Category: Christianity

Non-Fiction Book Review | “At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women” by The Church Historian Press (edited by) Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook

Posted Monday, 27 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 4 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I received an enquiry from the (LDS) Church Historian Press regarding working with them on select non-fiction releases – which interested me as I have been reading LDS Fiction and Non-Fiction for the past two years. My interests in non-fiction (LDS or otherwise) tend to parallel through the historical past (as I love learning about History) and thread through biographical accounts of persons who lived. I love to seek out a variety of topics across different sub-interests of mine – including Science, Philosophy and Feminism as well. Being an ancestral sleuth in my family alongside my Mum, I love finding out the hidden histories not as well known as other aspects of the historical past, too. Therefore, when they approached me about reviewing for them, I was quite keen to find out more about their releases. This marks my second review following my first review for this publisher on behalf of ‘Saints at Devil’s Gate’ and extraordinary spiritual legacy of travelling the historic Mormon Trail through visual representations in Fine Art and accompanied by journalled insights by the Pioneers.

I received a complimentary copy of “At the Pulpit” direct from the publisher The Church Historian’s Press (in conjunction with The Church of Latter-day Saints) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keenly interested in this particular release:

Throughout 2016, I had the joy of finding a lot of Feminist Historical Fiction – wherein Women’s Rights, Suffrage and issues of fighting for Equality across gender lines were explored through the historical past. Stimulating works by Eva Flynn, L. Davis Munro, Nicole Evelina and others who sought out to pull incredible stories out of the pages of History which still need to be told for today’s audience. Continuing from where I left off, I am still very interested in seeking out the lives of women who were on the forefront of activism, advocacy and helping to create social change.

When I first heard about the premise of this particular release, I was encouraged to notice it is a collection of women voicing their opinions about service and being mindfully present of how spirituality and faith can help guide us forward in our lives when we are compelled to act and cause change on behalf of others who need someone to advocate for them. These are spoken dialogues on behalf of LDS Women who felt motivated to rise to the occasion to give voice to their beliefs but also, to inspire others by what they had to say about the things they felt were most important to them.

Over the history of active participation in communities, LDS Women have always sought out to be of service to others – striving to help make the world a bit better and to find ways to make a difference by fulfilling the needs of their neighbours. What is interesting is how this collection is assembled and presented – similar to ‘Saints at Devil’s Gate’ (see also Review) the presentation of these discourses allows the reader to take a personal approach to how the information is absorbed and digested. The discourses themselves were hand-selected and presented in such a way, as you can get a feel for the woman who is speaking through the biographical sketches which accompany the speeches themselves. You also have illustrations complimenting the speeches – where you can see a visual photograph of the woman whose words you’ve just read.

Not all of the speeches are traditionally written – but what is conveyed is the strength of sisterhood bonds and the joys in being united as women who seek to serve and make a difference in our world.

As previously stated:

I also appreciated the Church Historian’s Press for being open to having a diverse group of reviewers and book bloggers receiving their releases from different backgrounds – as this highlights something I’ve been trying to understand better about why there is such a division of interest in INSPY Non-Fiction and Fiction releases. INSPY is the shortened word for Inspirational Fiction and Non-Fiction – the main umbrella of literature for faith-based literature – not limited to one religion nor branch of Christianity; as sometimes I think is wrongly perceived. I read INSPY Lit as it was intended – across cultural and religious backgrounds whilst finding inspiring stories in both fictional and realistic (non-fiction) settings of interest.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comNon-Fiction Book Review | “At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women” by The Church Historian Press (edited by) Jennifer Reeder and Kate HolbrookAt the Pulpit
Subtitle: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women
by (Editors) Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook
Source: Direct from Publisher

At the Pulpit contains fifty-four discourses given by Latter-day Saint women throughout the nearly 200-year history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While the book illustrates the history of women’s public preaching in the church, its most important feature is the actual words of Mormon women.

From the time that Emma Hale Smith, wife of church founder Joseph Smith, first exhorted women at meetings of the Nauvoo Relief Society in 1842, Latter-day Saint women have been charged with instructing their congregations, their families, their Relief Societies, and other groups. The addresses featured in this volume show Mormon women doing the spiritual and intellectual work inherent in a life of Christian faith—seeking to do good works, understand the mission and teachings of Jesus Christ, and strengthen their own faith and the faith of those around them. These women endeavored to live what they believed and to help their listeners do so as well.

Each discourse in the volume begins with an introduction that acquaints readers with the vibrant personalities of the women who have shaped the church. Readers may encounter some familiar figures from the church’s history and from the contemporary church—leaders like Eliza R. Snow, who was the first Relief Society general president in Utah Territory, and Linda K. Burton, current Relief Society general president. But they will also learn from largely forgotten women like Jane H. Neyman. Neyman applied to join the Nauvoo Relief Society in 1842, but her petition was rejected due to gossip about her daughters. Over twenty-five years later, she spoke in a Relief Society in southern Utah on charity, urging members to be forbearing and forgiving of one another.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781629722825

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Interviews & Conversations, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics


Published by The Church Historian's Press, The Church History Department

on 27th February, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 484

Published by: The Church Historian Press (imprint of) The Church History Department

of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Formats Available: Softcover

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #LDSChurch, #WomenOfHistory, #Feminist

About (Editors) Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook

Jennifer Reeder is the nineteenth-century women’s history specialist at the Church History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. She holds a PhD in American history from George Mason University. Kate Holbrook is the managing historian for women’s history at the Church History Department. She received a PhD in religious studies from Boston University.

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Posted Monday, 27 February, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christianity, Family Life, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, The Church Historian's Press

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Saints at Devil’s Gate: Landscapes along the Mormon Trail” by Laura Allred Hurtado and Bryon C. Andreasen

Posted Sunday, 26 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I received an enquiry from the (LDS) Church Historian Press regarding working with them on select non-fiction releases – which interested me as I have been reading LDS Fiction and Non-Fiction for the past two years. My interests in non-fiction (LDS or otherwise) tend to parallel through the historical past (as I love learning about History) and thread through biographical accounts of persons who lived. I love to seek out a variety of topics across different sub-interests of mine – including Science, Philosophy and Feminism as well. Being an ancestral sleuth in my family alongside my Mum, I love finding out the hidden histories not as well known as other aspects of the historical past, too. Therefore, when they approached me about reviewing for them, I was quite keen to find out more about their releases. This marks my first review with a second shortly following: ‘At the Pulpit’ a special overview of LDS Women.

I received a complimentary copy of “Saints at Devil’s Gate” direct from the publisher The Church Historian’s Press (in conjunction with The Church of Latter-day Saints) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keenly interested in this particular release:

Originally, I was meant to post my review on behalf of ‘Saints at Devil’s Gate’ in January – however, due to personal reasons (related to life after my father’s stroke) I haven’t been able to post as frequently as I had beforehand – I’ve been spending the past few months re-adjusting to my father’s recovery and being his main caregiver whilst my Mum works full-time in order to offset my father’s recovery. It hasn’t lended itself to feeling very readerly or in the mood to blog – I’ve had to make adjustments to my online life as I re-emerge into my reading life one story at a time. I admit, I haven’t quite found the balance I am seeking but throughout January & February, I can say, my family and I have found positive enroads moving forward with my father’s recovery, as well as keeping observant on how the after effects of his stroke’s are affecting his everyday life.

Having said this – I originally wanted to post this review far ahead of my second review for the LDS Church, however, sometimes in our lives things happen which upset the course we’re walking. The best we can do is try to make amends lateron and follow-up after the dust settles. I’ve been struggling to re-inspire myself forward in my readings – finding that whilst I feel more confident in what I’m doing offline to help my Dad, I haven’t quite transitioned through to finding down-time to focus on things outside our personal sphere. I’d like to find a way to read and blog more regularly similar to the pace I was starting to set forth as my ‘new regular norm’ last Autumn, as despite pairing down my commitments, I was finding reading several books a week to be quite enjoyable – especially with a more relaxed pace of deadlines.

I am hoping with each new post and book I consume now, will be one story closer to finding my bookish spirit renewed as I inch towards balancing being a caregiver and a hearty reader of stories – coming full circle since the fateful day I watched my father have a stroke before the paramedics and doctors were involved. Some events cause small ripples of changes and other times, our lives change in such distinctive ways, it takes us a bit of time to ‘catch-up’ to realising we’re not quite the same as we were but that doesn’t mean life won’t continue forward – it’s simply we need to allow ourselves a bit more breathing space to sort it all out. Find our way, and hope everyone along the way understands our absences where we cannot always pull things together.

The reason I wanted to accept receiving ‘Saints at Devil’s Gate’ is because it’s a photographically inspired art book – following in the footsteps of the Mormon Pioneers who went West in search of a new place to call home. Through my ancestral research – I have come to find out more about how all of our ancestors made their way in the world. Courtesy of the LDS Church for providing us with the best resource to seek out our ancestors: FamilySearch.org. I’ve mentioned this previously on my blog – how thankful I am to Family Search and the LDS Church for providing all of us a method of researching our family and ancestral lines.

Although I am non-LDS Protestant, part of what I researched led me to find I have Pioneers of the LDS Church in my ancestral past – where a marriage separated part of my ancestral family. The wife of one of my ancestors had to say ‘goodbye’ to her family as they moved West – taking the long road out to Utah, whilst staying behind to start her family, having been recently married. This is as much as I can pull together by what is left behind to be found. At least, I think this is what happened! There is always an error of caution when researching your ancestral heritage – are the pieces pulling together in the right way and are we interpreting the clues in the right way to understand the lives of our ancestors? I am unsure if I will find more at a later date or not, but for now, I thought it was keenly interesting on the fringes of finding out about this – a book about the Mormon Trail was available to be reviewed!

I also appreciated the Church Historian’s Press for being open to having a diverse group of reviewers and book bloggers receiving their releases from different backgrounds – as this highlights something I’ve been trying to understand better about why there is such a division of interest in INSPY Non-Fiction and Fiction releases. INSPY is the shortened word for Inspirational Fiction and Non-Fiction – the main umbrella of literature for faith-based literature – not limited to one religion nor branch of Christianity; as sometimes I think is wrongly perceived. I read INSPY Lit as it was intended – across cultural and religious backgrounds whilst finding inspiring stories in both fictional and realistic (non-fiction) settings of interest.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comNon-Fiction Book Review | “Saints at Devil’s Gate: Landscapes along the Mormon Trail” by Laura Allred Hurtado and Bryon C. AndreasenSaints at Devil's Gate
Subtitle: Landscapes along the Mormon Trail
by (Artist) Bryan Mark Taylor, (Artist) John Burton, (Artist) Josh Clare, Bryon C. Andreasen, Laura Allred Hurtado
Source: Direct from Publisher

The book showcases fifty-two landscapes paintings of the Mormon Trail, the 1,300 mile route from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City that some 70,000 Latter-day Saint pioneers travelled between 1846 and 1869. Each painting is paired with quotations from the original journals and reminiscences of pioneers who made the journey.

The paintings were created from 2011 to 2016 by award-winning Latter-day Saint landscape artists John Burton, Josh Clare, and Bryan Mark Taylor. Jean Stern, executive director of the Irvine Museum in Southern California, said that these artists are 'noted for their remarkable ability to paint beautiful and elegant works, filled with natural light and brilliant colour.' He added that the paints will 'appeal to all viewers, those who seek meaning and enlightenment in the historical background of the trail s well as those who seek beauty in art and nature'.

The pairings of the paintings with historical quotations allows modern-day readers to share in some of the feelings that Mormon pioneers experienced while travelling west. For example, Bryan Mark Taylor's Looking Back which depicts Nauvoo as seen from across the Mississippi River in Iowa is paired with a May 1846 excerpt from Wilford Woodruff's journal: 'I left Nauvoo for the last time perhaps in this life. I looked upon the temple & city of Nauvoo as I retired from it and felt to ask the Lord to preserve it as a monument of the sacrifice of his Saints'.

Laura Allred Hurtado, global acquistions art curator for the Church History Museum points out that 'not all the experiences of the Mormon pionners were tragic. Journal entries capture the mundane and practical toiling of daily life', such as finding places to wash clothes, picking flowers, and dancing and playing music.

Pioneeers also commented regularly, sometimes quite poetically, on the beauty and grandeur of the land they were traversing. Referencing bluffs she had passed in western Nebraska on the journey in summer 1853, English convert Hannah Tapfield King wrote, 'The Bluff ruins... are very beautiful - I should like to have an explanation about them - but I suppose none know their history - They stand out in bold relief with a silent eloquence that speaks trumpet-tongued to every thinking mind - They are looking eternally silent.'

The new book accompanies an exhibition of the same name that opened at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City on November 17. The free exhibition is open to the public and will run through August 2017. The exhibition is also available online via LDS Church History Department.

Places to find the book:

ISBN: 978-0-692-78585-0

Genres: Art & Art History, Biography / Autobiography, Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Fine Art & the Natural World, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Interviews & Conversations, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Travelogue


Published by The Church Historian's Press, The Church History Department

on November, 2016

Format: Softcover Edition

Published by: The Church Historian Press (imprint of) The Church History Department

of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Formats Available: Softcover

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #ArtBooks. #OilPaintings, #LDSChurch, #MormonTrail, #MormonPioneers

About (Artist) Bryan Mark Taylor

Bryan Mark Taylor

A world traveler and an accomplished painter, Bryan Mark Taylor has won numerous top awards at the most prestigious plein air invitationals and is regularly featured in western art magazines. His work can be found in private, corporate, and museum collections around the world. He received his BA from Brigham Young University in 2001 and his MFA from Academy of Art University in 2005. He lives with his wife and four children in Alpine, Utah.

About (Artist) John Burton

John Burton

John Burton is an award-winning oil painter best known for his stirring and vivid depictions of the transitory beauty of our ever-changing world. A graduate of Academy of Art University, Burton has traveled and painted around the globe, always maintaining his home in the American West. Burton’s deep American roots permeate the rich, natural character of his art and inform his work’s reverent tone. John is married with four children.

About (Artist) Josh Clare

Josh Clare

Josh Clare graduated with a BFA in illustration from BYU-Idaho in 2007 and has earned numerous awards, including Artists’ Choice at the 2012 Laguna Plein Air Invitational and second place in the Raymar 6th Annual Art Painting Competition. His work has been featured in Western Art & Architecture, Southwest Art, and Art of the West. He lives with his wife, Cambree, and their children, Nathan, Anna, and Emily, in Cache Valley, Utah.

About Bryon C. Andreasen

Bryon C. Andreasen

Bryon C. Andreasen earned a JD at Cornell University and a PhD in nineteenth-century American history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently a historian at the Church History Museum, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. Previously he was the research historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, where he also edited the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association and helped found the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition that pioneered heritage tourism in Illinois.

About Laura Allred Hurtado

Laura Allred Hurtado

Laura Allred Hurtado works as the global acquisitions art curator for the Church History Museum, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. She has curated exhibitions at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, CUAC Contemporary, Alice Gallery, Rio Gallery, Snow College, and the Granary Art Center. Previously, she worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.

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Posted Sunday, 26 February, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christianity, Family Life, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, The Church Historian's Press

Blog Book Tour | “You’re the Cream in My Coffee” (Book No. 1 of Marjorie Corrigan novels) by Jennifer Lamont Leo A Historical INSPY debut novel which truly gave me hours of readerly blissitude!

Posted Thursday, 5 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “You’re the Cream in My Coffee” direct from the author Jennifer Lamont Leo in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this title interested me to read:

I have a soft spot in my heart for INSPY novels – always have and I think I always will. I’ve been trying to seek out new INSPY authors since I started blogging here at Jorie Loves A Story, but my INSPY self-directed 70 Authors Challenge has nearly been placed on a backburner over the past three years; something I wish to amend in 2017!

This author first found me via Twitter and I reached out to her about reviewing this title – I  personally adore the early 20th Century – the Twenties especially, plus who wouldn’t want to soak inside a historical INSPY novel!? The plot was inviting and the author’s website made for some wicked fun reading ahead of soaking into the novel – thus, when this book went on a blog tour for December, I thought the timing would be brilliantly perfect. Except I had to push forward my review from it’s original date of the 16th until the 23rd; and even then, I started off running a bit behind the eight ball in regards to sharing my thoughts with my dear readers and the tour visitors. The honest truth is I couldn’t lay thought or mind nor heart to the fullest extent of the novel until the ending hours of 2016. I am blessed the author was understanding of my need to extend my readings until now.

Despite my early zest to read this particular INSPY, I must confess with everything going on with my Dad lately – my focus has been less than stellar. If anything, I found myself unable to focus on books whilst feeling even less motivated to blog. It took me a bit to find my rhythm after my Dad’s stroke and even now, I’m still struggling to ‘come back’ to that beautiful place of where blogging, reading and sharing my bookish life feels organically cohesive rather than something I tell myself to ‘focus on’.

Also, my Dad’s recovery and healing from major surgery as well as the stroke has been a larger part of my hours right now, as Mum and I have helped him re-adjust back home whilst keeping his spirits lifted as he recovers a bit more of himself each week. My apologies to the author and the tour visitors – I know you’ve been patiently awaiting this particular review. I am hoping this week, my blog will start to re-populate with posts and commentary on the bookish things which interest me to share with each of you.

This is one of three blog tours I had to push forward for HFVBTs, the next two I shall be sharing are The Semper Sonnet and Who is to Blame? in case you’ve been re-visiting me and wondering what I have been working on next to feature for Ms Bruno. I had wanted to get current before the New Year begins and then, start anew in January with a new year of wicked good historicals to ‘meet and greet’ whilst saying ‘good-bye’ to another wonderful year full of History painting stories alive in my imagination. Except to say, posting these three reviews during the first week of 2017 isn’t so bad, either! Especially as I want to spilt them over three days where each one can shine on my blog. (which is why I shared the s/o via this tweet!) Rock on, dear hearts! Don’t let life get you down – things eventually re-settle and the stories are always there waiting our open hearts and thirst for literary wonderment!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “You’re the Cream in My Coffee” (Book No. 1 of Marjorie Corrigan novels) by Jennifer Lamont Leo A Historical INSPY debut novel which truly gave me hours of readerly blissitude!You're the Cream in my Coffee
Subtitle: A Roaring Twenties Novel
by Jennifer Lamont Leo
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In 1928, Chicago rocks to the rhythm of the Jazz Age, and Prohibition is in full swing. Small-town girl Marjorie Corrigan, visiting the city for the first time, has sworn that coffee’s the strongest drink that will pass her lips. But her quiet, orderly life turns topsy-turvy when she spots her high school sweetheart–presumed killed in the Great War–alive and well in a train station. Suddenly everything is up for grabs.

Although the stranger insists he’s not who she thinks he is, Marjorie becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. To the dismay of her fiancé and family, she moves to the city and takes a job at a department store so she can spy on him. Meanwhile, the glittering world of her roommate, Dot, begins to look awfully enticing–especially when the object of her obsession seems to be part of that world. Is it really so terrible to bob her hair and shorten her skirt? To visit a speakeasy? Just for a cup of coffee, of course.

But what about her scruples? What about the successful young doctor to whom she’s engaged, who keeps begging her to come back home where she belongs? And what, exactly, is going on at the store’s loading dock so late at night?

Amid a whirlwind of trials and temptations, Marjorie must make a choice. Will the mystery man prove to be the cream in her coffee–the missing ingredient to the life she yearns for? Or will he leave only bitterness in her heart?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781938499074

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 15th September, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 292

Originally Published By: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Available Formats: Paperback

NOTE: This series is referred to as “Roaring Twenties Novels” however, I personally found it a bit more fitting to refer to this as the Marjorie Corrigan series.

Converse via: #HistFic + #INSPY

About Jennifer Lamont Leo

Jennifer Lamont Leo

With a passion for all things historical, Jennifer Lamont Leo captures readers’ hearts through stories set in times gone by. She is also a copywriter, editor, and journalist. An Illinois native, she holds a deep affection for Chicago and its rich history. Today she writes from the mountains of northern Idaho, where she shares her home with her husband, two cats, and abundant wildlife.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Thursday, 5 January, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bootleggers & Smugglers, Chicago, Christianity, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Family Life, Fashion Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Lessons from Scripture, Life Shift, Organised Crime, Prohibition, Romance Fiction, Sewing & Stitchery, Singletons & Commitment, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne USA, the Roaring Twenties, War Drama

#WYChristmasReadathon No.1 | Book Review of “Finding Father Christmas” (omnibus ed.) & “Engaging Father Christmas” by Robin Jones Gunn

Posted Sunday, 20 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, starting with FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been wicked happy I can review for their imprints Grand Central Publishing, FaithWords & Center Street.

I received a complimentary copy of “Finding Father Christmas (omnibus) Engaging Father Christmas” direct from the publisher FaithWords (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to read Christmas Romances & Fiction this year:

A few years back I wanted to participate in Christmas #readathons – one hosted by an author who likes to pull people together in the book blogosphere and on social media but the other one was meant to be co-hosted between myself and my friend Christine (of whom had maintained her own bookish blog at readerlymusings.com). I never had the proper chance to focus on either one – even as December had a way of coming back round, none of the Decembers I tried to participate was successful; last year notwithstanding as I had a thirty day virus! Oy!

This year, I wanted to make a new tradition of settling into holiday stories between November and December – even extending into January if I found stories I felt would resonate with me at that point in time. I have the hardest time ‘letting go’ of the holiday movies on tv by early to mid January – as it’s the end of the season I love so much to watch! Those films which air on Hallmark Channel and Lifetime are such a delight to become caught up inside due to the innocent joys and the pure happiness of being connected to family and community. We can all use extra joy and I celebrate the light of the festive season being played out on the dramas and romances or comedies this time of the year!

I used to read Christmas stories all the time – long before I blogged my reading life, but somewhere along the way I fell out of step with why I loved reading them! I would queue them from my library or purchase copies outright to include on my own bookshelves, yet the joy of simply ‘reading them’ left me curiously detached! Until this year, where I decided – I don’t want to just ‘watch!’ the holidays unfold this year or listen to the music on the radio starting Thanksgiving week – I want to fully embrace what I’ve always loved doing – reading select Christmas stories and/or inspiring books which make me smile or uplift my spirit in some way that co-relates to the Christmastide and Wintry season!

Therefore, this review of the newly released omnibus of Ms Gunn’s novellas in the Father Christmas series will kick-off my readings which throughout November and December will offer a bit of a capstone glimpse inside the stories which lift up my spirit and make my heart smile! A true mixture of fiction and non-fiction releases – including a few surprises along the way! I happened to have found all of these to read and/or review ahead of the #WYChristmasReadthon which splendidly worked out well for cross-promoting purposes where I can engage in what are you reading this Christmas Season with other readers seeking out wicked good #ChristmasReads!

It’s a beautiful time of the year, and settling back into the stories I always loved reading is an immeasurable joy of mine! These readings and showcases are running a bit concurrent to my science fiction showcases this month, so you’ll always have something unexpectedly awesome to read about if you continue to visit with me this November!

I’d love to know what your picking up to read this season

– be sure to leave your #currentreads and recommendations in the comment threads!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#WYChristmasReadathon No.1 | Book Review of “Finding Father Christmas” (omnibus ed.) & “Engaging Father Christmas” by Robin Jones GunnFinding Father Christmas | Engaging Father Christmas
Subtitle: Two Novels in One (Omnibus)
by Robin Jones Gunn
Source: Direct from Publisher

By beloved author Robin Jones Gunn, two timeless, heartwarming Christmas novellas bound together for the first time in an omnibus edition.

In FINDING FATHER CHRISTMAS, Miranda Carson's search for her father leads her unexpectedly to London with only a few feeble clues as to who he might be. Immediately welcomed into a family that doesn't recognize her, and whom she's quickly coming to love, she faces a terrible decision. Should she reveal her true identity and destroy their idyllic image of her father? Or should she carry the truth home with her to San Francisco and remain alone in this world? Whatever choice she makes during this London Christmas will forever change the future for both herself and the family she can't bear to leave.

In ENGAGING FATHER CHRISTMAS Miranda Carson can't wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she's sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation. But Miranda's high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian's father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda's mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost. And yet . . . maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781455565948

Genres: Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Short Story or Novella, Spirituality & Metaphysics


Published by FaithWords

on 6th September, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 352

Published by: FaithWords (@FaithWords)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks) via Hachette Nashville

Formats Available: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook

The Father Christmas Series includes:

Finding Father Christmas & Engaging Father Christmas (omnibus edition) by Robin Jones GunnKissing Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn

Finding Father Chistmas

Engaging Father Christmas

Kissing Father Christmas (Synopsis)

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #ChristmasReads

About Robin Jones Gunn

Robin Jones Gunn Photo Credit: Ross Gunn III

Robin Jones Gunn has written 82 books over the past 25 years, with almost 4.5 million copies sold worldwide. She received a Christy Award for her novel Sisterchicks in Gondolas, and speaks at events around the US and Canada as well as in South America, Africa, Europe, and Australia.

Photo Credit: Ross Gunn III

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WYChristmasReadathon
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Posted Sunday, 20 November, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christianity, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, England, FaithWords, Family Life, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Single Mothers, Spirituality & Metaphysics, When Calls the Heart

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