Sep 162014
 

for-elise-book-on-cd--1409088362_MED For Elise

Author: Sarah M. Eden

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Published: September 2014

ISBN13: 978-1-62108-787-8

Paperback: 258 pages

Regency romance

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

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads Summary

In the sprawling gardens of their neighboring estates, childhood friends Miles and Elise spent countless pleasant days together in the spirited adventures of youth. They were inseparable—until Elise vanished without a trace. Miles searched, but Elise could not—or would not—be found.

After years spent laboring on the family plantation in the West Indies, Miles Linwood is shocked by the unexpected news: he has inherited his distant cousin’s estate and the title of Marquess of Grenton. Miles’s return to England is tarnished by only one thing—he is still haunted by Elise’s mysterious disappearance. So when he glimpses a woman with a startling resemblance to his lost friend, he’s shaken to the core. This is no mere shadow of the past: it is truly Elise. But his dear friend has changed—to the point that he questions whether it is really her, though he knows it is. Accustomed to rescuing Elise from childhood escapades, Miles takes her and those in her care back to his estate, even as he struggles to understand her fear and mistrust. As their friendship and feelings slowly blossom again, the shocking truth of their separated years is revealed, and Miles realizes more than ever that he must protect Elise. She slipped away once, and he cannot lose her again.

My Review

Miles finds his long-lost friend Elise and is surprised to see that she has a child.  He takes them both right away to his estate.  Elise is very close lipped and Miles can tell that Elise is troubled.  Little does he know it has everything to do with him.  Elise is a widow now and has been raising her daughter with her mother-in-law.  They have survived on close to nothing, and it is hard to Elise to accept Miles’s help, even though she has so little.  Once they arrive at Miles’s home, mysterious things start happening.  Can Elise let go of the past and ask for help?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I loved Miles, he had me at the first page.  His humor, spirit, and especially his devotion, will make him a character that I will compare others to.  All of the characters are magnificent.  Elise especially.  I also really liked Mr. Langley, Miles’s brother-in-law.  He was a great comic relief.  His sister Beth was a delight, too.  I really enjoyed the turn the story took with Elise and the secrets she was keeping.  The romance with a touch of mystery added in, was a perfect mix.  I liked how the events came about and one thing really surprised me!

5 out of 5 stars.  A perfect book from a perfect author.  I will read anything from Sarah.  Her books are always well-written and entertaining.

Author Links

Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Deseret Book / Seagull Book

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Sep 162014
 

bible_bands Bible Bands: Create Your Own Faith-Based Rubber Band Jewelry

Author: Katreina Eden

Publisher: Cedar Fort

Published: September 2014

ISBN13: 978-1-4621-1505-1

Paperback: 60 pages

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

Reviewed by Mindy

Summary

Create fun, fashionable rubber band jewelry while strengthening and sharing your faith.  Each design is associated with a Bible verse or story.  Such as:

  • A blue and white pattern to symbolize Christ’s baptism
  • Circles of color to link families through genealogy
  • A heart design to remind you of God’s love
  • Letters that spell CTR to remind you to choose the right
  • A multi-colored weave to match Joseph’s coat of many colors

Fun to make and wear, these bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings are a perfect project for your whole family to enjoy together.  Wear them yourself or give them as gifts.

My Review

My kids and I had a blast looking through this book and trying these designs.  They especially loved the CTR band and the flowers.  This is a family-fun activity that will keep you busy together for hours.  Need a fun family home evening activity, then look no further.  These are great looms that you can do with your kids (or in my case, they did for me).  Enjoy!

Book Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Cedar Fort / Deseret Book

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Sep 152014
 

Janitors4 Strike of the Sweepers (Janitors #4)

Author: Tyler Whitesides

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published Date: September 9, 2014

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Hardcover/Kindle/Nook/Audio: 388 pages

ISBN# 978-1-60907-907-9

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: Received a free hardcover in exchange for an honest review

Summary (DeseretBook.com)

The stakes have never been higher, and you’ve never seen squeegees do this before! It is a wild and slightly unsanitary ride as Spencer, Daisy, and the Rebel Janitors find themselves chased by Mr. Clean’s new and terrifying half-breed Toxites—the Sweepers. Time is short. With the fabled Manualis Custodem in hand, Spencer must figure out how to summon the Founding Witches if they ever hope to mop up and save education.

Review

The Janitors series holds its own in the world of middle-grade novels, and this latest release strengthens that position. I read Strike of the Sweepers thinking this was the last book in the series, mainly because the nonstop action and dramatic events made me think we were heading to the big finale. Only at the very end did I realize how wrong I was. There is one more book in the series, and if it’s anything like Strike of the Sweepers, readers will be in for a wild ride.

I think fans of the Janitors series are really going to love Strike of the Sweepers. Tyler knows how to write in a style that appeals to middle grade readers, especially boys, though I know there are a lot of girls who love this series as well. Tyler’s experience in janitorial work at an elementary school adds a dimension to the story that makes the fantastical become possible in the imaginations of young readers.

This might be my favorite book in the series so far. It was fast-paced and held my attention. The descriptions were just right and I could easily picture the settings. I would give examples, but I’m trying to keep things spoiler free. All I will say is dust. You know what part I’m talking about, right, Tyler?

I love the fun and clever little touches that appear throughout the book, from the title of the first chapter (“Pink is not stealthy.”) to character names (Professor Dustin DeFleur), scary bad guys (made out of TP), and awesome defensive capabilities (trash cannon – yeah!).

I admit to being fascinated by Dez as a character. He’s both bad guy and good guy at the same time, annoying yet integral, a bully and selfish yet still somehow a part of the team. In this book, there is a big part of the story where the kids are on their own, dealing with problems and coming up with solutions by working together. I think kids reading Strike of the Sweepers will really enjoy that part of the story. After all, who wouldn’t want to drive a magical garbage truck?

There’s a twist at the end that I did not see coming. All I will say is that it’s going to make the last book very interesting. Also, I wish I had squeegees that worked like that.

Strike of the Sweepers is a fun read and a great addition to the Janitors series. I can easily recommend this book to middle-grade readers who love adventure and magic, and don’t mind a little gross here and there.

Visit Tyler:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Find Strike of the Sweepers:

DESERET BOOK | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

 

 

 

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Sep 032014
 

Girls_Who_Choose_God Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Courageous Women from the Bible

Authors: McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding

Illustrated: Kathleen Peterson

Publisher: Deseret Book

Published: August 24th, 2014

ISBN13: 978-1-60907-882-9

Hardcover: 48 pages

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

Reviewed by Mindy

Book Summary 

From Eve to Esther, from the Samaritan woman at the well to the widow with her two mites, many women in the Bible have made courageous choices. All through the ages, women have chosen to help, to solve problems, to stand up for others, to strengthen families, and to follow God no matter what.

Girls Who Choose God invites young readers (and those who love them) to make important choices of their own, following the examples of great women in the scriptures. With breathtaking illustrations, beautifully told stories, and insightful discussion questions, this delightful book is perfect for sharing, reading aloud, and drawing children into the scriptures.

*In buying this book, you support educational and employment opportunities for LDS young women around the world. All of the authors’ proceeds will be donated to Interweave Solutions. For more information about the organization’s good work, visit interweavesolutions.org.

My Review

This book is absolutely beautiful.  The stories are wonderful reminders of the powerful influence of righteous women.  I loved the illustrations.  They perfectly depicted these precious scenes.  I also appreciated the scripture reference at the bottom of each story.  There is also a question after the stories, it helped me relate these scripture stories to our today and how we can use these examples now to help the girls of our day make righteous choices.  Very well done and enjoyable.  A great addition to any library.

Author and Book Links 

Goodreads / WebsiteDeseret Book / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

About the Authors

McArthur Krishna inherited her grit from her Utah pioneer great-grandmothers. With a master’s degree in communications from BYU, she co-owned Free Range, an award-winning marketing  business focused on telling social justice stories. In 2011, she moved to the Magic Land of India and started writing books. More of her stories can be found at mcarthurkrishna.com.

 

Bethany Brady Spalding likes to stir things up in the kitchen and in the community. She has founded programs to promote health and nutrition in the USA, South Africa, and India. Bethany currently leads a regional coalition in Richmond, Virginia, to create a healthier food environment for at-risk children. She loves to cook and climb mountains with her husband, Andy, and their three adventurous girls.

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Sep 022014
 

DeadlyAlliance Deadly Alliance (Espionage #3)

Author: A.L. Sowards

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Published: April 2014

Genre: Historical

Softcover: 317 pages

ISBN# 9781621086901

Reviewed by: Shanda

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

Summary (Goodreads)

When Peter Eddy and his commando team inadvertently upset the Soviets during their most recent mission, they never imagined the diplomatic nightmares that would ensue. They have one chance to redeem themselves: tasked with destroying a bridge in Nazi-occupied Bosnia, Peter and his war-weary team reluctantly agree to drop behind enemy lines. The assignment should be a simple one—were it not for the fact that they are being deployed on a suicide mission.

Genevieve Olivier is devastated by the news of Peter’s disappearance. After all they’ve endured in this war, the determined OSS worker is unwilling to simply let go of the man she hopes to spend her life with. Desperate for information, her work as a courier soon escalates into a counterintelligence duel with a Fascist assassin—and Genevieve is his newest target . . .

Review

Deadly Alliance, the third and final installment of the Espionage series, takes place during the final year of WWII. Peter and Genevieve are the main characters, who both have way more war and espionage experience than any young person should. Almost as soon as they are reunited, the war separates them. Their duties take them far from each other, and one circumstance after another makes it almost certain they will never survive, let alone find each other again.

Peter has several of his closest war buddies with him, but Genevieve is very alone. She stays busy at the hospital, but the war has taken too much for her to feel happy without Peter. He is determined to do his duty for his country and the men that are serving with him. While he hopes to be united again with Genevieve and live the rest of his life by her side, Peter knows that sometimes the only option is to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The story is told mainly from Peter and Genevieve’s points-of-view, with a large focus on events occurring in the fight between the Serbians and Croatians, the Partisans and Chetniks, located in Yugoslavia. The characters encounter several battle scenarios and devastated villages that show the face of war in that area of the world. The author’s style isn’t flowery or roundabout but straightforward, intended for an audience of men and women who enjoy reading WWII fiction and prefer a hint of romance.

Deadly Alliance takes the reader along as the characters move from one seemingly insurmountable circumstance to another. I haven’t read a lot of WWII fiction but I can see that Deadly Alliance and the other books in the Espionage series are well-researched. I follow A.L. Sowards on Goodreads so I see how many WWII books she reads. This knowledge comes through in how easy it was to slip into the time period each time I picked up the book.

I appreciated Peter and Genevieve’s devotion to doing whatever they could to end the war, even at the risk of their own lives. They go through some emotional experiences, however, they have been at war for some time now and witnessed many things no one should ever see. At times they are simply resigned to their circumstances, or hardened by previous events. I was anxious for both the war to end, and to find out what would ultimately happen with our heroes. Just when I thought all was said and done, the author threw in a twist that had me in some serious suspense.

Overall, Deadly Alliance is an enjoyable and satisfying conclusion to the series. I would recommend the Espionage series to anyone who enjoys clean, well-researched historical fiction, particularly WWII fiction. While LDS elements are present, it isn’t a major theme of the book. I look forward to more from A.L. Sowards, and can’t wait to see what she has in the works.

Visit A.L.:

WEBSITE/BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

Find Deadly Alliance:

DESERET BOOK | SEAGULL BOOK | AMAZON | GOODREADS

 

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Aug 292014
 

 

 

 

 

 

Product Details

 

  • Title: How Much Do You Love Me?
  •  Author: Paul Mark Tag
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sweetwater Books (August 12, 2014)
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • ISBN-10: 1462114474
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Description (From Amazon):
As the phone continued to ring, Kazuko bent over and picked up the cardboard. Fingers shaking, she steadied herself against the counter and stared. It took a fourth ring before she composed herself enough to answer. 

It was Patrick. “I was afraid that you had already left.” There was a pause. “Kazuko, are you there?” 

Kazuko’s heart was thumping hard. “I’m here, Patrick. You’re not going to believe what I just found—in the last place we would have ever looked.”

On December 7, 1941, Keiko Tanaka finds her whole world affected by the Pearl Harbor bombings. Normally friendly neighbors are suddenly suspicious of her Japanese ancestry, and her engagement to James Armstrong—a Caucasian—becomes a crisis rather than a celebration. Despite their parents’ protests, Keiko and James decide to marry before she is sent to the internment camps and he to the war.

Nearly sixty years later, Keiko’s daughter, Kazuko—born in the camps—attends to Keiko on her deathbed. However, a chance incident makes her suspect that her mother is harboring a secret. The truths she is about to uncover might unravel the family . . . and change her very perception of abiding love.

EXCERPT:
From the author: During the tumult of the anti-Japanese frenzy that follows Pearl Harbor, Keiko Tanaka and her Caucasian boyfriend, James Armstrong, decide to marry. Knowing that the idea of their marriage will create a furor, they make their announcement jointly (at a Christmas dinner) to the two families (the Tanakas farm land is owned by the Armstrongs). The following sequence occurs after James has made the announcement. Isamu and Akemi are Keiko’s parents; Harrison and Barbara are James’; Misaki is Keiko’s twin sister.
=====
James continued. “Keiko and I know how surprised you must be to hear this news.” All eyes returned to the speaker. “We thought long and hard about the best way to tell you. We chose Christmas Day so that you will always associate it with me and Keiko, to our happiness.”

At this point, Keiko thought she should stand as well. She reached across the table with her left hand and took his right, rotating her hand in his parents’ direction. Surely, they would appreciate his sincerity when they saw this beautiful symbol [author’s note: engagement ring] of his affection. She tried to gauge their reaction. She saw surprise, but not shock. So far, so good!

Keiko felt her face flush, and she knew why. She struggled to look to her right, toward the one person at the table whose approval was paramount. What she saw was not what she had hoped for. Isamu’s mouth hung open, and it looked like he was squinting. His color was gone. Fear gripped Keiko’s heart. She turned farther to try to assess her mother’s reaction. Unfortunately, because Akemi was looking at her husband, Keiko saw only her profile.

Hoping for better news at the opposite end of the table, Keiko turned to her left again. As she did so, Harrison and Barbara Armstrong switched their gaze from James to her. Compared to Keiko’s father, their complexions appeared more normal. The younger children at the table didn’t seem to know what to make of the situation. Their heads whipped back and forth from one adult to another, trying to make sense of what was obviously something quite unusual.
And then, Misaki came through. Across the table, next to James, the quiet of the room was broken by one set of hands clapping. Misaki promised that she would support me, and here she is. Perhaps concluding that if Keiko’s twin sister thought that this proclamation was worth applause, the rest of the children clapped as well.

Regrettably, Keiko saw that none of the adults was joining this spontaneous display of approval. Isamu’s back had straightened, and he was staring down the table, at no one in particular. Akemi bowed her head. Keiko hoped that James’s parents had chosen not to clap with the children so as not to embarrass their other adult guests. When the kids realized that those whose opinions at the table counted most were not participating, the applause petered out.
Keiko and James had figured that this could happen. James turned first toward his parents and then toward the Tanakas. “Mom, Dad, Mr. and Mrs. Tanaka, I want you to know…” He spoke directly to Isamu. “Mr. Tanaka, please. I love your daughter more than anything. I promise you that I will take care of her, every bit as well as you have. You have my word.”

Keiko noticed the chirp of a bird outside the window. She wondered if anyone else did, the senses of those at the table seemingly muffled by the tension filling the room. Keiko decided it was time for her to speak, and she turned to her right. “Papa, Mama.” Tears began to flow. “Papa, please look at me.” Another moment. “Papa, please.” A bit of color had returned to Isamu’s face, and he lifted his head to face his daughter.

Keiko sniffled and struggled to contain her emotions. With her left hand still in James’s and wet with perspiration, she wiped at her face with her right. “Papa, I love James and want to spend the rest of my life with him. I need your blessing.” Another beat of silence. “Mama?”

My Review:
I have read many books about World War II, and also many about the Japanese Internment Camps. This story of Keiko and James is right up there as one of my favorites. It’s already such an emotional subject of how American citizens of Japanese ancestry were treated during WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. But as the reader becomes entangled in the life of Keiko and James you can’t help but become emotionally involved.

The story takes place in two different time periods as the story jumps back and forth between 1941-1942 and 2000. I truly liked the way the story unfolded. I never felt that the story was stifled because of the events being told in this format.In 2000 Keiko has had a stroke, her husband James has Alzheimers and both can’t communicate with their children. The reader soon finds out that there are deep, dark secrets that Keiko and James’s children never knew about that eventually are revealed. They were shocking things and I figured it out near the end. Even though the story and characters are fictional, it had a realistic feel throughout it’s pages. It was not always a happy read because of the events, but so worthwhile and a good reminder to not forget the past.

I truly enjoyed this beautifully written story, full of sad American history, but also a love story with a rocky beginning that lasted. Anyone that enjoys historical fiction must read this book, especially those who love anything having to do with the WWII era.

Purchase a copy HERE: 

 

 

Meet Author: Paul Mark Tag
Paul Mark Tag graduated with multiple degrees in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University and worked for the Naval Research Laboratory as a research scientist for over thirty years before retiring to write fiction. For years prior to retirement, and the following year exclusively, he honed his skills writing short stories. These have been published in StoryBytes, Potpourri, Green’s Magazine, and The Storyteller, as well as The Errant Ricochet: Max Raeburn’s Legacy.In 2005, he self-published his first thriller, Category 5,which took advantage of his knowledge of meteorology and weather modification, followed by Prophecy and White Thaw: The Helheim Conspiracy. With his historical novel How Much Do You Love Me? he has switched genres. He lives with his wife, Becky, in Monterey, California.

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