Thursday, December 24, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Latter-Day Warriors by Brock Lance Richardson


Discover the spiritual warrior in you! Based on the belief that every soul has a spiritual warrior within, author Brock Lance Richardson interviews ten men he met through BYU football. Each reveals what it takes to become physically and spiritually strong, while their wives describe what it means to be a “warrior” for young women. Perfect for youth and young adults, this entertaining and spiritually uplifting read will teach you how to build spiritual stamina and to use your inner warrior for good.

I really am a fan of inspirational books about real people.  It helps me face my own challenges and struggles when I read about other people facing their own and eventually coming off victorious.  The analogy that Richardson makes here about the young people of the LDS Church being 'warriors' is an apt one.  While most of them will not fight in a physical war (hopefully), we are all engaged in a very real spiritual war with Satan. And that is what this book is focused on.  Using examples from the scriptures, Richardson approached ten former BYU football players to illustrate the points he wants to make.  In each chapter an interview with comments is presented showing how real people can be real spiritual warriors.  I can highly recommend this book to young adults who are struggling with their lives or think they don't have what it takes to be a warrior of any kind.  This is also a great book for those who love BYU football like I do and find it fascinating to get a look into some of the people who've been a part of it.


Inline image 2All About Christmas

This hard cover book is stuffed with stories, songs, poems, Christmas history, joyful traditions, recipes, and activities. This delightful book celebrates all things Christmas - from the sacred story of the Nativity to the lore of Saint Nick. 

This is an amazing collection of materials, including stories, recipes and old-fashioned illustrations that made me nostalgic for the less commercialized aspects of Christmas. It reminded me of what Christmas is all about, spending time with family and remembering our Savior Jesus Christ. See here for a more thorough review.

Inline image 3Words of Christmas: Savoring the True Meaning of the Season One Word at a Time

This beautifully designed book takes a closer look at twenty-five words, like hope, faith and joy, that we hear throughout the holidays. 

So much attention is paid to the Christmas holiday that I sometimes think that the most important parts get neglected. This book focuses on twenty-five words that convey most beautifully exactly what the Christmas holiday is all about. A powerful reminder of the power of words to both lighten and darken the world.

Inline image 4Christus Marble 3 inch statue

This statue is small but the reminder of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a powerful one. This is a replica of one of my all time favorite pieces of art. I placed it next to my nativity as a symbol of what that baby in the manger grew up to be and do do. A wonderful addition to my Christmas decorations, I will cherish using this not only at Christmas but all year round.

Inline image 7A Songbook for LDS Families

A Songbook for LDS Families highlights eighteen beloved and well-known songs, as well as twenty-eight newly penned Book of Mormon hymns composed by Janice Kapp Perry with text by Bonnie Hart Murray. 

Looking through this songbook brought back many happy memories of my childhood. The first section of the book contains 18 of the best known of Janice Kapp Perry's beautiful songs.  I remember loving many of these as a child and the beautiful messages and melodies contained therein.  I enjoyed reading the stories surrounding their creation.  The second half of the book contains 28 new songs based on well-known Book of Mormon stories and testimonies.  While these are unfamiliar the words are beautiful and I look forward to learning them.  The gorgeous paintings and stories connected to these songs make them all the more inspiring.

Inline image 6No Ordinary Shepherd (DVD)

The young shepard boy, has always treasured his father's tale of that starlit night filled with wonder of angelic heralds and a tiny Bethlehem stable sheltering the chosen Messiah. The young shepard later encounters a miracle of his own. 

While this is not a high cost production with big name actors and on location shooting, to me what matters is the story. And the story is a sweet story of faith and healing. I also really liked the actor portraying the Savior, his gentle and kind demeanor reflects just how I think the Savior would have acted. A sweet portrayal that had me crying in the end.

Inline image 8He Knows My Name (DVD)

Rebekah is fascinated by the man her neighbors call Jesus. Her mother is not so sure. One day she brings Jesus home - a simple act that will forever change their lives. 

All I can say about this one is that you need to see it.  I absolutely loved it, although it did make me cry.  I'm not sure I can even put into words what this one made me feel, all I can say is watch it!


Thursday, December 17, 2015



Like heirloom ornaments on a splendid tree, It’s All About Christmas will put you and your family in a festive frame of mind for a glorious holiday season. Stuffed with stories, songs, poems, Christmas history, joyful traditions, recipes, and activities, this delightful book celebrates all things Christmas—from the sacred story of the Nativity to the lore of Saint Nick. Opening this book is like tearing the paper off a much-anticipated gift, offering new surprises with each turn of the page. Generously illustrated with scores of vibrant vintage images, It’s All About Christmas will remind you of Christmases past, help you appreciate Christmas present, and guide you to creating memories for the Christmases to come.


It's All About Christmas carries with it a nostalgic feel that reminds me of Christmas's past.  The collection of short stories, recipes, songs, poems, and classic pictures and paintings offers up reminders of the joys of Christmas.  I recognized many of the songs and stories but found it wonderful to have them all collected here in one place.  The stories include "The Gift of the Magi", "The Little Match Girl", and "The Animals Christmas Tree."  Each song includes the lyrics and a bit about the history of the song.  The recipes sound delicious.  This book is a great resource for those, like myself, who enjoy putting together a Christmas Eve program (a collection of scriptures telling the story of the birth of Jesus is the first selection in the book).  While it would have been helpful to have the actual music included with the songs, that's a minor thing since these songs would be easy to find elsewhere.


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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

LDS MEMOIR: He Delivered Even Me, He Will Deliver Even You by Misti Stevenson


Growing up, Misti thought she had a pretty normal childhood. Right up until the sixth grade. That's when she began to notice things. Like how she was constantly aware of every blink of her eyes. How any normal physical thing could become an enemy that her brain would replay over and over again. She tried talking to her parents about it, but family dysfunction and parental control issues wouldn't let them see her problem for what it was. So she did everything she could to hide it. It would take her many more years to attach a name to her tortuous condition — Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

But after many more years of struggling, praying, and counseling, Misti experienced the miracle she had been seeking — she was healed.

So she's done hiding. This is her story of suffering through — and eventually being healed of — OCD, anxiety, and depression through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is her story of how the Lord turned her deepest struggles into her greatest blessings.


Misti Stevenson now enjoys her busy and joy-filled life in Kaysville with her husband, Jed, and five busy children. When not helping her kids with homework, tackling a mountain of laundry, or serving at church, she loves to do yoga, go jogging with her friends, and especially loves hiking in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with her family. Facing her OCD was difficult. Telling her family was almost impossible. Writing about it, the supreme act of faith. She has felt supported by the Savior each step of the way. Misti knows you or someone you love may be among those who are silently suffering in a seemingly insurmountable set of circumstances and loves spreading the Savior’s message of hope and deliverance through the message of her book.


Mental illness has long carried a stigma with it that is sadly still alive and well.  Even now people are uncomfortable talking about it and understanding it is difficult under any circumstances.  And that is why stories like Misti's need to be told.  Misti gives an account of her experiences starting from a very young age that lead her down the road to developing OCD as well as how she dealt with it and how she eventually found healing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I found myself truly touched as I read about Misti's struggles, especially feeling so alone in her struggles.  But like most of us she had her good days too and people who loved her deeply.  I'd recommend this book to those who've struggled with not only OCD but any kind of mental illness and the immense challenges it presents.  Misti offers hope to those who struggle, that healing is possible when faith in the Lord is exercised and a support network found, including appropriate medical care.

Keep in mind that this is uniquely Misti's story, experiences related to mental illness differ greatly person to person.  Appropriate medical care and support from family and friends are vital to anyone suffering from any sort of mental disorder or disease, genetic or not.  But as Misti points out, each person's journey is his or her own.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

NOVELLA REVIEW: Heir to Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Source: publisher for review


Philip Wyndham has never envied his older brother for being the heir to Edenbrooke. He would much rather carve out his own destiny than live under the constraints of that position. But when his older brother dies unexpectedly, Philip's life is turned upside down as duty requires him to give up the life he planned. Philip takes on his new role as the most sought-after bachelor in London with alternating reluctance, boredom, and resentment. But all that changes the night fate leads him to an inn, where he meets the incomparable Marianne Daventry.


I was so excited when I heard about this book.  Having absolutely loved Donaldson's Edenbrooke, I was thrilled to be able to read some more about Philip.  And I was not disappointed.  Though there were a couple of small discrepancies between this novella and the full length novel, I found them minor since the main reason I wanted to read the book was to see Marianne and Philip's meeting from Philip's perspective.  And that part I found absolutely delightful, more than making up for any small errors. I pretty much smiled the whole time I was reading the last part of the story and matching it up with Marianne's version of events.  I couldn't help but laugh at some moments.  I have to say that this scene is one of my all time favorite book scenes ever.  And I fell a bit more in love with Philip.  He is probably my all time favorite book hero, although maybe it's a tie with Mr. Darcy, hmmm, I'll have to ponder that some more. ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

CLEAN ROMANCE: Seaside Gifts by Gayle Roper


Nan Patterson has finally found her niche: operating a boardwalk gift shop in the quaint beachfront town of Seaside. Everything is perfect–until valuable items start just…showing up. At worst, they’ve been stolen and abandoned in her shop. At best, someone doesn’t realize they’ve lost them. Either way, Nan knows she’s out of her depth. Time to call in the local police.

Officer Rog Eastman has bigger worries than a bunch of misplaced treasures—but it is his job to help local shop owners. The fact that she’s adorable doesn’t even come into the equation. Especially since he’s sworn off women for the foreseeable future.

But there’s an imp at work in the background. Someone who knows exactly what these two people need: each other!


Nan Patterson loves her new home, Seaside, New Jersey, where she runs the gift shop left her by her Aunt Char.  But when someone starts leaving gifts for her in the shop she is confused and concerned.  After calling the police, Rog Eastman shows up, incredulity and all.  But Nan is a cute, pixie of a young woman and Rog decides to help her.  But things take a turn when the guilty party doesn't reveal him/herself the way he/she promised Rog he/she would, leaving Nan feeling hurt and betrayed.  And while Nan and Rog are attracted to each other they have both faced heartbreak before and are unwilling to do so again.  But the heart wants what the heart wants.  Can they find their way past the hurt from the past and the confusion of the present?  I admit, I like this kind of sweet romance.  This one is less cheesy than most since the relationship moves along at a realistic sort of pace and they aren't married with three children by the end.  And the challenges to the relationship feel appropriate for the situation.  A sweet, cute romance for those who like me enjoy that sort of thing.  This is a christian romance so there are references to God and his plan as well as prayer and scriptures.
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