Wednesday, August 15, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Anna the Prophetess by H.B. Moore


ABOUT THE BOOK

Anna the Prophetess is the dramatic chronicle of the only woman to be called prophetess in the Gospels. When Anna's great-niece Julia is exiled to Jerusalem as punishment for her refusal to marry a man old enough to be her father, Anna shares the story of her early days of courtship with her husband. Although Julia's parents admonished her to observe firsthand how lonely Anna's life is, Julia instead discovers that her great-aunt's life is far from lonely—it is full of love, peace, and incredible faith.

As Anna shares her unwavering testimony of the coming Messiah with her great-niece, these two faithful women are changed forever as they seek the Lord's will in their lives and joyfully witness the long-awaited miracles of Christ's birth.

REVIEW

I totally forgot about this blog tour so I haven't read the book yet.  But I'm looking forward to it.  Moore's biblical fiction is excellent.

GIVEAWAY

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: The Roses of Feldstone by Esther Hatch


ABOUT THE BOOK

Standing before Feldstone Manor, site of so many happy memories, Rose Davenport feels nothing but dread. Her family's annual visit to the stately home was once brightened by her friendship with the earl's youngest son, William, but everything changed the day his elder brother was disinherited and William became heir to his father's earldom. From that moment, William made it clear he has no interest in continuing an acquaintance with Rose. Heartbroken, she sets out to prove that she will simply not be ignored—or outdone—by the arrogant future lord of the manor.

When his elder brother marries for love, William's entire life changes in an instant. He does not have the same option to marry whom he chooses, and he must let go of the feelings he has harbored for his dear friend Rose. He steels himself against her annual visits, determined to keep his feelings for her a secret. But when he makes the hasty promise to marry within six months, he never dreams that his actions will lead Rose to impulsively undertake the same challenge.

REVIEW

I'll say right out that I loved this story so much that I read it all in one sitting.  I had to find out what happened between Rose and William.  Rose's spirit and determination made her easy to root for.  And while the story is told from Rose's point of view, it's clear that something is very wrong with William and so I felt empathy for him too.  My favorite parts though were their interactions.  It's clear that they care for each other but some pretty big misunderstandings stand in the way.   I truly loved the ending as it made me smile the whole way through as Rose and William attempt one final time to settle their differences/misunderstandings.  Hatch has written an entertaining and enjoyable book, one that I can highly recommend.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

BOOK SPOTLIGHT and REVIEW: The Golden Plates #1: Escape from Jerusalem by Michael Allred & Andrew Knaupp


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Golden Plates #1: Premium Edition-Escape From Jerusalem is the first issue of an adaptation of the fifth best selling book of all time, The Book of Mormon, which has sold over 120 million copies. This graphic novel/comic book adaptation was first illustrated in 2005 by award winning artist Michael Allred. Issue #1 includes: 29 full color pages as well as 4 pages of commentary from Michael Allred on what inspired him to step out of his successful career in the comic book industry to create the series. His decision to leave high paying jobs for almost a year to create The Golden Plates was hailed as “the biggest announcement in Mormon comics ever.” Allred described his work on The Golden Plates as “the most significant thing I’ll ever be a part of” and “by far my most personal work ever...this is something I simply had to do.” “Anyone interested in stories about human beings rising to their highest and most heroic potential will find that here...I’ve never been more alive with drawing anything in my life.”


The first 6 issues cover the first 145 pages (27%) of the Book of Mormon, from 1st Nephi through the Words of Mormon. This adaptation is a fun and enthralling to way to help older children and teens understand and enjoy the Book of Mormon in a format more advanced than simplified children's stories or scripture readers meant for young children.

REVIEW

I have mixed feelings about this short comic version of a part of The Book of Mormon.  I believe firmly that The Book of Mormon is a book of scripture revealed by God to the world for our benefit.  As such, the book is full of spiritual truths and insights about our Heavenly Father's plan for each of His children as well as numerous testimonies of the divinity of Jesus Christ.  The book is also full of stories of peoples who've lived before and their righteousness and wickedness.  It's clear from what I've read in the book that the authors and illustrator had good intentions as they created this adaptation.  The intention is clearly to provide a visual version of the stories told in The Book of Mormon.  The problem with illustrating a book that is believed to be true and is full of spiritual doctrine is creating pictures that are consistent with what we know and remaining true to what's revealed while filling in details that are not included.  While I believe that much of the first book (I haven't read the other books in the series) is well done, there were a few things I didn't agree with in terms of the way certain things were depicted. 

The things I liked include the following:

  • the illustrations are bright and appealing.
  • the stories are fairly consistent with what's in The Book of Mormon.
  • the faith and struggles of the people are clear.
  • the illustrator has clearly tried to be as consistent with clothing and buildings and other details as it's possible to be.  He has clearly done his research.
The thing I had trouble with is the way some of the personal revelations that Nephi received were depicted as well as the angel that Nephi and his brothers saw when they returned to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plates/records from Laban.  The angel is portrayed in white robes with white hair, which I have no problem with.  The problem I have is the white glowing eyes and the windblown hair which makes the angel seem more like a ghost than an angel.  It makes him seem kind of creepy instead of powerful.  In addition to that, there is one occasion where Nephi receives revelation from the Lord but the revelation comes through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, not through the appearance of an angel.  The illustrator has chosen to depict this by showing what is either supposed to be an angel or a depiction of the Holy Ghost.  That isn't accurate.  I would have preferred that Nephi just explain what he was commanded to do.

The other thing of concern is the use of invented dialogue.  This isn't unusual in graphic novel adaptations and in most cases I wouldn't be too concerned.  But when the content is supposed to be nonfiction or factual, invented dialogue adds an element of fiction, because we don't know what was actually said.  The dialogue though is clearly based on what is said in The Book of Mormon.  

Overall, the book is well done, but there are a couple of issues.  That doesn't mean however that the things that bothered me will bother everyone.  If that is the case you may enjoy reading this book.  I do recommend that you read the author's notes at the end about his reasons for the project and his thoughts and feelings about the source, The Book of Mormon.  Above all though I recommend that you go to the original source, The Book of Mormon, there is simply no adequate substitution.


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WHAT ARE THE GOLDEN PLATES? VIDEO



Thursday, July 19, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: The Matchmaker's Match by Brittany Larsen


ABOUT THE BOOK

Eliza Woodhouse has everything a girl could want: a delightful little beachside flower shop, a loving family, and the best friend a girl could ask for. And while she suffers a chronic lack of romance in her own life, the bohemian beauty is a self-proclaimed matchmaker extraordinaire, as evidenced by her recent successes. Having found a fiancé for her sister and a boyfriend for her best friend, she is now taking her lovelorn new employee under her wing. Yes, life is working out quite nicely for Eliza. Until Parker Knightley walks back into her life.

After three years in Hong Kong, Parker is in town for his brother’s upcoming wedding to Eliza’s sister. They’ve all known each other their whole lives, and Eliza will never be anything but Little Liza Belle to her handsome childhood tormenter. So the fact that their siblings are getting married simply puts Parker one step closer to becoming the big brother he and Eliza have always joked about him being. But the more time they spend together, the more confused Eliza’s feelings become. Because she has come to the shocking realization that the role of brother is the last role she wants Parker to play in her life.

REVIEW

This is a cute contemporary retelling of Emma by Jane Austen.  Eliza Woodhouse has helped both her sister and best friend find matches.  This has gone to her head a little bit and she decides to 'help' a new young lady named Hailey find her future.  She offers her a job in her flower shop and encourages her to go to college and move away from past interests.  Eliza, herself, has no interest in marriage at least not until her old friend, Parker Knightley returns home.  She's considered Parker a brother in the past, but things seem different this time around.  Things get complicated though as she works to help her best friend Taylor with her wedding plans, and take care of her homebound father.  And Parker seems to feel it's his job to criticize her efforts to help Hailey.  Eliza must sort through her own emotions to sort out her motivations for helping Hailey, and her feelings for Parker.  Eliza is a sweet character, a little less annoying than the original heroine, whose motives are pure, if misplaced.  It was fun to watch her relationship with Parker develop as they both come to recognize their feelings.

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Monday, June 18, 2018

BLOG TOUR: The Heart of Thornewell by Anita Stansfield


ABOUT THE BOOK

What should have been a grand adventure in Africa ends in heartbreak for Enid Hawthorne, following her husband's untimely death. Bereft, the young widow bravely boards a ship for home with precious cargo—her unborn child. She hopes to find refuge in England in the only place she can—Thornewell Hall, the estate of her late husband's family. But upon her arrival, she finds a bleak home in the depths of mourning. It is clear that hers is not the only tragedy, but Enid is unprepared for the hostility that meets her arrival.

Sebastian, Earl of Thornewell, is grief-stricken following the loss of his wife and child. The news that his brother is dead is simply more than he can take—and he knows who is to blame: his sister-in-law, Enid. So when she arrives on his doorstep, seeking asylum, he does his duty in allowing her to stay—and nothing more. Yet fate has other plans, and as they face joys and trials alongside each other, their broken hearts begin to heal. But there is a cloud over their future, for Enid harbors a secret that may drive them apart forever.

REVIEW

Anita Stansfield has a gift for writing stories full of emotion.  The characters in this book certainly experience a wide range of emotions.  Enid Hawthorne is a young, pregnant missionary's wife who has just lost her husband to disease.  But she has no time to grieve as she must make her way back to England from Africa.  She's not sure her husband's brother, the Earl of Thornewell will welcome her, he didn't like her before, but she has no where else to go as her own family disowned her years before.  But she isn't prepared for what she finds.  Thornewell is full of grief as well as the mistress died after childbirth just a few months earlier.

But grief is just the beginning of the roller coaster of emotions that both Enid and Sebastian, the Earl of Thornewell experience as they both struggle to cope with the loss of their spouses.  There is blame and anger and confusion.  Neither intended to fall in love with the other but they can't help themselves, but Sebastian's stubborn determination to blame Enid for his brother's death (without hearing about what happened) puts a wall between them that may not be climbable.

I enjoyed reading this, but frankly there were a number of occasions when I seriously wanted to let Sebastian have it because he was being so unfair and unkind to Enid.  I cheered Enid on when she stood up for herself and refused to let Sebastian get away with his behavior.  Stansfield has written another tender love story that takes both the characters and the reader on a journey through the challenges of life.

TOUR SCHEDULE



Thursday, June 7, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Loving Lieutenant Lancaster by Sarah M. Eden


ABOUT THE BOOK

Orphaned as a child, Arabella Hampton was the unwanted and unloved charge of a cruel aunt and neglectful uncle. The only light in her young life was the kindness of the Jonquil family, and she clung to the childish dream of someday living with them at Lampton Park. Now, years later, that opportunity is presented to Arabella in a most unexpected way: she is to be the lady’s companion to the dowager countess. As she takes up residence at the estate, the young woman soon finds that life at the Park is far more complicated than she imagined. The lines of her position are blurred, and she is neither family nor servant. So when the countess plans a grand house party, Arabella is content to hide in the shadows. But one gentleman sees her there.

Lieutenant Linus Lancaster has retired from the navy and is not looking for love, especially when he finds himself entangled in his sisters’ scheme to trap him into finding a wife at a house party at Lampton Park. Yet amid the festivities, he’s impossibly drawn to the dowager’s quiet companion, Arabella. Their regard for each other is undeniable, but they are haunted by their pasts. Can the two find a way to bridge their worlds?

REVIEW

As always, I was thrilled to read this new Sarah Eden book.  I've really developed an attachment to the Lancaster and Jonquil families and for the two to come together in this book made me really want to read the book.  And I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  This story revolves around the romance between Linus Lancaster (the brother of Persephone, Athena, and Daphne), recently retired naval officer, and Arabella Hampton, the Dowager Lady Lampton's new companion.  Arabella grew up next door to the Jonquils and thought of the Jonquil brothers' father as her own after she was orphaned.  The poor treatment she received from her own relatives lead her to want to be part of the Jonquil family.  After her father figure died, Arabella's hope for a better life faded a bit, until she's asked to be the companion to the Dowager Lady Lampton.  But she's not sure what her position in the family is and so does her best to stay quietly out of the way.

But when Linus arrives with his sister, the Duchess of Kielder and the rest of his relatives for a house party hosted by the current Lord Lampton (Philip Jonquil), he notices Arabella despite her efforts to remain in the background.  Linus is struggling himself to discover where he belongs in relation to his family and his newfound role as the male head of the family and the family's Shropshire holdings.  He's still grieving the loss of his older brother, Evander and is reluctant to become a landowner. 

As Linus and Arabella get to know each other, they find comfort in the other's kindness and understanding.  And a growing affection between the two interferes with Linus's sister's matchmaking plans.  Additionally, Linus has been asked to help keep the Dangerous Duke of Kielder from injuring their host, Lord Lampton, so Linus has plenty to keep him busy.  Especially when sickness invades the household, and Arabella's relatives arrive to torment her.

I enjoyed all the different aspects of the story.  Not least of which was getting to know Linus and Arabella.  But I was also thrilled to meet up with characters from the past that I love.  I found the interactions between Lord Lampton and the Duke of Kielder particularly entertaining (especially since Philip is deliberately going out of his way to annoy the Duke).  There are also hints about future stories that I found intriguing.  I can't wait to read future stories about both these families.

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Scarlet by Jen Geigle Johnson


ABOUT THE BOOK

The roads in and out of Paris are heavily guarded, but the dead have easy passage out of the city. A ragged old woman transports the coffins of the most recent victims of the guillotine and is waved on unimpeded. Later, the same crone watches five French aristocrats step out of the coffins unscathed. not beheaded, but spirited away to safety by that most elusive of spies: the Pimpernel. Or, as she's known in polite society, Lady Scarlet Cavendish.

When not assuming her secret identity as a hero of the French Revolution, Scarlet presents herself as a fashionable, featherbrained young widow flitting about London. In truth, this facade is merely a diversion designed to conceal her clandestine work in France. Among members of the doomed French aristocracy, the Pimpernel is renowned for her bravery and cunning. But when tasked with rescuing handsome Comte Matteo Durand, she faces an unprecedented challenge: she is falling in love with the man. If ever there was a time to keep her head, it is now—because in a world brimming with intrigue, she is not the only one harboring secrets. And if Scarlet doesn't take care, Madame la Guillotine may finally catch up with the Pimpernel...

REVIEW

The Scarlet Pimpernel has long been one of my favorite books.  The cleverness of the main character as well as his courage make him someone I can easily cheer for, not so much Marguerite at first but she too proves herself.  This book takes the original story and flip flops it so that the Pimpernel is a woman with a painful past determined to make up for that past by saving as many lives from Madame la Guillotine as possible.  Falling in love doesn't come into her plans anywhere, but life doesn't follow even the best laid plans.  And Lady Scarlet must decide if she can trust her heart or only her cunning in her most daring plan of all: rescuing Marie Antoinette, former Queen of France.
Johnson has done a fine job here, keeping some of the fun details from the original story while adding her own personal touch in the characters and plot twists.

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Everything She Wants by Sarah Alva


ABOUT THE BOOK

Lucy Kappal can't figure out why she doesn't want to marry her sometimes-boyfriend, Charles. After all, he's perfect on paper: a returned missionary, elders quorum president, a professor at BYU. Instead of giving Charles an answer to his unexpected marriage proposal, she boards the next flight to London only to fall at the feet of the handsome pilot. The encounter leaves her heart pounding in a way it never has with Charles, and she becomes even more smitten when she sees the pilot again at her hotel.

Emerson James in London to deposit the last of his mother's ashes in Kensington Gardens. And after a fifteen-year absence, he is attempting to return to the Church as a way to find peace with his mother's death. But the Church's culture feels foreign, and he's about to give up on ever becoming a "good Mormon" when he meets Lucy in the hotel lobby.

Lucy and Emerson's new friendship opens their worlds to new possibilities and leaves them wanting more. But Lucy is torn over her feelings for Charles, and Emerson isn't sure how committed he can be to the Church, even knowing how important it is to Lucy. Inevitably, the realities of life force them apart. If given a second chance, will they have the courage to risk everything for a once-in-a-lifetime love?

REVIEW

Coming soon!  Hopefully my life slows down soon as well!

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*May 4th: http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com, http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com


 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Love Unexpected by G.G. Vandagriff

LOVE UNEXPECTED
by G.G. Vandagriff

ABOUT THE BOOK


When the widowed Lady Marianne Deveridge is invited to spend the season in London with her friend Lady Penelope Wellingham, she has no idea that Penny and Beau have another guest: Captain Ernest Saunders, Beau’s brother. Matchmaking is definitely afoot. However, after having been married to wandering explorer, Marianne has no intention of becoming involved with a wandering sea captain.

Her first sight of Captain Saunders in all his robust masculinity brings every one of her senses to attention. She knows then that her resolve will be difficult to keep.

Almost immediately upon making the captain’s acquaintance, Marianne becomes the focus of a mysterious villain who is devising a horse racing fraud. What has she seen to endanger a deadly felon? She has no idea.

Captain Saunders makes it his business to keep Marianne safe, and the two of them are brought closer by their investigation into the dark side of horse racing. Still, she thinks she is managing to resist his charms.

It is not until her very survival is at stake that she realizes how interwoven their lives have become. Will her heart ever recover once she watches another ship put out to sea?

REVIEW

Coming Soon!

LINKS

Buy link: http://a.co/32STpYz

TOUR SCHEDULE

April 30th - Peggy Urry / Bookworm Lisa
May 1st - Min Reads and Reviews / Literary Time Out (spotlights)
May 4th - The Bibliophile Files / Katie’s Clean Book Collection

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