Friday, December 20, 2013


Romance Through the Ages   
Coming February 1, 2014 
Romance through the Ages brings you SEVEN NOVELS from 7 bestselling authors 
(including New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestsellers). 

Join us for a fabulous collection.  

*7 Romance Novels, 7 Bestselling Authors, 1 Amazing Price*   99 cent Romance Boxed Set for a limited time only!  

Running Barefoot by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Amy Harmon!— Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings.  

Masquerade by Janette Rallison, who has sold more than 1 million books!— It's hard for a woman to keep up the masquerade when her boss is as handsome as Slade Jacobson and the job takes her to Hawaii with him. In between handling his whirlwind four-year-old daughter and dealing with a whole cast of Hollywood personalities, Clarissa has to keep a tight hold on her heart.  

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson, Amazon Bestseller!—Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town's charity event, Shelter’s Bachelorette, Taycee Emerson is in for the ride of her life. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers—not her—to decide which bachelors stay or go.  

Pride and Precipitation by Heather Horrocks, Amazon Bestseller!— Breezy Jones is crazy about the weather, rain or shine, which makes her job as the local television station’s meteorologist perfect. That’s before she meets the attractive new general manager, Noah Drake, who is determined to repackage everything—including Breezy’s down-home delivery.  

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White, Amazon Bestseller!— Lizzie falls hard for Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy character and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. When she meets two men, Chad—a science teacher, and Matt Dawson—who looks and acts like Mr. Darcy, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.  

She Owns the Knight by Diane Darcy, Amazon Bestseller!— Why does Gillian Corbett have to travel seven hundred years through time to find a decent guy?... Why can't Sir Kellen Marshall find a lady who is obedient, submissive... or at least not trying to kill him?  

Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore, Amazon Bestseller!— A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want? Except for maybe her life. When Eliza discovers that Jonathan Porter’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.  


$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/1/14

Bloggers who put up a spotlight post about these books on their blog can enter to win an additional $25 gift card or paypal cash. See details in the Rafflecopter. Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sheri Dew Book Signing PLUS Giveaway

Women_and_the_priesthood_cover_detailAuthor and speaker Sheri Dew will be at the Deseret Book store at University Village on Saturday, December 21st from 10-11 a.m. She is the author of several books including: Go Forward with Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley, No Doubt About It, Are We Not All Mothers?, The Beginning of Better Days and the recently released Women and the Priesthood: What One Mormon Woman Believes.

What: Sheri Dew’s one and only signing this season!

Where: University Village Deseret Book, 1076 S 750 East, Orem, UT 84097

When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 10-11 a.m.


Sheri Dew is a native of Ulysses, Kansas, and a graduate of Brigham Young University. She has authored several books, including the biographies of two presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Presidents Gordon B. Hinckley and Ezra Taft Benson. Her most recent books are God Wants a Powerful People and Saying It Like It Is. Sheri was named the president and CEO of Deseret Book Company in March 2002. She also serves as a member of both the BYU Marriott School of Management’s National Advisory Council and the President’s Leadership Council for BYU-Hawaii. In March 2003 the White House appointed her as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls at the United Nations.

Thanks to the publisher I have one Sheri Dew book to give away, Women and the Priesthood.
Ends 12/27/2013

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

LDS BOOK REVIEW: In Wisdom & Order by Boyd K. Packer


The timeless counsel King Benjamin lovingly presented to his people includes this simple and thoughtful caution: "See that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order" (Mosiah 4:27).

In this new collection of addresses, President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reiterates an ancient prophet's call to do all things "in wisdom and order."

These twenty-eight chapters—selected from President Packer's conference addresses, mission presidents' seminars, and other speeches given over the past five decades—will instruct and inspire parents, youth, teachers, priesthood leaders, indeed, anyone who desires to learn at the feet of an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In this book you will find classic discussions on—
  • Faith, "the kind of faith that causes things to happen, the kind of faith that moves people and sometimes moves things."
  • Self-reliance, with a reminder that "you have great and powerful resources at hand. You, through prayer, can solve your problems without endlessly going to those who are trying so hard to help others."
  • Temple covenants, which "become our credentials for admission into His presence. To worthily receive them is the quest of a lifetime; to keep them thereafter is the challenge of mortality."
  • And much, much more.
As you read the words of this faithful disciple-leader, you will recognize anew that the Savior's hand is ever present in our lives and that the gospel plan is one of great "wisdom and order," designed to return us to our heavenly home clothed in glory and righteousness.


Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been a member of that quorum since 1970 and a General Authority since 1961. Immediately prior to that, he was the supervisor of seminaries and institutes for the Church. He is a former president of the New England States Mission.

President Packer was born in Brigham City, Utah. He served as a pilot in the United States Air Force during World War II and later obtained his doctorate in education from Brigham Young University. He is the author of several best-selling books, including The Holy Temple, That All May Be Edified, and Teach Ye Diligently.

He and his wife, Donna Edith Smith Packer, are the parents of ten children.


In Wisdom & Order is a wonderful book full of great counsel and advice about a variety of topics. Each chapter comes from a General Conference talk, mission president seminar, or other addresses that President Packer has given over his lifetime of service as a General Authority.  Beautifully put together and truly inspiring, I truly enjoyed what he had to say.  There were many important reminders about the best ways to find happiness and peace in mortality despite all the challenges and difficulties. I especially enjoyed his remarks on faith and how it isn't true faith if we 'know' the answers. Faith is believing WITHOUT seeing all the answers or having everything turn out the way we want.  A great read that I can heartily recommend.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Studio C Seasons 1 & 2

studio c tour 


  Studio C DVD  

Studio C

Seasons 1 and 2 of the hilarious BYUtv sketch comedy series, Studio C, featuring Whitney, Mallory, Jason, Matt, and the rest of the cast pulling out all the stops with two full seasons of enough rip-roaring hilarity to make you spit milk out of your nose. Travel back to the moment it all began and watch some of the very first Studio C sketches, plus two never-before-seen features! Includes popular episodes featuring
  • Presidential Shoulder Angel
  • Facebook Friends Song
  • Flirting Academy
  • Captain Literally
  • The Center for People That YouTube Made Infamous
  • Candy Land Character Conference
  • Bollyside
  • Dana’s Dead
  • And many more!
Special Features
  • Exclusive Feature: “Just Jeremy Date”
  • Exclusive Sketch: “Substitute Miss Frizzle”
  • Season 2 Outtakes
Studio C is a hit sketch comedy series that the whole family can enjoy. Like the popular TV show Saturday Night Live, the cast performs original sketches that parody American culture and the hilariously awkward moments of everyday life; but with a refreshingly wholesome yet hilarious spin. With their huge fan-base and increasing popularity, Studio C aims to produce clean, family-oriented comedy for a national audience.

Purchase Amazon * Deseret Book



Sigh. There is such a thing as clean humor. I really enjoyed watching these short sketches. They deal with everything from dating (the dreaded goodnight) to the old Oregon Trail game. If you enjoy laughing at some rather silly antics, I can recommend this series.

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/31/13

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BLOG TOUR: The Accidental Marriage Guest Post


Nina Rushforth was born with a silver spoon caught in her throat. She and her father have mapped out a future that includes a brilliant legal career, a marriage to an equally stellar attorney or Wall Street whiz kid, and eventually the production of three perfect children. A semester at St. Andrew's University in Scotland, was part of the plan, but falling in love with a handsome missionary was not.

Six months later, after Elliot returns from his mission and after a tumultuous courtship, Nina finds herself teaching at a junior high school, learning to keep house in a minuscule apartment, and living with a man who doesn't know any more about being married than she does. Intimacy, cooking, laundry, lesson plans, and a tug-of-war with a possessive mother-in-law prove to be more overwhelming than Nina can successfully manage. The newlyweds awaken to realize the head on the adjacent pillow belongs to a stranger.

This novel captures the heartbreak of young love caught in the turbulent social crosscurrents of the 70's, at a time when brave women struggled to find dignity and equality in the workplace, as well as peace at home.

Buy links:


“A thoughtful, heartbreaking, and often laugh-out-loud romp… Annette Haws explores the interesting question: What keeps a marriage together?”
--Terrell Dougan, a columnist for the Huffington Post and the author of That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for my Sister

“Haws delivers a story that makes you want to rush to the end to find out what happens and prose that makes you want to slow down and savor it.”
--Karey White, author of For What It’s Worth, Gifted, and My Own Mr. Darcy

“If you want a story with plot, character and real, deep meaning that will leave you thinking long after you’re done, this is the book for you.”
--Shannon Guymon, author of Do Over


Annette Haws’s literary strengths are based upon her experiences in the classroom. She began her teaching career as a junior high teacher in Richmond, Utah and ended it teaching Sophomore English at Murray High School in Salt Lake City. However, her favorite assignment was a five year period at Logan High School teaching English, coaching debate and mock trial, and watching the antics of her own three children who were also students in the same school.

Her first novel, Waiting for the Light to Change, won Best of State in 2009, A Whitney Award for Best Fiction, and the Diamond Quill Award for Best Published Fiction in 2009 from the League of Utah Writers. In July of 2008, the Midwest Book Review selected it as a Top Pick for Community Library Fiction Collections.

Social Media Links:

by Annette Haws

My most recent teaching assignment was in an urban high school squeezed between a strip mall and a row of used car dealerships. The only students remotely interested in educational pursuits had been siphoned off into the AP courses, and the other seniors (that I was assigned to teach) were enduring their last few months of seat time before the public education system unleashed them on society. I intentionally saved ghosts, death most foul (poison dribbled into the ear), berserk girlfriends, and shameless mothers for the endless month of February, but even Hamlet couldn’t hold the interest of the last section of senior English before lunch.

One dreary day, I set Hamlet aside and said, “Take out a piece of paper. Let’s fast forward ten years and project where you’ll be.” Suddenly they were completely engaged—energized. Their specificity amazed me. They knew the square footage of their two story homes in posh neighborhoods; they knew the make, model, and color of the cars in the garage; without a doubt, they were all going to be airline pilots, doctors, dentists, lawyers, or highly successful entrepreneurs; they knew the number of children they were going to have, and every single student (except the pot head on the second row who was gazing out the window at nothing in particular) was going to be happily married, svelte, and always know what bands were cool. When I asked them what steps they were going to take (starting today) to achieve those goals, I faced a sea of blank faces. I wanted to cry. Even if their names didn’t match their guardians’ surnames listed in the computer, they were absolutely positive they were going to have successful marriages—as though happily ever after were etched in their brains.

The thought of a handful of species--swans, bald eagles, wolves, vultures, turtle doves, and love birds—that mate for life brings a soft warm glow to the center of our chests. Show us a wrinkled, toothless couple married for sixty-seven years, and we give a heartfelt sigh and smile. We love the thought of monogamy, we want it, we need it, it makes us healthy and live longer. So why, do nearly fifty percent of marriages in the U.S. fail? Three years ago six adorable young people in my neighborhood bounced back home in emotional shreds after less than a year or two--because their marriages failed. Why?

I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I’ve tried to address the questions in my new novel, The Accidental Marriage. Hopefully, we can look at that person in the mirror who brushes our teeth each morning and have a serious conversation about how we contribute to the success or failure of new marriages, middle-aged marriages, or those nuptials that have endured nearly to the end.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Biblical Names of Christ Heirloom Ornaments



Create a Christ-focused holiday tradition as you review the sacred names of the Savior. Display these antique pewter-finish ornaments on the tree, as gift tags, or adorning a wreath on the front door. A list of scripture references is included, perfect for a "Twelve Days of Christmas" countdown. 12-piece set. Ornament size: 3¼" x 3¼". *Hooks & twine NOT included.


Zions Mercantile is a gathering of gifts and d├ęcor inspired by our unique Latter-day Saint heritage — whether it be from Palmyra, Nauvoo, Salt Lake City or anywhere in the world. Offering quality products in a variety of price points, Zions Mercantile is a place you can find meaningful items that enhance your home and reflect your values.

Zions Mercantile – available at Deseret Book stores and at


These pewter-finish ornaments make a beautiful addition to Christmas decorations.  Each one has one of the many names of Jesus Christ on it.  Some of those names include: Mediator, Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Shepherd, and King of Israel.  This is a wonderful way to remind oneself during the Christmas season of the reason for the season.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013



Christmas from Heaven is the story of the humble beginnings of what became a beacon of hope to a war-torn land, the story of Gail Halvorsen, a young pilot in the US Army Air Corps who was assigned as a cargo pilot to the Berlin Airlift, in which US forces flew much-needed supplies into a Soviet-blockaded Berlin.

As he performed his duties, Lt. Halvorsen began to notice the German children gathered by the fences of Tempelhof Air Base. Knowing that they had very little, he one day offered them some chewing gum. From that small act, an idea sprang: He would "bomb" Berlin with candy. Fashioning small parachutes, he and his crew sent them floating down as they approached the Berlin airport, wiggling the wings of their C-54 as a signal to the children that their anticipated cargo would soon arrive.

Lt. Halvorsen became known by hundreds, if not thousands, of children in Berlin as "Uncle Wiggly Wings" or "The Candy Bomber." Word soon spread, and donations of candy and other supplies poured in from sympathetic Americans. Lt. Halvorsen's small idea became a great symbol of hope not only to German children in a bombed-out city but to all those who yearned for freedom.

Famed broadcast journalist and author Tom Brokaw brings this remarkable true story to life in a stunning live performance with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, captured on the accompanying DVD. Also included in the book is a template and directions for creating your own “Candy Bomber” parachutes.


Tom Brokaw is one of the giants of television journalism. Anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004, he also holds the honor of being the only person to host each of NBC News’s major news programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press. He has won several awards, including a Peabody Award and seven Emmys. He is the author of The Greatest Generation and The Greatest Generation Speaks, among other books. He and his wife, Meredith, have three daughters and five grandchildren

Robert T. Barrett is a professor of illustration at Brigham Young University, received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in painting and completed postgraduate work in Germany. An accomplished painter, muralist, and illustrator, his work has been featured in many national magazines and in art exhibits across the country and in Germany. He and his wife, Vicki, have ten children and one grandchild and reside in Provo, Utah.


This book beautifully illustrates what I love about Christmas stories.  It's a story of compassion, creativity, and courage from an American pilot, reaching out to German children at the end of World War II. The book includes not only the story as told by Tom Brokaw during the 2012 Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert, but also illustrations and photographs that add the perfect compliment to the tender story. Also included with the book is a DVD presentation of the telling of the story at the Christmas concert. A powerful reminder of how one simple act can turn into something much greater. Highly recommended.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Dvdhomefortheholidaysmormontabernaclechoir_detailHOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
featuring Alfie Boe with Tom Brokaw
by Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square
ISBN: 978-1-60907-737-2 (DVD)
Christmas Music
Review copies provided by publisher in return for honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.


As seen and heard by more than 80,000 people in the LDS Conference Center, Home for the Holidaysis the live recording of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s 2012 Christmas concert. This year’s release features internationally acclaimed TV personality Tom Brokaw and Tony Award–winning Les Miserablestenor Alfie Boe.

The Choir also welcomed surprise-guest Gail “Hal” Halvorsen, the renowned Candy Bomber of World War II. Together with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, these three special guests delivered an unprecedented excitement to the stage that brought all in attendance to their feet more than once during the night.

Hailed as the performance that “may have topped them all” (Catherine Reese Newton, The Salt Lake Tribune) this year’s release is bound to be an instant success!

Tracklist (DVD)
  • Jingle Bells [2:55] Choir, Orchestra, and Bells
  • Sing Noel! A Christmas Processional [4:38] Choir, Orchestra, and Bells
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing [5:13] Alfie Boe with Choir and Orchestra
  • I Wonder as I Wander [5:14] Alfie Boe with Orchestra
  • From Heaven on High (from Weihnachtslied), Felix Mendelssohn [4:48] Choir and Orchestra
  • God Bless the Master of this House (from Folk Songs of the Four Seasons), arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams [4:22] Choir and Orchestra
  • Christmas at Home: (There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays, I’ll be Home for Christmas, Somewhere in My Memory [7:10] Alfie Boe with Choir and Orchestra
  • Bring Him Home [5:02] Alfie Boe with Orchestra
  • A Christmas Waltz Fantasy: The Christmas Waltz; Silver Bells; Sleep Well, Little Children [7:45] Choir and Orchestra
  • Sleigh Ride [3:24] Organist: Richard Elliott
  • Christmas From Heaven [13:22] Featuring Tom Brokaw, Gail “Hal” Halvorsen, Choir, Orchestra, and Bells
  • What Shall We Give? [4:40] Choir and Orchestra
  • Luke 2 [2:24] Tom Brokaw with Orchestra
  • Angels From the Realms of Glory [4:38] Alfie Boe with Choir and Orchestra
Bonus Features (DVD)
  • Backstage with Tom Brokaw and Alfie Boe
  • Exclusive footage with Gail "Hal" Halvorsen, the Candy Bomber
Technical Specs (DVD)
Running time: Approx 78 minutes
DVD: 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio-Ehanced for 16:9 TVs
English 5.1 Dolby Digital Sound
Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

For more information see here.  For downloads, see here.


The 360 members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir represent men and women from many different backgrounds and professions and range in age from 25 to 60. They reflect a medley of unique lives and experiences and are brought together by their love for singing and their faith. Their incomparable voices are the common chord that unites to form the choral group known all over the world as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir originated in the mid-19th century in Salt Lake City. As the Latter-day Saints moved west, Church President Brigham Young included musicians among members of the advance parties. Consequently, a small choir first sang for a conference of the Church in the Salt Lake Valley on August 22, 1847, just 29 days after the first group arrived. The origins of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir may be found in the desire and commitment of early converts to include appropriate music in both sacred and secular events.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has appeared at 13 world’s fairs and expositions, performed at the inaugurations of five U.S. presidents, and sung for numerous worldwide telecasts and special events. Five of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s recordings have achieved “gold record” and two have achieved “platinum record” status. The most popular was the Grammy-Award-winning 1959 release of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” with the Philadelphia Orchestra.


One of my favorite things about Christmas is the beautiful music that I get to hear.  And the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Choir DVD release is at the top of that list.  Last year's concert had Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw as guests. I'm not sure what to say except that it is wonderful as it is every year. I marvel at the amazing choir, the talented guests, dancers, bell ringers, and orchestra.  The music is beautifully arranged and performed.  The costumes are gorgeous and decorations stunning. As is usual, there were several numbers that I hadn't heard before.  It's nice how they choose both well known favorites as well as lesser known but just as beautiful pieces as well. And the organ solo is mind boggling. I think my favorite number this time is "Bring Him Home" sung by Alfie Boe from Les Miserables. It just gave me chills. Highly recommended for those who love beautiful Christmas music.

LDS BOOK REVIEW: I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring by Robert I. Eaton and Henry J. Eyring


Henry Bennion Eyring was born on May 31, 1933, in Princeton, New Jersey, bearing the first name of his father, who was fast building a reputation as a brilliant scientist, and the family name of his mother, who didn't care for the name "Henry" and insisted that he be called Hal.

In 1970, Hal received an impression to make a daily record of his activities. Years of journals form the backbone of this personal biography, a candid look at his walk through life with his beloved companion, Kathy. "The journal shows how a good-but-imperfect man works each day to win divine approval," write the authors, and this window into his past provides unforgettable insights about the man the Lord has shaped him to become.

Readers will love these richly designed pages, filled with photographs, sketches from the pen of President Eyring himself, and scores of entries straight from his journals woven into an engaging depiction of his life's journey.

President Henry B. Eyring's professional, academic, and personal experiences have all combined to make him uniquely qualified for his responsibilities as a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His life story vividly demonstrates the power of the Lord and the example set by one who strives to follow His commands.

See here for excerpt.


Robert I. Eaton began serving as president of the Washington Federal Way Mission in summer 2013. Prior to that, he was a professor of religious education at Brigham Young University-Idaho. He is a graduate of BYU and of Stanford Law School. He and his wife, Diane, are the parents of four children.

Henry J. Eyring graduated from Brigham Young University, earning a bachelor’s degree in geology and graduate degrees in business administration and law. He is the advancement vice president of BYU-Idaho and has served as director of the BYU MBA program. He also served as president of the Japan Tokyo North Mission. He and his wife, Kelly, are the parents of five children.


I really enjoyed this beautifully written glimpse into the life of President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor  in The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Full of quotes from Hal's numerous journals and talks, the book gives the reader a look at the man he has become and some of the experiences and choices that made him that way.  For such a long book (over 500 pages) the book is very readable and held my interest all the way through.  I especially liked the design which included journal entries as well as side quotes, photographs, and drawings right from Elder Eyring's journals. I felt like a gained a deeper appreciation for the man.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

LDS BOOK REVIEW: 12 Gifts for Christ by Merrilee Boyack


Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of Christ and a time for giving. In the middle of this busy season, it is easy to forget the very reason why we celebrate. The first Christmas began with gifts of light and gold. This Christmas, ask: What gifts can I give to Him?

In 12 Gifts for Christ, author Merrilee Boyack suggests ways we can give to the Savior, including having gratitude, sharing through service, and loving others. With examples of these gifts shared through personal stories, scriptures, activities, and family home evening lessons, she suggests presenting those gifts to Christ in letters placed in stockings or brightly wrapped boxes. Following the ideas of this book will truly add joy to the spirit in our hearts and homes during Christmas!


Merrilee Boyack is a crazed woman who loves eating out and taking naps when she can. She is an estate-planning attorney who conducts her law practice from home. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in business management—finance, and from University of Santa Clara Law School. Merrilee is also a professional lecturer, featured for many years at BYU Education Week, and a published author. Her interests include reading, camping, talking, eating, and helping children in Africa. She’s now a pesco-vegetarian and is having to relearn how to cook!

She is the author of several books and talks, including The Parenting Breakthrough, Strangling Your Husband Is Not an Option; Toss the Guilt and Catch the Joy; and her most recent, In Trying Times, Just Keep Trying. Merrilee and her husband, Steve, reside in Poway, California, and have four sons, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way!


Boyack presents twelve 'gifts' that followers of Christ can give him, not only at Christmas but throughout the year.  Each of the twelve gifts that she mentions, she discusses briefly followed by ideas for personal study, a family devotional and family home evening ideas. She starts with the importance of developing personal knowledge of the Savior and how to do it through the scriptures and words of the prophets and those who knew/know him best. She goes on to discuss the importance of gratitude, remembrance, repentance, obedience, emulation, charity, forgiveness, faithfulness, love, healing balm, and joy.

What a beautiful book about how we as believers can give back to the One who gives so much to us. I hope to implement some of these ideas in my life during the Christmas season and throughout the year. I appreciated her ideas for sharing these ideas with a family. Highly recommended for those who want to make Christ more of a part of their celebrations during the Christmas season and throughout the year.  Some of the ideas relate specifically to Christmas, some are more general, all are worth considering.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Holiday Kindle Fire Giveaway  

 Just in time for the HOLIDAYS - Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)   This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)

  Or $229 Gift Card (International)

  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

  Holiday Kindle Fire Giveaway #1 Sponsors:
  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. Allergic to Life by Kathryn Chastain Treat
  4. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
  5. Living, Learning, and Loving Life
  6. Confessions of a Librarian in Training...
  7. Bea's Book Nook
  8. Author Kary Rader
  9. Author Jennie Sherwin
  10. A Book Lover's Retreat
  11. These are but Shadows
  12. Tressa's Wishful Endings
  13. Author Lia Fairchild
  14. Author Helen Smith
  15. Buku-Buku Didi
  16. Truth Seekers Dare to Enter
  17. The Reporter and the Girl
  18. Author Terah Edun
  19. Young Adult Book Deals
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  25. Like a Broken Vessel
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  27. Author Bella Street
  28. Candlelight Reads
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  30. Kelly's Lucky You
  31. Author Elizabeth Isaacs
  32. Word to Dreams
  33. Kimber Leigh Writes
  34. Author Wendi Sotis
  35. ~Owl Always Be Reading~
  36. Fairie Chick's Fantasy Book Reader
  37. Author Talia Jager
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  40. Every Free Chance Book Reviews
  41. MyLadyWeb: Women's History and Women Authors
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  44. Blogging the Beloved
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  48. Lori's Reading Corner
  49. Author Kay Kenyon
  50. A Bookish Escape
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Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Fire Giveaway:  

Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International).

There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7". Ends 12/18/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

LDS BOOK REVIEW: My Name Used to Be Muhammad by Tito Momen with Jeff Benedict


Tito Momen was raised Muhammad Momen. Born in Nigeria, he was taught to observe the strict teachings of Islam.
Beginning at age five, he woke at 4:45 every morning to attend the mosque and perform dawn prayer with the other men in his village. At age six, he began memorizing the Qur'an by copying the entire book word for word. He was preparing to become a cleric capable of leading a jihad, or holy struggle, to convert nonbelievers to Islam.
But Tito's path took an unexpected turn when he was introduced to Christianity. His decision to believe in Jesus Christ cost him his family and his freedom. Sentenced to prison, Tito expected to spend his remaining days enduring a life sentence in an uncivilized Egyptian prison. For fifteen years, he suffered and waited and prayed. "I never gave up hope," Tito says. "I never stopped believing."
Although he was falsely imprisoned, beaten, and ridiculed, Tito's remarkable true story is one of faith and forgiveness, as well as a witness that God does hear and answer prayers.
Jeff Benedict is the author of eleven critically acclaimed books, including Little Pink House, The Mormon Way of Doing Business, and Without Reservation. His articles have been published in Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, and he appears as an expert on network news and cable television programs. A frequent public speaker, Mr. Benedict teaches writing at Southern Virginia University.
A powerful story about a man who grew up Muslim yet eventually becomes a Christian. But he pays a high price for doing so, he is completely disowned by his family, he loses the woman he loves, and he's thrown in an Egyptian prison for 15 years. The book is a fascinating and heart-wrenching account of the suffering inflicted by religious extremism. It's sad to read about how instead of using faith to encourage obedience, all too many of those Tito is surrounded by use fear and intimidation and violence. It's not too surprising to read about Momen's trip back to Nigeria only to discover that many of those he once new had joined Al Qaeda. After reading about Momen's struggles both internal and external, I truly have a greater appreciation for the freedoms available, here in the United States. Despite the suffering that Momen undergoes the book remains hopeful and there are plenty of examples of God watching out for him even under the most horrendous circumstances. A heart-wrenching but ultimately hopeful read.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

BLOG TOUR: A Fantasy Christmas By Stephanie Fowers, Cindy C. Bennett, & Sherry Gammon

What do Witches, Elves, and Greek Gods (Oh My) have in common? They are part of the romantic Christmas anthology, A Fantasy Christmas, written by Cindy C Bennett, Stephanie Fowers, and Sherry Gammon

Banished from the South Pole, Kara tries to carve out a new life among the elves of the North. It’s not easy with a secret to protect—a secret she's cursed with by the unusual circumstances of her heritage: half-elf, half-fairy. In the North, she’s assigned to work with Seb on a special project. He's the most gorgeous elf she’s ever seen - and the orneriest. 

As if being banished wasn’t punishment enough. 

Seb introduces her to Trystin, a fairy from the nearby fairy forest. Trystin discerns her secret right away and promises to teach her how to use the powers given to her by the very thing she’s fighting to keep hidden.

Check out Cindy C Bennett's web page for more information on her.

Nothing is simple for Aphrodite’s daughter, especially love. 
Scorned by society in regency England, Affry longs for romance. Upon encountering a dashing nobleman at her aunty's Christmas' ball, Affry gets caught in a lovely intrigue with disastrous results. Worse, she wins the interest of the gods. 

Now the furies of the underworld and Hades himself are after her. When all is fair in war,  Affry must use love as her weapon—but only for the one who’s stolen her heart. 

Check out Stephanie Fowers' web page for more information on her.

Loving Marigold by Sherry Gammon

Author of Unlovable, Unbelievable, Not So Easy and more)

Young Marigold Yarrow has a secret. She’s also in love with Jack Mahoney. In the middle of her ninth grade year, Jack's family up and moves to Port Fare, New York, leaving the small town of Sugar Maple, West Virginia - and Marigold - far behind.

Nine years later Jack and Marigold meet again. They join forces to weed out the shady Abbott boys. The unscrupulous brothers are illegally selling moonshine near her home on Sugar Maple Ridge. And they'll do anything to get Marigold to leave the ridge. Anything. This time it may be magic that tears Jack and Marigold apart.


A delightful collection of clean, fantasy-related romance, A Fantasy Christmas provided a great deal of enjoyment for me.  Not only are the stories well-written, but the characters are unique and made me smile. With plenty of magic and mayhem, the authors sent me on a fun journey through love and adventure.  A series of stories that I can highly recommend.  I only wish they had been a little longer so I could have stayed with the characters just a bit more.

Purchase A Fantasy Christmas-Click on links:

Barnes and Noble

A Fantasy Christmas blog

Friday, November 15, 2013

LDS BOOK REVIEW: 52 Life-Changing Questions From the Book of Mormon by John Hilton III & Brad Wilcox


Has a question ever changed your life? "A good question ... is like an alarm clock," wrote Elder Tad R. Callister. "It awakens us out of our mental doldrums [and] jump-starts our mental engines."

A woman was in a church meeting, studying Philippians 4:8: "Whatsoever things are true, ... honest, ... pure, ...lovely, [or] of good report; if there be any virtue, and ... any praise, think on these things." She felt the Holy Spirit say to her, "Is there anything honest, pure, or lovely in your soap opera?"

She had to confess that the program was not lovely or of good report or praiseworthy. Then the Spirit whispered another question: "So what are you going to do about it?"

What this sister heard from the Spirit that day were life-changing questions, and her decision to give up her soap opera made a profound difference in her life.

Where can we find questions that will awaken us out of those mental—and spiritual—doldrums? Popular authors John Hilton III and Brad Wilcox help us recognize and ponder fifty-two powerful questions from the Book of Mormon—one for each week of the year. One short chapter each week has the power to change your life.
Have miracles ceased?
Have ye inquired of the Lord?
Have ye spiritually been born of God?
Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God?

Joseph Smith promised that we would get nearer to God through the Book of Mormon than through any other book. Pondering its inspired questions can propel us forward to attain that promise.

CLICK HERE to see "52 Life Changing Questions from the Book of Mormon" featured in LDS Living's blog.


Brad Wilcox is a professor of teacher education at BYU, where he also works with Especially for Youth and Education Week programs. He served a mission to Chile and later presided over the Chile Santiago East Mission. He currently serves as a member of the Sunday School general board. Brad and his wife, Debi, are the parents of four children and grandparents of three. He is also the author of The Continuous Atonement and The Continuous Conversion.

John Hilton III teaches in Religious Education at Brigham Young University. He has degrees from BYUand Harvard and has taught at Especially for Youth and BYU Education Week. John and his wife, Lani, have six children and reside in Utah. John’s published books include Why? and How? and he collaborated with Brad Wilcox and others on Armor Up and Suit Up. For more information visit


I'll just say right out that this book really makes you think about God and his commandments.  This is the kind of book that you can read over and over again and learn something new every time.  I love the fact that the book is based around questions.  Out of the 543 questions asked throughout The Book of Mormon, the authors have chosen 52 to highlight in this book, starting in 1 Nephi and running through Moroni (these are different books within The Book of Mormon).

After sharing the context of each question, the authors share stories and thoughts about the importance of the doctrines and counsel contained in each question.  Questions, if used well, are a powerful way to teach and to learn.  This book shows that very clearly.  The authors emphasize the need to not just read the scriptures but to respond to them and one of the best ways to do that is to think about how one might answer the questions posed by the scriptures. Truly a wonderful, thoughtful read.


Deseret Book


Chapter 1

Wherefore can ye doubt?
1 Nephi 4:3
When Nephi was trying to convince his brothers to try to obtain the brass plates from Laban, he said, “Now behold ye know that [what I say] is true; and ye also know that an angel hath spoken unto you; wherefore can ye doubt?” (1 Nephi 4:3). Laman and Lemuel had seen an angel—yet they still had doubts. Some people today are in a similar situation—they are in a position where they should know, but they remain unsure.
“Could I . . . uh . . .” The dark-haired elder approached his teacher at the Missionary Training Center and shifted his weight awkwardly. “I mean, I was wondering . . . if we could talk.” The teacher had just finished teaching a class, and the group was enjoying a short break.
“No problem,” the teacher assured him. They walked down the hall, away from classrooms and companions for a moment. The teacher had noticed how this elder’s enthusiasm had waned as his time in the MTC had increased.
“It’s about what you said in class,” the missionary began quietly. “You know, about building yourself before you can build others. Well—” He hesitated. “Well, I . . . ” He paused again. His averted eyes did little to disguise the tears that were welling inside them. “I always thought I knew the Church was true till now.” He shrugged his shoulders and sighed. “I came on this mission to tell people what I know.” His voice was husky with suppressed emotion. “But now I’m not sure. I’m just not sure. . . .” His voice trailed off.
“You’re not sure you know?” the teacher asked, filling in the blank in the elder’s sentence. The missionary nodded. Tears glistening on his lashes brimmed over. Suddenly, communication between student and teacher went beyond the foreign language the missionary was studying and the English language they shared. They were at the I-feel-what-you-feel level. The missionary brushed his tears away with the back of his hand. As the teacher watched, he remembered when he, too, wondered if God were there and what on earth he had gotten himself into when he had chosen to serve a mission. He spoke quietly to the missionary, “There was a time in my mission when I felt exactly the same way.”
The missionary looked up. “Really?” he asked. His teacher seemed so confident and sure of himself. He spoke with ease the foreign language the young missionary was struggling to learn. He bore a strong and powerful testimony to the group often and with great sincerity. The missionary could hardly imagine his teacher ever feeling the doubts that were flooding over him.
“I feel like a terrible elder,” the missionary said. “I have so many doubts. You must think I’m wrong and weak.”
The words shocked the teacher, and he responded, “Wrong? Weak? Are doubts wrong? Are questions a sign of weakness? No. Didn’t Joseph Smith himself doubt and question as he learned?” The teacher opened his Pearl of Great Price to Joseph Smith–History and read: “In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties is right or are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?” (Joseph Smith–History 1:10).
The teacher looked up from the page and said, “If doubting and questioning are wrong, then the whole missionary system of the Church is wrong, for isn’t it our invitation to the world to escape tradition’s chains and test present beliefs against revealed truth? Don’t we openly invite people to doubt and question?”
Hugh Nibley wrote that we should “unblushingly try to prove or disprove things. Doubts are not necessarily wrong, and they can definitely be a step toward the right. Questions are not a sign of weakness but a sign of growth. The weak are not discovered by their questions but by when they stop questioning. People are not wrong when they doubt but when they fail to do something about their doubts. American educator Robert L. Ebel wrote, “[We] must earn the right to say, ‘I know’ by our own thoughtful efforts to understand.”
The teacher looked at the missionary and continued, “The scriptures themselves tell us to ‘prove all things,’ but the learning process is not complete until the test is done, experiments are finished, and conclusions are drawn. ‘Prove all things; hold fast that which is good’ [1 Thessalonians 5:21]. Joseph Smith didn’t understand, so he ‘inquired,’ and he ‘received.’”
The teacher wondered how he could express to the discouraged missionary the joy of having a testimony. How could he convince him that, instead of being a source of discouragement, his doubts could motivate him to new learning he had never dreamed of before? How could he express the overwhelming satisfaction of finally finding answers? He opened his mouth, hoping to say something profound, but all that came out was, “Hang in there. It’s worth it. I promise.” Those words certainly didn’t sound all that wonderful or convincing.
But it was enough for the missionary. He looked up and smiled. “Thanks for understanding,” he said. “I’m glad you’re not mad at me.”
“Mad?” asked the teacher. “How could I be mad? I am proud of you for being honest. I am proud of you for reaching out for help. I am proud of you for not giving up. Now, break’s over. We’d better get back to class.”
While all of us may face unanswered questions that may cause us to doubt, we do not need to be afraid because there are things we do not fully understand. President Joseph F. Smith put it this way: “It is no discredit to our intelligence or to our integrity to say frankly in the face of a hundred speculative questions, ‘I do not know.’” In fact, “uncertainty is a necessary precursor to new discoveries and new creation.”
Robert L. Millet explained the way he handles doubts:
“One thing I have learned through the years is not to become preoccupied with unanswered questions, not to obsess over them, not to allow them to make me spiritually dysfunctional. . . . I have learned to place many items on the shelf for the time being to allow time and study and seasoning and maturity either to prepare me for an answer down the road or to prepare me not to receive an answer, perhaps even in this life.”
All of us have doubts—doubts about the future, doubts about decisions we have made or will make, doubts of a thousand kinds. But these doubts do not need to destroy us—answers will come. One woman spent long hours pondering struggles she was having with her testimony. As she weighed the assurances she had previously felt with the doubts she was currently encountering, she felt prompted to turn to the scriptures. As she did so, her scriptures fell open to Doctrine and Covenants 6, and she read these words: “If you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (D&C 6:22–23). She felt the Spirit wash over her, and her doubts were replaced by faith.
Sometimes our doubts are quickly resolved, and sometimes we have to put them “on the shelf” for a time. But one thing is certain: the Lord has done great things for us and our ancestors and He will continue to do great things in the future. As Nephi said, “Let us go up; the Lord is able to deliver us, even as our fathers” (1 Nephi 4:3). Even though there may be things we do not fully understand, we can move forward as Nephi did, trusting in the God who has always stood by us.
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