Friday, July 31, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This was an absolutely fascinating book. It was terrifying but intriguing all at the same time. I couldn't put it down. The worst part about it was the sequel doesn't come out until September 1, 2009 (I originally read this about 6 months ago).

This book is advertised for young adults and I would recommend they be mature young adults. There is violence and death along with the goodness that is shown.

If this were a movie I would have to rate it PG-13.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hazardous Duty, Above and Beyond, Code of Honor by Betsy Brannon Green


Loved this series, especially now that it is done. For those of you that haven't started it just get all three books because you won't be able to put them down.








Monday, July 27, 2009

Review of Anna Jones Buttimore's book, Easterfield


Easterfield is a historical romance set in Lancashire, England in 1850 and tells of the challenges that come into the life of a well-to-do family when they encounter one of the first LDS missionaries. Anna has an Honors Degree in English literature, and the story was inspired by her love of Jane Austen’s novels, as well as the work of the Bronte sisters and WM Thackeray, and her realization that these classic works were set around the time the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored. What, she wondered, would happen if an LDS element were introduced? Easterfield is the answer.

The novel is carefully written in the elegant and expressive language of the period, and involved a great deal of painstaking, but fascinating, research. Nineteenth-century life, especially for higher-class families, was often slow-paced and uneventful, but Anna worked hard to build intrigue, dilemmas, and painful choices to keep the story moving and keep the reader engaged. British English spelling and idiom has been retained for authenticity, and Meridian reviewer Jennie Hansen called it “a tight, well-written story with charming, versatile characters [which will] become a classic favorite of women of all ages.”

SYNOPSIS: When Mr. Wilson, a Mormon missionary, arrives in the rural English town of Easterfield, Lancashire, in 1850, Catherine Waters finds herself intrigued by both the message he brings and his relationship to her reclusive and aristocratic neighbour. Through Mr. Wilson, Catherine is drawn into the strange world of Easterfield Hall, where both her cousin and sister find forbidden love, and Catherine uncovers secrets that change her entire outlook on their peaceful life. After Mr. Wilson is called back to Utah, the dashing Dr. Davenport is on hand to offer love, security, and help in piecing together Catherine’s fragmenting life. As she experiences gut-wrenching fear, hopeless love, and the loss of all she once thought important, she learns that the things that really matter are eternal.

If you like Jane Austen, you'll love Anna Jones Buttimore!

Review of Christopher Mills' The Holy Bible and Mormonism - Understanding the Mormon Faith


I recently discovered a great little book that deserves to be in every home, LDS or otherwise. The Holy Bible and Mormonism, by Christopher Mills also deserves to be near the top of every Church teacher’s pile of reference books. I'd keep it within easy reach when teaching teenage family home evening discussions, too.

This book does not cause offense to other religions in any way. Neither does it set out to prove anyone right or wrong. However, Christopher Mills does explain in clear and simple terms what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed LDS or Mormons) believe, using collective verses (as opposed to those taken out of context) from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. He uses the words of Joseph Smith (1938, 121) to explain further:

“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into Heaven; and all other things that pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”

Christopher Mills also says, “Critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints often use the Holy Bible to assert that Mormons are not Biblical Christians by misinterpreting and, in some cases, misquoting scripture. Some critics simply do not understand how Latter-day Saints can use the Bible as a source for spiritual guidance and hold beliefs that other Christian churches do not. Others do not even realize that we use the Holy Bible.”

A few of the subjects covered are as follows: Pre-mortal Existence, Baptism, Baptism for the Dead, Resurrection, Temples, Polygamy, The Nature of God, Priesthood, and False Prophets.

As Christopher says, “Once I discovered the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, I gained a deeper understanding of the Holy Bible and I wanted to share it with others. I have a special interest in sharing the gospel with those who are confused by LDS beliefs. This interest, along with the recent flood of anti-Mormon material, has sparked a number of discussions and an inescapable need to write my first book, The Holy Bible and Mormonism."

It is my opinion that this book is definitely a gem worth reading.

Title: The Holy Bible and Mormonism
Author: Christopher Mills
ISBN: 9781589825215
Publisher and Size: American Book Publishing 232 pages, 5x8 inches
Website: Christopher Mills
Purchase: Bookstore

Review of Eric Shuster's Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest

I would love to have read a book such as Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest by Eric Shuster during various stages of my own life. First, as a young adult inquisitive about religion to such a degree that I tried out many different churches (including Catholic) before I was twenty-one. Second, as an investigator and convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at age twenty-two. Third, as a wife and mother to four children who deserved enough information about the Gospel of Jesus Christ to sustain their budding testimonies. Fourth, as a Seminary teacher actively seeking all the knowledge I could find. And fifth, as an empty nester longing to buttress family faith from a distance.

Eric Shuster’s book has enough answers to cover all the bases. It is beautifully written – concise, straightforward, personal, and heartfelt. I give it ten out of ten from every aspect, and recommend it to anyone with a sincere desire to find truth. I appreciate how Eric never knocks the Catholic Church, but explains their doctrine in a straight-forward manner that is fair and revealing, while at the same time loving. His treatment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ belief is equally evenhanded, and his testimony of the Savior comes shining through it all.

Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest is the captivating story of Mr. and Mrs. Shuster’s conversion from Catholicism to Mormonism with comparisons of 40 key doctrines between both religions that drove their life-changing decision. The book delivers a unique journey of how they were able to retain the spiritual roots from their Catholic upbringing, while enriching their lives with a harvest of peace and joy that comes from a closer relationship with Jesus Christ as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—hence the title of the book.

In Mr. Shuster’s own words, “Being raised in the rich and beautiful traditions of the Catholic Church, my wife a former Franciscan nun with a degree in Catholic theology and me an active lay minister, we were curious when introduced to the LDS faith—the supposed restored Catholic Church. At the time we wanted to learn about those who may have journeyed from Catholicism to Mormonism, while yearning for a text to help us quickly understand the doctrines of both churches for comparison and study. Not having such a work to draw from, we tarried through an extended investigation of the Church and finally entered the waters of baptism, realizing we gave up nothing and gained everything in doing so. Not long after our baptism I committed myself to producing a book that would share our story and help the searching Catholic understand what we learned during our own journey to the restored gospel: that the roots of Catholicism make for an excellent Mormon harvest.

“As the years passed, I learned that every Latter-day Saint had one or more Catholic friends in the same boat we were, who had the potential to make the same journey we did, and could benefit from reading our story and the doctrinal comparison work we labored upon. Latter-day Saints would gladly purchase such a book not only to help their Catholic friends, but for themselves to learn and understand more. While the market appears huge for this book, the love and joy I felt in my heart for each and every struggling Catholic drove me to make the book a reality.”

Mark L. McConkie, son of Elder Bruce R. McConkie and Professor of the University of Colorado, had this to say about Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest:

“This is not just the story of Eric and Marilyn Shuster’s religious journey; it is the story of the journey of all devout truth seekers. Written in a sincere and gentle style, filled with friendly humor, this book gives the details of an intimate and deeply sincere inquiry and of the answers—and new questions—to which this inquiry led. In these pages you will meet these two people, share their laughter and their tears—and perhaps a few of their conclusions. In any case, you will be enriched by your reading, and strengthened in your own quest, wherever it may take you.”

Eric Shuster is the fifth of six children born to George and Patricia Shuster. He is a graduate of Saint Lawrence Catholic College Preparatory School and has earned a Bachelor of Science degree from San Jose State University and a Masters of Science degree from the University of Phoenix. Following a distinguished career in the technology field, Mr. Shuster founded IntelliClear in 2004—a market research and business consulting firm based in Colorado Springs. Eric is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Foundation for Christian Studies (FCS), a non-profit organization dedicated to the study, teaching, and practice of Christianity (www.studychristianity.org).

Eric has held numerous ecclesiastical positions in stake and ward leadership, auxiliaries, and teaching. The Shusters have three children and reside in Colorado where Eric enjoys writing, community service, and hiking. He is also a musician and former recording artist.

To purchase this book, contact any area store or order online at www.cedarfort.com. You may also contact Bevan Olsen for booking author appearances, interviews, or to obtain further information. Bevan may be reached at bolsen@cedarfort.com; by calling 1-800-sky-book; or by mail at 2373 W. 700 S., Springville, UT 84663.

Review of H. B. Moore's Forthcoming Book, Alma


Heather B. Moore has done it again! As I finished reading a preview copy of her latest novel, Alma, I groaned. The book was so good I wanted to keep reading for another few hundred pages – and that was after soaking up some three hundred already.

I admire the way Heather brings scripture alive in her books, and adds a third dimension to familiar stories. Alma is no exception. Characters I met and loved in Abinidi grow and mature in Alma as they endure trials and afflictions that test the strongest faith to its limits. It’s heart breaking to witness the burdens these people carry, yet satisfying to see how prayers are answered and right prevails.

Even though I’m familiar with Alma’s story in the Book of Mormon, reading about him in Heather's fiction—which maintains scriptural accuracy, by the way—is like seeing everything open up in real time. Heather’s writing is masterful. Her descriptive passages employ all the senses, taking me into the heart of the story, letting me see, feel, hear, and smell my surroundings as though I was actually there in ancient lands.

The love stories weaving through Alma are so believable and touching, that from now on I know I’ll have a hard time putting them into the “fiction, not fact” compartment of my brain. I certainly have a much greater appreciation for Alma, the great warrior prophet, thanks to Heather’s book.

In my personal Book of Mormon daily read, at the same time as I finished Alma, I reached the Mosiah chapter seventeen account where Alma is writing up Abinadi’s words in secret after being hounded out of the city. What a happy coincidence that was. My scriptural Alma suddenly became so vivid I wanted to tell him not to worry, millions would one day read the things he was writing, and to keep up the great work as it was vital information for future generations.

I give Alma by H. B. Moore ten out of ten, and am already looking forward to her next work, Alma the Younger.

Below are a few of the many glowing endorsements for Alma, which comes out September 2009.

Alma has it all: vibrant characters, danger, spiritual challenges, and bittersweet joy. Moore has created an epic tale that’s simply impossible to put down.”—Jason F. Wright, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Wednesday Letters

“H.B. Moore brings the remarkable characters to life through well-researched detail, a hard-to-put-down storyline, and scripturally accurate counsel that reflects the author’s own deep understanding of the scriptures. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and the way in which the books cause you to ponder the scriptural accounts.” –Al Rounds, Artist

“In a pattern that has become warmly familiar, H. B. Moore crafts a page-turning yet well-researched story of the challenges that a Book of Mormon personality faces when trying to lead a colony of believers to safety, not once but twice. Alma the Elder, who begins his life in debauchery, becomes the respected adviser to a king and the leader of his church, and more. On a personal level, this man becomes the model for all of us who seek to arrest a wasted life and turn it into something grand and meaningful.” -S. Kent Brown, emeritus professor of ancient scripture, BYU


Monday, July 13, 2009

Eyes Like Mine by Julie Wright

Eyes Like Mine by Julie Wright

Review by Heather Moore

A book that makes you think.
A book that makes you grateful.
A book that strengthens your faith.

Through a time-travel phenomenon, Constance Brown is transported from the pioneer trail into the life of her great grandaughter, Liz King. What unfolds is an incredible story as both women must find their destiny, together.

The last several chapters were just brilliant. This is a great YA novel and the characters were true-to-life. If you've read Julie Wright's other novels (especially My Not-So-Fairy-Tale Life), you know she has the knack for getting inside the angst of the teenage mentality. She combines humor, heartache, romance, and great storytelling into a terrific read.

Visit Julie's Blog Here!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

All the Stars in Heaven by Michele Paige Holmes


Reviewed by Heather Moore

Whitney Award Winning author Michele Paige Holmes' newest novel All the Stars in Heaven is a fantastic read. As a companion novel to Counting Stars, this new book tells the story of Jay as he turns his life around and goes to Harvard law school. There he meets a talented musician, Sarah, the trouble is that her father and her cousin will do anything to keep a man out of her life. Literally.

In this book, romance blends with a fast-paced suspense plot. I also loved the details surrounding the campus and life in this historic town.

You will love the characters--the perfect summer read!

Visit Michele's blog here.