Thursday, February 23, 2017

LDS NONFICTION: Wagons West: Brigham Young and the First Pioneers by Richard E. Turley Jr. & Lael Littke


ABOUT THE BOOK

This simple, clear retelling of the Saints' trek west will help both young and old experience what life was like in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1844 after their beloved Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed.

Hurry with the Saints as they rush to complete their temple while also building wagons and packing supplies for the long journey west. Go with them as they cross the wide Mississippi River and trudge through the mud of Iowa.

Experience their disappointment that they cannot reach the Rocky Mountains before winter comes again, but share their faith that they are being led by a prophet of God. Rejoice with them when spring returns and the first company of pioneers sets out from Winter Quarters.

Look with them in awe at vast herds of shaggy buffalo on the Great Plains. Finally, after crossing the last mountain pass into the Salt Lake Valley, thrill with the Saints that they have reached their new home.

Vintage photos and other engaging illustrations help bring these stories to life in Wagons West: Brigham Young and the First Pioneers.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lael Littke is the author of more than forty books in both the national and LDS markets. Most of her books are written for children and young adults, including Haunted Sister, Lake of Secrets and Searching for Selene She co-authored Stories from the Life of Joseph Smith with Richard E. Turley, Jr. She also has four women's novels to her credit: Keepers of Blackbird Hill as well as Almost Sisters, Three Tickets to Peoria, and Surprise Packages, co-authored with Carroll Morris and Nancy Anderson. A native of Mink Creek, Idaho, she graduated from Utah State University and did further studies in writing at City College of New York, Pasadena City College, and UCLA. She has taught writing courses at UCLA and Pasadena City College for nearly ten years. Lael lives in Pasadena, California.

Richard E. Turley, Jr., Assistant Church Historian and Recorder for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a member of the editorial board of the Church Historian's Press, which publishes The Joseph Smith Papers and other highly-acclaimed works of Church history. He is the author or co-author of several books, including How We Got the Book of Mormon and How We Got the Doctrine and Covenants, with William W. Slaughter; Massacre at Mountain Meadows, with Ronald W. Walker and Glen M. Leonard; Stories from the Life of Joseph Smith, with Lael Littke; and Victims: The LDS Church and the Mark Hofmann Case. In addition, he is the coeditor of the series Women of Faith in the Latter Days, with Brittany A. Chapman, and general editor of the print volumes of The Journals of George Q. Cannon. He and his wife, Shirley, live in Salt Lake City, Utah.

REVIEW

The story of the first Mormon pioneers to reach Utah makes for great reading.  This book is intended for younger readers and it works very well in that regard.  The text is very readable, divided up into chapters by stages of the journey.  I appreciated having a map to follow as the journey progressed.  This is some fine narrative nonfiction.  The inclusion of photographs as well as illustrations of paintings and other artifacts helped bring the story to life.  Another thing I appreciated was the inclusion of the bad with the good.  As Saints and pioneers, it's easy to idolize these people and forget that they were human just as we are.  Stories of complaining and disagreements, mistakes made, and some plain just rotten days make this story and the people who were a part of it, easier to relate to.  And in the end it makes their accomplishments all the more admirable because they had to overcome their own weaknesses as well as the challenges of the journey.  With a story like this one, it's easy to become overly generic, but the authors do a good job of integrating individual accounts and experiences into the main narration, giving the reader a peek into specific moments of the journey.  For those who hope to help their children understand the purposes and experiences related to this part of Church history, I can highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: One Fell Down by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Mikaela York opens an anonymous blue sympathy card with the nursery rhyme "Jack and Jill" written inside, she doesn't know what to make of it. But soon after, Mikaela and her fiance are in a tragic car accident, resulting in her husband-to-be's death. Then when Mikaela's grandmother loses her life in a hiking accident one year later, an old man gives Mikaela another mysterious blue card at the funeral.

After the service, Mikaela's grandfather asks that she oversee the renovations on his bed & breakfast in New Zealand. When she arrives, Mikaela meets Tui Davies—the inn's manager—and Brentin Williams, the man Tui expects her daughter to marry. Tui helps Mikaela retrieve a doll from the cellar vault, but the doll turns out to be an evil omen that Mikaela is told she must get rid of before someone is murdered.

Meanwhile, the old man from the funeral is bent on revenge and is plotting against everyone who has ever wronged him, and Mikaela is next in line. But until she discovers the killer's contact in New Zealand, who can she trust? And while Brentin attempts to help Mikaela overcome her grief, she must decide—is she ready to love again?

REVIEW

A great location? Check.  Interesting cultural mystery? Check. Sympathetic characters? Check.  This book has all three of those things.  The fact that a good chunk of the story takes place in a country I've long wanted to see certainly didn't hurt anything, neither did the cultural aspects of the story.  Of course, ultimately the murderer(s) are responsible for the choices they make no matter their beliefs, but it added an interesting note to the story.  Mikaela is a sympathetic character from the beginning since she loses her fiance and grandmother in the first three chapters.  And naturally she's not eager to fall in love again.  An interesting read for those who love romance with their suspense.

GIVEAWAY

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Friday, February 17, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Love Remains by Sarah M. Eden

Coming September 5, 2017!


From the USA Today Bestselling author of the Longing for Home series, LOVE REMAINS is a new romance novel set in the beloved world of Hope Springs.

Cecily faces a dark, uncertain future. Tavish is haunted by his painful, anguished past. Fate has brought them together in a world determined to tear them apart.

 


I am really excited to read this book!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Breach of Trust by Kathi Oram Peterson


ABOUT THE BOOK

Lieutenant Commander Cooper Lane has so much to live for. With a loving husband and beautiful baby girl waiting for her back home, she is anxious to finish her mission in Afghanistan and return to her family. But in a split second, her world shatters. Her helicopter is going down in that hostile country, and there will be no survivors.

Four years later ...

On a covert mission in an Afghan village, Navy SEAL Axe Talbot finds something no one ever expected: Lieutenant Cooper Lane—alive. Cooper survived the crash that killed her team and has been hiding behind enemy lines for four years. It's the woman he's been looking for and dreaming about for so long.

After her rescue, Cooper is not sure she can survive the reality waiting for her back home—when she disappeared and was pronounced dead, her husband married her best friend. Cooper is lost, but her troubles are just beginning. in one horror-filled moment, her former husband is murdered before her eyes, and Cooper becomes the prime suspect. Now she must embark on one last mission to clear her name. And there are only two people she trusts to help her: her father and Axe, the SEAL who rescued her. Cooper and Axe take off, and together the makeshift team uncovers a trail of mysterious deaths that leads to unimaginable danger.

REVIEW

This book works as suspense on so many levels.  Cooper makes a great sympathetic main character as she starts the story having survived so much already.  Getting shot down in her helicopter, hiding for four years, barely getting rescued, and now she's being framed for murder.  But she's got her father and a Navy SEAL on her side, as well as the determination to prove herself innocent so she can see the daughter she hasn't seen in four years.  Working together in the brief time they have together, it soon becomes apparent that there is a conspiracy at play and if the;y don't get to the bottom of it, both Cooper and Axe could pay with their lives.  Peterson has done a nice job creating an interesting scenario with both great characters and obstacles galore.  I enjoyed reading the story and how Cooper and Axe fall in love along the way.  It's clear the author worked hard to get the military and other details right, which I always appreciate as it makes the book more believable.

GIVEAWAY


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Friday, February 10, 2017

CD REVIEW: Higher by Nathan Pacheco



ABOUT THE CD

Award-winning tenor Nathan Pacheco has toured the world featured alongside world-class artists such as Yanni, Katherine Jenkins, and Placido Domingo. In all of his travels across South America, through Europe and Asia, and across America, Nathan often includes spiritually rooted and uplifting songs in his repertoire. This album is a collection of his favorite songs that connect with those spiritual moments from his performances across the world. These songs take the listener on a beautiful journey with classic hymns such as "Be Thou My Vision," soaring Italian epics like "Nella Fantasia," and modern classics such as "Forever," by Kari Jobe. Performing with intimate acoustic backing and often featuring piano and cello, Nathan's desire with this album is to help people reach higher, to feel deeper spiritual connection, and to find peace through songs that lift the soul.
Track List
1. Forever
2. Be Thou My Vision
3. The Lord’s Prayer
4. His Love
5. Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
6. Come As You Are
7. Sonda-Me, Usa-Me
8. In Christ Alone
9. Through All My Days
10. How Great Thou Art
11. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
12. Nella Fantasia

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Nathan Pacheco is a classically trained tenor who has a passion for reaching out and uplifting people through music. In addition to being a television and recording artist, Nathan completed his debut solo tour in 2013. He has been featured globally in live performances, including touring the United States, Canada, and Mexico with Yanni; performing with Latin singing sensation Olga Tañon; touring England, Scotland, and Wales with Katherine Jenkins and the National Symphony Orchestra; performing for Prince Charles in conjunction with the British Forces Foundation and the USO; and performing with the San Diego Symphony. Introducing Nathan Pacheco and Christmas with Nathan Pacheco began airing on PBS in 2012. Nathan has also been featured prominently in broadcasts with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Katherine Jenkins, and Yanni. He has been featured on multiple Yanni recordings, including his latest album, Inspirato, on which Nathan was featured alongside Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, and other opera stars. Nathan’s debut album was released in 2012 by Disney Pearl. Shortly after its release, it registered as one of the top purchased classical/crossover discs on iTunes and Amazon. His latest album, Higher, will be released on February 10, 2017.

TO PURCHASE

iTunes
Amazon
Deseret Book 

#NathanPachecoHigher

REVIEW

Oh, my goodness!  What a voice!  I absolutely loved this album.  Not only does Pacheco have a gorgeous voice but the music was beautiful and the arrangements amazing.  I was previously familiar with some of these songs, such as His Love, which I remember from my Especially for Youth experience many years ago, also How Great Thou Art and Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing are old favorites of mine.  But the arrangements are new and clearly perfect for Pacheco's voice.  I literally got chills listening to this.  I can safely say that this is now a favorite album and will be listened to many times in the future. I highly recommend that if you enjoy spiritually touching music that you check this one out.

MUSIC VIDEO

Thursday, February 9, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: An Inconvenient Romance by Chalon Linton


ABOUT THE BOOK

The countryside of England provided an idyllic backdrop for Charles Brumley’s and Leah Hastings’s childhood. Neighbors and best friends, the pair passed many happy days racing through the rolling hills of Derbyshire. Everything was perfect—until Charles ruined it all and abandoned Leah for university. Six years later, the former friends are thrust into each other’s paths once more. Leah had been looking forward to the ball, an opportunity to further her acquaintance with the handsome Mr. Wilkins—but when she sees Charles’s familiar face through the crowd, her traitorous heart leaps. Charles faces his own struggle: he has loved Leah since he was fifteen years old, yet it seems he is too late—it appears that her affections are otherwise engaged. As the pair tentatively renews their friendship, the spark between them is undeniable. After so many years apart, Leah endeavors to reconcile her feelings toward her once cherished companion. But when a conniving rival for Charles’s attention approaches Leah, the threat is clear: give up her association with Charles or a devastating secret about her family will be revealed. Faced with an impossible decision, Leah must make a choice—the ruin of her family or the ruin of her heart?

REVIEW


While the writing of this book was a smidgen over the top, with some awkward phrasing here and there, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the story.  Leah and Charles are both appealing characters and it was interesting seeing things from both points of view.  I enjoyed following along as Leah and Charles struggled to deal with their changing relationship.  I have to admit though that I was seriously irritated with Mrs. Ansley and her interference with Charles and Leah's relationship.  And both Leah and Charles made me roll my eyes on occasion with their assumptions and foolishness.  But then again, real life can be like that too.  In any case, Linton pulled me right into her characters lives and I couldn't put the book down until I finished.

GIVEAWAY

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Monday, February 6, 2017

LDS BOOK REVIEW: How We Got the Doctrine and Covenants by Richard E. Turley Jr. and William W. Slaughter


ABOUT THE BOOK

"The Lord has bestowed a great blessing upon us in giving commandments and revelations," taught Joseph Smith at a Church conference in 1831. Later, the members voted that the revelations were "worth to the Church the riches of the whole Earth."

Yet today many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know little about how these revelations came to be. Fewer still have seen the precious early manuscripts of the revelations or the early editions of the Doctrine and Covenants and its predecessor, A Book of Commandments.
How We Got the Doctrine and Covenants tells the story of this vital book of scripture, tracing each important step in accurate but easy-to-read language. It is richly illustrated with fine photographs of rarely seen manuscripts and books, as well as of the people who sacrificed to help preserve and publish the revelations.

Authors Richard E. Turley Jr. and William W. Slaughter detail the changes, additions, and refinements that occurred with each successive edition of this standard work. The story begins even before Joseph Smith's First Vision and tells how the revelations were reduced to writing, circulated as manuscripts, and published despite mob violence, eventually penetrating the world as prophesied.

How We Got the Doctrine and Covenants will help you come to know that revelation is not just an event. It is part of a continuing process of unfolding God's will and word "line upon line" and "precept upon precept," according to the needs of his people in each generation.

REVIEW

This beautiful book describes the compilation and publication of the book known to people of the LDS or Mormon faith as the Doctrine and Covenants.  But it wasn't originally called that and only through the inspiration and guidance of the Lord did the book come to be at all.  It was fascinating to me to read about how the book came to be and the changes that have occurred over the years, mostly in terms of formatting and footnotes, but also a few changes in regard to content.  The facsimiles of pages from older editions as well as photographs add to the value of this book.  The design of the book makes it feel like a gift book, but the information contained within makes it so much more.  For those who are interested in finding out more about the history of the Doctrine and Covenants I highly recommend this title.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Witness in the Dark by Lynne Larson


ABOUT THE BOOK


What began as a picture-perfect summer vacation for college student Jenny Brodie has swiftly become a nightmare. When she left home on the back of her horse one sunny morning, she couldn't have imagined what awaited her in the Utah desert. Now the darkness is closing in, and there is no way out.

The woman saw what he did—she witnessed the shots he fired, the murder he committed. But she'll never talk. He's made sure of that.

For a man desperate to hide his crimes, the pressure steadily rises as Jenny's community bands together to find the missing young woman. As the searchers grow ever closer to discovering what he has hidden, so too does his desperation. he will stop at nothing to keep the woman hidden—but he has underestimated the second witness to his evil deeds: a young girl determined to protect Jenny. As the trail runs cold, will help come for Jenny before time runs out?

REVIEW

After Jen Brodie rides out to visit a troubled little girl, she gets more than she bargained for when she witnesses the girl's father murder someone.  When's she's caught trying to escape and tossed into an old mine, her only hope is that little girl who happens to be mute.  Can Jen's family and friends find her before it's too late?  Can she hang on that long?  The story is told through flashbacks at the beginning as Jen reflects on how she ended up in her current situation.  The story then shifts to Jen's family and friends as they search desperately for her.  This is an interesting read when just enough suspense to keep you turning the pages.  I didn't get as involved with the characters as maybe I would have liked, but it was still a nice read.  I found it interesting to follow along as the sheriff and others do everything in their power to locate Jen while all the time a young, neglected young girl holds all the answers.

GIVEAWAY

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TOUR SCHEDULE

 
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