December 4, 2009
Review by Susan
The Shepherd's Song is a sweet Christmas tale of the a shepherd whose family cares for the lambs meant for holy sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem. When Joshua's wife is threatened with life-threatening complications of pregnancy, he takes his most-loved lamb to offer as a personal sacrifice at the temple to accompany his prayers for a miracle. The story of his journey, its unexpected detours and how he is brought to ultimately sacrifice his will and heart to the Lord is entwined with the story of the birth of Jesus which lightens the dark night of his despair. Prophecies of the coming of Messiah were understood by these shepherds who recognized the signficance of what they witnessed that holy night. Warning: be sure to have tissue ready when reading this book.
December 3, 2009
Review by Susan
Annabelle Perkins lives alone and works as a waitress. She has never married but grew up in a loving home filled with frequent tellings of the Christms story. At age 57 she dreams of traveling to Israel like the Magi and giving a gift to Jesus in Bethleham. She saves her money for months, working extra hours in spite of her health problems. Her anticipation continues to grow, but just as her dream is about to realized something unexpected brings an unwelcome decision. How Annabelle reconciles her dream to give the Christ child a gift with the unexpected twists of fate is an appealing story about the meaning being a Magi in the modern world. Master storyteller Carol Lynn Pearson spins another delightful tale.
December 1, 2009
Review by Susan
Penny's Christmas Jar Miracle tells of a young girl whose family takes turns deciding who will receive their annual Christmas Jar of spare change they collect all year long. It is Penny's turn to decide, and she wants to give the jar to the entire neighborhood by giving a special Christmas party. However, Mr. Charlie, a favorite older neighbor, becomes ill and will not be able to attend. How Penny changes her plans and involves the whole neighborhood is beautifully illustrated in this appealing children's book which is a worthy addition to the Christmas Jars library.
Review by Susan
This is a sequel to Christmas Jars, the runaway bestseller of a few years ago. The story of Hope Jensen continues as she seeks to expand the Christmas Jar phenomenon which she begins to view as a ministry to share the spirit of giving engendered by this tradition. As the Christmas Jars tradition spreads over the country from Chuck's Chicken 'n' Biscuits diner, new characters and their stories are combined with elements of sorrow, romance, lives changed and a community brought together by a lofty goal. In the end, Hope learns about the true nature of the gift of love represented by a Christmas Jar from a very special little girl named Queen.
November 30, 2009
Review by Susan
Amid the fears brought on by the Cuban missile crisis in the fall of 1962, Sam Andrews is a 10-year-old who has just moved to Utah from Arizona. He is the youngest of a large family and longs to fit in with his new friends. In a fit of bravado, he boasts that he will be able to sled down the infamous steep and dangerous curves of Mill Street. Unfortunately, he knows nothing about sleds and has never seen snow in person. His dilemma is combined with his uncertainty about the reality of Santa whom he is counting on to help in his quest. As he finally faces this challenge on Christmas Day, help comes from an unexpected source. It is evident that Sam and his family are LDS, but all description of his family's church activities are in generic terms so that the story is can be easily understood and enjoyed by those not familiar with LDS terms and practices.
November 19, 2009
This book written by former BYU and NFL football star Chad Lewis is more than a memoir of his sports life. He attributes his success in all things to the great people and role models that he has been able to rub shoulders with over his lifetime. This book is a combination sports book and a book dealing with the challenges of life. He shares “We live in a world of relationships that are dynamic. We need each other. We need to choose, with conscious awareness, to open our eyes, heart, and mind to the great people who elevate life that are all around us.” I liked this book because I followed the career of Chad Lewis and was fascinated by the behind-the-scene stories that are rarely told to the public. This would be an especially good gift for a sports fan but could also appeal to anyone interested in self-improvement.
November 18, 2009
Camille Fronk Olson is an associate professor at Brigham Young University who has put together this amazing book focusing on the women of the Old Testament. This book could be mistaken at first glance for an art book because of the beautiful paintings by Elspeth Young which bring the women of the Old Testament visually alive, but there is so much more. The book evolved from institute and religion courses on women in the scriptures, and the introduction was very helpful in understanding the structure of the material. Each chapter focuses on a different woman or group of women, some well-known, some obscure and some unnamed. The stories of these women are put in the context of the customs of the time and enriched by background from archaeological discoveries, historical writings from contemporary sources, other Bible translations and Jewish traditions. Illustrations, chronologies and maps provide enriching clarifications. Scriptural texts are not included due to size limitations, but scripture references are listed at the beginning of each chapter as well as points to ponder at the end of each chapter.
At first I was drawn most to the stories of women I knew little about (who were Shiphrah and Puah or the daughters of Zelophehad?), but then I began to read about the familiar names—Eve, Sarah & Hagar, and Hannah to name a few. I was fascinated by the additional insight and background that gave additional breadth and substance to my understanding of these well-known and less familiar foremothers, the world in which they lived and the faithful testimonies and examples of their lives. The author states she hopes readers will develop greater confidence in studying the Old Testament (the Sunday School course of study for 2010). This book is a great contribution in expanding our vision of circumstances of these faithful women and what we can learn from them to help us be more faithful in our own lives.
November 4, 2009
Review by Christine
My comment is on the "Used Book" section of the bookstore. I have become a big fan of the used book section because I can find good reads at an amazing price. Not only that, but it's also a great place for me to turn in old LDS books for store credit and buy newer things I've been wanting. Thank you Beehive Bookstore, for this great idea!
October 20, 2009
The Hourglass Door is a fun young adult fiction book. The book is about high school senior Abby who is finding her routine to be a little suffocating. Enter Italian foreign exchange student Dante with stunning good looks and mysterious air and Abby gets the shake up she’s been wanting. As Dante’s secret unfolds she finds her life will never be the same again.
I enjoyed this book. It was a light read and the plot had a Twilight-esque feel to it (for me that is a good thing). I connected with and came to care about the characters. Despite a few predictable things and some slow spots I felt the author overall did a good job of drawing the reader into the story and keeping things suspenseful. As a girl I appreciated the romance but thought it was done tastefully so that even those less-inclined to such could still get through it. The language is clean and the romance stays appropriate throughout. I would enjoy reading a sequel which possibility is left open by the ending.
July 31, 2009
J. Scott Savage has created a wonderful tale of adventure, magic and fantasy in Farworld: Water Keep. The story centers on young teenagers Marcus and Kyja, both misfits on different worlds who have a mysterious connection to each other. Marcus has learned to use his wits and some unusual talents to defend himself against bullies. Kyja struggles as a nonmagical child in a world where magic is a way of life. In a time of great need, Kyja rescues Marcus and brings him from Earth to Farworld. In an adventure on both worlds, they fight against the evil Dark Circle with the help of Master Therapass, Kyja’s wizard mentor, and begin a quest to seek the help of the mythical elementals: water, land, air and fire. Their journey to Water Keep is fraught with peril and triumph as they discover hidden talents and the power of loyalty, kindness and sacrifice.
Following Harry Potter, there has been a wave of excellent young adult fantasy, including the best-selling Fablehaven series and 13th Reality. Farworld incorporates several familiar fantasy themes and patterns woven together in an appealing tale that leaves you wanting more. Fortunately, the second volume in the series, Farworld: Land Keep, is due to be released in September.
July 23, 2009
In The Last Waltz, G. G. Vandagriff departs from her well-known series of genealogical mysteries to craft a sweeping historical drama. The story begins in Vienna just before World War I where Amalia Faulharber is an Austrian young socialite whose Prussian baron fiancé breaks their engagement to return home to prepare for war. How she responds to this disappointment leads her in directions she could not have anticipated. Her journey to maturity takes her through horrific experiences during World War I, changed family fortunes afterward, a growing interest in democracy and political freedom, and choices between two men who love her. She becomes a strong, loyal woman of strength in the face of the gathering storms preceding another war.
This is a book of substance and complexity that is still very readable. One of the themes that impressed me the most was that of being true to the light that is within us no matter what darkness lies around us. During Amalia’s darkest days during World War I, her good friend and mentor from the Catholic hospital where she volunteered brought Amalia back from a dark abyss with these words: “The price we pay for immortality is to know both this darkness and the light and to choose between them. You are a particularly radiant person. You must not let the darkness win, Amalia.” How Amalia uses the light within her to combat the darkness is a story well worth reading.
July 20, 2009
Review by Susan
Lynn Gardner, the author of a series of precious stone suspense stories (Emeralds and Espionage to Topaz and Treachery), continues a new series about Maggie McKenzie, an adventuresome young journalist. Vanished, the first book, was previously published and has just been released in paperback. The story begins as Maggie reports for a new job as a reporter for a small-town California newspaper and discovers she has an apparent double who vanished several years before under mysterious circumstances. She decides to investigate while she is traveling on assignment for the newspaper, and with the help of Dr. Floyd Flynn, a research psychologist who is drawn into the mystery and to Maggie, she discovers a strange connection to the missing girl which spurs her onward in her quest. In Pursued, the second Maggie McKenzie mystery just recently released, Maggie flies to England on assignment and uses theopportunity to try to clarify questions about her family left unanswered the end of Vanished. In the process she unwittingly becomes involved in uncovering a far-reaching terrorist scheme and becomes a target to be eliminated.
Maggie comes across to me as perky, adventuresome and very persistent when it comes to solving
mysteries that intrigue her. The author keeps the plot moving quickly with lots of action and suspense. A certain amount of suspension of disbelief may be necessary to swallow some of the plot twists, but I liked how Maggie was true to her beliefs and standards even under duress and turned to faith and prayer to help her through. These two novels are both fast-paced fun escapes into adventure and suspense.