Posts Categorized: review

The Healer by Gregg Luke Blog Tour & Giveaway

17 Feb, 2015 by in covenant, gregg luke, healer, review Leave a comment

I received this book for free from Covenant in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Healer by Gregg Luke Blog Tour & Giveaway

The Healer

by Gregg Luke
Published by Covenant on February 3rd 2015
Genres: Adult
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Covenant
Buy the Book
After successfully completing his first-year professorship, Welsh folklore expert Chris Pendragon has earned a vacation. At least that’s what the young scholar tells himself—but deep down, he feels an urgency to reassess his life, to find a sense of purpose. Hoping that perhaps a trip to Wales will provide him the answers he seeks, Chris embarks on a journey of self-discovery. He could never have anticipated the unimaginable adventure that awaits him . . .
Shortly after his arrival in Wales, Chris is witness to a horrific accident with more far-reaching consequences than he could have dreamed. Following his heroic rescue of one of the victims, an unexplainable phenomenon is revealed: bones that had been broken were made whole with Chris’s touch. Still reeling from this discovery, Chris is approached by a wizened old man with an implausible answer: Chris has been chosen to be the bearer of the Dial, a healer of unparalleled power. But the calling is fraught with peril, and Chris soon discovers there are those who will stop at nothing to seize the power of the Dial. With the help of a beautiful, if skeptical, doctor, Chris must choose: go back to the life he was leading, or embark on a thrilling new destiny . . .
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What I Loved

the cover

the setting…modern day Wales. Beautiful, green, steeped in local lore.

the myth. Learn all about St. Nick and his gift of healing

the juxtaposition of cynicism meets faith

the doctor. She is perfect for main character Chris

the dialogue. Lots of Welsh slang and phrases mixed in to give the novel a definite feel

 

For: fans of suspense and action

Content: mid violence, gun fight

Age group:  adults

 

About the Author1132841

Since a young boy, he has loved writing. Although he has always enjoyed writing, it wasn’t until college he became serious in his efforts. Still, it took ten more years before any of his writings got published.

His favorite genre is science-based thrillers, but he enjoys most any fiction or non-fiction book.

He has been a finalist for a Whitney Award in 2008 for Do No Harm,in 2009 for Altered State, in 2010 for Blink Of An Eye, in 2011 for Bloodborne, and in 2012 for Deadly Undertakings.

Tour Schedule

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Breview: Endless by Amanda Gray

09 Jan, 2014 by in amanda gray, month9books, netgalley, review, young adult fiction 2 comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Breview: Endless by Amanda Gray

Endless

by Amanda Gray
Published by Month9Books on September 10, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Time Travel, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
three-half-stars
Source: Netgalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
Jenny Kramer knows she isn't normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them.

When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought. Like a past life.

Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren't alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has travelled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back.

While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock - and the Order - Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins them in life - and beyond death.

The first thing that drew me to Endless was the cover. Heaven! The beginning chapter was a little rocky for me as the character’s lines and choppy writing style didn’t connect well, but delving into the rest of the story was smooth and easy. This is a book rich with detail. If you were a fan of Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble, it’s another YA title to add to your shelves featuring the Romanov family of Russia.

Story in a Nutshell

Jenny is an artist who can feel and see people’s past by touching them so she remains recluse and immerses herself in her art. But suddenly a man she doesn’t know shows up in all of her paintings and begins to appear in her dreams. She has one true friend at the bookstore where they both work, but is suspicious of people. During her”spare time” works alongside her father as he renovates old homes. They meet Ben and his mother on one such job and Ben is just as standoffish.What Jessie and Ben find one day in the attic pulls both teens into a time travel mystery and a dangerous race for time in the present.

What I liked

I always like books with multi- layered elements of history. Abandoned homes that come to life, antiques with meaning in the present day, family history with links to the past

I loved that both the main characters parents were involved even in a  minute way in the story line. These teens have angst, they have independence– but they also have parents who check in and care.

Jenny is navigating what it means to trust and open up to people. She finds true friendship and others that stand by her as she lets down walls.

The flashbacks and  imagery of the Romanov family living in their own home as an exile and sewing their jewels into their clothing was so vivid and makes the bits of history real.

The pace clipped along without stalling which makes Endless interesting and easy to read.

What I Struggled With

I didn’t fall in love with main characters Jenny and Nikolai as they found each other in time. It seemed to be a pre destined romance but not as convincing or emotionally moving to the reader.

Ben, the other main teen character seemed to drop out of the story when Nikolai appears. I wanted to know more about his role in the past visions and what he is seeing and feeling.   Would  love to see a second novel or novella form his point of view in the future.

The mystical elements of ouija boards and mesmirization were weaved in to connect past and present, but along with the men in green robes that looked like monks, they just didn’t mesh with my vision of time travel and Russian history.

Content: mild swearing, moderate violence and one heavy kissing scene.

 

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Trailer

About the author

Amanda Gray believes in magic and fantasy and possibilities. She is a team of two bestselling authors who live only miles apart but have never met in person. They talk on the phone and are the best of friends and between them have written more than a dozen novels and novellas and have had their work appear on television.

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ARC Review ~ The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

21 Nov, 2013 by in review, Uncategorized Leave a comment

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review ~ The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse

by Marie Rutkoski
Published by Macmillan on March 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music.Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart

Review: I got this book from MacMillan as an e- ARC, and when I saw the cover image, must say I swooned. It’s gorgeous! After reading, The Winner’s Curse, I love it even more. It fits the book,  not just a pretty girl in a dress, it looks like Kestrel. 

Kestrel who is General Trajan’s daughter, a motherless pianist who doesn’t want to bend to the confines of her father’s decision, the girl that does not want her to join the ranks of his army. She trains half heartedly and longs for freedom outside the doldrums rules of society. As she and best friend Jess wander the marketplace in search of distraction they are pushed by the mob like crowd to the bidding arena where a slave is being auctioned off. Without knowing why, Kestrel feels compelled to bid on the young man, Arin, who is defiant and unruly. She pays a much higher price than the norm for slave and falls for “the winner’s curse,” in more ways than one.

There is a pull toward him that is unexplainable. He is more than he appears on the surface, more than a blacksmith pounding out horse shoes. Arin has a will, and hidden underneath is the story of how he became a slave and what he’s endured. Meanwhile, Kestrel begins to make waves with her opponents of bite and sting, a tile game with betting. She angers some and charms others. She turns heads for many reasons and gets the whispers of society to spread.

The Winner’s Curse was an interesting high fantasy diversion. I wish we knew a bit more about the characters. I wanted more depth–more about what they looked like, what they wore and their inner thoughts. I wasn’t as attached or invested to Kestrel, Ronan and Arin as I would like to have been. The world was fascinating–one country dominating another and taking the inhabitants as slaves. I loved the dynamic of slave and owner, the thought that the slave may even be serving in the household he once owned. Still, there was a hope to understand the custom, the culture, the view, the games and the rules just a titch better. The end notes added a lot, the author knows her stuff. I hope she incorporates even more of what she highlighted about the period & civilizations into the rest of the series.

Here’s the magical part–by the end, I was swept away, fully escaped reality, and was lured into Marie Rutkoski’s story. Something happened that I can’t quite explain. I felt more tied to Kestrel and Arin, the lulls in pace no longer bothered me, and I wanted to dive into book two. So would I recommend The Winner’s Curse... yes!  I love it when a book casts its spell on me and I can’t quite explain why. There was something poetic and musical about The Winner’s Curse that drew me in.  

Thanks to Macmillan for the sneak peek!

Content (highlight to reveal): threat of sexual assault, moderate-heavy war related violence and death, no sex or swearing, some sensuality from kissing. Older teens 16+

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About the Author: Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children’s fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard Universit

y. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and fiction writing. She usually lives in New York City with her husband and two sons, but she and her family are living in Paris for the 2012-2013 academic year. Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner’s Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Find out more on:  author website/ twitter

Pre-Order:

ARC Tour Review- Defy by Sara B. Larson

19 Nov, 2013 by in ARC tour, review, Sara B. Larson, scholastic, young adult fiction Leave a comment

ARC Tour Review- Defy by Sara B. Larson

Defy

by Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #1
Published by Scholastic on January 7th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 336 pages
Format: ARC
Source: ARC Tour
Goodreads
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?
Review: I received this book as part of a two state ARC tour and was so excited to read local author Sarah B. Larson’s debut. It reminded me a bit of Shannon Hale and Kristin Cashore–fantasy with a strong female heroine all mixed in with fantasy elements of magic.

Defy starts out with the death of Alexa’s parents, and her decision to flee with twin brother Marcell, ultimately disguising herself as a male soldier. She is welcomed as one of the King’s Elite guard who lives in the castle protecting royalty. 

I made a rocky start with this one as the opening chapter describe in detail the King’s breeding program.  Its a horrific description of the mistreatment of young women in Defy’s world. Alexa must visit the complex to escort newly orphaned girls which put a dark, sinister tone in the beginning that I did not like. However, after reading on, there were lots of things I did enjoy:

the relationship between Alexa and her brother– the family loyalty
the sparring of the guard, watching Alexa train
the idea of healing, of sorcery being used for good
the pacing, which kept me flipping pages, and
the two men who are vying for Alexa’s attention

The dynamic between Alexa and her main love is super confusing and uncomfortable for me, until we are sure where things stand. There was also a difficulty for me believing who does and does not know her identity secret.

In the end, this is not your run of the mill happily ever after. The character arc and progression of Alex to Alexa is a very conflicted, emotional one– from warrior to confused and in love, to the ending, which I can’t spoil, but is quite a twist. This is a solid debut by Sarah, one that you can tell she poured her heart into. Because of my personal content preferences it was rocky for me but I think it will appeal to many YA readers. 

Thanks so much to Windy Aphyrath, Sarah B. Larson and Scholastic for letting us have a sneak peek into Defy.

Content: This is a definitely pick for older teens or adults because of content (highlight the line after parenthesis for content) 
rape, violence against young women, moderate war related violence, heavy sensuality

Author Bio: I love writing, reading, and dessert–but the order varies by the day. I write books that have magic and romance and kick-butt girls and a whole lot more. My husband and I live in Utah with our three children. I write during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. My husband claims I should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” On occasion you will find me hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary and my YA debut DEFY is coming Spring 14 from Scholastic!

Find Sarah on Goodreads/ author website/ twitter/ facebook

Pre-Order:

Follow Me To Zion~ Deseret Book Blog Tour and Review

12 Nov, 2013 by in review Leave a comment

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Follow Me To Zion~ Deseret Book Blog Tour and Review

Follow Me to Zion: Stories from the Willie Handcart Pioneers

by Andrew D Olsen and Jolene Allphin
on September 1st 2013
Genres: Non- Fiction
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
James G. Willie knew the trek would be arduous when he left Iowa City in July 1856, leading 500 handcart pioneers on a 1,300-mile journey across the plains.

But he could not have known that his people would run out of food while still hundreds of miles from Salt Lake City nor that the winter of 1856 would begin in the middle of October with prolonged, severe storms. Sixty-nine members of his company would die along the way. Yet from this tragedy emerged triumphant stories of personal endurance, courage, heroism, and unwavering faith.

Follow Me to Zion recounts 20 compelling stories of members of the Willie handcart company and their rescuers. Dozens of full-color images by artist Julie Rogers enrich this keepsake volume, which pays tribute to the men, women, and children who have become enduring witnesses of the power of faith and sacrifice.

Here you will find excerpts from their own accounts of the journey, learn what those faithful pioneers did after reaching the Salt Lake Valley, and read reflections on their lives by descendants.

The simple words “Follow Me to Zion,” cross-stitched onto small pieces of fabric kept in the journal of a handcart pioneer, are an invitation that still calls to us today.

The stories and paintings in this beautiful volume can inspire us to live true to our faith and reach out to help others do likewise.

This book also contains the most comprehensive, up-to-date listing of members of the Willie handcart company.
Review: I’ve heard the stories of the Willie and Martin handcart companies over the years, but never have I seen such a collection of personal poignant accounts as were collected in Follow Me To Zion. I knew I needed to grab a box of tissues when within the first two chapter I was already in tears– in awe with the fortitude, faith and determination of these pioneers. James G. Willie, captain of the company left his young family behind for four years to return to his native land of England then bring immigrants back to Salt Lake via an overland trek with handcarts. This was no easy journey. It required they board a ship bound to America amongst winds so strong they knocked passengers to the sides and bones were broken. Provisions ran out before New York was reached. Then a long rail journey to the end of the line and a trek on foot through Indian territory through mountain and and snow. Yet, these Saints pressed on, knowing full well they were leaving late int he season and may lose their lives in their quest to reach a land where all those who believed as they, were gathering in Utah.

Each chapter outlines the story of one family with photos, paintings, journal entries and a descendant letter at the end. You come to know the Martin handcart company intimately. So many things stuck out to to me while reading…

Those family members who carried their brothers and sons upon their backs when the snow was too deep for them to walk. James Kirkwood who lost his life carrying his younger brother to camp.
Emily Hill who was starving herself, yet saved the only onion given to her by rescuers on to another. Bodil Mortenson, a young girl of 10 who dies gathering bits of sagebrush for a fire amid the snow.

So many laid down their lives along the path to religious freedom. Yet their legacy lives on in their descendants who continue to tell the stories and feel the influence of their ancestors beyond the grave, as angels.

This book is unforgettable. The lay out is beautiful with thick pages and commissioned painting by Julie Rogers. I am so grateful for the authors who gathered all the Willie pioneer history into one book so that their memory may live on.

Thanks so much to Deseret Book for offering us a book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Authors: 

Andrew D. Olsen is an editor for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the author of The Price We Paid: The Extraordinary Story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers. Andrew and his wife, Linda, are the parents of 3 children.

Jolene Spendlove Allphin has a love for the 1856 pioneers and rescuers that continues to grow. She has published nearly 300 biographical sketches of them in Tell My Story, Too. Jolene and her husband, Michael, are the parents of 11 children.

Julie Boswell Rogers is an acclaimed artist who has won many awards. Her art has been featured in Church publications, visitors’ centers, and the Church History Museum. The book Emma, the Elect Lady contains many of her paintings of Joseph and Emma Smith. Julie and her husband, Russell, are the parents of 5 children.

Learn more at  Deseret Book

Review ~ Above Rubies by Jaclyn M. Hawkes

29 Oct, 2013 by in review Leave a comment

Above Rubies 
Rockland Ranch #2
by Jaclyn M. Hawkes
Paperback 
400 pages
Published April 20, 2013
by Spirit Dance Books
ISBN-10: 0985164824
Book Source: LDSBA
Adult Fiction
LDS, Romance
4 stars

His chivalry was strangling her.

He thought he was helping her—and in truth, he was. She was in desperate straits. But as honorable as he was, he was also breaking her heart.

Her attraction was drowning him.

When World Champion rodeo cowboy Rossen Rockland and his friends rescue a young runaway who has been abused by her foster father and take her home to his parents’ ranch, he expects her to turn out to be a pain in the neck. And sometimes she is.

It doesn’t take him long to figure out that she has way more than her allotment of troubles—and far more than her share of gifts. Lovely, talented, and ravingly brilliant, Kit Star is too young, unbelievably humble, and oh, so loveable. Knowing that she needs his protection and time to grow into her potential, Rossen also figures out that what she really is, is a pain in the heart.

Watch for more of the Rockland Ranch Series!

Review: Rodeo champion Rossen Rockland is on his way home from a world rodeo championship in Las Vegas with his adopted brother when he becomes witness to an attack on a young woman walking alone with her guitar. He is in the right place at the right time to rescue Kit and bring her home to Rockland Ranch where she will have a chance to heal and experience what family, love and loyalty really are. How can he help but become attached when he is there every step of the way through hospital visits, surgery, recovery and nurturing the child that is on it’s way?

Kit is 17 and though young in years, has grown up fast from her experiences in the world. She’s smart, gorgeous and talented in more ways than one. But is she ready to be a mother? How can she experience college life and “growing up” when there are so many complications that stand in her way…including Rossen?

I enjoyed book two in the Rockland Ranch series.  It openly explores a woman’s virtue as the victim of abuse: that Kit is worth more than rubies, pure and innocent. Despite what others may think, or find to gossip about, her worth is constant, and it is seen by her new family and Christ. There are messages about the atonement, prayer and hope in God when life seems to be leading away from what you want. At times the story dragged a little bit with a lot of “telling instead of showing”, but when rock star Nick Satori steps in about halfway through, things really pick up speed. He is the prefect addition and the catalyst that was needed to get this fairy tale ending moving in the right direction.

I had a bit of trouble with suspension of disbelief at how perfectly Kit’s life turns out and all the opportunities she is handed. There is also some codependency with she and Rossen which I wish would have been addressed. But overall, I truly enjoyed Above Rubies. I liked that the author teaches justice for the abuser and mercy for the victim. It’s a feel good book with a great message about agency and love. I recommend the series and have already breezed through book 3 :)

Highlight with cursor to see content: teen pregnancy from abuse, drinking at a party, mention of a meth lab, mild violence from kicking to punching, kissing

                   

Jaclyn M. Hawkes
Photo copyright Heather Zahn Gardner

About the Author: Jaclyn M. Hawkes grew up in Utah with 6 sisters, 4 brothers and any number of pets. (It was never boring!) She got a bachelor’s degree, had a career and traveled extensively before settling down to her life’s work of being the mother of four magnificent and sometimes challenging children. She loves shellfish, the out of doors, the youth and hearing her children laugh. She and her fine husband, their family, and their sometimes very large pets, now live in a mountain valley in northern Utah, where it smells like heaven and kids still move sprinkler pipe.

Find Jaclyn on Facebook/ Twitter/ Website/ Goodreads

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A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom by June McCrary Jacobs Blog Tour and Review

25 Oct, 2013 by in review Leave a comment

A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom
by June McCrary Jacobs
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published October 8th 2013 
by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
ISBN 1462113524
Christian 
Adult Fiction
Book Source: Publisher
3 stars

When her student, six-year-old Mary Noel, survives a car accident over Thanksgiving break, Amber and her new friend, Paul, are determined to cheer her up during the holidays. But Mary Noel’s most painful injury is the loss of her dog. The more withdrawn Mary Noel becomes, the more Amber and Paul need a miracle—a miracle that requires the entire community’s help.

Review: The first thing I love about this book is the cover…romantic and Christmasy. The characters are Christian and sweet, though at time they seemed older than pictured–maybe late 40’s-50’s and not in true with their modern day setting. I admit this was a bit hard for me to get into because I couldn’t connect with the story line. The author does a wonderful job explaining the detail of the decorations and preparations for a Christmas Festival in honor of a little girl in the hospital, but not enough time was put into helping the reader know Mary Noel or her parents. I wanted to really feel their plight and sympathize with the dire circumstances they are in. I wanted to smell the goodies for sale at the festival, feel the snow on my cheeks and get a warmth in my heart from the miracle of it all.

A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom is a short and sweet read for adults with an example of what true love could look like in a perfect Christian courtship. This author has a lot of potential if she can tap her characters in to the present day and really make everything come alive. I look forward to seeing what she does in the future, as this is her debut novel and she has a great start.

Thanks so much to Cedar Fort for giving us a free copy in exchange for our honest review and inviting us to be a part of the blog tour.

About this author: June’s holiday novella was chosen as the winner of Cedar Fort Inc.’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest. ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’ was be released on October 8th, 2013.

Although this is June’s debut novel, it is not her first published work. Nearly one hundred of June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery projects and articles have been published in recent years in sewing books and sewing and crafting magazines distributed nationally and internationally. Two of her sewing designs for children will appear in the upcoming ‘101 One-Yard Little Wonders’ book published by Storey Publishing.

A Californian since age six, June enjoys reading, writing, visiting historic homes and museums, cooking, designing, sewing, quilting, sewing for charity, and hand-embroidery.

Follow June’s writing, sewing, and reading adventures on her ‘Writing and Sewing’ blog found at: http://www.junemccraryjacobs.com.

Her weekly posts (updated each Wednesday) include book reviews, sewing tips, sewing projects with complimentary instructions, and journaling of the author’s visits to museum exhibits, textile and art shows, and more.

Learn More: EmailWebsite & Blog/ Facebook/ Amazon Author Page

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The Romney Family Table by Ann Romney Blog Tour and Review

24 Oct, 2013 by in review, Shadow Mountain, The Romney Family Table 1 comment

The Romney Family Table
Sharing Home-Cooked Recipes and Favorite Traditions
by Ann Romney
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 1st 2013
by Shadow Mountain
ISBN 1609076761
Cookbook
Book Source: publisher
5 stars

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

Home is where good things happen–and for the Romney family, the heart of the home is the kitchen. In The Romney Family Table, Ann Romney, wife of former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, reflects on her many years as a mom, shares family recipes, and describes some of her favorite and not-so-favorite moments of raising a family. Woven together with personal memories and traditions are Romney family favorite recipes such as Peppered Pork Chops with Peach-Vinegar Glaze, Welsh Skillet Cakes, Honey Wheat Bread (which Ann made regularly for five growing sons), and Mimi’s Buttermilk Pancakes, which she and Mitt shared with their Secret Service detail at the end of his presidential campaign.

This unique blend of heartwarming and humorous stories told in Ann’s warm, welcoming style, candid family photos spanning four decades, and more than 125 fabulous recipes will inspire your own traditions and family dinners for years to come.

Includes: • more than 80 family recipes • mouthwatering photographs and menu ideas • family snapshots spanning more than four decades


Review: What a gorgeous cookbook! I admit, that as a mother of five I am constantly on the look out for easy to prepare meals. I appreciate recipes that don’t have a lot of ingredients and aren’t over the top. Ann Romney seems to understand that! Her suggestions are simple yet yummy Mango Salad, monkey bread and cheesy noodles among some of the mouth watering creations. Not only are there recipes, there are pages full of heritage, tradition, family photos and tender moments.

I may have become a little jealous hearing of their Michigan summers at a beach cottage and the fun Fourth of July’s. But I know how hard she and husband Mitt worked to grow a family of all boys in the midst of a political career!  This cookbook is so much more than just recipes, it is a glimpse into the Romney household. My own mother used to receive Christmas cared form the Romney as a thank you for her long hours put in for their campaign. While I’ve never met the Romney’s she and my grandmother cherish their photos with them. And, now that my mom has passed, we cherish them too, as a memory of what my mother loved and stood for.


Heartily recommend The Romney Family Table to gourmet chefs and ordinary moms like me. 


Thanks to Deseret Book and publisher Shadow Mountain for inviting us to be a part of the blog tour.


FTC Disclosure:  I was offered a free book in return for this honest and non-biased review.


About the Author: Ann Romney places primary importance on her role as a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. As First Lady of Massachusetts, she worked to focus attention on the challenges facing at-risk youth and served as the Governor’s Liaison to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, she has volunteered much of her time to raise awareness of the disease. She and her husband, Mitt, celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary this year. They have five sons, five daughters-in-law, and twenty-two grandchildren.

Learn more at Deseret Book/ Goodreads

Purchase

Blog Tour and Review ~ Consider the Blessings by Thomas S. Monson

19 Oct, 2013 by in review, Thomas S. Monson 1 comment

Consider the Blessings
by Thomas S. Monson
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 24th 2013
by Deseret Book
LDS Non-Fiction
Book Source: Publisher
5 stars

If you ask people what they love most about President Thomas S. Monson’s teaching style, chances are they’ll say something about the personal experiences he relates. The accounts President Monson shares are always true, taken from his own life or the real lives of other people. Those warm, memorable accounts have truly become a hallmark of his messages.

Who can forget the woman who saved one of the two sticks of gum Elder Monson passed out to youth in postwar Germany? Or the neighbor who returned a box of baseballs to young Tommy as a thank-you for his kindness to her? Or the father who declined to attend a “Mormon” meeting with his family but had his heart softened by a message he heard on a radio that was actually broken?

In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of his call as an Apostle, Consider the Blessings presents fifty of the true accounts President Thomas S. Monson has shared over the years. With beautiful photographs and heart-touching content, this is a book to treasure with the whole family.

Review: There truly could not be a more perfect book for me than Consider the Blessings. I have always enjoyed the stories President Monson shares,  and have wanted to learn more about his life for a long time. But I admit,  I have a hard time sitting down with a large biography or doctrinal volume with lots of pages. I am a visual learner who gets easily distracted when I try to focus on “big books” of non-fiction.  

That’s why when I started reading all of the “True Accounts of God’s Hand in Our Lives”  interspersed with beautiful photographs and graphic design that fit each story, I was moved several times to tears. These are the tales that make up one man’s life– and not just any man, a spiritual hero, a friend and a leader. I came away uplifted every time I opened this book.

At one point my little five year old snuggled up by my side while I was reading in bed. He asked, 
“Is that the prophet?”
    “Yes.”
“It’s good you’re reading that mom. It will being the Spirit into our home.”

Such wise, profound words from such a little one who could recognize truth when he saw it.

Consider the Blessings taught me to never postpone a prompting and to live a life of faith–that there is a Heavenly Father who knows and answers our needs. What a treasure and gift Thomas S. Monson has left his readers. His stories are proof that God is in the details of our lives, that He often works through other people’s hands and delivers his messages all throughout the world.

Thanks to Deseret Book for asking us to be a part of the blog tour and for offering me a book in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the Author: President Thomas S. Monson was set apart as the sixteenth President of The Church of Freiberg Germany Temple and in advancing the Lord’s work in other eastern European countries that were part of the communist bloc. He also served as chairman of the Scriptures Publication Committee and supervised the process that resulted in the new editions of the scriptures. His ministry has been characterized by his compassion for the needs of individuals and his gift for one-on-one service.

President Monson and his wife, Frances, are the parents of three children, grandparents of eight, and great-grandparents of eight.
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 2008. He had previously served for twenty-two years in the First Presidency of the Church, after having been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since October1963. Five years after his call to the Twelve, he was given a special assignment for the work of the Church in Europe, requiring many visits with members behind the Iron Curtain. He was instrumental in the construction of the Freiberg Germany Temple and in advancing the Lord’s work in other eastern European countries that were part of the communist bloc. His ministry has been characterized by his compassion for the needs of individuals and his gift for one-on-one service.

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Blog Tour and Review: Written On Our Hearts by Emily Freeman

18 Oct, 2013 by in review, Written On Our Hearts Leave a comment

Written On Our Hearts
Invitations From The Old Testament  
by Emily Freeman
Hardback
180 pages
Published 2013
by Deseret Book
ISBN-10: 1609075951
Religious Non-Fiction
Book Source: Publisher
5 stars

If you have ever found the Old Testament intimidating, you’re not alone. The less-familiar history, themes, and language, coupled with the length of the book, make it a difficult read for many. But author Emily Freeman loves the Old Testament, and as she shares some of the wonderful things she has learned in her study of this book of scripture, you will find yourself coming to love it too.

Written on Our Hearts is not a commentary or an intensive doctrinal study. Instead, Emily writes about the stories of the Old Testament, stories of trusting and overcoming and enduring and believing. Within these stories are all kinds of applications for the challenges we face today.

“There will come a moment in your life,” the author says, “when you or someone you love will struggle with a challenge so great you will wonder how you will make it through. In that moment you will long to better understand the Savior’s role as the Deliverer, and to do that you must go to the book of scripture that describes that role the best—the Old Testament.”

Discover the delivering power of the Lord yourself in the pages of this book—and experience the scriptures in a new, more personal way!

Review: I have never tried to tackle the Old Testament as fully and personally as Emily Freeman does in her book Written on our Hearts. Each chapter is filled with verses, stories, and practical applications of how we can use the scriptural examples of strong Biblical women and men in our own lives. She finds the many women of the Old Testament and weaves their stories to create applications in today’s world. I truly hadn’t realized how many women there are in the Bible! Emily’s deep and studious take on things helped me understand how the Old Testament applies to my life today. Each chapter is two or three pages long, just enough to get the reader thinking and to lift, inspire every day. This is a book you could take an entire year reading, little by little, drop by drop–filling your lamp with oil. I would recommend it as a thorough and practical tool for studying and enjoying the Bible, a great gift for especially the women in your life.

Thanks so much to Emily for taking the time to truly immerse herself in scripture and to Deseret Book for asking us to be a part of the blog tour. I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite passage: “Do you ever have one of those days when you look back and wonder if you are enough? If you gave your best? If anyone recognized your effort? Do you wonder whose team you are on? If anyone is cheering for you? On those days, maybe you could remember these verses: The Lord has chosen you because He thinks you are special. You don’t have to be more than anyone else; you can be numbered among the fewest. He will still choose you. He loves you. He won’t turn you away. The Lord, thy God, He is God, the faithful God, who has promised that you will be blessed among all people. Believe Him. There is nothing that would make Him happier than to know that you are on His team.
He know your potential. 
He has chosen you.
Choose Him.




About the Author: Emily Freeman took her first creative writing class in high school and has loved writing ever since. She finds great joy in studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Her deep love of the scriptures comes from a desire to find their application in everyday life. She is the author of several books, including The Ten Virgins; 21 Days Closer to Christ; and The Promise of Enough. There is nothing Emily enjoys more for breakfast than a bowl of vanilla ice cream, raspberries, and chocolate chips. Other favorites include parades, vacations, firework displays, and going for a long walk with a good friend. Emily and her husband, Greg, live in Lehi, Utah, with their four children, whom she adores.

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