Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Blog Tour/Review: The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson

The Orphan's Wish, by Melanie Dickerson
2018, 352p, Christian Fiction/Fairytale retelling
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy, which did not affect my review in any way

From the streets to an orphanage in a faraway kingdom, Aladdin has grown up alone. Until he meets Kirstyn. With a father who is the duke of Hagenheim and a mother who is the patroness of the orphanage where Aladdin lives, Kirstyn is a member of the most powerful family in the land . . . and way out of his league. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion for taking walks in the forest, and their childhood friendship grows along with them.

Through his scrappy skills, intelligence, and hard work, Aladdin earns a position serving in the duke’s house. But he knows it isn’t enough to grant him his one desire: Kirstyn’s hand in marriage. If he hopes to change his station in life and feel worthy of marrying Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim to seek his fortune.

But once Aladdin leaves, no one is around to protect Kirstyn, and the greedy men desperate to take advantage of her father’s wealth take notice. Now, more than Aladdin’s background stands in the way of the future he’s worked so hard to obtain. His only hope is to rescue Kirstyn and somehow manage to win her hand as well.

I've heard a lot about Melanie Dickerson, but this is the first book of hers I've read. It definitely won't be my last! It's a fairytale retelling of Aladdin, which is a bit loose, but still a great read.

This book entertained me from beginning to end! Aladdin was an orphan who started out in a tough situation. His situation improved, but he still felt like the orphan that needed to prove himself, so he left to earn his fortune. He formed new friendships and learned multiple life lessons. I enjoyed getting to know each of these characters, whether they were good or bad.

I liked the twists and turns this story took so I didn't quite know what to expect. I was interested from the beginning, but then it got even better and I couldn't put it down until I knew how it ended. This is Christian fiction so I like that it's clean and has an inspiring message! I would recommend it to anyone, especially those that enjoy fairytale retellings!

Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author and a Christy Award winner. Her first book, The Healer’s Apprentice, won the National Readers’ Choice Award for Best First Book in 2010, and The Merchant’s Daughter won the 2012 Carol Award. Melanie spends her time daydreaming, researching the most fascinating historical time periods, and writing stories at her home near Huntsville, Alabama, where she gathers dandelion greens for her two adorable guinea pigs between writing and editing her happily ever afters.

Melanie Dickerson’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, June 25th: @ladyofthelibrary
Tuesday, June 26th: Read Eat Repeat
Wednesday, June 27th: Write Read Life
Thursday, June 28th: @megabunnyreads
Friday, June 29th: Splashes of Joy
Monday, July 2nd: What is That Book About – author guest post
Tuesday, July 3rd: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, July 5th: Broken Teepee
Friday, July 6th: @createexploreread
Monday, July 8th: Girls in Books
Tuesday, July 10th: Here’s to Happy Endings
Tuesday, July 10th: @girlandherbooks
Tuesday, July 10th: Mel’s Shelves
Wednesday, July 11th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Thursday, July 12th: All of a Kind Mom
Friday, July 13th: @abookishpeach & A Bookish Peach – author guest post
Monday, July 16th: @bookishconnoisseur
Tuesday, July 17th: The Sketchy Reader
Wednesday, July 18th: Blooming with Books
Thursday, July 19th: Reader’s Cozy Corner

Monday, July 9, 2018

DVD Review: TREK, the Movie

TREK, the Movie, DVD, 2018
PG, 94 minutes
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy of the DVD, which did not affect my review in any way

Trek follows a young Mormon teenager named Tom and his friends on their handcart journey. Along the way, they try to smuggle in unsanctioned food, battle sibling rivalry, encounter a "special ops" Young Men leader, match wits with a Twinkie-loving skunk, and ponder doctrinal brain teasers like, "Do General Authorities go to PG-13 movies?" But, when they encounter unexpected trouble, their faith is tested much like that of their pioneer ancestors. Whether you've been on a trek or not, your family will laugh along and ultimately be inspired as you enjoy this delightful film.

Participating in Trek wasn't an option for me when I was a youth, and I haven't had an opportunity to attend as an adult, either (and, have to admit that, since I'm not much of a camper, I'm not too sad about that). One of the things I found to be unrealistic in this movie was the lack of adults. There were six adults, which wasn't nearly enough for a group like this. There was a situation towards the end that would have been prevented if there had been more adults, but it was an important part of the plot so I guess adults would have ruined that.

All that aside, though, this movie made me laugh and kept me entertained the entire time I watched it. Some of the youth are struggling with questions, whether they are serious or on the lighter side. There are many different personality types represented which makes it easy to relate to someone.Tom was a character that grew on me as I learned more about him and the struggles he was dealing with.

I watched this with my daughter who has been on Trek and she enjoyed it, too, but she felt like they left out key parts of Trek, like the water crossing and women's pull, which would have made it more authentic. We did have a great discussion after watching this movie, and after reading the message from Alan Peterson, the Director, I feel like like this movie accomplishes what he hopes it will. The only warning I would give is that there is a couple that likes to sneak off and kiss, so if you're okay with that, then it's great for the entire family!

Message from Alan Peterson, Director of TREK The Movie

It’s exciting to anticipate the DVD/BluRay release of TREK, the movie. Being with audiences in theaters is the fulfillment of any director’s dream. But, the reality of independent film is that you can’t get a movie into enough theaters so that everyone who wants to, can see it. July 3rd is a day that lots of TREK fans have been waiting for. Now, everyone can enjoy the laughs and lessons of TREK whenever they want. One of our goals in producing the movie was to create a story that would honor the wonderful tradition of this hands-on experience unique to our faith. Trek provides a critical chance to connect with our past. Why is this important? I’ll let Elder Russell M. Ballard explain:

"I have a deep conviction that if we lose our ties to those who have gone before us, including our pioneer forefathers and mothers, we will lose a very precious treasure. I have spoken about “Faith in Every Footstep” in the past and will continue in the future because I know that rising generations must have the same kind of faith that the early Saints had in the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.” (General Conference, October 2017, The Trek Continues!)

It is too easy to forget what our pioneer ancestors sacrificed for their faith and for our good. I hope families can sit down together and share the movie and talk about how grateful we should be for the men, women and children who marched into the unknown following a prophet of God so long ago. And, I hope they will talk about the challenges they face today as members of the church as we march forward into the unknown. Do you feel like Tom and wonder where God is? How do we connect with Him? What do we do when we feel weak and alone? Hopefully, TREK helps us know that our Heavenly Father is there and that He cares.

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