Thursday, April 28, 2016

BLOG TOUR W/ GIVEAWAY: Loving Leah by Lynne Larson


“Promise me, Ethan, no matter what, you must stay here! You can’t make a sound! Promise me you won’t!”
Caught in the middle of a massacre in Lawrence, Kansas, during the Civil War, Leah Donaldson, a twenty-year-old Mormon governess, must risk everything to save two children in her care—and she lives to pay dearly for the decision. Young Ethan Pace loves Leah and can hardly stay still as she is taken away by the enemy for refusing to reveal where he and his sister are hiding.

Five years later, Ethan desperately searches for her, trying to reconcile all that has happened and grappling with his feelings for her. Still idealizing Leah, he hopes she has survived and that he can help her get to Zion and her people. But after everything she’s been through since they last met, will Leah overcome her regrets and allow love into her life? Will she come to see Ethan as the caring man he has become rather than the lovesick boy she once knew?


I don't think I've read another historical fiction book quite like this one.  This type of book tends to focus on romance and less on history.  This book is the opposite.  The focus here is on the experiences of the characters through a horrific event and it's devastating consequences. The story is divided into three parts, the pre-event set up, the event itself, and the recovery.  Ethan tells the story of his experiences leading up to the Lawrence Massacre involving himself, his two best friends, his little sister, and their Mormon governess, Leah.  Ethan clearly develops a major crush on Leah and wrestles with sharing her with the world, especially when a suitor appears.  But things take a turn for the worse when Southern raiders show up and start murdering people, generally men.  In order to save Ethan's and Addie's life, Leah allows herself to be taken by an evil man.  Unfortunately, there is no one available to go after her.  The third part of the story picks up five years down the road as the town continues to rebuild and Ethan gets a clue as to where Leah might be.  He and his friend, Toe, set off to see if they can find her and help her find her way to Zion to repay her for her kindness and sacrifice.  And if Ethan happens to hope for more, well, he wouldn't say no if she returned his feelings.  But like life in general, things don't go according to anyone's plans.


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

BLOG TOUR: The Magnificent World of Spirits by Marlene Bateman Sullivan


Life. Death. Life.

Not everyone who visits the spirit world stays there. The Magnificent World of Spirits: Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die, gives fascinating glimpses of life beyond the veil by people who visited the spirit world during the early years of the LDS Church.

Filled with stories of insight and inspiration, The Magnificent World of Spirits is a stirring book that combines documented personal experiences with scripture, commentary, and quotes from latter-day prophets and other leaders. This book will bring you peace as you come to understand what awaits on the other side of the veil. After reading this book, you will never think of life—or death—in the same way.


Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. Marlene loves reading, camping, and flowers, and has a super-sized iris garden with over 75 different varieties. She also loves animals and has a pudgy Westie and an energetic Welsh Corgi who somehow manage to co-exist with her four cats.  
Marlene has written a number of non-fiction books, including:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze Into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits. Marlene also wrote the best-selling novel, Light on Fire Island, as well as three other mysteries, Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House


One of the things I love about reading about the spirit world is the possibilities of eternity.  Each individual story gives a glimpse at a world different from and yet similar too our own.  I find it comforting to read about death not being the end, of seeing loved ones again, of seeing the prophets and the Savior Himself.  Each story is fascinating, the leaving the body, what each person sees and experiences. I appreciate the way Sullivan has combined these stories into an organized framework looking at what we know and have learned about the spirit world.  I find it restful to consider the beautiful nature of spirit paradise and the thought of leaving pain and suffering behind.  I recommend this book to those who like me, wonder about life after death.

Excerpts from The Magnificent World of Spirits

Sometime in 1867, John Powell wrote; “My spirit then left my body and went with my guide . . . Here I beheld the inhabitants. The houses and trees were beautiful to behold. I was so amazed and so delighted that I requested my guide to permit me to stay and dwell there, for all things were far in advance of this world.”

While in Philadelphia, Edward Southgate found himself in the spirit world. He says; “I found myself standing in the midst of a vast assembly of people all dressed in white robes. I was greatly impressed—awed is perhaps a better word—by their appearance. Somehow, in a way I cannot describe, their faces seemed to radiate love and happiness and something far deeper and more powerful than happiness—JOY!”

When Brother Pettersson visited the spirit world, he said it resembled the world he knew on earth. He then added, “There were cities and villages, lakes and rivers, fields and gardens, houses and mansions, temples and palaces, flowers and animals of great beauty and variety. The people were busy. Some were building, some were planting, some harvesting.”

Lorena A. Wilson said; “Before us lay a vast city or realm . . . Everything was clean and beaming with radiant beauty. . . . We walked, or seemed to walk, but without apparent effort, a long distance through pleasant streets, lined with beautiful buildings, over paved walks which were bordered by well-kept lawns. The lawns were set with pretty trees and shrubbery, with here and there beds of gorgeous flowers, which were a delight to behold.”

The Magnificent World of Spirits is published by Cedar Fort Inc. and is available at physical bookstores such as Deseret Book, Seagull Book, and other LDS bookstores. It can also be purchased online at:


Books and Things:

Blurb for Gaze into Heaven (prequel to The Magnificent World of Spirits)

Gaze Into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early LDS Church History, is a collection of more than 50 near-death experiences that occurred during the early years of the LDS Church. These documented accounts give fascinating glimpses into the spirit world by those who have actually been there. What happens when we die? What does the spirit world look like? Will we see departed family members and friends? What do people do there? All of these questions and many more are answered in Gaze Into Heaven.

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