Gale Sears has a passion and talent for historical fiction. I was reminded of this once again while reading Belonging to Heaven. This fictionalized reGale Sears has a passion and talent for historical fiction. I was reminded of this once again while reading Belonging to Heaven. This fictionalized retelling of the history of the LDS Church’s early beginnings in Hawai’i was full of memorable characters, spiritual experiences, and inspirational sacrifices.
I didn’t know much about George Q. Cannon or the events surrounding the early days of the Church in the Hawaiian Islands (then known as the Sandwich Islands). I haven’t seen any of the movies made about those events, either. Reading Belonging to Heaven was not only an education for me, but also revealed a desire to learn more about the efforts of George Q. Cannon and others.
Beyond learning some Church history, I was swept into the story of the early Hawaiian Saints, particularly Jonathan Napela. The author’s portrayal of this dedicated elder and his relationship with George Q. Cannon was moving and memorable. The first part of the book was mostly about “Missionary Cannon” and his work on the islands. The last half of the book, though, was focused on Jonathan Napela and his efforts to continue to build the Kingdom of God on the earth during what would be the most difficult circumstances of his life.
Readers who love history, particularly Church history, will enjoy Belonging to Heaven. It is a book about love, sacrifice, dedication, and faith. I was easily pulled into the story, not because there was a fast-moving plot, but because of how well the characters’ stories were told. I was moved to tears more than once. This story will stay with me for a long time. ...more
A nice selection of talks given by Jeffrey R. Holland at General Conferences & other places over recent years. I highlighted more than a few thingA nice selection of talks given by Jeffrey R. Holland at General Conferences & other places over recent years. I highlighted more than a few things that made an impression on me. ...more
While this book is geared for seminary & institute students, I personally got so much out of it that I'm planning a series of Family Home EveningsWhile this book is geared for seminary & institute students, I personally got so much out of it that I'm planning a series of Family Home Evenings on scripture study using the techniques and ideas presented in Please Pass the Scriptures. I took it a chapter at a time and took notes so it took me a while to get through it, but that's the whole point! A book to OWN, especially if you have seminary age children....more
More like 4.5 stars! It did take me a year + to read The Price We Paid, but that's not the book's fault. I picked it up about once a week and while IMore like 4.5 stars! It did take me a year + to read The Price We Paid, but that's not the book's fault. I picked it up about once a week and while I read it I was pulled into the history of these two companies of handcarts. I was inspired by their faith and perseverance, brought to tears by their sacrifices. Near the end of the book, the author, looking at Martin's Cove, describing the scene as he imagines it, "watching" the actions of the people he has just written about as they struggled to keep warm, trying to make the most of what little food ration they had. I suddenly found myself in their shoes and I was awed at their strength.
One cannot read this book and remain unchanged. A sentence in the book stood out to me- "The power of the handcart experience to reach through the generations and bless others is one of its most striking aspects- and shows that the impact of the experience cannot be judged only by its effects on those who went through it."...more
I really admire Abinadi. His testimony and incredible integrity are such an example to me. I looked forward to reading Heather's version of Abinadi'sI really admire Abinadi. His testimony and incredible integrity are such an example to me. I looked forward to reading Heather's version of Abinadi's story and I wasn't disappointed. I also enjoyed how skillfully Heather wove Alma into the story as well. I felt Raquel's anguish. I cried. Another great work from Heather....more
Several women with varying backgrounds & experiences share their thoughts, stories, histories & poetry in this compilation. After experiencingSeveral women with varying backgrounds & experiences share their thoughts, stories, histories & poetry in this compilation. After experiencing a complicated & frightening pregnancy, this book helped me gain perspective, feel encouraged as well as grateful for the blessings of motherhood in my life....more
Quick read and inspiring, uplifting talks that help you feel good about being a woman. Wish I'd read it before Mother's Day so I could have given it aQuick read and inspiring, uplifting talks that help you feel good about being a woman. Wish I'd read it before Mother's Day so I could have given it as gifts. Guess I still can!...more
Loved this book! Rachel did a wonderful job with the story, the romance, the characters- I was swept into the book & couldn't stop reading. AnotheLoved this book! Rachel did a wonderful job with the story, the romance, the characters- I was swept into the book & couldn't stop reading. Another example of great fiction by an LDS author! ...more
A substantial amount of information is packed into these 261 pages. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the differences doctrine betwA substantial amount of information is packed into these 261 pages. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the differences doctrine between the Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Read my full review here: http://ldswbr.blogspot.com/2010/05/ca......more
More like 3.5 stars. Good information about becoming aware of what we are saying to ourselves about our body image, realizing what a gift our bodies aMore like 3.5 stars. Good information about becoming aware of what we are saying to ourselves about our body image, realizing what a gift our bodies are and treating ourselves with respect and understanding, especially in regards to food. Most, if not all, women would benefit from reading Love Your Body, and I recommend it to women of all ages. I really like the spiritual/LDS view presented in this book, versus the more "worldly" views found in a lot of other eating and diet books. ...more
Dangerous Connections is full of suspense and intrigue. Having spent time in France, Julie's knowledge of the locale is apparent throughout the book.Dangerous Connections is full of suspense and intrigue. Having spent time in France, Julie's knowledge of the locale is apparent throughout the book. Julie's respect for those who sacrifice to serve our country shows in the way she wrote Tyler. It's easy to see that Julie enjoys writing international intrigue.
Heart of Stone is the first book by Jill that I have read, and I’ll start my review by saying I plan to read two more of her novels set in Glory, TX: Heart of Stone is the first book by Jill that I have read, and I’ll start my review by saying I plan to read two more of her novels set in Glory, TX: Homecoming and The Accidental Lawman. This review can also be found here: http://ldswbr.blogspot.com/2010/07/he...
Heart of Stone is the first volume in the Irish Angel series. I like the cover and the title is appropriate to the main character, Laura Foster, and the way she has learned to cope with her past experiences. Laura is not necessarily hard-hearted, though she is definitely careful and reserved in her relationships.
At 320 pages (which includes a sample of the second book, Heart of Lies) there is plenty to the story. The only time I felt like skimming was near the end and that was just because I was anxious for a certain something to happen and wanted to get to that part, not because the story was dragging.
I have a love/hate relationship with the romance genre. It takes a certain amount of skill to create romantic tension without rushing things, yet keep the readers attention while drawing developing the story into a novel-length tale. Because Jill writes with an experienced, balanced style, the pace of her storytelling made it more believable and realistic, which is sometimes hard to find in a romance book.
Heart of Stone takes place in fictional Glory, Texas, in the year 1874. Jill’s characters help make the little town of Glory come to life. The point of view, in third person, switches between Laura Foster and Reverend Brand McCormick, the love interest. The switches were clear and I never wondered who’s head I was in.
The main character, Laura, aka “Lovie Lamont” was a strong woman who did what she had to do to escape from the horrible life she was forced into at only eleven years old. She was determined and had a perspective on life that could only come from having seen the worst of it. Laura established a new life for herself in Glory, where everyone accepted her as the distinguished widow, Mrs. Foster. No one knew about her past and her secret seemed safe until a previous acquaintance arrived, threatening to ruin everything Laura had worked to build. She had no expectations toward marriage, but Laura had friends and a successful boarding house that she would surely lose if anyone discovered who she really was.
Reverend Brand McCormick, the love interest, was my favorite. A widower with two precocious young children, he was the perfectly imperfect hero. Strong but gentle, confident yet humble, he had a true concern for all around him, not just for those in his flock. After his wife’s death, Brand’s children were pretty wild, despite the help of Brand’s sister, Charity. It seemed that Laura had a way of bringing out the best in the kids, though, and she played an important role when Brand’s own past caught up with him.
The characters in Heart of Stone were realistic, imperfect people who had made mistakes but were doing their best. The secondary characters like Jesse Langley, Sam & Janie (Brand’s children), Hank & Amelia Larson (The Accidental Lawman), and several neighbors helped make Heart of Stone an enjoyably believable story.
My Favorite Part
After a life-changing event, Brand pulls Laura close and holds her for comfort. It’s a simple embrace but oh-so-nice.
“The ribbons of her hat trailed from her hand as she walked with him to the front steps. She may have been through the worse life had to offer, but she’d never been a coward. She drew herself up and refused to let Brand walk away thinking they had any kind of future together.”
There's no swearing that I can remember and very little violence. As far as sexual content, it’s pretty obvious what Laura’s life entailed prior to her escape to Glory, but it doesn’t go into detail. Also, Brand was a bit wild in his youth before becoming a reverend. The romance is nice but never goes beyond kissing, and even that is free of gratuitous detail. This is a book about finding forgiveness, but it never gets preachy.
Rating: 4 stars/5
Would I- read it again? yes recommend it? yes, especially to those who love historical romance, though even readers who usually don’t care for historical romance might enjoy it read more books by this author? I’m looking forward to reading several more ...more