Aug 112014

LivingintheMillennium Living in the Millennium

Author: Robert L. Millet

Publisher: Deseret Book

Published: August 2014

Hardcover/ebook: 160 pages

Genre: Religious Nonfiction

ISBN# 978-1-60907-914-7

Reviewed by: Shanda

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

Summary (

The Savior taught through the Prophet Joseph Smith that the time will come when “he that liveth in righteousness shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and the earth shall pass away so as by fire” (Doctrine and Covenants 43:32).

What do we know about that day when Jesus Christ will come in glory to cleanse the earth? And what will life be like after He comes to reign?

In Living in the Millennium, the companion volume to Living in the Eleventh Hour, author Robert L. Millet opens the doors wide to show us what life will be like during and after the Millennium. Relying on the words of ancient and modern prophets, he shares what has been revealed about Christ’s preliminary appearances, His return in majesty and power, and His millennial reign—a thousand years of goodness and peace.

Filled with insights, this timely book helps us to understand more fully such eternal doctrines as the resurrection of the just and the unjust, the Judgment, and the many mansions of glory.

Living in the Millennium inspires us to live today as if the Savior were coming tomorrow.


Living in the Millennium is a worthwhile read for anyone who is curious about what life during the Millennium will be like for humankind. The book isn’t long–107 pages of reading followed by Notes, Glossary (which is educational reading itself), Sources, Scripture Index, and Subject Index–but it contains an encompassing overview of revelation regarding the Millennium provided by the scriptures and prophets, both ancient and modern-day.

There are three main sections: Before the Millennium, The Millennium, and Beyond the Millennium. The Atonement, the Second Coming, the Resurrection, Eternal Life, and more are discussed, with several scriptures and quotes, including revelation given to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon regarding the degrees of glory.

I started out notating paragraphs of interest, but was soon pulled into the subject matter and forgot all about taking notes. I will definitely be reading it again to find those areas that provided both warning and hope to me. I think it is an excellent companion book to Living in the Eleventh Hour, and the more powerful of the two, at least for me personally.

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About the Author: Robert L. Millet, a former dean of religious education at BYU, is a professor emeritus of ancient scripture. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at BYU in psychology and his PhD from Florida State University in religious studies. He has served as a bishop, stake president, and a member of the Materials Evaluation Committee. Brother Millet is a beloved speaker and the author of numerous books. He and his wife Shauna, are the parents of six children.

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Jul 142014

thepracticalprepper The Practical Prepper: A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies

Authors: Kylene and Jonathan Jones

Publisher: Cedar Fort

Published: May 2014

Paperback/Kindle: 368 pages

Genre: Nonfiction/Emergency Preparedness

ISBN# 978-1462113828

Reviewed by: Shanda

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

Summary (Goodreads)

Earthquakes, hurricanes, civil unrest, economic challenges – no one knows when disaster may strike. Will you be ready? The Practical Prepper is a common-sense guide to emergency preparedness and survival written for real people with real lives. This must-have reference book walks the reader through each step of emergency preparedness covering everything from cooking in a crisis, to home security and protection, to emergency water disinfection. You can be prepared for the challenges the future holds. The Practical Prepper will show you how.


The Practical Prepper accomplishes its goal of presenting practical ways to achieve a higher level of preparedness in a varying number of living situations. It begins with the basics then expands into more in-depth methods for long-term or extreme circumstances, providing a “line upon line” style progression for readers to consider and implement as they continue on their preparedness journey. There are several pages of sources in the “Notes” section at the end of the book for those who would like to read more on the subjects addressed in each chapter.

The authors are thorough and flexible in their coverage of needs and options to fulfill those needs. They respect each other’s different opinions on what is “enough” yet still consider the other’s requirements for feeling secure.They have experimented with several of the products, circumstances, and methods they discuss in their book. They are honest about their results as well, which I appreciate. They also link to several resources on their blog to help readers become more prepared for emergencies.

What you won’t find here are detailed lists of exactly what to store. The authors do give general recommendations and offer sources of where to find more information, but they know that there isn’t one perfect food storage or preparedness plan that will fit everyone. They aren’t rigid in their recommendations or forceful in their opinions. They are, however, emphatic about safety and doing whatever works best for the reader.

A first I felt a little overwhelmed and depressed at the long list of disasters that could happen and the direness of what my circumstances would be if any of them happened today. I know my family is far from prepared to survive for long if the worst were to happen.

However, as I continued reading The Practical Prepper, I started to feel more empowered to take steps to change that. I may not ever be as self-sustaining as someone who lives on a farm with a root cellar and a huge garden, but I don’t need to be to improve my family’s chances of survival.

I read this book cover to cover, curious about the suggestions the authors presented for each circumstance. I was inspired, shocked, and entertained by some of the examples given of how other people have planned for emergencies. (The Chunky soup and rice idea sure makes it easy to knock out at least one or two dinners a week in my emergency menu plan, though!)

I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants to be more prepared for an emergency. It’s a resource I think “preppers” of all levels will find useful. I am definitely more inspired to get my preparedness show on the road, and I thank Kylene and Jonathan for their efforts to educate others on how to not just survive, but thrive, in an emergency.

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May 292014

Lincoln Hypothesis_cover The Lincoln Hypothesis

Author: Timothy Ballard

Publisher: Deseret Book

Published: June 2014

Hardcover/Kindle/Nook/ebook: 264 pages

Genre: Religious Nonfiction

ISBN# 978-1-60907-863-8

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: free hardcover copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary (Deseret Book)

Abraham Lincoln became the sixteenth US president during a very dark time in America’s history. Author Timothy Ballard explores the crucial role that President Lincoln played to bring this nation closer to heaven. Readers will see Lincoln as a man inspired of God who invoked a covenant relationship between America and its maker—not unlike the national covenants invoked by righteous leaders in the Book of Mormon. In addition, The Lincoln Hypothesis reveals documented evidence that Abraham Lincoln did, in fact, check out the Book of Mormon as he struggled with making some of the most critical decisions of his presidency. Did he read it? Did it influence him? Was the Book of Mormon a key factor in Lincoln’s success and the healing of a nation?

The author states, “As you read, you will, like a prosecutor reviewing a case, or like a jury determining a verdict, identify valuable pieces of evidence that can be fully substantiated. You will also identify pieces of evidence that cannot. I ask you to consider all the evidence and weight it accordingly. Through this study, many questions regarding the interplay between the restored gospel and the Civil War will be answered. New questions may emerge that will not be so easily answered. Either way, in the end you will find yourself on a most exhilarating investigative journey.”


I finished The Lincoln Hypothesis in one sitting. Once I started reading, I was intrigued and didn’t want to stop. The author’s life experiences and study give him a unique perspective on the subjects discussed in this book.

While I am not a scholar of US history, I do enjoy reading about it. However, I have never before considered Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War quite this way.  I enjoyed the writing style and voice of the author. My curiosity and the presentation of events kept me interested to the end.

Obviously there is no way to know beyond a doubt whether Abraham Lincoln actually read the Book of Mormon, but the evidence, as presented by the author, is quite convincing. Whether he did or not, that Lincoln was a man of God is undeniable. It was worth the read for me simply to learn a little more about the man that lead our country during such a tumultuous time.

One of the places where The Lincoln Hypothesis held the most power for me was in Chapter 12: “Answering the Critics.” Here, the author makes some excellent points, especially for LDS critics of Lincoln. Due to the nature of his work, the author has no qualms about bringing the matter to a personal level and it makes a powerful impact.

He also gets down to the heart of things for us in current times. Below is only one of many quotes that stood out to me:

The people of Lincoln’s day learned the hard way what we Americans need to learn immediately, particularly as we continue to legislate and codify immorality in the land. They learned that things will turn out very badly if man attempts to amend or reinterpret the American covenant. One cannot employ darkness under the banner of God’s promised land.  –page 176

Perhaps the most important points made by the author are that we live in a covenant nation, these covenants were made by the early leaders of this nation, and we are responsible for honoring and upholding these covenants or we will bring upon ourselves the consequences of breaking them. Whether you believe that Lincoln read the Book of Mormon or not, Latter-day Saints know, through our study of the Book of Mormon, that this country is a land of promise and those nations who have previously broken covenants with God on this continent have suffered horrible and tragic fates.

I have been inspired to read more about Abraham Lincoln, and intend to do so with the prophesies of prophets like Isaiah, Mormon, and Joseph Smith in mind.  I recommend The Lincoln Hypothesis to anyone interested in history or curious about the parallels between Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln.

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May 122014

Marriage_Isnt_For_You Marriage Isn’t For You, It’s for the One You Love

Author: Seth Adam Smith

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published: May 6, 2014

Hardcover: 48 pages

Genre: Marriage/Inspirational/Gift Book

ISBN# 978-1-60907-902-4

Reviewed by: Shanda and Marlow (Shanda’s hubby)

FTC FYI: free review copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary (Deseret Book)

What is the best marriage advice you ever received?

For author Seth Adam Smith, it was the advice from his father, who said, “Marriage isn’t for you. It’s about the person you marry.” These few words completely change the way Seth looked at his relationship with his wife. His thoughts on the subject became an online phenomenon. Paired with beautiful images, they are now available as a book—the perfect gift for newlyweds, those who are celebrating an anniversary, or anyone who wants to learn how to make a relationship stronger.

Shanda’s Review

Reading Marriage Isn’t For You literally took me five minutes, yet within that five-minute read is a message that has impacted millions. Such authenticity and honesty carries power, perhaps because those qualities are rare these days. Despite having “marriage” in the title, this book applies to relationships of all types.

While Marriage Isn’t For You would make a great gift for every new couple, make sure you buy a copy for yourself first and keep it visible. When things get tense (and they will), when frustration sets in (because it does), when anger threatens to overwhelm, pick up this book and take a five-minute time-out. Read it and remember: Marriage Isn’t For You, It’s for the One You Love.

Marlow’s Review

When my wife first showed me this book, I was a little surprised by the title. It wasn’t until I read the full title “Marriage Isn’t for You, its for the One You Love” that I began to understand. It is an excellent reminder on my role as husband and father. I’m not here just for myself. I am here to support, sustain, and bless the lives of my wife and kids.

This book is a very quick read and has good advice. It emphasizes the need for less selfishness and more selflessness in marriage. It contains a much needed reminder for all marriages and, if followed, will result in stronger and happier relationships.

I encourage all husbands (and future husbands) to read and ponder the messages in this book.

Visit Seth:


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Apr 072014

FortuneCookie Fortune Cookie

Author: Josi S. Kilpack

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published: March 2014

Softcover/Kindle/Nook/Audio: 356 pages

Genre: Culinary Mystery/Mystery-Suspense

ISBN# 9781609077877

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: received a free hardcopy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary (Goodreads)

Sadie Hoffmiller has always liked things to be just so. A place for everything and everything in its place. Order over chaos. And of all things Sadie should be able to control, her own wedding is at the top of the list. With the big day just three weeks away, Sadie is busily adding the perfect final touches to her wedding plans. But the arrival of a mysterious letter that bears a San Francisco postmark and no return address could change everything. The only person Sadie knows in San Francisco is her older sister, Wendy, whom she hasn’t seen or heard from since their mother’s funeral nearly fifteen years ago. Sadie has faced off with murderers and crooks in recent years, yet the potential of her sister reentering her life is both overwhelming and frightening. But, as Sadie soon discovers, the letter is just the beginning. Wendy’s world turns out to be a place of unanswered questions, twisted truths, and more than one motive for murder.


In Fortune Cookie, book eleven in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series, readers join Sadie in San Francisco, her sister’s place of residence for many years. My husband and I honeymooned in San Francisco, so it was great to revisit the city with Sadie and Pete.

Sadie never got along well with her sister. Wendy left home when Sadie was twelve, and other than a handful of interactions, there wasn’t much of a relationship between the two women. It was interesting to get to know more about Sadie, her childhood, and her family. She isn’t the only one struggling with difficult issues though. With only three weeks to the wedding, Pete finds himself facing some situations he didn’t expect as well. My heart was aching for both he and Sadie.

I love that, even after so many books, I feel like I am still getting to know Sadie. Josi’s hard work keeping characters interesting and plots mysterious pays off every time. I really had no clue who was going to be the bad guy until it was revealed, though I had a running list that changed often, sometimes from chapter to chapter. This series is one of the few I’ve read where I haven’t figured out who the villain is well before the big reveal.

What I appreciate even more than an unguessable antagonist are well-written characters. More than just description and dialogue, each character’s interactions, concerns, weaknesses, efforts, and motivations are relatable and believable, even those we only meet briefly in the course of Sadie’s investigation. The reader can’t help but feel the emotion and suspense the story is designed to evoke.

The Sadie Hoffmiller series is one of my absolute favorites. As sad as I am that it is winding down, I’m looking forward to Wedding Cake, the last book in the series due to be released in Fall 2014. There is a cliffhanger chapter from Wedding Cake at the end of Fortune Cookie that’s going to keep me on edge all summer. Thanks a lot, Josi. ;)

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Fortune Cookie Tour

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 4/30/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Mar 252014

TheHusbandWhisperer The Husband Whisperer

Author: Kevin Kinckley

Publisher: CFI/Cedar Fort, Inc.

Published: March 2014

Paperback: 144 pages

Genre: Religious Nonfiction/Marriage

ISBN# 978-1-4621-1384-2

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: free digital PDF copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review


Manipulation, threats, and anger only lead to harm and hurt feelings. Horse whisperers know that the best way to communicate in relationships is with a touch of gentleness. In The Husband Whisperer, Kevin Hinckley (MEd, LPC) shows women how to use their divine nature and to listen to the Spirit in order to bring peace into their marriages.


Horse whispering has always fascinated me. I love watching horse whisperers at work. They have immense amounts of patience (which I don’t have) and a deep understanding of horses (which I also don’t have). They seem to know the animals better than the horses know themselves. They put themselves in the horses’ place, opening their hearts and minds to the needs and fears of some of God’s most beautiful creatures. In order to do what they do, they must love the horses, and put the animals’ concerns and feelings before their own desires to get the job done and get it done quickly.

Read that first paragraph again, substituting the word “husband” or “children” for horses, and you will understand where I was before reading The Husband Whisperer.

While I received encouragement to keep doing what is working in my marriage relationship, I was even more inspired to apply these principles to other relationships in my life, particularly my children–especially my teenagers. In fact, I believe a more appropriate title for this book would be The Family Whisperer, or even The People Whisperer.

When I first started reading The Husband Whisperer, I expected it to be more of a specific and detailed situational how-to book. For example, when your hubby does this, this is what he was thinking, and now you understand him better. In actuality, it is more personal and inspiring to me than that formulaic example. Through an easy-to-read, personable writing style and a touch of humor, the author strives to help women recognize their value and worth. He encourages women to see their divine nature and understand that their role is equally important in marriage as their husband’s role.

I appreciate how he explains, in scriptural context, that the term “preside” as used in The Family: A Proclamation to the World means to “watch over” rather than be the big boss man (my words, not the author’s).  I love his example of a fortress with two leaders of equal rank. One is charged with maintaining the outer defenses and watching for dangers, the other is responsible for the care of the people and supplies inside the fortress. Both stewardships are equal in significance, neither role is less important than the other, each requires a different yet essential set of skills, and they cannot effectively fulfill their assigned roles without each other.

There is so much more here than marital counsel, which felt like a smaller though still important part of the book. The author focuses on spiritual subjects such as heavenly communication, forgiveness, self-image, having convictions, seeking the Spirit, and listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. All of these aspects play an integral role in how we see ourselves and how we interact with others.

The Husband Whisperer is not heavy on marital advice. It certainly isn’t a book on husband manipulation. Instead it encourages women to recognize their spiritual talents, their divine worth, and their immense influence on those around them. By developing the spiritual attributes in which women are physiologically designed to excel, we can exemplify love and strength. We can teach our children with conviction and with the Spirit. We can be husband whisperers, children whisperers, family whisperers, people whisperers.

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