaware and against a background of NASCAR racing, Erica works to stop the killer who has already survived two murder attempts. Then, the murderer kills an innocent bystander. It’s up to Erica to pinpoint the killer before he can succeed on his fourth try. Crooked House is a thrilling mystery that will keep you on the edge until the last page. As always, ten delicious recipes are included.
My second book that is awaiting publication is called, A Home for Christmas. Here is a short summary of it:
Kenzie has big plans—the only problem is she hasn’t told anyone about them. One of them is to buy the house she grew up in—the home her brother, Tom, recently put up for sale. When she arrives in Lake Forest for Christmas vacation, Kenzie is shocked to find that her brother has accepted an offer on the house she desperately wants to buy. Unwilling to give up her plans, Kenzie tries over and over to wrest the house from the man who made the offer, a handsome widower named Jared Phillips. Although they find themselves attracted to each other, it’s impossible for Kenzie to even think about a relationship with the man who is taking away the house she desperately wants. Jared is also drawn to Kenzie, but is cool and suspicious because of what he considers her underhanded tricks. Then, a surprising revelation works a Christmas miracle. As a special bonus, seven delicious cookie recipes are included.
I’m also working on another Erica Coleman mystery, called, Murder in the Black Hills. I’d also like to do a sequel for my latest non-fiction book, which came out last year— Gaze Into Heaven—Near Death Experiences in Early Church History.
“It’s hard to believe she’s gone,” Kristen said dolefully. “When I moved here, I thought I’d have years with Grandma. She was always so active—I thought she’d keep going for years.”
“And all the time, her heart was getting weaker,” Trent said glumly.
Walter commented, “The last time I saw her, Blanche said the doctor told her she had the constitution of a mule.”
There were a few smiles at this, but Martha’s brow furrowed in confusion. “But Mom’s death didn’t have anything to do with how healthy she was.”
“What are you talking about?” Trent’s impatient voice billowed out and filled the small room.
Martha squirmed but fluttered on, “Well, after what Mom said when she came to visit me, you know—about how something wrong was going on in the company—I worried that something might happen.”
Her response reverberated around the room. Everyone went very still—as if they were holding their breath.
Martha’s eyes went from one to another. “I didn’t mean—oh, I shouldn’t have said anything,” she stammered. Her voice was pure distress. “It’s just that . . . well, we’re all family here, so it’s okay, isn’t it? I mean, no one else knows.”
“No one else knows what?” Trent said brusquely.
Visibly flustered, Martha’s hands twisted in her lap. “And . . . and Mother was very old and—and the police haven’t even come, have they?”
Erica wondered what Martha could be getting at. Everyone darted quizzical looks at each other, trying to make sense out of Martha’s confused chirruping.
After meeting blank looks all around, Martha blurted, “I mean, that’s good . . . isn’t it? For the family?”
The room remained deadly silent as Martha’s cheeks flamed red.
There was a rumble as Walter cleared his throat. “Why would the police come?”
“Why, to arrest someone.” Martha sounded surprised—as if he had asked something that was completely and absolutely self-evident. She stared at Walter, as if he and he alone could straighten everything out. “Isn’t that why they’re doing an autopsy? I mean, don’t they always do an autopsy when someone has been murdered?”
Thanks to the publisher and author I have one copy to giveaway!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
ABOUT THE BOOK
As followers of Christ, our desire is to become like Him. In fact, we have been commanded to do so. But how?
In Power to Become, Elder David A. Bednar explores how the Savior makes possible His divine commission, "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect" (3 Nephi 12:48).
Chapters in this thought-provoking book highlight the importance of the Atonement, the spiritual gift of personal peace, the importance of priesthood ordinances, and the responsibility we have to obey willingly and endure valiantly.
"As we increase in learning about the Savior and His gospel," Elder Bednar writes, "as we strive with ever greater consistency to act in His doctrine, ordinances, and covenants, then we are blessed with power through His Atonement to increasingly become like Him." Power to Become introduces vital tools we all can use to invite these eternally significant blessings into our lives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ELDER DAVID A. BEDNAR was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2004. Prior to his call, he had served as an Area Seventy, regional representative, stake president, and bishop. He served a mission to southern Germany and then attended Brigham Young University, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He received a PhD in organizational behavior from Purdue University and was a professor of business management at Texas Tech University and the University of Arkansas. Elder Bednar served as the president of BYU-Idaho from 1997 to 2004. His previously published books include the bestsellers Increase in Learning and Act in Doctrine. He and his wife, Susan, are the parents of three sons.
One of the things I love about Elder Bednar is his careful precision in everything he says. When I read his words I know that each word has been carefully thought out and applied. This book is a follow up to his previous books, Increasing in Learning and Act in Doctrine. In this book, Elder Bednar highlights the importance of continuing the journey to perfection by increasing in learning, acting in doctrine in order to receive the 'power to become' like our Savior through the Atonement. I really liked that the book is set up to be used, meaning written in, there is room in the margins specifically for taking notes with questions and references at the end of each chapter along with room to write one's findings and feelings and thoughts. This is truly a book to be studied along with the scriptures and other references that are abundant. There are also discussion videos that can be accessed through the codes in the book or through YouTube. Truly a wonderful book and one I can highly, highly recommend.
) ) )
Thursday, March 6, 2014
ABOUT THE BOOK
Through a series of dreams and delusions, Curtis Hansen becomes convinced that he and his wife, Pauline, are part of an intricate game devised for the entertainment of wealthy onlookers. To win, the couple must stay together despite a series of temptations and trials designed to break up their marriage. After playing “The Game” with Curtis for nine arduous years, Pauline makes a shocking discovery. Read the riveting, true account of her decade in the dark and her return to reality after Curtis is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Pauline Hansen grew up in a tiny town where she went everywhere barefoot, played in the ditch, and anticipated the arrival of the bookmobile every two weeks. Her love of reading led her to dream of someday becoming an author. In addition to reading and writing, Pauline enjoys traveling, spring cleaning, cooking, organizing, and spending time with her family. After nearly twenty-five years living in the city, she now resides once again in her tiny hometown in southern Utah with her husband, three of their five children, and two cats. Patchwork Reality is her first publication.
Relationships can be very complicated. Add mental illness to the mix and things can become really difficult especially when one doesn't know that mental illness is the underlying problem. In Patchwork Reality, Pauline Hansen tells the story of her experience of living with her husband for ten years before discovering that he had an undiagnosed mental illness: paranoid schizophrenia. Suddenly all sorts of strange behavior had an explanation, but for 10 years she struggled to maintain a good relationship with a husband who maintained that they were part of a 'game' that involved others 'testing' their relationship. I spent a lot of time while reading this book empathizing with Pauline and her family as they struggled to deal with the strange things that her husband kept saying and doing. I admired how honest she is about her own mistakes and the struggles her family has had. I'm sure there are many other families out there who have had similar struggles. I can see this book providing comfort to those who face such difficult times. I appreciate her willingness to share such a difficult story and yet the love she and her husband have for each other helped them survive and continue to deal with the challenges of mental illness. Highly recommended.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
ABOUT THE BOOK
Katie Macauley gave up her lifelong dream of returning to Ireland in order to make a home for herself in Hope Springs, Wyoming, but her future has never been so uncertain.
Katie’s heart still remains sharply divided between playful Tavish and steady Joseph, though she feels ill-prepared to make a decision. Furthermore, the town is more divided than ever with both the Irish and the Reds stealing property, burning buildings, and endangering lives. In the midst of the growing unrest, temperatures drop quickly, too quickly, and Irish nightmares of famine and cold resurface as the little Wyoming town struggles to beat the harsh winter.
Katie makes one sacrifice after another to keep the peace and help see her loved ones through the difficult days ahead, but will her efforts be enough? Can the town make amends before their hatred consumes them all? And will Katie find the love she has been searching for as well as a home to call her own?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah M. Eden read her first Jane Austen novel in elementary school and has been an Austen addict ever since. Fascinated by the English Regency era, Eden became a regular in that section of the reference department at her local library, where she painstakingly researched this extraordinary chapter in history. Eden is an award-winning author of short stories and was a Whitney Award finalist for her novels Seeking Persephone and Courting Miss Lancaster. Visit her at www.sarahmeden.com.
Longing for Home is one of my all time favorite stories (it's a two book set). I love the characters, the setting, and the beautifully told, if rather heart-breaking at times story. I found myself loving Katie from the very first page with her determination, courage, and kind heart masked behind her prickly facade. A facade developed over years of being on her own working as a servant from the age of 8-years-old. She blames herself for her estrangement from her family and wants desperately to return to Ireland to fix things, but first she must earn the money she needs to do so. And that brings her to Hope Springs, a town that unfortunately is having a hard time living up to its name. The town is sharply divided between the Irish and their neighbors and Katie inadvertently stokes the already simmering tensions. And with two good men seeking to win her heart, Katie has her work cut out for her.
In book 2, Katie having chosen to remain in Hope Springs finds herself desperately trying to stop the conflict between the townspeople from exploding into all out war, but finds that circumstances have moved far beyond her control. With a heart torn between Tavish, the Irish farmer, and Joseph, the wealthy landowner, she wonders if she will ever find a place to truly call home.
I confess that I found the historical aspects of this novel heartbreaking, the anger and the hatred expressed through violence and confrontation with most people simply wanting to be able to live their lives. The relationships that Katie develops I really enjoyed reading about as she learns to care about others and let them care about her. I found myself quite torn between the two love interests, both good men with their own strengths and weaknesses. But of course, Katie can't choose both and so choose she does. I confess I was wrong about who she ended up with, but I think in the end she ended up with the man she fits with best, certainly the one she loves the best.
A wonderful series that is one of my all time favorite series and one I can thoroughly and heartily recommend to readers who enjoy historical fiction with a strong dose of romance but also so much more. Sarah Eden is truly a magician in creating stories that remain in your heart long after the book is closed.