Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Review of Longing For Home by Sarah Eden


I've read so many great books over the summer and now I have another huge list for the fall. It makes me smile, so I have to tell you about these books so you can smile too!

My latest read is Longing For Home by Sarah Eden.
First off, let me tell you that Sarah is a phenomenal writer. I have loved every book she has written. Her attention to detail and incredible gift at crafting historical romances never ceases to amaze me.
After reading Longing For Home, I have a hankering to visit Ireland, and I'm betting you will too! I love a good romance, but the plot must have some meat in it for me to chew on while reading. Sarah provides a backdrop from history of the discrimination the Irish faced upon landing on American soil. Katie is a heroine full of spunk and Irish fire and I loved everything she had to say.
This book will warm your heart, stir the embers of history, and leave you longing for more which I hear Sarah will deliver in the sequel.

Here's a little about the book:

Though she was only a child during the darkest days of Ireland s Great Famine, Katie Macauley feels responsible for the loss of her family s land and the death of her sister. Now a woman grown, Katie has left Ireland for America and the promise of earning money enough to return home again and plead for her family s forgiveness. She arrives in Hope Springs, Wyoming Territory, a town sharply divided between the Americans who have settled there, with their deep hatred of the Irish, and the Irish immigrants who have come searching for a place to call home. Her arrival tips the precarious balance, and the feud erupts anew. Even in the midst of hatred and violence, however, Katie finds reason to hope. Two men, as different as they are intriguing, vie for her heart, turning her thoughts for the first time toward a future away from Ireland. Katie must now make the hardest decision of her life: stay and give her heart a chance at love, or return home and give her soul the possibility of peace.

Here’s the link to Sarah’s FB page.

I received a review copy of this book so that I could provide you my honest opinion.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Marlene Sullivan Guest Post, Heroes of Faith

 I have a great feature today from Marlene Sullivan. She visited my blog recently and let me tell you--she is one hard-working writer!
Guest Post on Researching for Heroes of Faith Blog Tour 

Writing non-fiction means doing a lot of research, so if you are trying to decide between writing non-fiction or fiction, make sure spending time in libraries is something you enjoy.

For Heroes of Faith, I did most of my research at the Church History Library, the Church Archives, BYU Library, and the library at Utah State University. I also used local libraries. As I was researching, I would often come across other interesting topics and would write them down for ideas for future books. When you research, be sure and keep a file where you can write down your ideas.

Years ago, as I was researching on another topic, I came across amazing stories about angels who came to earth to comfort, inspire, or direct early latter-day Saints. In time, I found enough material to write three books: And There Were Angels Among them, Visits from Beyond the Veil, and By the Ministering of Angels. There were so many experiences that I had to limit them to people who had either seen or heard an angel. So, keep your eye open for ideas for future books.

One thing to remember is that although computer searches are wonderful, they are limited. Make sure you’re using a data base that pulls up information from ALL sources. Don’t just search one collection. Ask a librarian if you’re unsure.

It’s also helpful to type in different words as you search. When I was researching for Gaze Into Heaven, (a book about near-death experiences in early church history), I typed in near-death experiences, then also searched for “heaven,” “Spirit World,” and “next life.” Go through your thesaurus and come up with different words to describe what you are looking for. Also, watch out for hyphens. When I typed near-death and near death, I got different lists.

While on the computer, be sure to check out related subjects—these usually appear either on the side of the computer screen or at the bottom. They may lead to rich new sources of material.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The people at libraries are happy to assist you. During your first visit, ask them to explain the layout of the library. They will give you great advice. It really helps to get their expertise on how to use the computer to navigate their particular system. Asking for their help will save you a lot of time!

Anyone who writes nonfiction must love to research, and I do. It was wonderful to find and read these inspiring stories in Heroes of Faith. It was a testimony to me that God lives and loves us and that the Church is true. Good luck and happy researching!

Synopsis of Heroes of Faith
Our fast-paced society loves adventure and it loves a hero—but what about Latter-day Saint heroes? Are there any? There are plenty! Heroes of Faith, True Stories of Faith and Courage, is a collection of twenty-four riveting stories about people who rose above difficulties and impossible odds to emerge triumphant. You’ll read about stalwart men and women who stood firm and valiant in the gospel in spite of dangerous mobs, flying bullets, physical handicaps, extreme hardships, and dictatorial regimes. It's fascinating to read about the exploits of real heroes and when that hero is acting in accordance with the principles of the gospel, the adventure is not only thrilling, but inspiring as well. In these days of increasing trials and tribulation, we can all use some worthy role models, especially those that strengthen our faith and increase our testimonies.

 Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they are the parents of seven children. Her hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including: Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, and Brigham’s Boys. Marlene also wrote the best-selling novel, Light on Fire Island. A busy writer, Marlene is set to have three books published this year. Gaze Into Heaven, a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences in early church history, was published earlier this year. Next came Motive for Murder, the first in a mystery series featuring the quirky private eye, Erica Coleman. Then, Heroes of Faith, a collection of stories about people who acted heroically in the face of grave trials and handicaps was released by Cedar Fort Inc.

Marlene's website is:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Come to Zion, New Series by Dean Hughes

I love learning about history, but I don't love reading straight non-fiction books on the subject. Enter Dean Hughes and his incredible talent for weaving fact and fiction into a story that brings the past to the present, engaging the reader in historical events that will leave a lasting impression. This is how I like to learn history!

I read The Winds and The Waves, Volume 1 of a 3 Volume series and I can't wait to finish Through Cloud and Sunshine (Vol 2). This details events from the beginnings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and follows a fictional family from Great Britain across the sea to join the saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. As a member of the LDS Church, I've heard many stories and details of the difficulties the early members faced. This story brings everything up front and present with a clarity that gave me an even deeper respect for these early pioneers.

And if it wasn't enough to share with you how incredible these books are, I have something quite amazing to share. Through Cloud and Sunshine is the 100th published book of author Dean Hughes. WOW! Can you imagine writing 100 books? I can dream . . .

Info on The Winds and The Waves:

Will Lewis is stuck. the class system in England in the 1840s seems destined to keep him in his place as a poor tenant farmer who cannot improve his lot and will never be able to marry the woman he loves. But the "new religion" that is sweeping through congregations of the United Brethren, Will's church, may hold the key to the better life he longs for. As he listens to the preaching of Wilford Woodruff, he almost dares to hope for the Zion the young Apostle describes.
Will's struggles to believe and to face the rigors of immigrating to an unknown land are paralleled by the modern-day story of Jeff and Abby, a young married couple facing challenges of their own. When Jeff begins digging into his family history, he finds himself particularly drawn to "Grandpa Lewis," an ancestor whose life was more like his than he would have imagined.
The skillful interweaving of these two stories brings Church history to life while demonstrating how much we can learn from those who went before us. Anyone who has ever faced the winds and the waves, in some form, will love this novel. 

 Info on Through Cloud and Sunshine:
Nauvoo was supposed to be the kingdom of God on earth, but Will and Liz Lewis are learning that it takes more than dreaming of Zion to make it a reality. Sickness, poverty, and just plain human nature add to the struggles for the Lord's people, but every now and then a glimpse of heaven shines through. Just when things are starting to get settled, though, the old problems start rearing their heads, leaving Will and others wondering if they will be there to reap the harvest they have so carefully sown.
Meanwhile, Jeff and Abby—in modern-day Nauvoo—are dealing with challenges of their own. As their newborn baby fights for his life, they must come to grips with their personal faith. Can they, like their ancestors, continue to trust in God when there seems to be no trace o Him in their trials?
Beloved novelist Dean Hughes skillfully interweaves the stories of two couples separated by five generations and 150 years, providing a unique perspective on Church history and showing how much we can learn from those who went before us.

Available at Deseret here
I received review copies in exchange for posting on my blog, my opinions are my own and I delight in sharing great books with my readers.


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