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Reading Roundup | April 2016

Book Reviews include: How I Know If I Know, The King of Dragons, Attachments, Much Ado About Mormons, and The Connection Between Mormons and Masons

I read like a fiend for this month’s Reading Roundup. Mainly because I visited my Grandma. She has some of the most interesting books ever–all history, culture, literature, and religion. So, I begged her if I could borrow three Mormon titles that caught my eye. She reluctantly agreed (she doesn’t like lending out books in fear of never getting them back). So, to appease her, I tried to hurry and read them so that I could return them.

The one thing that I hate about reading non-fiction books that I don’t own, is that I can’t write notes in them, and actually had to suffice taking pictures of parts I really loved or stood out to me on my iPhone!

I also read two fiction books: one YA and one adult fiction.

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Book Reviews include: How I Know If I Know, The King of Dragons, Attachments, Much Ado About Mormons, and The Connection Between Mormons and Masons

How Do I Know if I Know? by John Bytheway

Book Reviews include: How I Know If I Know, The King of Dragons, Attachments, Much Ado About Mormons, and The Connection Between Mormons and Masons

I was very excited to read this book: 1) it was written by John Bytheway (a Mormon comedian and a famous Mormon speaker) and 2) it was all about finding out what you truly believe, which is what I’ve been trying to do this past year. Bytheway said that the biggest problem facing members of the church today isn’t pornography or any other sin, but the strength of their testimony.

I really liked Bytheway’s insights. He spoke honestly and plainly. One thing that really stood out to me was this quote, because of my issues I have with using grace as an excuse:

“One time, while visiting another state, I was handed a tract that told me all I had to do to be saved was ‘Accept Jesus as my personal Savior.’ It even gave me the exact words to say.  That was it! Well, Jesus Christ is absolutely my Savior and my only hope for salvation. But it doesn’t make sense to me that simply saying a sentence is what  Jesus is asking us to do, or what He asked His disciples in the Bible to do. We believe in Christ, but we follow Christ in order to become like Christ…The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not only about knowing but about doing. If we read about the Gospel, we’re informed, but if we practice or live the Gospel, we are transformed.”

However, it didn’t go much into depth. It was a very quick read, mainly because it was centered toward Bytheway’s dominant audience: the youth (12-18) of the Church.

The King of Dragons by Carol Fenner

Book Reviews include: How I Know If I Know, The King of Dragons, Attachments, Much Ado About Mormons, and The Connection Between Mormons and Masons

I was pretty interested in reading this YA novel that I had gotten at a library $1 sale, especially because it didn’t have any summary in the back. So, I literally had no idea what the book was about. Based on the cover, I was expecting some sort of ethnic mystical book. I was completely wrong.

The King of Dragons is about Ethan, a young boy, who is homeless and living in an abandoned courthouse, waiting for his father to return. But, a NPO bought the old building and turned it into a kite museum.

I thought the writing was very confusing. A lot of times, especially with the father, tried to be deep and mysterious, but it failed. I didn’t feel like the characters really got any growth. It definitely was no where near being a favorite for me.

Exploring the Connections Between Mormons and Masons by Matthew B. Brown

Book Reviews include: How I Know If I Know, The King of Dragons, Attachments, Much Ado About Mormons, and The Connection Between Mormons and Masons

I remember when this came out in 2009. I had just finished my college exams for the semester and was at BYU’s campus bookstore to buy my reward of a book for finishing another semester. I saw this on the shelf after I already purchased a book and knew I wanted to read it sometime.

I have always been interested in esoteric/religious history, especially after reading The Secret History of the WorldGrowing up, I had heard that Masons were bad and that Mormons were accused of taking things from Masonic rituals and putting it in their theology and rituals was anti-Mormon. But, as an adult, I realized that Masons weren’t evil, and that yes there are some similarities between Mormons and Masons, especially when it comes to the different things that happen in LDS temples.

What I loved about this book is that it did show similiarities between the two, but proved that Mormons did not base anything off Masons. The author used a lot of primary sources, although I felt his argument was a little week at a few times when he “proved” things saying that God had revealed it and using only Mormon scriptures…I mean, I believed it, but those who don’t believe God talks today or in Mormonism would just shrug off what he had to say.

One of the most interesting points he made was the the Masonic rituals were actually proved to be based of not only the medieval mystery plays (which were super-uber religious), but also from texts of the early Christian Church on what they did and how they practiced. So, if one argues that the LDS temples are Masonic in origin, you could really just skip Masonry as the middleman and say that LDS temples are based off early Christianity. Brown was also able to compare what Mormons did in temples to a lot of different rituals or symbols that different monastic orders use and do.

Now, to what point Masonry and Mormonism are similar, based off each other, coincidental, I don’t know and doubt I ever truly will. I doubt anyone will ever really truly be able to prove anything in anyway. What is important is how I feel and who I keep at the head of my mind while in the temple–Christ.

Much Ado About Mormons by Rick Walton

Book Reviews include: How I Know If I Know, The King of Dragons, Attachments, Much Ado About Mormons, and The Connection Between Mormons and Masons

This book was basically a compilation of what different famous people throughout history have said or written about Mormons and Utah. It was really interesting to see what some of the early US Presidents thought, as well as people such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Buffalo Bill, and present-day Presidents. Many had good things to say about either the beauty of Utah, how clean/organized/well-set-up Salt Lake City was, the kindess and charity of the Mormon people, and how happy and peaceful we always seem. It was quite interesting to read!

 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Book Reviews include: How I Know If I Know, The King of Dragons, Attachments, Much Ado About Mormons, and The Connection Between Mormons and Masons

I read this one for Bonnie’s Book Club this month.

I’ve never really been interested in love story books…I honestly find them a little boring…kind of like chic flicks…if it isn’t a RomCom, it’s not worth my time. This book was extremely boring to me. I literally fell asleep reading it one night. Ask Justin…

It’s about a geeky, socially-enept boy, Lincoln, who gets a job at a newspaper doing Internet security. He has to read flagged emails and warn the employees. Two girls, Beth and Jennifer, who email each other because they are best friends often get flagged. Lincoln starts to fall for Beth. Beth sees Lincoln one day and starts to fall for him, not knowing exactly who he is.

I found that plot a little creepy–both Lincoln and Beth were stalkers. Eww. It also took place in 1999 with a ton of references to 90’s pop culture. I was NINE in 1999…I didn’t understand half the references!

However, I did like Rowell’s style of writing. Half of the book was formatted as the emails sent between Beth and Jennifer (like today’s texting between friends). I thought it was very well done–it truly sounded like two friends having a conversation. And, when it was in prose following Lincoln, Rowell also did a good job with his train of thought. It wasn’t jumpy, but it wasn’t super structured and predictable either.

So, although Attachments was well written, I just wasn’t interested in the plot.

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What books did you read this month? Which of mine seem interesting? Which one would you want to read?

 

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 | March 2016

I had a nice well-rounded month of reading. I read a few novels, finally finished Better Than Beforeand read a very insightful non-fiction book.

reading roundup march 2016

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

I actually read this last month for Bonnie’s February Book Club. It is about an old man named Ove, who is very grumpy after his wife dies of cancer. At the book club, we kind of agreed that he was like Carl from Disney’s Up. I didn’t like him at all. He was grumpy, judgmental, and a bit of a stick in the mud. I did begin to feel sorry for him and like his back story a bit as we got to know him more and more. However, I would have loved to have known more about his wife. The ending wrapped up all nice and sweet and perfectly, and I thought it was ok. We don’t always have to have a tragic ending or one that ends with a bang. But, you do have to be in a good mood to read it since Ove is rarely in a good mood.

Rival to the Queen by Carolly Erickson

The author has spent a lot of time devoted to researching the Tudor era and has written a lot of history books, as well as historical fiction, on the subject, so she definitely knew her material. (I hope to be the same way eventually one day.) It is about Lettice Knollys, “cousin” to Elizabeth I. Elizabeth’s mom, Anne Boleyn, was famous for her marriage to Henry VIII after he divorced his first wife and left the Catholic Church. Well, not many people realize that she had a sister named Mary Boleyn, who was the king’s mistress. There is a known bastard son between them, but it is hinted that Lettice is also Henry VIII’s granddaughter through Mary Boleyn. In this novel, Lettice is more beautiful than Elizabeth, and she is always jealous, especially when Robert Dudley (whom historians love to analyze Elizabeth and Dudley’s “affair”) marries Lettice.

Obviously, I was enraptured by the story, loving the Tudor era as I do. However, I didn’t like how the author described Elizabeth. I know Elizabeth had her own personality issues, but she was described as a flighty, mentally ill woman, whereas I believe she used her “womanly wiles” with purpose during her reign. It was also a little boring at some times, being more historic than novel. But, I really liked the plot and story itself.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Check here for the full review!

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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!
Reading Roundup

What books did you read this month?

Tayler signature

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.