Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Delivering Hope by Jennifer Ann Holt


Delivering Hope

Author: Jennifer Ann Holt

Publisher: Cedar Fort

Published: February 8, 2012

Paperback: 224 pages

ISBN13: 9781599559025

Genre: General Fiction

FTC FYI: Received a PDF copy from author in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary: Olivia Spencer wants to be a mother more than anything else, but years of infertility have left her soul wounded and her marriage strained. Allison Campbell is a young, single woman who discovers that a moment of excitement has led to an unplanned pregnancy and overwhelming heartache. Deep love paves the way for sacrifice as the lives of these two women touch.

My Review

Shanda reviewed Delivering Hope for the Blog Tour back in February, but when the author asked me for a review, I couldn't resist.  Jennifer and I have a lot in common.  Although, we have only met once, she is from the same hometown as my husband.  Good 'ole Enterprise, Utah.  Catch up on Shanda's review here.

There were many things that I loved about this book.  The way Olivia and Ally learned about the Atonement of our Savior, and especially how they applied it to their lives.  Prayer was a big part of this book, and each woman had to learn that what they wanted may have be different then from what our Heavenly Father and Jesus had in store for them.  There were many times that I cried when I was reading.  There is an experience told to Ally from her friend Hannah's mother that was especially touching.  I loved it when Olivia read her great-aunt's journal, and learned of her struggles with infertility.  I loved it when Ally's father told her family that they were like a bunch of sticks that can't be broken.  However, my favorite line was from Ally's Bishop. (page 146)
"Don't give up.  I know you're going to make it through this.  Don't forget that Heavenly Father and Jesus are there to help you.  They are as close as a prayer."
The book was very emotional for me at times.  Even though I did not have the same experiences as Olivia and Ally, I could relate to how they felt about being a mother, and the feelings associated with having children.  I cried when the baby was born, and for what each woman went through at that time.  It is very well written, so have your Kleenex ready.  Actually, the whole book is like that.  I am very big on good, likable characters and this book does not disappoint.  I also really appreciated how Jennifer told the reader her adoption experience.

5 out of 5 stars.  This is Jennifer's first book, and she is currently working on the sequel.  Follow her on her blogFacebook, and Twitter.

Jennifer donated a copy of Delivering Hope.  Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!  US ONLY.
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Color of Snow by Brenda Stanley -- Blog Tour

The Color of Snow

Author: Brenda Stanley

Publisher: Tribute Books

Published: June 1st, 2012

ISBN13: 9780983741893

eBook: 413 pages

Genre: YA General

FTC FYI: Review copy

Goodreads summaryCan a troubled young girl reenter society after living in isolation?

When a beautiful 16-year-old girl named Sophie is found sequestered in a cage-like room in a rundown house in the desolate hills of Arbon Valley, Idaho, the entire community is shocked to learn she is the legendary Callidora--a baby girl who was kidnapped from her crib almost seventeen years ago and canonized in missing posters with portraits of what the fabled girl might resemble. Authorities soon learn that the cage was there to protect people from Sophie, because her biological father believes she is cursed.

Sophie is discovered after the man she knows as Papa, shoots and injures Damien, a young man who is trying to rescue her. Now, unsocialized and thrust into the world, and into a family she has never met, Sophie must decide whether she should accept her Papa’s claims that she is cursed and he was only trying to protect others, or trust the new people in her life who have their own agendas. Guided by a wise cousin, Sophie realizes that her most heartbreaking challenge is to decide if her love for Damien will destroy him like her Papa claims, or free her from past demons that haunt her mind.

My Review

Sophie has just been "rescued" from living a life of isolation thrust on her by her father.  As he is being taken away by the police, he tells her,
"I love you Sophie. Please know that.  I've always loved you.  That is why this happening now.
It was the only time my father ever told me he loved me, and now he did it with such fervor it made my skin prickle.  The words didn't comfort, they left me feeling scared and abandoned.  I nodded and sat on my bed.  He took a last look at me, then put his hand to his mouth and left my doorway.  I knew we were in trouble, but I didn't know what would happen next."
Sophie's life has not only been of isolation, but of fear.  Not from her father necessarily, but of the curse that he said follows them.  Papa tells her of ghosts in the fields, and how he needed to protect their secret.  Now she is living with her grandparents, scared and confused.  She befriends her step cousin Stephanie, and is home schooled by her Uncle Lonny.  Her aunt Elise's new husband.

There is so much more to this story, I don't want to give many more details.  Just know this, I loved how this story is told.  It is told in past and present, with a couple POV changes. I was always kept in the story, and the author would brilliantly end the chapters with me wanting more.   The story is told from Sophie's point of view in the present and past, and her father's in the past as well.  We learn so much through his eyes, just as much as Sophie's.  Sophie's fear is the curse, will she get over it for her to move with her life.  You will enjoy reading for that answer.

There are a few content issues I should warn you about.  There is pre-maritial sex, but no details. An icky uncle.  Smoking, and language.  Nothing I was offended by.

4 out of 5 stars.  This is the first book I have read from Brenda Stanley.  I really enjoyed it.  Brenda Stanley is the former news anchor at her NBC affiliate KPVI in Eastern Iadho. Her writing has been recognized by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Hearst Journalism Awards, the Idaho Press Club and the Society for Professional Journalists. She is a graduate of Dixie College in St. George, Utah, and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Brenda lived for two years in Ballard, Utah, within the Fort Duchesne reservation where the novel is set. She and her husband live on a small ranch near the Snake River with their horses and dogs.

Follow her on Facebook / Twitter / Website

Winner is...

Thank you to all who entered and welcome to my followers!

The Winner Is...

Allison Lloyd!

I have sent you an email, and Jolene will be in touch.

My next giveaway is Delivering Hope by Jennifer Ann Holt on August 29th.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Left to Love and My Forever by Jolene B. Perry

Left to Love

Author: Jolene B. Perry

Publisher: Next Door Publishing

Published: June 8, 2012

ISBN13: 9781477548363

286 pages

FTY FYI: Review copy

Goodreads Summary: Leigh’s life is shaping up to be pretty perfect.
She married the father of a little boy she fell in love with. They live in a nice house, on a quiet street, and her hobby of a sewing business is keeping her busier than she ever imagined. She’s back in touch with her brother who she hasn’t seen since she was a child, and her new husband has an “in” for his dream job when he graduates in the spring.
But when her small symptoms begin to lead up to something big - she has to face the shattering realization that her cancer is back.
Leigh struggles with her new marriage, her faith, her desire to adopt the little boy who calls her mom, and the strength to keep fighting for her life.

My Review

I am a huge fan of Jolene's and her stories.  When I asked to read and review The Next Door Boys last year, I instantly fell in love with the characters.  I was so excited to know that Jolene had written more for Leigh and Brian.

Leigh's cancer is back, with a vengeance.  So much is different for Leigh this time around, especially her faith.  As Brian struggles to help her, and Leigh struggles with her own feelings of trying to adopt Brian's sweet son Nathan, while his mom is in jail.  Leigh lets the cancer get the best of her, and finds herself questioning her faith. While dealing with her long absent brother Joseph, and why he left the family so many years before.

There were so many things I loved about this book.  My heart broke for Leigh, but also Brian as he wanted to help her so much, but didn't know what to do for her.  Nathan was a ray of sunshine in the story, what a sweet kid he is.  I feel that Leigh learned a lot during her cancer treatment, most of it learned from a visit from an old friend.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.  I cried a lot, but also smiled a lot.  Jolene is such a talented author, and I loved being a part of these amazing stories.

My Forever

Author: Jolene B. Perry

Publisher: Next Door Publishing

Expected Publish Date: August 3, 2012


178 pages

FTC FYI: Review copy

Goodreads Summary: A novel about finding your place in the world when nothing goes as planned...

Told from the POV of Dani (Danielle), a high school senior.

A companion novel to The Next Door Boys and Left to Love.

My Review

Dani is the daughter of a pastor.  She has a big family, and feels a little lost in all the chaos sometimes.  Right when we meet Dani, she finds out she's pregnant.  She feels lost, but knows deep down that she shouldn't be the one to raise the baby.  Not being able to turn to her family, she turns to a boy Michael who shared with her a couple years back that he was adopted.  Dani tells him she is pregnant, and he tells her about LDS Family Services.  Right away she feels that is the path for her.

I loved this book.  I think that it is my favorite from Jolene.  A lot a tragedy happens to Dani, but also a lot of good.  I loved her experiences, and how she learns to have the Holy Ghost be her guide.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

I have an exciting giveaway for you!  Jolene is generously donating her series in paperback to one lucky winner. 
The Next Door BoysLeft to Love, and My Forever.

If you would like an eBook copy instead, I'm giving away the PDF's on LDSWBR. 
You can enter both places.

Fill out the form below, and you're entered.  US ONLY. Winner announced August 15th, 2012.

Read more about Jolene and her books on her blog.  Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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