Friday, August 31, 2018

Blog Tour: Aligned with Christ by Toni Sorenson

Aligned With Christ
Book Description:

Is there a sure way to know that what you’re doing is what the Savior would have you do? Best-selling author Toni Sorenson’s inspiring series, including Defined by Christ and Refined by Christ, has motivated audiences to assess and strengthen their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, the author invites you to be aligned with Christ and learn to turn mind, body, and will to the Savior and to claim the peace that comes from the assurance that you’re truly in tune with heaven. For those struggling to strengthen their relationship with Jesus and for all who are striving to withstand mortality’s feelings of unworthiness and hopelessness, this volume provides a simple, scripturally rich roadmap intended to lead you on a joyous journey of self-examination—to assess your own spiritual alignment, to reroute when necessary, and to come to know the love of the Savior—not just when you reach your desired destination, but along every step of the way.

Book Review:

The very first question on the description of the book got me right away. I'll admit that it's something I think about, and so I was intrigued by what this book would have to say on the subject. Right off she starts with a story, and those were some of my favorite parts of the book. I enjoyed the little snippets of examples brought about through a story of something that happened to her, or to someone else.

I got little gems out of this book like, "If we want anything to happen, we have to participate fully." I learned where the phrase, "Peter out" comes from (I find things like that fascinating). "If it feels wrong, it certainly isn't right. If only we could remember that." "Inner alignment means there's no conflict between what others claim to believe and what you do. It means you are the same person when you're alone as you are when you're surrounded by people. It means you're authentic no matter how hard the world tries to get you to be fake."

My favorite chapters were the ones on attitude (because who doesn't need an attitude adjustment sometimes?) and the one on words. Maybe it's my inner communication geek coming out, but I really loved it. It got me thinking about the words that I use...especially with my own family.

This isn't a quick read. This is a read slowly, ponder, look inward and pray kind of book.

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Aligned With Christ

Title: Aligned with Christ
Author: Toni Sorenson
Publisher: Covenant
Published: August 2018
ISBN: 9781524404895
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Book Review: Women of the Blue & Gray by Marianne Monson
Women of the Blue & Gray by Marianne Monson

Book Description:

Hidden amongst the photographs, uniforms, revolvers, and war medals of the Civil War are the remarkable stories of some of the most unlikely heroes—women.

North, South, black, white, Native American, immigrant—the women in these micro-drama biographies are wives, mothers, sisters, and friends whose purposes ranged from supporting husbands and sons during wartime to counseling President Lincoln on strategy, from tending to the wounded on the battlefield to spiriting away slaves through the Underground Railroad, from donning a uniform and fighting unrecognized alongside the men to working as spies for either side.

This book brings to light the incredible stories of women from the Civil War that remain relevant to our nation today. Each woman's experience helps us see a truer, fuller, richer version of what really happened in this country during this time period.

Rorie's Review:

This book was equally fascinating and heartbreaking, spellbinding and hard to read. I'm no history buff, but I have always found stories of our history fascinating. Upon choosing to read this book, I was hopeful that it would be less dry, history bookish and more historical storyish. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. This is definitely a book that you read a chapter or two at a time, taking time to digest what you've just read. War is horrifying, no matter how necessary it is, and even after reading so many of those details in this book, I can't even begin to imagine just how awful it was to live through for all of the people affected by it. It definitely reinforces my desire to raise my children to be good, morally-strong people. Also to help them learn of our nation's history - without whitewashing it - so they can hopefully help prevent atrocities like this from happening again.

Andrea's Review:

I don't spend many of my reading hours on non-fiction, but I was drawn to Women of the Blue & Gray. I think most of the draw was that women haven't really taken much of a role in what I've learned about the Civil War-or who I think about when I picture it. Of course, I've heard of Harriet Tubman and her work with the Underground Railroad and Harriet Beecher Stowe's book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and the part it played in the Civil War, and Clara Barton, but I don't recall having ever been taught that quite a few women (both in the North and South) joined the ranks and fought side by side with the men (mostly in disguise). The stories shared about those women really surprised me.

It was eye opening to read about all of the different ways that women were involved with the Civil War. Not only were some women fighting, but many were nurses, and others were writers and activists. Many mothers were widowed and had so much on their plates while they tried to protect and nurture their children all while dealing with troops in their homes and scarce supplies.

It was so interesting to have view points from the North and the South. Women on both sides felt very strongly about their cause, and it was good to try to understand why they felt the way they did.

Women of the Blue & Gray was not a fast read for me. I read a few pages at a time, but I found it to be enlightening. I don't think I will be able to think about the Civil War from here on out without thinking of the many women who were involved. Title: Women of the Blue & Gray
Author: Marianne Monson
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: August 2018
ISBN: 1629724157
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Review: The Space Hero Cookbook by Barbara Beery

The Space Hero Cookbook by Barbara Beery

Book Description:

Breadstick Blasters! Smugglers' Cupcakes! Intergalactic Birthday Cake! What better way to explore a galaxy far, far away than by cooking up some alien-inspired grub and cosmic crafts? With 30 space-themed recipes, bestselling author Barbara Beery provides full-color, easy-to-make recipes for your budding space cadet.

Recipes and crafts include: Wormhole Roll-ups, Red Alert Ravioli, Hyperspace Hummus, Space Pirate Punch, Carbonite Crayons, Space Slug Slime, Gamma Ray Glow Jars, and much more!

So don't go supernova without ideas. Just follow "The Space Hero" Cookbook through hyperspace, and enjoy Crafts, Drinks, Sweets & Treats, Savory, and Dips, Chips, & Snacks."


This would be the perfect gift for my sisters. They're always going all out with parties for their kids, and this has everything you'd want to plan a party for your young space lover that is out of this world. :)

In order for a cookbook to be high on my favorites list, it needs to have a few things. One is being spiral bound (I hate having to try to find things to hold the book open-especially because that often means covering up part of the recipe I'm trying to follow). Another is a hard cover. Cooking can be messy, and having a durable, hardcover is very helpful. Recipe books should also have good pictures of all of their recipes. How else do you know if you did it right? The Space Hero Cookbook has all of these things!

This cookbook not only has a variety of recipes that would be perfect for a space party, but it has fun little thoughts and trivia throughout the book. AND it has a craft section with great ideas to liven up your space party (or just fun ideas to try with your kiddos-Space Slug Slime anyone?).

Title: The Space Hero Cookbook
Author: Barbara Beery
Publisher: Familius
Published: September 2015
ISBN: 1942934009
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Cover Reveal: Timeless Romance Anthology: A Yuletide Regency

I'm happy to share this beautiful cover with you today for the latest Timeless Romance Anthology: A Yuletide Regency.

Coming November 2, 2018

From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling & #1 Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series in Clean & Wholesome Romance, comes A YULETIDE REGENCY.

Six brand new Regency romance novellas by Regina Scott, Sarah M. Eden, Jen Geigle Johnson, Annette Lyon, Krista Lynne Jensen, and Heather B. Moore.

Pre-order on Amazon

Add on Goodreads

Monday, August 27, 2018

Review: The Snow Princess Cookbook by Barbara Beery

 The Snow Princess Cookbook by Barbara Beery

Book Description:

National cooking expert Barbara Beery, author of the bestselling The Pink Princess Cookbook and Fairies Cookbook has done it again, creating the perfect cookbook for your little princesses who like all things frozen and fun! Focused on Frozen Treats, Party Eats and Treats, Sipping Treats, and Party Crafts, The Snow Princess Cookbook is a chef's dream for making fun snacks for the little ones or for showcasing the perfect confection for that Frozen(R)-themed party.

30 food and party recipes include:

Fruit Wands with Melted Snow Dip Scented Ice Glitter Lotion Snow Princess Coronation Cake Sparkling Ice Snow Cones Ice Blue Lollipops True Love Lemonade And much more!


My daughter isn't in the young princess stage anymore, but if I'd had this when she was, this would have a been a wonderful book to help with her princess birthday party. This cookbook reminds me of what you'd find if you searched Pinterest for Elsa birthday party ideas, except it's much better because you don't have to click link after link.

It's a lovely spiral bound book with a hard cover. That means durability and ease of use (it lays flat so you don't have to find things to hold it open while you're trying to cook). It also has pictures of each recipe (which is a must have).

One of the bonus features of this cookbook is that it has a section on Party Crafts. Seriously, it has most of what you'd need to plan the perfect Elsa party. It even has a page near the end with conversions for volume and weight measurements and temperature, so it doesn't matter where you live-you've got the info you need at your fingertips.

I would highly recommend this for anyone with a young princess lover in their lives.

Title: The Snow Princess Cookbook
Author: Barbara Beery
Publisher: Familius
Published: June 2015
ISBN: 1939629756
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Movie Spotlight: Jane and Emma


JANE & EMMA is based on the life of Sister Jane Manning, one of the first black Mormons. She returns to Nauvoo to find that Joseph Smith, her prophet and friend, has been assassinated. Jane spends a ceaseless night with his widow, Emma Smith, sitting watch over the body of the prophet as a whirlwind of loss and confusion leaves them wondering how either one of them will be able to move forward. Through the long night, Jane wonders if the prophet’s promise to extend the blessings of eternity to her has died along with him. The film explores the possible events of that night, including Jane’s endeavor to remain amongst the Mormon people and Emma’s struggle to cope with her heartbreaking loss. Poignant issues of racism and polygamy threaten to break their bond of friendship. In the end, will Jane and Emma have the courage to follow the path each believes they must take?


The JANE + EMMA cast includes Danielle Deadwyler as Jane (THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS, GIFTED), Emily Goss as Emma Smith (THE HOUSE ON PINE STREET, SNAPSHOTS), Brad Schmidt as Joseph Smith (THE BIRTH OF A NATION, HOUSE OF LIES), and K. Danor Gerald as Isaac James (SAINTS AND SOLDIERS, THE VOID)

JANE & EMMA is directed by Chantelle Squires (THE WORK & THE GLORY trilogy) and written by Melissa Leilani Larson (FREETOWN). It is produced by Jenn Lee Smith, Madeline Jorgenson, and Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes (Sistas in Zion) of Clearstone Films. The Executive Producers are Brent Jorgensen, Sundance Film Festival Co-Founder Stirling VanWagenen, and Jon Lear.

The movie also features the title song “Child of God,” performed by The Bonner Family.


“This is a story of faith. In spite of all the hardships these women encounter, one of the things I love the most about this story is how deeply both women want to love God and obey him, even when what he is asking them to do seems impossible,” remarked Director Chantelle Squires.


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Monday, August 13, 2018

Book Review: Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

Called to Protect (Blue Justice #2)
Book Description:

For the past year, Chloe St. John has been working as a K-9 cop with her German shepherd partner, Hank. After being dumped by her fiance for another woman, Chloe has decided that Hank is just about the only male she likes. She's over the whole romance thing and focuses her attention on doing her job. Because a serious case of human trafficking with connections to her missing cousin just landed in her lap.

When US Marshall Blake MacCallum's daughter goes missing, he's ordered to kill the judge he's protecting and tell no one about his daughter's disappearance or she will die. Blake races against the clock to rescue his daughter while Chloe and Hank are asked to be a part of the task force assembled to bring down the traffickers. Chloe finds herself attracted to the silent, suffering man, but thanks to her previous bad judgment, she wonders if she can trust him. And can Blake trust himself around this firecracker of a woman?

Bestselling author Lynette Eason warns readers to buckle in for a fast and furious ride that will have their hearts pumping from the very start.

Book Review:

It's been a while since I've read an action/suspense novel, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy them. However, I probably shouldn't have read it while I took my kids on vacation. It freaked me out the whole trip since the story is about human trafficking. I should probably be freaked out at home since it seemed that's where everything took place in the story, but man...I watched my kids like a hawk. People probably thought I was being an over-protective parent, but this book really got me thinking. I know human trafficking happens, but I know so little about it that I've never given it any thought. Super sad, super scary. I will never fathom how these people's minds work. 

The topic was done in a way that wasn't as graphic as it definitely could have been, and I was extremely grateful for that. The aftermath of it was never really delved into in this story, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I mean, the story was over, and you could probably write a whole other book just on dealing with that, but it seemed sort of glossed over, oh you're home so you are fine. That didn't sit super well with me. I enjoyed the relationship in this novel, but the book summary made it sound like it was going to be different, and it flowed a lot better than I was expecting. Actually, all the relationships in this book happened kind of quickly, or without a lot of drama. There was father/daughter drama, but it resolved super easily and I'm not sure how I felt about that.

I loved how this series is about a family. Somewhere along the way I missed book one. So this can be a stand alone novel. However, this family is huge and I was getting lost on who was who and the relationships between everyone. I don't know if reading the first one would have cleared that up or not, but I am interested in going back and finding the first in the series. Actually, she had a little blurb for the third one at the end of the book and that caught my attention as well. So I'm pretty excited about this series. Hopefully the next one's topic isn't as heavy as this one was. If you are sensitive to that kind of stuff I'd skip this one and read her others. Like I said earlier, it was done as non-graphically as possible, but you should beware that it is in this book. 

Called to Protect (Blue Justice #2) 
Title: Called to Protect
Author: Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell
Published: July 2018
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Blog Tour: The Roses of Feldstone by Esther Hatch

Reviews * Giveaway
The Roses of Feldstone by Esther Hatch

Book Description: 

Standing before Feldstone Manor, site of so many happy memories, Rose Davenport feels nothing but dread. Her family’s annual visit to the stately home was once brightened by her friendship with the earl’s youngest son, William, but everything changed the day his elder brother was disinherited and William became heir to his father’s earldom. From that moment, William made it clear he has no interest in continuing an acquaintance with Rose. Heartbroken, she sets out to prove that she will simply not be ignored—or outdone—by the arrogant future lord of the manor. When his elder brother marries for love, William’s entire life changes in an instant. He does not have the same option to marry whom he chooses, and he must let go of the feelings he has harbored for his dear friend, Rose. He steels himself against her annual visits, determined to keep his feelings for her a secret. But when he makes the hasty promise to marry within six months, he never dreams that his actions will lead Rose to impulsively undertake the same challenge.

Rorie's Review:

I can't even imagine going to stay for several weeks at someone's house when you don't get along with one of those people. I was amazed that Rose kept trying to befriend William, even though he made it perfectly clear that he wanted nothing to do with her.

Their relationship issues could have been resolved so quickly if they would have just taken two minutes and actually communicated with each other. Of course, that would have made for a very short story, but I still wanted to smack them both upside the head.

This is a quick, easy read but I do wish that the author had gone deeper into the relationship a bit more. (Both the good and the bad parts.) There was just a little something missing for me. That being said, I did enjoy this story and will definitely read more from this author.

Tarah's Review: 
I brought this book on vacation, and the vacation was finishing and I was sad I hadn't had time to even open it up. However, due to some difficulties sleeping I was able to start and finish this book very quickly. I was surprised by how fast I finished it. I was taken in by the book right away, and as much as I was craving sleep, since that wasn't happening, this book was an awesome filler. I was sad to see it end, although I enjoyed the ending very much. 

I normally don't really enjoy a lot of flashbacks in novels. This had a lot of them, but they weren't super distracting. They flowed well with the story line and I didn't feel like I was yanked out of something that I was into only to be thrust somewhere else. 

I will say that I was hoping for a little more with Rose and William's relationship. They go from best friends, to he can't stand to be around her, to more than friendship really, really quickly. It actually didn't feel that way while reading it, but thinking about it after I was wondering where their relationship developed.

I hope that this author writes more stories. I look forward to reading them, and I will be recommending this to my book reading friends.

Andrea's Review:

You take a chance with every book you read, especially with a new author. I'm happy to say that The Roses of Feldstone was a good risk. This debut novel was enjoyable from the outside in (don't you love the cover?). The storyline was captivating, and Hatch did a great job of making me want to keep reading.

I felt really bad for Rose, especially as more and more of her hurt was laid out. It is hard to imagine your best friend turning on you overnight. The relationship she had with William had once been a comfort and source of happiness, but it became a huge source of confusion and pain. She fought back in her own way, but it didn't help her understand what had happened. In some ways it's surprising that her parents would continue to make her join them. They must have noticed the animosity between Rose and William.

I enjoyed the moments throughout the story that we got to see goodness from the main characters. Little touches here and there that let us know despite their relationship with each other, they were kind and thoughtful people.

The Roses of Feldstone was a quick, clean, enjoyable read. I would read more by this author.

Tour Schedule:

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Tour Giveaway:

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Roses of Feldstone Title: The Roses of Feldstone
Author: Esther Hatch
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
Published: August 2018
ISBN: 9781524405892
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon