Thursday, September 20, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Creating Your Forever Family by Rachel A. Sullivan


ABOUT THE BOOK

It has been decades since the family proclamation was first presented to members of the Church by President Gordon B. Hinckley. But despite the passage of time, the counsel provided in the family proclamation is ever more vital in these tumultuous last days. Creating Your Forever Family is an indispensable resource, providing practical application of the nine principles outlined in the family proclamation. Featuring counsel from Church leaders and stories of these principles in action, this book offers ways to incorporate these values into everyday life, from interview questions designed to help kids open up to the game night ideas to fun family dinner conversation starters. Families will be strengthened as each member gets involved in the discussions and applications. Now is the time to fortify families and truly embrace the principles of this great proclamation.

REVIEW

Coming Soon!

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*Sept. 21st: http://heidi-reads.blogspot.com/, http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Long Journey Home by Sarah M. Eden


ABOUT THE BOOK

From Sarah M. Eden, the USA Today Bestselling author of the Longing for Home series, LONG JOURNEY HOME is a new romance novel set in the beloved world of Hope Springs.


Widowed by war, Maura O’Connor has raised her son alone under the weight of poverty in the unforgiving slums of New York City. That harsh and difficult life has taken a toll on them both. Desperate to save her son from the misery around them, she moves them both to the tiny western town of Hope Springs, where her late husband’s family lives, hoping that the decade of silence between them does not mean she and Aidan will be rejected outright. Her son needs family, and she would endure anything to see him happy.


Ryan Callaghan has worked the land belonging to the late Granny Claire for years, dreaming of one day claiming it as his own. Living in his brother’s home affords him no freedom, no stability, no joy. The arrangement is even harder on his mother, whose health is quickly deteriorating. A risky investment in the land has finally begun to pay off, and he is at last in a position to secure a better future for them both. When use of the home is, without warning, offered to a newly arrived widow and her son, that future is entirely uncertain.


Both Maura and Ryan desperately need the Claire farm, for their own futures as well as those of the loved ones who depend on them. Neither can remain in Hope Springs without the house and land, but only one can claim it in the end.
 
LONGING FOR HOME SERIES

Longing for Home
Hope Springs
My Dearest Love
Love Remains
Long Journey Home

REVIEW

Sarah Eden's Hope Springs series is one of those series that pulls you in and never lets you go.  You can't help wanting to visit again and again.  In this addition to the series, Maura O'Connor discovers that her failing health threatens to leave her son an orphan.  Her desperation leads her out west in search of her dead husband's family.  But she's uncertain of her welcome, not having heard from them in years.  She's stunned to be offered a home to stay in while she figures things out.  But she isn't expecting to be contending for use of the home with Ryan Callaghan who has worked the land around the house hoping to eventually own the place himself.  But as the two get to know each other, feelings start interfering with their efforts to build their own futures.  Eden has once again created a tender story of struggle and despair mixed with hope and love and family.  A wonderful addition to the series.

SARAH'S LINKS


Sarah M. Eden on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahMEden/

TOUR SCHEDULE

Sept 14: Getting Your Read On / Literary Time Out / Singing Librarian Books

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Friday, September 7, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: The Shipbuilder's Wife by Jennifer Moore


ABOUT THE BOOK

The day of her parents' garden party dawns bright as Lydia Prescott eagerly anticipates a marriage proposal from a handsome and wealthy plantation owner. The lovely debutante plans to steal a moment away with her beau, but her plans go terribly awry. Instead of her intended, she is joined by a stranger—the largest man she's ever laid eyes on. And it is clear Jacob Steel is there for reasons far more sober than the party. With British raids erupting all around them, it is his job to reassure plantation owners of their safety. In reality, however, Jacob is an espionage agent, and the truth is dire: America is on the verge of invasion by the British.

Blissfully unaware of the danger surrounding her, Lydia basks in the glow of her recent engagement. But her joy is short-lived—a surprise British attack results in a devastating wound, and her plans for the future are shattered. Lost in her devastation, Lydia could never dream that Jacob, that giant of a man she met so briefly, would prove to be her saving grace. And with a war raging around them, she may be called upon to save him too.

REVIEW

Another fabulous read by one of my favorite writers.  Not only does Moore capture the ups and downs of romance well, but her historical details are great.  In this story, our characters end up married because of an injury that Lydia sustains during an attack by the British during the War of 1812.  The hero is working as a spy for the United States but doesn't dare tell his new wife because he doesn't know her well enough to fully trust her.  His frequent absences and sometimes strange behavior confuse Lydia, especially as her feelings for Jacob start to grow.  Developing a loving relationship is challenging under the best of circumstances, doing it in the middle of a war is even more tricky.  Especially when Lydia comes from a family where looks are most important, and Jacob's past makes it hard for him to trust anyone.  Once again, Jennifer Moore has written an interesting historical narrative with flawed by lovable characters and plenty of twists and turns.

GIVEAWAY

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Friday, August 31, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Aligned with Christ by Toni Sorenson


ABOUT THE BOOK

Is there a sure way to know what you're doing is what the Savior would have you do? Best-selling author Toni Sorenson's inspiring series, including Defined by Christ and Refined by Christ, has motivated audiences to assess and strengthen their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, the author invited you to be aligned with Christ and learn to turn mind, body, and will to the Savior and to claim the peace that comes from the assurance that you're truly in tune with heaven.

For those struggling to strengthen their relationship with Jesus and for all who are striving to withstand mortality's feelings of unworthiness and hopelessness, this volume provides a simple, scripturally rich roadmap intended to lead you on a joyous journey of self-examination—to assess your own spiritual alignment, to reroute when necessary, and to come to know the love of the Savior—not just when you reach your desired destination but along every step of the way.

REVIEW

Coming soon!

GIVEAWAY

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TOUR SCHEDULE

*August 31st: http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com


Thursday, August 23, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Short Investigations by Clair M. Poulson


ABOUT THE BOOK

In the sleepy town of Heber, a strange 911 call is made to report an unthinkable crime: someone has murdered a woman . . . and her body has been found in Rhett Ketchum's barn. Rhett, a well-known rodeo cowboy, is placed firmly at the top of the suspect list—the only problem is, he's innocent. As officers search tirelessly for the evidence needed to lock him up, Rhett takes matters into his own hands.
Max and Patches Fisher are the father-daughter duo behind the unconventional PI firm Short Investigations, and they agree to undertake the task of proving Rhett's innocence. Soon the list of suspects begins to grow, and Rhett feels a glimmer of hope—and an undeniable attraction to Patches. But when the officers on the case become targets themselves, it seems they may be the ones in need of protection. As events take a deadly turn, it's up to Max and Patches to uncover the truth before time runs out.

REVIEW

This is another suspense from Poulson who does such a nice job with his law enforcement stories.  This one revolves around a detective agency called Short Investigations because of the lack of height in the owner (less than 5-feet-tall).  Rhett Ketchum is called home from his rodeo tour when the dead body of a former girlfriend is found in his barn and he's reported as the murderer.  Taking the advice of his attorney, he hires Short Investigations to help prove his innocence.  With a rival working as a deputy determined to see him arrested for the crime, Rhett is understandably nervous.  What he doesn't expect is to be caught between his attraction to Patches Fisher, one of the 'short' investigators, and Detective Kori Davis.  But when attempts are made on their lives, it becomes clear that romance has to take a back seat until the the perpetrator is caught.  As always, Poulson's law enforcement details are spot on and interesting.  The twists and turns that the case takes makes for entertaining mystery.  The inclusion of an old cold case involving the investigators from Short Investigations makes for an interesting side story.

GIVEAWAY

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TOUR SCHEDULE

*August 24th: https://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/, http://brooklynberrydesigns.com/, http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/ 

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.

GIVEAWAY

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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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