Sunday, January 25, 2015

Review: Keeping Kate by Lauren Winder Farnsworth

Keeping Kate by Lauren Winder Farnsworth

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Orphan Kate Evans is determined to make a life for herself on a Utah ranch, taking care of a little girl named Addie. But when she meets her irritable employer, Kate is forced to confront the past she's been running from—and face a future she never dreamed possible. This latter-day twist on the classic Jane Eyre is a romantic and gripping read.

My Review

While it took some time for me to get into the book (I think because Kate spends the first chapter recounting her personal history in a detached manner) once the "irritable employer" Tyler makes his appearance, things started to get really interesting! Kate morphs from dry to feisty as she has a cause to champion- the little girl Addie that she's come to love and Tyler's treatment of her. The chemistry between Kate and Tyler is great as they spar and banter, fight then eventually give in to the mutual attraction.

I enjoyed seeing the story lines match up with those from Jane Eyre, but there are also twists that bring some surprises. For a character that started out so unemotional, Kate becomes an emotional mess as she navigates for the first time the drama and heartbreak of romantic relationships. The friends she makes that support her through these turbulent times are quirky and likeable, and add more depth to Kate's new experience of friendship and loyalty.

This book can be enjoyed by any lover of Christian fiction, however there are references to the Mormon faith since Kate is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

(Thank you to Cedar Fort Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review: 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family: 5-Minute Messages by Nicole Carpenter

 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family: 5-Minute Messages by Nicole Carpenter

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Each morning, around the breakfast table or cuddled on the couch, open your scriptures and read the verse. Discuss it as long as your children will let you. Talk about how it affects their lives or builds on the scripture from the morning before. If you like, add a quote, insightful question and finish with a prayer. It just may be the most important three minutes you offer your children each day.

My Review

The author shares the purpose of this book in the preface and it made me recognize how vitally important it is for families to implement some kind of daily scripture study routine to armor ourselves and our children against Satan's continual temptations and opposition.

The four sections (value lessons, life lessons, gospel lessons, and holiday lessons) each cover several principles, one per week. They can be read in order or you can jump around based on what topic will resonate with your family. Each week's lesson includes daily scripture references, a relevant quote, thoughtful questions to prompt discussion, and a supporting  address from General Conference. Some also have information to access a bonus video available online.

I appreciate that the author encourages reading the daily scripture from the actual scriptures, even though the whole reference is included in the book, so your children experience reading from the scriptures.

Each daily scripture builds upon the one from the previous day, so those should be read in order. Reading the scripture alone wouldn't take 5 minutes, but a thoughtful question and short discussion could take about that much time and also ensure comprehension.

My older daughter just turned eight years old and I am looking forward to developing a habit of daily scripture study with her. Some topics that I'm especially interested in starting with are Gratitude, Courage, Principles of Prayer, and the Light of Christ. I'd definitely recommend this resource to families and individuals who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as many other Christian faiths.

(Thank you to Cedar Fort Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The manor behind Julie Klassen's The Secret of Pembrooke Park

I was so excited to see this "behind the scenes" look at Chalfield Manor which inspired the setting for The Secret of Pembrooke Park! Adding it to my bucket list...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Giveaway Hop! Win The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller!

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop

It's giveaway time!!! Enter below for a chance to win a copy of The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller! Then follow the hop to enter more giveaways...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Quote-worthy: The Secret of Pembrooke Park

I recently read this fabulous book (review coming soon!) and found a line in it that resonated with me since I find it to be so true in my own life. It reminds me that in times of trial there is always something good that can come when we turn to the Lord.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Review: Rainy Day Dreams by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith

Rainy Day Dreams by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay


When the Burgert family moves to Seattle in 1852, Kathryn is convinced her father has destroyed her life. The backwoods settlement offers none of the comforts and culture she loves in San Francisco. She cares nothing for the new sawmill the townsfolk are so excited about. That is, until she meets Jason, a lumberjack with dreams for a bright future. As she comes to know Jason, Kathryn can't help catching his vision.

But the future they hope for is anything but secure. There are some who see Seattle as a threat and will stop at nothing to make sure the sawmill fails. With the harsh and rugged weather, at times it seems even the land itself is determined to thwart Seattle's very existence. Kathryn and Jason's plans for a happy future become entwined with Seattle's struggle to survive in the midst of adversity, both manmade and natural.

My Review

Boy did I have a hard time getting into this book. In fact, I was never able to connect with the characters or care about the plot. I wasn't exactly sure what the point of the story was until well past the halfway point. Kathryn is self-centered and entitled, while Jason is prejudiced and surly. There was never any chemistry between the two. The best characters in the story are Evie and Noah from the first book in the series. I did enjoy the setting of a newly settled Seattle.

(Thank you to Harvest House Publishers for an e-copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Review: Eve: In the Beginning by Heather B. Moore

Eve: In the Beginning by Heather B. Moore

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


The first love story on earth... Haunting... Lyrical... Unforgettable...

In a world where everything is perfect, yet the same day after day, Eve must decide if she wants to live forever in the garden with Adam and never know what lies beyond the walls. When she makes a choice with terrible consequences, the pain of mortality is swift. As she and Adam explore their new world, and her body changes, Eve discovers the sweetness of first love with the man who has always been at her side.

My Review

I loved reading this perspective on Eve and the choices she made in the Garden of Eden. It shows what her her thought process might have been as she desires further knowledge and to multiply and replenish the earth. The author chose to write Eve's perspective from the first person point of view, and Adam's from third person, which I thought was very effective in showing his perspective while still allowing the story to belong to Eve. The thing that stood out to me the most was how the Garden of Eden began as a peaceful place, but when Satan makes his appearance and begins tempting Adam and Eve, the anxiety becomes palpable until Eve finally makes the choice to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Their experiences outside of the garden are fascinating as they battle the elements and learn to fend for themselves in a harsh world. The love and affection they show for each other as man and wife in the garden is portrayed as innocent, and when they become mortal they become aware of each other in a more physical and romantic manner. The author does a tasteful job of depicting this awareness with its range of emotions, including shyness, hesitance, anticipation, fear of rejection, and devotion.

(Thank you to Ebooks For Review for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)