May 202015
 

25490708 The Moses Chronicles: Bondage (Volume 1)

Author: H. B. Moore

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Published: May 2015

ISBN13: 978-1-68047-166-3

Paperback: 236 pages

FTC FYI: Received a paperback copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads Summary

Moses has always felt like an outsider in his powerful Egyptian family, even though his close relationship with Ramses, the prince of Egypt, and their cousin Pentu keeps him entwined in the dealings of royalty. But when their youthful antics get them in trouble, the Pharaoh decides it’s time for all three of them to grow up and own their respective responsibilities. Now betrothed to a woman he cares nothing for, Moses wonders where his life is headed.

Miriam, a Hebrew slave, lives with a secret she cannot share with anyone. And though it has been eighteen years since she saved her baby brother, she is constantly getting in trouble for spying on him. In a desperate attempt to control Miriam, her older brother, Aaron, and her father look to find her a husband, something Miriam has never been interested in—until Caleb, a young, handsome man, confesses his feelings for her and asks her father for her hand in marriage.

When Libya advances on Egypt, Moses and Miriam are suddenly thrown together as the Egyptian royals and soldiers flee. Hebrew slaves are forced to defend the kingdom, and Miriam and Caleb are enlisted under Moses’s direction. Moses quickly sees there is more to this downtrodden people than what he’s been taught. When he witnesses the atrocities enacted against the slaves, he realizes he must leave—he must find out who he really is.

A gripping account of the events that lead to Moses’s flight into the wilderness, The Moses Chronicles: Bondage will take you back to a rich period of history replete with scandal, strife, love, and hope as God prepares a prophet to lead His chosen people.

My Review

As with any of Heather’s books, the characters in The Moses Chronicles: Bondage are brought to live with her amazing storytelling and writing.  I loved this fictional account of Moses and Miriam.  I appreciated the point of view changes between Moses, Miriam, and Bithiah.  Miriam was an especially enjoyable character.  She was a very strong, and courageous woman in hard times.  My heart broke for her with all she endured.  Another aspect I enjoyed was Miriam’s love for the brother she didn’t know.  Heather’s Moses was also a strong character that was honorable and wise.  This book is very hard to put down and reads quickly.  There is so much to this book that will keep you turning pages.  For me, it was the characters and the beautiful, gripping story.  I also enjoyed the other characters, Caleb and Bithiah especially.

5 out of 5 stars.  I can’t wait for Deliverance, the next volume in the series.

Author Links

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Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Deseret Book / Seagull Book

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May 122015
 

18090043 Almost Super

Author: Marion Jensen

Publisher: Harper Collins

Published: January 21st, 2014

ISBN13: 9780062209610

Hardcover: 256 pages

FTC FYI: I purchased both copies of these books.

Reviewed by Mindy

Summary

Savvy meets The Incredibles in this fresh, funny middle-grade debut about two brothers in a family of superheroes who must find a way to be heroic despite receiving powers that are total duds.

Each leap year, on February 29th, at 4:23 p.m., every member of the Bailey family over the age of twelve gets a superpower. No one knows why, and no one questions it. All the Baileys know is that it’s their duty to protect the world from those evil, supervillainous Johnsons.

Today, Rafter Bailey and his brother Benny are finally going to get their superpowers. Benny wants to be a speedy, and Rafter hopes he gets super strength so he can save the day just like his grandfather. But when their powers arrive, they are, well, duds. Rafter can light matches on polyester, and Benny can turn his innie belly button into an outie.

Suddenly Rafter and Benny’s world is turned upside down. Especially when they realize that Juanita Johnson, the villain in Rafter’s algebra class, thinks that her family are the superheroes and the Baileys are the villains.

What if everything Rafter thought he knew about superheroes turns out to be a lie? He may not have an awesome power, but with the help of Benny and an unexpected friend, he could just be almost super.

Purchase Links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

22138360

Searching for Super

Author: Marion Jensen

Publisher: Harper Collins

Published: January 20th, 2015

ISBN13: 97800622009580

Hardcover: 256 pages

Summary

Rafter and Benny Bailey are back in this laugh-out-loud follow-up to Almost Super, which Kirkus Reviews called “fluent, funny, and eminently sequel-worthy,” perfect for fans of Pixar’s The Incredibles.

The superheroes of Split Rock are hunkering down, which is really just a fancy way of saying they’re hiding. Ever since those supervillainous Joneses took away their real powers, the Baileys and the Johnsons have been living in fear. But Rafter has had a taste of what saving the day feels like, and now he’s desperate to do something important.

So when he gets an opportunity to fight with a real superpower–as long as he promises not to tell his parents–he is going to take it, no questions asked. With the help of his brother Benny, his cousin Thimon, and his best friend, Juanita, Rafter Bailey is searching for super.

Filled with heart and humor, Searching for Super is a family adventure of heroic proportions.

Purchase Links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

My Review

This series will go down as an all-time favorite of mine.  I loved it.  I love, love, love middle grade fantasy books, and these books are why!  (I know I say that a lot, but it’s true:)  They are full of adventure, fun, humor, hilarious one-liners, super heroes with awesome super powers, and heart.  What more could you ask for?  Each book is full of fun twists and turns, but what I loved most in each book was the way the characters stuck up for one another and united with their love for family and friendship.  I can’t summarize one book without giving the other away, but trust me, this is a series your kids and you will love.

5 out of 5 stars.

Author Links

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May 092015
 

24999947 What Makes Us Sisters

Author: Bonnie L. Oscarson

Publisher: Deseret Book

Published: April 6th, 2015

ISBN13: 978-1-62972-041-8

Hardcover: 48 pages

Reviewed by Mindy

FTC FYI: Received a hardcover copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary

Sisters take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other, and are there for each other through thick and thin, observes Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president.

In this delightful and inspiring book, Sister Oscarson encourages all women to look beyond differences in age, culture, and circumstance in order to better nurture and serve one another. She explains that all women young or old, married or single, working in an office or running a home have unique talents and gifts to share. Focusing on the boundless blessings that Latter-day Saint women enjoy, Sister Oscarson urges women throughout the Church to live and inspire others in ways that realize their greatest potential.

My Review

Need a last minute Mother’s Day gift?  This book is full of beautiful insights and thoughtful passages of love.  Reminding us all that our differences are what makes us special in God’s eyes.  Who are we to criticize or judge others?  I love listening to Sister Oscarson’s talks.  She has a presence about her that is very inspiring and I can tell that she is a remarkable woman.  I truly enjoyed this book.

We need to care for each other, comfort each other, and [be] there for each other.

As we look beyond our differences in age, culture, and circumstance to nurture and serve one another, we will be filled with the pure love of Christ…

About the Author

BONNIE L. OSCARSON was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended Brigham Young University as a young adult and returned thirty-five years later to complete a bachelor’s degree. She married Paul Oscarson in 1969 and served with his as he presided over a mission and later a temple, both in Sweden. Sister Oscarson was sustained as the general president of the Young Women in April 2013. She and her husband are the parents of seven and grandparents of twenty-seven.

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Deseret Book

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May 082015
 

Keepitreal Product Description:
Title: Keep it Real and Grab a Plunger:
25 Tips for Surviving Parenthood
Author:Julie K. Nelson
Genre:Nonfiction, Parenting
Paperback, 176 Pages
March 10th 2015 by Cedar Fort, Inc.
FTC, FYI: Received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Review by: Sheila
Book Description:
As a popular blogger, a college professor, and a frequent parenting guest expert on TV, you might suspect Julie K. Nelson is immune to the realities of actual parenting. But in fact, she’s been there—through all the late nights, huge messes, and tough moments.
Now she combines her expertise with her experience as a mom of five in this entertaining and pragmatic book. Learn how to overcome your natural manipulative, authoritarian tendencies and foster your child’s self-discipline, respect, and emotional maturity.

Humorous, insightful, and authentic, this book will get you through the sticky stuff with grace so you can enjoy those parenting moments that make it all worth it.
 
Book Trailer
My Review:
This parenting book covered each stage of parenting, from infants and toddlers to elementary age and teens. Regardless of which stage you may be in right now, you will find something useful to you as a parent. There are chapters for new parents about establishing good bedtime routines and also a chapter about potty training. As I’ve been parenting for going on 17 years now, these chapters are no longer useful for me. (Thank goodness!)
 Julie also uses a lot of humor in her writing which made this book an enjoyable read. For example, at the beginning of one of her chapters this is what she says, “What should be one of our main parenting goals? Survival? Yes, and that’s enough some days.” I couldn’t agree more!
 
As always when I review a non-fiction book with tips of any kind, it is too hard to list everything that I liked and learned. So here are some things I really enjoyed reading in this book.
-Eight Values That Are Common to Strong Families: Some of those values included: Choices and consequences,Hard work is good for you, Integrity, Serving Others and Love.
-Lifting Children Who make Mistakes:“How we react to mistakes directly correlates with the degree a person feels
self-worth and confidence to rise above those mistakes.”
 
-How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids: Some of the ideas were to take a break, go for a walk or write down your thoughts. Whatever it would take to calm down and not yell at your children. This is a skill that all parents can work on.
 
-Strategies for Keeping Siblings Close: I liked the ideas of how you need to teach your kids to support each other, give them opportunities to do things together (whether they want to or not), and learn to make happy memories from doing things with each other.
 
-Co-Parenting After Divorce: I have to say that I was VERY happy to find a chapter about this in a parenting book. So many times the past six years I’ve felt like I was all on my own, and wandering through the dark trying to parent as a single mom while still parenting with my ex-husband. Gatekeeping was discussed where one parent or the other tries to keep the children from the other parent whether physically or emotionally, or finding ways to have the other parent look bad in the children’s eyes. The tips to avoid this were to 1-Share information between parents so both parents stay actively involved, 2-Discuss the noncustodial parent with the child:It is helpful to remember that although the other parent may not be physically present, he or she is still ever-present in your child’s heart and mind, 3-Share custodial responsibilities:(I LOVED this next part)Remember that you divorced your spouse; your children did not divorce their parent. Research studies report that if both parents live nearby, it maximizes children’s post divorce adjustment. Welcome the time your children spends with your ex, unless you need to address safety issues. Avoid showing hostility at exchanges. Be flexible when schedules have to be adjusted from time to time. Shared parenting gives you an emotional and physical renewal while the children spend time with another person who loves them like you do.”
-Using Technology Wisely: (With two teens in the house this was very relevant too!) 1. Time-out from technology,
2. Avoid anonymity and intolerance,and 3. Check, pry, and supervise. I feel every parent with tweens and teens needs to read this chapter.
In the end I feel like this is a good parenting book that would benefit new and experienced parents. Even if you pick out a few things to try and use with your family, I feel you will see some good changes. This book can be read at several different sittings or when you specifically need information about a certain topic. This book would be a great Mother’s Day present or a gift given to new parents at a baby shower.
 
Meet the Author: 

Julie K. Nelson is a wife and mother of five children, raising them in Illinois and now Utah. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree from Utah State University in marriage, family and human development. Her scholarly research and creative writing have been published in journals and anthologies, and she has won numerous state and national awards for her writing. Julie has enjoyed teaching children in public and private schools and currently teaches at Utah Valley University.

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May 072015
 

23130126 Love, Lucas

Author: Chantele Sedgwick

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Published: May 5th, 2015

ISBN13: 9781632204172

Hardcover: 288 pages

FTC FYI: I received an eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by Mindy

Summary

When Oakley Nelson loses her older brother, Lucas, to cancer, she thinks she’ll never recover. Between her parents’ arguing and the battle she’s fighting with depression, she feels nothing inside but a hollow emptiness. When Mom suggests they spend a few months in California with Aunt Jo, Oakley isn’t sure a change of scenery will alter anything, but she’s willing to give it a try.

In California, Oakley discovers a sort of safety and freedom in Aunt Jo’s beach house. Once they’re settled, Mom hands her a notebook full of letters addressed to her—from Lucas. As Oakley reads one each day, she realizes how much he loved her, and each letter challenges her to be better and to continue to enjoy her life. He wants her to move on.

If only it were that easy.

But then a surfer named Carson comes into her life, and Oakley is blindsided. He makes her feel again. As she lets him in, she is surprised by how much she cares for him, and that’s when things get complicated. How can she fall in love and be happy when Lucas never got the chance to do those very same things?

With her brother’s dying words as guidance, Oakley knows she must learn to listen and trust again. But will she have to leave the past behind to find happiness in the future?

My Review

Love, Lucas is sweet story about Oakley, trying to move on with her life after a tragedy and life changing events.  After the death of her brother, Lucas, Oakley and her mom move to California for the spring to try to distance themselves from the pain of losing him.  Oakley’s mom gives her a notebook of letters written by Lucas that he wrote before he died, in hopes of helping her move on.  I absolutely loved this book.  I’ve told Chantele that I think she and I are kindred spirits, and I felt this way even more so reading this book.  The story flows nicely, and I enjoyed Oakley’s journey of growth.  Carson was a ray of sunshine.  He lit up the pages.  Once Oakley got over her fears of self doubt and she let him in, it was fun to see their relationship progress.  When a tragedy strikes him, it was interesting to see how she would handle it.  My favorite thing about the book were the letters from Lucas.  They were sweet, funny, and a perfect way for Oakley to heal.  Be brave and try new things, what a perfect motto for us all.

4 out of 5 stars.  A clean book with great characters and enjoyable story.  I will read anything from this author.

Author Links

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Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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May 062015
 

25089205 Extreme Measures

Author: Michelle Ashman Bell

Publisher: Covenant Communications

ISBN: 978-1-68047-165-6

Paperback: 181 pages

FTC FYI: Received a paperback copy in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by Mindy and Sheila

Summary

Following the trauma of her estranged husband’s untimely death, Emma Lowell is happy with the life she has rebuilt for herself. She’s engaged to a wonderful man and anticipates a fresh start, free from her troubled past. Only one persistent obstacle remains: Margaret Lowell, her former mother-in-law. Margaret continues to be a demanding presence in Emma’s life, and her requests have become increasingly disconcerting. When Margaret asks Emma to accompany her on a sentimental journey to the family s mountain cabin, the young woman reluctantly agrees. After all, her fiancé is out of town. No one will miss her. Emma could never have suspected the horror that awaits in the snow-bound cabin, for beneath Margaret Lowell’s elderly façade lies a sinister and terrifying nature and a plot born of insanity. Alarmed by the dark plan that unfolds, Emma struggles to escape the isolated cabin in a chilling game of cat and mouse. As the danger escalates, and with little hope of rescue, Emma must engage in a battle of wills if she is to avoid becoming the final piece in Margaret s twisted puzzle.

Mindy’s Review

I sat down Sunday morning before church expecting to read a few chapters before I got out of bed and ready for my day.  Good thing it was Fast Sunday and I have 1:00 church, because I read the entire book in one sitting!  Extreme Measures is extremely fast-paced and one crazy ride (and I mean that literally).  The whole time I was anxiously turning pages to see what else Margaret would do to poor Emma.  What I really loved was Emma’s determination to survive and fight.  She was helpless at first, but as she got stronger, she was really able to keep her wits together when all was hope was crumbling around her.  I really enjoyed the switch in views when the author would show us Emma’s friends Cassie and Jess desperately seeking information on what happened to Emma.  They were able to untangle the web of lies and deceit that Margaret did to get her scheme going.  I suspected something early on as to what Margaret’s intentions were with Emma, and what really was going on was even more disturbing than what I thought of.  (I’m glad what happened wasn’t what I thought.)  Although, there was so much nail-biting suspense, there were some holes that I thought didn’t quite get resolved, or were too convenient.  I did think the ending was a perfect way to bring resolution for Emma and her fiance Landon.

4 out of 5 stars.

Sheila’s Review

This new quick read by Michele Ashman Bell will keep your anxiety high, and find you yelling a lot at the main character Emma. I wanted her to think through things better before she did them. Always listen to your first thoughts, because they’re usually right! As Emma is too easily manipulated by her crazy ex mother-in-law, Margaret, you can hardly believe what is unfolding on the pages. Each little thing that happens you want to scream out warnings to Emma. The suspense is elevated chapter by chapter as Margaret does terrifying things to her.
Thank heavens that Emma’s two close friends, Cassie and Jess investigate why their friend is missing and get Emma’s fiancé, who is traveling overseas involved. They had a hard time getting the police to help them at first. Overall, the story ends well, but you will go through many heart pounding, page turning, chilling moments before you read the happy ending.

Author Links

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Purchase Links

Amazon / Deseret Book

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