Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review - Visions of Glory - John Pontius

Title:  Visions of Glory     

Review: I don’t know if I find the book truly as fascinating as the vast mix of reviews it is getting from everyone I know. I was told by a number of people that I “have to read it!” others have said “don’t bother” citing it’s a waste of time reading false doctrine. The sheer ambiguity created around the book was enough to get me to read it.

            I liked it. I didn’t like it in the “It changed my whole life and I’m going to pack my bags and follow this Pontius guy around the globe” kind of way. I did, however, find it fascinating. Do I think it’s real and based on true events? Maybe. Do I think it is for the whole of the LDS church to grasp as true doctrine? No. I believe that this guy did have his own out of body experiences, his own revelations, and his own spiritual experiences. I kind of took it as this is his learning experience for his own life and I get to look into it and take what I would like.

            I liked reading the beginning of the book about how our spirits are connected to our bodies, how everything around us is praising god. How we can interact as spirits, how and what it is like in heaven and it was neat to see how everything in his life was aligned so things would go the way God would like it to. Everything that happened, happened for a reason. I also learned what it is like to have your spirit go in and out of your body. It was pretty cool to think about.

            The latter part of the book, not so much. We get to learn more about evil and how the last days will play out….according to him. There are multiple discrepancies between the book and actual scripture and that bothers me. If the last days do in fact end as he claims they will, great. If not, great.

            All in all, without getting into the doctrine and/or writing my own novel on the truth of the book, I will say give it a read. I wouldn’t give it to someone to read who is questioning their faith or to someone new in the LDS Church. It is bound to confuse and maybe even scare some people. BUT, if you are someone like me who is secure in their faith, someone who can detach themselves from the book and take it at face value, then you may, in fact, find it as mysteriously thought-provoking as I did. I learned the same things I always learn. Trust in the Lord, follow the savior, be prepared, be a better person and love one another. It can’t be an evil book if that’s what you take from it. It just can’t. 

Heather, thank you for this review.

Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
ISBN 9781462111183
Copyright:  2012
Pages:   268
Quick Review:  3 out of 5 stars
Where I got the book:    Given as a gift

Synopsis:  In this true account of near-death experiences, we learn about the miracles of the millennium, the return of the Ten Tribes, the building of the New Jerusalem and Temple, and many other astonishing events long prophesied in scripture but never before described in such vivid detail. Visions of Glory is a mesmerizing and fascinating read that you will not be able to put down.
 John M. Pontius
Author Information:  Ever since he was a little boy, all John ever desired was to serve the Lord in whatever capacity he was called. He served an LDS mission to South Africa and returned home to BYU where he married Kathy Ferguson. They had four beautiful children: Matt, Ben, Bonnie and Lisa. They later divorced. John loved living in Alaska for nearly 35 years. He married Terri Jeanne Muhlestein and sealed four more beautiful children into his eternal family: Alicia, Jason, Stephen and Jessica. He loves his precious family with a pure and abiding love. They are each his treasure.

John had the sweet and humbling gift of writing with the pen of angels. The Lord gave him an ability uniquely his to express the gospel of Jesus Christ in a simple yet magnificently beautiful way. Throughout his life, he has touched many thousands of lives through his published books, firesides and this blog.  John’s passions also included music, playing piano and organ masterfully since a young boy, oil painting, woodworking, conducting choral and orchestra (his favorite being the Mat-Su Alaska Community Messiah, which he did for many years), Christmas, and anything that captivated his mechanical and technical genius.

John’s books and lectures were his creations. They have been, and remain, reflections of a man who was always in good standing in the church, continuously held a temple recommend as well as significant callings in the Church, completely defended and celebrated the doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and policies of the Church, and always sustained Church leaders. To insinuate anything contrary is a gross mischaracterization (a lie) about a good man who has passed on.

Other Reviews:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review - Outlander - Diana Gabaldon - TV series coming soon


Title:  Outlander

AuthorDiana Gabaldon

Review:  This book was recommended to me by multiple people, but I have been so busy with other readings and school that I had put it aside.  Well with the news that the book was being made into a mini-series I decided I better read it so I could discuss the finer parts with the TV watchers.

I loved it as I was reading it….but as I thought about it I found the flaws.  I am not so sure about reading the rest at this point.  I thought the story was amazing and a hot page turner.  As I was reading I didn’t think much about the fact that Jamie and Claire were almost mythical in their abilities, but now I think they were a bit over the top….no one is that lucky or that strong….really that was a bit hard to swallow after the fact – that is one reason I may not read another in this series.  I love characters that can take care of themselves, but come on they both should be dead several times over and over and over.....

Claire is a strong women who is lucky- lucky – lucky that is for sure – of course if she did die that would be the end of the story….I do like the fact that Jamie and her love is strong – more than the average bears to be sure.  The idea that Randall is so like her husband Frank is scary…I am not sure I would want to go back home after that experience....YUCK!!!!  But I would want to go back for indoor plumbing and warm showers.

I would recommend this book to anyone- the sex is mild – the story is a bit wild – and the history is rich, interesting and well researched.  I love the idea that she is going to try and change history from destroying the Scotland she loves and the men she is tied to by marriage.  The author paints a vivid world for the reader to jump in and explore.  This is a page turner even with its length it will not take that long to read.

Published:  Published July 26th 2005 by DellPublishing Company (first published January 1st 1991)
ISBN:  9780440242949
Page Count: 870
Quick Review:  4 out 5 stars –
Why I Read this Title:  Recommended to me.

Synopsis:   The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Author Information:   Diana Jean Gabaldon Watkins grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona and is of Mexican-American and English descent. She has earned three degrees: a B.S. in Zoology, a M.S. in Marine Biology, and a Ph.D in Ecology.

She currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona .

Other Reviews:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review - The Glass Kitchen - Linda Francis Lee

Title:  The Glass Kitchen

Review:   I’m so glad I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book. It has been a while since I've read a fun easy book filled with quirky lovable characters. It’s about a Texas girl named Portia, who, along with her two sisters, moves to the big apple. Portia has just left her cheating husband. She has lived trying to suppress the fact that she has “the knowing” her grandmother also had. The knowing is like a sixth sense that allows her to think and taste the food she needs to make even before she’s started cooking. Not only that, but the food improves people’s lives, their relationships and gives her a sense of what is really going on. A unique premise to be sure.

            With only her Grandmother’s recipes and her life goals kind of up in the air, she meets a man, Gabriel Kane and his two daughters. He happens to be the man trying to get her to sell the only thing she truly owns, her apartment. It gets a little complicated when she starts to work for him, and eventually fall for him. With thoughts of dishes to make, sisters needing her, her lack of money and her desires to continue in her grandmother’s footsteps, Portia has to make some hard life decisions. “The knowing” making it all the more difficult because she doesn’t know or understand why she feels the compulsion to make “blood orange ice” or whatever is thrown into her head. Not until it is made does she understand why the dish is useful.

            It is a lovely romantic story mixed with a bit of crazy and fantasy. The characters are eccentric and Portia and her sisters together are a riot. They are silly as only sisters can be. I would recommend this book to most everyone I know. I only have one caveat and that is (again) the sheer number of F-words. I know I sound like a broken record, but they really aren’t’ necessary! As a writer, I would think that you would be able to come up with many different words to adequately describe what’s happening or what a character is feeling. No need to throw in the F-word haphazardly. That’s my two cents. Have fun reading this charming story.

Thanks Heather for this review.

ISBN 9780312382278
Copyright:  2014
Pages:   384
Quick Review:  4 out of 5 stars
Where I got the book:    sent for review

Synopsis:  Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan... and never cook again.

But when she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream.

The Glass Kitchen is a delicious novel, a tempestuous story of a woman washed up on the shores of Manhattan who discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love, the power of forgiveness, and accept the complications of what it means to be family.
 Linda Francis Lee
Author Information:  Linda Francis Lee is a native Texan now calling New York City home. Linda's writing career began when her article "There Is No Finish Line" was published in her university's quarterly magazine. But she got sidetracked from writing when she started teaching probability and statistics. Later she found her way back to writing, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution called her breakout novel, Blue Waltz, "absolutely stunning."

Now Linda is the author of nineteen books that are published in sixteen countries around the world, in languages as diverse as Japanese and Russian. Two of her most recent novels are in development for feature films, and she is in the process of co-developing a television series set in her beloved Texas. Lee's next novel, her twentieth, is a large work of fiction about the redemption of a man, and will be released in 2011.
When Linda isn't writing, she loves to run in Central Park and spend time with her husband, family, and friends

Other Reviews:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review - The Prince's Cinderella Bride - Christine Rimmer

Title:  The Prince's Cinderella Bride

Review:  Another short and sweet book that didn’t take more than an afternoon to finish.  The story line was a bit silly at times and I really did not like the whole “I need to this job and you don’t think I can do it.”  Line- oh well I don’t like everything I read that is a fact.

If you like quick romance novels this is for you – if you like a bit more substance than skip it -  I hate the “I love you and yet cannot have you because of some stupid thing I have or am or am thinking about you” story line – well that is most romance novels I guess but this one was just s bit too much for me.

Published:  Published April 15th 2014 by Harlequin
ISBN:  9780373658114
Page Count: 224
Quick Review:  2 out 5 stars –
Why I Read this TitleSent by the publisher for an honest review.

Synopsis:   From Texas nanny…to palace princess!

It should never have happened—the night of forbidden magic that turned Lani Vasquez and Prince Maximilian Bravo-Calabretti into lovers. After all, Lani knew all too well that an affair between a lowly nanny and the heir to the throne could only end in heartbreak—her own. Which was why she had to end it before she lost her herself completely…

His New Year's Eve with Lani had rocked Max's world—and now the Texas beauty wanted to be just friends? The single father had sworn he'd never marry again, but Lani had charmed his children and awakened his guarded heart. Will the prince catch his Cinderella before the clock strikes midnight?
Christine Rimmer 
Author Information:   New York Times bestselling author Christine Rimmer has written more than ninety contemporary romances for Harlequin Books. She has won Romantic Times BOOKreview’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for best Silhouette Special Edition. She has been nominated six times for the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award and five times for Romantic Times Series Storyteller of the Year. 

A California native who first longed to be an actress, Christine earned her theater degree from California State, Sacramento and then went to New York to study acting. Later, she moved to Southern California, where she began her writing career with short stories, plays, and poems. Her poems and short stories were published in a number of small literary journals. Her plays were produced at The Back Alley and Group Theaters in Southern California and have been published by Dramatists Play Service and West Coast Plays.

She now lives in Oregon with her family and two very contented cats named Tom and Ed. 

Other Reviews:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review - The Husband List - Cindy Kirk


Title:  The Husband List

AuthorCindy Kirk

Review:  Quick and Sweet like candy – that is how I find these fast to read romance novels – Not a bad way to spend an afternoon snoozing by the pool or sitting near the A/C if it’s too hot and humid out there.

I know women with husband lists and rarely if ever do they end up with the ones on the list.  I like the idea of being open to anyone and not deciding beforehand who will do and who will not. 

Mitzi was sure of what she wanted and deserved in a spouse and yet she discovered she was wrong – WOW really that is SHOCKING!!!

It is a good quick read with a flow that keeps you turning the pages – shot at barely 200 pages.  Enjoy this on a short flight or at the beach.

Published:  Published April 15th 2014 by Harlequin
ISBN:  9780373658138
Page Count: 224
Quick Review:  31/2 out 5 stars –
Why I Read this TitleSent by the publisher for an honest review.

Synopsis:   Mr. Right-Next-Door

For orthopedic surgeon Mitzi Sanchez, every step up the ladder of success has been the result of hard work and self-sacrifice. She's got the perfect life in the perfect town. Now she just needs the perfect man….

Pilot Keenan McGregor's life changed forever when he took the blame for someone else's actions. He just wants to rebuild his life, and he's definitely not looking to settle down. Still, whenever he's working with Mitzi, their connection is undeniably electric! Soon they're more than just friends-with-benefits—but can Keenan convince the good-girl-next-door that she's the only woman who can tame his heart
 Cindy Kirk
Author Information:   Cindy Kirk is a lifelong Nebraska resident who started writing after taking a class at a local community college. But her interest in the written word started years before when she was in her teens. At sixteen she wrote in her diary, “I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t be a writer.”

Not until her daughter was heading off to college did Cindy return to her first love---writing. Unlike some writers, Cindy wasn’t interested in newspaper or magazine articles, short stories or poetry. When she decided to start writing, she jumped feet first into book length fiction. She loves reading and writing romance because she believes in the power of love and in happily ever after. An incurable romantic, Cindy loves seeing her characters grow and learn from their mistakes and, in the process, achieve a happy ending.

She and her high school sweetheart husband live on an acreage with two cats…one of whom loves to sit next to the computer and supervise her writing.

Other Reviews:
RT Book reviews
Susans 2014 Book Reviews

Disclaimer for all reviews sent by the publisher, publicist or author for review.