Monday, December 28, 2015

Book Review: He Delivered Even Me, He Will Deliver Even You by Misti Stevenson 

Book Description: 

Even Me Even You: When I was in the midst of my 23-year trial with OCD, anxiety, and depression, I had little hope to ever be fully healed. I knew of no one who had been. Now that I have been led through my Gethsemane and, with the help of the Savior, am finally healed, I can’t keep quiet about it. I was an avid journal writer from a young age, so this book takes those who want to know how to literally be healed of mental and emotional illness on a live-time, emotion-filled journey. Most books on this subject only tell how to deal or cope with mental illness. My experience brings a new idea that mental illness is curable in this life—I am the proof of this happy idea! What I would’ve given to know of one person who had been healed when I was in the midst of my pain. I wrote my story to inspire others suffering similar challenges—to give them the hope and perspective I wish I had had in the midst of my struggles.


Even though I haven't had to deal with OCD or depression, this book description intrigued me. I also like to occasionally go outside of my comfort zone for what I typically read, so I agreed to read and review this. 

That being said, I found that I had a really hard time relating to the author, and it took me quite a while to figure out why. Finally, the author helped answer that for me. In one section, she was writing about how her husband was trying to be supportive but really couldn't empathize with her. Then, this is the part that really stuck out to me. She wrote: "My trial had been hard for him to really understand without actually going through it, just like it would be hard for me to understand someone else that couldn't walk when walking comes so easily to me." That described it perfectly for me. The fact that I can't relate to all the trials the author went through doesn't at all diminish how difficult they were for her to go through.

If you are struggling with issues like the author did, this book can hopefully offer you some support as well as ideas of where to turn. It really struck me that through all of the years that Misti suffered with her OCD, she never turned away from her beliefs - just the opposite, her trials helped to make her faith stronger, and she relied on the Lord more and more to help her get through each day. That is a lesson that every single one of us can take to heart, regardless of what we might be going through. In the end, what really matters is turning our lives over to the Lord and letting Him guide us.

About the Author: 

Misti J. Stevenson lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and five children. She loves being a dance teacher, and is known for her canned salsa, blackberry jam, and homemade rolls. She is a huge fan of yoga and loves walking early in the morning with her friends—and she plans on doing both forever. She has always been an avid journal writer, but this is her first book. 
Title: He Delivered Even Me, He Will Deliver Even You
Author: Misti Stevenson
Publisher: KayLynn Flanders
Published: June 2013
ISBN: 0989426807
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review. 

Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Spotlight: Covenant Christmas Round Up

Are you one of those people who puts off Christmas shopping until the last minute? Do you struggle with gift ideas? Do you want to share the true reason for the season with family and friends? If so, hopefully this post will help you.

Covenant Communications has several products that would make great gifts this season.

For those that like Christmas stories, songs, recipes, etc. all in one place, consider It's All About Christmas. It has fun, vintage pictures, trivia, and more all in one great book.

Words of Christmas is a beautiful book that would be great to read with your family. The twenty-five words are important reminders about what we should be thinking about this time of year.

The three inch marble Christus statue is also a great reminder about who we should be thinking about this Christmas Season (and throughout the year).

A Songbook for LDS families would be a great gift for musically inclined friends and family. You'll enjoy over 40 songs from Janice Kapp Perry, spiral bound in an attractive cover.

Do you have anyone on your list who enjoys DVDs? No Ordinary Shepherd and He Knows my Name are great films that depict people's lives being touched by Jesus.

He Knows My Name (DVD)- Rebekah is fascinated by the man her neighbors call Jesus. Her mother is not so sure. One day she brings Jesus home - a simple act that will forever change their lives. 

No Ordinary Shepherd (DVD)- The young shepherd boy, has always treasured his father's tale of that starlit night filled with wonder of angelic heralds and a tiny Bethlehem stable sheltering the chosen Messiah. The young shepherd later encounters a miracle of his own. 

*I received review copies in exchange for a post.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Review: Home and Away by Dean Hughes

Home and Away by Dean Hughes

Book Description:

Norma Hayes has always tried to make Christmas special for her family, but this year it is going to be difficult. Money is tight, and wartime rationing is taking its toll as well. Harder still, her oldest son, Glen, is on the front lines of the battle in Europe.

Glen Hayes wants nothing more than to be home for Christmas. He holds a sprig of lavender in his pocket. The scent reminds him of his mother. The memory of home may be the only thing that is keeping him alive and sane during the horrors of war.

Dennis Hayes is sixteen and longs to see his older brother again. He also longs to have a relationship with his father, but most important, Dennis is determined to buy something special for his mother this Christmas—the one gift he feels certain she deserves.

So many families have had their hopes dashed in World War II. Will the Hayes family make it through?


Home and Away is a touching story about a family during WWII. It is a quick and clean read, and I found myself even more interested in the story as it took place in my home state.

Dennis was a great son. I love how he stuck up for his mom and wanted to give her a nice present for Christmas. Money was so tight, and his willingness to sacrifice for her really meant a lot. He definitely had his faults, but it was great to see him grow and overcome some challenges.

His dad was a tough character to love. It was hard to relate to him, but his behavior was somewhat understandable. At times you really felt for him too, and I was very happy for the changes that took place by the end of the story.

It was interesting to read about some of the different perspectives about serving in the war. It was a tough time to live in, and I was glad that Dennis' eyes were opened.

The war chapters were pretty sad, as you'd expect. But they showed the importance of family as Glen was able to be comforted thinking about home during the hardest times.

If you enjoy historical fiction, and are looking for a story to fit with the Christmas season, be sure to check out Home and Away.

Title: Home and Away
Author: Dean Hughes
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Published: September 2015
ISBN: 1629720933
Source: I received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Review: Heir to Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Heir to Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Book Description:

Philip Wyndham has never envied his older brother for being the heir to Edenbrooke. He would much rather carve out his own destiny than live under the constraints of that position. But when his older brother dies unexpectedly, Philip's life is turned upside down as duty requires him to give up the life he planned. Philip takes on his new role as the most sought-after bachelor in London with alternating reluctance, boredom, and resentment. But all that changes the night fate leads him to an inn, where he meets the incomparable Marianne Daventry.

Andrea's Review:

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson is one of my favorite novels, so I was very excited for the opportunity to review the prequel novelette, Heir to Edenbrooke.

I loved it! You know going into it that it will be short (hence being a novelette). However, the length and where it ended didn't bother me because I had Edenbrooke handy on my Kindle app and I started reading it again as soon as I finished Heir to Edenbrooke. 

Philip is such a wonderful character! I really enjoyed getting to know him a little bit better, and it was fun seeing things from his perspective.

Tarah's Review:

I was so mad when I finished this book. Not because it was bad, or disappointing or anything like that. Quite the contrary, it was excellent. I loved it. I was mad because it was a novella, and I wanted a full length novel. I wanted more! Philip is so great. You can't help falling in love with him in Edenbrooke, and then finding out more behind everything just makes you like him all that much more. I know it will never happen, but I'd love for Julianne Donaldson to make this a full length novel instead of a short one.

If you liked Edenbrooke you really need to pick this up, and devour it, and then, reread Edenbrooke to finish the satisfying feeling :)

About the Author:

Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, visited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle. After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing about distant times and places. She lives in Utah with her husband and five children.

Title: Heir to Edenbrooke
Author: Julianne Donaldson
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: November 2015
Source: We received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Blog Tour: Asleep on the Hay by Ben Sowards

Asleep on the Hay (1)
Blog Tour Schedule
Asleep on the Hay: A Dust Bowl Christmas by Ben Sowards

Book Description:

It’s Christmas Eve when a knock comes at the door of Paul’s family farmhouse. A small family is stranded due to a broken-down truck and seeks shelter for the evening. Paul’s grandfather not only welcomes them in, but offers them dinner and a bed for the night. Even though it is a season of giving, Paul’s heart is not filled with charity. It’s the height of the Dust Bowl and food is scarce. Why should he share what little he has with strangers? Worse, in order to help the sick baby, Paul will have to sell his beloved calf to buy a part to fix the truck. Angry, he retreats to the barn, where he sleeps and dreams of faraway Bethlehem. In his dream, he visits Mary and Joseph, and their newborn son, Jesus. The family offers Paul food and shelter and warmth—extending to him the love and charity he lacks and teaching him of the true meaning of Christmas.

  Asleep on the Hay 1   Asleep on the Hay 2   Asleep on the Hay 3   


Asleep on the Hay depicts the true meaning of Christmas in a short and beautiful story that children and adults of all ages can appreciate. With the consumerism abounding around us, it's hard to imagine a time when there were no presents under a tree (or a tree for that matter), and where those around you would be in such dire straits that they'd need to rely on the goodness of strangers giving the last they had to help. This is a good lesson for children to learn, and for adults to remember.

The illustrations are stunning. Mr. Sowards is a truly talented artist. This would be a great book to display during the Christmas season.

add to goodreads

About the Author & Illustrator:
ben sowards Ben Sowards is the illustrator of many well-loved picture books, including A Christmas Dress for Ellen, Seven Miracles that Saved America, and Christmas Oranges. Ben Sowards teaches others to paint both traditionally and digitally at Southern Utah University, where has directed the illustration program since 2001.

$25 Blog Tour giveaway

$25 Blog Tour Giveaway Giveaway:

Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/30/15
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 
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Asleep on the Hay Title: Asleep on the Hay
Author: Ben Sowards
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Published: October 2015
ISBN: 1629720674
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Monday, December 14, 2015

Blog Tour: It's All About Christmas

Review * Giveaway

It's All About Christmas

Book Description:

Like heirloom ornaments on a splendid tree, It’s All About Christmas will put you and your family in a festive frame of mind for a glorious holiday season. Stuffed with stories, songs, poems, Christmas history, joyful traditions, recipes, and activities, this delightful book celebrates all things Christmas—from the sacred story of the Nativity to the lore of Saint Nick. Opening this book is like tearing the paper off a much–anticipated gift, offering new surprises with each turn of the page. Generously illustrated with scores of vibrant vintage images, It’s All About Christmas will remind you of Christmases past, help you appreciate Christmas present, and guide you to creating memories for the Christmases to come.


It's All About Christmas is packed full of Christmas treasures that can help keep the Spirit of Christmas in your home. It includes everything from Christmas stories, to recipes, from songs to symbolism. I particularly enjoyed the trivia sprinkled throughout the book. It was also enjoyable learning the backgrounds to familiar Christmas Carols.

The vintage pictures are a great reminder of a time when Christmas wasn't so commercialized-when there was more focus on the true meaning of Christmas and spending time with those we love.

This book includes something for everyone, and I can see this easily becoming part of family Christmas traditions.

Tour Schedule:

Dec. 14th:
Dec. 15th:,
Dec. 16th:
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*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Book Review: Sweets & Treats with Six Sister's Stuff

Sweets & Treats with Six Sister's Stuff
100+ Desserts, Gift Ideas, and Traditions for the Whole Family

Book Description:

Who doesn't love dessert? The Six Sisters have gathered together more than 100 of their best dessert recipes into one cookbook that the whole family will enjoy. From cakes and cupcakes and cookies to pies and brownies and ice cream, this cookbook has the easy-to-make, family-friendly recipes you've come to expect from the Six Sisters.

Along with the sweet treats you can make at home are dozens of gift ideas and at-home craft projects that will help you make the most of your desserts. Learn how to make cake stands, start new traditions around birthdays and holidays, and prepare simple but memorable gifts for friends and neighbors.

Full-color photographs of each recipe and craft bring every mouth-watering treat to life.


The six sisters of really know how to make delicious food. I love their recipe book A Year With Six Sisters' Stuff, and jumped at the chance to review their newest cookbook, Sweets & Treats with Six Sisters' Stuff. 

I'm a sucker for treats (which is totally catching up to me as I get older, but I digress), and this cookbook has some great recipes. Some of the recipes are more involved than others, and I appreciated that variety. Sometimes you have hours to bake, and other times you need something that you can throw together in 15 minutes. This is also a very visually appealing cookbook. Each recipe has a full-color picture of the finished product! It is so helpful to know what it should look like. 

I've tried several recipes so far, and my favorite is actually the very first recipe in the book. The Cake Mix Cookie Bars are so delicious (it's hard to go wrong with sweetened condensed milk), and they were very easy to make. I will definitely be making these again.

I also made the Cheesecake Brownies. These were also fairly easy to put together, and my co-workers loved them. I was a little worried while they were baking that they didn't look anything like the picture, but once I cut them they looked right. And honestly, they were so yummy no one seemed to care what they looked like.

Image Courtesy of the Publisher
The Oreo Cheesecake Bites were also a big hit at my home and office. They are very rich, so you could get quite a few "bites" out of the 9x13 pan.

I've made two of the cookie recipes so far. The Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies are the first pudding cookies I've ever made. I'm not a butterscotch fan, but my husband loves it, so I really made these with him in mind. The dough was very crummy, and although it seemed ok and tasted fine when I test cooked one cookie (that I'd smooshed together), I ended up adding more butter to make the dough easier to work with.

I also made the White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies. Part of the draw to these was that they reminded me of my grandma. One of the ingredients is Jiffy Raspberry Muffin Mix, and my grandma always had Jiffy mixes at her house. I loved helping her in the kitchen, and it was often my job to mix up the muffins. The cookie dough requires chilling, so they aren't as quick of a cookie recipe as I prefer, but they are tasty. Mine tended to break when plated. I'm not sure if that's standard or if I cooked them a bit too long.

Overall this is another great cookbook by Six Sisters Stuff. I'm excited to add it to my recipe collection, and my family and co-workers are anxious to taste test the next recipes I try.

Image Courtesy of the Publisher

Image Courtesy of the Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Book Review: Christmas Wonders by Robyn Buttars

Book Description:

Have a wonder-filled Christmas, people in Lukes new hometown greet one another as Christmas approaches. With no memory of a Christmas celebration, ten-year-old Luke feels excluded from the towns tradition, until he finds his deceased mothers nativity set. Touched by Marys protecting embrace of the Baby Jesus, Luke experiences his first Christmas Wonder. His discovery is the catalyst for a search that leads to a soul-changing season for neighbors as Luke finds his connection to heavenly love.  Robyn Buttars, author of the best-selling and award winning novella Christmas Rose, weaves an unforgettable holiday story for the entire family.


This is such an engaging story. My heart ached for Luke with all the loss he had suffered in his short life, as well as the lack of interest shown to him by his father. I fell in love with the townspeople who took Luke under their wings and helped him to come out of his shell and find his own Christmas Wonders. This story is fairly short, but it packs a punch.

I love the idea of looking at your life to find your own Christmas Wonders. It's kind of hard to give more detail without giving important parts of the story away, but just know that this book is definitely worth the read.

About the Author:

Robyn Buttars is an award-winning author of books for children and adults. Her first novella, Christmas Rose, won first place in the League of Utah Writer's Contest and was a holiday bestseller. Her home is Lewiston, Utah, and she and her husband, Kent, are the parents of six children. She is a registered nurse and enjoys traveling, composing, and reading.
Title: Christmas Wonders
Author: Robyn Buttars
Publisher: Familius
Published: October 2015
ISBN: 194293405X
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book

Friday, December 4, 2015

Review: Power of the Matchmaker

Power of the Matchmaker

Book Description:

Mae Li has been in love with Chen Zhu for years, and he with her. But when the matchmaker arrives at the Zhu family home, she recommends another village girl for Chen.
Heartbroken, Mae Li watches as Chen does his duty by marrying another. Mae flees her village with the clothes on her back and her only possession—a pearl embedded comb, given to her as a goodbye gift from Chen Zhu.

Upon Mae’s arrival in Shanghai, she quickly learns that she’ll starve within days unless she sells her prized comb or joins a courtesan house. She goes to the Huangpu River and promises the River God that she’ll always be selfless if he will save her from becoming a prostitute . . . Her wish is granted when Ms. Tan, the matchmaker of Shanghai, finds Mae. But Mae must completely change her future and her name if she is to become the next matchmaker.  


Power of the Matchmaker is a fast, clean read, and one that has me quite interested to see how the 12 novels that follow this prequel turn out.

Mae Li's story, though short, pulls at the reader's heartstrings. I couldn't help but picture Disney's Mulan while I read portions of the book, although Mae Li's "soldiering" is to survive and make a new life for herself.

Although her life doesn't turn out as she expected, she is able to find purpose and help others find their true loves.