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Friday, August 26, 2016

Blog Tour: The Beautiful Balance by Michelle Wilson


Book Description:

Whether in your family, your ward, or your community, you’ve observed them: those noble individuals who are strong, patient, and stalwart in the face of adversity. When times are tough, how do they manage the challenging shift from victim to victor? Chances are they have figured out the balance of control—what they have charge of and what is in the Lord’s hands.

Trying to manage the ups and downs of life can feel overwhelming, but fortunately we’re not alone on this journey. With inspiring doctrinal insights and a healthy dose of humor, author Michelle Wilson inspires readers to let go of fear and find peace, even in the midst of lost jobs, health challenges, or everyday chaos at home. In a world that seems so tempestuous, The Beautiful Balance is a sweet reminder of exactly what we can control—ourselves—and what God controls—all the rest.


Book Review:

I had just gone to Stake Conference where the talks were about balance, and then the next day this book showed up in my mailbox. I figured that was pretty serendipitous, or really a tender mercy from the Lord.

Who couldn't use more balance in their lives? You know, put first things first, and letting go of the rest. Wilson explains this beautifully, and fills one with hope. We hear often in the church about perfection, but I loved this that she says, "We mustn't feel bad that we can't do it all on our own, because we are not meant to. It is His desire and plan that our lives not be solo endeavors but team endeavors...". Teaming up with the Lord? Yep, sign me up.

I especially loved the chapters about faith and hope, and acting on those things. That was a message I needed to hear, and hopefully a kick start for me this new school year. I mean, I'll have tons of time with four of my five kids in school, right? Right.

It's a pretty small book, so it shouldn't take too long to read. Non-fiction always takes me way longer than fiction, but Wilson keeps it entertaining and moving. Plus, it's a beautiful cover. I wasn't sure about it at first, but it has grown on me with it's simplicity (and that the title isn't capitalized. I'm not sure why I like that, but I do...I really do).

Blog Tour Schedule:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Beautiful Balance by Michelle  Wilson
Title: The Beautiful Balance
Author: Michelle Wilson
Publisher: Covenant
Published: August 2016
ISBN: 978-1-52440-090-3
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Book Review: From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden

 From This Moment
Book Description:

Stella West's artistic talent made her the toast of London, but when her beloved sister dies under mysterious circumstances she abandons everything and heads for Boston. With single-minded determination she fights to pierce the ring of secrecy surrounding her sister's death. Upon meeting Romulus White, a publisher with connections into every important power circle in the city, she quickly realizes he could be a valuable ally in navigating Boston society.

Romulus has been pursuing Stella for years to create art for his magazine. Her luminous illustrations are the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry, and he will stop at nothing to get her on board.

Sparks fly the instant they join forces, but Romulus is unsettled by the unwelcome attraction he feels toward Stella, fearing she might be the one woman who could disrupt his hard-won independence. He may have finally met his match in Stella, but is helping her solve the mystery of her sister's death worth the risk to his publishing empire?


Book Review:

I wasn't sure what to think about this one when I first picked it up. I'll admit, Romulus' name threw me. But I quickly came to appreciate his character...for the most part :) I really did love that he loved colorful clothing and was proud of it. Along that same line, his pride kind of bugged me too, but hey, if you aren't willing to toot your own horn, why should anyone else? Plus, it fit really well with Stella. This girl knows what she's about. Again, her pride was kind of off-putting, but it takes all kinds :) And it fit well into the story.

Normally when a story has too many points of view it throws me, but I really liked Evelyn and hubby. In fact, I think this was the most beautiful part of the story.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, but that being said, it was kind of forgettable for me. Not Camden's best, but definitely worth the read. Plus there is a free Novella that goes before this. Gotta love that!

From This Moment
Title: From This Moment
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: June 2016
ISBN: 0764217216
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Blog Tour: Exodus by H.B. Moore


 


Book Description:

Let my people go . . .
A plea has been made in behalf of the children of Israel. Now comes the epic climax years in the making—the final showdown between two of the most powerful men in history—one fueled by pride, the other guided by the word of God. Moses has received an extraordinary call from the Lord: he is to lead the exodus of the Hebrew people out of Egypt, ending generations of bondage. And he must return to the land of his birth to boldly petition a man he does not want to challenge. . . or lose to: Ramses—pharaoh of Egypt. Ramses, harboring years of feeling betrayed by his best friend, is determined to stop Moses no matter the cost. He will not yield, even as a dark veil of plagues and pestilence descends over the land of Egypt.
What follows is a powerful chronicle of the struggles of the children of Israel as they traverse uncharted territory, both physically and spiritually. Amid the horrific catastrophes devastating their land and through the dramatic events that follow, the Hebrews must face their fears and their faltering faith. For even in the darkest of times, there are manifestations of the Lord's constant care to inspire their hope for a bright future.

Book Review:

This was a very well-done conclusion to The Moses Chronicles. (I'm assuming it's the last book in the series. I could be wrong.) Once again, the author does a great job bringing all of the characters to life.

Some of the things that stuck out to me the most were when the author described all of the suffering that the Egyptians went through with each plague. Yes, I've always assumed the plagues were all pretty miserable, but I've never humanized the Egyptians. They were wrong to keep the Hebrews enslaved, but they were people just going about their daily lives, and due in large part to the hard-heartedness of their Pharaoh, they suffered through so much.

Something that always leaves me shaking my head in amazement was the lack of faith that the Hebrews continued to have, even after witnessing so many marvelous miracles. I'm sure that Moses was incredibly frustrated by this!

I expected that the novel would end after they all made it through the Red Sea, but the story continues through several other miracles that happened after that, which was nice.

Book Tour:

Aug. 19th: http://heidi-reads.blogspot.com/http://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/

Giveaway:
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91yhL%2BOIs8L.jpg
Title: The Moses Chronicles: Exodus
Author: H.B. Moore
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Published: August 2016
ISBN: 1524400343
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book

Monday, August 15, 2016

Blog Tour: The Loyal Heart: A Lone Star Hero's Love Story by Shelley Shepard Gray

The Loyal Heart (Lone Star Hero #1)
Book Description:

Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn’t expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.


Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.

After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda's home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip's name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.

Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He's mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.

He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn't prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.


Book Review:

Let's start with the cover. Initially I didn't like it. Looking at it closer, it's not bad, so that made me wonder why on first glance I didn't like it. I decided it was the flag and all the words. It makes it cluttered and hard to focus on. Is it the flag that is supposed to catch your attention? The Title? Or is it the girl on the cover? I'm not sure as they are all right there in your face. But that is neither here nor there in relation to the book.

I was actually surprised to find that I'd read this author before. Her name sounded familiar, but the writing didn't. At the end of the book I realized that I've read this author's "Chicago" Series, and honestly, I was more impressed with those.

I think my biggest thing with this book was the pacing. All of a sudden everything happens. Nothing takes a lot of time (except setting up the scenes and giving us back-story). I enjoyed the story, and I am even looking forward to more books from different characters in this story, but I was disappointed in the romance between the main characters. Honestly, they don't get to know each other very well.  Robert seems to be basing his view of Miranda all off of Phillip's view, and Miranda seems to only like Robert because he stood up for her. Actually, when another character stood up for her (and better than Robert) she seemed to like him too. So we never actually see where they fall in love. We are just told that they did.

I would read more from this series because I really liked the supporting characters, but the main characters in this novel fell flat for me.

Book Tour:
8/11
Sydney | Singing Librarian Books
Cheryl | cherylbbookblog
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!

8/12

Amada | ASC Book Reviews
Alison | Nova frugal family
Megan | Pursuing Intentional Living

8/13

Victor | Vic's Media Room
Angela | A Holland Reads
Annie | Just Commonly

8/15

Tarah | Literary Time Out
Cristi | Cristi's Reviews
Margaret | Frugal Shopping and More
Kasey | Four Seasons of Blessings
Kav | Best Reads
Carrie | Reading Is My SuperPower
Carla | Working Mommy Journal

8/16

Kristi | Two Girls and a Book

8/17

Carole | The Power of Words
Pamela | Daysong Reflections
Michaela | Baker Kella

8/18

Charity | aTransParentMom
Rachel | Smiling Book Reviews

8/19

Kim | Window To My World
Amanda | With a Joyful Noise
Bonnie | The Koala Mom

8/20

Renee | Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot
Barbara | Fic Gal
Dianna | Savings in Seconds
Amanda | Inklings and Notions
Carol | centraleast2
Stacey | Books,Dreams,Life

8/22

Julie | More Of Him
Kristie | Moments
Barb | I'm Hooked on Books
Marissa | The Review Stew
Laura | Memawsstuff

8/23

Rachel | EmpowerMoms
Mackenzie | Spreading His Grace
Lisa | Seeking with all yur heart
Missica | Through the Open Window
Erin | For Him and My Family
Amy | Pause for Tales
Amanda | The Talbert Report

8/24

Mindy | A room without books is empty
Nicki | Confessions of a Teenage Bookworm
Sarah | Running Through The Storms

8/25

April | Dixie n Dottie
Kristin | A Simply Enchanted Life
Amelia | Rejoice Evermore
Beth | For the Love of Books
Tammy | Tammy Is Blessed
Wendy | Life at Rossmont
Margaret | The World As I See It
Julia | Christian Bookaholic
Shecki | Greatly Blessed

The Loyal Heart (Lone Star Hero #1)
Title: The Loyal Heart: A Lone Star Hero's Love Story
Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher: Zondervan
Published: July 2016
ISBN: 0310345391
Source: I received a copy from LitFuse in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Book Review: An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter

An Elegant Façade (Hawthorne House, #2)
Book Description:

Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the Incomparable for her debut season. At her first London ball, she hopes to snag the attention of an earl.
 

With money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. When he first encounters the fashionable Lady Georgina, he's irritated by his attraction to a woman who concerns herself only with status and appearance.
What Colin doesn't know is that Georgina's desperate social aspirations are driven by the shameful secret she harbors. Association with Colin McCrae is not part of Georgina's plan, but as their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make.


Book Review:

So many mixed emotions before starting this book. I have really enjoyed Kristi Ann Hunters A Noble Masquerade and the novella before it. They are some of my favorite novels. So when I saw she had a new novel out I was really excited....but then I realized it was about Georgina, and well, I didn't like her...at all..in the other books. So...my excitement dimmed a little, but Hunter is such a great author I figured it would be worth the read. Plus, it's a really lovely cover :)

So, was it worth the read? Yes...yes it was. But, it did take me a little to get into the novel because it took a while for me to to warm up to Georgina. In fact, since this novel parallels A Noble Masquerade I went and reread that before I got too far into this one :) Once I started to see that Georgina wasn't the spoiled brat that she tried to make herself appear it got more interesting. I really loved Colin though. Especially the scene when Marsh gets punched :)

Is this really a stand alone novel? Probably not. I think it would be too confusing to not have the whole background. But if you've read A Noble Masquerade I would definitely read this story to get the full picture. Plus, it is just really satisfying.


An Elegant Façade (Hawthorne House, #2) 
Title: An Elegant Facade
Author:
Kristi Ann Hunter
Publisher:
Bethany House
Published:
July 2016

ISBN:  0764218255
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Blog Tour: Accidentally Me by Kim Karras

*Review* 
Accidentally Me by Kim Karras

Book Description:

WANTED: Pretend stalker. No experience required. Tall, dark, and quirky preferred. Sabrina is desperate to go to her dream college, but her parents want her to stay close to home. If she wants to maintain her perfect child image, Sabrina must break rules that even her rebel sister keeps . . .

Andrea's Review:

This is a cute story. On the outside it seems like it will just be a funny read-what with the whole premise of hiring a stalker to let your parents approve of leaving the state for college. But, as you read you get some deep and emotional moments about Sabrina's lack of self worth. I enjoyed her journey to finding value in herself. 

If you are looking for a clean, fast and entertaining read, give Accidentally Me a try.

Tarah's Review:

So, this book was a cute fast read....but it fell flat for me, and my inner teenager is sad. I'm not sure if I just didn't relate to Sabrina, or if I'm just not enjoying teen lit anymore. But Sabrina was not a character that I was able to rally behind. However, the writing was solid, and Sabrina as a character was well written, even if she didn't do anything for me.

Rorie's Review:

This book has an interesting theme. Hire a pretend stalker so your parents will allow you to go away to college. Sabrina has some serious issues with feeling wanted, and as a result, is always trying to be perfect, never allowing herself to fail at anything. The whole hiring a stalker thing is a comedy of errors, while still managing to be somewhat disturbing.

I did NOT like Calvin. Not even a little bit. He was creepy personified and it made me cringe more than a little bit any time Sabrina had any contact with him.

Her family life was very interesting...we see most of the story thorough Sabrina's pretty judgemental eyes. I did like how after everything fell apart for her, she was able to finally see her family for the good people that they really were.



Tour Schedule:

August 10: Singing Librarian Books | Literary Time Out
August 11: Inklings and Notions | Geo Librarian
August 12: Write, Writing, Written
August 13: Live to Read
August 14:
August 15: My Book a Day
August 16: Emily King | Getting Your Read On
August 17: Katie’s Clean Book Collection | Robyn Echols
August 18: Nicki Elson
August 19: Min Reads and Reviews | Mel’s Shelves
August 20: Writing Worm
August 21:
August 22: Novel-ties | My Little Sunshines
August 23: Emmy Mom | Wishful Endings
August 24: The Nice Thing About Strangers
August 25: Lisa Swinton
August 26: Mylissa’s Reviews and Book Thoughts
August 27: Blooming with Books
August 28:
August 29: Perfecting the Craft | Bookworm Lisa
August 30: Heidi Reads
August 31: Rockin’ Book Reviews | Totally Obsessed

Title: Accidentally Me
Author: Kim Karras
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Published: August 2016
ISBN: 1462118674
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Review: She Stood for Freedom by Loki Mulholland

She Stood for Freedom:
The Untold Story of a Cilvil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland
by Loki Mulholland

Book Description:

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland grew up in Virginia in the 1950s and witnessed the injustice of segregation firsthand. As a teenager, she joined the Civil Rights Movement, attending demonstrations and sit-ins. Because of her passionate belief in the cause, she was involved in several important and historically significant events, including
  • The Freedom Rides of 1961
  • The Woolworth's lunch counter sit-ins in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963
  • The March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963
  • The Selma to Montgomery March in 1965
Joan says, "Anyone can make a difference. It doesn't matter how old or young you are. Find a problem, get some friends together, and go fix it. Remember, you don't have to change the world ... just change your world."

Filled with original photography, images of historical documents, and breathtaking artwork, She Stood for Freedom is a celebration of the effect a single life can have on the world.

Review:

When I heard about a civil rights book that was written for middle grade readers, I was intrigued on behalf of my children. I wasn't sure how well the points would come across being written for ages 8-12, but I thought it was well done. I don't recall having heard about Joan Trumpauer Mulholland before, but her story is very interesting.

I can't imagine taking a stand like Joan took (especially back then). Her life was in danger by fighting for civil rights. I would like to think that if I saw such an injustice that I'd do something about it, but I'm such a rule keeper that doing anything that could put me in jail is just hard to imagine.

My nine-year-old thought this was a good book and very interesting. He doesn't usually read this type of book, but thought he'd probably try to read more like this.

My almost thirteen-year-old thought it was a good story to talk about, although she thought it was written for a younger audience than what she usually reads. She liked the artwork (both the memorabilia and the illustrations).

About the Author:

Loki Mulholland is an award-winning filmmaker. His film, An Ordinary Hero, tells his mother's story and is featured at the National Civil Rights Museum and at www.anordinaryhero.com. He is the Execute Director of the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation.

About the Artist:

CHARLOTTA JANSSEN was born in Maine to German parents. She studied art at the University of the Arts in Berlin, Germany. Her art has been showcased in more than forty gallery exhibitions worldwide, and she has been featured in American Art Collector magazine, The New Yorker, New York Daily News, The Tennessean, Oprah.com, and HipHopWired.com.

Title: She Stood for Freedom: The Untold Story of a Cilvil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland
Author: Loki Mulholland
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: August 2016
ISBN: 1629721778
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book