Thursday, October 19, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: 100 Favorite Verses from the Old Testament by Shauna Humphreys

100 favorite verses from the old testament   covercopy

ABOUT THE BOOK

Studying—and truly understanding—the Old Testament can feel like an insurmountable task. But in this wonderful compilation of 100 of the most beloved Old Testament verses, author Shauna Humphreys reminds readers that this sacred book of scripture is brimming with treasures of wisdom for those prepared to seek them. Presented with complementary spiritual insights, vibrant explanations, and personal applications, each verse will motivate readers to delve into these sacred and powerful teachings as never before. Whether used in personal study or incorporated into family discussions or Church lessons, this inspiring volume is sure to enlighten the mind and stir the heart.

REVIEW

In this compilation of gospel thoughts and insights, Humphreys has created a beautiful, thoughtful look at some of the most powerful verses from the Old Testament as well as from the Pearl of Great Price. Each scripture is highlighted on two pages with commentary from the author that includes additional scriptures as well as quotes from LDS Church leaders.  The design of the book makes it a wonderful choice for gift-giving with the soft, padded cover, gilt pages, and included bookmark.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Safe House by Traci Hunter Abramson


ABOUT THE BOOK

he guardians, the shadowy heroes of the top-secret program designed to protect members of the most elite government organizations, are being hunted down one by one. There is a single explanation: a traitor must be embedded somewhere in their midst. But if they themselves are the target, who will protect them?

CIA operative Renee Niezen has heard tales of the guardians, though she's never really believed in their existence—until she is approached by Charlotte, an old friend who desperately needs her help to stop the systematic destruction of the guardian program. Renee accepts the plea for assistance, but not everyone is thrilled to have her on the team. Kade—one of the last guardians standing—is unimpressed with Renee's qualifications and turns instead to the legendary Saint Squad for help. But when Renee is caught in the crosshairs, Kade must set aside his antagonism for the woman in order to protect her. Their grudging alliance soon develops into much more—but before the pair can examine their feelings, their investigation takes a dramatic twist. With lives on the line, Renee and Kade must use their spy training at every turn as they draw dangerously close to the shocking truth.

REVIEW

Abramson knows how to write a thriller.  I always have to take a deep breath after I've read one of her books.  I also feel grateful that I don't live the life that her characters do.  Renee, a CIA analyst, is asked by an old friend to help out a secret government program.  When she agrees, she has no idea that it will put her life at great risk.  Her efforts to help the guardians leave her working with Kade, an operative who is none to happy to have her around.  But as they work together to find out who is targeting them, their feelings start to develop.  Unfortunately, Kade's status as a 'ghost' means that the world thinks he's dead, complicating any relationship they might contemplate.  In addition, Kade is used to operating alone most of the time and doesn't have an easy time opening up.  With the help of the Saint Squad, Renee and Kade must discover who is out to destroy them before it's too late.  With plenty of interesting twists and turns, Abramson has written an entertaining and suspenseful story.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: For Love or Honor by Sarah M. Eden


ABOUT THE BOOK

From the moment they met, Marjie's heart has belonged to handsome Captain Stanley Jonquil, younger brother of the Earl of Lampton. But six long months ago, when Stanley's sense of honor required that he do as he had sworn and return to the Continent to fight in defense of King and country, neither Stanley nor Marjie could have dreamed what the cost of his service would be.

It has been ages since Stanley last wrote, and Marjie and the Jonquil family are plagued by his unknown fate—until the day he unexpectedly reappears. Marjie's joy, however, is quickly shadowed by confusion—the aloof, battle-worn soldier before her is not the man he once was. In the wake of Stanley's blatant disinterest in renewing their acquaintance, Marjie's devastation turns to determination as she vows to help him find peace. But his scars run far deeper than anyone realizes. Despite his feelings for her, Stanley believes Marjie deserves a man whose hands are not stained with the violence of battlefields and whose mind and heart are not haunted by the horrors he has seen.

Honor requires Stanley to return once more to the life he has grown to despise, one he knows will destroy him in the end, even as his heart beckons him to stay with Marjie, the only woman he could ever love, and the promise, at last, of redemption.

REVIEW

Sigh of happiness inserted here.  Sarah Eden has written another fabulous book.  I've become rather attached to the Jonquil brothers over the years so I was delighted to pick up this book about Stanley, the 5th of the seven brothers.  Stanley's had a hard time of it serving in the army.  With a compassionate heart, having to kill people has eaten away at his soul.  And the injuries he suffered at Waterloo haven't helped any.

Marjie fell in love with Stanley when they first met almost a year ago when he was home recuperating from a previous injury.  But after six months of no letters, she wonders if he still cares for her.  And when Stanley arrives home unexpectedly in poor health and refusing to discuss the war, her fears seem to be confirmed.  But Marjie isn't ready to give up quite yet and her determination to help and Stanley's need of some hope bring the two together again.  But Stanley's honor won't let him back out of his commitment to the army and he refuses to expose Marjie to the things he's seen and experienced.  So it may just be that their feelings for each other may not be enough.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  I found it impossible not to cheer for Stanley and Marjie. Both characters had their struggles but they sincerely cared for each other and it's obvious.  Through in the rest of the Jonquil clan and you have a delightful book that still manages to be hopeful despite some rather heavy themes related to war, loss, and secrets.  If you enjoy reading clean regency romances, I can heartily recommend this one.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW: The Holy Ghost is My Friend by Catherine Christensen


ABOUT THE BOOK

Get ready to shine a spotlight on the Holy Ghost! This unique picture book shares everyday situations and simple stories that teach children how to recognize the influence of the Spirit. When you shine a flashlight through the illustrated pages, you can discover how the Holy Ghost protects, comforts, directs, and witnesses of true gospel principles. A fun and illuminating book the whole family will love!

REVIEW

I have some rather mixed feelings about this book.  On the one hand, it does a great job of explaining some of the roles of the Holy Ghost and how He helps us.  On the other hand, the illustrations and first page part of the book imply that the Holy Ghost appeared at Christ's baptism as a dove (not to mention the cover).  I would have liked it to be clearer that the Holy Ghost descended as gracefully and gently as a dove, not in the actual physical shape of a dove. And that the dove signified the Holy Ghost's presence, but was not the Holy Ghost.  As Joseph Smith explains:

“The sign of the dove was instituted before the creation of the world, a witness for the Holy Ghost, and the devil cannot come in the sign of a dove. The Holy Ghost is a personage, and is in the form of a personage. It does not confine itself to the form of the dove, but in sign of the dove. The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 276).

The other thing that I wish the book had included is a description of just who the Holy Ghost is, beyond being a friend such as a member of the Godhead, a personage in form, but who has no physical body. 

The book does a nice job of explaining some of the different ways the Holy Ghost can help and the ways to invite Him to do so. And the flashlight aspect of the book which brings a hidden picture to the surface followed by a following page that explains what the picture represents.  There is a page depicting a child being tempted that shows temptations as purple demon creatures.  I think I would have preferred a different picture here. 

Overall, the book works, but it could have been better.



Thursday, September 7, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Miss Leslie's Secret by Jennifer Moore


ABOUT THE BOOK

Decorated war hero Conall Stewart has spent ten years envisioning his return to his beloved Scottish Highlands. But now, with the days of battle finally behind him, it seems that his dreams of home have been in vain: the land of his youth lies in ruins, and his family is gone. Though he will never stop searching for his kin, Conall knows he must begin again. But when he takes on a rented farm in a nearby town, he finds far more than the fresh start he was looking for.

After catching a mischievous local lad stealing, Conall returns young Jamie to his mother, Aileen Leslie—and finds the woman’s coddling of the child maddening. What Conall does not realize is that Aileen hides a frightening secret: her devoted protection of Jamie is all that shelters them from discovery by a dangerous man from their past. Drawn together by circumstance, Conall soon develops a fatherly relationship with Jamie—as well as romantic feelings for Aileen. But even as the couple accepts their growing affection for one another, time runs out for Aileen and her son: after years of hiding, they have been found. Conall lost his family once—he will do all in his power not to let history repeat itself.

REVIEW

Jennifer Moore has written another winning story.  It's fun to catch up with Conall Stewart after having met him in Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart.  I've really enjoyed the way so many of her books are connected through the different characters.  In this one, Conall returns home to the Scottish Highlands only to discover his family has left for Canada.  Not willing to give up the homeland he has missed for over a decade, Conall settles down in the small village of Dunaid.  There he encounters a mischievous young lad named Jamie.  When Jamie steals from him, Conall returns to boy home only to encounter the boy's mother.  As Conall gets to know Jamie and his mother, he begins to realize that maybe he's found a new family.  But since when did the path of love ever run smooth?  Aileen Leslie, Jamie's mother, has a rather dangerous secret that may change everything once it's revealed, and to Aileen's horror, that day seems to be coming closer despite her best efforts.  I found the characters winning, the setting and customs fascinating, and the plot engaging.  Another fantastic historical romance from one of my favorite authors.

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*Sept. 8th: http://readingismysuperpower.org/ , http://minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/, http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com/, http://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/, http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/, http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

BLOG TOUR: I Can Love LIke Jesus by Heidi Poelman


ABOUT THE BOOK

Help your little ones live and love like Jesus did with this adorable picture book. The simple text and beautiful illustrations show children exactly how Jesus loved others and how to emulate Him with small acts of kindness, like sharing, forgiving, and comforting. Invite the Savior into your home and feel His peace each time you read this book together.

REVIEW

This adorable book shows how we as followers of Jesus Christ can be more like him. Each two page spread shares one way that Jesus showed love to his followers and the people around him.  Jesus helped create the earth, taught those willing to listen, healed the sick, and sacrificed His life for all humankind.  The illustrations take the concept of following Christ's example a step further by showing ways to demonstrate that love by helping those around us.  Each illustration shows a child showing love as well as a small reference to the event in Christ's life that is being referenced.  This book provides a sweet way to help children understand just what it means to be like Jesus.




 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Double Eagle Double Cross by M.R. Durbin


ABOUT THE BOOK

After an unexpectedly thrilling summer with his grandfather, Oregon State student Charley Sawyer is ready to catch his breath at his late parents' Oregon beach home. Hoping for some rest and relaxation, Charley is met instead by devastation: the house has been ransacked. In his inventory of the damage, Charley stumbles across the item the trespasser must have been after, the only things that seems out of place: a mysterious key. And when he learns what it unlocks, Charley is drawn into yet another adventure with a ragtag group more than willing to help.

Mac Bowman, the brainy and beautiful anthropology student who joined Charley in his summer escapade, is thrilled when she is presented with the opportunity to conduct research in Oregon. Maybe a little time together will allow the pair to explore their feelings for one another. But when she arrives, she is disturbed by what she finds: Charley has disappeared without a trace.

As Charley and Mac each work to unravel their mysteries, their searches collide dramatically. Only one thing is clear: the moment he found the key, Charley unwittingly opened the door to a long-held secret—one that could cost him his life.

REVIEW

Combining archaeology with a treasure mystery creates a rather intriguing story. While I have not yet had the opportunity to finish the book since school has started and I've been rather preoccupied and exhausted, I'm enjoying what I'm reading so far.  Charley's discovery of a mysterious key and the sudden realization that his parents' car accident may not have been an accident create many questions from the first few chapters.  This is a follow-up book to Beyond the Narrows by Durbin, which I haven't read, so the relationship between Charley and Mac already exists.  The author does give enough background to make the circumstances under which Charley and Mac met clear.  This background also explains why the two aren't certain where they stand.  And unfortunately, when they meet again, circumstances haven't really improved.  And it's clear that neither Charley or Mac are comfortable in romantic relationships.  I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book and will update this review when I've finished it.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: The Search by Clair Poulson


ABOUT THE BOOK

Young private investigator Jayden Spaulding has cracked his share of tough cases, but nothing like this one.

When stunning professional basketball player Nadia Fairchild walks through his door, her story seems simple enough: two days ago, her mother disappeared along with a member of the women’s college basketball team she coached. Jayden and Nadia delve into a baffling maze of motive and opportunity with a lengthy list of possible suspects.

As they work together amid their growing attraction to one another, the unlikely duo seems no closer to discovering the truth. Then the threats begin. Soon, the pair begins to suspect that this case is much more complicated than a simple disappearance—they have unwittingly stumbled on a conspiracy of corruption, greed, and murder far more deadly than they ever imagined.

Others are also searching for the missing women, and they will eliminate anyone who stands in their way . . .

REVIEW

Unfortunately with the business of the week and a trip out of town, I haven't had a chance to finish this book yet.  But as soon as I have I will post a review.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Havencross by Julie Daines


ABOUT THE BOOK

When a shocking scandal involving her father spreads through London society, Elaine Cardinham and her parents are forced to retreat to their country home in Cornwall for refuge. But Havencross is no sanctuary for Elaine. She is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her brother—and the heartbreak she left in her wake all those years ago. It has been five long years since Gareth Kemp last saw Elaine—when she rejected his marriage proposal. Her reappearance convinces him of one thing: he has never stopped loving her. To put his feelings for her aside, he focuses his attention on the dangerous smuggling plaguing the Cornish coast. As Elaine attempts to run from her past, she ventures ever closer to a dangerous truth—and Gareth may be the only one who can save her from a deadly finish.

REVIEW

I've long loved the Regency time period, especially romances.  But in a specific genre like that it's easy for stories to start to sound the same.  But like all historical periods, the Regency time period was a lot more than seasons and wealthy, aristocratic people socializing, so it's always refreshing to me to read a story that includes a different aspect of that time period.  And Havencross involves several different elements: scandal (a common story line in regencies), smuggling (not so common), and a handsome hero who works for a living and owns a mine through his and his father's hard work (not so common).  The story also takes place outside of London or fancy country estates.  Elaine and her family come home in shame, after her father's behavior becomes the talk of the town.  Elaine isn't happy to be home because of some bad memories relating to her brother's disappearance five years earlier.  She's also afraid that her father's scandal will make it impossible for her to ever get away from her past.  And continual run ins with Gareth Kemp, who once proposed marriage to Elaine isn't helping.  But when Lord Chiverton arrives from London and proposes marriage, Elaine is so anxious to get away she immediately accepts without stopping to wonder why he'd come so far, especially with her family under a cloud.  But Gareth's ongoing efforts to discover the group of smugglers who murdered his father complicates things greatly, and before she knows it Elaine finds herself wondering where her heart really lies.  Julie Daines has written another thoroughly entertaining, intriguing book.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

PROPER ROMANCE REVIEW: The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen


ABOUT THE BOOK

Anthony Blake, the Earl of Wilshire, is in love with his best friend's sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies—including his own—has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the facade of a flirtatious playboy.

Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn't as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.

She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won't confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?

REVIEW

After thoroughly enjoying Allen's My Fair Gentleman I eagerly picked up this sequel about the sister of the previous protagonist.  The book starts with Anthony Blake, whose planning on courting Sophia Elliot has to be put on hold when he receives the news that he needs to become a spy again to retrieve a dangerous revealing document.  Chapter two picks up two years later as Sophia continues to work on putting her feelings for Anthony behind her.  But Sophia and Anthony meet again in India and it's clear from the beginning that their feelings for each other are as strong as ever.  But Anthony's mission is not yet over and as such he can't reveal his reasons for backing off to Sophia.  But Sophia finds herself getting involved in the mystery when a man ends up being attacked with a young boy as the witness.  I enjoyed both the romance and the mystery/action parts of the book.  Both Sophia and Anthony are likable, great characters.  Shadow Mountain's Proper Romance series has become my favorite source for romance because they are clean with great stories and characters.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

BLOG TOUR: Lies & Letters by Ashtyn Newbold





ABOUT THE BOOK

After a season in London, Charlotte Lyons is still regrettably unattached. With her family’s finances in peril, she is sent away with her sister to a bleak coastal town where she is expected to pursue a wealthy Earl. Beautiful and talented, how could she possibly fail? But when her heart is captured by someone entirely unexpected, Charlotte finds herself caught up in a web of lies and intrigue. Between hardship and sorrow, she finds more than she bargained for, forced to choose between the life she once wanted and a new love she never imagined.

REVIEW

Charlotte Lyons has been raised by her mother to think that her whole life revolves around winning a husband.  As a result, she has followed in her mother's footsteps and become cold, competitive, and selfish. But underneath it all, Charlotte wants more than anything for her mother to love her.  So when the family finances take a dive and her mother tells her that it's up to her to repair the damage by finding a wealthy husband, Charlotte takes it seriously.  The problem is that she can't do it in London as she and her sister have been sent to a small northern fishing village to live.  The fact is that Charlotte is not at all likable for the first part of the book, she's selfish and proud.  But as she and her sister slowly start to settle into the small cottage they live in and learn to start taking care of themselves, Charlotte starts to see things that she'd never noticed before.  Above all else, she's away from her mother's corrupting influence and her heart slowly starts to come to life.  But even as Charlotte's heart is opening up to her previously annoying little sister and relationships with others around her, her old habits and desires refuse to die.  Even after her heart finds someone to love, Charlotte can't quite bring herself to let go of her deep-seeded desire to please her mother and it may lead her to give up everything of real value in her life.  I enjoyed reading this one, especially once Charlotte meets James, who doesn't buy her fake efforts to charm and manipulate.  Clara, Charlotte's sister, is a great character from the beginning as she has more sense and openness than does her sister.  If you enjoy great regency romance with some rather unusual, interesting twists, I can recommend this one.


 
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