Friday, January 20, 2017

Blog Tour/Review: Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley



Daughter of Ishmael, by Diane Stringam Tolley
2017, 304p, LDS Historical Fiction
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way



Growing up around prophets and prophecies, Hannah and her sisters are excited to be betrothed to sons of Lehi and to journey to the promised land. But now with her people dividing, Hannah must choose between her faith and her family. Should she follow Nephi again, or stay with her husband, Lemuel, and her son in sin and misery? This compelling novel tells the familiar scripture story from an illuminating new perspective.

This story takes place in Jerusalem, around 600 BC. It's a different perspective on the opening chapters of the Book of Mormon. Hannah's family is close to the prophet Lehi and his family. Lehi's life is threatened and one day, he and his entire family disappear. Later, Lehi's sons return for Ishmael's family and take them to the wilderness where they marry the daughters and start their journey to the promised land.

This story is told from Hannah's perspective. She is a young woman of great faith who is promised to one brother and, when circumstances change, ends up marrying a different one. She is disappointed but learns to love her husband and tries to influence him for good. From reading the scriptures, I knew how the basic story would end but was interested in what would happen to Hannah. Hannah is easy to like. She stays true to herself and what she believes, even when she is ridiculed for it. She experiences plenty of heartache but there is always a feeling of hope that things will get better.

This book is well-researched and shows the struggles and trials these families went through, as well as the good times they had together. When I was younger, I would easily become frustrated with Laman and Lemuel and wish they had stayed behind in Jerusalem. This story illustrates the unconditional love parents have for their children and the multiple opportunities they will give them to change for the better. It's a powerful story which I enjoyed from beginning to end and it will stick with me for a long time!


Trained in journalism and raised by a family of storytellers, Diane Stringam Tolley has spent her life writing. From her first published work, “The Scary House,” penned in Mrs. Hainsworth’s grade six class, to her tenth novel, “Daughter of Ishmael,” Tolley has dipped into every genre from sci-fi/fantasy to spiritual. Her Christmas book, “Carving Angels,” has been featured on the “best of” holiday lists for Edmonton Public Libraries since its first release in 2011. And her follow-up novel, “Kris Kringle’s Magic” (2012) is currently a standard for discussions on prejudice and bullying throughout the Black-Gold region. Drawing on her upbringing on one of the last of the great old ranches of Southern Alberta, Tolley’s stories are filled with unforgettable characters, warm, family connections, and the strength of faith and love.


Tour Schedule: 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cover Reveal: My Dearest Love by Sarah M. Eden


Cover reveal for Sarah M. Eden's newest novella!

From the USA Today Bestselling author of the Longing for Home series, a new romance set in the beloved world of Hope Springs: MY DEAREST LOVE, coming July 2017!


Alone in the world and far from home, Biddy holds out little hope of lasting happiness. Ian, loving her silently from afar, dreams of one day capturing her heart.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Blog Tour/Review: The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack



The Lady of the Lakes, by Josi S. Kilpack
2017, 336p, Clean Historical Romance
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way



One is his first love.
The other is his best love.
Which will be Walter’s true love?

Walter Scott has three passions: Scotland, poetry, and Mina Stuart. Though she is young and they are from different stations in society, Walter is certain their love is meant to be. For years, he has courted her through love letters. She is the sunshine of his soul.

Though Mina shares Walter’s love of literature and romantic temperament, it’s hard for her to know if she truly loves him or if she has only been dazzled by his flattery. When she meets the handsome and charming William Forbes, her heart is challenged. Who will she choose?

But as every poet knows, “the course of true love never did run smooth,” and on a windy morning in the lake country, Walter meets Charlotte.

At twenty-six, Charlotte Carpenter believes she will never find love. After all, she is a Catholic-born Frenchwoman living in London with a family history shadowed by scandal. Though quiet, practical, and determined to live a life of independence, her heart longs for someone to love her and a place to call home.

Passion and promises collide as Walter, Mina, and Charlotte must each decide the course for their futures. What are they each willing to risk to find love and be loved in return?

I didn't know much about Sir Walter Scott prior to reading this book. From the summary, I knew his path to finding love wouldn't be easy. Walter Scott lost his heart to Williamina (Mina) Belshes (later changed to Stuart) the first time he met her. She was young at the time and flattered by his attention. As she got older, though, she met someone else and started to question what she felt for Walter.

Though it was tough on Walter to learn that Williamina didn't end up sharing his affection, it wasn't hard on the reader as it became easy to see that they weren't a good fit for each other. I love the way this author approached this book and it couldn't have been an easy task. There are certain facts she can't change and needs to fill in the rest to make the story flow and be interesting. I thought she did a fantastic job! There are notes at the end where she shares what the facts are and what she made up so the overall story would make sense. There's also a timeline at the end which gives the bigger picture of what happened throughout his life (like how he became "Sir" Walter Scott).

I loved this book! There were times when it moved slowly but I found what was happening to be so interesting that it didn't bother me at all. I kept looking forward to when he would meet Charlotte and what would happen from there. If you enjoy historical romance, based on a true story, you will want to read this one!


Author Josi Kilpack

Josi S. Kilpack has written twenty-five novels, a cookbook, and several novellas. She is a four-time Whitney award winner, including Best Novel 2015 for "Lord Fenton's Folly," and has been a Best of State winner for Fiction. Josi loves to bake, sleep, eat, read, travel, and watch TV--none of which she gets to do as much as she would like. She hates to talk on the phone, learn how to do new things, and sweep--all of which she gets to do a lot :-)

Josi and her husband, Lee, have four children and live in Northern Utah.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blog Tour/Review: The Decision That Changed My Life by Ganel-Lyn Condie



The Decision that Changed My Life: Inspiring True Stories from Latter-day Saints, by Ganel-Lyn Condie
2017, 256p, Inspirational Non-Fiction
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way



Whether making life-changing choices or considering seemingly small day-to-day decisions, to choose oftentimes means to take a step into the unknown.
In The Decision That Changed My Life, author Ganel-Lyn Condie explores some of the life-altering choices made by sixteen notable and everyday Latter-day Saints and the chain of events that followed those decisions that affected other people’s lives. From the broad impact of Janice Kapp Perry’s course-changing decision to pursue music to the significance of Chris Carter’s converting to the gospel as a young boy, each story demonstrates the potential ripple effects of our decisions. While following the promptings of the Spirit without a full understanding of the outcome requires great faith, sometimes making that one decision has the power to change our lives—and the world.

Among others, these stories include:
T.C. Christensen—his decision concerning The Cokeville Miracle; Susan Easton Black—her decision to marry George Durrant; Ed and Patricia Pinegar—their decision to start planning, prioritizing, and changing their lives; Brad Wilcox—his reflection on his children’s changes in the mission field; Ty Mansfield—his decision concerning same-sex attraction

I loved this book! It's filled with stories of people in various circumstances and how their life-changing decisions have affected their lives. There are also ripple effect stories which show how that decision affected others.

I loved the movie The Cokeville Miracle so one of my favorite stories was about T.C. Christensen. His decision to go forward with that film made a deep impact on one of the survivors. She had some tough decisions to make and her story is inspiring. I also love Janice Kapp Perry's story! I heard her speak several years ago and was surprised to learn the backstory that started her songwriting career. She is an engaging storyteller so her story was fun to read and I'm sure there are multiple ripple effects from her decision to pursue music.

This is the kind of book that you can pick up and read one of the stories in a short amount of time. Quite a few of them got me thinking about how I would react in certain situations. Some of these stories are heartbreaking and personal. I loved that each story ended on a positive note and felt the overall message of faith, hope and healing. These are stories I will read over and over so I highly recommend this book to everyone!


Ganel-Lyn Condie knows anything is possible with God. She never dreamed of writing when she graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in elementary education and psychology, yet she has become an award-winning journalist, was editor of Wasatch Woman magazine, and has now written three books. She has interviewed well-known public figures, including Cokie Roberts and Richard Paul Evans, and has a talent for sharing other people's stories. She loves being a wife and mother and will always be grateful for her family. They and her faith helped her heal from a chronic illness and years of chemotherapy treatments. They've truly been instruments in the Lord's hands in many other ways. Because of her experiences, Ganel-Lyn has a passion for creating balance and spirituality in life and at home. She has discovered the joy of sharing experiences with others through her newspaper column, consulting, public speaking, and her websites www.icanwithgod.com and ganellyn.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

*Jan. 20thhttp://www.blogginboutbooks.com/

Monday, January 16, 2017

Pre-Order: Condemn Me Not by Heather B. Moore


I'm so excited for Condemn Me Not by Heather B. Moore and will be sharing weekly memes until it becomes available on March 14, 2017! Be sure to pre-order your copy today!


Pre-order your copy here!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Book Review: Amity of the Angelmen by T.C. Slonaker


Amity of the Angelmen, by T.C. Slonaker
2016, 274p, YA Christian Fantasy
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: I received an ARC from the author, which did not affect my review in any way



Amity David is not human, as the seventeen-year-old pastor's daughter had thought she was. Her life has now been upturned and possibly set aright with the help of Mackenzie Abel, a young priest as conflicted about his calling as Amity is about hers. Blindly searching for answers together that will serve God's intent, the two also struggle against feelings they have developed for one another. Can Amity trust the alleged angel who told her she is descended from a demon? Part of her hopes not because, if true, it means she is being called to help free others like her from the ties of her evil heritage through war. What happens when a being created out of evil, is called to fight on the side of good? And what if this evil being thinks she is a good person, only to find she is not even a person at all?

This is different than what I normally read and it did take me a while to get into it. Amity is 17 years old and her life is turned upside down when she learns the truth of who she is. She is understandably shocked and that knowledge comes with more questions than answers. Shortly after that, she meets a young priest, Mackenzie. He knows he needs to help her, and it's a decision that changes his life.

Amity is a regular teenage girl who is just trying to survive high school. Her father is a pastor and it seems like it would be easy for her to turn to him when her life gets turned upside down, but there are reasons why that is difficult for her. Mackenzie is easy to like. He's a bit lost and helping Amity brings meaning and direction to his life. He and Amity feel comfortable with each other right away and are able to work together to figure out what she needs to do, even though it's not at all clear.

This is a faith-based story and the Bible is quoted quite often since Amity relies heavily on it. I thought it worked well in this story. This book did start out slow to me, but once it picked up, I had a hard time putting it down. I enjoyed learning about the series on the author's website and am interested in reading the other stories to see how it all comes together!


About the Angelmen series:

Someone has to die.
Life must be relinquished for the salvation of another. So someone will die. In the human world, it has already been done. But the race of the Nephilim has a different war to fight. And their sacrifice has yet to be given.

It will be one of the four.

Read the four paraquel stories to learn about the characters - Amity, Asher, Caedmon, & Malachi.
Watch them meet in the last chapter of each book.
Find out who will be the Sacrifice in the 5th book - The Battle

A former elementary school teacher and subsequent lover of the English language in the written word, Tracy Slonaker found several new hobbies after embarking on the new career of motherhood. One hobby was running distances, which gave her plenty of time to create characters, build plots, and listen for God’s input. The result of all this thinking was the birth of a new hobby: writing the Angelmen Series, an analogy of God’s love for His people. Amity of the Angelmen is the first installment of this series.

Tracy enjoys her life as a wife and mother of three in just outside Reading, PA. She still has a soft spot for kids and an eagerness to use her degrees in Elementary Education by using them as Director of Christian Education at her non-denominational Christian church. She has also learned to love running, and has not given up her childhood fondness of sports (playing softball and watching football). She gives thanks to the Lord for all His good gifts.


First Line Friday #2


Welcome to First Line Friday! I got this idea from my friend Kathy over at Bookworm Nation. This meme is easy to do: simply pick up the book you're currently reading and share the very first line! There are some really good first lines out there. They grab you and suck you right into the story and make you want to keep reading. So, my selection for this week is:


The Lady of the Lakes: The True Love Story of Sir Walter Scott by Josi S. Kilpack

One is his first love.
The other is his best love.
Which will be Walter’s true love?

Walter Scott has three passions: Scotland, poetry, and Mina Stuart. Though she is young and they are from different stations in society, Walter is certain their love is meant to be. For years, he has courted her through love letters. She is the sunshine of his soul.

Though Mina shares Walter’s love of literature and romantic temperament, it’s hard for her to know if she truly loves him or if she has only been dazzled by his flattery. When she meets the handsome and charming William Forbes, her heart is challenged. Who will she choose?

But as every poet knows, “the course of true love never did run smooth,” and on a windy morning in the lake country, Walter meets Charlotte.

At twenty-six, Charlotte Carpenter believes she will never find love. After all, she is a Catholic-born Frenchwoman living in London with a family history shadowed by scandal. Though quiet, practical, and determined to live a life of independence, her heart longs for someone to love her and a place to call home.

Passion and promises collide as Walter, Mina, and Charlotte must each decide the course for their futures. What are they each willing to risk to find love and be loved in return?


First Line:

"I believe in God and Christ and long-suffering, but I do not feel that all three must be so densely mashed together as they are for a Calvinist Sunday sermon."

This is the second book in this historical proper romance line, and it's such an interesting story. Look for my review next week!

So, what's your pick for this week? If you want to participate grab the logo and post your own First Line Friday entry on your blog and then leave your link in the comments. And make sure you link your post back to Bookworm Nation! If you don't have a blog, just leave the title, author and first line in the comment section below.