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