Saturday, October 10, 2020

Latter-day Saint NONFICTION : Standout Saints by Sierra Wilson



ABOUT THE BOOK

From prophets to pioneers, from songwriters to scientists, Standout Saints: Church History Heroes from Around the World presents the fascinating true stories of twenty women and twenty men from Church history. Each one-page biography describes impressive achievements and shares stories of great faith. Readers will encounter well-known and beloved Saints such as Joseph Smith and Eliza R. Snow along with lesser-known heroes from around the world such as Hu Wei-I, who miraculously translated the Book of Mormon into Chinese, and Mere Mete Whaanga, a prominent Maori woman who helped the Church spread into New Zealand. In addition, Standout Saints includes uplifting quotes, a Church history timeline, and resources for further study.

The courage and faith of these Saints made them stand out from the world, and this educational and inspiring book helps young readers know that they too can stand out.

PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sierra Wilson is a children's author/illustrator living in Alberta, Canada. She wrote The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me and I Can Be Like Jesus as well as several other books for children soon to be released. Before turning to writing, Sierra worked as a high school English and history teacher. She is the daughter of two modern-day pioneers and loves researching about pioneers and faithful heroes of all kinds. When she's not writing, you can find her adventuring with her husband and four children, cross-country skiing, or eating all the chocolate.

Social Media Links:

www.sierrawilsonauthor.com

www.facebook.com/sierrawilsonwrites

@sierra.arts.poems (IG)

@SierraTWilson (Twitter)

www.pinterest.com/sierrasunflower/boards/

REVIEW

This well-written, and beautifully designed book shares the stories of 40 Latter-day Saints.  Each two page spread shares a few paragraphs describing the person and some of his/her experiences along with a beautifully constructed portrait.  Each portrait includes several images related to his/her experiences.  The saints included are both well-known and less well-known, including men and women and individuals from multiple ethnicities.  I appreciated the variety of individuals included in the book, some I knew and some I didn't.  I appreciated the reminder of the faith and courage that these individuals lived throughout their lives.  Not only is this a great read for adults, but a great resource for family home evenings in teaching children about the history of the church and the examples of saints throughout the years.  Recommended.

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY : Forget Me Not by Sarah M. Eden

 
 
ABOUT THE BOOK
 
Nottinghamshire, 1785

Julia Cummings has long been acquainted with loss-her mother, her brother, her sister, her friend, all gone too soon. But the loss that pushed her grief to the limit as a young girl was that of her best friend, Lucas Jonquil, who abandoned her without looking back. Now, eight years later, Lucas has returned to Lampton Park, and Julia has steeled herself-she will never forgive the man who broke her heart.

After losing too many of his friends and family to early deaths, Lucas vowed to live life to the fullest. And after traversing the world, he has returned from his adventures to find his family and home as he left them-except for Julia. The little girl he left behind has blossomed into a captivating lady, a lady who makes it clear she despises him. With little hope of reconciliation, the former friends are blindsided when their parents make a shocking announcement. Lucas and Julia have been betrothed without their knowledge and are to marry immediately. Now Lucas must rely on the help of his closest friends to win the heart of a lady who loathes him-a lady he’s coming to love more deeply every day.

REVIEW

I adore Sarah Eden's Jonquil brothers series.  I've so enjoyed getting to know each of the seven brothers and reading about how they found love.  I look forward to reading Charlie's story. So, I was delighted to pick up this book that tells the story of brothers' parents, Julia (Mater) and Lucas.  I did notice that this one which still containing plenty of humor also has some really serious parts.  Julia and Lucas have a complicated history.  They were once dear friends, but Julia feels like Lucas abandoned her by claiming his inheritance when he did.  After so many broken promises, Julia is reluctant to trust Lucas again.  Lucas, however, has no clue why Julia pushes him away.  Things get even more complicated when their parents insist they get married.  Julia feels betrayed and Lucas has no idea how to fix their relationship. Luckily, the pair has help in the form of Lucas's group of friends known as the Gents.  With the help of these friends, Lucas and Julia manage to rebuild their relationship and find joy in each other once more. Having read the Jonquil boys books, I knew this would happen, but it was enjoyably sweet to read about it happening.  As always, Eden creates her setting, characters, and plot beautifully.  A wonderful start to a series that I have a feeling I will enjoy as much as I have the Jonquil brothers series.
 
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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A HEART OF GOLD BLOG TOUR!

 53168465
 
ABOUT THE BOOK
 
They'll have to conquer more than the Klondike Trail to reach her father in time; they'll have to overcome their past too.

After months of silence from her father in the Klondike, Tava Rutherford finally receives word from him. Only the outdated letter reveals that her father is ill and may be dying. Desperate to discover his fate, Tava resolves to make the journey to the wilds of northwestern Canada. But Jess Lawmen, her ranch foreman and the man who broke her heart, insists she doesn't go alone. Jess intends to keep his promise to look out for her—even if that means traveling thousands of miles with Tava, the woman he claims to feel just friendship for but has never stopped loving.

With their own ragtag group of travelers in tow, Tava and Jess confront one challenge after another as they join the hundreds of stampeders scrambling to reach the goldfields. But as the two of them come face to face with their past hurts and mistakes in their race to reach Tava’s father, they will have to decide whether to cling to safety or risk their hearts for something even greater.
 
REVIEW
 
Henrie has written a tender story of love and forgiveness.  As Tava and Jess make their way north to discover whether her father lives or not, their friendship is put to the test.  As they face a number of challenges, can they find the courage and love to face the hurts of the past in order to find a new future? I quite enjoyed this story about life on the Klondike trail.  The relationships were enjoyable as well.  And I enjoyed reading about Tava and Jess's developing relationship.
 
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Monday, August 24, 2020

A PROPER ROMANCE : The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden


THE LADY AND THE HIGHWAYMAN

by Sarah M. Eden

Shadow Mountain, 2019

ISBN: 9781629726052

Source: ARC from publisher for review

Historical Romance

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girls’ school in 1830s Victorian London. She is also a well-respected author of ”silver-fork” novels, stories written both for and about the upper-class ladies of Victorian society. But by night, she writes very different kinds of stories--the Penny Dreadfuls that are all the rage among the working-class men. Under the pseudonym Charles King, Elizabeth has written about dashing heroes fighting supernatural threats, intelligent detectives solving grisly murders, and dangerous outlaws romancing helpless women. They contain all the adventure and mystery that her real life lacks.

Fletcher Walker began life as a street urchin, but is now the most successful author in the Penny Dreadful market, that is until Charles King started taking all of his readers. No one knows who King is, including Fletcher’s fellow members of the Dread Penny Society, a fraternity of authors dedicated to secretly fighting for the social and political causes of their working-class readers. The group knows King could be an asset with his obvious monetary success, or he could be the group’s undoing as King’s readership continues to cut into their profits.

Determined to find the elusive Mr. King, Fletcher approaches Miss Black. As a fellow-author, she is well-known among the high-class writers; perhaps she could be persuaded to make some inquiries as to Mr. King’s whereabouts? Elizabeth agrees to help Fletcher, if only to insure her secret identity is never discovered. What neither author anticipated was the instant attraction, even though their social positions dictate the impossibility of a relationship.

For the first time Elizabeth experiences the thrill of a cat-and-mouse adventure reminiscent of one of her own novels as she tries to throw Fletcher off her scent. But the more time they spend together, the more she loses her heart. Its upper-class against working-class, author against author where readers, reputations, and romance are all on the line.

REVIEW

Sarah Eden has created another delightful series with enjoyable characters and unusual story lines.  I never get tired of reading her stories.  This book is especially intriguing because of the stories within the story.  Both main characters are writers of penny dreadful stories, the shocking but adventurous stories that the working class loves but which are considered inappropriate and poorly written by the upper classes.  Elizabeth, as the headmistress of a girl's school can't afford to let the world know of her side hobby, it would ruin her reputation, so she runs her school and writes literature for the upper class. 
 
Fletcher Walker on the other hand knows little of the upper class as he grew up as a street urchin, struggling to survive each day.  As an adult, he makes a living writing penny dreadfuls and working with a secret organization to help others.  When Elizabeth and Fletcher meet, an attraction develops despite their different backgrounds.  And Elizabeth's efforts to help Fletcher and his secret organization leads to some unexpected danger for her and her school.
 
The inclusion of Fletcher's and Elizabeth's current penny dreadful stories in episodes adds to the entertainment to be found in the book.  The stories are quite different but both enjoyable.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about an aspect of the Regency world that isn't addressed as often as the upper classes.  The character's banter was witty and smile-inducing as Eden's dialogue often tends to be. Once again, Eden has presented readers with an engaging, entertaining historical tale that still manages to address serious issues in a way that makes a reader care.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

HEART OF AFRICA DVD SPOTLIGHT & REVIEW



ABOUT THE MOVIE

A Congolese man runs from a terrible accident and finds himself at a revolutionary camp, where he is told that he has a great destiny. He tries to escape and start a new life by going to another town, joining a new religion, and becoming a missionary. Ultimately, though, he finds himself back in the very place he had tried to leave. He must face his fears and his shame—but also his magnificent possibilities.

Heart of Africa is the first full-length, faith-based film to come out of the nascent Democratic Republic of Congo film movement. After decades of colonial oppression and civil war, the country's scars run deep. Cinema is emerging as a cathartic new medium, and director Tshoper Kabambi is a leader of a new kind of revolution: one driven by stories that he hopes will heal the hearts of his people and the DR Congo.

REVIEW

This powerful film about a young Congolese man coming to terms with his past in order to find his future makes for a compelling viewing experience.  Gabriel finds himself on the run after an accident leaves the woman he loves dead.  At first he returns to the revolutionary camp that took him and his brother in after their parents' deaths.  But he doesn't want to stay there.  After leaving the camp he runs into missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who give him a place to stay and food to eat.  In gratitude he joins the church.  His interest in a young woman he meets, Yvette, leads him to develop his faith.

When the mission president asks him to return to the town from which he fled, Gabriel must face his past.  His American companion adds to the conflict he feels as he returns to face the man who helped raise him who wants him to help lead his revolutionary, revenge-filled cause.  As he helps to build an orphanage, Gabriel wrestles with his loyalties.  Ultimately, Gabriel must choose faith and love or anger and vengeance.

I really appreciated the use of the native languages in the film, it made it seem that much more real.  The setting was genuine and beautiful and gives a glimpse into what life is like for some of those who live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The acting is superb and powerful and carries the film from beginning to end.  Overall, a well-done film that tells a powerful, important story, a film that I can highly recommend.

Note: because of the nature of the story and the experiences of Gabriel, there is some violence.  This should be considered before the film is watched by children.

TRAILER



PURCHASE


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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

CONTEMPORARY FICTION REVIEW : Royal Heir by Traci Hunter Abramson



ABOUT THE BOOK

Within a fairy-tale palace overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean, Princess Cassandra of Sereno leads a charmed life—until that life is nearly cut short in an assassination attempt. Desperate to protect his daughter, the king sends the princess to safety in the one place he trusts: the neighboring country of Meridia. There, Cassie's life is places in the hands of a man who possesses the skills to protect her. CIA agent Levi Marin has years of experience pretending to be someone he's not, but posing as the boyfriend of a real-life princess is new, even to him.

With the CIA and Interpol hot on the trail of the assassin, Levi and Cassie do their best to blend in in Meridia and to remain professional amid their charade. Yet despite their best efforts, the charade begins to feel all too real. Their chemistry is undeniable, but forgetting the dangerous reality of their situation could prove a deadly mistake. Cassie's would-be killer is still at large, and her search for answers is leading her ever closer to a shocking revelation that will rock the monarchy of Sereno to its core.

REVIEW

In this companion novel to her Royals series, Abramson introduces readers to Princess Cassandra and the royal family of Sereno.  After an assassination attempt fails, Cassie is sent away to Meredia, a neighboring country.  While there, Cassie's safety is in the hands of Levi Marin, an American CIA agent who has spent two years building Meredia's Royal security.  Nobody bothers to tell Cassie that Levi's an American though because of her family's well-known dislike of Americans.  In order to provide the security that Cassie needs, Levi pretends to be Cassie's boyfriend.  What neither of them expects is for real feelings to develop between them.  Abramson has written another entertaining, believable tale of life as a royal.  Cassie is a sympathetic character as she struggles to come to terms with having her life in danger, falling in love, and learning her father is sick.  Levi's expertise regarding security is believable and fascinating as he works to keep Cassie (and his secret) safe.  There's plenty of romance and suspense for those who enjoy those things.  I also enjoyed the realistic portrayal of the challenges of being royal as well as the luxuries.  A great addition to the Royals series.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY : The Noble Smuggler by Sian Ann Bessey


ABOUT THE BOOK

Despite living at her father's inn her entire life, Elizabeth Doyle has always managed to avoid involvement with the smugglers who frequently gather there. Until now. When a handsome smuggler is brought to her with dire injuries, Elizabeth risks everything to hide him—completely unaware that the wounded man is not who he appears to be.

When an opportunity arises to infiltrate the notorious smuggling gang he believes caused his father's death, Jonas Ainsworth, the Viscount Langton, pretends to be one of them. But when he is wounded mid-charade, Jonas's life is placed in the hands of an unlikely savior: a smuggler's daughter. Forced to flee before his wounds have fully healed, he does not think he will ever see her again—until she appears on his doorstep, seeking safe haven. Divided by their social standings yet united in their mutual desire to expose the leader of the smuggling ring, Jonas and Elizabeth are undeniably drawn to each other. Neither realizes, however, that they are dangerously close to uncovering explosive secrets from the past—secrets that will alter the course of their lives forever.

AUTHOR'S WEBSITE

https://www.sianannbessey.com/

REVIEW

Elizabeth Doyle would rather not be involved in smuggling, but as an innkeeper's daughter, she has little choice in the matter.  Jonas Ainsworth, the Viscount Langton, on the other hand, enters into smuggling of his own freewill.  As Jonas seeks a way to overthrow the local smuggling gang and find answers to his father's death from year's ago, he's surprised to discover he has feelings for Lizzie.  But Elizabeth thinks Jonas is a smuggler named Reynard and faces serious difficulties when her father pushes her toward marrying a corrupt local official.  Forced to flee, Elizabeth seeks Reynard for help only to discover he isn't who she thought he was.  But together they work to take down the smugglers only to realize there's a secret to be uncovered that's greater than any they have yet come across.  Bessey tells a fabulous tale that I found to be a compelling read.  As usual, her historical details are suburb without slowing the story.  I appreciated the use of an interesting time period involving those other than just the aristocracy.  An enjoyable story mixed with an intriguing romance made for a thoroughly engaging read.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

PROPER ROMANCE REVIEW : Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker


ABOUT THE BOOK

Amelia Moore is worried about her and her sister's future. With their stepfather's looming death, she knows they'll soon be on their own—without an inheritance, home, or penny to their names. When an invitation arrives to join a house party at Lakeshire Park, Amelia is eager to encourage a match between her sister, Clara, and Sir Ronald. At least then, she'll know her sister will be taken care of.

Little does she know that another guest, Mr. Peter Wood, is after the same goal for his sister. Starting with a quarrel over a glove, Amelia and Peter begin a rivalry—one that Amelia has no choice but to win. But competing against Peter—and eventually playing by his rules—makes Amelia vulnerable to losing the only thing she has left to claim—her heart. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


MEGAN WALKER was raised on a berry farm in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where her imagination took her to times past and worlds away. While earning her degree in Early Childhood Education at Brigham Young University, she married her one true love and started a family. But her imaginings wouldn’t leave her alone, so she picked up a pen, and the rest is history. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and three children.

REVIEW

This absolutely delightful Regency novel follows the marriage-seeking adventures of Amelia Moore and her sister, Clara.  The girl's stepfather is dying and makes it clear to Amelia that he has no intention of leaving them any sort of livelihood.  When he dies they will be homeless and penniless. In order to avoid poverty, at least one of the girls must marry.  Luckily they have just been invited to a house party hosted by Sir Ronald at Lakeshire Park.  Amelia knows that Clara likes Sir Ronald and is determined to help her sister win him over. 

What she doesn't expect is meeting Mr. Peter Wood who is out to help his sister win over Sir Ronald.  In an effort to get Mr. Wood out of the way, Amelia sets out to distract him. After making a bargain where they spend every afternoon together, Amelia and Peter find themselves getting to know each other.  And Amelia, who disliked Peter at first because of a brief encounter in the local town, reluctantly finds herself falling in love.  But complications abound.  Clara doesn't like Peter or his sister, her rival.  And with Lord Grey's death imminent and Clara's relationship with Sir Ronald up in the air, Amelia must decide whether to accept a marriage of convenience or take a risk on love.

Amelia and Peter's witty and amusing relationship made for a thoroughly engaging, enjoyable read.  I found myself grinning and even laughing out loud at times.  Amelia's boldness and Peter's playfulness made for some truly fun reading.  The romance was tender and sweet, especially once Amelia accepts her changing feelings.  There's plenty of conflict with Peter's sister, Georgiana, is determined to win Sir Ronald and is willing to do anything to accomplish her goal.  Amelia's worries about her and her sister's future leads her to make some interesting decisions, both good and bad.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story full of humor and romance.  This one is definitely going on my favorites shelf. Highly recommended.



PURCHASE LINKS


https://deseretbook.com/p/lakeshire-park-ppr?variant_id=180177-paperbackhttps://www.booksamillion.com/p/Lakeshire-Park/Megan-Walker/9781629727349?id=7695350360307https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lakeshire-park-megan-walker/1132628786?ean=9781629727349https://www.amazon.com/Lakeshire-Park-Proper-Romance-Regency/dp/1629727342/ https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781629727349