Genre: Adult

Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele Blog Tour and Review

20 Aug, 2014 by in adult, blog tour, carolyn steele, sweetwater books, western, willow springs 1 comment

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

Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele Blog Tour and Review

Willow Springs

by Carolyn Steele
Published by Sweetwater on August 12, 2014
Genres: Adult, Romance, Western
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
three-stars
Source: Cedar Fort
Buy the BookGoodreads
Crissa Engleson, an immigrant from Sweden, fled Boston hoping to start a new life, unknown and unencumbered, in the West. The quiet Pony Express town of Willow Springs in the Utah desert seemed the perfect spot until the intrigue of her past and rivalries of the town’s leading families envelope her. She falls in love with an Express rider, Drake Adams, but their courtship is thwarted by blackmail and treachery. Crissa must decide which is stronger: her desire for Drake, her own safety, or her love for the two young children left in her charge.

Willow Springs is written for anyone who enjoys Westerns, History, Romance or Intrigue. Men and women alike have expressed great interest in this story.

Willow Springs blog tour
Where to begin? Wow, this a whirlwind of a book! So much plot packed into a small amount of time. Lots of drama, twists and turns. Carolyn Steele’s Willow Springs reminded me a lot of Carla Kelly’s romance novels, also by the same publisher. If you a re fan of the Wild, (and I mean, WILD) West, or books set in the 1800’s, you will like this one. Crissa is a Swedish immigrant who leaves her homeland bound for America. Once arrived, her life is about as complicated and cursed as they come. Luckily she has some great people to take care of her when sinister plots unfold.

There are definitely darker elements to Willow Springs such as rape, prostitution, murder and violence. For my taste, it was a bit TMI in some parts. I’m not sure I would categorize it as completely clean. Though sex is not described in detail, it is a prevalent theme of the story.

I always enjoy historical elements in romance. And the main hero Drake was wonderful. The cover–gorgeous! There were a few editing issues, but since we received an e arc, I’m hoping those are fixed in the final copy. Lots of action, some fun references to the early Mormon church and an intriguing enough read that I finished in one day.

Not a bad debut! Thanks so much to the author for her kindness and to Cedar Fort for having us as a part of the blog tour.

 

About the Author 1386622

Born and raised in Utah, Carolyn Steele was introduced to western novels at a very young age by her grandfather, the son of a gold miner. She has been writing technical and marketing communications for most of her adult life. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in numerous national magazines. She earned her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Utah. Married and living in Salt Lake City, Utah, Carolyn loves researching obscure history then weaving it into stories. She also enjoys family dinners with her children and grandchildren, photography, travel, golf, reading, and all forms of needlework.

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Bonds of Loyalty Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

19 Aug, 2014 by in blog tour, bonds of loyalty, covenant, Jennifer K. Clark, Stephonie K. Williams 1 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.

Bonds of Loyalty Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Bonds of Loyalty

by Jennifer K. Clark, Stephonie K. Williams
Published by Covenant on August 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, LDS
Pages: 176
Format: eARC
four-half-stars
Source: Covenant
Buy the BookGoodreads
It shall be the son, the firstborn in the new monarchy, who shall quiet the fears and unite the nation again.

The infamous prophecy declaring that the firstborn would be a boy is the last thing Sarah wants to deal with. As if being newly engaged isn’t difficult enough, she’s still coming to terms with the fact that the first eighteen years of her life were a farce. The prophecy—the reason she had been secreted away from her family and her royal heritage to begin with—wasn’t supposed to disrupt her life any more than it previously had. But when unexpected events force her to leave her fiancé, Prince Alexander, Sarah must return to her home country of Kyrnidan to face her destiny.

Reunited with her royal family, Sarah is thrust into the political turmoil that surrounds her ancestral home. To make things worse, her arrival has upturned the long-held prophecy.

As the voices of distension mount against her, Sarah turns to her bodyguard, Luther, for protection. But Luther’s protection comes with a price. Propelled into a plot that threatens her life and the welfare of the entire kingdom, Sarah must determine where her love and loyalty truly lie. Torn between two men, she will now have to face her fears and undertake a journey of self-discovery that will change the fate of a nation….

 

Review

Who doesn’t love a little bit of political intrigue, history, suspense and clean romance? Having not read book one, Mark of Royalty , I jumped right into book two, Bonds of Loyalty and thoroughly enjoyed the journey. The authors weave a tale of a kidnapped Princess raised far from home who carries a mark to distinguish her as heir and firstborn. In this second installment, she is returning home to the land of her birth to meet her parents.  But, in doing so, her life is put at risk. Sarah is caught in a web of political unrest and her country is on the brink of war. Meanwhile, she has more than one person out to end her life and the monarchy.

The romance has just the right amount of tension and pull between two suitors. Bonds of Loyalty is a well written read. The only wish I had was that the worlds of  Kyrnidan was more fully fleshed out. As well as the distinction between where she was raised, the land of her fiance Alex, and where she is in book two.

Content: This is a clean book suited for teens. Kissing, some tension. There is a threat of sexual harassment and mild violence , but overall, mild.

I’m so glad I picked up a  soot on the blog tour. I think now I will go back and read book one!

heather

 

About the Authors 73ojIIp

Jennifer K. Clark and Stephonie K. Williams are sisters by chance but became friends by choice when a year of rooming together at college taught them how to get along. Now “play”-at-home moms, separated and living in different parts of the country, they stay in touch and support each other in their individual projects.

Jennifer K. Clark lives in the small rural town of Wellington Utah, as much as her husband wishes it was Wellington New Zealand. After years of entertaining her three children with infamous made-up stories, she decided to put her imagination to good use and became an author. She likes to add a touch of romance to her novels along with a healthy dose of adventure. Fueled by Lindt Chocolate Truffles and Sour Patch Kids, she now spends a copious amount of time with the characters in her head. In her spare time she likes to create science experiments with the ingredients in her potions cupboard, debate which Doctor is her favorite (currently the 10th…or maybe the 11th), and—when she has time—watches the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice.

Stephonie K. Williams makes her home in a quaint farming town in eastern Iowa with her husband, three cats, and a budding ninja. Two of her favorite things in Iowa are the fireflies (aka lightning bugs) and cows, especially the calves. Despite having lived there for 15 years she still misses the majesty and tranquility of the mountains of Utah where she grew up. She has a vast collection of fortune cookie fortunes because she has yet to determine if it is unlucky to throw them away. She also loves to quill, the art of rolled paper, not to be confused with quilting.

Stephonie is passionate about education and enjoys visiting schools to teach classes on creative writing. She has written poetry, short stories, and dissertations, although Mark of Royalty was the first of her work that she was brave enough to submit for publication.

bonds_of_loyaltyBlog Tour Schedule

*August 18th: http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com
*August 19th: http://bookgeekreviews.com/, http://fireandicereads.com/
*August 20th: http://www.charissastastny.com, http://www.minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/
*August 21st: http://www.iamareader.com/, http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com
*August 22nd: http://ilovetoreadandreviewbooks.blogspot.com/, http://wishfulendings.com
*August 23rd: http://www.mybookday.blogspot.com

The Giveaway

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Saints and Soldiers Movie Blog Tour + Giveaway

08 Aug, 2014 by in adult, deseret book, excel entertainment, movie, movie review, movie trailer, saints and soldiers, utah film 3 comments

Genres: Adult, Movie
the_void

 

 

Fire and Ice has had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the round table discussion and filming of Saints and Soldiers: The Void (found here) a couple of weeks ago. Last night was one of the pre-screening events for the movie which hits theaters August 15th. I had a sneak peek at the third movie in the Saints and Soldiers franchise. The theatre was absolutely packed, no seats available. Excel Entertainment and Deseret Book hosted the event, giving away swag bags to the media attendees: a t-shirt, water bottle, MREs, a special 2 pack DVD combo set, and water bottle in canvas tote bags.

 

Lots of eager fans packed in shoulder to shoulder to watch The Void which features Danor Gregory. Gregory is a black soldier, once a hellcat operator and commander, demoted to a truck driver as the war is coming to a close. He experiences daily constant prejudice and ridicule from fellow soldiers. Director Ryan Little highlights how these men sacrificed all in honor of their country, yet were treated as unequal and the lesser class.  You may recognize the other main black solider played by Alex Boye, famous LDS singer, (who, by the way was in attendance at the pre-screening.) It was amazing to see Boye in an unfamiliar role. Both men have some acting skills!

 

Movie three has many elements– historical London radio broadcast, authentic WWII black and white cinema footage, and still shot highlights of road signs where battles were fought. There is theme juxtaposition of good vs. evil, equality vs. inequality. Racial prejudice is explored in a unique way. Everything feels up close and personal with tight shots.

 

I truly enjoyed that film three, The Void had a bit of a lighter tone in many parts thanks to Michael Berens who plays Rodney “Ramrod” Mitchell. Lots of laugh out loud moments with his snarky attitude. The franchise of movies gives viewers a realistic look at what war times bring. Movie one, Saints and Soldiers is particularly stark as it explores shell-shock or PTSD from Corbin Allred (Deacon’s) point of view.

 

Content: There is heavy war-related violence, psychological tension and raw emotion, so I don’t recommend the films for children.

deseret_book_staff

Excel Entertainment and Deseret Book have been the best of hosts in all pre-movie events. I am thrilled to have met the cast, directors and writers. Such an impressive group of people.

The Void hits theatres August 15th. Go, go go! Learn more

 

saints and soldiers the void

Saints and Soldiers: The Void Coming to theaters August 15th

Germany, May 1945, the twilight of WWII. On a final mission deep in the Harz mountains a U.S. tank crew discovers a platoon of Germans, including three infamous Panzer tanks, preparing to ambush allied supply trucks.

Before the war, private Jesse Owens, was a product of segregation and racial discrimination. Forced by law to ride in the back of the bus and disenfranchised from the political process. Now, Owens fights the greatest tyrant in history, knowing the tyranny of racism will be waiting for him back home if he can survive the war.

With a deadly game of cat and mouse quickly unfolding, Owens and his predominantly white tank crew find themselves out-gunned and out-manned by the German Panzer tanks. Several in Owens’ crew are reluctant to put their faith in a black tank driver despite their dire circumstances. As the German tanks bear down on his unit, Owens has to fight for freedom on two fronts. With tension and fear beginning to manifest Owens knows they must put aside their differences to stop the enemy from their deadly plan. Knowing that a victory over the Nazis means a victory for racial justice, Owens and his men find a way to work together to save hundreds of lives in a desperate battle against the greatest odds they have ever faced.

 

Cast

Danor Gerald
Gerald’s first appearance in a feature film, “Believe” (2005), came while he was earning a Digital Cinema degree in Utah. Danor began getting leading roles with “The Cyclist” (2012) produced by prolific Casting Director Jeff Johnson. “Saints and Soldiers: The Void” (2014) is Mr. Gerald’s star-turn as the protagonist in a feature film. Gerald is most known for performances in teen-genre films like “High School Musical 2”, “Forever Strong”, and “House of Fears”.

Adam Gregory
Adam Gregory was born on December 28, 1987 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. He is an actor and cinematographer, known for The Bold and the Beautiful (1987), 17 Again (2009) andHannah Montana: The Movie (2009). He has been married to Sheridan Sperry since February 26, 2010. They have one child.
Matthew MeeseThis is Matt’s first feature film! He is best known for his work on the hit sketch comedy show, Studio C, on BYUTV. He also enjoys pie, and the idea of gardening. Check him out.

Bart Johnson
Bart Johnson was born on December 13, 1970 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA as Barton Robert Johnson. He is an actor and director, known for High School Musical(2006), High School Musical 2 (2007) and High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008). He has been married to Robyn Lively since September 25, 1999. They have three children.

Trailer

The Giveaway

Saints_and_soldiers

One DVD combo set. Contest for US residents only, ages 18 and older. Void where prohibited by law. DVD outer jewel case has been altered by the publisher,  as it is not for re-sale.

The DVD combo pack includes Saints and Soldiers (Special Edited Version) and Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed

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Saints and Soldiers is a dramatic, intense and heroic WWII film about members of the Greatest Generation struggling to be both good men and good soldiers.

Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed From the producers of the world-renowned hit film Saints and Soldiers and based on actual events, SAINTS & SOLDIERS: AIRBORNE CREED tells the action-packed story of three World War II U.S. Army paratroopers—Rossi (Corbin Allred), Jones (David Nibley), and Curtis (Jasen Wade)—fighting desperately to fulfill their mission against seemingly insurmountable odds.

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Blog Tour~ Living in the Millennium by Robert L. Millett

05 Aug, 2014 by in adult, book review, book tour, deseret book, robert l millet Leave a comment

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

Blog Tour~ Living in the Millennium by Robert L. Millett

Living in the Millennium

by Robert L Millet
Published by Deseret Book on August 21, 2014
Genres: Adult, LDS, Non- Fiction
Pages: 160
Format: Hardcover
five-stars
Source: Deseret Book
Buy the Book
The Savior taught through the Prophet Joseph Smith that the time will come when "he that liveth in righteousness shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and the earth shall pass away so as by fire" (Doctrine and Covenants 43:32).

What do we know about that day when Jesus Christ will come in glory to cleanse the earth? And what will life be like after He comes to reign?

In Living in the Millennium, the companion volume to Living in the Eleventh Hour, author Robert L. Millet opens the doors wide to show us what life will be like during and after the Millennium. Relying on the words of ancient and modern prophets, he shares what has been revealed about Christ's preliminary appearances, His return in majesty and power, and His millennial reign—a thousand years of goodness and peace.

Filled with insights, this timely book helps us to understand more fully such eternal doctrines as the resurrection of the just and the unjust, the Judgment, and the many mansions of glory.

Living in the Millennium inspires us to live today as if the Savior were coming tomorrow.

This is a companion book to Robert L Millett’s Living in the Eleventh Hour published earlier this year. What I really appreciate about Living in the Millenium is the scriptural basis. Brother Millett takes a purely doctrinal approach to explaining to readers what life will be like before, during, and beyond the Millenium. I had previously heard many of the scriptures by themselves, but seeing them organized and combined into one reference taught me in a clear manner. Millett’s tone is hopeful and cheery, however, he also admits to personal trials, the wonderings and hardships that come with mortality. I loved reading about how the author overcame worry, and felt the peace that comes with the Lord’s assurances of the resurrection. For anyone with questions about the second coming of Christ, life after death, how our bodies become whole or what the reign of peace will be like, this book holds answers.

In the end, there is a glossary, notes, scripture and subject index for readers to truly “dig in” and learn the teaching firsthand. A short read, this Last Days Commentary will help each individual and touched my heart personally.

 

heather

Favorite Quote

Seeing things with an eye of faith is looking out and beyond to the distant scene, viewing today’s often repetitious and sometimes monotonous coming and goings with an eye toward eternity. It is to see beyond the moment, to acquire a portion of God’s perspective, to realize that “out of small things proceedeth that which is great”. (D&C 64:33) p. 103

 

Excerpt

Chapter 1
The End of Time

I was driving to work one day and turned the radio to an oldies channel, where I heard a familiar song from the 1960s, a tender ballad, a love song. Over and over the artist sang of love lasting until the end of time. Later that afternoon I listened to the same channel and heard another artist pledging his love until time stood still. I smiled as I reflected on the message of those two popular songs, realizing how very often such sentiments are sung or how frequently a romantic sentiment is expressed in just that way. I presume the writers of these words intended to convey some meaning like “l love you forever and ever” or “There will never be a time when I no longer love you.”

The more I have thought about it, the more fully I realize that from a Restoration perspective, love is intended to last longer than time, to span the veil of death and continue everlastingly. For those without such understanding, however, “till time stands still” or “to the end of time” seems like a pretty significant and long-term investment of one’s love. Let’s consider this passage of scripture: “And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer” (Revelation 10:5-6; emphasis added; see D&C 88:108-10).

As a part of the new song that is to be sung by the redeemed are these words:

The Lord hath brought again Zion;

The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel,

According to the election of grace,

Which was brought to pass by the faith

And covenant of their fathers.

The Lord hath redeemed his people;

And Satan is bound and time is no longer.

(D&C 84:99-100; emphasis added)

We are told in the Doctrine and Covenants that “it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity. For he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father” (D&C 72:3-4).

I presume there will always be what might be called durational time, the fact that event A took place before event B, or that we declared C before we uttered D. What the scriptures seem to be saying, however, when they speak of time being no longer is that mortal time, or mortality, will be no longer. That is, a day is coming in the not too distant future when mortality as we know it will be no more; we will no longer be reckoning our words and our actions according to this world’s calendar but rather we will be tuned and acclimated to eternity.

We have been counseled by the prophets to improve our time, that is, to make wise and effective use of the day in which we live on earth, for how we will spend eternity will be inextricably linked to how we spent our time in this life. And so we are told that “this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors” (Alma 34:32).

What will life be like when mortal time is no more? We can learn from holy scripture and latter-day apostles and prophets about the following:

the private appearances of Jesus Christ to his anointed servants;
that great and terrible day we know as the Savior’s coming in glory;
the cleansing of the earth by fire and the transformation of the planet;
life on a terrestrial earth;
a day when the gathering of Israel, accomplished through our missionary labors, will be unhindered and thus accelerated;
a glorious time when temples will dot the earth and the fulness of the blessings of the house of the Lord will be enjoyed by the pure in heart in every nation;
a time when persons will again begin to deny their God, when Satan will be loosed for a short season;
when the final great battle between good and evil will take place;
the miracle and wonder of our resurrection from the dead;
the day of judgment, when all will be required to account for how they handled their stewardship of time; and,
life within the kingdoms of glory, the many mansions of the Father.
Concerning the specifics of the future, details do matter, but they need to come from the right source—from holy scripture or from latter-day apostles and prophets. For me or for any other writer or teacher to go beyond what ancient or modern prophets have declared, to set forth private views concerning the last days, whether based upon individual interpretations or personal spiritual experience, is to assume a responsibility that is not ours; it is to act outside our stewardship. The ideas may be fascinating, even entertaining, but they are not from God; the Lord simply does not operate that way. To do so would be to invite every member of the Church to step forward, offer his or her own best guess about the days ahead, and thereby engender chaos. The Lord’s house is a house of order, not a house of confusion. There are channels to follow, and we must recognize those channels. Therein is our safety from deception. The Prophet Joseph Smith stated the principle as follows:“I will inform you that it is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves; therefore you will see the impropriety of giving heed to them; but if any person have a vision or a visitation from a heavenly messenger, it must be for his own benefit and instruction; for the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the Church are vested in the keys of the kingdom.”

I have therefore chosen to quote more extensively from holy scripture and from the writings and sermons of apostles and prophets than I am generally accustomed to doing. Although I do not wish to burden the reader with excessive support and substantiation, I do want to be as doctrinally sound and as loyal to the Lord’s anointed as I can.

Operating in harmony with such restraint, let us proceed on our journey. And what a journey it will be! What an encounter will be ours as we make our way through the prophetic word and contemplate the glories that await the true and faithful. Looking to the future will do much to motivate us to get our lives in order while we are still living in time, for eternity is just around the corner. In addition, a view of the future can fortify us against the discouragement that inevitably follows from the pain and distresses of this fallen world; it provides us with a perspective that produces gospel gladness.

Notes

1. Smith, History of the Church, 1:338; emphasis added.

About the AuthorRobert_L_Millet

Robert L. Millet, an Abraham O. Smoot Professor and former dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University, is a professor of ancient scripture and a lifelong scholar of the last days. After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BYU in psychology, he earned a PhD from Florida State University in religious studies. He has served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a seminary teacher, bishop, stake president, and member of the Materials Evaluation Committee. He and his wife, Shauna, are the parents of six children.

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The Practical Prepper Blog Tour

29 Jul, 2014 by in blog tour, cedar fort, personal preparedness, practical prepper 2 comments

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

The Practical Prepper Blog Tour

The Practical Prepper

by Jonathan Jones, Kylene Jones
Published by Cedar Fort on July 8th 2014
Genres: Adult, Non- Fiction
Pages: 355
Format: Paperback
five-stars
Source: Cedar Fort
Buy the BookGoodreads
Earthquakes, hurricanes, civil unrest, economic challenges - no one knows when disaster may strike. Will you be ready? The Practical Prepper is a common-sense guide to emergency preparedness and survival written for real people with real lives. This must-have reference book walks the reader through each step of emergency preparedness covering everything from cooking in a crisis, to home security and protection, to emergency water disinfection. You can be prepared for the challenges the future holds. The Practical Prepper will show you how.
Practical-Prepper-blog-tour

 

I grew up in a home with a very prepared mother who was always storing water, toilet paper, and “you name it” in our pantry, under our beds. I understood the importance of personal preparedness and emergency supplies. Still, I didn’t know the deeper ins and outs of home storage or water purification. The Practical Prepper looked awfully daunting at over 300 pages, but once I dove in I found myself easily gliding through it all and soaking up the practical advice within. This book has websites for research, vignettes that illustrate different types of people, spreadsheets to help you plan your 72 hour kit and photos of the essentials.

I learned a lot and the authors really got me thinking about what would occur in the event of a natural disaster or war related threat and how my family would cope. I also truly enjoyed stories of canned goods that have stood the test of time in a sunken ship. Even for the most skeptical storer, this book is a must have! I do wish there was a list of supplies discussed at the end of each chapter because I found myself making mental lists and wanting to write things down as I read. It would help to have a shopping list or simple checklist for those of us who like to see things laid out and ready to mark. Otherwise, the Practical Prepper was the best book on preparedness I have read thus far.  I would recommend purchasing it!

heatherAbout the Authorskylene-jonathan-jones-authors-practical-prepper

Jonathan is a licensed civil engineer and an avid enthusiast of alternative energy sources; especially solar and wind power. He has served on the advisory board and on the board of directors as vice president for The American Civil Defense Association (TACDA), as secretary/treasurer for a local chapter of Civil Defense Volunteers, as an emergency preparedness and communications specialist, and as a city councilperson, has been tasked with developing the city emergency plan in his own community. He has co-authored numerous articles published in The Journal of Civil Defense on emergency preparedness topics with his wife. He is the co-owner of Your Family Ark, LLC, an educational and consulting business designed to assist individuals and families in preparing for an uncertain future (www.yourfamilyark.orgwww.theprovidentprepper.org).

Kylene has an educational background in business management as well as in family studies. She has also served on the advisory board and on the board of directors for TACDA and is currently the editor for The Journal of Civil Defense. She has a passion for researching and experimenting, adding a sense of real life to their writing and teaching. A firm believer in hands-on learning, she involves her family in emergency training for everything from fire drills, to living off food storage and garden produce, to turning off the power in the dead of winter just to see if they can survive it. Many powerful lessons are learned from these experiences, the best lesson being that we are tougher than any challenge. We will not only survive, but we will emerge better, stronger people as a result of the adventure.

Jonathan and Kylene make a dynamic combination. Together they have presented in a wide variety forums including; community education courses, educational seminars, preparedness fairs, employee education programs, and community classes. With Jonathan’s extensive knowledge and Kylene’s high energy personality, they have a unique talent for taking a relatively boring topic and turning it into an exciting quest, motivating audiences to join the ranks of the provident preppers.

 

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The Peter Potential Blog Tour & Review

21 Jul, 2014 by in adult, david butler, emily freeman, Shadow Mountain Leave a comment

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

The Peter Potential Blog Tour & Review

The Peter Potential

by David Butler, Emily Freeman
Published by Ensign Peak on July 8, 2014
Genres: Adult, Inspirational, LDS
Pages: 111
Format: Hardcover
four-half-stars
Source: Ensign Peak
Buy the BookGoodreads
Have you ever wondered if God has greater things in store for you? The Bible is clear that though Peter saw himself as only a fisherman, the Lord saw him as a fisher of men, a leader among men, the rock upon which His Church would be built. Divinity gave Him the insight to extend the invitations that would help Peter discover the life he was meant to live. This full-color gift book is profound in its simplicity as the authors take the reader through the invitations the Lord extended to Peter. Journey with Peter and the Savior as you begin to understand the potential the Lord sees in you.

Simon Peter is a man we know about from the Bible. A man who was asked to cast his net and then leave behind his life as a fisherman to follow Christ. In The Peter Potential, we learn even more about this story and the many others that came throughout the ministry. We are asked to apply the teaching to the multitude, the personal invitations to cast out a little form the shore and then into the deep. Through nautical photos, graphics, quotes, scripture and text, the authors challenge the reader to a higher level of discipleship, a trial of faith and the ship overflowing with blessings when we take a challenge from the Lord. This is a book I’m going to have to read several times to pick up on the layers and lessons. I’ve been through it twice and it’s left me pondering how I can become more like Peter.

The only drawback with the flow of the book, is that I wish the authors would have separated Peter’s distinct experiences and stories by a small break or chapter. There are several vignettes rolled into one book, which made it a bit hard to know where one ended and the other began. Overall, an uplifting and though provoking gift quality read that holds hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Beautiful.

heather

My Favorite Quotes

To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy of that moment finds them unprepared and unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour- Winston Churchill p.20

The Lord is completely aware of you, He has miracles in store for you, and He knows what He is about to do. Give Him all that you have to offer. He will bless it. He will make it more.” p.64

About the Authors

Emily Belle Freeman is a coach’s wife, a mother of four, an author of the bestselling A Christ-Centered Christmas, and a sought after inspirational speaker. She finds great joy in studying both the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. She coauthors a blog that is a stopping place for hearts seeking all that is good: www.multiplygoodness.com.

David Butler is a high school religious educator, sharing his love for the scriptures and his belief that there is an innate power for good in every human soul. He is also a motivational speaker and writer. He and his wife, Jenny, live with their five children amid the snowcapped peaks of the Mountain West.

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Review~ Her Rebellious Heart: A Scottish Historical Romance

17 Jun, 2014 by in adult, book review, historical fiction, marian mcbride, scottish 1 comment

Review~ Her Rebellious Heart: A Scottish Historical Romance

Her Rebellious Heart

by Marian McBride
Published by Amazon Digital Services on December 25th 2013
Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 120
Format: eBook
three-stars
Buy the BookGoodreads
Bridget Campbell is more interested in music than men. In fact, she may be the only girl in the Scottish lowlands who isn't looking for a husband. But when her estranged grandfather's health begins to decline and he asks her to move into his castle, Bridget is introduced to a handsome Highlander who becomes a rival for her attention. Although perfect strangers, there's a connection between Bridget and Aidan MacLeod that she can't ignore. Can she stand up to the men in her life who are pressuring her to settle down?

At first uneasy about leaving her parents' modest home to live at Ty-Runach Castle, Bridget feels pressured to accept her grandfather's invitation. Robert had distanced himself from her mother when she married a man from a rival clan. The ancient feud between the MacDonalds and the Campbells broke her family apart, but maybe Bridget can heal the rift?

But someone clearly doesn't want her at the castle. Strange noises in the night and a frightening attack nearly send Bridget running from the keep. And then there's Aidan. Rumors of his reputation as a ladies man convince her to stay away lest she become the highlander's conquest. Yet her rebellious heart beats faster whenever Aidan is near. A single kiss lights a fire within that threatens to consume her. Can she resist Aidan's advances and rein in her runaway heart?

I purchased Her Rebellious Heart a few months a go as a free download on Amazon, and since we went to the Scottish festival this weekend, I wanted good a historical fiction with roots in Scotland. I was pleasantly surprised that this was clean, and the setting was authentic. I loved the descriptions of the North Sea, the crumbling castles, the tartans and feuds between clans. My only complaint is that at times the Scottish dialect was present and others times it wasn’t. Do not becomes “dinna” etc. Also, the flow could have been more smooth and the main villain definitely needed to be fleshed out more fully. It seems like the author cut the conflict short. It reads more like a novella than a full story. With more editing and filling out of story line this could have been much more. I did enjoy the surnames in the book…main man Aidan MacLeod carries my ancestral clan name!

Overall, if you want a short historical Scottish read as a small taste of the place, this may be a good pick, but I would wait until it goes up for free again.

Content: some tension and kissing, innuendoheather

About the Author

Marian McBride is an American author of Scottish descent. When she feels like honoring her roots, she plays her Celtic harp, but not as well as she’d like. Occasionally, she sings along, usually when she wants to punish her family.

Marian is not a particularly good Scot. She doesn’t enjoy haggis or bagpipes, but she does love a good Highland Games, particularly when men in kilts do the caber toss. “Her Rebellious Heart” is Marian’s sole novella. She hopes by showing some Scottish pride in her writing, her clansmen will forgive for not visiting home often.

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Early Book Review: Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore

09 Jun, 2014 by in adult, author photo, covenant, heather, Heather Gardner Photography, jennifer moore, utah author 2 comments

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.

Early Book Review: Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore

Becoming Lady Lockwood

by Jennifer Moore
Published by Covenant on July 1st 2014
Genres: Adult, Clean Romance, Historical Fiction
Pages: 199
Format: Paperback
four-stars
Source: Covenant
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Amelia Beckett is delighted to be a widow. Married by proxy to a man she'd never met, Amelia recognizes that a fortuitous entry into widowhood frees her from meddlesome chaperones and matchmakers. Heiress to her mother's sugar plantation in Jamaica, she happily anticipates working in a man's world, with the additional credibility of her new title: Lady Lockwood. But with the arrival of Captain Sir William Drake, her plans quickly go awry...

William has traversed the Atlantic with one purpose. If he cannot prove that Amelia's marriage to his brother was a fraud, she will be entitled to a sizeable portion of his family's estate. He is determined to return this duplicitous "Lady" to London for an official hearing, and he carries with him a letter that will ensure her cooperation...

Left with no choice, Amelia joins the captain on his return voyage to England, and the two quickly find that ship life does not allow for evasion. Amelia and William are ceaselessly thrown together, and amidst fierce storms and ocean battles, what began as antipathy seems to be evolving quite unexpectedly. But as they draw ever closer to their destination, will the impossibility of their circumstances shatter any hope of a future together?

I sometimes get in serious reading slumps, when I just can’t find a book to fit my mood. I was in one when Becoming Lady Lockwood arrived in the mail. I think I may have cheered for several reasons. One, I took the author photos for Jennifer and two, I am a huge fan of both historical fiction and maritime tales. Jennifer Moore sweeps readers away to an adventure on the high seas between Jamaica and England. Lady Lockwood has just been widowed in a marriage of convenience. Having never met her husband, she is actually happy to be unattached and now able to avoid the societal pressures that come with being single. She is headstrong and independent with a fortune of her own wrapped up in sugar, when Lord Lockwood’s brother appears. A marine captain, he’s been sent to summon Lady Lockwood back to London. There is friction, of course, as the captain calls our main heroine by her maiden name–Amelia Beckett while on board his ship. He is out to challenge Amelia and his brother’s arranged marriage and reclaim all of the family fortune. Sailing through enemy waters in time of war makes for a dangerous journey.

I absolutely loved every page of this clean Regency romance. Jennifer’s characters were enjoyable, even side characters had personalities to remember. They have a lot of growing to do. There is mystery, intrigue, and action to keep readers turning pages. I highly recommend this one to fans of Julianne Donaldson and Sarah M Eden. It is a clean pick with historically correct factoids and a unique plot. Well done Jennifer! Can not wait to read all Ms. Moore has up her sleeve in the coming years. Thanks to Jennifer and Covenant for the sneak peek.

heatherAbout the Author

Jenny-Moore

Author Jenny Moore~ Photo Copyright Heather Zahn Gardner

Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world that includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that is anything but romantic. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family. Becoming Lady Lockwood–June 2013 (Covenant) Emma’s Campaign–Winter 2013 (Covenant) The Sheik’s Ruby–Winter 2013 (The Wild Rose Press) You can learn more about her at: www.authorjmoore.com

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Book Review: More Forgotten Skills of Self- Sufficiency

27 May, 2014 by in adult, book review, cedar fort 1 comment

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

Book Review: More Forgotten Skills of Self- Sufficiency

More Forgotten Skills of Self- Sufficiency

by Caleb Warnock
Published by Cedar Fort on February 11, 2014
Genres: Adult, Non- Fiction
Format: Paperback
four-stars
Source: Cedar Fort
Buy the BookGoodreads
Bestselling author Caleb Warnock is back with a new collection of skills to help your family gain independence and self-reliance. Learn about self-seeding vegetables, keep chickens without ever buying feed, collect water from rain and snow, find wild vegetables for everyday eating, and even make your own laundry soap?if you liked the first Forgotten Skills book, then you will love these additional techniques for becoming truly self-sufficient.

Our family is becoming much more self- sufficient as of late learning how to can and dehydrate what we plant in our garden. We’ve also begun planting perennials instead of annuals. Our raspberry, strawberry blackberry and mint bushes come back each year. I genuinely enjoyed Caleb Warnock’s tips to help us apply useful knowledge and become more like the pioneers, able to survive with what they had on a harsh land. This is the first book I have read by Warnock, but will be buying or checking out his other books from the library. Volume 2 is full of photos as well as practical planting advice. His use of raised winter garden boxes and cloche glass containers for year round crops is something we will test out this winter.

Caleb talked me into trying chickens… so far, so good! It’s been a very educational experience to have the small chicks. Our children are learning responsibility cleaning up after the feathers and droppings which we are using in our gardens. There is mention in the book of collecting rain and snow water, but I believe in my area it is illegal. Weird, right?! I wish there were other resources besides the authors for buying and ordering heirloom seeds, but I understand he has to make a living. I find Caleb to be extremely knowledgeable. Our family is implementing the ideas in the book to be better homesteaders. Recommend!heather

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Blog Tour: The Lincoln Hypothesis by Timothy Ballard

26 May, 2014 by in adult, blog tour Leave a comment

Blog Tour: The Lincoln Hypothesis by Timothy Ballard

The Lincoln Hypothesis

by Timothy Ballard
Published by Deseret Book on May 12, 2014
Genres: Adult, Non- Fiction
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Deseret Book
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Abraham Lincoln became the sixteenth US president during a very dark time in America's history. Author Timothy Ballard explores the crucial role that President Lincoln played to bring this nation closer to heaven. Readers will see Lincoln as a man inspired of God who invoked a covenant relationship between America and its maker—not unlike the national covenants invoked by righteous leaders in the Book of Mormon. In addition, The Lincoln Hypothesis reveals documented evidence that Abraham Lincoln did, in fact, check out the Book of Mormon as he struggled with making some of the most critical decisions of his presidency. Did he read it? Did it influence him? Was the Book of Mormon a key factor in Lincoln's success and the healing of a nation?

The author states, "As you read, you will, like a prosecutor reviewing a case, or like a jury determining a verdict, identify valuable pieces of evidence that can be fully substantiated. You will also identify pieces of evidence that cannot. I ask you to consider all the evidence and weight it accordingly. Through this study, many questions regarding the interplay between the restored gospel and the Civil War will be answered. New questions may emerge that will not be so easily answered. Either way, in the end you will find yourself on a most exhilarating investigative journey."

Excerpt

Easter Sunday, 1865

The American tears that were shed on Easter Sunday in 1865 were immeasurable! During the week leading up to the hallowed day, Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state, William H. Seward, had been bedridden due to a tragic carriage accident that had almost claimed his life. But that tragedy was severely compounded by the darkness and evil that attacked his own home two days before Easter Sunday. The attack was on Good Friday. The world would never forget that day. Not ever.

As Seward awoke from a state of semiconsciousness that Sunday morning, he could smell blood. He could taste blood. He glanced into a small mirror by his bed, only to jerk away from the awful sight of a man he did not even recognize. He wondered who had done this to his face and neck. He knew he would never fully recover.

As use of his faculties slowly began to return, memories of the dreadful scene that had played out less than forty hours earlier flashed before his eyes. He could still hear the echoed scream of his daughter Fanny as she was knocked to the ground by the vicious assailant. She had tried to defend her father against the demon. And his son Fred! His poor Fred! When he had tried to protect his father, that murderous hand had crushed his skull with the butt of a gun. He was left near death on the stairway outside his father’s bedchamber. By some providential occurrence, the gun had malfunctioned when the assailant had first tried to put a bullet through Fred’s head. Only that had saved his life. But his pain was not spared. Seward could still hear his anguish. He could still hear his wife scream in agony as she hovered over Fred’s broken body.

And the knife. The secretary of state could still see it coming down over his face and neck, cutting through his flesh.

Complete darkness and misery. On that Easter Sunday, Seward’s own pain was nothing compared to what he felt for Fred, who was still near death, or for his dear wife, Frances, whose frail constitution could not endure the tragedy. She would die shortly thereafter as a result of it all. But there was something else consuming his soul. Some foreboding feeling . . .

Suddenly, instantly, he knew. He turned his aching head to his attendant and opened his mouth. All he could muster was a whisper-though in his mind it was a powerful and frightening proclamation: “The president is dead!” Seward’s startled attendant immediately “stammered and changed color as he tried to say nay.” The poor fellow did not want to be the bearer of news that might do his patient in. But Seward needed no confirmation. He knew at once that it had all been a conspiracy. The fiend who entered his quarters had had an accomplice-the president had been attacked simultaneously. They wanted them both dead. But the president had not been as lucky. Abraham Lincoln had been struck down on the very night that commemorates the murder of our Lord.

Seward gathered his emotions, then softly spoke his conclusion to his attendant: ?If he had been alive he would have been the first to call on me, but he has not been here, nor has he sent to know how I am.? His feelings at that very moment were later reported by his journalist friend Noah Brooks: William Seward then lay in silence, “the great tears coursing down his gashed cheeks, and the dreadful truth sinking into his mind

Of course Seward knew Lincoln would have called on him had he been alive. That was Lincoln. That was the magnanimous spirit who over the course of a few short years had become his best friend.

There was something almost appropriate about the day of this sad revelation—Easter Sunday. Twenty-eight years earlier, Seward?s sweet infant daughter, Cornelia, had been taken from him. Smallpox. After her funeral, Seward resumed his work, which at the time placed him far from home. It was a difficult time to be alone. He turned to God. Then he made the decision. On Easter Sunday, 1837, he was baptized a Christian. He wrote his wife of that day, explaining to her that during his baptismal service he thought continually of “our child-angel,” “that left her errand with my heart and straight returned to heaven.” He resolved on that Easter “to live more in the fear of and under the influence of love and gratitude to God” and to “gradually elevate and refine my motives of action

That earlier Easter day connects to this one because they both conjure up the memory of a man—Abraham Lincoln. Easter 1865 connects to Lincoln because it forever memorializes his sacrificial death. And Seward’s previous Easter experience with tragedy and humility, followed by conversion, God, and salvation, connects to Lincoln because it was a foreshadowing of Lincoln’s own experience. In watching Lincoln pass through a similar experience over the last four years of his life (and passing through part of it with him), Seward bonded with Lincoln in ways he never could have imagined. It was part of what made them friends. But Lincoln’s experience was much more profound than anything Seward had endured. For Lincoln’s experience, I believe, led to the salvation of an entire nation—perhaps even the salvation of the whole world! Yes, though his story leads us through dark and dreary places (like those just recalled), it is in fact a happy one. In some ways, as you shall see, it is the story of Easter, which is why perhaps the timing of Abraham’s death—like the timing of Seward’s baptism—was somehow foreordained. The Master is indeed at the center of this story. And it ends in glory!

This glory especially applies to Latter-day Saints, who have a particularly deep connection to Abraham—perhaps deeper than they ever imagined. For his sacrifice directly led to that thing which is of greatest import. Indeed, his life and death represent a crowning achievement in the building of the kingdom of God and in the development of the Restoration of the gospel.

About the Author

TIMOTHY BALLARD graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University in Spanish and political science, then went on to receive and MA (summa cum laude) in international politics from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Tim has worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as well as an agent for the Department of Homeland Security. He is also the author of The American Covenant: One Nation under God. He lives in Southern California with his wife and six children.

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