Genre: Adult

Movie Preview~ No Ordinary Shepherd, The Last Straw

10 Oct, 2014 by in covenant, movie, movie review, movie trailer Leave a comment

Genres: Adult, Christmas, Inspirational, LDS, Movie
Source: Covenant

the last strawYesterday I had the opportunity to attend a special screening of two new movies coming to stores just in time for Christmas from Covenant Communications. No Ordinary Shepherd and The Last Straw. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house at the end of either of them. Lots of sniffles heard in the theater! Both are clean and appropriate for families.

Head to your local Seagull book as I’ve heard they may have hit shelves already. Special thanks to Covenant Communications for giving me a good cry and an uplifting start to the season…

no ordinary sheperd

No Ordinary Shepherd

As the sun beams brightly on the hills surrounding Palestine, one young shepherd boy thoughtfully considers the significance of the day. The child, crippled in a terrible accident, has always treasured his shepherd father’s tale of that starlit night so many years before — a night filled with the wonder of angelic heralds and a tiny Bethlehem stable sheltering the chosen Messiah. Now, years since that sacred event, tales of Jesus of Nazareth’s miraculous birth touch the young boy’s faith. When he meets the gentle stranger in the hills — a man strangely familiar to him — the faithful young shepherd encounters a miracle of his own.

22 minutes long

Themes: healing, miracles, believing

Content: clean, for all ages

5

Mainstay Productions Facebook* Covenant Communications

 

The Last Straw

Christmas is supposed to be a season of love, warm feelings, and happy hearts. But with the childrens’ constant bickering, pretty packages and a sweet-smelling tree don’t come close to filling the McDonald home with the true spirit of the first Christmas. Then Mom remembers an old tradition of building a soft bed for Baby Jesus one straw at a time. Each time someone secretly does something nice for another family member, he or she gets to add a single straw to the manger. Soon the childrens’ quarreling and negative feelings subside and the homemade crib is overflowing. But for one family member, a required act of kindness becomes more than he can take. The Last Straw is a true story.

 

Themes: Cyberbullying, grief, service, sibling rivalry

Content: Kissing, some tight clothing.

3_5 heather
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Review and Event Photos: Focused by Noelle Pikus- Pace

04 Oct, 2014 by in deseret book, Focused, Noelle Pikus- Pace Leave a comment

Review and Event Photos: Focused by Noelle Pikus- Pace

Focused: Keeping Your Life on Track, One Choice at a Time

Published by Deseret Book on September 8, 2014
Genres: Adult, Inspirational, LDS, Non- Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 144
Format: Hardcover
Source: Deseret Book
Buy the BookGoodreads
Where are your choices leading you? Regardless of our circumstances, each moment presents us with decision to make. It doesn't matter what question, trial, or success we experience—each traces back to a choice. At any given moment, we can choose to doubt, fear, worry; to be prideful, angry, depressed, or miserable—or we can choose to move forward. We can choose to be a light. We can choose to be happy. The choice is always ours, and each choice can be a step forward on the path of life we want for ourselves.

The life lessons learned by Olympic athlete Noelle Pikus Pace can equip each of us to turn daily choices and challenges into opportunities for growth. In her warm and relatable style, Noelle shares touching personal stories and teaches how these experiences can help us keep a healthy perspective on the things that matter most. She helps us to see that though all of our goals and trials are different, we each can choose to become the best versions of ourselves one day at a time.

Covering topics from letting go of expectations and pressures to finding a healthy life balance, from standing up for ourselves to standing for righteousness, world champion Noelle Pikus Pace infuses readers with the enthusiasm and confidence to get a little closer to their goals each and every day.

Never has a book been more timely than Focused by Noelle Pikus- Pace is for this generation. A silver medal US Olympic skeleton racer, Pikus Pace shares her wisdom with youth as well as her life experiences. In 2006 she was badly injured by a bobsled and had a huge mountain to climb to make it back on the track.Like, all of us, she has faced moral dilemmas, ups and downs, but she remained focused on what matters most.

Noelle shares how important it is to step outside our comfort zone and friendship others. She shares her personal struggle with miscarriage and returning to the track after an answer to prayer. She reminds youth to be modest, to be an example and to let your light shine.

I read this book full of quotes, photos and inspirational graphics in one sitting. It is one I will passing on to my daughters and sons. I cried along with her when she finally grasped her Olympic medal dream, with YW medallion also around her neck on the awards podium. Her temple medallion reminds all of us…”You are more precious than rubies.”
heather

The Q& A Event

focused_with_medal

Noelle absolutely shines when you meet her in person. I had the opportunity to met her at a Deseret Book event and she wanted all of us to see and feel her medal, to feel a part of her victory. She is an amazing example of faith and love. If you ever get the chance…GO see her!

See More Photos and Deseret News Media Coverage From The Event Here (we are in photo nine)

Favorite Quote

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with the whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9 “It isn’t always easy to be the one and only standing up for something you believe in. But I can promise you that it is much easier to stand with courage in the days to come if you decide now, today, in this moment, who you are and what you stand for.” ~Noelle Pikus Pace, {Focused} page 67

About the Authornoelle_pikus_pace

NOELLE PIKUS PACE became the first American woman to win the Overall World Cup Title in skeleton in 2005. After playing a variety of sports through high school and college, her exceptional strength in skeleton made her favored to win the gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics. An unfortunate accident prevented her from competing, but the following year she came back to win the World Championships by the largest margin in the history of the sport. Noelle competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics and was the top U.S. finisher, placing fourth.

She retired after the Olympics to spend more time with her family. Following a miscarriage in April of 2012, Noelle and her husband, Janson, decided that she would try one last time to earn an Olympic medal, on the condition that the family would all travel together. Competing in 32 national and international competitions over two years, Noelle finished on the podium 29 times and concluded her career by triumphantly winning the silver medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and jumping into the stand to share the moment with her family and the world.

Noelle earned a bachelor’s degree in 2005 and a master of business administration degree in 2007. Noelle and Janson have two children, Lacee and Traycen.

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Review ~Joyful: Return to Sugarcreek, Book Three

01 Oct, 2014 by in adult, amish fiction, HarperCollins Leave a comment

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

Review ~Joyful: Return to Sugarcreek, Book Three

Joyful

by Shelley Shepard Gray
Series: Return to Sugar Creek #3
Published by HarperCollins on September 2, 2014
Genres: Adult, Amish Fiction, Christian, Clean Romance
Pages: 266
Format: Paperback
five-stars
Source: HarperCollins
Buy the BookGoodreads
Return to Sugarcreek with bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray for a heartwarming story of second chances with a young Amish couple

Randall Beiler will sacrifice anything to take care of his younger siblings and the family farm, even if it means forsaking love. But when his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job cleaning and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and feels guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth's heart. Then he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet and he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse but she needs the work. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that her love for Randall still burns strong. And though Randall keeps his distance at first, time and teamwork reveal that something deeper still connects them.

Elizabeth isn't sure what to think: Does Randall want her because he truly loves her, or because he needs a housekeeper? And if his feelings have changed for sure, Randall must find a way to show Elizabeth what she really means to him or risk losing his partner in life and love forever.

It was a rainy day yesterday and I picked up three different books in hopes for an escape, and struck out. So I turned to Shelley Shepard Gray…bingo! Once again, her Return to Sugar Creek series was the ticket to a clean, sweet diversion. The third installment picks up three different story lines and follows the theme of second chances, tender mercies from a loving God. There’s the couple who has broken up, the young couple who has miscarried and is looking to adopt, and a divorced restaurant owner who is afraid to trust again. At firs, I was hesitant to have so much going on at one time and I found myself drawn to the story of Elizabeth and Randall. I wasn’t quite as engaged in the other two stories, until the very end, when I was surprised to find I was in tears at the sweet story of a foster baby finding a home.

Shelley Shepard Gray wraps things up in a neat tidy package. She writes feel good novels with faith intertwined. If you are looking for a simple plot with predictable resolution you will be pleased. One finds themselves transported to a community where horse drawn buggies are still used, homemade sugar cookies are cut out with the top of a glass. Yet, modernization is afoot and modern characters are woven in quite nicely. I love the Amish charm and the goodness that emanates from their lives. Recommend this series for a Fall rainy day read! There’s study questions in the book and a sneak peek to book four…going online to pre-order!

heather shelleyshepardgray2013-240x300

Author Bio

I grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.

I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.

Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that in God’s eyes that is okay? That from His point of view, we are all exceptional? I treasure that knowledge and am always so thankful for my faith. His faith in me makes me stand a little straighter, smile a little bit more, and be so very grateful for every gift He’s given me.

I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me. I wanted to write stories about regular. likeable people in extraordinary situations-and who just happened to be Amish.

Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed.

 

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For Elise by Sarah M Eden~Blog Tour

18 Sep, 2014 by in blog tour, book review, covenant, sarah m eden 7 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.

For Elise by Sarah M Eden~Blog Tour

For Elise

by Sarah M Eden
Published by Covenant on September 1, 2014
Genres: Adult, Regency, Romance
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
five-stars
Source: Covenant
Buy the BookGoodreads
In the sprawling gardens of their neighboring estates, childhood friends Miles and Elise spent countless pleasant days together in the spirited adventures of youth. They were inseparable—until Elise vanished without a trace. Miles searched, but Elise could not—or would not—be found . . . After years spent laboring on the family plantation in the West Indies, Miles Linwood is shocked by the unexpected news: he has inherited his distant cousin’s estate and the title of Marquess of Grenton. Miles’s return to England is tarnished by only one thing—he is still haunted by Elise’s mysterious disappearance. So when he glimpses a woman with a startling resemblance to his lost friend, he’s shaken to the core. This is no mere shadow of the past: it is truly Elise. But his dear friend has changed—to the point that he questions whether it is really her, though he knows it is. Accustomed to rescuing Elise from childhood escapades, Miles takes her and those in her care back to his estate, even as he struggles to understand her fear and mistrust. As their friendship and feelings slowly blossom again, the shocking truth of their separated years is revealed, and Miles realizes more than ever that he must protect Elise. She slipped away once, and he cannot lose her again.
for_elise_banner

Regency Romance is one of my favorite genres, and Sarah M. Eden is a great go to Regency author. In her latest, For Elise, Miles Linwood, a marquess, is traveling the country when he happens upon his long lost childhood friend. Elise, now called Ella is a very young widow with small child, living a life of poverty. The two were the best of friends growing up until a murder tore their lives and inherited estates apart. Ella is guarded and seems burdened with so many emotions bottled up, that when Miles steps in to offer her a new life, she’s not sure she can open up again and let him in. Eden addresses deafness, prejudice of social classes and trust between friends. There’s plenty of suspense as mysterious handwritten notes start showing up as a threat to Elise. The murderer is lurking nearby Tafford Estate where Miles now lives.

I read For Elise in one day, start to finish. With returning characters from her previous novels and a dreamy landscape, once again Ms. Eden had me fully engaged. I recommend all of her books!

Content: clean, some kissing & tension, moderate violence, rape (but not described.)

 

heather

 

About the Authorsarah_M_eden

Sarah M. Eden is the author of multiple historical romances, including Whitney Award finalists Seeking PersephoneCourting Miss Lancaster, and AML’s “2013 Novel of the year” Longing for Home. Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah has twice served as the Master of Ceremonies for the LDStorymakers Writers Conference and acted as the Writer in Residence at the Northwest Writers Retreat. Sarah is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg at D4EO Literary Agency.

 

Blog Tour Schedule

The Giveaway

$50 amazon gift card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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How Do I Know If I Know~ Blog Tour & Review

08 Sep, 2014 by in adult, book review, deseret book, lds 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.

How Do I Know If I Know~ Blog Tour & Review

How Do I Know If I Know?

by John Bytheway
Published by Deseret Book on September 8, 2014
Genres: Adult, LDS, Non- Fiction
Pages: 144
Format: Paperback
five-stars
Source: Deseret Book
Buy the Book

It's spiritual gut-check time! The mission age has been lowered, and now more than ever, young people are asking themselves important questions:

  • How do I know if I really have a testimony?
  • Am I ready to serve a mission?
  • What does the Spirit feel like?

John Bytheway suggests that we "F.E.E.L." the truthfulness of the gospel through our feelings, our experiences, the many evidences we encounter, and our logical conclusions about how a loving God interacts with His children on the earth. Like gradually turning up a dimmer switch, understanding all the ways we F.E.E.L. our testimony will help it grow brighter.

As you read, you may discover that your testimony is stronger than you thought, and you'll also become more excited and motivated to let your light shine!

So often when seeking spiritual  truth we are waiting for huge life changing experiences. We want a “bolt of lightening” or an absolute, undeniably strong answer to prayer…when in our heart, the truth is already present and evident. By small and simple means, we F.E.E.L. that something is true.

John Bytheway gives four sources from which we draw energy to build our testimony “Feelings “you shall feel that it is right” (D&C 9:8), Experiences “If any man will do his will, he shall know . . .” (John 7:17), Evidences “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16), and Logic “I will tell you in your mind. . .” (D&C 8:2). He breaks each of these testimony sources down in an easy to read manner and offers visual reinforcements via QR code embedded videos, and conference talks in each section. The reader, equipped with smart phone or tablet gets an interactive study session on how to feel and recognize truth and then act on those feelings.  We are taught, not only by the experiences of the author himself, but also from the words of living prophets and apostles, as well as scholars. If the reader truly wants to delve into the book, there are multi-media means to read and learn more.

My favorite embedded video shows the explosive growth of LDS stakes across the United States. I’d never seen a visual representation of just how far and wide the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints has spread.

How Do I Know If I Know? is an excellent resource for young men and women preparing for a mission. For me, it is a wonderful reminder that I already FEEL the truth and know it!

heatherExcerpt Chapter 1

What Do You Know?
Many years ago, a young man (he was only twenty-three years old) was called to be the new stake president in Tooele, Utah. In those days, stake conferences had two sessions, and at lunch between the sessions, Joseph F. Smith, one of the General Authorities attending, said to the new stake president, “You said you believe the gospel with all your heart, and propose to live it, but you did not bear your testimony that you know it is true. Don’t you know absolutely that this gospel is true?”

“I do not,” answered the young man.

“President Taylor,” said Elder Smith to the President of the Church, John Taylor, who was also in attendance, “I am in favor of undoing this afternoon what we did this morning. I do not think any man should preside over a stake who has not a perfect and abiding knowledge of the divinity of this work.”
President Taylor just laughed and said, “Joseph, Joseph, Joseph, he knows it just as well as you do. The only thing that he does not know is that he does know it.”

That story brings up a very interesting question: Is it possible to know that the Church is true, but not know that you know? Is a testimony that hard to detect? This story is even more interesting when you learn the identity of the new stake president. His name was Heber J. Grant. Yes, the same Heber J. Grant who later became the President of the Church.

Interestingly, the next time Heber J. Grant faced members of his stake, he spoke powerfully for forty-five minutes. This time, he knew. And he knew that he knew. What did President Grant do in between “believing” the Church was true and “knowing”? And how can we do the same thing?

Today, youth and young adults are facing huge decisions, and they’re facing them a little sooner than their older brothers and sisters did. Many teenagers facing the mission decision may be wondering, “Is my testimony strong enough? Do I really know the Church is true? How do I know if I know?” Because of the lowering of the age at which young people become eligible to serve missions, there is a greater urgency than ever before to answer this kind of question. I once heard Sister Sheri Dew tell a group of young people, “We want you to figure out what we’ve figured out, and we want you to figure it out quicker than we figured it out.”

About the Author

JOHN BYTHEWAY served a mission to the Philippines and later graduated from Brigham Young University. He has a master’s degree in religious education and is a part-time instructor at the BYU Salt Lake Center. John is the author of many bestselling books, audio talks, and DVDs, including How to Be an Extraordinary Teen; Life Rocks; and his first children’s picture book, The Sacrament. He and his wife, Kimberly, have six children.

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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

a Rafflecopter 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
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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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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.

 

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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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