Tag Archives: books

Reading Roundup | October 2016

Book review on Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman, Defenders of the Family by Benjamin Hyrum White, and Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Another month gone, holy cow! They are going so fast, I can’t believe it! I read a total of 3 books this month’s reading roundup and I’m so happy I’m done with Rough Stone Rolling because I can finally move on to the rest of my bookshelves!

Book review on Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman, Defenders of the Family by Benjamin Hyrum White, and Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman

Book review on Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman

It has actually taken me little more than a year to read this book. Last year when I had my faith crisis, my Bishop mentioned reading this book. He knew that I was historically minded and that a lot of my questions and doubts had to do with the limited primary sources and actual facts of the early LDS Church and some decisions and preachings by early presidents of the church and other prolific members. Now, I have no doubt that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he saw our Savior and translated the Book of Mormon. But, it does seem in our church that we revere him. We don’t revere any of the biblical or Book of Mormon prophets, or even any of the other Latter-Day prophets like we do him. And, there is so much antagonism against him. Also, there just isn’t a lot of facts that we are absolutely 100% sure of. So, my thoughts and feelings of him as a person, his decisions, and the early church as a whole was a little ambiguous.

The book, from a historical point of view, was very enlightening. It is a “cultural biography”, which means that the author tries to show how the culture of Joseph Smith’s day influenced and affected him. I definitely learned a lot I didn’t know about the culture of New England and the mid-west in the 1830-40s, as well as many facts about Joseph Smith and his family. A lot of times in this book, I found myself saying, “ok, that explains it,” or “that wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be.” A lot of times, direct quotes from Joseph Smith about doctrine or Gospel principles or attitudes and philosophies that Mormons should have made me want to shout out, “Thank you! If only modern-day Mormons realized this!!!” But, there were still some parts that made me cringe a bit about his decisions or double think his character or motivation. Really, it made me feel extremely bad for Emma as his wife. It also made me just sad for Joseph–he may have helped to restore Christ’s church and priesthood on the Earth, but he was definitely not as infallible or pure as many in the Church want to believe.

I realize that the LDS Church’s history is grimy and iffy, and that’s something I’m going to have to live with my entire life. But, I do know that the basic Gospel truth taught by this church is true. And, regardless of how I may feel about Joseph Smith, I am glad I got to know him better than I previously did.

Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Book review on Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

We actually bought this book years ago when Matt Smith became the 11th doctor. We’ve both flipped through it a few times, but I have never actually sat down and read it cover to cover. I decided to put it in the bathroom to read while Rhys was taking a bath or trying to go on his training potty, or for my own entertainment. It was fun to relive the 9th, 10th, and 11th Doctors and looking back at the different episodes and characters.

This book is set up like a children’s Discovery World books I used to check out from the library as a kid. It’s mostly pictures with captions. Rhys has also gotten in the habit of flipping through it. I’ve started teaching him the different characters in Doctor Who. He knows Daleks are robots, and that the Weeping Angels either look like they are crying or going “boo”. He also knows who Davros, creator of the Daleks, is and can say his name. It’s so cute!

Defenders of the Family by Benjamin Hyrum White

Book review on Defenders of the Family by Benjamin Hyrum White

** I received a copy of this book from Cedar Forts Publishing in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints feels very strongly about gender identity and the importance of family. In 1994, the First Presidency of the church created a document called Family: A Proclamation to the World to explain our beliefs. Almost every Mormon family has it hanging somewhere in their house.

This books is a children’s book, in the form of a comic book, and teaches the principles of the Family Proclamation.

Book review of Defenders of the Family by Benjamin Hyrum White

I loved the illustrations and how White made it simple for little kids to understand. When I received my copy in the mail, Rhys helped me open it and was excited to see that it was a book. He sat by me and let me read the entire thing to him. I am so glad that I have this book on my shelves now for my children as they grow up. It’s also a perfect book to take to Sacrament Meeting for your kids!

Find out more about Benjamin Hyrum White here.

Buy the book here:
Amazon // Barnes & Noble //booksandthings.com

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What books did you read this month?

Tayler from The Morrell Tale.com

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Welsh Wednesdays | Welsh Books

A discussion on Welsh books, or books related to Wales.

Today, for Welsh Wednesdays, Llinos and I will be sharing about Welsh books. It’s obvious that I am obsessed with both Wales and books, so it only makes sense that I would have a shelf solely dedicated to Welsh history and culture.

A discussion on Welsh books, or books related to Wales.

I have many history books…I have about two and a half shelves full of them. Most of them have to do with medieval times, especially medieval Britain. That was, after all, my emphasis in my history major. So, of course, that also includes Wales, and is also part of the reason I decided to study Welsh.

Welsh books

As you can see, I have a Welsh dragon, or Draig Cymraeg. I also have my Welsh grammar books and dictionaries to help me practice my Welsh. La Morte D’Arthur is included in that because I’m in the school that yes, Arthur was a real historical figure, and yes, he was in fact, Welsh.  Then, stacked, are all my history books: one specifically is a short history on Wales, itself. But, the rest all have to do with Wales as part of Great Britain.

I also have a Welsh Book of Mormon:

Welsh books

The Book of Mormon is the scriptures that sets Mormons apart from other Christians. We believe it is another testament of Christ. It has been translated into numerous languages across the globe, including Welsh. However, the translation was done in the mid-1800s, and trying to read its style of Welsh is like an ESL learner trying to read Shakespeare! It’s an older, more formal format and is grammatically pretty difficult. But, it’s great to learn the spiritual and religious Welsh vocabulary.

I also have a few Welsh books that I will give Rhys when he is older.

Welsh books

The first is actually a Welsh book for Welsh boy scouts! I can’t wait to use it when Rhys is in Scouts! The second is a picture book about Welsh princes, one of which is Rhys’s namesake!

And, of course, I’ve done book reviews on both The Castle of Llyr and Born to Treason, novels that take place in Wales and have to do with Welsh history or legends.

What Welsh books or books about Wales have you read?

Join Llinos from the Lilac Linnet and Tayler from The Morrell Tale on the last Wednesday of every month for Welsh Wednesdays!

Tayler from The Morrell Tale.com

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Reading Roundup | July 2016

Book reviews on: The Devil in Vienna, Why Not Me, Miriam, and Understanding Your Endowment. Join the Reading Roundup linkup, a monthly linkup of book reviews for all the books read that month!

Well, it typically seems like when my interests online wane, my interest in reading waxes. This month for the Reading Roundup, I actually read and completed four books! I’m so proud of myself! However, one isn’t pictured below because it was an e-book.

Book reviews on: The Devil in Vienna, Why Not Me, Miriam, and Understanding Your Endowment. Join the Reading Roundup linkup, a monthly linkup of book reviews for all the books read that month!

Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling

Book review on Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me.
Via theconcernsofmindykaling.com

I had loved reading Mindy’s first book, so I was excited to read this book, especially since I had watched all of the Mindy Project. This one was a bit more thematic, especially when it came to the empowerment of women and working hard to follow after your dreams. Mindy talked a lot about how she still is an ordinary person, and to be honest, I believe it. She was very clear on her sometimes disdain for her body, looks, and eating habits. I liked this book a whole lot more than her first. I feel like I really caught a glimpse of her in real life and separated that from her Mindy character–and that was a big point of hers. She hated being seen as Mindy Lahiri in real life.

Miriam: Book 2 of Treasures of the Nile by Mesu Andrews

Book Review on Miriam by Mesu Andrews

* I received this book from bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

This is the second in Andrews’s Treasures of the Nile series. I read and reviewed her first book, The Pharaoh’s Daughter, and when I found out that she was writing a second, but it wouldn’t be published until 2016, I couldn’t wait. So, I was very excited to read this one!

Miriam takes place a long time after the first book. Miriam is now 80 rather than the young woman helping to raise her brother Moses and keeping his birth a secret. Moses has already run away to Midian for 40 years. Miriam is known as a seeress, a prophetess, able to communicate with El Shaddai–an ancient name for the Hebrew God. But, He has recently been quiet towards her…and then Moses returns with the news that Yahweh, El Shaddai’s true name, has communicated with him and told him to free the Hebrew slaves. The book follows Miriam as she struggles with her new relationship with a suddenly unknown God and her nephew (Aaron’s son), Eleazar, a slave-warrior who is the body guard to Pharaoh’s first born son and how he grapples with loyalty and protection and believing in his Hebrew heritage’s religion.

Again, Andrews did a great job developing her characters. I loved seeing Miriam struggle with her personal relationship with God. It was so poignant. He never changed, but her understanding of Him did and that was hard for her to grasp. It really spoke to me because of my trial of faith last year. However, I did feel that the book followed Eleazar more than Miriam. And, as the 10 plagues of Egypt continued, Andrews seemed to speed up the pacing, which was a bit sad. However, I do really hope that she writes a third about the 40 year journey in the wilderness!

The Devil in Vienna by Doris Orgel

Book Review for The Devil in Vienna by Doris Orgel

This is a WWII book, as is obvious by the front cover. Inge, a Austrian Jew, has to say good-bye to her best friend, Leisolette, as she moves to Germany to go to a Hitler Youth program against her will. Inge receives a journal from her grandpa and writes her feelings about the fast changes of Austrian nationalism to complete acceptance of Hitler’s idealism.

I did feel like the author tried to make it Anne Frank-ish, but with a hint more sarcasm as Inge makes fun of the idea of naming a journal, etc. Also, the back cover leads the reader to think that Inge and Leisolette’s “forbidden” friendship is the main plot of the story, but it really is only mention in the very beginning of the book, then the last 1/3 of the book. However, it was a quick read and I didn’t like putting it down. A lot of it was open and honest, like Anne Frank’s journal because Orgel said that this book was based off many experiences she had herself as a young Jew in Austria during Hitler’s raise to power.

Understanding Your Endowment by Cory B. Jensen

Book review of Understanding Your Endowment by Cory Jensen.

This is a Mormon book, with Mormon theology in it, so I’m sorry if it isn’t of interest to my other readers. But, it was definitely of interest to me.

For those who don’t understand, the endowment is the “ritual” of ordinances and covenants we make the first time we go through an LDS temple. A lot of it is very confusing to those who go through for the first time. Mainly, because we aren’t really sure what to expect. What happens in an LDS temple is personal and sacred dealing with our personal relationship with Christ and understanding His saving Grace and His plan for us on a deeper, more intimate level. Because of this sacredness, we don’t really discuss much about it outside of the temple–it’s sacred, not secret.

I, personally, received my endowment four years ago, a week before I got married. I have been through the temple numerous times since then, repeating these ordinances and watching a sister-in-law, a brother, and a sister go through their own endowments. Every single time I go, I experience and learn something new–that is the point of the endowment. However, it also happens to be a point of questioning for many. Many think it is too Mason-based, some think it is ridiculous, some don’t understand the deeper levels, etc. That is why I was really interested in reading this book. Although I will be the first to admit that I don’t understand everything about the endowment or the reasons behind it, I do feel pretty comfortable with it. I wasn’t necessarily confused the first time I went through. But, that is because I am very good with symbolism and its intertwining with history. It’s always been an interest of mine. Yet, this past year, I’ve been trying to understand my faith and beliefs on a deeper level. And that’s what I liked about this book. Jensen tries to peel back layer after layer and made you realize that each part of the endowment meant, symbolized, promised, and required numerous different things. It was real interesting to think of the endowment in some different ways I never had before. I suggest all Mormons read this book! Honestly, it should be part of Temple Prep curriculum!

What books did you read this month?

Tayler from The Morrell Tale.com

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Reading Roundup | February

I didn’t really do a lot of reading a lot this month…it really just flew by! But, I did get two down. I am ….still….working on Better Than Before and I am rushing to try and finish A Man Called Ore by tonight for Bon’s (in real life) book club. I just downloaded the e-book Sunday night and have been trying to get as much done as I could to be able to be a part of the conversation tomorrow night.

Reading Roundup, February Books: A Man Called Ove, Better than Before, The Time Machine, Hope Unfolding

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (Bendon Junior Classics version)

Target is amazing! Every so often, they will have 4-5 of these Bendon Junior Classics in their dollar section. Yah. You heard me. 4th-6th grade reading level classical novels for $1 EACH! This was a perfect way for me to build up my “classroom library” for junior high students! These novels are condensed and adapted and have pictures on every page. It made for a very easy read and easy to understand.

I have never read The Time Machine before, but remember a tiny bit about the old Wishbone episode of it. It was so exciting. I loved reading it and ate it up. The main character, the time traveler, travels far into the distant future where humans have devolved into two different species: a peaceful, naive, child-like species and an ape-like demonic underground species. The time traveler gets stuck in the future and has to figure out why the two species are different and what secrets they hold. After reading this young version, I’d love to read the real novel and even see a video adaptation of it.

Hope Unfolding: Grace Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart by Becky Thompson

** I received this book from Blogging for Books  in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This was an amazing book and I desperately needed it. Thompson goes through many of her life experiences of life plans not going how she wanted, feelings of loneliness of being a SAHM, and exasperation of being a mom. But, she does so through the eyes of grace, showing that we are never alone and that God has a plan for us and is with us during every moment of our lives. It was very uplifting.

I even had a friend who is now nearing the end of her pregnancy with her third son. She will have three under 4. She has experienced a lot of these feelings, including diagnosed depression and PPD. So, I decided to mail her this book, in hopes that she can find light and hope as much as I did through this book. I think every Christian SAHM should read this book!

Rules for the Linkup
1) Follow both of your hosts:
Tayler from The Morrell Tale
Emilie from Burke Does
2) Link up a reading roundup post or a book review post. Make sure it’s not to your blog’s homepage, but for a specific post. All posts that aren’t a book review will be deleted. The linkup will be open for two weeks!
3) Read and comment on at least two other book review blog posts. This is to help build community and meet new bookworm friends!
4) Share the linkup on social media with #bloggerreadingroundup and grab a button to show on your post and/or sidebar!

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Reading Roundup // Jan 2016

Join us for the Reading Roundup. What did you read this month?

I absolutely love reading. And now that I have a good routine going as a SAHM, I have been reading a whole heck of a lot more than I have been able to since high school! I mean, look at all these reviews I’ve done!

I’ve decided, because I have sooooooo many ideas for posts, to only do one post per month with reviews for all the books I’ve read that month.

So, I’ve joined up with Emilie, from Burke Does, to bring you a new monthly reading linkup, called Reading Roundup. On the last Tuesday of every month, link up with Emilie and me with either a review roundup post or just any book review post!

Make sure to check out Emilie’s post as well!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
by Mindy Kaling
I was super excited to read this–everyone who had read it only had good things to say about it. I also really like Mindy in the Mindy Project. I expected this to be more of a themed memoir rather than just an autobiography. I really wanted to get her perspective on the title question, since I have that question a lot. But, I was disappointed with that. However, it was really interesting to get to know the real Mindy and it made me laugh because she based her Mindy Project character off herself! It’s so funny to see the similarities! I also love that she is pretty down to Earth.

 

Redwall
by Brian Jaques
I have wanted to read this ever since I saw a few episodes as a child. I finally got it for a $1 at a local library book sale for my classroom. I loved the book the whole way through! It is pure historic fantasy. It was so creative, and perfectly set up as a hero’s journey. However, the only thing I didn’t like about this book was that some of the conversations between characters seemed a little forced, especially when they were trying to figure out codes and mysteries. They went through every single step of the process and didn’t leave any room for the reader to figure things out.

 

Life is Beautiful
by Sarah M. Johnson
**I received a free copy of  this book from Book Publicity Services in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Holy cow! Sarah grew up in a family of hidden emotions and personal issues (her dad was a recovering meth addict and she had her own issues with failing out of college, depression, and alcoholism). Her family decided to go on a service mission to Guatemala, but their small plane crashed, and 11 out of 14 passengers (including her dad and brother) passed away. Sarah came out physically unscathed–a miracle!–and her mother suffered traumatic burn injuries on her bottom half. This book is how Sarah was able to find her personal relationship with God and how she was able to use how He viewed her to improve and do better.

 

I couldn’t believe all that Sarah had gone through in her life and what a miracle it was that she survived. I couldn’t imagine being in her place, dealing with a meth addicted father, or having to take care of your injured mother as well as your brother and father’s funerals at age 19 while under the influence of alcohol and depression. Sarah’s story truly is one of courage, faith, and hope. She is the epitome of staying strong. Presently, Sarah is married with children and working on a grad program for family therapy. She wants to specialize in loss therapy because she was so influenced by her personal therapist from her own past experiences. No matter what religion you are, this is a good, uplifting read and will definitely make you thankful for your life!

 

Better Than Before
by Gretchen Rubin
** I received this book from Blogging for Books  in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I LOVE Gretchen Rubin! I read The Happiness Project a few years ago, and fell in love! She really spoke to my heart because her personality is a lot like mine! Ever since then, I have been trying to improve myself by her example (although I still need to read Happier at Home). So, when I had the opportunity to read Better Than Before, I was super excited. And, the fact that this book is about making and breaking habits, and I read it in the first month of the year during a time where my life was changing, seemed perfect! To be completely honest, I haven’t finished this book yet–moving got in the way!

 

In this book, Gretchen reflects back to her experience from The Happiness Project and wanted to dive farther into that–why do certain things make us happy, why do some of us succeed while others fail, etc. In form true to her, Gretchen decided to do research–she organized the book in findings of her research, answers to her questions. She reflected on her personality and her responses to certain stimuli. But, the main point she was trying to get across was: there is no one-size-fits-all method to success; there are many different ways to succeed, and you have to find the right model for you.

 

I can’t wait to continue to read and finish this book–I’ve been taking my own notes in the margins for me, researching myself as Gretchen has been sharing her findings. I’d suggest doing that when you read it!

 

Rules for the Linkup

“>1) Follow both of your hosts:

Tayler from The Morrell Tale
Emilie from Burke Does
2) Link up a reading roundup post or a book review post. Make sure it’s not to your blog’s homepage, but for a specific post. All posts that aren’t a book review will be deleted. The linkup will be open for two weeks!
3) Read and comment on at least two other book review blog posts. This is to help build community and meet new bookworm friends!
4) Share the linkup on social media with #bloggerreadingroundup and grab a button to show on your post and/or sidebar!
Grab a Button and Link Up

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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.