Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Review: Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon

Tangled Webs (Men of Valor #3)
Book Description:

After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn't on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana's foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action--ready or not. 

Book Review: 

 Right away you are brought into this book. First with the Father and a confession, and then with Finn hearing screams in the dark. So I'm not sure what happened, but it took me around a month to finish this book. I must not have been in the mood for a suspense novel, because I would put it down and pick it up weeks later to read a little bit an put it down again. That generally never happens, and honestly it shouldn't have happened with this book. Like I said, it started off interesting right away, and the writing was really good, and I liked the characters. Maybe it is because we know right off who the "bad guys" are, and there is no suspense that way. It was probably just my current mood though. 

Both Finn and Dana are great, and I liked how their relationship progresses. I even felt sympathy for one of the "bad guys". Although, he isn't really a bad guy...just put in a difficult position and you could really feel for him. 

So even though for some reason this wasn't my cup of tea, Irene Hannon remains one of my go to Christian Suspense authors.

Tangled Webs (Men of Valor #3) 
Title:  Tangled Webs
Author: Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 2016
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Blog Tour: Mischief and Manors by Ashtyn Newbold

Mischief and Manors by Ashtyn Newbold

Book Description:

When Annette Downing and her mischievous little brothers are sent to Kellaway Manor for the summer, she hopes for a relaxing escape. But Annette finds her closeted heart in jeopardy when reunited with the handsome Owen Kellaway, a childhood acquaintance and respected gentlemen. When Owen is enlisted to help the boys with their behavior, Annette wonders if he has just as much mischief up his sleeve as her brothers. Bound by a promise she made to her late parents, and amid a frightening mystery, Annette faces a difficult decision when she finds herself falling for Owen’s charm.

Rorie's Review:

This was such a good story. I read the whole book in about a day - granted, it helped that I was sick and not up to doing much else, but it was such a good book, that I was very happy to crash on the couch and read.

Annette's back story broke my heart. Losing your parents is bad enough, but then having to live with an emotionally, verbally and physically abusive person makes life sheer torture. I was so happy for her and her brothers when they were sent to Kellaway Manor. Her reaction to seeing Owen again was amusing. I loved their chemistry, even though Annette tried very hard to avoid it.

Definitely a feel-good book that I would recommend to anyone.

Andrea's Review:

I love a good, clean, Regency romance novel, and Ashtyn Newbold's new novel, Mischief & Manors, is just that.

The cover is eye-catching and the story is sweet. My attention was captured right away with Annette's little brothers causing trouble, and once they went to Kellaway Manor we really got to see Annette's spunky personality through her interactions with Owen.

As is common in this genre, lack of communication almost kept a loving couple apart, but it made for an entertaining story. The romance is clean and there is even some suspense that kept things exciting.

I'd recommend Mischief & Manors and would read more from Ashtyn Newbold.

Tarah's Review:

I love a good regency novel. I love a book that makes you want to read it over and over again. I love a book with a good cover. I love a clever title. I love it when the characters interactions make me laugh, sigh, and cheer inside. I love a good male lead. I love a good female lead. I love a good romance. I especially love a good CLEAN romance. I love good supporting characters that make the story more and not distract from it. So, basically, I loved this book. Were there things I didn't love? Sure. But there were way more things that I did love and to me, that is what makes me want to reread a book, which is what tells me it's a keeper. I can't wait to read more from Ashtyn Newbold.

About the Author:

Ashtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead. When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah, with her family.

Tour Schedule:

December 13: Getting Your Read On
December 14: Compass Book Ratings
December 15:
December 16: Book Loving Mommy
December 17: The Things I Love Most || Kathryn Cooper
December 18: The View From My Window
December 19: Mel’s Shelves || Wishful Endings
December 20: Katie’s Clean Book Collection || Rockin’ Book Reviews
December 21: Bookworm Lisa
December 22:
December 23: Why Not? Because I Said So
December 24: Blooming With Books
December 25: Bab’s Book Bistro
December 26: Kindle and Me || My Book a Day || Writing Worm || Fire and Ice
December 27: Jorie Loves a Story || Literary Time Out
December 28: My Love for Reading Keeps Growing || Robyn Echols Books

Title: Mischief and Manors
Author: Ashtyn Newbold
Publisher: Sweetwater Books, an Imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc.
Published: December 2016
ISBN: 1462119379
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Book Review: Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren

Wild Montana Skies (Montana Rescue, #1)

Book Description:

Bestselling Author's New Series Delivers Romance and Adventure as an SAR Team Searches for Others--and Finds Themselves
Search and rescue pilot Kacey Fairing is home on leave in Mercy Falls, Montana, twelve years after she joined the military to escape the mistakes of her past. With a job waiting for her as the new lead pilot of Peak Rescue in Glacier National Park, Kacey hopes to reconnect with the now-teenage daughter she sees only between deployments. What she doesn't realize is that someone else is also back in town.
Ben King has been building his country music career since the day Kacey shut him out of her life. Now all of that's on hold when his injured father calls him home to help run Peak Rescue until he's fully recovered. It doesn't take long, though, to discover his father's ulterior motives as Kacey Fairing walks into the house and back into his heart.
With Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben are forced to work together to save lives. But when floodwaters turn personal, can they put aside the past to save their future?

Book Review:

I just found out about this author a little while ago, and while I haven't read everything of hers, what I have read I've really enjoyed. I was excited to give her new series Montana Rescue a try. I'll be honest that the c
over of the first book Wild Montana Skies doesn't really do much for me. It probably wouldn't draw my attention enough to pick it up unless I noticed the author's name. After having read it I'm bugged that the guy on the cover doesn't match how I pictured all. Which, granted, would be impossible to match what every reader has pictured, so I guess that's a moot point.

I finished this story pretty quickly, and I will definitely be looking to read the rest of the series. Warren set up the story very well so I'm excited to get to know some other characters. That being said, Kacey wasn't my favorite character ever. I kept expecting her to be...I don't know....stronger, more self-sufficient...more loving....something. She was just...broken most of the novel, and while I sometimes love reading about broken characters, Kacey just didn't really do it for me.

But like I said, the writing is solid, it ended up being a quick read, and I will keep reading more from this author.

Wild Montana Skies (Montana Rescue, #1)
Title:  Wild Montana Skies
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 2016
ISBN: 0800727436
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

DVD Review: Christmas Dress

Christmas Dress


It’s Christmas Eve, and Leland Jeppson’s hope is gone. Struggling to get by in their rustic homestead, he had at least wanted to give his family a special Christmas. But with a blizzard blowing in and the train bearing their gifts nowhere in sight, it seems Christmas is just one more thing they’ll have to do without. But as dusk falls, the Jeppsons’ packages unexpectedly arrive at the post office in the not-so-nearby town. Half-blind Postman George Schow is hesitant to brave the storm, but his son, Sidney, will stop at nothing to bring Christmas to the Jeppsons—and ask their daughter, Ellen, to the New Year’s Eve dance. Now it’s up to father and son to battle fierce elements in an attempt to deliver a Christmas miracle. Don’t miss this heartwarming reminder that while God helps those who help themselves, sometimes He does so through others.



A family in the 1920s has hit hard times, and there is little hope they will have anything for Christmas. But one young man takes it upon himself to help deliver packages that were delayed by the storm.

This is a short film with a heartwarming message that depicts the true meaning of Christmas. Faith helped the family persevere and it also helped the deliverers reach their destination.

If you are looking for something to help remind your kids about the true meaning of Christmas, Christmas Dress would be a great film to show them.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Book Review: Bible Origami by Todd Huisken

 Bible Origami by Todd Huisken

Book Description:

Keep your children's hands busy during church services with Bible Origami. Instead of folding the service programs into paper airplanes, they can fold Noah's ark, an oil lamp, or Joseph's coat! As you develop the unique skill of creating these simple-to-intermediate origami designs, you will find opportunities to use them with all ages for lessons, activities, crafting, and everyday fun!

Rorie's Review:

My kids have enjoyed the Book of Mormon Origami book, so I was excited that we had the chance to review this book as well. It did not disappoint. Even my 5-year-olds got into it, although they needed a lot of help. :) Their favorite things to fold so far have been Joseph's coat and the whale. I even folded a few things. I have to admit, I didn't have success with the boat though - it went fine until the last step where it said to turn it inside out. I am a very visual person, and without full-color, step by step instructions, I was lost. But I'm sure other people will be able to figure it out easily. :) I can see using this as a long car trip activity. Maybe church, but my kids tend to be really distracting to those around us when they have paper to fold, so maybe not.

Andrea's Review:

I have very limited experience with origami, but I thought this book would be fun for my kids. Sadly, I found that origami isn't for everyone. My nine-year-old wasn't interested at all in trying it. I sort of made him try (which always goes well), and at the first struggle up he gave up. My thirteen-year-old was quite focused though. Once she started one she wanted to see it to the end. She liked what she made, although she felt that some of the steps made it very complicated. The diagram of the folds and arrows on the high level origami was overwhelming.

I found that level two was our max. The level three star of Bethlehem about brought the family to blows. ;) I would definitely recommend starting at level one and trying a few of those before attempting level two. With some more practice hopefully we can get to level three with smiles on our faces.

Tarah's Review:

I admit I'm a fan of origami. I will also admit, I'm not super skilled enough to do it :) When this book came in the mail it wasn't in my hand for more than two seconds before my kids  disappeared with it.  When I finally stole it back from them I enjoyed making Joseph's coat, a fish, the manger with baby Jesus, and like Rorie, I tried to make the boat, but that didn't work well for me. A lot of time when I'm doing origami I need my 8 yr old next to me looking at the instructions and telling me what to do, which is a sad commentary on my following instruction skills, but at least he's good at it, right? I really appreciated that Huisken had the difficulty level for each one. I stuck to the level 1's, but I still had a lot of fun. I will highly suggest that you buy some origami paper instead of trying to cut your own. It's doable, but it's just a pain, and the origami paper is already cut for you. If you or your kids like paper crafts, this is a great book to give a try on. Plus it would make for a really fun FHE or activity while learning the Bible stories.

“Bible Origami” blog tour schedule:

December 10: Chicken Scratch N Sniff
December 11: A.L. Sowards
December 12: Fearlessly Creative Mammas
December 13: Singing Librarian Books || Shelli Proffitt Howells
December 14: My Book a Day || Strong Armor || Ramblings of a Christian Mom
December 15: A Lively Hope || Funky Polkadot Giraffe
December 16: Heidi Reads || The Things I Love Most
December 17: Inklings and Notions || Carrine Judy
December 18: Rockin’ Book Reviews
December 19: Share, Love, Serve
December 20: Literary Time Out || Marie Leslie
December 21: Storeybook Reviews
December 22: Eccentric Eclectic Woman
December 23: Positivity Army || Brittany Shannon
December 24:
December 25:
December 26: Wishful Endings
December 27: Reidhead Random-ness || My Little Sunshines
December 28: Mel’s Shelves
December 29: Sweetly Made
December 30: Side by Side Learning
December 31: Fashion and Fiction Title:  Bible Origami
Author: Todd Huisken
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Published: December 2016
ISBN: 1462119603
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Friday, December 16, 2016

Movie Review: The Last Descent

The Last Descent 


When John Edward Jones climbed down into Nutty Putty Cave in November of 2009 he wasn’t prepared for the adventure a head of him. As he explored a lesser-known area of the cave, he slid down into a narrow impasse 10 inches high and 18 inches wide. Stuck upside down for over 28 hours, John was left with few options but to call for help. The unique topography and geological makeup of Nutty Putty cave created intense difficulties for the rescue team that risked everything to save John’s life. Over 150 feet below the surface and the end of over a thousand feet of tunnels, a unique friendship is formed as John and his rescuers share their lives, loves, losses and dreams. As the rescue attempt proceeds John unfolds the turns in his life that show what is most important, and he tells the story of a love worth risking everything for.


I'm a big fan of a happy ending, so when I was given the chance to review The Last Descent (a film based on the true story of a failed rescue attempt) I was a bit hesitant. However, my curiosity won out-I knew there must be more to this film than just depicting the loss. When the DVD arrived I started second guessing my decision to review it, BUT I am really happy that I took the time to watch this beautiful film.

It is definitely sad, but not a crushing, depressing sadness. There are scenes of joy and light throughout the film (mostly through flashbacks), and the way it ends actually feels hopeful and happy.   

When the credits were rolling I had some questions. A day later I'm still thinking about the movie (and isn't that a sign of powerful art-when you keep thinking about it?). This is based on a true story, but obviously with over 127 viewpoints (at least that many people were involved in the rescue attempt), it does take artistic license. I wanted Aaron (the lead rescuer) to be real, and I wanted to know more about him. He's a composite of many rescuers; however, I'm left hoping that both through the actual event and this film that peoples lives were (or will be) touched.

The Last Descent is a film worth watching.

Statement from the Jones Family:

 “John will always be remembered for his genuine love of his family and friends, passion for adventure, goofy sense of humor and unwavering faith. The heroic acts of the men and women who worked tirelessly to free him will never be forgotten. We hope that those who view the movie are inspired to live and love selflessly, and are comforted knowing that hope can be found in the wake of tragedy.”


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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Review: Christmas Greetings from the Presidents

 Christmas Greetings from the Presidents

Book Description:

Every Christmas since Calvin Coolidge in 1927, the President of the United States has delivered a holiday message to the American people. Gathered in this volume are selections from those messages along with a brief glimpse into the history unfolding at that time. For example, what FDR said during Christmas 1941 is made even more poignant knowing that the attack on Pearl Harbor had happened just weeks earlier. Likewise, one of President Reagan’s Christmas messages is even more impressive knowing that the Iron Curtain was about to come down.

These little-known messages are filled with the spirit of Christmas and remind us that patriotism has a place in our holiday celebrations.


Christmas Greetings from the Presidents is such an eye opening collection of not only the actual messages the Presidents made, but also the history surrounding each message. I haven't made any effort to read these messages until now, and I found it extremely enlightening. I was also very impressed by the references to Christ and us being Children of God many of the earlier Presidents included in their messages. The departure from that was sad (the historical notes spoke of legal action causing the star topping the tree changing to a snowflake and not being able to include a nativity in the ceremony), although there were still many references to love and peace. The photographs throughout the book were a great addition to this worthwhile read.

Title:  Christmas Greetings from the Presidents
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: September 2016
ISBN: 1629722200
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Blog Tour: Winter Sky by Chris Stewart

 Winter Sky by Chris Stewart

Book Description:

In a bombed-out Polish village during World War II, a young resistance fighter finds that he is suddenly alone and trapped between two opposing armies. He is one of Poland’s “Devil’s Rebels” fighting desperately to save his homeland, but an injury has erased his memory and his only possession is a torn photograph of a couple he assumes are his parents. The woman appears to be holding the hand of a young child whose image has been ripped off. Could this be him?

Caught in the crosshairs of the retreating German army and the advancing Russian forces, the village holds nothing but destruction and despair until a mysterious young woman offers a small glimmer of hope that may represent his last chance – news of a refugee train departing from a nearby town, headed for American installations at the border.

But complications arise when the resistance fighter is betrayed by his own countryman and hunted by German SS officers who are determined to kill him before they retreat. Desperately searching for a home and family he can’t remember, he is persuaded to rescue two children who are doomed to die without his help. But as time runs out, the former rebel is faced with an impossible choice. Standing at the crossroads of saving himself or risking his life for strangers, what would motivate a young man at the brink of salvation to make one more sacrifice?

New York Times bestselling author Chris Stewart has created a powerful, soul-moving story of compassion and hope against all odds, set against the true-life backdrop of Eastern Poland and the courageous efforts of the “Devil’s Rebels” in the waning months of World War II.

Andrea's Review:

I'm a big fan of historical fiction, but I hadn't read any of Chris Stewart's books, so I wasn't sure what to expect with Winter Sky. I was happy to find a very engaging and suspenseful novel full of heart. I was intrigued right away and my attention was held throughout the book. The amnesia pulled me in, but I didn't realize the resistance fighter still had so much lost from his mind until the end.

Winter Sky is a relatively short book (just under 200 pages), but it felt complete. I had time to become invested in the characters, and didn't feel that it was lacking in plot or character development.

I highly recommend Winter Sky, and plan on reading it again.

Rorie's Review:

Let me just start out by saying that the ending made me cry. But in a good way. The story started out kind of disjointed for me, but it didn't take too long for things to pick up and for me to get completely involved in the story.

I feel like the author did a really good job of portraying how life was like for the Polish people during the war, and he even made you feel some sympathy for the traitors, who were doing anything they could to help their families survive.

Definitely a story full of heartache and sorrow, but also some joy. I would definitely recommend this book.

About the Author:

Chris Stewart is a multiple New York Times bestselling author who has published more than a dozen books, has been selected by the Book of the Month Club, and has released titles in multiple languages in six countries. He is a world-record-setting Air Force pilot (fastest nonstop flight around the world) and former president and CEO of The Shipley Group, a nationally recognized consulting and training company. Currently, he is a U.S. Congressman representing the 2nd Congressional District in Utah.

Title: Winter Sky
Author: Chris Stewart
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: September 2016
ISBN: 1629722294
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Book Review: Hoolie and the Hooligans: The Alien that ate my Socks by Brandon Dorman 

Book Description:

An adventure that will knock your socks off!

Hank, Hector, and Henry Hooligan are fun-loving, go-cart racing, up-for-anything boys. When the school bully, Rock, challenges the Hooligans to a go-cart race down Dead Man s Hill, the last thing anyone expects to see is a huge, blobby, purple alien in the middle of the road.

Luckily Hoolie isn t a dangerous alien. He s friendly (if a bit smelly), and he eats clothes (particularly socks). He even has a cool compartment in his belly that can somehow hold all kinds of neat gizmos and gadgets.

But when a team of mysterious strangers dressed in black and who call themselves Animal Control arrive, the Hooligan boys know their new friend is in danger.

Can the Hooligan boys stand up to Rock, help Hoolie earn his extraterrestrial space scout merit badges, and protect him until he find his way home? Or will Animal Control capture him first?


I picked this book up from the post office on my way to pick my kids up from school. When my 8-year-old got in the car, I handed it to him and by the time we got home 20 minutes later, he was already completely engrossed in the story. He finished the book by the next day. So first, here's his review (keeping in mind that he's 8 and getting him to be descriptive at all is like pulling teeth.)
"I liked the story because it was very funny. My favorite character was Hoolie because I like his appetite. The whole book was funny. Yes, I would read other books by this author."

I had to go and hunt the book down after he finished it so that I could have a chance to read it. It is definitely a funny book. Several places had me laughing out loud. I think I'm going to start yelling out "bag of hair!" when the need arises. The book definitely leaves you wanting more, so I hope the author comes out with book #2 quickly, especially for my son's sake. :)

About the Author:

Brandon Dorman is the illustrator of theNew York Timesbestselling Fablehaven series. He and his wife, Emily, have three children and live in Washington, where he enjoys working as a freelance illustrator. His work has appeared in children's books and on numerous covers, including the series for Pingo, The Candy Shop War, and Janitors. The Alien that ate my Socks
Author: Brandon Dorman
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: September 2016
ISBN: 1629722227 
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Book Review: To Suit a Suitor by Paula Kremser 

Book Description:

Julia North is nearing the end of her third London season and has just been jilted. Again! All she wants is to leave London and its eligible gentlemen behind. When the opportunity to leave for two months comes her way, Julia jumps at the chance. But her mother will only let her leave on the condition that she choose Julia's next suitor, and her mother isn't nearly as picky as Julia would like. Against her better judgment, Julia makes the promise and leaves town, only to run into Henry Chamberlain. Julia is warned that his heart is locked up tight, but she doesn t need to be warned away from him; Julia has been jilted enough to know that his flirtatious smiles can't be taken seriously. With time running out, a change of mind and a change of heart is their only chance for the joy that only true love can bring.

Rorie's Review:

My, how times have changed. Imagine living in a time when marriage was much less about love and much more about what you could gain from it materially. This book starts out with that very thing, talking about Julia's mother and setting the stage for why things are the way they are in the story.
My heart goes out to Julia. She has been dumped so many times, and she just can't figure out why. I kinda cheered her on when she decided life would be so much better if she could escape the marriage mart craziness of London, for the relative peace and quiet of the small town of Barrington. 

Since she was jilted so many times in London, it makes sense that it's really hard for her to trust anyone else who might try to get close to her. I really admire Henry for not giving up though, but I wanted to smack him upside head later on in the book...actually, they both could have used a good smack. Communication is so important, and yet, so lacking in many relationships.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read, with a happy ending for more people than you would originally think.

Andrea's Review:

I really enjoyed To Suit a Suitor. It is a cute story, and I really liked Julia. She doesn't fit the mold and although I felt sorry for her failed courtships, her personality definitely made me laugh at times.

I didn't like her mother. She seemed quite selfish. I was happy when Julia was able to get out from under her matchmaking ways.

The small size is perfect to fit in your purse if you want to take a book with you (for those who prefer a paperback over ebooks).

It is a clean, quick read that I'd happily read again.

Tarah's Review:

It's a beautiful cover, but funnily enough, I actually didn't look at it until right now :) I think I was dismayed by the size of the book. It doesn't fit well on my book shelf (it's not the same size as Sophia the author's other book), and it's more difficult to hold. But put all that aside, and this was a great story. Laugh out loud funny in some parts....the horse fly....hehehehehe.

Nothing is really shocking in the book. You can guess the end before you even start, but I like my books that way. I was surprised by the mother's behavior. Honestly, at the beginning of the book I can see why she does things, but then I just don't understand her motivation, and I kind of despise her.

Julia is just such a likeable character, and while Henry is a tab bit conceded he's so adorable about it and naive that it makes him likeable too. I will definitely be recommending this to my friends, and rereading it again. Title: To Suit a Suitor
Author: Paula Kremser
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Published: November 2016
ISBN: 1462119336
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book


Monday, November 21, 2016

The Forgotten Carols 25th Anniversary Tour

The last time I saw The Forgotten Carols I was in college (on a bit of an awkward date, but let's not focus on that). I listened to a lot of Michael McLean's music when I was growing up, and going brought back memories of the wonderful McLean family and the peace that McLean's music brought to me. I was excited to hear about the 25th Anniversary tour, and am very excited to take my daughter to it. If you are looking for a great event to go to this Christmas season, consider The Forgotten Carols.

Popular Musical Production ‘The Forgotten Carols’ celebrates 25th Anniversary

The Forgotten Carols, a seasonal concert favorite, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.  Michael McLean, a well-known performer, composer, songwriter, author and director staged his first one-man concert in 1991 with the hopes of it becoming a tradition families would enjoy. For those first performances McLean played all the parts to give people a sense of how families could create their own narration at home.

Over the course of the last 25 years, McLean’s modest one-man show has evolved into a huge theatrical production with over 1 million concertgoers enjoying the music that has become a time-honored Christmas tradition and attracts repeat attendance from guests of all ages. The show has been produced all over the world in limited runs, including shows in Ireland, Germany, England and even Ukraine. “One of the great things about touring is seeing the familiar faces that have been coming for years and are part of the Forgotten Carols family,” shares McLean. “New comers and longtime devoted fans of this production keep the magic of the performance alive. We embrace, giggle, and sometimes cry at these reunions.”

The Forgotten Carols 2016 concert schedule includes performances in four states Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona. The production has arranged over 20 shows in 12 different cities and showcases an elegant arrangement of special musical choral performances and solos. McLean stars as one of the musical’s primary characters, John, an elderly gentleman who helps Constance, a young nurse who can’t be bothered with Christmas, discover a new love for the season.  

Each year, local community and student choirs are invited to perform alongside the professional Forgotten Carol company members during the concert in their cities. It’s important to McLean and the show's producers to preserve this tradition that keeps the magic alive for an enchanting experience each year.

Performance tickets are on sale now. For a complete listing of concert dates and locations or to purchase tickets visit the website at


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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Blog Tour: To Win a Lady's Heart by Sian Ann Bessey

Book Description:

For eighteen years, Lord Gilbert has been tortured over a grievous lapse in judgment. Bitterness has
tainted his interactions with the people of Moreland and his relationship with his only daughter, Lady

With a wolfhound guarding her around the clock and no freedom to leave the castle grounds
unattended, the only time Lady Joanna can be alone is when she sneaks out through an old castle tunnel to visit the healer Agnes in her cottage by the sea. One morning as Lady Joanna approaches the cliffs, she discovers an injured man. She immediately goes to Agnes for help. The wounded stranger is Sir Lukas, and while he recovers, he makes plans to identify his attackers and their motive. Upon learning that Moreland’s wool has been stolen, Sir Lukas comes to believe that the crimes are related and point to a much more sinister plot. 

When Lord Gilbert announces an archery tournament, the prize being Lady Joanna’s hand in marriage, it attracts noblemen from across the land, and suddenly Sir Lukas’s pursuit of the villains takes a different turn. As Lady Joanna and Sir Lukas’s feelings for each other grow, the stakes soar, and only Sir Lukas’s skill with a longbow can save them.

Andrea's Review:

This was a very enjoyable story. It's not very long, but in relatively few pages the author does a great job of developing characters that make a reader care about them. Lady Joanna had such a sad and lonely upbringing and I really liked Agnes, Slip and Garrick for the role they played in her life.

It has been awhile since I read a medieval story, and it was a fun ride. This is a clean, fast read with a bit of mystery/suspense. The romance is well done (and reminded me a bit of Robin Hood).

Tarah's Review:

Okay, this cover is seriously beautiful. Not only is the cover beautiful, but the story matches in every way. It is a very fast quick read. It's 250 pages, but it feels a lot faster. Another thing I appreciated was the glossary in the front of the book. I knew most of the terms, I think most people would, but there were a few surprises, like "Waghalter"..

I loved how the book started with Joanna's father, back in the day. It sets up the story nicely so we understand the whys of things. The characters might not have been the deepest, but they were easy to love and the story keeps you captivated. This is a story that I will be telling my friends about and recommending that they read.

Tour Schedule:

Tour Giveaway:

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To Win a Lady's Heart
Title: To Win a Lady's Heart
Author: Sian Ann Bessey
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Published: November 2016
ISBN: 9781524401528
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Blog Tour: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Ace Collins

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Ace Collins

Make this upcoming Christmas holiday a Christ-filled season of joy and wonder with the help of Ace Collins' new devotional, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the Christmas season with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas. Download a free sampler of the book by clicking here.

Book Review: 

Every Christmas season our family always makes little goodies to take around to neighbors and friends. The kids love running up to the door to drop off the goodies and it's fun to catch up with everyone when life gets really busy. There are so many recipes in here that sound so yummy and easy that I can't wait to try them to take around to the neighbors.

There are so many interesting stories that I can't wait to tell my kids when we start this little advent in December. I'm not big on oils and salts, but the recipes look really easy to try if I ever wanted to give it a try. I like how it gives you something to do or try every day. One of my favorite things was when we send Christmas cards or whatever, to right a meaningful little note or memory to the person you are sending the card to. I would love to receive something like that. Everyone can always use a little pick-me-up, and I thought that was a sweet idea.

Join Ace's Christmas festivities by entering to win the Magic of Christmas Prize Pack. Create new traditions this holiday season with your family and friends with the goodies included in the giveaway.


One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 21. The winner will be announced November 22 on the Litfuse blog.

Blog Tour:

Debra | 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
Elisha | Rainy Day Reviews
Amelia | Rejoice Evermore
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!
Rebecca | Raventhreads
Stacey | Books,Dreams,Life

Sharon | Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews

Leslie | Did YOU Hear about the Morgans?
Rachel | Smart Mom Smart Ideas

Dianna | Savings in Seconds

Carole | The Power of Words

Lisa | A Rup Life

Linda | Mocha with Linda
Amy | A Nest in the Rocks
Lena | A Christian Writer's World
heidi | Heidi's Wanderings
Rebekah | Caffeinated Christian Raves - N - Review

Tima | Book Reviews by Tima

Dominique | Mama Bear Reads
nicole | bless their hearts mom
Laura | Lighthouse Academy
Karen | Karen's Korner

Joy | Splashes of Joy
Jennifer | Mother of Three
Wendy | Life at Rossmont
Rachel | Smiling Book Reviews
Sarah | Running Through The Storms

Erin | For Him and My Family
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart

Pam | Southern Gal Loves to Read
Penny | Beauty in Every day Things
Donna | Donna's Bookshelf
Annie | Just Commonly

Cheryl | cherylbbookblog
Julie | More Of Him
Sherry | My Journey Back
Laura | Once Upon a Storyville
Carrie | Reading Is My SuperPower
Andi | Radiant Light

Mark | Thoughts of a Sojourner
Janelle | Milk & Honey Meadows
Deana | Texas Book-aholic
Erika | Pray Species
Tarah | Literary Time Out
Jill | I am believing God
Denise | Ramblings of a California Couponer
Randi | A Modern Day Fairy Tale
Zac | Living Life Unwasted™

April | Dixie n Dottie
Billy | Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
Michaela | Baker Kella

Beckie | By The Book
Lois | The Minister's Wife
Amanda | The Talbert Report
Natalie | Natalie Walters

vanessa | this moms reviews and more
Keri | My Table of Three
Leslie | Edits and Reviews by Leslie
Trish | View from the Birdhouse
Meagan | Meagan Davenport
Kathy | MysteriesEtc
Loren | Heart of a Bookworm

Amanda | Inklings and Notions
Nicki | Confessions of a Teenage Bookworm
Becky | Christian Chick's Thoughts
Sue | Thoughts from Mill Stsreet
Jodie | Jodie Wolfe

Beth | Beth's Book-Nook Blog
Urailak | Fruitbearers
Missica | Through the Open Window
Jennifer | Adventures in Unsell Land
Beth-Anne | Book Reviews

Abi | The Blended Blog
Stacey | WORD Up!
Bethany | Perfect Beginnings
Michelle | New Horizon Reviews
Kerrie | comfy reading
Tressa | Wishful Endings
Carrie | Farming On Faith
Rachel | Wife, Then Mama
Ariel | The Librarian's Bookshelf
Tiffany | Learning to Love
JoyAnne | Deco My Heart

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: A Countdown to Christmas
Title: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Author: Ace Collins
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Published: October 2016
ISBN:  1501822608
Source: I received copy from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Review: Love's Broken Road by Julie Coulter Bellon

Love's Broken Road by Julie Coulter Bellon

Book Description:

After surviving an abusive marriage, Victoria Newel needs a clean slate for herself and her son. Taking a job as a math teacher, she moves across the country to the small town of Lincoln, Utah, where no one knows her and she can start over. However, her new colleague, Drew Dalton, offers her friendship and maybe something more. But has her heart healed enough that she could trust again?

Drew Dalton lost his wife to cancer years ago and he locked his heart away, throwing himself into his teaching job. But when Victoria Newel starts working at the high school, she awakens something in him that he never thought he’d feel again. Her gentle nature and quiet strength draws him to her, but it’s obvious she’s hiding something in her past from him. Can he open his heart to a woman who harbors so many secrets of her own?


I've read quite of few of Julie Coulter Bellon's suspense novels and was excited for the opportunity to read her latest novel, Love's Broken Road, even though it is a different genre.

Bellon did a good job writing believable situations and likable characters. I really felt for Tori and Drew. Both had lost a spouse, but their feelings on it couldn't have been more different. Victoria had been abused and felt relief that her husband passed away. Drew and his wife had a great relationship and her passing was very difficult for him. I appreciated that neither passing was very recent so working on moving on was realistic, although not easy.

This is a clean, quick read with a happy ending.

About the Author:

Julie Coulter Bellon is the author of more than a dozen romantic suspense novels. Her book All Fall Down won the RONE award for Best Suspense and Pocket Full of Posies won a RONE Honorable Mention for Best Suspense.

Julie loves to travel and her favorite cities she's visited so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She would love to visit Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, and Scotland someday. She also loves to read, write, teach, watch Castle, Hawaii Five-O, and eat Canadian chocolate. Not necessarily in that order.

Julie also offers writing and publishing tips as well as her take on life on her blog

Title: Love's Broken Road by
Author: Julie Coulter Bellon
Publisher: Stone Hall Books
Published: October 2016
ISBN: 0692800883
Source: I received an eCopy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Blog Tour: From Cairo, With Love by Nancy Campbell Allen

Book Description:

Valentine Baker longs for adventure, so when the opportunity comes to travel to Venice and be a companion for the unconventional Contessa, she takes it--but they don’t stay in Venice long. Valentine finds herself on a ship bound for Cairo so the Contessa can hunt down a thief at one of her archaeological digs there. Before they ever get close to the coast of Egypt, however, the ship is threatened by a violent storm and someone has an ulterior motive for sticking close to the Contessa and her traveling companions.

Mr. Maxwell is assigned to protect the Contessa and the charming Valentine. He tries to keep his distance, but her warm nature and easy laugh draw him in. He soon comes to cherish their time together, until someone attempts to drug him, and the aftermath reveals serious consequences for Valentine. He’ll do anything to keep her safe and her reputation intact, yet with treachery on board and his heart at stake, Mr. Maxwell must make a choice that will change his life forever. Can he win the woman of his dreams or will whoever wants to hurt them get close enough to take away his one chance for love? 

Andrea's Review:

Most novellas leave me wishing for more, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed From Cairo, With Love. Kudos to Nancy Campbell Allen for being able to write a novella that doesn't feel rushed or lacking in detail. The character development was very strong as well.

It was a perfect read while I was on vacation. It held my interest and was very entertaining with its fun adventure and enjoyable romance.

Valentine and Maxwell were such fun characters to follow. This story is so different from most in the same time period that I've read, and I really enjoyed that.

I would recommend From Cairo, With Love, and plan on reading it again.

Tarah's Review:

Well, just like a novella is short and sweet...this review will follow that pattern :) I liked this story. It was fun and enjoyable, albeit predictable (but I don't mind predictability). The characters were well written and it was fun to read a regency set in a different place. I haven't read many regencies on a boat, so that was fun. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway Title: From Cairo, With Love

Tour Schedule:

November 7:  Heidi Reads / Katie's Clean Reads
November 10: My Book a Day / Wishful Endings

From Cairo, With Love (Timeless Romance Single Book 1)
Publisher: Mirror Press
Published: November 2016
Source: We received eCopies in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Blog Tour: Not a Word by Stephanie Black

Book Description:

Everybody has a secret. Two years ago, psychologist Natalie Marsh's dying mother disinherited her and left everything to her sister. Still dealing with the pain of rejection, Natalie struggles with feelings of envy and discomfort toward coworker Skyler Hudson, her late mother's trusted therapist who knows the worst of the family's rift. Fresh personal challenges begin heaping on top of professional ones when Natalie's best friend, Camille Moretti, confides that she thinks someone is stalking her— and she's not the only one in danger. When tensions rise and everyone has something at stake, is there anyone Natalie can trust? Or will she find herself slowly drowning in the mysteries?


The author does a really good job of throwing you off track with the suspect(s) in this story. She keeps you guessing until almost the end. I did finally figure out who it was a little bit before the reveal, but not by much. The climax of the story was very well written (well, the whole story was, but the climax especially so.)

I liked the little twist thrown in there, and I can't really say any more about that because I'd give away a big part of the story. Just know that it's a good one. :)

This book is definitely a keeper for me. I'm not sure if I've read any of the author's other books before, but I am looking forward to doing so now.

Tour Schedule:


a Rafflecopter giveaway 
Title: Not a Word
Author: Stephanie Black
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: November 2016
ISBN: 1524401242
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Book Review: Fablehaven Book of Imagination by Brandon Mull 

Book Description:

Learn how to make Wizard Slime, create fairy fashions, and solve the Dreamstone maze in this first-ever interactive book of Fablehaven awesomeness. And that s just the beginning: *Make your own origami model of Raxtus the dragon *Draw a map of your own magical preserve *Practice withstanding a distracter spell *Solve riddles from the sphinx *Learn how to play a game of Shadow Tag *Learn how to draw a dragon *Color detailed coloring pages of Fablehaven creatures *Make an enchanted rain stick *Learn to cook Ogre Stew *And much, much more . .

   And within the pages of this book are secret codes that will help readers discover a secret    message from Brandon Mull about Dragonwatch, the sequel series to Fablehaven.

Rorie's Review:

This is such a fun book. Every page is packed with a wide variety of activities for kids to do. My kids gravitate towards mazes and Mad Libs type activities, which this book has several of. Even my 5-year-old twins spent a good amount of time finger tracing the mazes over and over again. None of my kids are huge fans of coloring, so I can't see the coloring pages getting used, although who knows, I might just do them. :) 

This book would make a great present for any fan of Fablehaven, especially someone who loves writing and drawing. I can also see using this as a great car trip activity.

Tarah's Review:

I've barely seen this book since I got it in the mail. My kids got a hold of it and have been reading/marking/playing with it every since :) Which I find interesting because we actually haven't ever read Fablehaven. I was hoping this would be a good into to the series, but I'm not sure my children made that connection. We will have to make a trip to the library so they can start.

As a parent I like that even though it's a "activity book" some of the activities are reproduced in the back so you can either make a copy or cut it right out of the book, but still have the original.

All my kids were laughing at the Mad Libs and taking turns with that. I enjoy that it helps encourage grammar usage. I was proud of my 8 year old when he told his sister what a past tense verb was. I didn't think he knew that, but he did :) 
Title:Fablehaven Book of Imagination
Author: Brandon Mull
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: October 2016
ISBN: 1629722413 
Source: We received copies in exchange for an honest review.  

Purchase: Amazon  Barnes & Noble


Friday, October 28, 2016

Movie Review: The Christmas Project

Review * Giveaway
The Christmas Project

About the Film:

Even with Christmas around the corner, for the Buckley boys, payback almost always wins out over brotherly love. That is until the four brothers join forces against a common adversary – the Hagbarts – the meanest bullies at their school. But now Mom has decided that the Buckley family is going to “Elve” the Hagbarts this year for Christmas. The Christmas Project is a heartwarming comedy the whole family will enjoy.



The Christmas Project is a feel good movie about loving your enemy, and doing good to those who hurt you. And most importantly, overcoming your negative feelings toward that person when you serve them. It is told from a young boy's point of view, and takes place in the 80's. The styles were funny (especially the girls' hairstyles and accessories-ah the flashback). I particularly enjoyed that it was filmed in a town I used to live in (at least parts of it were filmed there).

I had hoped to watch this with my kids so I could include thoughts from the target audience. Sadly busy schedules didn't allow for us to squeeze this in before my review was due, so I watched it by myself. It is definitely a movie I would be comfortable with my kids watching though, and I hope to make the time to watch it together soon. There is some bullying, but nothing depicted so severely that I think they'd be upset. It also has quite a bit of humor throughout the movie.

It might be a bit early for some people to be thinking about Christmas, but it's definitely worth keeping in mind to watch with your families when you are in the mood for a Christmas movie.

Free Screening:

If you live in Utah there will be a free screening at the Jordan Commons Megaplex on November 1st! 

Go to the event Facebook page for more information and to reserve your free tickets.

Tour Schedule:

Tour Giveaway:

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