Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Book Review: Sterling Bridge by Chad Robert Parker 

Book Description:

Tensions are high in small-town Tooele, Utah, during the Great Depression, but coach Sterling Harris knows football is the answer. With his job on the line, he makes a bold play to find victory for his team and unity for his town. Based on a true story, this inspiring book gives you a fresh perspective on the past and hope for the future.


At a little over 100 pages, this is a very short book - easy to read in one day. I grew up in Northern Utah, but have only been to Tooele once or twice in my life. It was heartbreaking and more than a little bit aggravating to read about the division between the Oldtown and the Newtown residents. I just don't understand that way of thinking. At any rate, it was interesting to see the slow (sometimes very, very slow) change that took place in the townspeople as they finally let some of their barriers down and got to know each other better.

The story kind of read like a movie script - lots of dialogue, but it was missing the background stuff, and because of that, I found myself getting lost and having to re-read sections a time or two to figure out what I missed.

If you are a fan of football, this is a good story to read. There are a few games in the course of the story that the author goes in to play by play. If you understand football terminology, you will probably find this exciting. If you don't, you might find yourself a bit lost. :) 
Title: Sterling Bridge
Author: Chad Robert Parker
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Published: November 2015
ISBN: 146211735X
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Book Review: The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

The Golden Braid

Book Description:

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.

Book Review:

Right away I was taken in by the cover. Isn't it beautiful and totally eye-catching? Then I realized who the author was, and did a little pre-teen squee and clap :) Then I realized it was a retelling of Rapunzel. Does it get any better than that? I love this story, so I was excited to see what Melanie did with it, and honestly, it did not disappoint. There was a lot of happiness going on in the space of a minute or so.

It needs to be said that while it can be read as a stand-alone, it coincides with The Princess Spy and if you are going to read that book I highly highly recommend you read that before you read this one. If you have read it, chances are you are going to want to go back and read it again :)

My favorite character probably was Gerek. I liked his stuck up attitude, and the way it slowly changes to really see Rapunzel. Even when he is stuck up, you can tell he is a good person, and that makes it more believable/likable to me.  The change wasn't out of the blue, because you could see it there the whole time.

This is one of Melanie's better books, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who likes Christian Historical Fiction.

The Golden Braid
Title: The Golden Braid
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: November 2015
ISBN: 0718026268
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Blog Tour: One Last Spring by Sian Ann Bessey

One Last Spring

Book Description:

Wales, 1884

The quiet village of Llanwddyn has long been a safe haven for Gwen, a young Welsh country girl whose life has been fraught with tragedy. Following the untimely death of her parents, it was her aunt's home in Llanwddyn that provided Gwen and her brother a refuge from their grief. Now, with the unwelcome news that the village is to be razed in the name of progress, an inescapable wave of change has begun.

When her brother departs to follow his dream of sailing the high seas, Gwen is left alone to navigate the shifting world around her. She soon finds herself relying on the support of her brother's best friend, Lewis, a gentle blacksmith whose kindness stirs her heart. Resigned to the fact that Lewis may never see her as more than a child, Gwen is soon swept off her feet by Thomas, a prosperous young Englishman. Torn between two men and two very different paths, Gwen has little time to determine what course her heart will follow. With time running out for her beautiful valley, will love come too late?

Rorie's Review:

It took me a few chapters to really get into this book, but once I did, I was hooked. I've read a few books that are set in Wales, and the names always get me. I just need to take a crash course on the correct pronunciation so my brain doesn't stumble every time I come to a Welsh word. 

Other than my own lack of pronunciation abilities, I really enjoyed the story. I like how the relationships with Gwen and Lewis and Gwen and Thomas developed. I always like the romance better when they have to fight for it in some way. Both Thomas and Lewis were very likeable characters, but I had my heart set on one of them, and throughout the story was really hoping that Gwen would choose the "right" one. :)

I didn't know that this novel was based on true events, so that part was interesting to read at the end. The reason why the dam was built in the first place really shocked me. I don't want to give too much away, so I won't say any more about that, but it was an eye-opener. 

Tarah's Review:

When I first saw this was a love triangle I was a little hesitant to read it because I'm not really into the whole, "I have some many people falling for me and I have to choose" bit.  However, I am so glad I decided to read this book. And as for the love triangle, it isn't a typical love triangle and that made all the difference for me :)

I haven't read too many Welsh books because, honestly, the name really really throw me off.  The names weren't difficult, and there were Welsh phrases but the author kindly included a glossary for words and phrases. I really appreciated that.

I enjoyed the Author's Note at the end. It made it an already enjoyable story even more enjoyable.  I'm kind of hoping that if we see more from this author it is the story of the "other" guy.  

One Last Spring
Title: One Last Spring
Author: Sian Ann Bessey
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Published: November 2015
ISBN: 1680476386
Source: We received a copy from the author in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book Review: True To You by Liwen Y. Ho,204,203,200_.jpg 

Book Description:

Wanted: A man with the four C’s (Chinese, Christian, Cash and Career). Ability to cure hives a definite plus.

Melanie Koo may be a physician skilled in helping others, but the one thing she can’t fix is her own love life. That’s why her mother comes up with the perfect remedy-an arranged marriage. Being the dutiful daughter that she is, she agrees to this loveless match … until a chance meeting leads her straight to the cure for her hopeless heart.

Ben Peters is everything Melanie was not looking for in a guy, but she can’t help but be drawn to his passionate and kind nature and, not to mention, those adorable dimples. For once in her life, she considers breaking parental expectations to go after what she wants. The only thing standing in her way is a five foot one traditional Chinese mother and her scheming ways.

Now Melanie has to make the biggest decision of her life. Will she stay true to her family or will she choose to believe that true love can be colorblind?


This was a fun, easy read. It did take me a few chapters to really get into it, but I'm glad I didn't set it aside. Melanie and Ben are the kind of people I would like to meet in real life, and Melanie's sisters always made me laugh with their antics. 

The whole marrying someone because it's what your mom wants is hard for me to wrap my mind around. I'm definitely for honoring parents, but not at the expense of marrying someone that I don't love. I did like how the author included some Cantonese phrases (and what they meant.) That was a fun little touch. :)

When I looked this book up on Amazon, I was surprised to find that it was the second book in a series, but after looking at the description of the first book, it doesn't seem that the two are related at all. I definitely didn't feel like I was missing any back story when reading this book.

All in all, this was an enjoyable book to read and I would recommend it.,204,203,200_.jpg 
Title: True to You
Author: Liwen Y. Ho
Publisher: 2 Square 2 Be Hip
Published: April 2015
ISBN: 0692428917
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Blast: A.L. Sowards' World War II Espionage Trilogy

A.L. Sowards' World War II Espionage Trilogy Veteran's Day eBook Sale


Espionage (Book 1): France, 1944: Nobody expects Peter Eddy to survive his first commando mission—to retrieve a code book stolen by the Nazis—so when he does come back alive, his success is rewarded with an even more daunting assignment. Partnered with French Resistance leader Jacques Olivier, Peter must identify which of three Allied contacts in Calais is a double agent and use the traitor to help implement a strategic Allied diversion that might win the war. Peter secretly crosses the English Channel to confront the suspects one at a time. But what appears to be a clean assignment soon turns disastrous, and even the aid of Jacques and his sister Genevieve can’t prevent a Gestapo triumph. As the Allied invasion approaches, treachery in the least likely places leads to fresh graves in the bloodied European soil—and only the power of loyalty and love can transform tragic endings into new beginnings.

sworn enemy 

Sworn Enemy (Book 2): After narrowly escaping her Nazi captors, French Resistance worker Genevieve Olivier has fled to Allied territory with the help of American Lieutenant Peter Eddy. Their connection is undeniable, forged in the crucible of danger. But despite their blossoming feelings for each other, they must both finish the work they began . . . In the safety of England, Genevieve hopes to find purpose as a nurse—all the while unaware that the Gestapo still seeks the woman who slipped through their grasp. When she is called upon to resume a life of danger as a French spy, will her desire to prove herself be her downfall? Recruited by an elite special-ops team intent on thwarting the Nazis, Peter finds himself engaged in a personal battle as well—there is a traitor among his comrades. Deep in the Carpathian Mountains, Peter combats an unknown foe. The stakes are high as he fights to save the lives of his teammates. They are miles apart, yet as Genevieve and Peter fight for their own survival, they find a common well of strength in their faith—and their determination to be reunited.

deadly alliance 

Deadly Alliance (Book 3): When Peter Eddy and his commando team inadvertently upset the Soviets during their most recent mission, they never imagined the diplomatic nightmares that would ensue. They have one chance to redeem themselves: tasked with destroying a bridge in Nazi-occupied Bosnia, Peter and his war-weary team reluctantly agree to drop behind enemy lines. The assignment should be a simple one—were it not for the fact that they are being deployed on a suicide mission. Genevieve Olivier is devastated by the news of Peter’s disappearance. After all they’ve endured in this war, the determined OSS worker is unwilling to simply let go of the man she hopes to spend her life with. Desperate for information, her work as a courier soon escalates into a counterintelligence duel with a Fascist assassin—and Genevieve is his newest target . . .

Praise for Espionage, Sworn Enemy, and Deadly Alliance:

This historical fiction WWII series is amazing! Seriously tense action, intrigue, death-defying danger, strong characters, and even a hint of romance. Sowards really does her research and makes readers feel as if they are right in the middle of the action in different settings throughout war-torn Europe. These aren't your normal WWII books; they are much better. ~Charissa Stastny, author of the Bending Willow Trilogy

A.L. Sowards is a master at telling sides of stories from history that aren't overdone or commonly shared. These books took me on an unexpected journey and they each brought up issues that I hadn't really thought about before. I loved learning information about this time period, while being thoroughly entertained by the events happening to some beloved characters. ~Katie, blogger at Katie’s Clean Book Collection

A.L. Sowards has been a favorite author of mine for years. I was enraptured by the first book in her World War II series, Espionage, and fell more in love with the characters with each book. Her knowledge of World War II is unreal and the way she weaves the historical aspects in is so gripping I could hardly set these books down. I would highly recommend this series, especially if you're a fan of historical fiction. ~Cami Checketts, Author of Shadows in the Curtain

Intrigue, horror, and romance all wrapped up in this brilliant WWII trilogy. A.L Sowards did an amazing job at bringing the time period to life for me. I highly recommend all three books in the Espionage series. ~Bookworm Lisa, blogger

 add to goodreads  

About the Author:

AL SowardsA.L. Sowards has always been fascinated by the 1940s, but she's grateful she didn't live back then. She doesn't think she could have written a novel on a typewriter, and no one would be able to read her handwriting if she wrote her books out longhand. She does, however, think they had the right idea when they rationed nylon and women went barelegged. Sowards grew up in Moses Lake, Washington. She graduated from BYU and ended up staying in Utah, where she enjoys spending time with her husband and children or with her laptop. She does not own a typewriter. She does own several pairs of nylons. Her books are known for heart-pounding action, memorable characters, careful historical research, clean romance, and family-friendly language. Several of her novels have been Whitney Award finalists in the historical fiction category.


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Monday, November 9, 2015

Movie Review: Miracle Maker: A Christmas Tale

Miracle Maker: A Christmas Tale

Film Synopsis:

It all starts with one little seed of love."The Miracle Maker is coming!" Everyone in the tiny hamlet is excited when they hear the news that the renowned man of wonders is coming to their village. But the humble traveler who appears isn't what anyone expected. They were looking forward to someone magnificent who would change their lives. But it seems this man can barely take care of himself, let alone fulfill the dreams of others. However, miracles can come in all shapes and sizes-and sometimes from unexpected places.



The Miracle Maker is a cute family film that focuses on hope and kindness. It has the feel of a Hallmark movie-the story and acting doesn't compare to big budget Hollywood films, but it is well done. I watched it with my family, and it was fun for us to pick out actors we've seen in other similar films. It was also fun that the main town scenes were filmed in a location near where we live.

If you are looking for a feel good holiday movie appropriate for the entire family, give the Miracle Maker a try.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Blog Tour: When I'm a Missionary by Merrilee Boyack Illustrated by Brian Call

Book Description:

Lacey and Julian's brother has just returned from his mission, and they're excited that he's home again and excited to learn how to be missionaries themselves. With help from their older brother, parents, and extended family, the children practice some of the skills and habits they will need as full-time missionaries. From dressing appropriately for church to serving others, and from daily scripture study to learning basic skills for cooking, cleaning, and even sewing buttons on clothing, they discover how preparing to be a missionary can start with the things they do every day. Follow the adventures of Lacey and Julian as they discover the challenges and the rewards of missionary service and learn all about becoming great missionaries.

Book Review:

It's never too early to start your children thinking about going on a mission. Not only thinking about going on a mission, but actually preparing them to go. Part of the book mentioned that if the missionary already knows how to take care of themselves, then they can focus more on sharing the gospel. I think it would be extremely overwhelming to be put in such a situation where you were not only adjusting to being away from home in a new place, but learning to fend for yourself as well.

My favorite part of the book was the part that said, "Let's keep trying to keep trying!" That's just good advice for life, and it's all we really can do :) I also really like that everything was kept simple. I think that sometimes I tend to make things more difficult than they need to be. When it talked in the book about talking about Jesus, in my head it needs to be this grand thing, big event type thing, but really all that needs to be said is just like in the book. Keep it simple and love people. I like that.

Rorie's Review:

This is a cute book that helps children learn what they need to do to prepare to be a missionary. I like how the author gives the reader many different ideas for how to live life now in order to be prepared for missionary life. I also like how the story doesn't just focus on the good things that happen during a mission, but also on the trials that can (and do) happen there too, such as getting along with difficult companions or how to deal with constant rejection.

While I read this book to my younger two kids, I think it is geared more to older kids, but this will be a good addition to our library for all of my kids to read over and over again.
Title: When I'm a Missionary
Author: Merrilee Boyack
Illustrator: Brian Call
Publisher: Deseret Book Company
Published: October 2015
ISBN: 978-1-62972-100-2
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.